Just as the craft industry has pushed boundaries and redefined the pint, a select few breweries are looking to shake up the tired old tradition of the brewery tour. The hard-drinking institutions offer more than a long walk followed by a pint. Visitors meet with experts, get hands-on experience, and try various exotic beers. Here are nine new destinations for men looking to get both educated and inebriated.
Oskar Blues Brewery
Oskar Blues set the standard for canned craft beer when they stuffed Dale's Pale Ale into aluminum back in 2002. The Longmont, Colorado brewery is blazing new trails again with its annual Oskar Blues Ordeal. "We realized what an ordeal it was, so that's how it got its name," says founder Dale Katechis. The marathon tour – which lasts upwards of 10 hours and includes stops in nearby Lyons – is only available three separate days during Great American Beer Fest. The Oskar crew shuttles a mix of homebrewers, professional brewers, and the general public from craft-centric Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver's Lower Downtown to some combination of Oskar Blues' clan of operations, including the Hops & Heifers Farm that sources the company's hops, CHUBurger and its black angus patties also supplied by the farm, the original foothills-based brewpub, and the energetic Tasty Weasel tasting room.
"These came from a genuine desire to live out our passions through all these little spots, which have become venues of their own now," Katechis says. "It's three full days of being immersed in Oskar Blues' culture."
Food and beer are plentiful along the way, but the first day concludes with the Barn Burner and Pig Roast on the 50-acre farm, complete with local jam bands. This summer, another tour will be introduced – one on bikes that also incorporates CyclHOPS, the just-opened Oskar Blues cantina and bike shop that sells REEB Cycles ("beer" spelled backwards). Yes, that too is owned by the canning kings.
Price: Varies from $75 to $100, depending on the day.
Credit: Oskar Blues Brewery