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Hops and stops: New beer tour dishes on Brooklyn breweries • Brooklyn Paper

Hops and stops: New beer tour dishes on Brooklyn breweries

Brew master: Beer expert Isaac Bell led a City Brew Tour pizza and beer pairing at Circa Brewing in Brooklyn’s Downtown.
Community News Group / Bill Roundy

Ditch the beer bust for the beer bus!

Brooklyn beer drinkers can now get a full head of beer knowledge while downing the borough’s best brews! City Brew Tours, which offers tours at six other cities along the East Coast, launched its first trip through the Kings County’s breweries at the end of May. Brooklyn’s long history as a brewing center made it a natural stop for the company, said the man who developed the tour.

“The number one reason is because of Brooklyn’s historical beer scene,” said Isaac Bell. “We figured Brooklyn was going to be one of the tougher markets to get into, but we wanted to get in there, and then expand to the other boroughs.”

During the tour, up to 13 beer enthusiasts pack into a van for a carefully curated trip to three of Brooklyn’s breweries. At each stop on the four-hour tour, visitors can skip the lines, tour the facility, and sample at least four different beers. They also get a full meal with a beer pairing at one stop and a discussion of beer history.

This is not a drunken bro tour, Bell emphasized. The rules specifically prohibit drinking on the bus, as well as “pre-gaming” — boozing up before the tour starts.

“We’re 100% trying to squash the mentality that we are a drunk bus,” said Bell. “All over, you have these limo companies that are showing with people who are crushing Bud Light on the bus, and they’re not bringing a great atmosphere. We want to respectful our brewing partners, and make sure everyone has a good time.”

Instead, the company wants people to leave the tour with their intact brain cells overflowing with beer knowledge.

“We like to say that we’re one part education, and one part entertainment,” he said. “If it has to do with beer, we’re going to cover how it should be experienced in a four-hour trip.”

The tour guides will tailor the explanations to the experience level of the group, said Bell. Beer novices get a basic explanation of the brewing process, but a group of home-brewers might get a detailed discussion of the nuances of the different hop varieties.

“If someone is a home-brewer, they’ll let you know,” he said.

The stops on the tour are deliberately diverse — a recent tour included a tour of the massive industrial tanks of Five Boroughs Brewing in Sunset Park, a trip to the pizzeria-and-brewery Circa, and the nano-brewery and distillery Interboro Spirits and Ales in Bushwick. Other possible stops include the Brooklyn Brewery, Strong Rope Brewery, Wartega Brewing Company in Carroll Gardens, and a dinner stop at Kings Beer Hall in Park Slope, and the company plans to add more spots as it expands in the borough.

“We are continually looking to add to our Brooklyn breweries,” said Bell.

City Brew Tours [picks up at 147 Smith St. at Bergen street in Cobble Hill, (347) 429–8687, www.citybrewtours.com/nyc]. Thu–Fri at noon and 6:30 pm; Sat at 11 am and 5 pm; Sun at noon and 5 pm. $115.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Beer or bus!: The City Brew Tour bus whisks people to three different breweries throughout the borough.
Community News Group / Bill Roundy

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