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CINCINNATI -- Some journeys start out seemingly small and end up epic. That's what happened for Lance Rice.
"It's been overwhelming," said Aaron Rice, Lance's nephew who is accompanying his autistic uncle and filming a documentary aptly called "Lance's Brewery Tour."
Lance, from Vermilion in northwest Ohio, arrived in Cincinnati on Tuesday as part of a 51-day brewery tour in its first week through the Midwest and New England, focusing on his singular passion of beer history.
The tour marks the first time that Lance, 55, is traveling extensively outside of the home where he lives with his mother. Aaron says Lance has certain phobias related to his autism, that cause him to be uncomfortable around large crowds.
"He's going through a lot of emotional changes," Aaron said during a phone interview Tuesday. "It's almost hard to have the words as we see this unfold."
Aaron and Lance were invited to visit Cincinnati after Chris Breeden, promotions director with Arnold's Bar & Grill, saw a video for Aaron and Lance's project online.
"I saw it and after watching it, it really moved me," Breeden said. "It was really, really cool to have something like this come through our doors."
Lance arrived at Arnold's on Tuesday for the tapping of a beer named in his honor. Then on Wednesday the Rices visited the Christian Morlein Lager House to meet Moerlein owner Greg Hardman and took a tour of the city's historic breweries located around downtown. Thursday they will head to Pennsylvania.
"Cincinnati is a quiet power," Aaron said of the region's craft beer renaissance.
Seeing his uncle's growth on the visit may be more powerful, however, which is the point of Aaron's documentary -- an intersection of Lance's passion for beer and personal growth.
From the documentary, and a possible book, Aaron also hopes to launch "Lance's Room," an initiative to help those with autism receive college scholarships and other resources.
"I've been brought to tears watching him take risks and succeed," Aaron said. "It's like capturing a miracle on film."
Fore more information on Lance's journey visit www.lancesbrewerytour.com .
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