26 Jan South Florida Sampler Tour on the Brew Bus USA
When we saw that the annual North American TBEX (one of the largest travel blogger conferences around) was going to be held in our old stomping grounds of Florida, we were super excited. The dates of the conference coincided nicely with our friends’ wedding that we would already be attending, so it was a no brainer that we attend!
After we moved away from Florida a couple of years ago, it seemed as though breweries started to pop up all over the state. We had only visited a couple breweries in Florida, so the Sampler Tour with Brew Bus USA sounded like the perfect “pre-BEX” excursion to sign up for. How can you argue with craft beer and spending the afternoon with a bus full of fun fellow bloggers?!
The tour started off with everyone getting a glass to use for the day’s samples. Before we even made it to the first stop, we were given a sample of the Brew Bus beer. They actually brew they own beer as well, and sampling it on the bus definitely added a fun element between stops.
The afternoon itinerary was set for us to visit 4 breweries: Craft Beer Cartel, Funky Buddha Brewery, Holy Mackerel Brewery, and LauderAle Brewery. Two samples were given at each stop, in addition to the samples on the bus.
Craft Beer Cartel
Our first stop was located on a quiet neighborhood street. Much more than just a brewery, the Craft Beer Cartel is part bottle shop, part brewery and part homebrew supply shop. They also teach classes if you want a little instruction on how to brew your own beer. When walking around the shop, make sure to look down; you will find the floor is covered in beautiful designs all made from bottle tops.
As we sampled two of their beers, we were given a brief introduction about how beer is made, some insight on the brewery itself and an overview of all the different beers they stock in the store.
Funky Buddha Brewery
Next on the itinerary was a stop at a brewery we’ve been wanting to check out for quite some time: Funky Buddha Brewery. The 3,000 square foot tap room is gorgeous–I loved the design and giant wall art that depicted the entire brewing process. We were each given our two samples and after a short introduction to the brewery, we were free to relax and enjoy the tap room. In addition to beer, the Funky Buddha also serves a variety of grub, from meals to light snacks.
Holy Mackerel Brewery
Our third stop brought us to a strip mall where we walked in the unassuming Holy Mackerel Brewery. I never would have guessed there would be a brewery in the strip mall, so I’m glad that we were shown this little gem. The brewery started in the owner’s kitchen way back in 1993, and through the years he won numerous contests and awards. After over 10 years of home brewing, the Holy Mackerel was born. The atmosphere of the tap room was low key and laid back–perfect for a bit of mingling before boarding the bus once again.
LauderAle Hand Crafted Beer
The last brewery of the day was my favorite aesthetically. LauderAle Hand Crafted Beer is full of amazing natural and recycled materials, and the tap room is accessible through a wide open garage door. The brewery’s goal is to create authentic ales that are influenced by the local culture. I loved every detail inside the tap room, and the beers were just as delicious!
All of the beers we sampled throughout the day were delicious, but I have to say, some of my favorites were the Brew Bus Brews. On the bus we were served samples of their Irish-style red ale “Rollin Dirty”, their India pale ale “Last Stop”, their English style porter “Double Decker”, their hoppy wheat “Are Wheat There Yet?”, and my personal favorite of the day, their blueberry wheat “You’re My Boy Blue”.
Needless to say, we had enough beer to fill us up for the afternoon! There are several tour options available, such as the Full Pour Tour where you get a full pint at every stop and two pints on the bus, the Sampler Tour where you get two 4 oz. samples at each stop as well as samples on the bus, or the Taproom Crawl which is more of a shuttle service to several breweries with complimentary beer on board. They also offer distillery tours, trips to Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, special events and private tours.
We had a fantastic time getting to know our fellow passengers, and it was fun to check out a few of the breweries in the area. The brew bus was the perfect kickoff to the crazy few conference days that were about to follow!
Have you ever been on a Brew Bus or similar tour?
Special thanks to TBEX and Brew Bus USA for providing us with complimentary tours as a part of the “pre-BEX” tour offering. As always, all opinions are our own.