Why the Heineken Brewery Tour Is an Amazing Experience?

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If you are visiting Amsterdam for the first time, you will immediately become captivated by the incredible number of bicycles in and around the city and of course the canals that make the Dutch capital renowned as the Venice of the North. But there is another reason that you will soon love this city possibly more than any other in Europe (or even the world)…Heineken! Not only can you drink as much as you want but you can also have an amazing experience by taking the Heineken brewery tour in the heart of the city.

heineken brewery tour amsterdam

Having spent the morning taking a free walking tour of Amsterdam, we figured the best way to spend the afternoon was to either visit the world famous Rijksmuseum or alternatively opt for the Heineken Experience. Although we love to wander around art museums, there really was no choice here!!

Heineken + A Brit & A Southerner = ????

I will let you decide what the answer is to the above formula, but if you keep reading, by the end we will share our opinion!

heineken brewery tour

Heineken Brewery Tour – The Experience

Beer lovers around the world, Amsterdam is calling you. Dublin may be the home of Guinness and Berlin may be stereotypical beer capital of the world, but Amsterdam is quietly becoming a popular hotspot for beer drinkers, predominantly because of the presence of Heineken on a global scale.

heineken brewery tour

Visiting ‘The Heineken Experience’ to learn more about why this is such a popular beer is certainly something you should consider the next time you visit Amsterdam.

Ticket Prices

If you book tickets directly online, you will save a couple of Euros rather than purchasing in-person at the ticket office. Online prices are as follows:

  • Adults – €16,00
  • Child (Age 12-17) – €12,50
  • Child (Under 11) – Free

We purchased tickets late morning on our iPhone and showed the PDF tickets at the entrance which was sufficient as they simply scan them and give you a Heineken Experience wristband.

Other Useful Information

The Heineken Experience is open all year round (open 365 days!) and for most of the year opens at 10:30AM daily with final admission at 7:00PM in the evening.

Address: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands

heineken experience

Heineken Brief History

The Heineken dynasty dates back to the mid-19th century, specifically 1864 when Gerard Heineken purchased the Haystack brewery. In 1873, this brewery was renamed Heineken and well…the rest is history!

heineken experience amsterdam

In 1886, Dr. Elion (a former pupil of Louis Pasteur) developed the Heineken A-Yeast in a local Amsterdam laboratory. To this day, this is still the key ingredient of Heineken beer and helps maintain the unique taste that we all love with this Dutch beer.

heineken history

Heineken has 115 brewing plants in over 65 countries around the world. Global revenues make Heineken the third largest brewer behind Anheuser-Busch (InBev) and SABMiller.

heineken beer

Later in the tour you can experience the Heineken stables and check out some of the infamous horses that today are primarily used for marketing, along with some of the iconic carts and wagons that were used to transport the beer barrels.

heineken beer

Multimedia Exhibits

The tour itself takes you through a myriad of exhibits, many of which offers interactive features to involve visitors and help learn about the history and mission of Heineken. Perhaps the highlight of this tour is the ‘Experience’ itself, where visitors stand inside a virtual beer can and taken through the history as a beer particle with moving parts, sound effects along with wind and water to add to the overall experience.

heineken champions league

All ages will enjoy this experience but for the beer connoisseurs in the family, don’t worry your time will come!

heineken champions league

I particularly enjoyed the Heineken sporting exhibit where you can check out the Champions League history along with capturing a selfie with the Champions League trophy itself. Rugby fans can try their luck at kicking a virtual conversion, or perhaps participating in a scrum (a word of warning, this is not for the faint-hearted).

Heineken Brewing Process

Although the recipe for producing Heinken is top-secret, the actual process of brewing beer is well documented and visitors to the Heineken Experience can watch the various stages that are involved in creating such a magical beer. Heineken is made up of the typical primary ingredients: Barley, Hops, Water and of course the infamous and highly recognized A-Yeast!

heineken brewing process

The fermentation, filtering and bottling process is much the same as many of the world’s other leading beer manufacturers but it is that secret recipe that sets Heinken apart from its competitors, at least in our opinion that is.

heineken brewing process

During our tour of the manufacturing plant inside the Heinken Experience, we sampled ‘wort’ which is simply malt mixed with water and well, it’s not the best tasting sample you will have here!

heineken brewery

But it’s a great way to see and learn about the various processes that are involved in creating the perfect Heineken beer.

heineken brewery tour

Brewing today is understandably different from the original process in the mid-19th Century. Technology has drastically improved and mass consumption has meant that creating large volumes of beer is a necessity.

heineken amsterdam

But the distinct process is still the same and being able to walk around the original buildings including the old brewery with stained glass windows and the iconic copper beer kettles is an exciting experience.

heineken brewery tour

Tasting and Sampling

By now you are probably wondering when you get to sample the finest Heineken brew. Don’t worry, you have multiple opportunities. In fact, visitors receive three beers throughout the tour.

heineken beer

The first time is in the tasting room where you are handed a small glass and shown the appropriate way to drink Heineken. No sips, just a nice amount that glides down the back of your throat and you can fully experience the tastes of Heineken and that special recipe.

heineken experience amsterdam

At the end of the self-guided tour, you have the option to drink two pints of Heineken or if you prefer, you can have a soft drink. Your wrist band contains two buttons that can be exchanged for the beers.

heineken amsterdam

Alternatively, you can become a certified Heineken pourer in exchange for your two tokens. Regardless of the option you choose, this is a great way to culminate the Heineken brewery tour.

Summary

The Heineken Experience finishes in the store where you can pickup a souvenir glass or other Heineken memento. Earlier in the tour we created our very own Heineken bottle with customized label which we couldn’t resist.

heineken cruise

After leaving the Heineken Experience, you can hop on the Heineken canal cruise free of charge, and this will take visitors to the Heineken Brand Store to pick up your free gift (a small Heineken glass) and opportunity to purchase more souvenirs.

heineken experience

Having experienced the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, we were excited to see what Heineken had to offer. We can honestly say that this was our favorite to date, given the self-guided aspect of the tour and also the amount of interactivity and knowledge you can gain from visiting here.

HEINEKEN + A BRIT & A SOUTHERNER = the perfect blend

Amsterdam is more than just canals and bicycles…and the Heineken brewery tour is a great way to find out a little more about this beautiful city! I am sure by now you figured out the answer to the formula above, but for those that are still wondering, I think it’s a pretty obvious response.

Weekend Wanderlust


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Chris Boothman is the co-founder of A Brit and A Southerner. Born near Manchester, England, Chris moved to USA in 2006 where he soon after met his wife and travel partner in crime, Heather. They have since embarked on an amazing journey of travel as they challenge others to follow in their paths of working full-time but also being able to travel frequently! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Chris at [email protected]

18 COMMENTS

  1. I admit that Heineken is not my favorite beer, but your photos of the experience are awesome, and I think it would be a fun experience.

  2. We’ve been to Amsterdam a number of times and this is one of three attractions that are still on our “want to do” list. (The other two are Keukenhof gardens and House of Bols.) Did not know you get a free glass at the end; that is a nice souvenir, though I’m not too sure I’d safely carry it around for the rest of the day. 🙂
    Linda Bibb recently posted…Bali’s Seafood Paradise: Dinner on Jimbaran BeachMy Profile

  3. I don’t think it’s necessary to go to Heineken when visiting Amsterdam and I think Brouwerij T’ij is way. I love all their beers and it’s free. Their tasting room is in a former windmill in the East Amsterdam.

  4. Dare I admit that I don’t drink beer. I never acquired the taste (and not for lack of trying back in my uni days). However, I am sure if we get to Amsterdam, this would be on our list, just like Guinness was when we were in Dublin. There are definite similarities in the two tours I love your photos, especially the one with the wall of bottles.

  5. Jim and I do love a brewery tour and we try to hit as many as we can. I was about to comment on how expensive the Heineken tour was when you mentioned the canal cruise at the bottom. Is it really a cruise? How long is it? This could really make the price that much more worthwhile. At any rate, we love a good beer tasting!

  6. I personally don’t drink alcohol and this is probably one of the reasons I have not been there yet. It indeed seems like a fun place to go to!! 🙂 I may head there next week, it’s only 15 minutes by bike from my place.

  7. It looks like a great tour for those who enjoy beer. I love that you could also take the cruise to see another site. For us with limited time this was something we needed to see whilst in Amsterdam recently but would probably now consider seeing it next time after reading your review.

  8. I’m embarrassed to say that I thought Heineken was American. Along with Budweiser, it was what my father used to drink. And, I can’t imagine him paying extra for imported beer but he must’ve done. This looks like a fab tour – didn’t realise either that they were so supportive of sport. (When Figo was playing, I thought he was majorly hot:))
    Shobha recently posted…Exploring the Caraca Nature Reserve in BrasilMy Profile

  9. Great read and it’s funny reading how many people didn’t realise it is European. I think I’m exposing my love of European beer a little too much by knowing where they all come from. Visited a few breweries in Belgium this time around too.

  10. We loved this tour… very interactive and interesting. After learning so much about the beer, its actually become one of our “beers of choice”
    Great post! Loved reading it!

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