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Beer Pub and Brewery Tours

Beer pub and brewery tours Beer pub and brewery tours

Beer Pub and Brewery Tours

When deciding on a short holiday or tour, it can be hard to choose between soaking up a destination's culture or going out to have fun and party. If you like beer, you can do both at once. Beer has never been more popular than now, and beer pub and brewery tours give you an opportunity to enjoy great companionship while discovering an area's culture and history. Beer pub and brewery tours are becoming increasingly popular additions to a holiday, especially with groups of friends who travel together. You no longer need to separate your holiday time into culture and entertainment. Beer pub and brewery tours come in many forms, from tasting exotic brews at a small pub to tours of large breweries, or even full scale beer festivals. Whatever you fancy trying, there is something to tickle the taste buds of all beer enthusiasts.

No visit to many of the great cities of the world would be complete without visiting their famous and historic pubs. The culture surrounding pubs is a tradition in many countries and an important part of the social order. Pubs are often community meeting places where all manner of politics, religion and important matters are vigorously debated.

Although you might love beer and have sampled most varieties, you may not have much of an idea about the processes involved and the history behind a manufacturer. Beer and brewing has helped in part to shape many societies across the world. Beer pub and brewery tours can provide a solid history lesson, which is why many tour operators also offer literary pub tours, walking tours and day tours centered around a city's pub culture. You will also, of course, get to try some great beer and food along the way. Whether you are mad about beer or just enjoy the odd pint, a beer tour or holiday is for you if:

  • You like to try new beers and would like to learn more about the brewing process
  • You enjoy socializing with new people and having a good time
  • You want to experience the atmosphere and traditions of a country or city, including their food and drink
  • Oktoberfest sounds like heaven

You can choose from so many different types of beer tours and holidays: whether you want to take a few days and relax while sipping a new drink in a pub or you want to really learn about how beer is made and the culture and history behind it, making a pub or brewery crawl part of your holiday is the stuff of many a great travel tale.

Wherever you go, have your travel consultant check into organized pub and beer tours as well as find the best areas to sample the local flavor. In either scenario, your agent should be able to find excellent travel opportunities and rates to help simplify your choices. Packaged prices for hotel accommodations and airfares are typically available to travel consultants at discounted rates through tour operators. In addition, your agent will have plenty of resources to help make your time on vacation efficient and well spent.

The many types of beer tours cater to a variety of different needs, budgets and appetites. If you are short on time and want to tour an area, then a simple pub or bar tour where you can sample the local products is a great way to get started. You can organize these tours yourself by doing research, or just strolling from one place to another. Many tour operators provide beer and pub tours on a designated tour route. One of the most famous and legendary of these tours is the Monopoly Pub Tour in London, which allows you to see all the major sites on the London Monopoly board, while sampling local beer products in the UK capital's most famous drinking establishments.

Many cities in Europe have organized "pub crawls" ("pub" being a shortened form of the term "public house", indicating a tavern licensed to sell alcohol) that use the atmosphere of the pubs as a way to meet new friends and introduce patrons to new bars. Examples include the FunkyParis pub crawl in Paris and the FunkyRiviera pub crawl in Nice.Amsterdam sports the Ultimate Party pub crawl. Not to be outdone, the Germans have their New Berlin and New Munich Pub Crawls. But the most famous of all the pub crawls may be the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, themed around the haunts of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Brendan Behan. These highly festive occasions are led by professional actors performing the works of the writers in various pub venues around the city.

If you are looking for something with a bit more information regarding the history of beer itself, then taking a brewery tour is a great option. Tours of breweries can be found across the world, providing a behind the scenes look at the beer making process. Whether you want to see how your favorite beer is made or want to try great beer straight from the source, then a brewery tour is the perfect answer. From tours of the massive Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis USA to tiny independent breweries in the UK, Europe orSydney, much can be learned — and tasted!

One of the best examples of a brewery tour is in Belgium, at the Brasserie d'Achouffe. This brewery is one of the finest in the world and is best known for its La Chouffe beer, which was once named 'Best Beer of the 20th Century'. While not all breweries offer beer tours, most of the famous names in the world of beer will offer some sort of tour, usually with a historical briefing on the making of the product followed by a tasting session. Many tours also provide food in the form of a special restaurant or buffet, often with a beer-themed menu. Organizing these tours is relatively simple, and your travel consultant can provide you with information on which brewers offer the tours.

If these beer pub and brewery tours are not enough to quench your curiosity, one way to combine a holiday with beer is to go to one of the numerous beer festivals around the world. These festivals are a celebration of all things to do with beer and run for days or even weeks. You can soak up the city atmosphere while trying beers from all around the world. You have some really amazing beer festivals to choose from, including the Great British Beer Festival and the Oregon Brewer's festival. However, the best and largest of all the festivals has to be the ultra-famous Oktoberfest in Munich. This beer extravaganza is truly heaven for all lovers of beer, and with Munich as a backdrop, it doesn't get much better. The first Oktoberfest occurred in 1810 to honor the marriage of Prince Ludgwig to Princess Therese. If you missed that one, no fear, the celebration is held each year and is one of the premier beer events anywhere.

If you really want to make beer part of your holiday, then take a trip to one of many historic cities that are famous for their beer. These cities not only offer some of the best beer and pubs around, but also give you the opportunity to see wonderful architecture and absorb the city's culture. One of the best cities to visit is London, with over 6,000 pubs serving a variety of local real ales, plus beers from all around the world. Combine this with stunning architecture and world-class attractions and you have a heady mix for any beer-loving culture vulture.

Other great cities to visit include the Guinness-filled city of Dublin and the historic beer meccas of Prague, Munich, and Boston.

Deciding on when and where to go can be a difficult decision, and your decisions will focus on how much of your vacation you want to be centered around beer. If you simply want to go on a few brewery tours or are curious about beer, then negotiating the crowds of Munich during Oktoberfest might not be the best idea. Instead, go where you can experience as little or as much beer culture as you want. Destinations like Dublin, London or Brussels are ideal and permit others in your party to indulge in plenty of other activities like shopping or sightseeing. Ask your travel consultant about "shoulder" and "low season" rates. During off-peak travel times, rates are almost always available at a sizeable discount over high season. The crowds are fewer, the prices better and the atmosphere in many destinations is much more intimate. However, the trade-off in weather and climate may be more than enough for you to decide to do your beer and pub studies during peak travel times.

Although many beer tours will allow younger people on tours of their facilities, there are often prohibitions on the consumption of any alcohol by persons under the age of 18. Also, be aware that while the US has a higher drinking age than most of Europe, this is not universally the case. Generally, holidays centered on beer festivals are only suitable for adults. If you intend on visiting breweries and pubs and you have children, definitely ask your travel agent to help you consider the proper logistics for your visit.

Need we suggest to a worldly person such as yourself that one of the first considerations of a beer and pub tour is that you drink in moderation? Overdoing it on the first day will only reduce your enjoyment of the holiday, as well as damage your health and potentially your relationship with any non-drinking traveling companion. Beer outside the United States often contains a higher alcohol concentration, so enjoy in moderation or suffer the consequences! But with that in mind.

So many beers, so little time! Contact Wilcox Travel and get ready to go to your next beer pub and brewery tour.

Asheville’s Southside

Asheville’s Southside

Asheville Southside 1960'sA note attached to one photo of a home on Asheville’s southside in early 1960 calls it an “illegal gambling/whiskey house,” or illegal bar.

“We really have to get beyond the nostalgia to say what was there, what was life really like,” Mathews said.

Interconnected

Many, many more structures in Asheville's southside housed legitimate businesses.

“Many people who grew up here remember (Southside) and being as vital, if not more vital, a commercial district than The Block,” Mathews said, referring to the historic African-American business district around the intersection of Eagle and South Market streets near City Hall.

Mathews shows photo after photo of Asheville's southside auto repair shops, restaurants, service stations, beauty parlors and hotels, including one where James Brown and

Asheville's Southside once hosted Aretha Franklin

Cover of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin once played in an upstairs auditorium.

Some homes were small, but many had distinctive architectural features people would treasure today.

“The preservationist in me is saying I could have done something with these buildings,” Mathews says.

And while a family’s home might — or might not — have been humble, it might have also been three doors down from an aunt, a block away from a grandfather or next door to a neighbor who would keep an eye on the kids.

In urban renewal, “A lot of the webs of interconnection that kept those families together were removed,” Mathews said.

He says those in charge of urban renewal did not do a good job of deciding what should be saved and what should not, did not do enough to help people with the transition to new homes and gave Southside residents little say in the whole process.

Many people who were told they would be able to build new homes on cheap Southside lots could not get financing or found other obstacles, Ndiaye said.

There were “a lot of hurt people, a feeling of being injured,” she said. “They were told that something would happen, and it didn’t.”

Some observers, Mathews said, see what happened to the people of Southside as a continuation of Jim Crow laws from the 19th century.

Asheville Southside 1930'sMany changes to Southside cannot be reversed. Ndiaye said she hopes, though, that remembering its history can help heal wounds.

“I’m just happy to know that this conversation is going on, that we are acknowledging the fact that certain things happened in this city and it impacted people,” she said.

Biltmore again tops NC tourism list

Biltmore again tops NC tourism list!

— The Biltmore House in Asheville was again the most-visited attraction in North Carolina in 2013, according to Matthews-based Carolina Publishing Associates prompting the headline: Biltmore again tops NC tourism list.

Biltmore again tops NC tourism list

Biltmore Estate, 1890–1895, Asheville, North Carolina, Richard Morris Hunt, architect (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The former estate of the wealthy Vanderbilt family drew more than 1.2 million visitors for the year. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh also topped the million-visitor mark and the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro had a respectable 739,943 guests.

The Triangle claims seven of the top 30 most-visited attractions in the state.

Most-visited museums and attractions, 2013 

1. Biltmore, Asheville, 1,210,138.

2. NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, 1,026,177.

3. North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, 739,943.

4. Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, 722,260.

5. Discovery Place, Charlotte, 705,845.

6. Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh. 648,450.

7. Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach. 614,158.

8.Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, 489,123.

9. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach, 447,892.

10. Museum of Life and Science, Durham, 421,095.

11. NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, 389, 612.

12. Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, 308,786.

13. North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville. 332,748.

14. Greensboro Science Center, 325,536.

15. NC Maritime Museums (Beaufort, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Hatteras, NC Maritime Museum at Southport), 325,921.

16. NC Museum of History, Raleigh. 288,800.

17. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 287,605.

18. NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island, Manteo, 275,141.

19. Fort Raleigh National Historic Park, Manteo, 264,942.

20. Grandfather Mountain, Linville, 314,127.

21. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington, 211,724

22. Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock. 194,073.

23. Duke University Chapel, Durham, 182,215.

24. Tryon Palace, New Bern 181,350.

25. NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, 173,024.

26. Linville Caverns, Marion, 170,689.

27. Old Salem Museums Gardens, Winston-Salem, 146,900.

28. Cherokee Cultural Attractions, Cherokee, 145,778.

29. Morehead Planetarium, Chapel Hill, NC 142,135.

30. Mint Museums, Charlotte, 142,057.
 

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WilsonMcGuire carves out niche marketing golf, tourism

WilsonMcGuire Creative in Winston-Salem has carved out a name for itself promoting golf events, including the PGATour's Wyndham Championship.

WilsonMcGuire Creative in Winston-Salem has carved out a name for itself promoting golf events, including the PGATour's Wyndham Championship.

Owen Covington Reporter- The Business Journal Email  | Twitter  | Google+  | LinkedIn
Skyline of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The ...

Skyline of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The prominent building on the left is the BB&T Financial tower; the tallest building, on the right, is the Wachovia Center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this month pronounced his dedication to making golf big business in North Carolina, it was welcome news to LeAnn Wilson McGuire.

It's not that she's an avid golfer — she only really took up learning the game last year. But as an advertising executive, she's carved out a niche for her Winston-Salem agency, WilsonMcGuire Creative, as a go-to firm for golf.

"I was super-excited to hear him say that," Wilson McGuire told The Business Journal.

WilsonMcGuire was tapped as agency of record for the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open, with both to be held this year in Pinehurst.

Her agency is running full bore in promoting the event by overseeing its web presence, online and print advertising, ticket design and a wide range of advertising services for the event. The events run back-to-back June 12 through June 22.

Pinehurst Hedge

Pinehurst Hedge (Photo credit: deltaMike)

It was Wilson McGuire's relationship with Pinehurst Resort, cultivated years ago, that led to this year's U.S. Open work.

She began working with the resort while a partner at The Burris Agency in Greensboro, and after leaving the firm in 2003 to set out on her own, the resort was one of her first clients.

"I grew up on a golf course, so I understand the sport 100 percent," she said.

The first work for the U.S. Women's Open came for the 2007 event, generated by relationships she'd developed through her work for Pinehurst. The following year, the agency was selected to design the tickets for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

And the work has continued to grow, primarily through relationships and word of mouth. She now has a list of past and present clients that includes the Carolinas Golf Association, the U.S. Golf Association, the former Pinehurst Championship Management and the Wyndham Championship.

Owen Covington covers health care, insurance, law/bankruptcy court, media/advertising, local government and sports business.

Waiving the fee for Entrance to the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center

“As an institution that adds to and thrives within Asheville’s amazing cultural offerings, we thought that a proper celebration of our 20 years as a museum and the 80 year anniversary of the opening of Black Mountain College would include free admission to our unique exhibits,” said Board Chair Dr. Brian Butler in a press release issued Sunday afternoon. “We think of this as both a thank you to our community and as a gentle invite to anyone who has not already stopped in to learn about our exhibitions and events.”

alice sebrell, of black mountain college museu...

alice sebrell, of black mountain college museum and arts center, shows me (and siena!) mary parks washington’s histcollage titled “black mountain college” (Photo credit: davidsilver)

The move grants all visitors free access to ongoing exhibitions in the museum’s Broadway Street gallery space. Some special events, such as lectures, film screening and poetry readings, among other programs, may still have one-time ticket fees. As for the financial difference, the board’s goal, according to Alice Sebrell, BMCM+AC’s program director, is to balance out potential loss in admission revenues with further grant writing, fundraising and in-kind donations from increased attendance.

“We’ve always been free to members and always free on every single Wednesday of the month,” Sebrell told Xpress. By offering free admission the museum can reach a larger audience, particularly in the arts-based tourism sector. “It’s a positive move towards total inclusion,” she says.

“In this town, with so many people working on low wages, especially in the artists community, it’s nice to offer this,” Sebrell says. We’ve always kept that on the forefront of our minds.” And now, she says, “with free consciouses, we can welcome everyone in through our doors.”

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center is located at 56 Broadway Street in downtown Asheville. The gallery is open to the public from 12 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The current exhibition, Cynthia Homire: Vision Quest, which features ceramic works, drawings and poems by the New Mexico-based artist and former BMC student, is on view through May 17.

Black Mountain College

Black Mountain College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Foodie vacation destination: The Admiral in Asheville, N.C.

Go For the Food is a weekly AP food and travel series about food as a driver of tourism.

BY LINDSEY TANNER

ASHEVILLE, N.C. | In downtown Asheville, good restaurants are as handsomely conspicuous as the artsy boutiques and bodegas that give the Blue Ridge Mountain mecca its trendy, vibrant flair.

IF YOU GOCooks @ The Admiral

The Admiral: 400 Haywood Road, West Asheville, N.C., 828-252-2541SunnyPointCafe

Sunny Point Cafe: 626 Haywood Road, West Asheville, N.C., 828-252-0055

Across the French Broad River, in West Asheville? Not so much. This is the funkier side of town, where families, artists and workers live in frame bungalows lining narrow, hilly side streets, and the main drag, Haywood Road, has an earthier, slightly gritty feel.

That’s why driving down Haywood, you’re more apt to notice the gas station across the street than the squat cinder block building that houses The Admiral.

“Chances are, you will pass us at least three times. You won’t be able to find a good parking place,” said Admiral co-owner Drew Wallace.

When The Admiral opened in 2007, Wallace and business partner Jonathan Robinson called this “the wage-earning side of town” and their aim was to create a successful dive bar/unexpected restaurant. It has more than met their desires. West Asheville has blossomed since those early days, and The Admiral has morphed from a neighborhood tavern into a destination restaurant, but it still feels like a wonderfully hidden gem.

Reservations are a must, unless you want to sit at the bar and are willing to wait. But those are the best seats in the small, dimly lit space. That’s where you get the best view of the open, galley kitchen, where a quartet of chefs busily cook up small plates of unforgettable mussels, bathed in a slightly smoky sauce of San Marzano tomatoes; entrees like meaty, barbecue sauced pork chops with collard greens and root vegetable gratin; or an other-worldly version of steak frites, featuring black Angus rib-eye, sweet potato chips, green beans and quail egg salad. Desserts might include a sinfully delicious chocolate mousse with cherry clotted cream and red wine cherry sauce, but the eclectic menu changes regularly, so prepare for the unexpected.

“There is really no straightforward summary of our style” Wallace says. “The food tends to be a little more experimental than most of our peers.” And much of it is locally sourced from family-owned businesses.

The slightly kitschy decor includes a neon “Dive” sign in one corner, a handful of industrial-looking hanging lamps and black-clad, tattooed and welcoming servers.

There are no uppity attitudes at The Admiral, and that’s partly what draws Boomers, hipsters, business execs and obvious out-of-towners. Most appetizers and small plates cost $12 or less, and entrees run up to $30. On Friday and Saturday nights, tables are pushed aside at 10 p.m. for dance parties.

Also on Haywood Road is the informal Sunny Point Cafe, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but best known for amazingly fluffy and delicious biscuits and legendary waits for breakfast and brunch.

Sierra Nevada gets closer to rolling out beer and opening

While there still is more work to do before full-scale production commences, Sierra Nevada has achieved a spot-on flavor match between its two top-selling brands produced in Mills River and at the company’s Chico, Calif. brewery.

Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale and Torpedo Extra IPA — the No. 2-selling craft beer in the U.S. and top-selling IPA in the country, respectively — are now being brewed and bottled at the Mills River plant, but company spokesman Ryan Arnold said they are “still probably a couple of months out before we’re really pushing things out the door.”

Sierra Nevada’s quality-control process is a rigorous one, with up to 150 checks conducted in its high-tech research and development lab. The company says it tests everything from raw ingredients and water chemistry to full-spectrum molecular analysis to determine if its beer “has a potential for off-flavors before it ever makes it out of the kettle or fermenter.” The company also is splitting shipments of malt and hops between Mills River and Chico to eliminate variability from batch to batch and ensure consistency between the two breweries.

In addition, Arnold said, a Sierra Nevada team of professionals with “highly developed sensory capabilities” taste-tests fermenter samples and packaged beer three times a week for final approval. Samples of Mills River beer are shipped overnight to Chico, and then analyzed and discussed via video conference by panels on both coasts before final approval is given.

“We have hit one or two home runs with some of the batches of Pale Ale and Torpedo, but we’re extremely quality-driven, so one or two home runs isn’t quite enough; we’re looking for a home run on every swing,” Arnold said. “So it is going to take some more time and some more test brewing, and that’s just two brands.”

Sierra Nevada, the country’s second-largest craft beer maker that was named one of the top 100 breweries in the world this month by the consumer-rating website Ratebeer.com, also will be brewing several other year-round and seasonal beers in Mills River, including some of its High Altitude Series brews.

“We also need time to nail some of those other brands,” Arnold said. “So while we can kind of celebrate and appreciate that we’re nailing it with some of these test batches of Pale Ale and Torpedo, it’s still an exercise in patience to being able to ship beer out of there.”

Sierra Nevada's Mills River NC PlantThe company also is busy testing and refining procedures for the Mills River plant to serve as a new distribution hub by sending Chico-brewed beer to Mills River, storing it in a refrigerated warehouse and then shipping orders to regional distributors.

“That, too, is going to take a little time to work out any kinks so that we’ll be able to cover the majority of the East Coast,” Arnold said, adding that a rail spur similar to the one in Chico has been set up to limit travel for delivery trucks to within a couple miles of the brewery.

Brewery eyes August opening

Meanwhile, Western North Carolina residents and officials are gearing up for the opening the brewery to the public later this year. The $100 million facility on the French Broad River is expected to be among the most technologically advanced, aesthetically impressive and visitor-friendly breweries in the world, with a focus on alternative energy, environmentally conscious construction, reforestation and river quality monitoring and protection.

The company announced this month that installation of its parking lot solar array, featuring nearly 200 individual panels, had recently been completed and will complement a much larger rooftop array.

Beth Cardin, executive director of the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority, said that while her department is monitoring the Sierra Nevada project before highlighting the brewery in printed literature, officials are promoting it verbally in the Visitors Center. And, according to Cardin, the next installment of the Hendersonville Vacation Planner also will dedicate an editorial page to the growing beer and wine industries in the area.

“We’re expecting it to impact our tourism tremendously this year — the last half of the year, anyway,” she said of the impending Sierra Nevada opening. “We think it’s going to be an overnight success; we don’t think it’s going to take long to let people know that they’re up and running.”

Arnold said the company hopes to open its doors by August, aiming for a grand opening that would coincide with the culmination of Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America tour this summer.

“The whole process has been a whirlwind,” Arnold said. “We’re trying to build a world-class facility rather quickly, when it comes down to it. August is probably an ambitious goal, but that’s what we’re hoping — where we can have a pub and tour team and other pieces of the brewery experience all complete so we can welcome folks in.”

The Beer Camp Across America project will also feature a first-of-its-kind, variety 12-pack of beers that will be produced in collaboration with a dozen of the country’s most acclaimed breweries at both Sierra Nevada breweries. Representatives from those breweries, including Oskar Blues and the Asheville Brewers Alliance consortium, have been traveling to Chico the past couple months designing and brewing the test pilot batches of their respective brews.

Sierra Nevada’s progress in Mills River comes as the company has unleashed a bevy of new, innovative products to the national market, while initial reports of craft beer’s 2013 performance last week suggest continued growth for the industry.

According to a report in USA Today, craft beer production grew by 9.6 percent last year, from 178 million cases to 195 million. This despite total U.S. beer sales receding by 1.4 percent — including a 3.5 percent decrease in light beer and 2.4 percent drop in overall mainstream domestic beer volume — as American consumers thirst for fuller-flavored, locally made brews.

Another report by the Beer Institute released last week said that 2013 saw a record 3,700 breweries nationwide as permitted by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (which includes breweries that are not yet operational). That includes 114 breweries in North Carolina — or 32 more than in 2012 — which ranks the Tar Heel State No. 10 in the country.