When a company hires seven full-time "Indoctrination Specialists" to walk enthusiasts around the brewery seven days a week, it's either transforming itself into a cult or working overtime making sure customers enjoy themselves. Must be the latter because Stone Brewing draws 50,000 people a year to Escondido, California for its 45-minute sacraments, spearheaded by its Minister of Evangelism and Indoctrination Ken Wright. The specialized guides bring tour groups through the 55,000 square-foot facility – private groups see the packaging hall, aromatic "hop box," and a birds-eye view from the catwalk – that pumped out 213,000 barrels last year, including its tour de force IPA. Four four-ounce samples of beer are included, among them a special release selection. Self-guided tours of the nearby 19-acre Stone Farms are also available on Saturdays and Sundays. Along with the livestock and produce are a small portion of the company's hops, which are typically used for its cask-conditioned ales and other specialty brews. Back at headquarters, the bistro serves fresh dishes made from locally sourced ingredients (much of them from the farm) at the World Bistro & Gardens, where a glass wall peers into the expansive brewery.
Price: $3 for a regular tour; $5/person for a private tour ($50 minimum)