An anchor of Amsterdam is riding bicycles through the city streets. The people of Amsterdam ride bikes everywhere. You see them on their bikes; balancing a morning cup of coffee on their way to work, transporting their kids to school, and carrying their groceries. On my last visit they even balanced upholstered chairs on those awesome bicycles. They are serious bikes riders. I’m pretty sure they outnumber cars and although cars will stop for you to cross the street. Don’t you dare walk out into the middle of a bike lane without looking both ways. That bell will chime and you will need to scamper out-of-the-way. You have been warned.
While renting a bike and cycling the streets of Amsterdam is on my bucket list. It is not for the faint of heart and I still have not risen to the occasion. All is I need is a united effort with a couple of people so I’m sure it will happen. But not on this trip. My friend and I instead opted to spend an afternoon immersing ourselves in a little bit of history and a few pints of beer. This was our Heineken Experience.
This tour is located in the original Heineken Brewery which was opened in 1864 when Gerard Adriaan Heineken purchased the “Haystack Brewery”. This would be the beginning of one of the most successful breweries in the world. Today Heineken is multinational and has somehow still remained a family company. You can always recognize the bright green bottle which signifies Heineken! The tour takes your through the history of the company and the family. Local tour guides provide the wonderful need to know information.
We walked through the original brewery buildings. Stained glass windows, iconic copper vats.
In short order, we had our first taste of this iconic beer. We were given a small glass and told to wait to learn the proper way to drink Heineken. Once everyone had their glass we were told to tip it back to let the cool beverage slide down your throat. That was our first, but not last, tasting during the experience.
We learned about the brewing process. All it takes is water, barley, hops, and yeast. We walked through the historic brew room and then the fun began. You have to try the brew ride, where you actually become a bottle of beer. Somewhat like an amusement ride with colors and sound effects. Take a quick peek.
We practiced pouring the perfect beer. Along the way there were numerous “selfie” spots.
Next we shuffled down into the tasting room and it was as if we had entered a night club. Dark, crowded, loud with plenty of beer flowing. My shoes were sticking to the floor with each step I took. I felt like I had entered a party in progress. Completely different from the educational aspect of the tour.
We collected our first pints of beer which you exchange for a button from your wristband you received at the beginning of the tour. We edged into a table with three guys, held up our beer and simply said Proost! Toasting to our brilliant day and good fortune! You can also try to become a master pourer, many folks were vying for that title on this day.
I always like doing something different. When it works out like this I end up with a new friend and insight into a world class brewery. All in an enchanting city full of bicycles, canals, museums, flowers and the world’s best beer!
Tips: Click on the link turn up your speakers to see the only bike you should be riding in Amsterdam after a few pints of beer!