The bus I was hosting (the best bus), started out at Blackstone Restaurant and Brewery and made the quick trip uptown to Blackstone's brewing facility on Clifton Avenue, where Kent Taylor taught a quick class on the science of beer and gave a tour of the brewery. Thanks to some arcane laws, Blackstone is not allowed to give samples of their beers at the facility, but high-gravity beers (which fall under a different set of laws) are fair game, so we kicked off our tour with a cup of Blackstone's Adam Bomb. Nothing like a strong drink to get the party started.
From there, we progressed to the new Hops + Crafts, the new taproom and growler fill bar conveniently located about a block from the Scene offices. I distracted the riders on the trip with several rousing rounds of beer trivia and rewarded the winners with lots of random swag from my junk drawer. The participants seemed to appreciate it and I was glad to clean out the drawer.
This was my first visit to Hops + Crafts, but I'll definitely be back. The comfortable taproom serves a wide variety of craft drafts in pints or for half and full growler fills, and our bus load was not happy to leave. But since our next stop was the venerable and beloved Yazoo Brewing Company, it wasn't too difficult to get the crowd moving.
At Yazoo, the taproom manager served up samples of Dos Perros and Pale Ale and then led us through an entertaining history lesson of the rise of the brewery from Linus Hall's garage to the juggernaut that they have become. It was hardly worth getting on the bus to go a block to Jackalope, but transport was included in the price of the crawl, so we went ahead and helped consume some extra fossil fuels.
Our final stop was at the rebooted Rock Bottom where the gracious staff had set up small tastings of many of their craft brews and opened up the pool tables for some free play. Many members of the group visited the new rooftop deck for a great view of downtown and a brief respite from breathing bus air. Before leaving Rock Bottom, each participant received a free growler emblazoned with "I Tapped That" and then loaded up the bus to return to Blackstone.
This was just the first edition of this event for the Scene, but other than the perhaps unwise choice of at least one bus host, it seemed very well planned and executed. Hopefully, we'll repeat it again soon, and if we do, make sure to get on the best bus!