Chocolate & Beer: Top 10 Tours in America
That rich, melt-in your mouth taste, and the resounding hint of hops—who could resist the taste of chocolate or the chill of an ice cold beer? Between the many chocolate factories and breweries in the US, there are plenty of places to sample chocolates and taste-test the beer varieties straight from the brewery tap—sometimes the samples are even free! Check out the top 10 chocolate factory and brewery tours in America for some of the best places to start. Take your pick: the Chocolate or the Beer? Or both?
1. Samuel Adams Brewery – Boston, Massachusetts
The list starts with Sam Adams Brewery in downtown Boston—a fairly new brand despite it’s historically famous founding father’s name. It started in 1984, and now holds hour long tours that help guests learn more about the brewing process. The tour guides keep it informative and entertaining, and even better—free beer! Samples allow you to taste the brews for free, and you even get to keep the glass. Free tours run Monday to Saturday, though a suggested donation of $2 for a local charity is asked at the end. Samuel Adams Brewery is located on 30 Germania Street in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood in Boston. It’s open Monday through Thursday and Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm and Friday from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
2. The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory—Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
You can’t go wrong when starting with The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory—a favorite local and independent chocolatier of Kailua Kona. Hawaiian chocolate is divine, but this factory is an absolute heaven for chocolate lovers. The staff walk you through the entire bean-to-bar process and allow you to tour their farm of cacao trees. This hour long tour shows you the steps to making premium and authentic Hawaiian chocolate for just $15 a person. You get to taste rare chocolate made from Criollo cacao beans—a type of bean found within only 15% of the world’s chocolate! The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory is located at 78-6772 Makenawai Street, and samples are offered throughout the tour. Don’t forget to try the hand-dipped macadamia nuts!
3. D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewery – Pottsville, Pennsylvania
The oldest brewery in America is none other than D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. A visit to the Yuengling Brewery is more than a rundown of the brewing process and a sampling affair, it is the most interesting lesson in history about Yuengling’s survival during the days of prohibition. These free 45 minute tours will have you stepping down the caverns once used to store beer in the days before electricity was invented. At the end of the tour, you get to sample the beer! Stop into D.G. Yuengling Brewery Monday through Saturday at 500 Mahantongo Street in Pottsville. Just don’t forget to wear close-toed shoes inside the factory!
4. Lake Champlain Chocolates—Burlington, Vermont
For a fine chocolate tasting experience, head to Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, Vermont. Watch the chocolate-making process unfold right before your eyes. This chocolate factory offers a free tour full of a variety of chocolate samples made from local ingredients—truffles, organic delights, sea salt and caramel, and butterbombs, you name it they got it! At the end, you can even try some hot chocolate to warm you up, or homemade ice cream to cool you down. Even better, the shop has a ‘seconds’ corner for fantastic chocolate at a discount for the slight packaging errors. Come in for a tour during the weekdays on the hour from 9 am to 2 pm. Lake Champlain Chocolates is located at 750 Pine Street in Burlington.
5. New Belgium Brewing – Fort Collins, Colorado
When in the area, the New Belgium Brewing Company—home to Fat Tire Amber Ale—is great place to take a brew tour in America. Here you not only get the full brewery experience, but you learn the science behind the flavor with a tour for free. Expect a delicious difference between beer from the bottle and the taste straight from the brewery tap with some samples on the tour for just a couple bucks. The friendly staff members walk you through their environmentally-aware and wind-powered brewing process, and you get to go down the slide at the end! Visit New Belgium Brewing Company for a tour Tuesday through Saturday at 500 Linden Street in Fort Collins. It’s only 65 miles from Denver.
6. Theo Chocolates—Seattle, Washington
Check out Theo Chocolates in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle for some of the most delicious artisan chocolate in the city. Learn the “bean-to-bar” process on a half hour to hour long tour within the factory, along with Theo Chocolate’s own mission to make an irresistible organic and fair-trade chocolate bar. Explore how the chocolate is made, take a peek inside the kitchens with chefs whipping up caramels and confections, and taste the final product at the end of the tour—from the spicy and chai to the sea salt and almond varieties. This factory can be found on 3400 Phinney Avenue North. Stop in Monday through Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
7. Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour – Saint Louis, Missouri
Why pass up a tour inside the largest brewer in the US, when it’s conveniently located in the city of Saint Louis, Missouri—and, it’s free! If you aren’t a fan of Bud Light, you would be surprised to know that Anheuser Busch also serves up Shock Top, Stella Artois, Margaritaville favorites and many others brews at the factory. Here you can enjoy a free tour inside the brewery that proves to be both fun and amusing with informative tour guides and impressive architecture and mosaics throughout the grounds. Not only will you learn about the brewing process, but the stained glass and statues really give the place a unique charm. See the colossal Clydesdale horses in the stables, and pick your favorite beer to sample. The Brewmaster Tour (extra $25) dives deeper into the history and brewing process, and you get a free hat and glass to take home! Come in for a tour Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm or Sunday from 11:30 am to 4 pm at 12th Street and Lynch in Saint Louis.
8. Hershey’s Chocolate World—Hershey Park, Pennsylvania
When you’ve come for the chocolate and the entertainment, there is not better way to go than Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey Park, Pennsylvania. A second location is set to open this spring on the Las Vegas strip, beside the New York-New York Hotel. Here at the Pennsylvania location, the family will absolutely love the free 10 minute Chocolate Tour—a dark tunnel ride that simulates the chocolate-making process with informative guide from bean to bar. And, you even get free samples at the end! Kids will love to solve the puzzle with Hershey’s Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D, and the design-your-own-candy-bar is a unique way to bring the fun home. Hershey’s Chocolate World is located at 251 Park Boulevard just next to Hersheypark and can be accessed by tram from the Hersheypark parking lot. This tour is open from 9 am to 5 pm most days of the year.
9. Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. – Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
For the taste of a unique and up-and-coming beer, try Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Leinenkugel is known for a variety of brews from the Sunset Wheat to the Creamy Dark and everything in between. A thirty minute tour inside the factory lodge is free and is full of charm with friendly staff, beer knowledge and delicious samples after the tour—with a small extra cost. Inside, you witness the bottling process and learn about the Leinenkugel family, and it is sure not to bore with award-winning seasonal blends right there to try. Come in for a free tour offered every half hour on any day of the week. Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. is open Monday through Thursday and Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, Friday from 9am to 8pm and Sunday from 11am to 4pm. It is located at 124 E Elm Street in Chippewa Falls.
10. Taza Chocolate—Somerville, Massachusetts
Many don’t even know that chocolate did not exist before the New World met the Old. That’s right—before it was chocolate, it was a favorite hot chocolate-like drink sipped by peoples in Central America. When the Old World discovered the cacao, milk and sugar were added to create the milk chocolate that we all know and love. This trade was named the “Columbian Exchange” and is the reason chocolate exists today. Just outside of Boston, Taza Chocolate reminds us of chocolate’s beginnings with 100% Stone Ground, Mexican-style chocolate—an organic, fair-trade and dark, delicious favorite crafted from vintage machines. A tour through Taza Chocolate is just $5 for a look at the huge stones used to grind the raw cocoa. Learn the steps of the chocolate-making process and taste an array of samples. At the end, sip the hot chocolate just as the earliest chocolate lovers did. Reservations are required so book online for tours on Tuesday through Friday from 11 am to 6 pm and Saturday or Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Taza Chocolate is located at 561 Windsor Street in Somerville.
What’s your favorite tour? Are there any we left off? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!