15 of the Top Brewery Tours to Take in the US
With over 7,000 breweries operating across the United States and, according to the Brewers Association, another 1,000 expected to open by the end of this year, beer enthusiasts have countless options for sampling new concoctions and imbibing old favorites.
While there’s no shortage of places to sample drinks at, if you want to get a behind-the-scenes look along with a tasty sample, you might want to plan a trip around one of these top brewery tours.
Allagash Brewing Company — Portland, Maine
Allagash Brewing Company is frequently named on or at the top of lists of America’s very best brew tours. Located in the picturesque seaside city of Portland on the southern coast of Maine, what makes this brewery extra-special is that during a tasting session, visitors can wander through the rows of beer barrels, which include everything from little casks to massive oak vessels.
A detour will lead you to a side room where you’ll be able to stand in awe at the sheer volume of barrel-aged beers. This tour is truly one not to be missed. Allagash began about a quarter-of-a-century ago as the original Belgian-style brewery in New England and is today considered one of the most well-respected brands in the industry.
For $5 per person, you’ll get a 60-minute tour and four 4-ounce samples of beer. Tours are offered multiple times throughout the day. Allagash is closed on major holidays: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Hours are as follows:
- Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Thursdays: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Fridays and Saturdays: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Sundays: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Photo Credit: New Belgium Brewery
New Belgium Brewery — Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins, located just an hour north of Denver, is considered a craft beer mecca. It hosts a number of well-known craft breweries that offer brewery tours and samples, but there’s arguably none better than New Belgium, the country’s third largest craft brewery.
It’s most famous for its Fat Tire, along with an endless list of others like Blue Paddle, Ranger IPA and Sunshine Wheat, in addition to producing a range of complex and seasonal beers that are sure to please any brew geek. The staff is incredibly passionate about what they do, perhaps at least in part because the company is entirely owned by its employees.
If you hope to visit New Belgium, be aware that this brewery is very popular and the free 90-minute tours can fill up weeks in advance, so plan ahead. They’re available daily throughout the year from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., departing every hour. While they’re open to people of all ages, of course only adults 21 and over can sample the beer.
Photo Credit: Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams Brewery — Boston, MA
One of the most popular attractions in Boston, Samuel Adams Brewery offers public tours that allow visitors to learn a bit about the ingredients that go into its beers, the brewing process and much more. The tour is free, although donations of $2 are suggested with the money going to support local charities.
You’ll get to smell the aroma of German Noble hops that give this famous lager its distinct flavor, and if you’re 21 or over, receive a free tasting glass to sample three different beers produced by Sam Adams. As this is another popular brewery tour, the wait in line can be very long, especially on Saturdays, so plan your visit as early in the day as possible.
Tours depart every 40 minutes during the following hours of operation:
- Mondays through Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Fridays: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For $10 Monday through Thursday, or $15 Friday and Saturday you can take the Morning Mash In Tour by reserving tickets online in advance. This is the first tour of the day, so you’ll need to be there by 9:30 a.m., but it’s worth rising a bit early for the opportunity to try some of the more unique specialty beers.