Do not drink alcohol below the legal age of 21, do not drink excessively, and do not drink and drive. Thank you.

With that out of the way, I can now introduce this week’s topic- beer. Specifically, beer touring. Recently, my parents and I had the opportunity to tour the New York Beer Project, (NYBP) a locally-owned brewery that makes craft beers. They also promote a family friendly bar environment, with games set up for the tykes. Go figure, right?

When we started the tour, I didn’t have much of an idea what to expect. Along with a few couples, my parents and I were given little tasting cups branded with the NYBP logo and directed to follow our tour guide upstairs. Once there, it was not long until we were tasting our first beer- Game Day. We were encouraged to use our eyes, noses, and mouths when trying the alcoholic beverages, not just to taste them, but to visually observe and smell them as well. This led us to drink our way from a buckleberry fruit drink to a rich IPA. We even got to try out the seasonal watermelon drink, which was excellent.

What I was really impressed by, however, was not the alcohol itself. Rather, it was the way the tour was run. Our guide, Kyle, was full of information, from humorous “MUC" (made-up crap, as he jokingly called it) to legitimately interesting, true facts regarding the production of beer, the founding of the NYBP, and more. Did you know that the United States isn’t even in the top ten beer drinkers per capita in the world, or that beer is boiled before it is finished? I didn’t, but now I do. Before we knew it, the whole group was talking about beer and laughing, and it was like we had known each other for a long time even though we just met.

On top of that, the enthusiasm that the employees had was apparent. Kyle worked as a guide practically for free, simply because he knew and admired the owners of the place. When we ate there after (great burgers, by the way) our waiters seemed sincerely interested in pleasing us, and the general manager came by to ask us how our tour went. He admitted to feeling personally invested in the brewery, and it was easy to believe him. This made it easy to feel enthusiastic about being there as a patron, and my family plans to return to the NYBP soon because of that.

In other words, the tour was more than just something to do and the NYBP was more than just a place to drink at; it was a real experience, and one that I enjoyed having immensely.