A trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without spending a few hours at the Heineken Brewery. “The Heineken Experience” offers a glimpse into the history of its world-renowned beer by taking visitors on an engaging tour in the building of their first brewery which was built in 1867.
The tour is about 1.5 hours long and is self-guided, though you can download the Heineken Experience App and it will guide you through the brewery with audio and visual aids.
The tour will set you back €18 if you just walk in, €16 if you order online, or (if you’re really smart) €15 when you use a €3 off coupon that are probably on display in every hotel lobby and tourist information center throughout Amsterdam.
The “Experience” begins with a history of the Heineken company – the founders, how the beer was developed and later became wildly popular, and early memorabilia.
Now that your brain has been pummeled with information on the Heineken company, it’s time to enter the first interactive portion of the tour beginning with an energetic lady in front of four containers of the main ingredients in a Heineken. She went on to explain the importance of each ingredient and offered us some of the barley to taste (which was delicious).
We then entered the main brewing room where Heineken has preserved some of their original copper kettles. In the brewing room there were films being projected in some of the copper kettles, wort tasting (which was far from delicious), barley grinders you could use, and a massive barrel where a parent had their baby stir the water and barley for a photo that they’re sure to send to all their family and friends.
After we were done messing about in the brewery, we queued up to enter a mini interactive movie theater where a man on screen went through the brewing process, quite literally.. When he fell into the barrel of beer, water sprayed on the audience, the floor shook when the barrel was being stirred, heat lamps came on when it was being boiled, and so forth.
Finally, about 45 minutes into the tour, we had the first beer tasting. We each received a small glass of beer while the bartender explained how people from Holland drink their beer. She joked around about how people from the UK always complain that the bars here are cheap since there is too much beer head. Apparently, the reason they leave a few inches of head on the beer is that it traps the flavour so your first drink is meant to be a large gulp to break through the foamy barrier to get to the good stuff.
We then proceeded to a large circular room where Heineken commercials were playing all around you. You were welcome to hang out and finish your beer and then continue on whenever you were ready to move on.
The next part of the tour was solely interactive, offering visitors the chance to play video games, Foosball, view the miniature sets for The Heineken Experience movie, dance to music a DJ was spinning, and take your photo for the Heineken Experience Wall of Fame.
Once you were finished roaming around, it is off to the bar where another drink awaits! You can “cash in” your two tokens (that are conveniently attached to the rubber bracelet they give you upon entering) for a pint of Extra Cold Heineken or two smaller pints of regular Heineken. Yum!
The Heineken Experience
Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE, Amsterdam
Monday – Thursday: 11:00 – 7:30 pm
Friday – Sunday: 10:30 – 9:00 pm
July & August: 10:30 – 9:00 pm everyday