As beer nerds know, the phrase “you’ve seen one brewery tour, you’ve seen them all” couldn’t be further from the truth. But one thing you can rely on is the brewery tour-goers. Their genders, ages, and races might differ, but these 15 thirsty attendees are always, always on board. And while they run the gamut from sweet to insufferable, let’s just say that if you recognize yourself on this cast of characters, you’re in good company.
A seasoned traveler, this fellow gets his kicks roaming the world in search of the perfect beer. And he’s managed to collect more than a few pieces of brewery swag along the way, amassing a growing hoard of shirts, hats, hoodies, branded koozies, flip-flops, flannels, carabiners, water bottles, ski caps, sunglasses, jackets, ties, capes, and hand stitched quilts, all worn with unabashed pride every time he visits a new brewery. You do not want to come between this gentleman and the last screen-printed bandana. Trust us.
The Frequent Flyer
She’s crouched over in the corner of the taproom, diligently sipping her way through 19 4-ounce pours as life continues to happen all around her. She occasionally removes a pen and pad from her bag and scribbles down some incoherent tasting notes. With each finished glass, she clicks open Untapped and checks the conquered liquid in, typing her review with the level of care and precision usually reserved for brain surgery. As any good barback will tell you, it’s best just to leave this one alone -- she’ll tell you when she’s done.
"Life Is Good" Guy
This can mean one of two things: A middle-aged man, usually on the tall side with kind eyes and a happy-go-lucky disposition, dressed head-to-toe in Life Is Good gear -- distressed cotton T-shirt, bucket cap, socks, sunglasses, the whole 9 -- or the jovial bespectacled stick figure himself come to life, bouncing around the taproom in his cartoon Birkenstocks and floppy beret, grabbing pints off tables and constantly cheersing everyone. Hey, it could happen.
The "Life Is Good" Guy’s Dog
Oh Pete? Pete’s a good boy. Smells a little, kind of slobbery, but a formidable drinking buddy who knows a good bandana when he sees one. Health inspector be damned, this pup’s coming in.
The Unappreciated Scholar
Like the Walking Billboard, this brewery fixture has also seen their fair share of fermentation tanks. The only difference? They never let their New Belgium golf shirt speak for itself. Nope, they’re firing off questions they clearly know the answer to left and right, sidetracking the guide and wreaking havoc on everyone else’s learning experience. A lone wolf among a sea of couples, families, and friend groups, this person is also known to make the rounds during the tasting portion, making sure to tell everyone about their new beer podcast. Consider yourself warned.
The College Sports Fan
Macro-brews, with their billion-dollar sponsorships, Super Bowl commercials, and near monopoly on stadium taps, are undoubtedly the go-to brews for the pro leagues. But NCAA sports? That’s craft’s bread and butter. Think about it: teams are scrappier, underdogs are celebrated, players are driven by an undying love for the game, and while only a few people on the court make any money, they all have big, big dreams. That’s why there’s always at least one rabid college sports fan on every tour, donning a violently red Wisconsin crewneck and constantly refreshing the bracket app on his Bucky the Badger-clad phone.
The Saturday Afternoon Parent
They’re three pints deep into double IPA territory, and the last time they saw little Georgina, she was scooting past the bottling line clutching a damp handful of Cheerios and what appeared to be an old dog bone. The only way you can actually identify them as parents is by the enormous stroller (AKA growler caddy) they’ve shoved under the bar next to them.
Someone From Colorado
How do you know they’re from Colorado? Because 10 times out of 10, they’re proudly displaying the state flag on their T-shirt/ball cap/keychain/dog leash/koozie/socks/skin/Honda Element for all to see. That simple red, yellow, blue, and white combo says it all -- you’re rugged, you’re chill, you can probably build a fire in a blizzard, you can definitely fire up a doobie legally, you’ve got some of America’s best breweries right in your mountainous backyard, and you love rubbing it in. Thanks, pal.
No one knows when they started coming, or why they started coming, but somehow over the course of the last few decades, craft beer became seriously and inextricably linked with people who get great joy from peddling their little hearts out over very long distances while wearing extremely tight and blindingly shiny spandex suits. Strange, but oh so true.
He might not come around for just any old brewery tour, but the second a coveted craft outpost announces an exclusive release, he’ll be there faster than you can say, “One case each.” He’s first in line, beaming as he packages up his shiny aluminum bounty, checked, checked, and double checked to make sure every pull tab was in place, every label affixed, and ever born-on date stamped. Then he trolls the line, attempting to talk honest, law-abiding folk into selling him their extra cans like some sort of beer-crazed fiend. And you better believe that those lovingly brewed IPAs will be up on his Instagram in no time, destined for some poor sap willing to pay 10 times market value for 16 ounces of sweet haze. For shame.
The "What Do You Have That's Like ___"-er
There’s always one. Maybe it’s your mom, along for the ride. Maybe it’s your brother-in-law, who keeps anxiously looking around for the taco truck you promised. Hey, maybe it’s you. But unless you’re at a giant, nationally distributed brand’s plant, asking the taproom server what tastes like a giant, nationally distributed brand’s beer is like wearing a sign around your neck that simply says “that guy.” You’re there to try something new, something you literally saw being made by two passionate hands. Appreciate, bro.
The Designated Martyr
Look, we get it. Lots of fantastic production breweries are tucked away in weird little office parks on the outskirts of towns, miles away from residential areas and completely devoid of public transportation. And while we completely and wholeheartedly commend this person’s valiant willingness to forgo that taster of 14% milk chocolate chip coffee habanero stout in the name of safety, we are immensely sick of hearing about their sacrifice. The constant key jingling, the toe tapping, that droopy-eyed expression falling somewhere between indignation and malaise -- for this thirsty buzzkill, no public display of satisfaction is too passive aggressive. Next time, take an UBER. That’s literally what they’re there for.
This fellow seems normal at first, if not a little eager. Then all of a sudden you realize he’s hoarding samples like it’s afternoon rush hour at Costco, draining one fresh pour after another faster than he can even taste it as tiny tasting cups pile up at his feet. Now he’s walking around picking up fistfuls of pretzels wherever he can find them, his pockets swollen with stolen coasters. No sample left behind, that’s this guy’s motto. Remember when the brewer passed around that jar of raw malted barley for everybody to smell? Yeah, he ate that. Said it tasted like Grape-Nuts.
Don’t you dare think about picking up your pint before this verified influencer nails her painstakingly curated aerial bar shot. I mean, it took her a full 10 minutes just to set up her portable lighting kit (those damn taproom overheads never cut it), the least you can do is hold off to help her achieve her aesthetic dreams. Would a warm, headless Pilsner really kill you? Don’t forget to keep an eye out for this one in the barrel-aging room. The second the cellarmaster whips out a wine thief, pops the bunghold, and starts in for a pull of French oak-rested Flanders Red, she’s all elbows trying to get that action shot. Brace yourself.
The Bachelor/ette & Co.
Whether the lucky bride- or groom-to-be is donning a crown, a fake satin sash, or a custom t-shirt emblazoned with “Wedding’s Near, Buy Me a Beer,” this rabble-rouser is one of the room’s more readily identifiable specimens. They’re surrounded by a mostly-enthusiastic crowd, save the odd elderly relative that isn’t exactly sure what this whole craft beer thing is all about, but could definitely “go for a vodka soda if ya had it.” Rest assured, this wily group never stays too long -- they’ve got to keep crawling, after all -- but during their tenure you will undoubtedly witness a few requisite events: A chugging contest; Multiple requests for more water; at least one round of “beer shots” (AKA a regular 2-ounce taster, slammed like tequila to a chorus of chanting and table pounding); and, if it’s early enough in the evening, a hushed, nervous debate over whether the person of the hour was actually serious when they said they “would rather die” than set foot in a strip club or if they secretly kind of want to go but feel awkward admitting it.
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