You do one brewery tour, you've done them all. Let's be honest: the process doesn't vary greatly from one brewer to the next, as cultures around the globe (basically) follow the same delicious chemical process to make the good stuff.
While geeking out about the hoses, tanks and bottling line the first few times you visit a brewery makes for a great education, the major draw of a brewery tour (besides the suds you get to sip at the end) is getting to meet the folks crafting your favorite sips. Chatting with the brewmaster is like meeting a winemaker or a farmer: you learn firsthand their philosophy and history of making fizzy liquid gold.
Ready to get your beer geek on? Here's your global guide to the world's best brewery excursions, where you'll find your new favorite pour.
Surprise, surprise: Oregon leads the United States for beer production, with breweries in Portland alone numbering at 50+. While this mecca for suds should be on any beer-drinkers must visit list, head to Bend, Oregon for a chance to taste 14 beers along the walkable, city-wide Bend Ale Trail. Sip on suds from the likes of popular Deschutes Brewery, small-scale Silver Moon or Boneyard Beer (which also offers Dawg Grog for your canine pal). Along the way, chow on grub from local food trucks and carts.
At this beachy, sun-soaked city, the local craft beer industry contributes more to the economy than the storied Comic-Con. Surely, if a Venn diagram charted the intersection of beer vs comic geeks, there'd be a big overlap here. Check out crowd favorites Stone Brewing Co. ($3 nets a souvenir tasting glass and four 4 ounce samples of Stones brews) and Green Flash Brewing ($5 for a 30 minute tour and guided tasting), or just hang out, tasting through 30 taps in the state of the art tasting room and beer garden.
There's no denying that beer drinkers should visit the home of Oktoberfest. If traveling to Munichin the fall is a no-go, you can still enjoy year-round tours. The most popular institutions for all things gold-sudsy are Paulaner, Erdinger, Hofbrauhaus and Augusiner Bru. In this storied city where beer is king, you'll learn all about the 15th century purity laws still in effect, which makes these beers distinctly German.
While Oktoberfest is the King of autumn festivals, Montreal's Mondial de la Biere showcases hundreds of Canadian brews alongside international suds. Intrepid beer explorers will find more than just overflowing pints: seminars, events and workshops challenge them to be beef up their brew knowledge. Brew giants Labatt and Molson pour oceans of beer, while smaller but no-less-delicious pours like Le Cheval Blanc continue to be enjoyed by fans, old and new.
Quick, I say Irish beer and you say? For this nation, any answer other than Guinness out of your mouth may be just shy of sacrilege. A top attraction, the Guinness Storehouse allows you to glimpse into all things related to the brew. Its a history in consistency and fandom, with a perfectly poured and free pint awaits you in the Gravity Bar. When in Dublin, you'd be remiss to not drink local. Try the house-made Plain Porter at brewpub The Porterhouse, washing it down with traditional grub.
Please drink responsibly and use a designated driver, as your RoamRight policy does not cover loss resulting from or caused by being under the influence of alcohol.
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Raised in Southern California, Joseph left the temperate climes of the OC for the chilly winters of Chicago, where he earned his degree in magazine journalism. Along the way, he developed an impenetrable layer of blubber, thanks to the city's deep dish pizza and hot dogs. In recent years, he has edited an online travel magazine, helped produce two international TBEX conferences, and has written about fashion, food, wine, and travel for various online publications. Currently, Joseph is Assistant Editor at Wine Enthusiast Magazine, where he geeks out on his interests regularly. Read Joseph's blog at Pith + Moment or follow him on Twitter.
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