This was our second trip with City Brew Tours. First one was a few years ago in Boston. We tried to go a couple years ago in DC, but it was cancelled because not enough people signed up and we weren’t able to rearrange things. Signed up for the Original Brew Tour in Baltimore on a Sunday, but maybe because of football season, once again, we got a call on Thursday that it was looking like they’d need to cancel on us. They offered us the shorter Sip of Baltimore Tour on Saturday (because go figure, the Original was already sold out), which, with major rearranging of other activities that we had planned, we were able to do instead. I might suggest that they make the Sunday trip 5-15% less to entice a decent size group on that less popular day.
We had a full van on the Sip Tour and our guide Brent took us to Heavy Seas, Charm City Meadworks, and Checkerspot. I had originally marked myself as a “non-drinker” which gets you a bigger discount on the Original, but it’s only a $5 difference on the Sip Tour. That wound up working better for me as someone who’s not very adventurous beer-wise. I like my porters and stouts and can’t do sours at all. So, at every stop, I just went to the bar and got myself a pint of what I wanted. Brent wasn’t the liveliest guide I’ve ever had, but he knows his stuff, although honestly, I feel like most of us have had brewery tours and know the whole process, so I like when that part is pretty short and/or an employee of the brewery can point out unique stuff that makes their set up different. Brent was also super patient with us; probably because we got a bit of a late start, he was cool when everyone went for one more drink at the last spot and we were a good 30min later than we were supposed to be.
I think the nametags and postcards are a nice touch, but I could see coasters or koozies being a better swag souvenir or maybe a “passport” where you could get a stamp or something for every city you do, since they have a loyalty program; gamify it a bit. I like the Instagram contest idea, although since most of the cities are on the east coast, the prize wasn’t something we’d be able to enjoy anyway. Hopefully, someone opens San Diego and Portland franchises soon.