Andy Beer, Aslan Brewing Education Director

Andy Beer brews beer. He’s also a certified cicerone beer server, a BJCP judge and he’s training to be a Certified Cicerone. With the last name of “Beer” (it is his real last name, if you’re wondering) and because he works at a brewery, he’s practically forced to hold those titles. We’d expect nothing less.

When we were asked to stop by Aslan Brewing for one of their famed Tours & Tasting sessions, we dropped everything and headed over.

We showed up to Aslan’s taproom and CJ Good, Aslan’s Marketing Maven, met us at our table and and led us to the Aslan brewhouse. Walking past their brand new 45bbl fermenters, we came to a long table. Each chair was set in front of an empty tulip glass, pitcher of water and a flavor wheel. We knew things were about to start when Andy handed us an Aslan Brown.

I found this whole concept of Aslan Brewing giving a brewery and educational tour to be a coming of age story. It wasn’t long ago Aslan wasn’t well respected. Much has changed in a 1 1/2 years. For instance, Aslan serving employees must complete Aslan Beer School within one month of being hired. This brewery has gone from being chastised to teaching others. A timeline of Aslan’s growth:

No commercial brewing experience. Open a brewery. Beers get slammed by community and reviewers. Beer and knowledge improves. Beer wins state and national awards. Brewery expands. Becomes one of the hottest breweries in the region.

I actually think it’s time to retire the story line of the struggling brewery and look towards the everyday reality. I only point it out to showcase how their tours tell a story about their brewery and the growth of an industry. Aslan is now extending a helping hand to the community that has supported them.

Brewing ProcessWe grab our Brown and start sipping as a group of us follow Andy over near the beer deck and below the grain storage. You can see the grain auger that moves the grain into the grist mill above him. That auger moves, on average, 1,000lbs of grain per batch.

Beer is describing the difference between base malts and adjuncts. Base malts provide the fermentable sugars that the yeast uses to produce alcohol. Adjuncts are, basically, every thing else that isn’t yeast, water, malt and hops. He is describing an incredibly complex process, but, as I’ll notice the whole tour, his use of analogies, friendly demeanor and accessible vernacular makes me interested to hear more. I don’t like stodgy experts and pompous know-it-alls. He is not these things.

Aslan’s tours offer what many brewery tours don’t: A full directed tasting.

The discussion becomes more arcane as it moves into detailed territory, but it’s still immersive. The conversation evolves as we follow the life of beer from the grist mill to the mash lauter tun. I find myself more engrossed in the description, which is impressive as I have the attention span of a gnat


You can tell Andy has given his analogies good thought and it highlights his passion for what he does. He isn’t trying to teach as much as he is trying to relay his interests in the hopes that you’ll be interested – He wants you to see what he sees. That’s passion.

Tap Trail’s Brian and Ariana, checking out the lauter tun

Tours like these will always grab a wide spectrum of people – from beginners, to experts, to cicerones and everyone in between. I’m probably at the mid-range knowledge level. I proudly busted out your “reinheitsgebot” and a dash of some other pseudo-arcane beer knowledge. No one is impressed, or listening. Standard.

Our fearless leader deftly handled the varying degrees of expertise with grace, aplomb and humility.

Everyone taking part in the tour and tasting, including me, stands to learn something they didn’t know before. – Andy Beer, Aslan Brewery & Tasting

As we moved onto fermentation, it became apparent that this portion of the brewing process is a whole different ballgame. This is where a lot of the magic happens. Andy says the most important part of beer is yeast. Yeah, water, malt and hops are important, but yeast is the game changer. A fermenter, where the yeast does its business, is really like a massive Burning Man (my analogy.) Billions of yeast cells meet, dance for days, procreate and create magic, art, alcohol and beauty. Beer describes the process a different way.

Think of yeast like humans. They are a population inhabiting an area with abundant resources and means for reproduction. The fermenter with wort is the planet they populate and consume the food and other resources needed to grow. The brewers are extra terrestrials that put the humans (yeast) on the planet (fermentor) to observe the organism’s progress. We want them to succeed, because if they do, we get beer.

Aslan’s tours offer what many don’t: A full directed tasting. Sitting at the table we were all handed glasses of Aslan Lite, which is Aslan’s “classic easy drinking beer.” After tasting it, I asked if it would be crazy, per the flavor wheel, that I picked up “pear” and “apple.” Beer assured me that it would not be crazy.

The tasting really opens up the opportunity for a collaborative discussion that builds on education by way of engagement. – Andy Beer

My expert palate was validated and we moved onto other beers, learning together and discussing our opinions. It’s that discussion that imparts the passion of craft, the opinions of others and creates another dynamic part of Aslan Brewing. Aslan’s Tours & Tasting will not only teach you about brewing, but, if you’re really listening, you’ll see how much this brewery has grown and how we’ve all grown along with it.

Right now Aslan will be performing these 2 hour long tours once a month and upon request. Jack Lamb, Aslan CEO, told us the tours have really gained traction and they are excited to see them, and Aslan’s eductional offerings, grow even more in 2016. Tours require 6-15 people. Special requests are considered. At this time, tours are $35 a head and you get a complimentary Aslan tulip glass. Click the logo below and learn more about the tours!

Aslan Brewing Co.