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Internet brew

In search of the perfect brew

The 'Net's a fine place to start for microbrewery tours

August 26, 1998
Web posted at: 10:52 a.m. EDT (1052 GMT)

(CNN) -- Call it a brewski, suds, bock or stout -- a cold beer may seem just the thing to ice down a late summer's day. While the weather wilts, pull up a frosted mug and an Internet browser and check out some brew pubs and breweries online.

They pump the wort out of the lauter tun and into the kettle, cool it and then let it ferment before it reaches a keg, bottle or can. That's the way of beer, and several breweries will be happy to guide you through the process on their Web sites.

The Redhook Ale Brewery (with actual locations in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Seattle and Woodinville, Washington) takes you on a virtual tour of the beer-making process, from soaking the barley grain at the beginning to shipping the finished product in refrigerated trucks. The tour is illustrated with drawings, and can be a quick run-through or a more detailed tour through an 11-step process.

The Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams, uses photographs of its brewery to guide virtual visitors through the process, and includes a "beer term directory" -- so you'll know that wort is the liquid malt extract that comes from mash, which is malt blended with water, and tuns are large vessels used in a couple of capacities during the beer-making process.

  Check out our beer destinations:
  • Portland beers
  • Seattle's Red Hook
  • Denver's brewpubs
  • Munich beer gardens
  • Anheuser-Busch has seven -- count 'em -- brewery locations. The home page gives real time tour specifics, along with a virtual tour of the St. Louis headquarters.

    For some international flavor, check out the online German magazine Abenteuer und Reisen's special 360-degree tour of famous Munich beer gardens. It ain't Oktoberfest, but it's as close as most of us will get.

    Some breweries, like the Atlanta Brewing Company, Portland's BridgePort Brewing Company and Toronto's Upper Canada Brewing Co. have online tours of the brews instead of the breweries -- and that's likely to make the Internet traveler a trifle thirsty.

    Only one thing to do in that case -- use the Web to plan your real-life brewery tour.

    In Oregon, the Portland BrewBus gets you on the right track, with tours of three or four of Portland's famed breweries and samplings of 15-to-20 of their finest brews. Saturday tours run June through September so best to hurry if you want to catch a ride.

    Rather check out brew houses abroad? No problem -- MIR Corp's European Brewery Adventures takes your quest for beer to the Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Scotland, and of course Bavaria and Bohemia.

    Of course, if you'd rather drive yourself,Lone Mountain Design may be the answer. Lone Mountain makes maps -- including Coop's Comprehensive Map Guides to the Microbreweries and Brew Pubs of America. There are individual maps for ten regions of the United States -- and they can be ordered online.

    And finally, if you just can't get enough, there are other places to go: The Real Beer Page, where "everything you could ever want to know about craft-beer can be found ... and more," and All About Beer. Both are chock full of information, links to other sites and more goodies.

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