Everyone has a different idea of the ideal vacation. Some people want to view natural wonders, some prefer to visit museums, and yet others enjoy going on tours of breweries. Whether you want to see the behind-the-scenes action at a large, multi-national brewery or a small, local one with craft beer, you have plenty of choices in the United States. Here are the top 10 to keep in mind, with enough options to find at least one no matter what part of the country you are in.
1: Magic Hat Brewing Company, South Burlington, Vermont
Magic Hat Brewing Company opened in 1994 and today they produce 400 bottles a minute. You can choose to visit their brewery in South Burlington and while there, check out the Growler Bar, where you will find 48 taps that offer a changing line-up of the brewery's top beers. There are also free guided or self-guided tours and you don't even have to make a reservation. Best of all, you can bring your dog with you to the brewery, although they have to stay on the main floor of the Artifactory.
Address: 5 Bartlett Bay Rd,
South Burlington, VT 05403
Samuel Adams is known worldwide and you can experience their brewery on your next trip to Boston. The brewery is open every day except Sunday and important holidays and hour long tours start every 45 minutes or so. Keep in mind that you can't make a reservation, so it helps to get there early. If you are an early rise, try the Morning Mash in Tour which includes specialty tastings as well, but requires advance tickets.
While almost all breweries offer tours, Dogfish Head does more than just that. In addition to the tour, beer sampling, and gift shop, they also have beer-infused food, an interesting gallery in the tasting room and games like cornhole and bocce. They always offer free tours and they are first come first serve at set times throughout the day. There are about six tour times Monday through Thursday, with an extra time on Friday and twice as many on Saturday. Even if you don't take a tour, you still get free samples.
Brooklyn Brewery is known as one of the biggest and most important craft breweries in the country, making it a popular tour destination. You can make reservations for your small batch tour up to a month in advance and these tours are limited to 30 people. This tour includes in-depth tours and history plus a guided tasting and the chance to ask questions. You even get a complimentary stemware glass when you go on the tour. If you prefer not to take the tour, you can also visit the Tasting Room on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Visiting Saturday or Sunday gives you the chance for a free tour, so plan accordingly.
When you go on a tour at stone brewery, you get to spend 45 minutes learning about the culture of craft beer as well as the actual brewing process. At the end, you get to take advantage of a guided tasting so you can sample the flavors with an expert on hand. The tour attracts more than 50,000 people annually and you can make a reservation in person on the day of your tour. Remember to arrive at the brewery early if you want a tour since the groups are limited to 25 people. Stone Brewing also gives back to the community by donating a portion of all tour tickets to local charities.
Address: 1999 Citracado Parkway,
Escondido, CA 92029
The New Belgium Brewing Company offers tours all year round. They have multiple tours a day, but they are also very popular, so it helps to make an online reservation ahead of time. Like most breweries, guests of any age can tour, but only those who are 21 can take advantage of the samples along the way. The tours are free and last 90 minutes so you can see the entire brewery at a casual pace.
Deschutes Brewery was actually the original brewpub in Bend, Oregon and this is where Deschutes Brewery made their very first beers. Tours start in the Tasting Room and are guides and completely free. Along the way, you get to learn about every aspect of brewing, including the methods, tools, and ingredients that make this brewery different. There is only room for 15 people on each tour and you can make your reservation 3 months ahead of time. Although those over 12 can go on the tour, the four complimentary samples only apply to those over 21. Plan on the tour taking 45 minutes.
This brewery offers two types of tours: self-guided and guided. Self-guided tours are free, but guided tasting tours cost $5, which is well worth it as you get beer samples and a souvenir glass. Because guided tours only have room for 10 people, it helps to make a reservation. Even the free self-guided tour will teach you everything you want to know with informational cards along the way.
Address: 200 East Hershey Park Drive,
Hershey, PA 17033
Sierra Nevada Brewing made their very first batch in 1980. Now there are two locations, including the original in Chico, California. The Brewhouse Tour is open to those who are at least 12 years old and includes the chance to smell hops, look into giant beer kettles and learn about the beer-making process. Those who are of legal age then get to enjoy an educational tasting.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is modeled after a German Bierhall and includes a Tap Room as well as restaurant. You can go on a free tour of the brewery on Saturdays or Sundays (with three time slots), whether or not you buy anything. Feel free to bring along your children as long as they are with at least one adult who is 21 or older. The tour, or "group experience" lasts 40 minutes and there is enough space for 50 people per tour, so you don't have to worry about a reservation. You can also schedule a paid private tour if you prefer.