By Kim Schimke
Ever wish you could take months out of your life to travel the country visiting America’s best breweries while imbibing in the liquid bread and talking shop with the brewing professionals? Yeah, metoo. Get in line. While the rest of us dream the dream, a man named Lance Rice (AKA Luckiest Man in the Whole Damn World) is living that dream.
Lance, 55, is quite the exceptional human. He has a photographic memory which has made him a beer historian of sorts. Lance also happens to be living with autism. Autism is a developmental disorder than can hinder social interaction for the individual with the diagnosis. I was personally connected to his story due to my past involvement working with Autism Speaks. Okay, the beer thing also peaked my interest. It’s no secret that those with autism have unique obstacles. But it appears as though Lance’s take on it is obstacles shmobstacles. He has had a dream of writing a book about the history of beer in America which coincides with his epic beer journey that’s official moniker is respectfully Lance’s Brewery Tour.
This beer odyssey has Lance voyaging from state to state and brewery to brewery meeting owners and brewers. Lance has already visited some big names such as Dogfish Head, Samuel Adams, Victory Brewing Company, and many more. Other significant breweries in the pipeline include Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Deschutes, and Rogue. The more I type this, the more my intense beer envy.
Due to the epically awesome nature of this adventure, it only made sense to document this jaunt. Lance’s nephew, Aaron Rice, happens to be the founder of Rare Brain Studios in LA and is making Lance’s dream come to fruition while capturing the journey through film. I spoke with Aaron for an interview where he gave me the 411.
Lance has been able to finesse his interpersonal skills and dominate a number of challenges from this tour. His progress and development have been immense. See, the power of beer truly is a magical thing. In addition to Lance’s personal growth, the crew helping to film the journey, including Aaron, has made some revelations about the craft industry. They have learned that with craft comes being closely connected to the community, sustainable farming, and the altruism of many breweries.
Halfway through the trip with aspirations to conquer the beer world in the West, the team for Lance’s Brewery Tour and Lance himself, are sure to have more pleasant surprises and revelations coming their way.
I could go on and on about all the magnificent pieces to this story, but if I continue, my jealousy may just overwhelm me. If you would like to learn more about Lance’s Tour and live vicariously through him, which I fully intend to, please visit:
Happy drinking, Lance!
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