Boarding Pass: Brewery Tours
Jun 03, 2015 03:29PM ● Published by Dia
Ever wonder where your favorite barley pop was born? Whether you’re into IPAs, hefeweizens, or black and tans, your tastes have a birthplace. For some beer lovers, that location is right around the corner from home. Other connoisseurs have more international tastes. But we won’t discriminate when it comes to discerning palates—after all, to each their own hops. Although the average American lives within 10 miles of a brewery, we wanted to help you branch out. Travel with a purpose the next time you find yourself with a week or so to spare—take a brewhouse tour that gets you out of the house and maybe even across the pond.
Born in Texas
The Spoetzl Brewery has called Shiner, Texas, home since 1909 when Bavarian-born Kosmos Spoetzl purchased the town’s brewery and became Shiner’s first official brewmaster. As an independent facility, all Shiner beer flows from Spoetzl and is still brewed with the same pure artesian well water discovered in 1909. However, if you can’t count yourself as one of the 2,069 residents of the town, the brewery sends more than six million cases of its beer across the country. That means when you find yourself leaving the Lone Star State for business or pleasure, you’re sure to find a Shiner somewhere on your travels.
The town of Shiner is about two and a half hours west of San Antonio, and brewhouse tours take place Monday through Friday multiple times per day during the summer months. Be sure to meet the brewmaster of this century, Jimmy Mauric, who’s been brewing for Spoetzl since 2005, making him the sixth brewmaster. Watch him while he works—he may even be whistling. During your tour there will be a chance to sample the goods as well. And what goods there are! The beer that started it all—Shiner Bock—is available year round, but a great brew available during summer months, Prickly Pear, is a lighter beer with a tart-citrusy fl vor. These are only two of a family of 12 Shiner Bock is proud to brew. Shiner.com
If you find yourself near Shiner this summer, and can’t find a porch to kick back on with your cold one—and perhaps you are in the mood to do the Texas Two Step—visit Moulton, Texas. Just a short 10-mile drive north, Scooter’s Dance Hall is the perfect place to enjoy your Bock on a barstool and listen to live music, Texas Country style. ScootersDanceHall.com
Nor’ Eastern Lager
The Boston Beer Company began in 1984 after founder Jim Koch found his great-great grandfather’s recipe for Louis Koch Lager in his father’s attic. Jim began brewing, and soon was traveling from bar to bar with a suitcase full of Sam Adams Boston Lager, hoping to sell his wares. Crediting themselves as serving as the catalyst for the American-craft beer movement, the brewery’s Boston Lager officially debuted in 1985, and the rest is history. The next big thing to come from Samuel Adams would be the introduction of the Samuel Adams Boston Lager Pint Glass in 2007, which Jim says helps sustain the head of the beer, enhance aroma and maintain temperature—all of which you’ll get to experience on a tour of the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery.
Open six days a week (closed on Sunday), the brewhouse offers tours throughout the day on a first come first serve basis. You’ll learn about the history of the Boston Beer Company, see the staff and process in action and, of course, have a chance to sample the beer.
No matter which bar you choose to enjoy your Samuel Adams beer, you can be sure that bartenders know how to pour the perfect glass. As a matter of fact, they are certified in the process. Perfect Pour Certifie accounts “make sure that their glassware is free of detergent residues, and pour their beer with the proper amount of head. The deep amber color shines in a clean glass, and the 1-2 inches of a thick, white head retains and releases the beer’s aroma.” SamuelAdams.com
Dublin’s Claim to Fame
As with most things in the “old world,” Guinness has history. In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a
9,000-year lease on a disused brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, and he began brewing porter and ale. When the first shipment of Guinness found its way to American soil in 1840, it landed in New York. But it wasn’t until 1914 that the vast majority (50 percent) of Guinness in the United States was bottled locally. Today, more than 10 million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed each day in more than 150 countries.
Visiting the Guinness Storehouse is an experience. You’ll want to bring your walking shoes to explore the seven-story building that is more of a museum than just a brewhouse. If you are a history buff, then you’ll enjoy learning about the ins and outs of brewing Guinness. But if you’d rather just skip the lessons and move right on the tasting,then head to the fourth floo . Experienced Guinness “ambassadors” will teach you the craft of pouring the perfect pint of beer. And for bragging rights, bring back your official perfect pour certifi ate from the Guinness Storehouse to the states. Once framed, it will make a nice addition to any home bar. Guinness-Storehouse.com
If you’re in the mood to enjoy your Guinness outside the four walls of the Storehouse, there are plenty (more than 1,000) of Irish pubs in Dublin for you to do so. Known as the oldest pub in Ireland, The Brazen Head dates back to 1198. With live music every night, and traditional Irish food on the menu, including its famed beef and Guinness stew, The Brazen Head is the perfect place to meet a local who’s willing to settle down on a barstool near you and weave an Irish tale or two. BrazenHead.com