Preparing for a Beer-Tasting Trip
Chasing after beer experiences far from home involves effort and investigation. Thankfully, because people now live in a more global community and have all-hours access to reliable and up-to-date information, making plans for beer trekking many miles from home is pretty easy.
Here are some general ideas and suggestions you may want to consider if you intend to do any serious beer trekking — particularly out of the country:
Do as much planning as possible. After you decide where you’re going, find out what beery opportunities exist in or around that destination. Consider what breweries are there and whether tours are given or need to be scheduled. Learn about the local pub or tavern culture, and find out where you can taste a variety of beers — and catch a good meal, too. Consider buying one (or more) of the many beer guides in publication.
Learn about local laws and customs:
Alcohol may be forbidden in certain countries, or even counties (in the United States).
Beer may not be available for retail purchase during certain hours of the day or on certain days of the week.
Pubs and taverns may keep unusual and inconvenient hours on certain days of the week.
The drinking age may be lower than you expect, allowing a younger friend or family member to join in your trek.
Be aware that penalties for public intoxication or driving under the influence can be especially severe in some countries, including incarceration.
Before leaving home, make contact (at least via e-mail) with those breweries or beer-related locations on your agenda. You want to make sure they’ll be open at the date and time of your visit.
Bring a camera to record your tour or visit. Depending on where you are, you may need to ask whether taking pictures is okay.
Bring writing implements and something to write on. Taking notes, especially of beer tasting, is helpful. The more beers you sample, the less you tend to remember.
By all means, collect and keep business cards, coasters, and other free mementos of your trip. They’ll help you remember where you’ve been and what you’ve tasted.