The Church of Heineken

What better excuse for day drinking when it is snowing and cold outside than visiting a museum dedicated to the Amsterdam’s most famous beer?


In the 80’s Heineken  transformed their old brewery into an interactive museum that has become a tourist destination.  While some parts of the tour are pretty cheesy – think World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta if you’ve been – I’d recommend a visit if you’re in Amsterdam and you like beer or marketing.  IMG_5101

The museum begins with the company’s origins in 1864 as a small family enterprise and follows its rise to international branding and distribution success.

After  World War I, the company focused more and more on export. Three days after Prohibition ended in the U.S., the first Heineken shipment landed in New York. Since then Heineken has been one of the most successful imported beer brands in the U.S.

Today Heineken is the third largest brewer in the world after Anheuser-Busch  and SABMiller.   It is sold in more than 170 countries and employs approximately 66,000 people.

the magic hops that give beer its flavor

Heineken is made with purified water, malted barley, hops, and a proprietary yeast known as Heineken A-yeast.  It takes about a month to brew-about twice as long as other beers.

IMG_5113holding some barley which tastes like hay

They used to brew the beer in these massive copper tanks but now they use stainless steel because it is much cheaper.
A church of beer? Pretty much
I sampled what it tastes like before the hops are added. My best description is sweet oatmeal. Not good.
That’s Mike

Just when I was convinced that beer fermenting smells like a horse, I entered the  stable walk section of the tour.   Allegedly these Heineken shire horses draw wagons that still help deliver Heineken to some parts of the Netherlands. I’m a little skeptical….

And now onto the golden stuff! Here the bartender schooled us on how to perfectly serve and drink a  Heineken.

You want a good amount of foam on top to protect your beer from oxygen and you should take a big enough sip to allow the beer underneath the foam to break through.
My apologies for the very red tint – most exhibits had a green tint but this one was red all the way for the red star on the label.
Tilt your glass a bit so you aren’t filling it directly.  That couple seems very thirsty.

At this point we were invited to taste some Heineken.  I scored an extra beer (just what I needed at 11am) after  answering the trivia question correctly: What gives a beer its flavor? HOPS! I don’t think anyone else in my group spoke English well enough to understand what he was asking.


Then it was onto more exhibits.

a free souvenir of a “happy e” bottle opener
naturally, green heineken bikes

IMG_5179 IMG_5182 “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Benjamin Franklin

IMG_5102 IMG_5139 IMG_5125 IMG_5154

Here you could relax in a green pod and be indoctrinated by Heineken commercials.  IMG_5131

Following this was the touted interactive “ride” through the brewing process, called “Brew U,” where you are made to feel like you are a beer  going from the brewing tanks to a finished, bottled and boxed carton.  You are shaken up, sprayed with water and subjected to heat – all while standing up against a railing, it was as weird as it sounds.   All I could think about was how in the U.S. they would definitely make you sit down and fasten a seatbelt before shaking the ground beneath you and this would definitely make some of my family member nauseous.

I think this was the fermentation stage?

Two beers are included in the cost of admission and I must have looked lonely while I sat in the bar enjoying my beer after the tour because the bartender kept bringing me refills.  I didn’t catch her name but thanks friend!  I also want to thank the two tour guides  who asked me which college I went to in the States, thinking I was with the other Spring Breakers.  God bless you.

Your ticket also includes a riverboat tour inside a green Heineken boat
past the corporate offices
and through the beautiful canals

Prost to Heineken and to you dear readers! IMG_5136


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