Sure, we love toasting with a nice glass of Pinot or Chardonnay at our own nightly wine hours, but lately, we — along with the rest of America, it seems — have become obsessed with microbrewed beer. That’s the kind created by small, independently owned breweries. Unlike big-name domestic and imported suds, these small-batch or “craft” varieties are made using traditional brewing methods that emphasize flavor and quality over quantity.
While it’s easier than ever to tap into the craft beer experience at a nearby pub (some of our restaurants and bars even carry local brews), don’t miss the opportunity to go right to the source and check out how these tasty concoctions are created in the first place. Microbreweries across the US offer visitors a glimpse into prep methods, as well as samples of the results. Want to join us for a cold one? Check out one these four microbrewery tours worthy of including in your travel plans.
Fulton Beer, Minneapolis
What began as four dudes home brewing in a single-car garage/man cave has evolved into a full-blown microbrewing business. The brewery is located right near the Minnesota Twins stadium (Target Field), and free brewery tours are offered on Saturdays every hour from 1 to 4pm. Get there well before your appointed time — tours are limited to 20 people.
What’s Included: Just the tour, but we’re pretty sure you’ll want to plunk down a few bucks for Fulton’s signature Sweet Child of Vine and Lonely Blonde in the tap room. Then grab a bite from one of the food trucks stationed just outside the brewery doors.
Where to Stay: The Grand Hotel
Bluejacket Brewery, Washington, DC
Get ready for some true brew-schooling. Bluejacket Brewery’s home (circa 1919) is located in one of the few remaining industrial buildings in Washington, DC. Situated smack dab in the old Navy Yard ship and munitions manufacturing complex, Bluejacket Brewery offers tours that have knocked the socks off past visitors, earning it rave accolades as the brewery to visit for an exceptionally informative tour. Be sure to check for available dates, and note there are no tours when the Nationals are playing at home.
What’s Included: There is a tour for every taste and budget, ranging from a free tour that culminates with a sample of beer to the four-course Beer and Food Experience Tour.
Anchor Brewing, San Francisco
We love this brewery’s rich history, one that has been embedded in California since 1849. Steadfast will and determination laid the foundation for this brewery that made it through fires, the Great Earthquake of 1906, and more. Anchor Brewing offers tours twice a day on weekdays: at 10am and 1pm. Reservations are required and can be made up to three months in advance.
What’s Included: Fifteen bucks will get you a walking tour of the brewery, an education about Anchor Brewing and its beers, and access to a tasting in the taproom, which is exclusively available to tour guests.
Half Acre Beer Company, Chicago
Passion and gusto are what it’s about at Half Acre Beer Company. This rowdy, boisterous brewery, self-described as being full of piss and vinegar, is definitely rave-worthy. Since we vibe with edgy humor and aren’t opposed to a lively good time, we couldn’t resist this trendy locale. Half Acre earned a little spot in Chicago history, claiming to be the first brewer in Chicago to produce beer in cans. Tours are offered every Saturday at 11am, excluding major holidays.
What’s Included: Tour cost is $10 (cash only) and includes a Half Acre pint glass and sampling during the tour. The pint glass alone is practically worth the cost of admission.
Updated August 3, 2015