Several years ago, Justin Hall and Jonathan Oliver had a great idea: Round up some beer-loving peeps, teach them about the craft, safely bus them to a few local breweries for a private (or semi-private) tour, and get people excited about the Atlanta beer market. Southern Beer Tours was born.
What could be better, right?
A few months ago I was privileged to join a small, private group on a tour of Red Brick, Orpheus and Sweetwater with Southern Beer Tours. Justin led the adventure with quips, insight and serious fun. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out their TripAdvisor reviews; there’s not a bad one in sight!
I cannot recommend this enough! For date night, a girls night out, birthday party shenanigans…use whatever excuse necessary to take a tour with these guys. Here are five reasons I loved every minute.
You get a designated driver.
Hubby and I frequently do the “bar hop” thing on date nights. But it still means figuring out which location to visit and hiring an Uber driver to get us to each location safely (cha-ching, cha-ching.) Southern Beer Tours takes care of both problems by pre-planning your visit to the best breweries and providing a bus to get you there!
I loved riding on the bus! I didn’t have to worry about directions to places I’d never visited, nor did I have to worry about drinking too much. Get this…the meet up location for the bus is just 100 yards from the Lindbergh Marta train station (at Taco Mac!) Yay!
One of the coolest parts of the tour was grabbing a full glass of beer at Sweetwater, then walking with it to the van and drinking it in the van as we drove back to our hotel. Heck, a policeman watched us board the bus with a full glass! Sweet, no?
Skip the crowds.
The truth is that they can’t ALWAYS offer you a private tour before the brewery opens to the public, but they try their darndest to make it so. We visited Red Brick and Orpheus before they opened, but by the time we got to Sweetwater, the doors were open to everyone. We still got a private tour of the brewery and special treatment when it came to pourings.
Seriously though, it’s pretty sweet to be with an intimate group of people (who you quickly become friends with) behind the scenes at an Atlanta brewery. No lines, copious pours and plenty of antics.
I loved seeing the brewers “in their element” but with the space and time to chat with us. The personalities of each one showed through…and I walked away with a warm heart. (Want to know more about my personality? Head to Red Brick Brewing. That brewery screams my name…and I could probably live forever on their Divine Bovine Milk Stout with Chai Spices. Mmmmmm!)
There’s no skimping on beer.
I’ve been on plenty of wine tastings, and I always leave wanting more. Not so with Southern Beers Tours. You can expect to drink 3-5 good-sized samples at each brewery. You’re definitely get to try all the crafts that tickle your fancy. If you’re a heavy drinker (raises her hand) you aren’t going to walk away drunk….but you will be satisfied!
And while we are at it, let’s chat about the price.
10-15 beers….in a private tasting before the doors open….. plus a designated driver…water and snacks….and cool people to hang with and learn from. All for $65. What?!?!? That’s awesome!
Intro to new selections.
One of my favorite things about a beer tour is the opportunity to try new things.
So, can I be honest?
Before this trip, I thought I didn’t like more than a sip or two of beer at a time. Lord knows, I’m a whiskey girl. But I learned that there are types I like and types I don’t (more about that in the next section.) I NEVER would have understood that without the opportunity to taste multiple beers from multiple breweries!
Additionally, you can take multiple trips with Southern Beers Tours, and discover new breweries every time. In addition to the breweries we visited, you can stop at Monday Night Brewing, Second Self, Wild Heaven, Three Taverns, Wrecking Bar, Jekyll, Cherry Street, Blue Tarp and more.
Learn something new.
In addition to learning from each of the breweries, Justin was a wealth of knowledge. He gave us some backstory on the breweries, the Georgia legislation impacting them, the making of beer, etc. Nope, it wasn’t a lecture and it sure wasn’t like school. It was totally fun…and I loved it.
I also learned that it’s not beer I don’t like, it’s HOPS! I never would have known that if not for being on this tour with Justin. I always go for the IPAs because they are what is “hot” right now…but they are full of hops. I tried the Atalanta at Orpheus…a not-too-hoppy sour beer. OMG. For the record, my fridge is now filled with this heavenly craft.
So, especially if you are a beer- connoisseur, but even if you’re not…take a tour with Southern Beer Tours! You never know whatyou’re going to learn!
Disclosure: Thanks to SitSum, ACVB and Southern Beer Tours for their hospitality. I took this tour as part of an Atlanta Travel Conference, but the opinions here are all my own. No one asked me to write about it, but really, how could I keep this a secret??
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.