Heineken Experience – Amsterdam

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After meeting up with the whole crew, including the friends from Manchester, we set off to go to the Heineken Experience, which is a tour of the Heineken brewery. If you’re living at a hotel or hostel, a tip would be to check if they have any discount vouchers since you’re likely to get a few dollars off. I believe we got it for around 16 euros. When you arrive, you receive complimentary coat check. Then you proceed to turn in your ticket and you get a wristband in return with 2 beer tokens and a free gift token.

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It’s a self guided tour and they estimate it takes around 1.5 hours to get through the whole tour. The beginning includes a lot of history of how the company came together and the different branding and marketing strategies they used throughout time.

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Honestly, I didn’t think the history section was too interesting. It was sort of like going to a museum and we had to read everything off the plaques, so we skimmed through it quite quickly.

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Then we got to some things that were a little more interesting. They had a worker explain to us the process of how beer is made.

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You got to try some of the hops and barley. Hops definitely did not taste that great…

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Then you arrive at the Brew Room. You can’t really see what’s going on, so it’s more like getting a big picture of how it would be produced.

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You can get a mandatory picture of yourself brewing in that brown leather apron too!

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Then, you’ll find yourself in the stable walk with tons of horses. These horses were huge! Apparently, the horses were used to transport beer to the bars. I didn’t get a picture of the next room, but it’s pretty fun! It was a 4D ride called Brew Your Ride, and you essentially stand in this platform with other visitors and watch a film where you are basically Heineken beer. You go through the whole process including how you would be bottled up if you were the beer. It was pretty neat since the platform would move and water would squirt out to give effects.

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Finally, we got to sample some beer! I think most of us were just looking for beer. They should’ve totally given us a beer to begin with so we could sip on it while going through the tour. The worker told us how to truly taste a beer and how to smell and see if it’s good beer. He also taught us the differences between Heineken and other beers. Some cold beer was perfect!

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Next, we saw how the beer was bottled up with labels applied. This was really cool since you were able to customize your own label and you could see your customized bottle go down the production line.

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They also had a final inspection! Some of our friends purchased this, but had to drink the  beer in the end, since we were taking budget airlines with no checked luggage. So be warned that if you’re taking a budget airline, it’s probably not worth your money to purchase this, unless you don’t mind the bottle being uncapped.

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Another section became tons of interactive games and such. They had plenty of screens where you could take pictures or videos with their branding and you could send it to your email. There was also a room with the advertisements they had used in the past and just tons of beer bottles decorating the ceilings and walls. Another interactive game was challenging yourself to pour beer from the tap perfectly. They also had a real life draught challenge and you could get a certificate to say that you had perfected pouring beer. However, that required two of your tokens from the wristband.

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Instead, we used the tokens to trade ourselves some cold beer! Finally, we were able to just relax and enjoy ourselves in their Heineken World Bar. The Heineken Experience ends with the gift shop, which has some pretty cool gifts. You can also customize your beer glasses or mugs with etched names.

Overall, I thought it was a decent activity with friends. I’d suggest it if you were here for more than a day and have spare time. I’m not a huge beer fan, although Heineken is one of the beers I prefer more. I do find the admission price to be a little pricey for what we got. Learning-wise, I didn’t think I learned that much. It might’ve been better if someone was taking us around on the tour so we could just hear the explanations in person. Didn’t really enjoy the reading part of the tour..but that’s just me. Apparently you’re also able to get a water taxi to go to the Heineken Gift Shop across town to get the free gift, but we missed the last taxi, so we never got the gift.

Burger Bar – Amsterdam

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After a month staying in Barcelona with no out of the country traveling, (which surprisingly felt really good), off I went to Amsterdam! Traveling really gets to you, especially when you’re traveling on budget airlines and having to wake up to rush to the airport after really 4 hours of sleep. We had a huge group in Amsterdam, but we came by different airlines and times, hence we had some fun trying to meet up, especially when we had no data. Finally, we took a train from the Amsterdam airport and arrived in the city center. We were around 30 minutes late, but we luckily found our friends who had taken an earlier flight from BCN as well. Amsterdam is full of canals and the city is quite walkable. You’ll find bikes everywhere as well. The first thing I noticed that was quite different were their houses. They seem to be really wide, or the houses are continuously attached like townhouses. Building up doesn’t seem to be popular, as in apartments, and you’ll find tons of windows on these buildings. Lots of squares and rectangles, contrary to circular shapes.

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K also met up with his friend who had been backpacking around Europe the last couple of months. It was his last day here in Amsterdam, and he took us to Burger Bar, which he claimed was really good. At first, I was a little hesitant because I mean, how good can burgers be. But Burger Bar actually surpassed by expectations. The quality of their beef was extremely good, and I love how they make the beef patties right on spot as you order. You first line up at the cash register to order, and there are three types of beef. Irish beef, Black Angus, and Wagyu Beef. They go up by price as Wagyu beef is usually prized as one of the best beef. Each patty also has a choice of either 200 grams or 270 grams. There’s also chicken and portobello mushroom patties for non-beef eaters. Then you let them know which toppings you want to add, which will cost you extra. You can also complete the meal with Belgian fries and a drink.

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200 Gram Irish Beef with Cheddar Cheese

I chose the 200 gram Irish Beef Burger. The beef patties are handmade and are 100% beef grilled medium well unless you tell them otherwise. Each burger has lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and a homemade burger sauce. I chose to add cheddar cheese for an extra 0,90 euros. You can also choose to add fries, but I shared the fries with U. The bun was toasted to a crisp at the top and the beef was extremely fresh and juicy! There was beef juice dripping everywhere as I took the bite. Their homemade sauce was also really good. Well worth it for around under 6 euros and I was completely full. I also added a half pint of Heineken beer, since I was in Amsterdam! Of course, go for the Heineken when in Amsterdam! The food did take quite a while to be ready, but I guess it’s because they are freshly made. They give you a number and they call on you when your burger is ready. There are quite a few seats in the bar, and accommodated our large group. Pretty happy with the food!