So, I saw this article this morning on WikiHow, that tells you how to visit a brewery. Now, maybe I’m just old hat at this, but I would have thought this was a pretty basic thing that you didn’t need to be told how to do. You know, kind of like, “How to go grocery shopping”. But maybe I’m off base here.
In any case, I think it is good to give non-beer-geeks the idea to visit breweries. I imagine some people would never have thought of it. I really don’t mean to sound as sarcastic as I probably do in that last paragraph; it just struck me as funny. Also, this article does a good job of showing how to visit a brewery that doesn’t really do tours or visitors. These small breweries are the most interesting, at least in my opinion. They seem to be the closest to homebrewing, and I would love to someday be able to sell my own beer. I would be sure to advertise tours, though…. I think tours are a great way to build a loyal base of fans. And they are so much fun!
from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Microbrewed beer is quite popular, and there are many microbreweries in the United States and other countries. A microbrewery is basically a small brewery, although there are microbreweries that produce a relatively large amount of beer. State law dictates how much beer a brewery can produce and still be considered a microbrewery. Brewpubs can be referred to as microbreweries, especially if the majority of their beer is sold off premises. Microbreweries are known for brewing exceptional, rare, and original styles of handcrafted beer. Common styles of ales as well as lagers are also produced. Microbreweries are fun to visit because each brewery is unique and has an interesting history, and of course there is always the opportunity to taste some good beer.
- Locate a microbrewery that you think will be nice to visit. There are many microbreweries and most people live near one. As such, it may be most convenient to visit the microbrewery that is closest to where you live. It may also be nice to visit a microbrewery that produces a particular beer of interest, or is located in a popular vacation spot. The Beer Mapping Project offers an online resource that can help one to research and find microbreweries.
- Determine when to visit the brewery. Some microbreweries have designated visiting hours while others do not. Most microbreweries do have websites, however, so it is best to visit breweries’ websites and contact breweries ahead of time in order to find out when it is best to visit. Larger microbreweries generally give brewery tours at specific times, while the smaller microbreweries may not have any formal tour hours or days. Brewpubs will, of course, be open to the public most of the time, but the brewery that serves the brewpub may not be readily accessible, or may even located elsewhere. Most microbreweries do offer some kind of formal or informal tour, and it should be possible to schedule a tour. It is recommended that one take a brewery tour, as this will enable one to learn about the brewing methods of the specific brewery, which may be quite different than the methods of other breweries. Tours also enable one to learn about the history of the brewery, as well as ask questions.
- Enter the brewery. This seems like it should be an easy task, but in some instances it may be somewhat difficult. The larger microbreweries with established tours will of course have established visiting procedures. The smaller microbreweries, however, may not have any formal visiting procedures. For these breweries, one may at first find the the front door or entrance to the brewery locked, or perhaps wide open but with no employees visible. If the entrance is locked, try looking for a back door of some kind. If you see that another door or entrance of some kind is open, try calling to someone who may be in the brewery, but don’t enter an area that is not meant for customers or visitors. If the entranceway is open but no one is immediately visible, look or listen for activity in the brewery. There will most likely be an an employee working nearby, and it should be easy to get their attention. But be respectful and patient, and do not enter work areas.
- Talk to an employee. If you will be taking a scheduled tour, and there is a specific employee who handles the tours, merely talk with this employee and do what the employee recommends. If there is no scheduled tour, you will most likely need to initiate a conversation with an employee, and tell them that you are visiting the brewery. From this point on, different things can happen. The employee may be busy brewing or conducting other tasks, and may not have any time to give a tour. Brewery employees tend to be extremely nice people, so at the very least the employee will most likely be able to talk to you about the brewery, beer, and other topics of interest. In any instance, show an interest in the brewery and the beer that they brew.
- Take a tour if one is given. It is always a good idea to take a tour if the brewery has one scheduled or if an employee is willing to give a tour. The tour is generally the opportunity for the brewery to provide relevant information about the brewery and show people how the brewery brews beer.
- Ask questions about the brewery. If there is no established or scheduled tour, you will probably need to ask questions in order to learn about the brewery. It may also be the case that you will be talking with a brewer who may be brewing while you are asking questions. This would be a great time to ask questions about brewing! Oftentimes, one will have the opportunity to talk with the founder or owner of the brewery, and this person may also be the master brewer.
- Taste some beer. Many microbreweries will end the brewery tour in the tasting room, where the beer that they brew is usually on tap. Breweries that do not have a formal tasting room will generally have beer on tap or in bottles that can be either tasted for free or purchased. There may also be an opportunity to taste beer taken directly from the fermentation tanks. It may also be quite nice to taste beer while discussing the brewery with an employee.
- Exit the brewery in an orderly fashion. When the brewery tour has ended or when you have discussed the brewery adequately, thank the brewery employees and re-enter the world that exists outside of the brewery.
- Always have a designated driver with you if you will be tasting beer at the brewery.
- If the brewery employees are very busy, give them time and space to complete their work.
- If you cannot find a way to enter the brewery once you have arrived, try calling the brewery from a cell phone and tell a brewery employee that you have arrived at the brewery.
- If it is legal in your state, buy a case or two of beer directly from the brewery if you would like to continue tasting the beer at home.
- Be sure to bring a picture ID if the tour involves tasting.
- Many breweries offer “taster sets” of 4-ounce glasses. Drink them in lightest-to-darkest order – you may also want to reserve hoppy beers (IPAs for example) for last as they will affect your palate. Note that a taster set may be enough to impair your ability to drive or operate machinery, especially when it includes higher-alcohol beers such as barleywine or imperial stout.
- Always maintain a safe distance from brewery machinery and equipment.
- Never drink and drive.
- How to Brew Your Own Beer
- How to Enjoy the Taste of Beer
- How to Brew Antioxidant Rich Beer
- How to Choose a Quality Beer
- How to Cool Beer Using the “Beer Pan” Method
Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Visit a Microbrewery. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.