Heineken Amsterdam
a brewery?

A visit to the Heineken Experience
mashing at Heineken AmsterdamA Big Surprise
I recently visited the Heineken Experience (whatīs left of their Amsterdam brewery) for the first time. Entering the brewhouse, the familiar sweet scent of mashing washed over me.

I was just mentally complimeting them on the excellent quality of the multi-sensory experience, when I realised it wasnīt just a piped in fake. In the middle of the enormous copper mash tuns, a man was stirring something in what looked liked an old-fashioned washtub. They really were mashing!
Conversation with a brewer
beer fermenting at Heineken amsterdamIntrigued, I went and had a chat with the guy, who had a name badge with "brouwer" on it.
"Are you really mashing?"

"What do you do with the wort? Do you make it into beer?"
"Of course - what do you think this is?" he said pointing at a couple of glass demijohns that couldnīt have held more than 2 gallons each. Sure enough, they were bubbling away nicely.

"Is the beer available here?"
"Yes, but only about once every six weeks."

"Do you bottom ferment?"
"No. We use a top-fermenting yeast. Itīs too warm in here for a bottom-fermenting yeast and we have no way of cooling."

"What style of beer is it?"
"A tripel. Itīs safer to brew a high-alcohol beer, given the conditions."
brewhouse Heineken AmsterdamHeineken Amsterdam Tripel
So Heineken DO still brew in Amsterdam, but in tiny quantities.

Amsterdam-brewed Heineken Tripel has gone straight in at number one in my beers-I-most-want-to-try hit parade. I wonder how many people have ever tried it?

Seeing someone essentially homebrewing, surrounded by massive industrial vessels, designed to make several hundred hectolitres at a time, was surreal.

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