brewery tour

As a general rule, I try not to drink before Noon... but sometimes rules are made to be broken. Yesterday, for example. :)

**I want to note, though - because that sounds kind of bad - that I don't really drink that often (vs. the college years, anyways) and when I do, it's usually not much. 

So, yesterday I went with some friends to the Summit Brewery in St. Paul for a tour. If you get a chance, it's neat. Our tour started at 10:30 a.m. and we were sampling by 11:30 a.m.  Summit mostly sells locally, and particularly in the midwest, although they do sell in a few states outside of the area. I guess you have to reserve it really early, though, if you want to go on a Saturday - I was taking an extra slot my friends had, but they had booked it in May.

The people who volunteered for the tours were all really nice and knowledgeable - and it started of with a very pleasant PowerPoint presentation. Our tour guide, in particular, was pretty witty - near the end of the tour when no one seemed to have any questions for him he gave everyone a final chance for questions: "Any questions? About the tour? About my personal life? Anything?" - that made me chuckle. And because noone had any questions (on topic or personal) for him, we headed out to the bar for our samples.

Here's some pictures from the day:

I liked this huge copper kettle. This room gets really warm when it's running, so they recently started using that more efficiently. In the summer, they have this room closed off from the main area and send the hot air outside, rather than keeping in the building and increasing their air conditioning costs. In the winter, they funnel the heat from this into other parts of the building, reducing their heating costs. They had several things they do to be socially responsible that they talked about, and I thought that was interesting.

These giant canisters are used in the beer making process -- on one side, they are one-deep. On the other side, they are three-deep to the wall. That's quite a bit of brewsky. P.S. This is Brian & Beth.

This is where they do the bottling and packaging. It's a pretty neat system and interesting to learn about their quality assurance process during this phase.
This is a close-up of part of the bottling process - I thought it would make a neat picture. :)
As I mentioned, you get samples after the tour - I liked their wrist bands because they had your drink tickets attached, making it very difficult to lose them. As you can see, you get 3 samples.

Here are some of the samples. I'm not sure what the two lighter ones are, but the medium one is Summit Red and the dark one if their Oatmeal Stout. Overall, I tried the Oatmeal Stout, the Anniversary brew (because they're celebrating 25 years this year), and a pilsner.

This is the Oatmeal Stout - it was cool because they put an "S" in the foam on top. I'm not sure if it was for Summit, or for stout. Either way, it was cool so I hope it shows up OK on here. By the way, the Oatmeal Stout ended up being my favorite of my samples even though super dark bear isn't typically my thing.

And because I am told I don't post enough pictures of me, here's one. This is my friend Emily (left) and me (right) in front of the brewery.
So, check out the Summit Brewery. To steal a quote from one of the t-shirts in their gift shop:

Think Globally, Drink Locally.

And, thanks to E, B, B, A, and A for letting me join you for the tour. :)

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