ABOUT THE TRIP:
Why are you doing this?
Because it’s awesome. On the personal side of things, we wanted to leave our jobs on an extended vacation (who doesn’t?), travel the country, and experience the more localized offerings of craft beer. We wanted to do this with a goal in mind, so we created everything that is “Brews Travelers 365” so that people will get a look inside of the industry that they otherwise would not have. Our hope is that after seeing the places we go, it will motivate you to travel to the source and directly experience what these breweries have to offer!
We were both fortunate to watch the North Texas craft brewing industry boom and to participate through volunteering at brewery tours, special events, and beer festivals – not to mention the plethora of tap takeovers and new brewery/beer launches at the growing collection of local craft-oriented bars. Micro-breweries, and small businesses in general, seem to create a sense of pride for a community and are also positive influences on the local economy. We took inspiration from how a community of friends grew up around these breweries and wished to experience this around the country. Ultimately, this trip is not just about beer – although we thoroughly enjoy that aspect in moderation – but more-so about meeting great people and making new friends.
Where are you now?
How long are you doing this?
We will be on the road for all 365 days of 2014, so as of the time of this post on 8/4/14, we are just about 7 months in and have 5 months to go.
What has been your favorite beer/ brewery so far?
That question is not possible to answer, as we have thoroughly enjoyed every stop on our trip so far. That being said, we did put together a list of 10 breweries that impressed us from the first leg of the trip (Jan 1 – May 1), and that list can be found here. This is not a list of the breweries with the ‘best’ beer, whatever that means anyway, but rather breweries that impressed us with a combination of attributes such as the environment, the beer, the people, and their story. We fully believe in supporting local – our Dallas-Forth Worth breweries rock!
Which/ how many beers have you tried?
A full list of the beers we have tried can be found here.
Why are you not reviewing each of the beers?
First of all, we do not think you should be basing which beers you should try off of our, or anyone else’s, opinion. You should try it on your own! Secondly, there are two of us, and coming to a consensus for what we think of each beer would be impossible. Thirdly, we are trying multiple beers each day, often in sample trays, so creating a review for a beer at the end of a flight would be skewed due to the beers we tried leading up to the last.
What is the difference between a bonus stop and an official stop?
Essentially the only difference is that we do not interview bonus stops, nor do we create a write-up for the website. We are on track to hit exactly 365 official stops for the year. More information can be found at the top of the page here
How do you decide where to go?
We first created a list of breweries using our Untappd check-ins and then added in breweries that had won awards recently as well as those that we felt looked interesting through personal research and speaking with friends. We used that as a base to create a map and tentative schedule, however that changes on a daily basis as we get into an area and speak with people about where we should go. We absolutely love taking suggestions and discovering new gems.
What is going to come of all of this?
We are doing our best to upkeep the website with brewery profiles while on the road with hopes that people following might see a brewery that piques their interest and visit during their own travels. As far as after this year, we plan to put together a calendar about the breweries visited each day as well as a book detailing the trip. We both feel strongly that the trip has been enough of a reward in and of itself and do not wish to profit from these endeavors – any profit would be placed back into the craft brewing community in the form of donations to state guilds or grassroots organizations working to improve laws that stifle growth of small business.
How many of you are there? What did you do before this?
There are only two of us, Michael Roberts and Brandon Wurtz.
Michael Roberts was born and raised in Richardson, Texas. He graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos with a B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems, and worked in the merchandising department of a large convenience store chain while volunteering for breweries and festivals up until the day we began this epic journey.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Brandon Wurtz moved to Texas in 1998, graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University and proceeded to graduate studies in Microbiology and Immunology. After leaving that program, he moved back to Dallas where he began working at a bank in home mortgage services and, more importantly, started homebrewing and participating in the growing Dallas craft beer scene by volunteering at breweries and beer festivals.
How did you afford to do this? Are you trust fund recipients or something?
We both worked corporate jobs before leaving on this trip, so we saved up for a little over a year, planned, routed, quit our jobs, then hit the road. We are on an extremely tight budget this year…
What is the transportation you are using to do this?
2004 Silver Honda Odyssey minivan named Homer.
Are you guys brothers/ twins?
No. We are in no way related…but we have been friends since meeting on drum-line in high school.