Craft Beer Week caters to beer tourists

Great American Beer TourIs your passport up to date? That is your beer passport.

Small breweries across the country will be stamping those passports during American Craft Beer Week May 14-20. Frequent visitors on The Great American Beer Tour can earn a variety of prizes, including a trip to the American Beer Festival.

“America’s small brewers are part of a movement, a shift in consciousness, and the trading up of what beer people drink,” said Julia Herz, a spokesperson for the Brewers Association. “American Craft Beer Week will highlight craft brewers and the beer drinkers that support this grassroots effort.”

The tour supports the week’s theme – “Visit your local brewery.” Participants earn points for each brewery visit, allowing them to earn premiums such as beer mugs and logo shirts. The beer tour traveler who accumulates the greatest number of points will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to the 26th Great American Beer Festival held in Denver, Colorado October 11-13, 2007. More than 850 Brewers Association member breweries will have passports to validate. They are also available online.

Many breweries plan special events during the week, and a list can be found at the Craft Beer Week website.

Among those with special plans is Flying Dog, which will conduct tours and give away prizes at both the Flying Dog Brewery in Denver and the Wild Goose Brewery in Frederick, Md.

In Denver, tour-goers will be registered to win a variety of Flying Dog prizes, including pint glasses, and one grand prize winner will receive a three-day pass to the Great American Beer Festival in October. All week, tours will be given by Flying Dog’s brewers, culminating with German-trained brewermaster and CEO Eric Warner giving the brewery tour on May 18. (Here’s a complete tour schedule).

“It’s rare that the brewers have a chance to get away from the Brewhouse to give a tour, so we think it will be a special treat for visitors to get an extremely inside look at our brewing process,” said Flying Dog’s director of marketing Neal Stewart. “And Eric probably only gives four or five tours a year, so this is an excellent opportunity for Flying Dog fans to interact with one of the country’s most knowledgeable brewers.”