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Monday, June 1, 2015

Texas Beer Bus Tour

Most of the time when I do things it's because I'm marking it off  my giant bucket list, but other times I do things that just seem fun. This past Saturday I did the Texas Beer Bus Tour just because it seemed like a fun thing to do. Now, I'm not a big drinker, though you probably couldn't tell by my list. But my husband loves beer, and I thought he would really enjoy this adventure. I contacted Neil, the Beer Bus Tour owner and asked if we could set something up and he was more than gracious.
There are several different tours to choose from, ranging from $89 to $117 per person, not including the $15-21 a person drinking fee. While I was on the Katy tour, the Texas Beer Bus also stops in Midtown/Heights, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land. You can check their calendar for specifics on the dates and places that the bus goes to. I know the different tours have different spots.
 I was afraid with all the bad weather we've been having here in Houston I may miss my reserved spot, but thankfully the weather was clear (until we got home) and I was able to meet a ridiculously fun group of fellow tourists out in front of World of Beer in Katy Saturday morning at 10;45am. Given the weather report for the day I didn't think many people would show up, however as more and more people piled on, I saw that even with a flood warning it was pretty much sold out. My fellow passengers were a great mix of male and female, younger and older, couples, singles, friends and coworkers all out for some good beer and good times. So if you're considering going but worried you  may be the only female, or everyone will be older or younger, don't be. The Texas Beer Bus Tour is truly for everyone, provided you are over 21. While the tour is educational in nature, less drunk taxi service than informative adventure, the group and tour guide were full of boisterous laughter and banter.
Due to flooding, our stop at Texian was cancelled, and we headed out on the comfy air conditioned bus to Yellow Rose Distilling instead. Having just done the tour at Yellow Rose the weekend before (I'm really not a big drinker, I swear), I skipped the tour and decided to indulge in their amazing Bloody Marys instead. If you haven't previously been though, the tour is great and you will learn some really cool facts about how they make their whiskey and vodka. For instance, did you know the reason older whiskey is expensive isn't just because it's smoother and better tasting, but also because so much of it is lost each year due to evaporation? Just one of the interesting little tidbits you'll discover on your tours. You will also be able to ask questions and talk to one of the owners of Yellow Rose, which is a must if you are considering starting up a brewery of your own or are just interested in the process. If you aren't a drinker, there are sodas, ginger beer and more things you can drink there.  Next we all scooped up our souvenir shot glasses, boarded the bus again, and made our way out to No Label Brewing. We were told ahead of time by our guide that it was a very family and pet friendly place, and boy was he not kidding. It was packed to overflowing with families, kids playing ball, dogs of all kinds on leashes, and a great fun Summer vibe. Several picnic tables were available, food trucks were serving hot dogs, tacos, burgers and cupcakes, cornhole type games were set up if you fancied some competition, and a live band was playing. When we entered we were given a green wristband that had three tabs on it that we could exchange for cups of beer, as well as a glass we could keep and reuse. As my amazing cousin is the man behind Gilley's beer, available at No Label, I have to highly recommend trying it if you go. Since it is family friendly, there are plenty of other things there to drink if you don't like or want beer. I think we had an hour at No Label before hopping back on the bus and leaving for The Growler Spot. As soon as we entered there, we were presented with three sample cups of beer to try, and a koozie to take home. The Growler Spot served pub type fare and had large TVs playing sports, but I wouldn't classify it was a sports bar at all. It is not a brewery or distillery but it is a great spot to try some new beer. If you don't drink, Saint Arnold's root beer and are sodas available. After our time there ended we all headed back, some in a considerably lighter mood than before, to World of Beer Katy. During the course of the day we made quite a few new friends, learned a lot of things about the making of alcohol, tried some delicious new drinks (seriously guys, that Bloody Mary,,,) and visited some pretty cool spots in the Greater Houston Area that we plan to visit again in the future.  I asked my tour mates at the end if they had a good time and everyone gave a resounding yes. A few people were regulars who do the tour all the time.  If you think you may do a little too much sampling on the tour, it is recommended to take an Uber car, taxi or have a driver who can take you home.
I would recommend the Texas Beer Bus Tour for anyone wanting to start their own brewing journey, as gifts for your favorite beer connoisseur, for people wanting to explore fun new places to drink in the area, for people wanting a cool thing to do with out of town visitors, team building groups, and anyone generally wanting a fun outing.