In the new series Brewery Tours, let’s get one thing straight: I’m a cider drinker, not a beer drinker. For technicalities and terminology, I’d suggest talking to M. However, I’m not one to turn down new opportunities and therefore I have found myself visiting a lot of breweries along my travels. The most impressionable was perhaps The Heineken Experience, enjoyed on a sunny summers day in Amsterdam with companion P.
It’s safe to admit that I knew virtually nothing about Heineken before walking through the doors of the giant brick building by the canal. Upon exiting a few hours later, I was a sold woman. Sold sold sold, that Heineken was the best beer in the world – and I wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Best taste is a subject left to personal preference, but best marketing and imagery is something a little less contestable.
There were halls lined with old posters, photographs, advertisements and memorabilia progressing from the establishment of the company in the late 1800s to modern day, with mirrored historic turbulences in-between. To me, this was more fascinating than the progression from barley to bottle, which was also extensively included in the tour. Thankfully, if you’re like me and have a short attention span for the details, the liquid journey was summarized in an entertaining simulation ride.
A darkened room with vast television screens showcased a video exhibiting the impact and enjoyment of the brand worldwide. I sat comfortably for a moment and absorbed the scene. With strobe lights, a heavy bass line and a green glow cast from the bottles that hung from the ceiling, Heineken couldn’t look more glossy and sleek if it tried; but despite the global images flashing rapidly across the scene, the ambiance of mainland Europe ran deep.
At the end of the tour, each visitor is rewarded with the freshest glass of Heineken imaginable at the World Bar, and let’s not forgot to mention the gift shop! The excitement seemingly never ceases when you walk out the door with souvenirs in hand and are suddenly teleported back into the vibrancy of Amsterdam!
So, what’s the verdict on a Dutch beer tour from a cider drinking English girl? Well, it’s hard not to fall in love with a beer that smiles back at you (seriously, observe the letter ‘e’ in the logo). There is no Amsterdam Experience without the Heineken Experience.