The Heineken experience is great because explains how they make beer and it’s still really interesting even if you don’t like lager, or ‘beer’ as they call it here in Holland (I had a Heineken beer which had ‘‘beer is gross’ written on it but more on that later.)
It all starts with a digital presentation on Heineken, and then takes you through some of the defining moments of the Heineken family. You get to learn more about the ingredients in it and can try some of the barley which I quite liked. The hops smelt quite bitter and the lady presenting told us that’s the female part of the hop and they use it because of the bitter taste.
Then you get to see how Heineken beer is actually made and the machines that they use, although they have moved their actual brewery, it still gives you a pretty good idea because there are videos which explain the brewing process.
They also have horses at the Heineken experience – although you can’t touch them you can still see them and since I’m violently allergic to horse hair I ran past until I got to a point where I was inside and there was no chance of me having a reaction. At this point you can go on a 4D ride, where you can ‘brew yourself’ so you learn all about how they make beer and experience what it is like to be bottled, including being heated up by a machine and cooled down again which I thought was quite fun.
When we came out of the ‘brew yourself’ ride there was a part of the exhibition where you could have your own label printed on a Heineken beer at which point we turned into kids, and were writing all manner of things. Michiel had a few problems coming up with something as witty as me – I wrote Ashley – ‘Beer is gross’ and Michiel wrote Michiel ‘Meer Bier’ B. Meer Bier means more beer. After this we got our first free beer. I somehow managed to get two since I answered a question right and there was a spare beer, which is great if you like beer. Not if you’re me, but handy if you have someone with you who volunteers to drink your beer.
It’s a fully interactive experience – Michiel and I made our very own (terrible) music video. He has a distinct advantage because he’s Dutch and so was the song. He sung along and I attempted all of one line before I gave up. We were very excitable so we were jumping around like idiots for the video which resulted in me getting hit on the head.
Then we went to the bar where we got a choice between two free beers, or the opportunity to learn how to pull a perfect pint. Since I don’t really like lager or beer and have never pulled a pint before, I decided to learn how to, and Michiel had already drunk most of my beer along the way so he joined me. I went first and thought I had done pretty well compared to the guy who went before me. Then the bartender told me what I had done wrong and so I did it again and it was perfect. Michiel did it in one go – cheater. He saw my mistakes and listened to the bartender telling me how to do it and then managed to get it right first time.
That was the end of our trip and even though Heineken is not my favourite tipple, I still really enjoyed the experience and thought that the price was reasonable since you get a couple of beers along the way. What did you think?