January 15th, 2011 was a stunning San Francisco day and a particularly memorable one for us because it marks the day of our first brewery tour to Marin Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company and Moylans Brewing Company. We appreciate all those that have supported us to transform this idea to a reality, and the customers and breweries that made it happen! The day of liquid exploration began at the San Francisco Ferry Building on the Embarcadero where we left around midday and set out for our first destination: Marin Brewing Company.
We quickly made our way north to Larkspur, CA, while discussing the importance of good beer and playing beer-related trivia games for customers to win BrewTours customized pint glasses. At Marin Brewing Company the group enjoyed lunch, a tasting flight and a tour of Marin’s brewing facility. Customers were provided their own personalized BrewTours menus from which they could choose what they wanted. When customerts sat down, the drinking commenced. We started off with something on the lighter side, a Tiburon Blonde and then quickly worked our way up the beer scale to Mt. Tam Pale Ale, Marin’s House Amber, an India Pale Ale and then finally the Pt. Reyes Porter. The beers were delicious and customers continued to enjoy their flights as they ate their lunch and toured Marin’s intimate brewing facility. Marin Brewing Company made the first destination a HUGE success and customers enthusiastically purchased bottled beer and growlers for the road before we left the brewery.
Next, we directed ourselves for Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, CA, the fastest growing brewery in the country. When we approached the brewery we were greeted by Don, our guide at the brewery, and were instructed to go up the stairs to the Lagunitas private tap room.
The tap room was a complete scenery change from the rest of the brewery. Customers entered the unequivocal man-cave. It reminds me of a husband-furnished garage that’s designed to relive the ‘Glory Years’. The room was filled with instruments, retro couches, a foosball table, Grateful Dead posters and some of the seats at the bar were saddle covered beer barrels. The private tap room was an escape from reality, a place where beer could truly be enjoyed, and despite the man-cave characteristics, the women were equally blown away. This was beer heaven. I can’t imagine a place that I would rather drink quality beer. It even had big bay windows spanning the room from floor to ceiling that faced the brewing facility. The whole time we enjoyed our tasting flight we casually looked down on the bottling operation and the pallettes of beer that looked to be stacked a mile high.
After we finished our flights, Lagunitas provided an additional pint of everyone’s favorite beer in a complimentary Lagunitas mason jar. We then ventured into the massive brewing facility and learned how Lagunitas pumps out over 100 kegs a day and a few thousand cases of bottled beer! Don informatively answered questions and provided interesting insights along the way. Fortunately for us, the brewhouse was currently in operation so we enjoyed the sweet, oatly smells of heated wort; a treat for customers that hadn’t ever visited a brewhouse before. Lagunitas made for a successful second destination and the group excitedly returned to the bus to visit the final brewery of the day.
Our third destination was Moylans Brewing Company, Marin Brewing Company’s brethren, both founded by Brendan Moylan. This brewery has been a favorite of mine since I first began exploring what craft (and good!) beer meant. As the bus pulled into the parking lot, everyone enthusiastically stumbled off the bus and into Moylans where we were seated outside on the patio under a perfectly sunny day. Denise, the head brewmaster, greeted everyone outside and helped us serve up the final tasting flight. Similar to Marin Brewing Company we started light with a Pomegranite Wheat and then gradually made our way up the scale enjoying a blonde, India Pale Ale, Irish Red and finally a whopping Stout.
The bright sun perfectly complimented our delicious beer. Halfway into the flight Denise provided everyone a tour of Moylans intimate brewing facility that spanned two floors of the brewery. The kettles and Mash Tun installed on the first floor and the fermenting tanks on the second. It was interesting to see yet another innovative and distinct brewing system from the previous two. Denise described Moylans aggressive distribution scheme that calls for its humbly sized brewery to provide 24 different states with its critically acclaimed beers. As everyone slurped down the final beers of the day on the Moylans patio we safely assumed that Moylans fit the bill and made for a successful final stop on the tour. Everyone hopped back on the bus and we returned to San Francisco, coasting along the Golden Gate Bridge just as the sun was setting.
The day of craft beer exploration met its end, but we definitely made the most of it. We can’t wait to host the next one on February 19th, 2011 and hope to make the trip even better. Hope to see you soon!