Charlie and the Photography Factory

May 6, 2009

“Don’t Touch My Heine”

Filed under: Amsterdam, Holland — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — charlieprator @ 1:11 AM


Another wonderful part of Amsterdam. The Heineken brewery.  Now, I was never really a fan of Heineken until I ventured into their brewery.  But, something with their taste test made me give them a second chance–that and their tour!

Upon our free day, Vinicius, Drew, and I decided to split for 2 hours–and, understandably so. They know I work at a slower pace, so we decided to head to our chosen destinations separately.  On my venture I wanted to get some “free” beer, so off I went to Heineken-land.  Fortunately, the free beer started right from the beginning.  I struck up a conversation with the ticket attendant, and, either because I was flying solo or the interesting conversation,  I got extra beer tickets for my tour!

It actually ended up being a pretty good tour, with fun stuff to do and learn about. Ironically, they had group activities, but I had no partners in crime!  In the middle of the tour, I stumbled upon this room.  An eloquently decorated storeroom with bright copper vats.  The room echoed as you walked through it, and the vats echoed the tour-goer’s chatter.   In this room, they explained how reach wort. A liquid gruel of boiled grain and water.  Luckily, I actually got to try it! However, it wasn’t the first time.  This specific experience, the smell of boiled grain, steam rising from metal pots, fire, and cloudy premature beer, brought back memories of my childhood.  Haha! 

Sidetopic time: No, I never crash and burned my life in the 4th grade from alcoholism.  For a large part of my youngster days my father use to labor long hours preparing wort, fermenting it, and brewing imitation Trappist beer.  Something that, cue the beer connoisseur in you, cannot be done.  I read somehere that their yeast is 400 year-old closely kept secret.  Oh yea, he also installed a kegerator too.  I shouldn’t poke fun though. So far, many of my hobbys and passions fall in line with his.  I probably will try to brew some beer with my son some day.

Anyways,  I started a long conversation with the fellow running this area, and I remember one interesting peice of history about these vats.  Somewhere prior to the time the Netherlands was invaded by the Nazis, the then owner of Heineken came into this room and was disgusted with the sight of their tanks. Why? Well, we all know what happens to copper.  It turns green and brown.  Well, the next day he orders his workers to polish the vats probably to the state you see now. 

Time goes by. And, Mr. CEO is happy. 

Next, come in the Nazis who take over Holland.  Mr. CEO, realizing the value of copper in wartime Europe, orders the vats painted to conceal their bronze color.  Nazis roll through the Heineken brewery, and are never the wiser.  Years later they forget about the vats and their brilliant bronze color. Finally, when the brewery turns into a museum they somehow chip away at the paint and realize they’re made of copper. Thus, polishing them to what we see now. 

Cool story, huh?


1 Comment »

  1. Horrible story, the poor Nazi soldiers did not find the cooper, and you don’t even mention if they drink the beer, what happen to happy endings Charlie, what happen! Cool picture dude, we should skip the having a Bar idea, a make some bier.

    Comment by ketfu06 — May 6, 2009 @ 3:35 AM

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