Urban Oyster Tour Guide Alex Pappas

Alex Pappas has been a tour guide for over five years, but with Urban Oyster for a little more than a year. He was inspired by several friends who encouraged him to look into becoming a tour guide. “So i did and eventually i realized that it kind of involved kind of the same things that i already liked… I’m one of those people who lives in New York and also loves living in New York – which i know is not the case for everyone – but I also showing people my city and talking about them and telling them all the amazing stories that come out of the history,” he says. “‘I’m an actor by trade so there’s a definite performance component to being a tour guide. And of course I’m into that as well.”

Pappas gives the Brewed in Brooklyn tour, the Brewery, Winery, Distillery Tour and the Craft Beer Crawl in the East Village and sometimes in Williamsburg. In the warmer weather he will often run the Craft Beer Sail.

As for the one he most enjoys, “I love being on boats so the beer cruise is really fun,” Pappas notes. “As far as our walking tours, the brewery winery distillery tour is the most fun because that is the most varied of the ones that I do. The rest of my tours are pretty focused on beer. but this one we do beer, wine and liquor.”

Pappas grew up in Germany – “the beer capital of the world as far as I’m concerned” – and has enjoyed learning about the German influence on beer in Brooklyn through conducting the tours. “Williamsburg was a huge German neighborhood in the 1800s, it was a big brewery district as well. That wasn’t something that I knew a lot about. Working on these tours and going into those neighborhoods and finding about those breweries was really interesting for me.”

Growing up in Germany Pappas experienced a very different beer culture than when he moved to the U.S. “[In Germany] all beer was very local, and very fresh, there really was no such thing as a macro brewery. The breweries where we got our beer were just whatever the local brewery was in the nearest town. We drank the beer that they’d been making for hundreds of years. So then when I started living in the U.S. I was sort of introduced to American beer culture, which of course if very different. Fortunately that coincided right around the time when the microbrewery movement was just starting here.”

Every now and then Pappas will have someone on his tour who grew up in Williamsburg or Bushwick years ago. “They’ll come on one of my tours and it will be the first time they’ve been back in the neighborhood. It’s cool to see their reactions as far as the neighborhood has changed,” he says. “They’ll say something like ‘Oh my God, when I lived here, there were crack vials in the gutters. There’s a million dollar condo on the corner now.’ I love old stories form old New Yorkers.”

Other patrons on his tours range from home brewers, to the occasional professional brewer, to people who might not like beer. “They’re on the tour with a friend who’s a big fan of beer. Everything is brand new for them and I always get a certain amount of satisfaction if i get one of these non beer drinkers who by the end of the tour has found one that they like. If you don’t like beer it means you haven’t found one that you like yet. Most of the time I pull it off. They’ll say things like, ‘If this was the first beer I tried I probably would have drank more beer.’” 

This post is sponsored by Urban Oyster

Photo courtesy of Urban Oyster

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