Visiting the brewery where your favorite beer is made can be almost like a pilgrimage. In fact, thousands of sightseers a year show up at the best known breweries for a guided tour and a chance to linger awhile over a free sample. Among the brewery tours in some of the great beer-making and beer-drinking areas of the United States and Europe:
*Amsterdam: Summer crowds, especially the young backpack-carrying bunch, line up early to see Heineken's showcase brewery -- followed, of course, by a visit to the company beer hall, dispensing reasonably generous servings.Monday through Friday.
*Copenhagen: Two choices in the Danish capital: Tuborg and Carlsburg, both large breweries popular with college-age travelers. The Danes are good-natured, beer-loving people, and the guides lead a lively tour. Last stop, the tasting room. Monday through Friday.
*Dublin: The folks at Guinness welcome visitors with a short film about the brewing industry and conclude with one, or maybe two, glasses of their famous product. It's a good introduction to a Dublin pub tour. Monday through Friday.
*Milwaukee: At the Miller Brewing Co., the tour begins with a fast-paced, "multimedia show" -- 4,000 slides in 12 minutes -- about the history and process of beer brewing. Then on to the Brew House and its huge kettles; the packaging and shipping floor; the Caves Museum, once an ice house used for storage; and the "hospitality room" for Miller's High Life and Lo wenbrau fresh from the tap. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
*Philadelphia: Tours for individuals and groups (five or more persons) at the Schmidts brewery are by appointment only, but they are quite extensive, led by two retired employes and lasting up to two hours. Samples afterwards. Tuesday through Thursday at varying hours, (215) 928-4121.
*Pottsville: This small Pennsylvania community north of Reading is the home of Yuengling Brewery, which advertises itself as America's oldest brewery, founded in 1829. As a small plant, it offers visitors a close-up, 45-minute look at beer-making procedures, and naturally a taste or two from the tap. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
*St. Louis: You might want to plan a winter rather than a summer visit at Anheuser-Busch headquarters, since smaller groups of visitors allow you to linger longer over the free samples of Budweiser and Michelob. Peanuts and pretzels, too. Seventy-minute tours include a look at historic beer-making artifacts and a visit to the stables of the famous Clydesdale horse team. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.