When nursing a post-work Friday night pint, you may have wondered how it gets made. Well, you’re in luck – the continent boasts a whole host of breweries open to the public so you find out just what goes into it.
From centuries-old traditional breweries to modern multimedia experiences, with these tours you’ll get to learn about each brand’s history, enjoy some interactive activities and, best of all, indulge in a fine-tasting beverage as you make your way around.
Heineken Experience – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Established way back in 1864, Heineken is one of the three largest beer producers in the world. Though the original brewery shut its doors for the last time in 1988, it lives on as the Heineken Experience, featuring a museum and lots of hands-on attractions. Tour-goers learn about the history of the Heineken family and view the huge brass beer tanks which were used in production for over a century.
Best bit: The Experience’s crowning glory is a multimedia ride where guests “become” a beer. You’ll be heated up, shaken out and sprayed with water. After that, you’ll get to taste a cool refreshing glass of the product itself in the bar – and it’s on the house.
Fuller’s Griffin Brewery – Chiswick, UK
Fuller’s Griffin Brewery is London’s last remaining family brewery, dating back to 1828. Its flagship beer is the malty London Pride, which has been brewed on-site since the 1950s. On an average day, 640 barrels of beer are produced and visitors are guided through the industrial process. You can see where the malt meets the hops on one of the 20 expert-led guided tours that run each week.
Best bit: Each tour lasts around one and a half hours, and you’ll get to see how Fuller’s produced beer in the past compared to modern brewing techniques. At the end you can enjoy a tutored tasting of some of Fuller’s finest ales.
Guinness Storehouse – Dublin, Ireland
Founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, St James’s Gate Brewery stretches across 26 hectares of central Dublin and produces 2.5 million pints of the black stuff every day. The on-site Guinness Storehouse is open to the public, rising an impressive seven storeys above the Irish capital and shaped like a King Kong-sized pint glass. You’ll get to learn all about the history of the humble stout pint through presentations and interactive exhibitions.
Best bit: The tour ends on the top floor Gravity Bar, where visitors get to sip “the best pint of Guinness in the world” while enjoying 360-degree views of the whole of Dublin.
Beck’s Brewery – Bremen, Germany
Beck’s is the best-selling German beer in the world, which is some accolade given the country’s pilsner-producing prowess. Brewed on the banks of the River Weser in the northern city of Bremen, you can take a two-hour tour of the brewery to learn about its history and the art of beer-making. You’ll take in the museum, ingredients store and Brewhouse, and get up-close-and-personal with the impressive malt silos and fermentation tanks.
Best bit: At the end of the tour a tasting session takes place in the guest room, where you get to mingle with fellow guests over three glasses of Beck’s.