Beer Sampler of 4 beers from Bad Martha Farmer's Brewery in East Falmouth Massachusetts. This is one of the craft breweries near Falmouth

7 Big Mistakes to Avoid on Brewery Tours and Beer Tastings

If you’re a new craft beer enthusiast or curious about the process of brewing, then taking a craft brewery tour is something you have to do.

These tours offer an opportunity to learn about the history and specialties of some of the best craft breweries…and you always get to taste the products.

In this guide, I will help you make the most out of your first craft brewery tour or tasting.

You will learn all the dos and don’ts of craft beer tasting – everything you need to know before your first tour.

And most importantly, I’ll answer all the common questions about brewery tours. From what to wear, to whether or not to bring your kids (or dog), I got you covered.

Want to know more about breweries to visit in New England? Here is a breakdown of the best breweries in Portland, Maine and Massachusetts.

Four glasses of Rising Tide Beers in Portland, Maine, after a day of craft brewery tours

What is the difference between a brewery tour and a brewery tasting?

A brewery tour involves visiting the brewery facility where beer is brewed and learning about beer-making. During the tour, you will typically be guided through different areas of the brewery, such as the fermentation tanks, brewing equipment, and storage facilities.

A guide explains the stages of beer production, the ingredients, and the techniques used in creating different beer styles.

You can ask questions, interact with the brewing staff, and get an in-depth look into the workings of the brewery. Brewery tours are educational and offer a behind-the-scenes experience.

On the other hand, a brewery room tasting at the end of a tour. It occurs in a space within the brewery where you can sample a selection of beers from the brewery.

Some breweries offer both tours of the facilities and beer tastings. While other smaller breweries only have craft beer tastings.

During a craft brewery tasting, a staff member or a beer expert will guide you through the tasting, explaining the qualities of each beer and answering any beer-related questions.

Sometimes the beer expert is called a Beertender. A beer tasting, or hanging out at a brewery, is just like a regular experience at a bar.

Image of glass of beer from Austin Street Brewing Beer in Portland, Maine
Glass of beer from Austin Street Brewing Beer in Portland, Maine

What are the dos and don’ts of craft brewery tours?

Craft brewery tours are a fun way to learn something new about a brewery. Keep a few of these dos and don’ts on your first craft beer tour:


  1. Respect the rules: Always follow the brewery’s guidelines and rules. This might mean wearing appropriate shoes (aka no flip-flops near the machines) and not touching the equipment.

  2. Listen and engage: Pay attention to the tour guide or Beertender, who provides valuable insights into the brewing process. Feel free to ask questions to help your understanding. Not sure what questions to ask? Here are my recommendations for questions to ask on a brewery tour or tasting.

  3. Sample responsibly: If the tour includes tastings, drink in moderation and be mindful of the alcohol content. Craft beers can have higher alcohol levels, so pace yourself and know your limits.

    The higher alcohol content means fewer beers to get drunk. And when you are sampling lots of different beers, you will be surprised how quickly you get drunk! Also, craft beers are “heavier” than traditional beers and can sometimes give you a stomachache.

  4. Stay hydrated: Craft brewery tours and tastings will have water available. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the tour.

  5. Use the glassware: If offered a specific glass for tasting, use it as intended. The glass shape can influence the beer’s aroma and flavor, enhancing the tasting experience.

  6. Stay in designated areas: Respect the designated areas for tours and tastings. Avoid venturing into restricted zones without permission.

  7. Support the brewery: Consider purchasing beer or merchandise from the brewery’s gift shop to support their craft and continue enjoying their products at home.

    Breweries usually work with local artists on their merchandise, so check out their shirts and hats.

    And don’t forget to tip your beertender!

  8. Be open to trying new beers: Embrace the opportunity to taste different beer styles and varieties that you may not have encountered before.

  9. Share on social media: Local breweries benefit from sharing your pictures and positive reviews. Tag them in your fun pictures so other people can support the small business.

    Your reviews can help visitors make choices about which breweries to explore, and they also provide valuable feedback to the breweries themselves.

    Positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations contribute to the breweries’ reputations. Your posts and reviews can inspire others to try craft beers and support the local beer scene.
Beer Sampler of 4 beers from Bad Martha Farmer's Brewery in East Falmouth Massachusetts. This is one of the craft breweries near Falmouth


  1. Don’t be disruptive: Avoid talking loudly, using your phone excessively, or otherwise being disruptive during the tour. Be considerate of others’ experiences.

    Pay attention to any instructions at the beginning of the tour, such as where to gather, designated tour paths, and areas that might be off-limits to visitors.

  2. Don’t touch equipment without permission: Brewery equipment is sensitive, and touching sensitive machines could pose safety risks or disrupt operations.

  3. Don’t be rude or disrespectful: Treat brewery staff, guides, and other visitors with courtesy and respect. Don’t hit on your Beertender or argue with them about beer. That person ruins the experience for everyone.

  4. Don’t assume it’s ok to bring your dog or children: Yes, many breweries are both kid and dog-friendly but you should always check the website first.

7 Big Mistakes to Avoid on Brewery Tour or Craft Beer Tastings

During craft beer tastings or tours, people can inadvertently make certain mistakes that might hinder their overall experience or understanding of the beers they’re trying. Here are five common mistakes:

Image of pizza and beer from Bad Martha's Farmers Brewery in East Falmouth, Massachusetts. This is one of the Massachusetts breweries with food.
  1. Overindulging: Craft beer tastings often involve sampling multiple beers in relatively small quantities. One mistake people make is overindulging, especially if they’re not used to the higher alcohol content in craft beers.

    Consuming too much can dull the senses and make it challenging to appreciate the nuances of each beer.
  2. Rushing through tastings: Some people may be in a hurry or feel pressured to move quickly during a tasting or tour, leading them to rush through the samples.

    Rushing can prevent them from fully tasting the flavors and aromas of each beer. Taking time to pause, smell, and taste mindfully adds to the tasting experience.
  3. Not planning transportation: Deciding on who will drive to and from the tasting is important. You can opt to pay for a ride share like Uber or Lyft. Your group can also have a designated driver. But the most important thing is to decide your transportation in advance.

    Another option is a brewery tour group led by local guides. Brewery tour groups can also provide transportation. Plus, guides can offer insights into the local beer culture and the history of the breweries you visit.

    If you are touring a popular area like Portland or Boston, check out a guided beer tour.

    Whichever option you choose, safety should always be a top priority. This will allow you to enjoy the brewery experience and not worry about driving.
  4. Not planning in advance: Crafting (pun intended) a well-organized brewery tour route is important to make the most of your time. If you are visiting an area, it helps to plan out which brewery you will go to first.

    Craft brewery tours have increased in popularity and can fill up quickly. This is especially during peak seasons, weekends, or during events. It’s important to book your craft brewery tours in advance, especially if you are a large group.

    Visit the websites of the breweries and check their tour schedules. Check the brewery to see if they offer discounts for first responders or the military.

    Many breweries offer online booking options, making reserving your spot ahead of time convenient. Some may even provide early-bird discounts or group packages for those who plan in advance.

    Brewery tours are a great option for bachelor/bachelorette parties. Research what options are available to groups and book ahead of time.
  5. Ignoring palate cleansers: Palate cleansers, like water or plain crackers, are often provided during craft beer tastings. This helps to reset the taste buds between different beers.

    Don’t underestimate the importance of palate cleansers. Not using palate cleansers can affect your ability to taste the distinct characteristics of each beer.
  6. Sticking to familiar styles: While we all have preferences, don’t limit yourselves to beer styles you already know and enjoy. Try new or unfamiliar ones!

    Craft beer tastings are a fun opportunity to explore and expand your palate by trying different styles, which can lead to the discovery of new favorites.

    The last tasting I went to, I sampled a cucumber jalapeño beer. Granted, I didn’t like it, but it was fun to try something new.

  7. Not checking the brewery calendar: Craft breweries host some amazing community events, which could be good or bad for your tour. Showing up for a fun tour, and there is a live DJ is a great surprise. But if you show up with your group and there is a quiet yoga and meditation class occurring at the same time…well, that’s not so good.

    Review the events section on the brewery’s website before you go. There are always new and fun community events at local breweries – make sure it adds to your experience.

    Many of the breweries here in New England offer free concerts and community events. There is also delicious food to enjoy at many breweries.

Remember that craft beer tastings and tours are about fun and education. You can only learn what you do and don’t like by trying new things.

Frequently Asked Questions About Craft Brewery Tours

What can I expect during a brewery tour?

During a brewery tour, you and your group are given a history of the brewery. Depending on the size of the brewery, the tour might take place in one room or throughout the brewery.

In addition to the history of the brewery, you will also learn how they brew the beer. There will be chances to sample the beer throughout the craft brewery tour.

Are reservations required, or can I just walk in?

Most brewery tours require and encourage a reservation.

Some craft breweries have tasting rooms that are open to the public without reservation. Review the brewery’s website for details.

Is there an age restriction for brewery tours? Can I bring my children?

Due to the increased popularity, some local breweries are now open to children. But since not all breweries are like this, you need to check with the brewery directly.

Check the brewery’s site and social media to see if they mention “kid-friendly” or if they have a designated area for families. Most brewery tours require you to be over 21.

Will I need to pay for the beer samples, or are they included in the tour price?

Craft brewery tours offer samples as part of the tour. You may purchase the beers at the end of the tour. But every brewery is different, so read about the tour in advance.

How long does a typical brewery tour last?

A typical brewery tour lasts 45 minutes to an hour. If you are on a craft brewery tour, which visits multiple breweries, this could last 3 to 5 hours.

Can I bring my dog to the craft beer tour? Can I bring my dog to the brewery?

While most breweries are dog-friendly, you must check the brewery site about bringing the dog on the tour. Always ask in advance about bringing your dog.

Are there non-alcoholic beers or drinks at a craft beer tasting?

Check the beer-tasting brewery website directly for more information. Many craft beer tastings now offer coffee, tea, and non-alcoholic mocktails.

Do you tip at a tasting room?

Yes, you tip your Beertender at a tasting room, similar to how you tip at a bar or restaurant.

Is it rude if I don’t finish my beer at the tasting?

If you don’t enjoy the beer, then do not feel pressured to finish it.

At the same time, do not be rude or complaining about the beer. We all have different tastes and preferences but don’t be disrespectful to the business.

What do I wear to a brewery tour? Is there a dress code for brewery tours?

No, there is no dress code for brewery tours. Attire for breweries is casual, but I’d avoid flip flops or sandals if you are walking near heavy machinery.

Can I purchase beer directly from the brewery during the tour?

At the end of the tour, you should have the opportunity to make beer and gift purchases. Souvenirs are a great way to support local craft breweries.

Will I have the opportunity to ask questions to the brewers or staff?

Yes, most craft beer tours answer questions at the conclusion. The tour is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of the brewery, and any new products they are working on.

Word to the wise, no matter how much you know about craft beer, don’t get into an argument with your Beertender about the flavor or hoppiness of the beer. Seriously, don’t be that person. Just enjoy the tour, drink some beer, and have fun.

Can I bring my bachelor (or bachelorette) party to the brewery?

Yes! Craft beer tastings are open to groups, so contact the brewery directly to see if larger groups need to book in advance.

What are good questions to ask on a craft brewery tour?

The best question is a follow-up to a topic the guide is most excited about. “Can you tell me more about _____” is a great go-to question. People love to share what they are passionate about.

Some other possible questions are:

  • What is your typical day like?
  • Who designs the beer labels?
  • What new and upcoming beers are you working on?
  • What makes you excited about the future of the craft beer industry?
  • What makes this brewery unique?
  • Who chooses the beer names? (and how can I get that job?)
  • What food pairs well with this beer?
  • What is the most popular or requested beer?

And that is everything you need to get the most out of your first brewery tour. What do you think? Is that everything you need to know before your first craft beer tasting?

Let me know how it goes and if there is a brewery I should check out – I enjoy adding more craft beer tastings to my travel list.

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