A few weeks ago, Groupon offered a deal for a brewery tour at Circle Brewing here in Austin. For $15, you got a brewery tour package for two, which included two Circle pint glasses with koozies and a self-guided tour. It also technically came with 6 drink tickets (3 each), but Groupon advertises that alcohol isn’t included in the cost of the package.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when the day of the tour came around. The website said we could arrive any time between 1 and 5 pm to take the tour. My friend and I showed up around 2 pm and the place looked packed. They had marked off a huge area in front of the brewery for people to hang out and eat food (available from two local food trucks) and there were quite a few groups of people just standing around. It looked like a carnival that had forgotten all of their rides and games. There wasn’t much of a line though to get in, so we showed our IDs, got our drink tickets and picked out which color koozie we wanted for our pint glass.
We decided our best bet would be to grab a pint before starting the self-guided tour. Luckily, the line for beer wasn’t very long and the people were pouring pretty quickly. I opted to try the Envy, an amber beer they offer year round, and my friend got the winter brew, Nameless, a winter amber. I definitely preferred Nameless to Envy, though both were very tasty.
Once we had our beer, we ventured inside the warehouse to start our tour. There was actually a line for the self-guided tour, which we thought was a little strange, but we jumped in line and waited. At the start of the tour, there were some Self-Guided Tour handouts to explain what you were seeing as you walked by the equipment. The handout included the line:
Please DO NOT TOUCH any tanks, pipes, valves, hoses, etc. Bad things could happen.
An appropriate warning, but just in case you missed it, all of the equipment was also blocked off with yellow tape. It seemed overly cautious to me at first, but I was still on beer #1; who knows what I would have been capable of after beer #3.
Turned out the tour line was completely pointless and only forming because some people had decided to stand and talk in front of the equipment. We stepped out of the line and walked next to it to get glimpses of the equipment. Honestly though, if you’ve been on one brewery tour, you’ve been on them all. What really makes a brewery tour interesting and unique is getting to talk to the actual brewer, ask questions and learn unique things about the brewery. All of that was stripped away on the self-guided tour, which was disappointing, but getting to try the beers made up for it. It turned into more of an afternoon happy hour, which is never a bad thing.
I will say I learned one interesting fact from the tour handout:
It takes us about 2 minutes and 35 seconds to wash a keg, and about 2 minutes and 15 seconds to fill one.
Checkout the gallery for the rest of my pictures from Circle Brewing (Please forgive any blurriness. It isn’t really easy to hold a beer in one hand and take steady pictures with your iPhone in the other.):