With their love of sports and relaxed nature, beer is the drink most synonymous with Americans – and while visitors might use that as an excuse to hang out in a bar, it’s possible to go one better with a brewery tour.
Across America, both industrial and craft brewers throw open their doors to interested parties, showing their unique hop-to-glass process, often with a tasting of special brews at the end. If that sounds like an attractive prospect, here are the Flexicover team's top five tantalising tours to try out.
Samuel Adams – Boston, Massachusetts
Beer fans in Boston can prise themselves out of the Cheers bar by checking out the Samuel Adams Brewery. The first come, first served free tour lasts an hour and the curious will find out about its history, its brewing process, the hops used, and those over 21 will taste a few samples too. If queuing doesn’t appeal, you can buy tickets for their Morning Mash In: it’s an early 9:30am start, but offers a tour and a chance to taste experimental brews in a keepsake glass. Or for refined beer drinkers, the ticketed Bier Keller tour pairs speciality brews with local cheeses.
20 minutes away from Denver lies the Coors Brewery, the world’s largest single-site brewery, where they welcome everyone to the site and don’t charge for the privilege. Instead visitors are picked up from their parking lot in the town of Golden, then whisked to the brewery and given an audio guide to make their way around the facility. Guests can peek onto production floors to see the malting, brewing and packaging floors in action, unlike many other tours (Dublin’s Guinness brewery, we’re looking at you). There are free samples at the end of the tour, with soft drinks for non-drinkers and those under 21.
Brooklyn Brewery – Brooklyn, New York
Based in the hipster hangout of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Brewery’s tours are limited to 30 reservations and take place Mondays to Thursdays. At the weekend, first come first served larger tours are free, and food trucks pull up so the brewery becomes a place to socialise with a beer and a bite. To get straight to the sampling, skip the tour and make a bee(r)line to the Tasting Room. Their website lets aficionados know which beers are on tap, tempting them with new and exciting brews. Buy five beer tokens for $20 (£15) and enjoy their classic varieties and experimental offerings.
Though Lagunitas is named after the area of California in which it began, Chicago is the home of founder Tony Magee and where the second brewery is situated. Those heading to the Windy City can take a walking tour of the brewery, though we’d recommend the daytime tasting tours. Unusually but wisely, these begin with the product sampling, in a room filled with games to play no less. Then, the tour takes visitors around the production site, with the guide regaling stories about its rise from a one-man show to a major craft beer bought by Heineken.
The Duff brewery doesn’t offer a tour, but as it’s one of the most famous brands in America we couldn’t resist sneaking it in anyway. Universal Orlando have gone to great pains to recreate a bar and beer garden where you’d expect to find Homer Simpson relaxing with a glass of his favourite beer. The waterfront beer garden features hedge cut outs of the Seven Duffs: Tipsy, Queasy, Surly, Sleazy, Edgy, Dizzy, and Remorseful, as well as a giant statue of Duffman himself. Grab a cold glass of Duff, non-alcoholic Squishees, or Buzz cola, and watch classic Simpsons episodes on the big screen.
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