Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Heineken Brewery Tour in Amsterdam

It’s winter in wonderland here now in the Netherlands. White and BBRRRRR... Last night it took me 2 hours to get home. It was yet another record breaking statistic—880 kilometers of total traffic in the Netherlands. You see, the Dutch have this strange habit of tallying, they’re statisticians of everything.

Anyway, to continue my earlier post about a sneak peak to ‘Brew You Ride’ and ‘Heineken Beer Tasting’, see below a summary of the tour I did at the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam.

Trivia: Did you know that Freddy Heineken (grandson of the founder of Heineken-Gerard Adriaan Heineken, and former president and majority shareholder of Heineken) and his chauffeur were kidnapped in 1983 and released on a ransom of about 16 Million Euros? The kidnappers were tracked down by police and eventually served jail term.

It was said that after this incident Freddy Heineken bought the Dutch Royal Family bodyguards. His daughter is now the current CEO of the company.

Check out all my fotos here: Heineken Brewery, Amsterdam - The Netherlands

Famous print advertisement of Heineken and its horses. Next foto is the digital bartender that greets everyone and tells the history of Heineken at the start of the tour.

Early Heineken bottle and logos.

Basic beer ingredients: water + barley + hops + yeast (the Heineken "A" yeast)

The old Heineken brewery plant and its original copper tanks. Just beautiful, is it not?

Wort tasting here, a combination of water and barley, heated and filtered.

Inside the old cisterns, they installed movie effects.

Horses have been a part of Heineken's history.

The digital lounge. Then and Now advertisement. This tour is really all about branding, advertising and marketing.

Bottle your own Heineken beer for a small fee.

Mr. James Bond drinks Heineken as well? Space recliners that will bring you back in time with old TV advertisements of Heineken.

Heineken bottling design and advertising.

Games. There was also a facility to record a singing Dutch video or take a foto and send it online direct to your friends! And at the end of the tour is this bar for free Heineken drinks.

Visit Period: September 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Old fotos of Hong Kong

Over the weekend during a family party, we talked about Hong Kong, being one of the easiest cities to travel to for a whirlwind weekend getaway—the airport is conveniently linked with the metro (MTR) to the city and within minutes you are in downtown Kowloon amidst all the shops and restaurants while Hong Kong Island is just another metro stop or a few minutes ferry ride away. And I just realized that I have not really featured Hong Kong in my blog, and that is why I am posting this now to make up for the lack.

At the Victoria Peak in Hong Kong Island looking over Central District, taken with a pre-digital camera, roll of film developed and printed, scanned and then uploaded =)

I’d really love to visit this bustling city again. Would love to saunter on the busy streets, smell smoked peking ducks hanging from each restaurant’s window and watch the cooks shout at each other in shrilly Cantonese, try one of those Hongkong style tea with milk—an inheritance from the old British colonial days, shop, shop and shop (for culinary stuff!), then trek to Victoria Peak for the panoramic sunset.

Cantonese, they say is the hardest of all Chinese languages, and this is Hong Kong’s main language of instruction. The only achievement I have from my Chinese summer lessons in the 70’s is I am able to count in Fookien (struggling a bit though) and count in Mandarin as well, but just up to 10, haha. My sister though is way better, she may not be that fluent in speaking but she can understand Mandarin and write as well.

Dutchman was in Hongkong a few months back but he didn’t bring back new fotos with him so please bear with these very old pre-digital days fotos that managed to survive many laptop tragedies and migrations, taken some 8 years ago.

Hmm, I think it is time to visit Hongkong again.

Travel Period: August 2002
Destination: Hongkong, China

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Heineken Brewery Tour: Brew You Ride and Heineken Beer Tasting

Let me highlight the ‘Brew You Ride’ and ‘Heineken Beer Tasting’ we experienced last September at the Heineken Brewery Tour. This is probably the climax of the tour because here we BECOME the beer and we finally get to TASTE the beer behind the visit, even though we’ve probably drank litres and gallons of it already.

Here comes the Brew You Ride. The concept is experiential, it is for the audience (that is me) to BE a beer for a few minutes. So we entered this dimmed studio, that is supposed to be the cistern where we will be brewed =)

We are now inside the cistern, er studio, and we have this big panel screen in front of us and a narrator telling us we are now going to be brewed, step by step. I even felt the studio shake underneath me (that explains why the foto is a bit off!) and water was sprinkled on my face! Cool effects, reminds me of Omniversum in Den Haag and Rialto Theater in Enchanted Kingdom in the Philippines.

Enough of the brewing experience, now the official beer tasting ceremony has began! Give me my beer alstublieft!

She is explaining here why the Dutch cap the froth of the beer (the act of skimming off excess froth with a plastic tool which beer lovers find an abomination) when serving and it has something to do with letting the beer breathe and reach its strength limit or something like that? OK, I admit, I honestly forgot, I was not really listening that well, haha. Shame!

Anywho, it was a very fascinating week of beers because a few days before my visit to Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam, I was at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin as well. I did the self-guided tour, the beer tasting, all the works.

Interested to hear about my final assessment? So which is which? Heineken or Guinness?

*DRUMROLLS* (with splashes of beer in the background)

Answer: Guinness beer of course as I love dark brews but the Heineken Brewery is much, much entertaining and engaging than Guinness Brewery.

More of the Heineken Brewery Tour on my next post.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Typically Dutch 010: Beschuit met Muisjes

The other week we received a surprise visitor at work, a female colleague who recently gave birth and her 10-week old son.

The Beschuit met Muisjes given to me. She gave birth to a son, so it’s white and blue muisjes. When it’s a girl, its white and pink muisjes.

In the Netherlands when there is a birth of a baby, it is customary for the new parents to treat visitors, friends, relatives, neighbours and colleagues with ‘beschuit met muisjes’. It is basically a thick flaky biscuit spread with butter and the muisjes on top. Muisjes are sugar-coated cumin (anise) candies. The butter holds the muisjes together so that is an important ingredient =)

Kids here eat the muisjes as a spread on the bread as well, with the butter of course, for breakfast and lunch.

November 2010

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