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Monday, March 16, 2015

Franconia Brewery

I told Kelly I wanted to tour Franconia Brewery. It's just 15 minutes from our home and tours are offered every Saturday at 11.

It was a pitch he couldn't refuse.

It was a great experience! Whether you like beer or not, the information shared was fascinating. There's a reason we own a book titled "Watch it Made in the USA." We loooooove factory tours.

The old-timey guy in the logo? That's the founder of the original Franconia Brewery - the current brewmaster/owner's great-great grandfather. The original brewery opened in Germany in 1800.

We arrived right at 11 and found a huge crowd. The owner/brewmaster, Dennis, lays out the ground rules before anyone is allowed in. Number 1 rule: You need your ID.

$5 gets you in the door and $5 more gets you a souvenir glass.

The tour kicks off with a starter drink to loosen up the crowd and allow late-comers to get in before the tour begins.

This is Dennis. His beer is delicious.

Cheers! A dunkel for Kelly and a hefeweizen for me. We also learned that the head (the foamy stuff) on beer is 100% protein. Who knew?

Their motto: "The bier from here." The marketer in me is pleased.

The tour kicks off with a history lesson from Dennis - how he (a German) ended up in McKinney, Texas. He's the son of the son of the son of a brewmaster and he started working in the family business when he was still in single digits. And he earned a master's degree in beer and food science from the University of Munich. He's got beer cred.

Plus the region that he grew up in has nearly 400 breweries. 400.

We moved into the brewing portion of the facility. Dennis explained everything that went into beer (just four ingredients - barley, hops, water and yeast) and why he only makes German style beer, as well as what that means. He did a great job of explaining what was happening at each stage within the tanks and why.

The beer he produces is naturally carbonated - the foam in the photo below is a "bleed-off" of extra carbonation during the fermenting process.

The tour's last stop was inside the cooler.

It was c-o-l-d in there. We were warned not to touch any of the tanks or valves. Dennis spent time explaining the different types of beers (there are actually only two: Ales and Lagers) and how these differences impact the finishing process.

Then we headed back to enjoy another glass of beer. I'm sure some people there enjoyed another and another and another, but two glasses in two hours was plenty for me. Plus the calories - hello!

Because if you had a wish list, you'd definitely want to be sure to include a unicorn, right?

All in all, the tour was a great value and really interesting. I'd definitely go again!

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