We have visited 4 breweries on our travels across Europe. I guess you can call it beer tourism. Our kids have accompanied us to 3 of these breweries. It would have been 4 but for some reason in the country I thought for sure kids would be allowed, they were not. Surprisingly that was Poland. Some people may raise their eyebrows at this sort of tour for children. If you step back and have a think about it there is nothing wrong with going to a brewery and learning about how a beer is made. You won’t find people drunk and falling over but you will find people sampling a few beers in moderation. You will find people who appreciate beer for what it is. People who appreciate the subtle flavour difference, you will find beer connoisseurs. Explained properly to your children this can and will set a great example about drinking in moderation and be appreciative of the taste, not drinking just for the sake of getting drunk. Hopefully, that’s something they take with them into their teenage years and adulthood. The beer was once seen as a poor man’s drink, not any more beer is now as sophisticated as wine. Brewers around the world are creating beers that are both palatable and unique to their own geographical location. Craft beer is now the boom products for breweries around the world releasing ever more sophisticated brews that contain everything from fruit to chocolate and coffee in them.
Is beer tourism with kids ok?
We have visited the following breweries:
Beer Tours – Paulaner Brewery of Munich
Since 1634, Paulaner has been brewing beer in Munich. The beer was first brewed by the Monks for Lent. Paulaner today brews 19 different beers for the German and International market. Willow and I toured the Nockherberg brewery in downtown Munich in 2013 and we both absolutely loved it! The brewery was the last of the big Munich breweries still to brew inside the city. For me, this was great as Paulaner Weissbier has always been one of my favourite beers in the world. Anything that prompts thinking is a good thing. We learnt among many things that there is ground water 5 km underground in the Munich area that the brewery gets its water from to put in the beer. Willow had a great time and asked plenty of questions of the brewmaster as we travelled along through the tour. Paulaner has now moved to a bigger facility outside of the city. I am sorry to say at this stage they are no longer running brewery tours at present while they get the operation of the new brewery up and running. The new brewery became operational in January of 2016.
Tyskie Brewery – Tychy Poland:
Tyskie is one of the most famous Polish beer brands is located in Tychy. The Tyskie Brewery has been operating for over 600 years and brewing on this site since 1629. I toured Tyskie in May of 2015 with my friend Thomas. The tour in English was fantastic and there were only 4 people on the tour. Our guide explained the history of the brewery to us as we walked around it and we also got to see a 3D movie of the beer’s history. The 3d cinema was amazing and a real highlight of the tour. There was a museum on site plus you were taken through the factory to see the vats and the packing line of the brewery. Beer tourism is great in small groups like this tour.
Interesting facts: Employee’s of the brewery get free beer! Tyskie was on a huge site in Tychy and the tour took a good 2.5-3 hours to complete at two different sites on either side of the road. At the end of the tour you were allowed 2 free beers to sample in the Tyskie pub, that is onsite and given a free bottle opener.
Heineken Brewery – Amsterdam Holland
Heineken is as much of an Amsterdam icon as the Red Light District. Heineken was the first brewery we visited in Europe. As a matter of fact, we have been twice in 2003 and 2006. For me, The Heineken Experience still sets the bar in what Beer tourism should be. It was fun informative and self-guided at your own pace. There was a good mix of history about Heineken through the years from their advertising to how the beer was delivered. Interactive, display’s and what I would nearly call amusement rides were present. One such was a ride through Amsterdam on a beer cart back in the days when they used to deliver their great beer by horse and cart. Another featured a beer bottle on the assembly line from arriving at the factory to being open in a night club. You experience the ride on a moving stage as the bottle bounced along. The Heineken bar was situated at the mid-point of the tour and you get 2 free samples of Amsterdam’s finest beer to get you through the second half of the tour. A free gift on the way out makes this one of the best value for money attractions in Amsterdam.
Rothaus Brewery – Black Forest Germany
You would be struggling to find a more picturesque venue for a brewery than the Black Forest. Rothaus is located 1000 meters above sea level and at times lost in the clouds of the Black Forest about an hour from Freiburg. Rothaus is the most modern brewery in Germany. One downside to the Rothaus tour is that there is no English versus German tours, luckily we had friends who were able to translate for us. The tour starts with a movie in German. This was hard to keep the kids interested during a movie they could not understand. You are also at the whims of the tour guides as to whether they speak English or not (Our tour was conducted in German). This tour was short and sweet as they take you through all aspects of the brewery. Our youngest daughter was fascinated by the bottling line. Watching how the bottles were filled capped and boxed within a matter of minutes. At the conclusion of the tour, you are taken to the Rothaus guest house where you can have some beer and a pretzel to finish off.
Our kids enjoy the experience and in turn, we enjoy the experience. Beer tourism is a learning experience for the whole family. Later this year we are heading to Copenhagen Denmark where “Visit Carlsberg” will be on our list of attractions to visit, more beer tourism coming up