Above: Ross Litton, owner of Walkabout Brewing Company, chats with brewery tour participants during a tour of Walkabout.
In January of 2013, Indigo Creek Outfitters began offering “Rogue Valley On Tap” Brewery Tours. Recently we’ve begun offering the tours four days a week, Thursday-Sunday.
Rogue Valley On Tap” Brewery Tours
Passion, passion, passion – it’s the driving force behind our business and why we opened our doors in 2011. Without it, we’d be long gone and on to the next thing. When you have passion it sparks passion in others and draws people to you. Passion is why we enjoyed floating with nearly 1,000 guests down the Rogue and Klamath Rivers this past year. Passion is loving what you do and sharing that experience with everyone you can. Passion plays the most important role in our business (and probably any business), for without it one lacks an authenticity that is as obvious as a red X across your face.
Passion is what led us to introduce “Rogue Valley On Tap” Brewery Tours in 2013.
Above: Craig McPheeters, owner and brewer at BricktownE Brewing Company, discusses hops and malts used in his beer.
It started with a friend and a beer. “What should we do in the off-season?” is a common question amongst river guides, and we were no different. The answers have always been the same: guide internationally, work in the ski industry, focus on finding a “real” career, hibernate until April, etc.
On this particular day, not one of those answers seemed sufficient. Previously we had discussed the idea of offering wine tours but, frankly, that didn’t seem exciting and we lacked passion for wine. Passion. “How about brewery tours?” That sounded interesting, so we set out to explore the possibilities. Over the next month we visited breweries throughout the Rogue Valley, met with owners and brewers, sketched out ideas for what an itinerary might look like, and, of course, drank a lot of really good beer.
Above: Nick Ellis, co-owner and brewer at Apocalypse Brewing Company, chats about something beer-related with brewery tour participants.
As the idea progressed we discovered something about people in the craft beer industry that got us really excited. Passion. Every brewer we met shared an intense passion for brewing great beer. And, just like the passion we have for running great rafting trips spreads to our customers, their passion spread to us. In January of 2013 we ran our very first “Rogue Valley On Tap” Brewery Tour.
Above: Tom Hammond, owner at Southern Oregon Brewing Company, shares a laugh during a tour of his brewery.
Since then we have helped a couple hundred folks discover truly excellent beer in the Rogue Valley and we’ve seen the brewers’ passion spread from customer to customer. What we’ve observed is that it is not always about where we are or what type of beer we’re tasting, but who it is with. And through this process we have also discovered that our passion for running great rafting trips isn’t so much about the river or the rapids, but who you are sharing the experience with. We are in a “shared experience” industry, meaning that a huge part of the value in our trips and tours is sharing our passions and experiences with someone else.
When you go on a brewery tour with us, I can pretty much guarantee that you will remember the brewers long after you’ve forgotten your favorite beer. You’ll remember them and their story, how they were excited to share their brewing experience with you, and eager to bring you a glass of their beer. And that’s why we love these tours. You might say it’s a passion thing.
“Rogue Valley On Tap” Brewery Tours are now available Thursday-Sunday. Due to variances in brewery hours, the meeting time of our tours varies depending on the day of the week. For customized group tours with different start times, please call us at 541-282-4535.
Apocalypse Brewing Company
At Apocalypse Brewing they love BIG beers. Be they brews with huge hop presence, big malt backbones, or prominent and unique flavor profiles, they brew beers that are approachable, but with the character necessary to challenge the mundane. Apocalypse offers a consistent selection of quality, small-batch, beers as well as rotating specialties. Since they brew weekly, you’re guaranteed some of the freshest beer on tap in the Rogue Valley. Click here to visit their website.
Bricktowne Brewing Company
Bricktowne’s restaurant and brewery is located in downtown historic Medford directly across from the Craterian Theater. They have an extensive lunch and dinner menu but are best known for their incredible craft beers. Bricktowne boasts some of the best beer in the valley, and with their selection of 11 beers they really have something for everyone. Click here to visit their website.
Southern Oregon Brewing Company
All of Southern Oregon Brewing Company’s ales are locally made, award winning beers. These well balanced beers have been crafted to pair well with foods or stand on their own as session beers. Their brewery is a large one: 11,000 square feet with a 20-barrel system. SOBC is a frequent supporter of local cultural and philanthropic organizations. Click here to visit their website.
Swing Tree Brewing Company
Swing Tree Brewing Company is a family owned and operated Brewery Tap House, located in Ashland Oregon, that opened in the fall of 2013. Swing Tree is a place for family and friends to come together for great company and an exceptional pint. The centerpiece of the Swing Tree experience is its hand crafted, artisan ales and lagers. Click here to visit their website.
Walkabout Brewing Company
Walkabout Brewing Company was established in 1997 in Central Point, Oregon by founder and head brewer, Ross Litton. A native of Perth, Australia, Ross has been a resident of Oregon for 21 years. Walkabout brews have traditionally been available primarily in Southern Oregon, however distribution has now been expanded to include Portland, Salem, Eugene and Corvallis. Click here to visit their website.
Meet the Author: Will Volpert
Will Volpert is from Inverness Park, California and grew up running rivers with his parents rafting company, Outdoor Adventures. He started Indigo Creek Outfitters in the winter of 2011. When he’s not at the Indigo Creek office or on the river, he’s probably out on a walk with his yellow lab, Groover.