The first brewery I visited was Brooklyn Brewery in New York. This was many years ago, in 2006 I think, and my fascination for craft beer had just begun. During the free tour, offered every hour on Saturdays, I heard about the brewing process and was in awe of the massive vessels and the feeling of being let in on a secret.

I learned that the guy who designed the brewery’s logo was in fact the designer of the iconic ‘I Love NY’ logo, Milton Glaser. For a stake in the company, Milton created the swooping B logo and the slogan ‘We Serve Brooklyn’, insisting that the brewery stake a claim to the undervalued area as nobody else had. Every time I see a beer from Brooklyn Brewery, I think of this story.

After the tour, everybody settled into the taproom where the brewery served beers fresh from the tap. As more tours finished, the taproom filled up with happy people at the communal tables, chatting about the tour and getting to know each other over a beer – it was such a great time! This was my first experience of the craft beer community, and even though the brewery is much bigger nowadays, this memory will stay with me.

Visiting big breweries can sometimes feel like going to a museum, with well-designed tours and a shop with souvenirs. Smaller breweries, on the other hand, are often more personal, and might offer the opportunity to chat with the brewer, to hear how they got started and stories like the one about Milton, and to taste whatever beers they have on tap that day.

What I’m trying to say is that when you drink a beer, remember that every brewery has a story. If you listen to it, that beer and brewery might stay with you forever.

Malin Norman

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