You could probably spend the rest of your life touring brew houses to sample the local stuff and learn the craft from multitudes of beer masters (who will all say their beer is the best beer). Here are six brewery tours to get you started.
1. Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland
The lowdown: Guinness is one of the most widely known brews on the planet. It’s still made in the same warehouse that Arthur Guinness acquired in 1759. The Guinness Storehouse tour is a self-guided tour over eight floors so don’t feel the need to rush. Every floor has something new to show you, from the first floor where it showcases the ingredients for the unchanged recipe to the eighth floor where there is a great tasting menu and perfectly poured Guinness (poured by you of course).
Fun fact: Arthur Guinness leased the warehouse (the famous St. James Gate address) for a grand total of 9,000 years.
2. Steam Whistle in Toronto, Ontario
The lowdown: Steam Whistle is a Canadian pilsner. If you’ve got the thrills for the pils, this is the place to go. You can choose between the 30-minute tour, walking on the catwalks above the brewery operations, or the two-hour private tour where you get a full guide of the Roundhouse (the brewery space). Soak in all that information and then stop by its brand new Biergarten for a drink and a pretzel with beer cheese.
Fun fact: Steam Whistle has a fleet of vintage cars painted in the iconic Steam Whistle green.
3. New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado
The lowdown: Created in 1991 by a young couple travelling through Belgium by bike, the employee-owned brewery began as a way to bring Belgian-style beer to the United States. The brewery has five tours to offer, including a free 90-minute tour of the brewery (reserve your tickets early because they sell out fast). Sample some beer and take advantage of the roving food trucks on the brewery grounds.
Fun fact: The brewery has two locations. Its flagship location in Fort Collins, Colorado and the second is located in Asheville, North Carolina.
4. Wild Rose Brewery in Calgary, Alberta
The lowdown: Started in 1996, Wild Rose has been serving Calgary with great beer ever since. Tours of the taproom run every Wednesday and Saturday. The tours teach you the ins and outs of beer history and the history of the brewery. With a diverse selection of beers for every palate and season, there is a reason this local brewery was purchased by Sleeman. Make sure you stick around the taproom for amazing pulled pork sandwiches.
Fun fact: The Taproom is located in a refurbished aircraft hangar located within the confines of CFB Calgary.
5. Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma, California
The lowdown: Lagunitas Brewery was started because founder Tony Magee’s wife wasn’t pleased with his home brewing on their kitchen stove. Tony then started his brewery from a shed not too far from where the brewery is located now. That’s where the famous IPA was concocted. Tours of the brewery happen every day, but make sure you show up 15 minutes before to try new beers. Book one of three tours and then check out the taproom, where you’ll find good beer, good eats and live music to make your time at Lagunitas memorable.
Fun fact: Lagunitas features local artists at the brewery, so you can grab a beer and discover a new artist and music.
6. Fuller’s in London, England
The lowdown: Fuller’s was started in 1845 when John Bird Fuller separated from the original partners that his family had been in business with and went rogue with the budding brewery. Since then, Fuller’s has grown to own pubs and hotels showcasing the company’s history. Strap in for a full tasting tour for this brewery. With Fuller’s long list of beers, make sure you’re within walking distance to transit or wherever you’re staying and be prepared to taste Fuller’s immense showcase from Espresso Stout to Beachcomber Golden Ale.
Fun fact: Fuller’s original brewhouse was bought in the late 1600s for 70 pounds or about 115 Canadian dollars or 88 US dollars.