As I mentioned in my previous post, the Heineken Experience is known as one of Amsterdam’s main attractions, a must see while visiting the city. Seventeen euro’s later I’m here to tell you not to waste your money!
The entire thing is more of a self guided, walk at your own pace, kind of a tour that begins when you want and ends about couple of hours later. As you start walking from one open room to another you’re introduced to the Heineken family and the history behind the brew. A very first stone from 1867, first Heineken logos, early Heineken bottles. It’s all nice to know, but what else is there for the price of admission?
Well, since back in the day beer was delivered by horse wagons, there’s an actual horse stable right in the brewery. Horse shit smell and all. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that horse wagons are part of beer delivery history, but I’d gladly take their word for it. I don’t need actual horses to get the point across.
Then there are the huge copper tanks that once served to make the Heineken brew but today only smell of hops and barley. Nice to see, sure, but there’s a pub right here in Wrocław where actual working copper tanks are on display, not to mention the fact that beer served in that pub actually came from the said tanks.
Topping things off is the Heineken ride. If you’ve been to the Universal Studios, it sort of mimics the Back to The Future Ride. It’s 5D, meaning everything shakes, but you also get splashed with water and burned with heat lamps. The ride means to show you the complete beer brewing process by…brewing you! So you stand in a simulator and a guy on screen goes through the motions of explaining the process for you while you’re swimming in the copper tank (everything sways from side to side), get boiled (heat lamps burn your forehead), get bottled (everything shakes) and so on. You do it all while standing up so it’s not too extreme, and if you have been to the Back to The Future Ride you’ll be heavily disappointed.
From there it’s on to beer tasting where you get to have the first of your 2.5 beers. I’ve gotten used to Polish 500ml beers so when I got a small 250ml glass I felt like a kid again. Luckily I answered a trivia question correctly and the bar tender served me my award, another 250ml of fresh beer.
And everything from then on was pure Heineken marketing. Everything was green, everything was Heineken branded, brainwashing you to oblivion. There was a huge room with comfortable sofas and 360 degree LCD screen all around the walls playing the newest Heieneken commercial in an endless loop. From that room you walked into another room with different sofas and a different commercial.
Near the end there was a mock-up beer bottling facility that probably fooled most people as the real deal, but we noticed small details that proved that it was just for show. And in true Universal Studios fashion, the entire experience ended with leaving you in the gift shop.
Ohh, I almost forgot. There was more beer to drink while on the tour. We got a green band, sort of like the Livestrong yellow band, that had three removable buttons on it; two for 250ml of beer, and one for a free gift. Near the end of the tour we found ourselves in a Heineken bar where you could exchange the beer buttons for a drink, so we did. Except that for somer reason a cold large beer (350ml) required two buttons… so we just had one beer each. The free gift was a Heineken leash with a bottle opener.
Summing it all up…don’t waste your time. Go sit down at a bar next door, order yourself 17 euros worth of Heineken, and you’ll be just as well off without going through the Heineken Experience.
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There is a Museum of Brewing at Burton on Trent (UK), not too far from me. I’ve not been in years. It used to be branded for Bass, the original brewers, but since they got bought out it’s now known as “The Coors Museum of Brewing”, which makes me less likely to want to go in the first place.
17 Euro sounds pretty steep for a brewery museum, and outrageous for an extended Heineken commercial! (Not that I consider Heineken to be the epitome of good beer anyway.)
I probably wouldn’t rant so much about this if it wasn’t for the price of admission. It really pissed me off that there was literally nothing there to justify the cost, from the consumer point of view. Most actual museums in the area are much cheaper.