I go on a lot of brewery tours.  I stopped counting after I went on over a dozen tours.  Some places I even toured more than once. Every tour has some sort of beer drinking built in.  Some include beer to sip during the tour, but most have beer at the end.  Last week I went on a “Hard Hat” tour of New Glarus Brewing Co.  On our tour a woman woman constantly asked where the beer samples were.  She actually became pretty obnoxious about trying to move the tour along so we can get to the beer at the end.  I said to the people I was with that she should have just gone to the bar instead.

During some tours, the beer samples are worth more than what you pay to go on the tour.  For instance, Lakefront Brewing Company’s website claims $7 gets you four 6 oz pours and a beer at the bar, but in reality I remember more along with a pint glass.  New Glarus has a $20 tour that lets you free pour a selection of 6-8 beers into a souvenir tasting glass with cheese and crackers.  Both places had great tours, but New Glarus did not give you the value of your money in beer, but that is okay with me.  New Glarus provided value in other ways.

I do not go on tours to drink.  If I only wanted to drink I head to a bar or tasting room and pull up a stool.  Go on the tour to learn how beer is made.  When you get to the point where you are able to glaze over the basics listen for finer details.  For instance tours taught me that Two Brothers uses a forced carbonation system, Three Floyds relies on gravity not pumps to avoid agitation, and New Glarus has an open top fermenter.  You can also learn so much about a breweries’ philosophy and why they do what they do from choice in yeast to distribution.

My family specifically asks me to not take them on tours.  They just want to drink but my friends like tours.  So if your like my family or the obnoxious lady at New Glarus skip the tour and find a bar.  We will both be happier that way.


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  1. […] Given today’s breaking news I have opted for a second hastily written Tough Topic post.  You should still check out my post on Brewery Tours. […]

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