AMSTERDAM--Its green bottle is instantly recognizable. Its brand name is known throughout the world. It may not be the best beer on Earth, but it certainly is one of the most popular.
It, of course, is Heineken, and for many people a visit to the Dutch capital is not possible without taking a tour of the big brick building with "Heineken Brouwerij" emblazoned on the side: The old Heineken brewery.
Though the building no longer houses the actual brewery, today it is home to what is known as the "Heineken Experience," a self-guided tour through the 147-year history of the famous brand that encompasses a look at how the beer is made, the progression of the well-known logo, and a look at how the ubiquitous green bottle came to be.
And don't fret: Included in your $21 entry fee is at least two glasses of beer.
Making your way through takes between one and two hours, depending on how quickly you want to get to those suds. You'll see some of the horses that pull the iconic Heineken cart around, you'll watch a video explaining the brewing process (see video below), and you might even get a lesson in how to pour the perfect glass of draft beer.
I'd taken the tour many, many years ago, and as part of Road Trip 2011, I knew it was time to do it again, at least in part because I've got a small but growing beat writing about how different alcoholic beverages are made. Over the last few years, I've done stories on Maker's Mark, Sam Adams, and the Robert Mondavi and Alpha Omega wineries. How could I not visit Heineken?
But in case anyone is wondering, I stopped at one beer. It was morning, after all.