The Evolution of the Brewery Tour. What's your favorite brewery tour?

I'm sure this will surprise most of our loyal readers, but some of the greatest stories the Myces’ brothers share are based on brewery tours. I can remember back when BLVD had a basketball hoop where the bottling line is, and you would meet back at the old gift shop after the tour and enjoy 15-30 minutes, to ̶c̶h̶u̶g̶ taste as much beer as your palate would allow. #GloryDays Then, there was the first and last BLVD Smokestack tour the 3 Myces men joined. Periodically throughout the tour they would open an entire 750 ml bottle to share with the group. We figured out rather quickly that the last person with the bottle got the rest of it. With only 6 people pouring a taste, you can do some quick math and realize how much the last person tasted. After the 4th round, it turned into the best tour ever for us, but the worst for our guide.

The best or worst part of the tour, depending on your perspective, was watching a 21 year old younger brother B. A. Myces attempting a selfie at Mount Saint Selfie then almost falling off the roof. I’m not sure how long this format lasted, because we were officially banned for life from the Smokestack Tour.  When our statue of limitations finally ends and the Myces women take us off probation and allow the trio take a tour unsupervised, we will gladly give a full report of the new and improved Smokestack tour.
The food pairings at BLVD Smokestack Tour
I haven’t even mentioned the glory days of the Sweetwater and Tallgrass Tours.  Both breweries had similar tour arrangements. Patrons would get tickets for half-pours, a free pint glass, then the chance to hop on a tour that ran every 30 minutes, creating a happy hour/brewery tour hybrid. There was even the summer where K. Myces volunteered as one of the Tallgrass tour guide. I bet you can guess what job he has highlighted on his resume. The key to these tours was to befriend the ticket takers with intellectual beer questions, and they would occasionally “forget” to take your ticket. As I quickly found out, you could only ask so many questions about the 2008 hops shortage before they began to recognize you.

As craft beer drinkers have matured a standard brewery tour of: fermenters, brew kettles, smell some hop pellets, and a brief beer history is no longer good enough. Breweries are making tours a destinational experience. BLVD has 3 different tours, incorporating beer and food pairings or in-depth looks behind the scenes. New Belgium has 5, including a Walk in the Woods tour, that allows you to taste beer directly from the foeder #MeThinksMeLikes. Finally, as much as I give a certain multinational-conglomerate brewery in Saint Louis grief, they do have a damn good tour and will even let you drink beer from the bright tanks!

New Belgium Walk in the Woods Tour
Many of these tours will take you behind the scenes, showing you everything from the bottling lines, to their quality control labs, and even the occasional barrel rooms. Plus, many breweries are approaching 20+ years in service and have a fair amount of their own history to display: historic pictures, original brew kettles, retro cans and bottles. All giving you an intimate look at their unique history. Some of my favorite tours have been New Belgium, Lake Front, BLVD, and of course the best brewery tour in history, Yuengling.
The Yuengling Prohibition Wall
Let's not forget the day of the 6 tasters of Velvet Rooster at Tallgrass.  I will leave this story alone because my memory gets a bit foggy after taster 4, but supposedly I had a good time, and didn't get my brother fired from his tour guide job.

Porchdrinking also has a good perspective on the evolution of brewery tours as well.

Brett A. Myces

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