An adventurous girl cooks, eats and explores in Europe.
Not having done a brewery tour before, I cannot say how it compares, but I did enjoy this experience. Marcus seemed less impressed, as he had seen much of this before in other breweries, but it was all pretty new to me. It looked very crowded when we walked in, but we realized it was just one large group that seemed a bit confused about where the entrance was. The line for tickets moved very fast and the guy who rang us up was extremely friendly. All the staff members we met there were great. It started with a video and a walk through their museum showing the history of the company, their brewing process, and their marketing and awards. We were able to try the wort which is a mix of water and barley, one of the early phases in the beer making process. It did not taste good, but was not as bad as other faces made it out to be. I was surprised to see horses as we continued our walk, but these Shire horses apparently still draw the carts and make deliveries around the grounds.
After seeing all this, you go into a room for the “Brew U” experience where you are “made into a beer.” It is similar to an amusement park ride. You stand on a platform holding a railing while watching a video with coordinated movements and effects. It was pretty fun and unique.
Once you’ve learned all the steps, it is time to taste. They give you small glasses and instruct on how to properly drink. The foam is an essential part of drinking beer, according to them, but is not to be sipped. So you have to tilt the glass quite far back so as not to get foam and take big sips, or it will not hit the right taste buds and end up tasting only bitter. This is not the easiest to do completely accurately, but I think I got close enough; it tasted good to me anyway. From here you enter a modern room full of sofas and seating, with walls covered in TV screens airing Heineken commercials. A bit weird and creepy, but some of the ads were funny. The rest of the tour goes through many rooms filled with various games, photo spots, make your own music video booths, video game challenges to pour the perfect beer, and all kinds of weird things. Finally ending up in a bar, the tour includes two drinks so we got our beers and chatted for a while. The bar needed more seating, given that almost everyone was standing. We normally don’t mind standing (Marcus often prefers it) but given the weather we had so many layers to hold along with our beers, and after walking all throughout the building my legs started to get tired. Still, they decorated pretty well and the tour was a great price with the two pints included. (If you plan to go, pick up a discount voucher found at most hotels and some nearby bars for around 2 Euro off admission for your tickets- easy enough way to save a bit).