In March 2011, I decided to check “go on a brewery tour” off my life list. Little did I know, it was more than checking something off my list. It ignited a passion for craft brews. Since the first tour, I’ve been on seven, including one in another state. This means a lot given the fact that I didn’t even really enjoy beer before the tour!
My first brewery tour was at Live Oak Brewing Company and that experience had a lot to do with the development of the passion. It was a small group, about 20 people, and the brewmaster took the time to explain in detail why they brew, how they brew, and why beer tastes the way it does. Seeing the very equipment producing the beer I saw in bars around town and hearing straight from the passionate brewmaster himself made the beer and experience much more personal. The craft brewing industry is growing and it’s growing rapidly in Austin. It’s cool to think these brewery owners started with a passion for beer and found a way to share that passion with the community.
Craft breweries also have an impact on the Texas economy. A study was recently released by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and it found that while 0.7 percent of the beer consumed in Texas comes from craft brewers, Texas craft brewers have created 51.2 percent of the state’s brewery jobs. The study also predicts the Texas craft beer industry will grow to $5.6 billion annually in eight years. Pretty cool.
While several of the breweries around town have adopted the fun, come hang out and enjoy our beer kind of “tour,” I personally enjoy getting to hear from the owners and brewmasters about their breweries’ story, obstacles, and future plans. And then followed by some time to sit around and enjoy the beer. My favorite breweries in Austin are Live Oak Brewing Company and Hops and Grain. If you want to learn about the brewing process in-depth, Circle Brewing has a great self-guided tour with an info sheet and numbered areas around their building. You can even see, touch and smell the different hops.
If you want to check out Austin’s local breweries, take a look at my Pinterest board. The list of local breweries keeps growing! Also check out this cool map of breweries in the U.S. There are so many! I just might have to add “take a brewery tour” to my must-do list when I travel to other cities.
[So far I’ve visited Live Oak Brewing Co, Thirsty Planet, Independence Brewing Co., Circle Brewing, South Austin Brewing Co., Hops & Grain and Austin Beerworks in Austin and NOLA Brewing in New Orleans.]
Have you been on any brewery tours in Austin or in your city? Which is your favorite?