All backpackers love beer right? Well some of us REALLY love it. In fact over recent years I have grown into something of a beer connoisseur having sampled the finest ales from pretty much every brewing country on earth!
No kidding guys, these I consider myself a bonafide beer snob – so much so that I can no longer stomach the Chang and Kingfisher staples that formed the backbone of most of my backpacking trips.
I also know I’m not alone. Craft ale and brewing is vogue all over the world right now and interest in how many is made is fast rivalling interest in how beer tastes to the point that breweries are frantically opening up for tours, introducing tap rooms, and even building on site museums.
Yep, brewery tours are fast becoming ubiquitous and every travel destination worth its gentrification seems to have at least one brewery that visitors can tour. In this post, we will look at some of them as we raise a glass to the best brewery tours in the world.
What Is a Brewery Tour?
A brewery tour is a guided exploration of a brewery, offering insights into the process of beer production from grain to glass. It often includes an introduction to the history of the brewery, a walk through the brewing process, and best of all, most of them climax with a tasting session where attendees get to sample the various brews.
Brewery tours can range from an intimate look at small craft breweries to expansive tours of globally recognized beer giants.
Let’s look at just a few of them.
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Guinness Brewery, Dublin
The Guinness Brewery, synonymous with Ireland itself, has been brewing their iconic dark irony stout in Dublin since 1759. The brew they produce here is an absolute global phenomenon, served in bars from Dublin to Dubai (although it tastes its absolute best right here in Dublin). If you are backpacking Ireland, then a visit to the Guinness Brewery is a must do.
The Guinness Storehouse tour is one of the best brewery tours in the world. The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours and costs about $30. The highlight of the tour is the Gravity Bar, where you can enjoy a pint with a 360-degree view of Dublin and even have a go at pouring the perfect pint of Guinness yourself.
Brooklyn Brewery, New York
Brooklyn Brewery was a pioneer and is now a staple of the rocking New York craft beer scene. Established in 1988, this brewery helped kick-start the craft beer revolution in the USA so come and pay your dues.
The tour lasts around 45 minutes and is totally free (little in NYC is ever free). The tour covers the history of the brewery and the brewing process. Highlights of the tour include a tasting of four beers and a peek at the barrel-aging room.
Heineken is one of the most recognized beers worldwide (and one of the most average in my humble opinion). The company has grown into a mega multinational conglomerate owing different countless well known brands but the home brewery in Amsterdam is where it all started. It’s not just a beer tour though, the Heinekern tour is an immersive experience that teaches you all about the brand’s history and brewing process.
The tour, called the Heineken Experience, takes around 1.5 to 2 hours and costs about $23. The tour highlights include the Brew You Ride, an interactive brewing experience, and a tasting of two refreshing beers at the end.
Belgians know their beer and have been brewing the strong stuff ever since the middle ages when the monks used their monastic life very wisely. As such, a brewery tour in Belgium genuinely is a journey into the nation’s heritage. In the heart of Belgium, Cantillon Brewery has been brewing traditional lambic beers since 1900. It’s one of the few places in the world that still uses the ancient natural fermentation method.
If you visit Belgium, then you must take some time to sample its fine, fine beers. The tour lasts about 1 hour and costs about $9 making it a bloody bargain. The highlight of the tour is seeing the traditional brewing process in action, including the unique open-fermentation method.
Museum of Yebisu Beer, Tokyo
Yebisu beer, first brewed in 1890, has a rich history and is deeply intertwined with the modernization of Japan. The museum, located in Tokyo, showcases this fascinating history.
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and is free – however, beer tastings start from $5. The tour highlights include a deep dive into the history of Yebisu beer and a tasting session in the beer salon.
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Samuel Adams, Boston
Samuel Adams, another key player in the American craft beer revolution, opened its doors in Boston in 1984. Their Boston Lager has become an iconic American beer and while Samuel Adams cannot really be called Craft Beer anymore, they are definitely one of the more cool and principled of the giant brewers.
The Samuel Adams brewery tour lasts approximately 1 hour and costs around a nifty $10. Even non-drinkers may enjoy this one as it has become one of the definite things to do in Boston. The tour highlights include a walkthrough of the brewing process, a satisfying beer tasting session, and a souvenir tasting glass to take home. Good value right?
Now we come to one of my personal favourites. The Delirium Brewery, home to the famous Delirium Tremens (12% seriously strong beer), is located right in the heart of Brussels, Belgium. Known for its pink elephant logo, Delirium has a reputation for brewing strong, flavorful beers. Brussels is one of Europe’s great party cities and this is my personal favourite place to warm up for the night ahead.
The Delirium Belgian brewery tour is a part of the Delirium Village visit, which lasts about 2 hours and costs around $15. The tour highlights include a visit to the iconic Delirium Café, a walkthrough of the brewing process, and beer tastings. Going back to the Delirium Cafe, the ground level bar does excellent strong beers and you can pitch naive tourists order a pitcher and then regret it. The downstairs bar offers the largest selection of bottled beers in the world – they even sell Heineken.
If you only visit brewery Belgium once, then Delirium makes the obvious choice.
Carlsberg is of course one of the largest beer companies in the world but despite what their clever marketing slogan says, most probably do NOT brew the best stuff…. The company was founded in 1847 in Copenhagen and the brewery’s historical site is now home to the Carlsberg Museum.
The Carlsberg tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours and costs around $15. The tour highlights include the world’s largest collection of unopened beer bottles, the old brewhouse, and the Carlsberg horses. People tell me actually Carlsberg tastes a lot better (ie, drinkable) straight from the source although I am not convinced.
Modelo, Mexico City
Grupo Modelo, known worldwide for its easy and light bodies beers like Corona and Modelo Especial, is headquartered in Mexico City (one of the worlds best cities for partying). The brewery tour gives you an inside look at the massive production of these popular beers so loved by over 100 million Mexicans.
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and is free. Tour highlights include an overview of Grupo Modelo’s history, a walkthrough of the brewing process, and a tasting session.
Sierra Nevada, Chico CA
Sierra Nevada, founded in 1980, is another of the pioneers of the craft beer movement in the United States. The original brewery in Chico, California, offers an immersive look into the craft of brewing beer. I randomly visited Chico when I was backpacking California a few years ago and stumbled into (And then out of) this awesome little brewery.
The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours and is free. Tour highlights include a walk through the beautiful hop fields, a look into the brewing and bottling process, and a complimentary tasting session where you get to try some “unreleased” specials.
Brewdog, Ellon (Scotland)
The enfante terrible of the UK brewing revival, Brewdog burst onto the scene in 2007 and quickly made a name for itself with its bold, hop-forward beers. Brewdog is now a global brand but the brewery, still located in Ellon, Scotland, offers a deep dive into the Brewdog way of big brand craft brewing. If you are backpacking Scotland, then do swing by Ellon.
The tour lasts about 1.5 hours and costs around $20. The Brewdog Tour highlights include a look at Brewdog’s state-of-the-art brewhouse, an exploration of the barrel-aging program, and a guided tasting of four of Brewdogs beers.
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Budvar, Ceske Budjovice, Czech Republic
The Czech’s do make some excellent lagers and you can come and see just how they do it at the Budbat Brewery. The Budvar Brewery, known in the US as Czechvar, is located in Ceske Budjovice, Czech Republic a region which to be fair, doesn’t get all that many visitors. The brewery’s lagers, brewed with local ingredients, have been enjoyed for over 125 years and are now exported worldwide.
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and costs around a humble $5. Tour highlights include a visit to the historic brewhouse, a look into the unique lagering cellars, and a beer tasting.
Now for the second best beer tour in the UK. Fuller’s Brewery, known for its bitter and heavy London Pride, is one of the iconic breweries in the UK. The brewery has been making beer at the historic Griffin Brewery in London since 1845 and is a funky and offbeat thing to do in London.
Amongst the best brewery tours london offers, the Fullers tour lasts about 1.5 hours and costs around $20. Tour highlights include a history of London’s long and proud brewing heritage, a guided tour through the brewing process, and a tasting session of Fuller’s award-winning beers.
Tiger Brewery, founded in 1932, is a bonafide Singaporean icon. The Tiger Brewery tour offers a comprehensive overview of how this Asian beer giant crafts it’s crisp, refreshing lagers.
The Tiger Brewery tour lasts about 1.5 hours and costs around $15. Highlights of the tour include a walkthrough of the brewing process, a packaging gallery showcasing the brand’s evolution, and a beer tasting session in the Tiger Tavern.
Coopers, Australia’s largest independently-owned brewery, has now been producing decent beers in Adelaide since 1862. The brewery is famous for its unique ales that undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle (science eh?!).
The Coopers Adelaide brewery tour lasts about 1 hour and costs around $20. Highlights of the tour include an in-depth look at Coopers’ brewing process, a visit to the on-site museum showcasing the brand’s history, and a tasting session in the brewery bar.
Ps, If you want to wind up an Australian beer enthusiast, just say the word “Fosters” to them.
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FAQs About The World’s Best Brewery Tours
Final Thoughts on The Best Brewery Tours on Earth
As well as enabling casual alcoholism in the name of cultural appreciation, Brewery tours genuinely offer a chance to dive deeper into the world of beer. They help to reveal the craft, history, and passion behind some of our favourite brews. Whether it’s a renowned global brand or an up and coming craft brewer, each tour on this list offers something unique.
From the ancient art of brewing in Belgium to the cutting-edge craft beer scene in the US, from the traditional lagers of the Czech Republic to the crisp Asian lagers, these tours are true testament to the deep diversity of the beer world.
So, for the backpackers, the beer lovers, and the curious travelers, the world of brewery tours awaits you. Whether you choose a brewery tour in London, a beer tour in the UK, or a visit to a brewery in Belgium, you’ll be stepping into a world of flavour, craft, and history.
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