Touring Tastebuds: 10 Famous Brewery Tours in America

America has a lot to offer when it comes to great brews. Small, independent microbreweries and large-scale production houses all welcome visitors to tour their facilities and learn about the process that goes into making their beer. On these brewery tours, you will be given a unique opportunity to try new brews and explore the world of beer-making.

General Tips for Taking a Brewery Tour

Before you embark on your tour, there’s a few general rules that you should follow while you’re there. First off, don’t wear any open-toed shoes, or you’ll probably be denied access to the fun parts of the tour. Also, and this should be common sense, don’t touch anything or wander away from the rest of the group. This is for your own safety, as well as the integrity of the equipment. Don’t be that guy. And finally, listen to the tour guide. He’s telling you about his passion and giving you the opportunity to learn about the beer they are making for you to enjoy. Take it in, ask a lot of questions, learn as much as you can, then sit back and enjoy your tasty sample.

So, in no particular order, here is our list of the best brewery tours in America.

1. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company   (Chico, CA)

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

At the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California, you can enjoy a variety of craft brews while touring this popular brewery. The tour takes you through all the stages of brewing beer. See and smell fresh hops and witness the fermentation process. After the tour, enjoy samples of famous beers sold by the brewery. If you are hungry for more, stop by the restaurant for a hearty meal. If you do, be sure to ask about pairing different beers with the restaurant dishes to find a brew that complements your menu choice.

2. Saint Arnold Brewing Company   (Houston, TX)

Saint Arnold Brewing Co.

To tour the oldest craft brewery in Texas, you’d have to travel down to Houston and visit Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Since 1994, Saint Arnold has been brewing their beer in Houston, making them the first microbrewery in the Bayou City. Over the last couple of decades, the Saint Arnold Brewery has managed to create a passionate following of beer enthusiasts. For $8 a person, you can tour the Saint Arnold brewery six days a week, plus receive a free souvenir tasting glass with every admission. While the Saturday tour lasts longer, it’s also more crowded. We would recommend going during the week, as you will have a better opportunity to tour the facility and talk with the brew crew. Be sure to get there early, as the brewery is known to hit its capacity pretty quickly.

3. Samuel Adams Brewery   (Boston, MA)

Samuel Adams Brewery

Founded in 1984, Samuel Adams Brewery exists because flavorful beer was hard to come by at that time. The success of the brewery was all due to a family beer recipe that dated back to the 1870’s, plus a lot of hard work from the great-great grandson of the man that came up with the recipe. Almost thirty years later, that same recipe, what we now know as Samuel Adams Boston Lager, is sold all over America and over twenty countries. There is simply no “Best Brewery Tour List” that does not contain Samuel Adams. Tours of the brewery start every 45 minutes, Monday through Saturday. Unless you have a large group, Samuel Adams Brewery does not take reservations. Because of this, it is wise to show up very early, especially on Saturdays. During your brewery tour, you’ll learn all about the craft brewing process, the history of Samuel Adams and taste a couple of their brews. This is a must-see brewery tour for every beer geek.

4. Live Oak Brewing Company   (Austin, TX)

Live Oak Brewery

Located in the heart of Texas, Live Oak Brewing Company is a small microbrewery located in Austin, TX. This brewery is unlike all others on this list, because they utilize an “old-world style of brewing” that you hardly find in the United States today. Founded by two homebrewers in Austin, Live Oak Brewing creates some very tasty beer, in very limited quantities. Brewery tours can be somewhat tricky to get into, but absolutely worth the effort if you can pull it off. In order to get in on this free tour, you gotta keep a close eye on their website. They will announce when their upcoming tours are, and then post a “reservation link” at 8am the Thursday before the tour date. If you can’t get in for a tour, they do offer a free ‘virtual tour’ on their website.

5. Deschutes Brewery   (Bend, OR)

Deschutes Brewery

Founded in 1988 as a tiny brew pub in downtown Bend, Oregon, the Deschutes Brewery has since grown into one of the most popular craft brewers in America. Five years after opening the brew pub, Deschutes moved into a large brewery along the Deschutes River in order to meet the high demand for their brew. Brewery tours are free and depart on the hour, every hour between 1-4pm. However, it’s wise to get there early because only fifteen people are allowed to go on each guided tour. This means that only sixty people a day will get to walk through and fully experience the brewery. Don’t fret if you can’t get in, as beer tastings still happen whether you make it into the brewery tour or not. You also have the opportunity to waste a lot of time – and money – in their gift shop.

6. Stone Brewing Co.   (Escondido, CA)

Stone Brewing Company

While visiting the Golden State, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t stop by Stone Brewing Company in Escondido. Famous for its bold, hoppy beers, this brewery is easily one of the most unique tours you can take. But make sure you get there early, as the tours usually sell out rather quickly and are limited to only 25 people at a time. Tours only cost $3 for adults and come with a free tasting glass and four 4oz beers of your choice. There’s a wide range of public tour times that stretch over all seven days of the week. But, if you’re looking for the full ‘Stone experience’, you would be better served booking a private tour through their website. The outdoor garden, featuring waterfalls, vegetation and rock formations, creates a unique atmosphere to relax and enjoy a great-tasting brew!

7. Magic Hat Brewing Co.   (South Burlington, VT)

Magic Hat Brewing Co.

In the cozy little town of South Burlington, Vermont, the Magic Hat Brewing Co. has been attracting beer enthusiasts with its creative brews and fun ambiance since 1994. Tours of the “Artifactory” are free and no reservations are required, but the hours may vary depending on whether it’s summer or winter, so be sure to check out their website. At the bar, you have the option to choose from 48 brews on tap, including their year-round favorites, rotating seasonal brews and maybe even a few experimental brews.

8. New Belgium Brewing Company   (Fort Collins, CO)

New Belgium Brewing Company

If you ever find yourself in Fort Collins, Colorado, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t stop by and visit the New Belgium Brewing Company. Officially launched in 1991, this brewery has become so popular that they now distribute in 34 states, and they recently confirmed that they’ll be distributing in Ohio soon. If you want to take a brewery tour, you’re going to need to book it far in advance. To do this, just log onto their website and check out their tour calender. Brewery tours happen Tuesday through Saturday and depart every half hour starting at 11am, with the last one departing at 4:30pm. The tours are free, open to all ages and generally last about 90 minutes. During your tour you will be able to sample the tasty beer.

9. Brooklyn Brewery   (Brooklyn, NY)

Brooklyn Brewery

Since its founding in the late eighties, the Brooklyn Brewery has been brewing some of the most flavorful beer in the Big Apple. In fact, over the last couple of decades, beer enthusiasts across America have discovered how tasty their beer really is, which is why the Brooklyn Brewery now distributes its beer in over 25 states, as well as 20 countries. The brewery offers tours every day of the week except Fridays, however if you plan on dropping by Monday-Thursday, you will need to make a reservation online and pay $8 to get in. On the weekends, the brewery is open to the public with no admission fee, with tours starting on the hour throughout most of the day. No trip to NYC is complete, without checking out this brewery.

10. Dogfish Head Brewery   (Milton, DE)

Dogfish Head Brewery

Founded in 1995, the Dogfish Head Brewery is a wildly popular brewery in Milton, Deleware that was once deemed “America’s most interesting and adventurous small brewery” by one of the world’s most respected beer writers. To take a guided tour of this brewery, you need to reserve your tickets online. They allow walk-ins, but only if there are spots available. They offer tours every half hour from Tuesday to Saturday. The tour times range based on the day, but Dogfish offers tours from 11am-4pm during those days.

We realize that everybody reading this is going to have a brewery that they think should be on the list. The truth is, there are a ton of great brewery tours out there, and if you’re given the opportunity to tour a facility that is not on this list, then you should jump at it.

Brewery tours are increasingly popular as more and more breweries cater to visitors and tourists. Easy access, free tours and on-site dining opportunities entice visitors to linger and explore. Of course, many beer fans end the day by stocking up on their favorite brews or buying a souvenir t-shirt. No matter how you celebrate your brewery trip, just enjoy yourself while you’re there.

Recommended Reading:

Gluten Free Beer

When you have a gluten allergy, not being able to partake in festive treats like birthday cake is something you get used to. In fact the rule is better safe than sorry, and unless you know you can have it, don’t.  But with an abundance of gluten free alternatives showing up in stores over the past few years, it was only a matter of time before the beer industry was infiltrated as well.

Since beer is made from wheat, you can imagine wheat free (and therefore gluten free) beer doesn’t really taste that much like beer. My gluten tolerant coworkers that were nice enough to partake in this taste test certainly seemed to agree. It’s kind of like having a popcorn flavored jelly bean instead of popcorn.

tasting gluten free beer

Bard’s, Omission and Redbridge were the brands we tried. Omission, which is not recommended for people with Celiac disease because it is only “gluten removed” not, gluten free, was the favorite of my coworkers. I can only assume that is due to the remnants of gluten and consequently, most beer-like taste. Bard’s and Redbridge received a resounding “Eh, it’s okay.”

Never really having been a fan of beer anyway, cider has always been my go-to alternative.  It’s light, crisp, refreshing, and oh so delicious. And there is a plethora of brands and varieties.

Crispin is a very popular brand that can be found in most stores and bars and it comes in seven different varieties: Original, Light, Brut, Browns Lane, Honey Crisp, The Saint and Lansdowne. Original and Browns Lane are the most commonly found and not as sweet as other brands of cider.

Ace cider also comes in different varieties; Apple, Apple-Honey, Berry, Pumpkin and Joker, with Pear being my favorite.

If you are new to the gluten free lifestyle, I would suggest sticking with ciders until the taste of real beer is such a distant memory, that the faint beer essence of gluten free beer will be enjoyable. Since gluten free beer is still such a new addition on the market, perhaps with time, breweries will get the hang of it and the taste will improve. Until then, there are plenty of other options to help those of us that are gluten free feel included.

Best Beer Quotes

 

I learned from beer

Beer, as we all know, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It can be enjoyed with the masses or in the comfort of complete solitude. But no matter whom you’re with or where you are, you can imbibe knowing that you’re enjoying that pint with many others all over the world, because beer simply has that global appeal. People from different geographic locations, different cultures, and different periods in time have had, and continue to find a great level of satisfaction in this timeless concoction. Since its creation, beer has been bringing us together, sparking great conversation, and has served as the inspiration for countless bright ideas and profound revelations from members of all areas of society and countries, the world over. With that said, here are some of my favorite quotes, inspired by yours truly…beer!

  •  “Drinking beer doesn’t make you fat; it makes you lean…Against bars, tables, chairs, and poles.” – Anonymous
  • “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”– Dave Barry
  • I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer. – Abraham Lincoln
  • “Beauty lies in the hands of the beer holder.” – Kinky Friedman
  • “Give my people plenty of beer, good beer, and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution among them.” – Queen Victoria
  • “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” – Czech proverb
  • “Some see the glass as half full, others see the glass as half empty. I just wonder who the hell has been drinking my beer!” – Anonymous
  • “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” – Frank Zappa
  • “Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.” – Kaiser Wilhelm
  • “Cerevisia malorum. divina medicina (A little bit of beer is divine medicine.)” – Paracelsus, 16th Century physician
  • “Beer has food value, but food has no beer value.” – Anonymous

 

Our Top 10 Man Caves (Part 2)

The Final Countdown

Check out the first half of our Top 10 Man Caves list here.

5. NFL Network Presents…

Built for a competing family atmosphere, this football-themed man cave was built and furnished with the help of the NFL Network. As the family is torn between the Ravens and Redskins, the center couch is placed on a rotating platform, allowing you to view each game on the TV screens or projector, with service provided courtesy of the NFL Network.

Man Cave 5     Man Cave 5-2

[click the images for a larger view]

4. J-E-T-S!

If you’re a Pats fan, you might as well just get out now, because this next home bar is all about the Jets. Hand-carved, polished wood make up the bar, which is stocked to the brim with almost any alcohol of your choice. A big-screen TV with game consoles and a DVD player, as well as luxury leather couches, give this man cave a very “at-home” feel.

Man Cave 4    Man Cave 4-2

3. Holy Batcave, Batman!

Come into the Down Under while we visit this man cave based in Australia. The owner took the “cave” part seriously – as the walls are made out of a faux rock siding – because of his affinity for the Batman series. A full projection screen lines the front wall, with two rows of movie theatre-style seating for guests. Come on though, who wouldn’t love a Batcave like this?

Man Cave 3     Man Cave 3-2

2. The Lap of Luxury

This man cave will take your breath away as you gaze over the luxury that you can enjoy. Featuring three TVs to watch several games at once, and luxury seating that can fit a large group of people, this would be a perfect place to host a game. It also helps that a built-in wine cellar is right nearby, allowing you to take anything from your collection to enjoy.

Man Cave 2     Man Cave 2-2

1. Hittin’ the Club

Our number one man cave boasts the nightclub theme, with ambient lighting to set the mood and luxury couches to relax comfortably. The fully stocked bar lights up while tables and chairs adorn the bar and around the entire room. As a roomy and relaxing atmosphere, it’s no wonder that you may feel the urge to dance.

Man Cave 1     Man Cave 1-2

Are there any amazing man caves out there that we missed? Let us know in the comments which is your favorite or share pictures of your own man cave. You may even inspire us to update the list.

Our Top 10 Man Caves (Part 1)

The Manliest of Cavernous Spaces: The Man Cave

When you start to build your private space, you do the research. You decide whether to hire the contractors or do it yourself. You know that this shade of blue is for Mets fans, while this shade is for the Yankees. You seem to know everything you’re doing to make your man cave the best.

But how will it match up?

We here at Kegerator.com decided to compile a list of the Top 10 Man Caves to give you the inspiration you need. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best, and to do that, you’ll have to see the best. So here is what your competition looks like:

10. What’ll You Have?

This garage man cave comes complete with a fully-stocked pub, as well as a few parked Harleys that are ready to ride at a moment’s notice. The aluminum siding adds a bit of a manly edge to the cave, and the pub comes personalized with the owner’s name – Boutte’s – right on the front.

Man Cave 10     Man Cave 10-2

[click the images for a larger view]

9. Right on Cue

As the laws of basic man caves go, this one follows it to the letter. Everything a guy wants and needs is in this brightly-colored cave: a pool table, two TVs connected to watch the games, and even a stocked wet bar with a fridge, stove, and microwave to make your manly meals.

Man Cave 9     Man Cave 9-2

8. It’s Tee Time!

Perfect for the golf lover, this man cave captures the essence of the country club while indoors. A few nice touches are the green turf added along the floor, as well as a hand-carved, man-made bench. The golf simulator is the main component here, allowing you to work on your swing without having to travel to the links.

Man Cave 8     Man Cave 8-2

7. Erin Go Braugh

The Irish eyes are smiling down on this Ireland-themed man cave. Complete with an astounding collection of Irish memorabilia and family records, the owner of this man cave went all out to make himself feel at home. A built-in wet bar extension from the garage, a pool table, poker table, dart board, and luxury seating in front of the TV make this a great place if you’re feeling lucky.

Man Cave 7     Man Cave 7-2

6. The Man Sanctuary

This large space is decorated with the things a man really loves: a projection TV, great leather seating, a pool table, and a full-stocked bar waiting to be tended to. Of course, none of this is complete without the décor, and no décor is great unless it has the Jack Daniels name on it!

Man Cave 6     Man Cave 6-2

Click here to see our top 5 man caves