Brews clues: secrets of the Heineken experience

Brandi Maly
Contributing Writer

***image1***Visiting Amsterdam is always a good time and this day was no exception. I had my reservations about taking a brewery tour as I am not a beer drinker but as soon as I heard about the free gift at the end of the tour, I perked up.
The Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam is the original Heineken brewery. Its buildings span two centuries, with the main parts dating from 1867 (the original building) and 1930 (a working brewery until 1988).

Gerard Heineken bought the old Haystack Brewery Feb. 15, 1864. Together with some investors, he created what is the most internationally known beer today. The principal international brands are Heineken and Amstel, but the group brews and sells more than 170 international premium, regional, local and specialty beers.

***image2***The “Heineken Experience,” as they call it, took a little over an hour. Each ticket holder is given three poker-like chips at the beginning and as you experience each phase your chip gets you a little something.

Being collectors, it was great to see all the different beer memorabilia. The creative and decorative use of bottles and crates was inspiring. All the old bottles, labels and ads that were used throughout the history of the brewery were showcased quite nicely.

I never knew brewing beer was such a complicated and exacting science.
There are informational posters and short films throughout. You can examine the giant malt silos up close, check out the Shire horses and even experience the journey of a bottle through the bottling process.  I won’t say what the free gift was but overall, the Heineken experience was definitely worth the €10 ticket price.

***image3***Tips for getting the most out of your Heineken experience:
• Cash, PIN, VISA, and EuroCard/MasterCard are accepted. 
• Tickets cannot be paid for in advance, only at the door.
• Go in the morning to avoid the long lines. 
• Smoking is not allowed within the Heineken Experience or its bars. 
• The facility is wheelchair accessible.
• Persons below the age of 18 years only admitted under parental guidance.
• For more information on opening hours during August, visit the Web site at