Brewery Visit: Jacksonville Budweiser

This week while in Jacksonville for Spring Break, my friends and I visited the Budweiser brewery.  It was a very cool experience.  We did a tour of the facility and we tasted some beers.  I think the most interesting part of the tour was seeing how many different types and brands of beer that Budweiser produces.  This first picture is one of the many different brands that they produce.

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The brands that I was most surprised to see that Budweiser produces is Shock Top and Stella Artois.

I have visited a few craft breweries, but never one the size of Budweiser.  The main differences between a craft brewery and this one is the size of the machines, and that Budweiser has mechanized a lot of the process, whereas smaller breweries do it by hand.  These next few pictures are of the mach tuns, lautering tanks and cooling tanks, used during the brewing and fermentation tanks.

The left picture, is where the grains are mixed in with hot water.  The to water extracts the sugars from the grains and creates a sweet water.  The sweet water gets moved to the tank in the center picture, where hops and yeast are added to start making the beer and ferment.  The yeast eats the sugar from the water and the hops add flavor.  Next the liquid gets moved to a cooling tank, in the right picture, where secondary fermentation takes place.  From there the liquid gets transferred to the bottling line, pictured below.

The beer gets put into cans, bottles, and kegs in these pictures.  From there, the bottles and cans get packaged into boxes and get ready to be shipped out.  All the beer made in this brewery is already sold.  They do not hold beer in the brewery waiting for it to get purchased.  As soon as the beer is packaged it gets shipped to the customers.

After the tour, we went to the tasting rooms, where we redeemed our chips, given to us at the beginning of the tour, for a free glass and a glass of beer.

The first picture, on the left, is the selection of bottles and cans that are available in the tasting room.  They also had a very taps in the tasting room.  The center picture is of our free glasses.  The first glass is Stella Cidre, the middle is Wild Blue Blueberry Ale, and the third glass is Hoegaarden.  Each of these beers is very delicious, and I would get them all again.  After we finished our free beers, we used the free tasting tickets, my friend got in her 21st birthday package, and got a flight to try more beers, and a glass of frozen cherry-ahh-Rita.  In the tasting flight we tried, from left to right,  Michelob AmberBock, LandShark, Bluepoint Ale, and Shock Top Ruby Fresh.  They were all very good beers.  My favorites were the Bluepoint Ale and the Shock Top Ruby Fresh, and I will definitely be drinking these again.

Before visiting the brewery, I thought that Budweiser only produced the beers that said Budweiser on the bottles.  After visiting the brewery, I realized that they are similar to big commercial wineries.  They produced cheap, not quality beers, and then they produce different beers of raising prices and qualities.  It was very interesting to see the facility and hear about how they make beer.  Before we left, we had the opportunity to take a few photos.

The first is me and my friend in front of the wagon, a symbol of how Budweiser first transported their beer around the country.  The second picture is of me and Larry, and statue of a clydesdale.  This also relates back to the history of the company.  The sons of founder August Busch bought their father clydesdale horses when prohibition was repealed, they have now become a symbol of the company and appear in many of their commercials and advertisements.

I will definitely go back and visit the brewery again if I am every in an area where they have a brewery.  It was a cool experience and I encourage any person, beer lover or not, to go and visit a brewery, many of them have free walking tours.

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