ITB Impressions: Beer Tourism

March 12, 2008

in Asia, Australia, Budget, Canada, Cheap Activities, Drink, Europe, Free Stuff, Germany, Travel, USA, United Kingdom, Web Tips

While passing through the “Czech Republic,” I picked up a flier (similar to this one) targeted at German tourists on breweries in the Plzen region. (If you’re a beer drinker, you are certainly familiar with the anglicized name of their traditional beer, pilsener.) While the vast majority of beer consumed is today produced by one of a handful of multinational corporations, there is nevertheless an increasing interest in local or microbrews as well as specialty beers from breweries around the globe. Countries such as Belgium or the Czech Republic are now attempting to cash in on the growing cache of their products by putting together multi-day beer-tasting tours, with busloads of tourists hopping (pun intended) from brewery to brewery across the (comparatively small) countryside.

Thankfully, beer remains every man’s drink and breweries are plentiful, so there’s no need to join a bus tour to enjoy an afternoon of beer tasting or even a brewery tour at home or on the road. Find my links for planning your own beer tourism after the jump.

Good things to know before you set out:

+ brewery tours are generally free or really cheap; if one brewery charges an arm and a leg for a tour, try contacting another one!

+ sometimes children are allowed on tours, sometimes not, so always check each brewery’s policies on minors before making it a family excursion

+ whether you pay or not, the tour often ends with beer tasting — you will either receive coupons for a certain number of beverages of your choice or you will be given a time limit in which you may drink on the house

+ if you plan to imbibe, you should consider inviting a designated driver

Now, onto the tours. If you want to see how a multinational brewer produces their swill, you might enjoy the slick (and, outside the U.S., expensive) presentations given by the following companies:

If you’re more interested in a niche product or simply prefer a more personal or authentic experience, you will probably enjoy a visit to a smaller, local brewery. A quick google brought up the following finds:





New Zealand




As I mentioned, these are the most popular results on Google and reflect by no means a comprehensive list of the thousands of brewery tours available. I encourage you to leave links for your favorite brewery tours in the comments and I will add them to the appropriate list.

Further tips for finding local breweries:

+ google “[town, state] brewery tour”

+ contact your local convention and visitors bureau or check your state’s tourism website, as many have specific listings for wineries and breweries

+ read the labels on your favorite beer varieties — they’re all brewed somewhere

Are you a beer or brewery tour connoisseur? Share your thoughts on beer tourism in the comments.

This is the second post in the series ITB Impressions.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Margi Ungrodt 03.13.08 at 8:12 am

If touring in Alaska, be sure to check out Silver Gulch Brewing Company in Fairbanks (try their Sneaky Monkey Barleywine!), Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau, and several breweries and brew pubs in Anchorage, Alaska! Moose’s Tooth is a great brewpub. Snow Goose, Glacier Brewhouse, and several more I can’t remember the names. Even Wasilla has one, Great Bear Brewing! Alaskans love their micro-brews.

2 poetloverrebelspy 03.13.08 at 5:42 pm

Thanks Margi! Added the breweries to the list above.

3 poetloverrebelspy 03.24.08 at 10:52 am

This post the editor’s pick in the Carnival of 20-Something Finances, hosted by Keeping the Reins Tight.

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