Well…I’ll give you a hint…it costs $8.50 at Busch Stadium and rhymes with “gear”…as in…
“Git’cher butt in GEAR, boy! We’re gittin‘ us some beer!”
That’s it! You guessed it…we spent our extra afternoon at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis. And, as disturbing as this sounds, my 8 year old son hesitantly proclaimed THIS as his favorite part of the whole trip. Told you he was my son…
If you’ve never been to the Budweiser brewery, you’re missin‘ out. This was my second trip, and it was even better than I remember. The tours are approximately one hour and fifteen minutes long, and they start every fifteen or twenty minutes. No appointments, tickets (although you do get a pass upon entry), or money is required. That’s right…no money required…the entire tour is FREE! For those of you doing the math in your head, that’s exactly the right price for someone who was just forced to drop an extra $115 on an extra night in a down-town St. Louis hotel.
The tour itself includes a walk (and brief trolley ride) through the historical 100 acre estate…I say historical because nearly all of the buildings look as if they were specially designed to blend in with the red-brick look of old St. Louis. This ain’t no industrial park, that’s for sure. The grounds even include one of the founders’ actual third-grade school house, now converted into a small office building once occupied by Mr. Anheuser himself.
Stops and attractions include a view into the actual bottling factory, an informative and entertaining lecture on the process and history of Anheuser-Busch beer, and a lengthy visit to the Budweiser Clydesdale stables. For those of you thinking “Clyde who?,” the Clydesdales are those freakishly large horses with the white hair on their hooves that you see on the beer commercials. In the stables (which are beautiful, by the way), you are close enough to spit on those massive hides (although, I do NOT recommend attempting to do so).
For us, the stables were especially interesting because it was those very same Clydesdales we saw the night before at Opening Day. In fact, our tour guide said it was “a mess” getting them ready the day of the game. Even the slightly obese Budweiser dalmatian (cleverly named “Bud”) is allowed to roam freely around the brewery grounds.
Okay…now get a load ‘a this…I’ve saved the best for last. After an hour long walk/ride around the brewery, the hospitable folks at Anheuser-Busch understand you might be a bit thirsty, so they’ve set aside a nice little surprise for those of legal drinking age…FREE BEER! That’s right…at the end of the tour, each individual 21 years or older receives two free Anheuser-Busch products (Budweiser, Amber Boch, etc.)! This is no joke, people…FREE BEER! And for those of you too young to drink (or unlucky enough to get tagged as the DD), soft drinks are also offered in abundance.
Of course, there is a purpose to the madness…after getting you all happy-slappy on free booze (fyi, I recommend taking along a non-drinking friend or two so you can bum a few extra beers), the tour concludes by casually dumping you and your wallet off in the same spot you started from…the lobby…right next to the massive and appealing Budweiser store.
It was all I could do to keep from walking away with a new Budweiser cooler (you know, the cool ones with the radios in them…gosh…I’ve always wanted one of those).