Apparently, one of the hottest crazes among beer lovers right now is the multi-brewery tour. Who knew? If you did, congratulations! If not, you need to learn the keys to a successful multi-brewery tour before you embark.
As a semi-useful public service, we want to offer you those keys to success. Keep in mind we make no claims to any sort of expert status when it comes to this sort of thing. All we know is that people love beer. So much so that some are even willing to fork over a day’s wages to visit multiple breweries and enjoy some tasty snacks along the way.
Start the Tour Sober
The last thing you want to do on your multi-brewery tour is give your fellow tourists the impression you’re a drunken slob to whom sobriety is a foreign concept. Even if that’s true, the whole world doesn’t need to know about it. Make sure you are fresh, clean shaven (that applies to you too, ladies), and wearing semi-clean clothing.
When you start your tour sober you’re able to understand the educational portion of the program, at least at the first brewery. This is an opportunity to glean some interesting knowledge you may not otherwise have access to.
If you don’t care how the fermentation process takes place, just pretend you do. An appropriate “that’s interesting” at the right time will help make it seem like you’re really trying to learn something. People of the opposite sex love that sort of thing.
Take the Tour with Good Friends
The Chicago Brew Bus bills itself as the Windy City’s first such alcohol-related venture. They also consider their operation as much a party as a semi-formal tour of multiple breweries. What better way to stage a good party than with a handful of your closest friends?
The advantage of taking along friends is that you already know how each of them reacts after a couple of brewskies. There will be no surprises, at least as far as you know, like there would be if you went drinking with complete strangers. Afterward, you and your friends can crash over at Lenny’s apartment with no guilt or obligations.
Choose a Transportation Method Wisely
Regular readers of the Craft Beer website are aware there are some pretty outstanding multi-brewery tours in some of America’s most well-loved cities. The site ranks their favorites, including tours in Detroit, Milwaukee, New York, and San Diego. If you read their rankings, you’ll notice different forms of transportation.
For example, the Milwaukee tour transports guests via boat; in Detroit, tourists move from one brewery to the next on bicycles. One of the New York tours requires its guests, if you can believe it, to walk to each of the alcoholic destinations. Walking, are you serious?
Your choice of transportation is important as it relates to the stability of your stomach after a couple of beers. For instance, let’s just say you’re someone who finds the back-and-forth motion of the bathtub to be somewhat challenging at times. The riverboat tour in Milwaukee is probably not your best bet.
Likewise, if walking is something you believe is the domain of the common folk, the New York tour is probably not your cup of beer. Ditto for the bicycles in Detroit. You’re probably looking for something that will shuttle you around in a luxury coach or a sleek limousine.
Don’t Expect Much
If you haven’t figured out by now, the multi-brewery tour concentrates mainly on local microbreweries without a whole lot of name recognition. Don’t expect much. It’s true you may get lucky and find a couple of really good beers along the way, but in all likelihood it will all begin tasting pretty much the same after your third or fourth sample.
This isn’t a bad thing, mind you, especially if you’re one of those people to whom beer qualifies as its own food group. It’s just that local microbreweries aren’t known for creating award-winning lagers ready to take the world by storm. More often than not they are creating strange, niche products you’re more likely to find percolating in someone’s basement.
Let Someone Else Do the Driving
In all seriousness, the most important key to a successful multi-brewery tour is to let someone else do the driving, regardless of the type of transportation you use. That won’t be a problem if you sign up for a tour being offered by a professional organization.
That having been said, self-guided tours need to include a designated driver to get you from one spot to the next. Enjoy the tour with family and friends, but don’t be stupid; even a little bit of alcohol is enough to make you a threat behind the wheel.
The multi-brewery tour is a great way to spend some time with family and friends, learn about the beer-making process, and taste some new brews you’ve never had before. Along the way you’ll hopefully get a little smarter about what makes a good beer.