Traveling Taste Buds: The Heineken Experience

Amsterdam just had its 742nd birthday, and what better way to commemorate the city than to cheers with their beloved ice cold beer! 

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Way back in 1864, Gerard Adriaan Heineken bought a brewery. He developed what we all know as that crisp, clean lager in the green bottle. Around 150 years later, it still stands as the world's most international brewer. 

Listen, I'm a fan of this beer and if you know me, I've already told you why. Heineken uses pure, natural ingredients. NATURAL! There are no artificial preservatives, and that's a huge plus for me. I really try to stay away from that nasty stuff. You wouldn't believe what half the food and drinks we consume have in them, but that's a post for another day, and you really don't want to get me started. 

Anyway, they use malted barley, hops and water. Imagine that? You don't need a bunch of fillers to create a good quality AND high quantity beverage. Heineken also has a strict brewing process - they brew for 28 days as opposed to other popular brands whose brewing processes take around two weeks, and add their special Heineken A-Yeast to the fermentation process. Once complete, whether the brewery is in Asia or Africa or in any other area of the world, a sample is required to be sent back to the Netherlands for inspection. That way, you always get the same consistent taste as a consumer whether you're at a bar in London, a restaurant in Hong Kong or picking up a six-pack at your local Publix.

You can learn all about Heineken at the original brewery site in the heart of Amsterdam at the museum and tour called The Heineken Experience. Jon and I did this in July 2015 and we absolutely loved it. If you've ever been to the World of Coke in Atlanta, it's pretty similar, but it's beer - bonus! It's a self-guided interactive tour where you can learn more about the history, the natural ingredients, the brewing process, and at the end sit down with two pints all for about 20 euros. You'll spend a few hours here and we particularly enjoyed the simulator ride complete with water and bubbles, playing around in the areas of rugby and soccer games where their sponsorships are aligned and learning proper ways those in Holland drink and pour the beer. We walked away with a personalized bottle as well simply saying "Jon and Alex". It's a funny little souvenir! We recommend going on a weekday or grabbing your tickets early. It can produce a hefty line being a super touristy spot, but it's well worth it! 

 Fun fact: That red star marks the perfect draught. That's where you want your foam to start - it helps trap in the flavor. 

Fun fact: That red star marks the perfect draught. That's where you want your foam to start - it helps trap in the flavor. 

You can almost always get a Heineken wherever you travel, so now you know a little more about the beer and a really fun experience you can add to your Amsterdam itinerary. And as someone who has experience in marketing, this brand just has it. They're really smart, innovative and fun - grab a cold one in the green bottle with the red star. They do it right.

Proost!