Two weeks ago I did a tour of Alexander Keith’s Brewery. I’ve been in Nova Scotia for many, many years (8 to be specific – wow, that’s a long time), but I’d never been on the Brewery Tour. I think it has something to do with being a “resident” instead of a “tourist”, but really it was my own fault.
See, I have a lot of friends who have worked/still work at the Brewery. When we used to have get-togethers they would always end in a “Nova Scotia/Keith’s Brewery Song Circle” (of which the only song I’d recognize would be Barrett’s Privateers). They would frequently talk about working at the Brewery, tossing out names like Annie, Andy, Mac, and Sara. I’d been to the Stag’s Head Tavern on un-official visits (they throw an awesome Hallowe’en party and are a great location for fundraisers), but never for the tour.
Until the day when I went on a whim.
It was my friend’s last day on the tour, so I decided I was going to go and see her at work. I didn’t have anyone who could go with me on such short notice, and it felt weird being alone in that group of people, but alone is what you make of it and I decided to just go with it. There’s no law that says single people can’t do things.
Basically you are sent “back in time” to go on a guided tour through the brewery, and there are different actors who take you on your “journey”. There’s also music, stories, a bit of dancing, and beer. Also, I learned why they call it “India Pale Ale” (to find out why you’ll have to go on the tour yourself! Or just research it.)
I’ll admit that the tour is a little cheesy, but the actors are so energetic and earnest that you can’t help but smile. They move the tour along at a brisk pace, stopping every now and then to give you some history or brewing instructions. Don’t be surprised if you’re picked out of the crowd to lend a hand (it’s not that bad, trust me, and it sure as heck beats waiting around for someone to gain enough courage to volunteer).
Going on tours like this you have to be ready to go for it. If the tour guides ask you to cheer, you cheer; if they ask you to follow them, follow them; if they ask you to hold something, you hold it; and if they ask you to sit down for a game, you play that game! You won’t lose anything by playing along and you’ll have a much funner time.
Did I mention that by sitting at the table I got dealt into a card game that I totally won?
The tour is about 1 hour in length, so you move pretty fast. There are some cute signs and picture-worthy areas, so you have to be fast with your camera otherwise you’ll hold up the group.
You also have the chance to sample a beer or two (the India Pale Ale, Keith’s Red, and Keith’s Dark). After the first beer is poured you’re treated to some music (such as Barrett’s Privateers). Then you have the chance to try another beer, before you’re ushered into the games room.
I only had time for 1.5 beers (a Red then the Dark), but I was also not exactly chugging my drinks. You have to drink fast before the tour ends and it seems like it ends all too soon – but no worries! You’re then moved out into the store where you can purchase Keith’s paraphernalia (including beer!).
And remember what they say about Keith’s beer – Those who like it like it a lot!