Of all the things to see and do with our short time in the wonderfully charming city of Amsterdam, we end up at a brewery. Not that there is anything wrong with that and to be honest, it is pretty much on brand with Erin and I. That said, there is a lot of culture in Amsterdam and the Heineken Brewery isn’t on top of that list.
Strolling the canals, visiting the Ann Frank House, smelling the tulips, wandering the Van Gough Museum, even taking in the Red Light District should come before this brewery “tour.” Still, Erin hadn’t visited the famous brewery before and wanted too, which I get. I am a big believer of making up your own mind on things. So with that in mind know that:
this isn’t your Heineken Experience, this is my Heineken Experience.
I first visited the Heineken Brewery in 2006 and remember feeling pretty “meh” about the “experience.” At that time I was touring with a friend who had visited the brewery five years or so prior to that. I was told how great the brewery tour was only to arrive to find everything he liked about the place was gone. It was once a proper brewery with a proper brewery tour but around 2001 the brewery side was dropped and the “experience” was added. With that came flashing lights and techno music, somewhat burying the story behind the beer. 8 years later and things are no different.
Not much has changed
Literally. I’m not sure anything has changed since my last visit. The 4D ride may be new or at least different, and although tacky, is actually entertaining. Still cheese though. As are the various games like who can virtually pour a beer better/faster. Seriously? This is virtually the worst drinking game ever.
Games, music, and Disney-like entertainment aside, there are some cool things to be seen. One, this historic building was home to the first Heineken brewery so there is history in them walls. Seeing the massive copper tanks will never get old to me and the cool collections of old bottles, coasters, and ad campaigns from this marketing giant will always entertain me. I remember my favorite part in 2006 was the commercials. Since then they have only gotten better and definitely more elaborate. There are several spots where you can sit and enjoy these commercials – which we did.
At the end of the day, Heineken makes great beer and thankfully at the end of the tour they serve you this great beer. Maybe if they started the tour with a couple pints my Heineken experience would be different. Just me? Tasting from the source always seems to be better no matter the brewery. This is possibly why I like micro breweries so much. This Heineken brewery is no different unless it is no longer an active brewery. Then it is purely a matter of working up a thirst from the sensory overload over for the 45 minutes prior.
So How was My Heineken Experience?
Even though not much has changed over the years, the Heineken Experience is good for a couple pints and a laugh. Literally, the same music in the bar was pumping through those same speakers 8 years ago. No Cher, I still don’t believe in life after love. It was like stepping into a sad time machine. At least Heineken has a sense of humor about it:
Well played Heineken. Again my Heineken experience is my Heineken experience. Your experience may vary depending on if you like bright lights and extra cheese. What I can say is it is great beer and a good way to kill a wet winter day in Amsterdam. That will never change and thankfully neither will Heineken’s winning formula.
Heading there yourself? Good! You should have your own Heineken experience, and you should do it with out having to wait in line! Check out thingstodoinamsterdam.com to purchase your Heineken Experience tickets in advance and jump the queue!
My Heineken Experience has been brought to you by KeepGo – literally. Thanks to their global 3G data coverage I have been able to easily bring you these pictures and words while I bounce my way across the globe. For information on how you can get your own KeepGo SIM card see below:
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Cheesy or not, it makes me thirsty!
Ha! I will take that as a compliment on the photos?
I agree, it is less about the beer and more about fun. Still cool to see though!
For sure David! Something to see in Amsterdam but for me it is behind a few other sites.
Great beer though and I agree, marketing has made them what they are today.
Thanks for the comment Harly. Guessing you get some good Heineken commercials in Australia?
Interesting to hear Shaun. Looks like fun though and figure I should experience it for myself!
You should! Especially if you like beer and the Heineken commercials and brand!
I hear ya Shaun. It is less about the beer there and all about the brand. Great photos though.
Thanks Robert. Thankfully the beer is great!
At least the beer was good!
Pretty much what I remember from my last visit years ago. Did you get the free drinks? I remember nailing 3 beers after the tour…it was 10am and I was on my way to the airport, a kind of extended heineken experience. Good pics!