Introducing….Niagara Craft Brewery Tours

The social media world can be a really cool place.

Since I’ve moved to Niagara, it has been the conduit through which I’ve met some really great people. Most of the friends and contacts that I’ve made, and interesting businesses I’ve discovered down here have been all due to social media.

Yep. All hail the tweet.

Thanks to Twitter, I’ve met two more super Niagara guys.

Everybody, meet Steve and Jakob, the entrepreneurial brains behind Niagara Craft Brewery Tours.

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About a month ago, I noticed Niagara Craft Brewery Tours on Twitter. Their name alone had my attention. I’m just starting to dip my toes into the world of craft beer, and thought a tour would be a great place to start my education.

I sent Steve a message and found that their tours are officially starting in May. I figured I would have to wait until then, but he and Jakob very kindly agreed to chat with me and ease me into some beer knowledge. For which I am very grateful.

We planned to meet at Taps on Queen Brewhouse and Grill in Niagara Falls. I was looking forward to meeting them, and hearing a bit of their story. Oh, and tasting some great Niagara beer too.

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A few minutes after we introduced ourselves we were chattering away like anything. This gave Ken a bit of grief. We were talking so animatedly that it was difficult for him to get good pictures. Poor Ken. In the shot below I am very desperately trying to hold my hands in place, and not squiggle around. Yeah, I’m one of those talkers who gestures a lot.

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Steve and Jakob told me a bit about themselves. Both are born and raised in the Niagara region, and their friendship goes all the way back to high school. They still go away every summer for a weekend with some of their friends from those days. I think that’s amazing. The only thing that’s changed over the years for these weekends is that no one arrives with a big beer company 2-4 any more. Apparently everyone comes with growlers, and some serious craft beer tasting ensues. That’s what friends are for.

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Both Steve and Jakob actually moved away from Niagara, working abroad for awhile. When their jobs were complete, they both knew that they wanted to return home. With their passion for Niagara, and their passion for craft beer, the idea for Niagara Craft Brewery Tours was born.

So now it was time for a bit of tasting.

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I was presented with my tasting flight of beers brewed by Taps. Starting with Niagara’s Best Blonde Ale, Taps Red Cream Ale, Sinister Sams IPA, and their Porter.

OK beer experts, bear with me here. I’m sure my terminology is wrong, but hey – it’s my enthusiasm that counts.

I could certainly taste and appreciate the difference in flavours and body in each beer. Some I could see myself drinking on a hot summer’s day, others seemed to call for cold weather and a really good stew. Hmmm….this is sounding kind of like wine talk. Maybe I can get the hang of this.

Personally, my particular favourite that night was the Niagara’s Best Blonde. I blame it on my affinity for all things blonde in general.

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While we were tasting, I learned a bit more about their tours.

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First of all, their tours will be small – 6-7 people maximum. Now this is the first key to my heart. With a smaller tour, you really get a chance for a personal experience. You get more interaction with your guides, and get all of your questions answered. The educational component is a large part of what makes a tour great to me.

They are also offering two distinct tours – a Northern Tour and a Southern Tour, and each will be available for lunch or dinner hours. All the details are on their site.

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But the thing that really stood out for me as we chatted, is how much Steve and Jakob love Niagara. It was clearly evident that they are passionate about the region and want to share it with the world. They believe strongly in promoting their neighbour’s business, and say the support they’ve had from the Niagara craft beer producers has been incredible.

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They made this beer newbie feel totally at ease. I have a feeling that their tours will be great fun as well as educational.

So now I just have one dilemma. Do I start with the Northern Tour or the Southern Tour?

If you’re interested in joining a tour yourself, all the details are here on their site. And if you’re planning to be at the Niagara Food & Wine Expo this weekend, the guys will be there – no doubt sampling some great beer. They’ve told me to tell you all that if you see them, come up and say hi.

Two friendly guys with a passion for Niagara, promoting some of our terrific local craft beers. I’m excited to watch their business grow.