Get on the Beer Bus

Eau Claire Brew Hop will offer local brewery tours

Haley Wright, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Launching in June, Eau Claire Brew Hop will be the area’s the first craft brewery, distillery, and winery tour service in the area. Above: Owners Brandon Felce and Tyler Koxlien.
Launching in June, Eau Claire Brew Hop will be the area’s the first craft brewery, distillery, and winery tour service in the area. Above: Owners Brandon Felce and Tyler Koxlien.

Western Wisconsin – particularly the Chippewa Valley – is home to many local breweries, distilleries, and wineries. A new service called Eau Claire Brew Hop, the area’s the first and only craft brewery, distillery, and winery tour service will be launching in June. Brew how will offer all-inclusive tours of many local establishments, including generous samples at every stop, detailed establishment history, multiple discounts at local businesses, and a souvenir glass.

“No two breweries in the Chippewa Valley feel the same, which is why they are so fun to experience, especially when you visit more than one in a day. You get to soak up the nuances that make each of them special.” – Brandon Felce, Eau Claire Brew Hop

The owners, Brandon Felce and Tyler Koxlien, got the idea for Eau Claire Brew Hop while enjoying a pint at a local brewery discussing the large number of successful local, high-quality craft breweries in the area. “The variety of beers for such a small area is remarkable. Our local breweries all bring something different to the table, they all have their unique style and culture,” Felce said. “No two breweries in the Chippewa Valley feel the same, which is why they are so fun to experience, especially when you visit more than one in a day. You get to soak up the nuances that make each of them special. In addition, the breweries are all still small enough that true passion still plays a major role in the process. You lose some of that when a brewery becomes too commercialized.”

One point led to another, and the pair decided a tour that would allow people to enjoy many of the local breweries in one day without having to worry about driving would be ideal. “[T]he idea for the tour service just kind of hit us. We spent the next few weeks researching similar systems in cities across the U.S, reaching out to the local breweries, and developing a plan,” Felce said. “We want to help show off everything these breweries have been working toward. The brewers all take so much pride in their craft, which is very obvious from the first sip to the last. Also, we are offering a safe way to sample beers at multiple locations without having to worry about becoming too impaired to drive. We have taken out all of the stress and worry so our guests can fully enjoy themselves and the breweries at a very reasonable price.”

Brew Hop’s website currently features three tours: a brewery tour that will include Lazy Monk and the Brewking Projekt in Eau Claire and Brewster Bros. in Chippewa Falls; a distillery tour that will feature River Bend Distilling, Chippewa River Distilling, and Infinity Beverages; and a wine tour that will visit Infinity Beverages and two other wineries that are yet to be announced.

Guests can expect an all-inclusive, stress-free, and fun experience. “Eau Claire Brew Hop was designed to be easy and simple for our guests,” Felce said. Simply go to ecbrewhop.com, select a tour, peruse the calendar containing available dates for that tour, and buy your ticket. The, show up 10 to 15 minutes before the tour time at the pick-up spot: the new North Barstow Street parking ramp (370 Galloway St.).

“The only thing you are required to bring is a valid photo I.D. Our tour guides will then begin the tour you chose!” Felce said. “A ticket for one of our tours is an all-inclusive package. You will enjoy plenty of samples at every location, (and) our tour guides will provide you with history and stories about the breweries and beers that are unknown to many.” In addition, he said, participants will get “a seat on our clean and comfortable tour bus, a souvenir pint glass, and exclusive discounts and deals from our growing list of partners.”

Felce and Koxlien believe Eau Claire Brew Hop will grow quickly once launched and “help bring in people from nearby cities and expand the reach and exposure of these breweries” Felce said. He also said they hope to continue to expand the business over time to operate a full fleet of buses and to more fully develop winery tours.

To learn more, visit ecbrewhop.com or call (715) 533-9396.

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