Heineken VIP Tour
If you are heading to Amsterdam, it should be a requirement to visit Heineken. It is practically a landmark in the city. Now, I have been going on brewery tours since before being legally able to drink. Growing up near the old Olympia Brewery in Washington, it was always a fun activity to take out-of-town family. They always used to ask the question, “Do you know why steins have a cover?” Spoiler, to keep the flies out. Getting that answer right won you an extra beer at the end of the tour – earning me an extra soda. All this to say, I like brewery tours and think they are fascinating. Think about the science and expertise that goes into making a four-ingredient drink (water, barley, hops, and yeast) and how brewers around the world continue to go to great lengths to make it their own. In fact, did you know that Heineken has a patented special yeast and only a handful of people have access to it? Which means, the Heineken taste is rare, and you will never taste it in another beer. Sorry, was getting slightly off topic by nerding out over brewery tours. Let’s get back to Heineken and why you should pay the extra dough for the VIP experience.
The Heineken VIP experience costs $63 (55 euros) and will take about 2.5 hours from your day. First, you skip the line waiting to get into the lobby and take the green VIP carpet right inside. I am a huge fan of skipping the line (it drives my husband nuts). We were early for our tour, and instead of waiting in the lobby, we were taken directly to the Heineken bar and given two free beer vouchers since we were VIP tour guests. You had me at free welcome beers. We hung out for about 20 minutes in the green and red themed bar before making our way back up to the welcome desk for the tour to begin. Our group had ten people, and we were all given headsets to listen to our guide take us through the brewery. Now, you are taken on the same tour as everyone else but given access to restricted areas. We were able to visit the Heineken stables, an area over the old brewmaster’s quarters, the private Heineken event space and bar areas, and the top floor patio overlooking the city. The best part of the tour comes at the end – while the general tour guests are heading down to the Heineken bar, we were taken into “Freddie’s Bar,” a dark oak with green accents hideaway that is straight out of Mad Men. Freddie is the second-generation Heineken who brought the brand world recognition with his marketing savvy.
Once we were all settled at the bar top, we were able to taste not only signature Heineken but five other beers owned by the brand. Fun fact: Heineken owns 170 beer brands. We were told about each beer’s distinctive flavors, and each beer included Dutch cheese, which was an odd twist. I think they should just put out a bowl of chips, because while Dutch cheese is delicious, it doesn’t necessarily compliment the beer or vice versa. However, the cheese with the beer was not a deal breaker.
The tasting was leisurely, and we were in no way rushed, which made the atmosphere similar to sitting in a local bar. Now, I’m not sure if our tour guide liked us, or if he does this for everyone, but after the official tasting, he let all of us have one last glass of our favorite beer from the tasting before leading us down to the main welcome area. There we were all given gift bags with custom Heineken bottles and a mini replica of the original Heineken brewery.
The Heineken Experience VIP tour gets the Sights in Stilettos stamp of approval. Make sure to book your advance tickets and happy tasting!
Where are some of your favorite brewery tours?