When I heard about Port City Escape teaming up with Waterline Brewing Company for a monthly “portable escape room” I knew I had to see it for myself. I attended the September portable escape with my husband and two friends, and we all had a blast. The hour-long “rooms” are presented in a neat package that are more of a puzzle box. And y’all, it was challenging! I got to talk to Kris from Port City Escape and Maria from Waterline and here’s what they had to say:

Ale Trail (AT): Whose idea was it? How did the partnership start?

Kris Testori (KT): We (Port City Escape) had just started building tabletop portable escape adventures in response to customers asking us to bring the escape experience to them. At the time we knew we there was a huge demand but we didn’t have a clear picture of a full plan. I met with Maria from Waterline regarding a charity event we were donating tickets to and we hit it off. We got to talking about our portables and decided that Waterline would make a great place to host these. As our buildout of the portables progressed we decided to meet up and plan our next steps.

AT: Without giving too much away, can you walk me through the evening?

KT: Sure. First book online or come to Waterline and register. When you get there you are given a ticket for your first drink and you choose a table. Five tables have a large portable escape on it. (Each of these portables is played by up to five players.) The Escape Adventure starts at 6:30 pm with an actor telling the story behind the adventure. Similar to an escape room, our portables have a different theme and a different story. The groups then get to work and will last for up to one hour. Similar to an escape room when you get stuck, you are provided with a clue. In this instance it’s a self contained adventure that fits on top of the table so you will be able to sit with people you know, enjoy a cold beer, and figure out a mystery together.

AT: Do people arrive with their own teams? Is it a team activity?

KT: We have had teams, couples, groups of friends and singles. We have had a few work groups come out as teams.

Maria Speaks (MS): One person could also do it by themselves, but it probably wouldn’t be as much fun.

AT: Can people drink during the event?

KT: Yes, absolutely. The first beer is included in the price.

MS: That’s part of the reason Kris & her husband partnered with us. We here at Waterline think most things are more enjoyable with one of our brews in your hand…and we also have plenty of space for activities.

AT: Why should someone who’s an Escape Room skeptic give this a try?

KT: We have found that most people who are skeptical about escape rooms are concerned about being locked in a room, and the open atmosphere at the brewery takes that fear away.

I would also love to invite anyone who is an escape room skeptic to come visit Port City Escape and let me show them around. We are always working hard to dispel the myth that it’s scary or you will be claustrophobic. And all of the rooms have a door that remains unlocked throughout the adventure.

MS: It’s just a nice way to dip your toes in. It’s a bit easier and also cheaper than an escape room. It’s also really non-committal. I feel like you could do anything for an hour and probably not regret it even if it’s not your cup of tea.

The next Brews & Clues is Tuesday October 15th at Waterline.