With the news of Victory Brewing closing their doors to behind the scenes brewery tours, it got me to thinking about the tours I’ve been on. Now I’m one of the lucky people that have been able to actually tour Victory Brewing, so take what I say with however big a grain of salt you wish. The Victory tour Jim and I took was last April and it was fun and interesting. Since that time I have been on several other tours and you know what?…They’re boring!…
That’s right it is a bunch of pipes and vats doing what they do, lots of silver tanks and wet floors. Really the most interesting thing that has ever happened was getting to take a hit out of the bottling tank. I had a chance to do that at Victory and had some amazing Prima Pils and Citra hopped ale, and once on this last trip to Laughing Dog, they had a tank of Rocket Dog Rye IPA and that was a real treat. But that was the high spot. One other place of note on the tours I’ve taken is the Hop Freezer at Victory. I want to live in there! But I’m pretty sure Bill would kick out squatters so that isn’t gonna happen.
Otherwise, that is it. What is most important is the beer that is made by the brewery. Sure, it is interesting to see where your beer is made, but it certainly isn’t mandatory, and really I have the overwhelming sense that once you’ve seen a brewery, you’ve pretty much seen them all. They all do the same thing, whether it is Lost Abbey or Miller. The process is the same, only the quality is different. And the quality is what counts.
So I guess I don’t mind that Victory has to close down tours, because once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. They are pretty much all the same, just a matter of scale, whether you are brewing out of your garage or in a 100,000 square foot industrial building. So if you have a burning desire to see a brewery, by all means go to a small one locally, or if you have the opportunity to get to Victory before July 1, go (the hop Freezer is worth the trip alone). If you can’t get to Victory go to another brewery. Pretty soon you will see they are all the same. And actually boring. The good part is what comes out of the tap!