Last week I told you about the free Anheuser-Busch Brewery Holiday Lights display, which is all spiffed up this year for walking tours. I took the family out there Saturday night–here’s how it went!
First, parking! Yes, there’s plenty of spaces to park on the brewery lot. They opened a secondary lot near the tour center so you don’t need to park on the street.
The holiday lights are a self-guided tour, unlike a regular visit to the brewery. You can wander in through the new beer garden–which is open and equipped with fire pits–or through the tour center. Sadly, there’s no beer sampling in the tour center lobby, but you can buy one! Signs direct visitors to the back of the lobby, then stop short of telling you what door to enter. Just follow the crowd–you’re going into the hospitality room.
(Read about visiting the brewery during the day–it’s family friendly. No, really, it is.)
The hospitality room (where daytime tours end) is the place to decorate an ornament or pick up photos taken outside. The soda machine is on for free beverages, and there were pretzels (though they ran out when we came back).
The plaza outside the hospitality room (and where the beer garden will lead you) has fire pits for roasting marshmallows with cozy blanket covered hay bales. S’more kits were just a buck–a donation to a children’s charity! But the marshmallow was stale. Tasted a bit chewy even roasted…Hopefully yours will be better! The kit is complete: marshmallow, a mini Hersey bar, two graham crackers and a pointy wooden stick.
This is also where you can get your first free beer sample. Be ready to show an ID, they’re carding everyone! Must be all the hats and the dark.
Here you’ll find a food truck and a giant snow globe for a photo op. You’ll need to buy a photo or leave someone outside to sneak a photo.
You can pick up a tram at the plaza (we’re pretty sure they borrowed them from Grant’s Farm) to see the lights. But the walk isn’t bad at all.
The Clydesdale stable is open for a meet and greet with one of the horses. You can give him a pat, take your own photo–they don’t mind here. They’ll also take a photo that you can buy later. (Don’t mind my warped photo below, it’s a picture taken from my counter top of the photo…)
Stroll down to the big clock tower plaza for live music and another sample. Enjoy the lights!
Keep moving down to the bottling plant where the last sample is located, along with kettle corn and hot cocoa to buy. Check out the “snow” machine before you go.
You can jump on the tram if you walked and ride it back up the hill. (If you took the tram right from the start, it will stop at the sampling stations.)
So how was it? FUN! Sure, my marshmallow was stale and the samples weren’t as big as when we came for the day tour, but hey, there were three of them…and it was a free event! The walk is shorter than the full tour and it’s nice to wander at your own pace. We will definitely go again next year.
Tip #1: If you want to buy a photo remember that you can ask for BOTH photos (snow globe and horse) and the staffer will split your order. You can also order 5x7s and more online at home, but you’ll have to add shipping.
Tip #2: If you plan on visiting the gift shop, download a coupon from the AB site before you go.