In the Spring of 2009 I made my first-ever trip to The Netherlands. With nothing to do and a lot to see I did a little research and invested in an Amsterdam citypass, basically a coupon booklet for tourism hotspots including museums and the like. Once I had used up the more valuable coupons I was scrounging for a place to eat up the lesser-value offers. With few options remaining I passed on the tulip garden tour and the wooden shoe fitting and instead used my pass to take the Heineken Brewery tour on May 15th.
The ‘brewery’ was just around the corner from my hotel, a factor that probably helped convince me to go. I recall starting the tour first thing in the morning though I can see that the ticket was issued at 4:41pm so either my memory is failing me or the night before this must have been a late one.
Or both; there’s every reason to believe that both could be true.
Anyway, the Heineken tour is very, very tourist-y (Disney-esque even?), it’s not actually a brewery as far as I can tell, it’s not at all informative (although they made a big deal of the tilted “e” in Heineken, something I hadn’t noticed before), and overall it’s pretty lame.
My group followed a virtual character from one room to another as he explained the basic beer brewing process. The fact that he was emitting from a video screen kept questions and complaints to a minimum. The tour attempted to tap into an all-senses experiences by variably squirting water on us, smelling up the room, and immersing us in darkness.
I would have called it a complete waste of my time but heck, I probably would have just been sleeping anyways.
And really, with prices the way they are in Europe the two free breakfast beers that came at the end of the tour actually made the Heineken Brewery tour a pretty economical choice for a bargain-hunting tourist such as myself.