Our first ever alcohol tour focused on waterfalls and wineries in Tasmania, Australia. We love wineries- they’re usually set in beautiful countryside, they’re locally owned, and they often produced great booze. Our three trips within the US, however, have all focused on breweries. We hit wineries, distilleries, meaderies, and cideries when possible, but there are three basic reasons why breweries are our preferred method of alcohol touring.
1) Breweries are everywhere
Sure, put “winery” or “brewery” into Google Maps and the former will light the US up like a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, most of those wineries are not open Mon-Thurs, or not open to the public at all.
Many breweries are also brewpubs, serving food and beer. This makes them excellent lunch and dinner destinations- good waypoints for the mid day and end of the day. Some wineries do serve food, but in our experience they are overpriced, fancy affairs more suited to high-maintenance guests than people who just want a decent plate of food. Also, considering one person has to drive, the driver can sit down at the brewpub and have a taste without having to immediately hit the road. Winery visits without food tend to prohibit the driver from experiencing enough of the wine to get a full appreciation for the flavour.
3) Reasonably priced tastings
We’ve observed before the problem of charging for tastings. At a brewery, a $5 charge usually gets you more beer than in a pint. At a winery, a $4 – $8 charge usually gets you barely enough wine to experience the flavours. Some family-run wineries still do free tastings, but they are harder to find and widely dispersed. Entering a brewery, you know there will be a charge, but you’ll get a decent amount of beer with it.
Breweries are much more ‘our speed’. Local, chill, independent, anti-establishment, and focused on the product. Wineries tend to be more fancy and targeting a higher socioeconomic status. We aim for breweries and, if a good winery presents itself, we’ll check it out. But we focus on the breweries.