A few weeks ago we visited our dear friends Nicole & Chris, who just purchased their first home in a suburb of Boston. Nicole and I lived together in NYC in our early 20s – and MANY great times were had – so I knew we were in for a fun weekend. The forecast predicted steady rain on Saturday so we planned to visit the Samuel Adams Brewery located in Jamaica Plain – a perfect rainy day activity.
Lucky for us, we arrived at the brewery just as a tour was about to start. (Although I believe they do begin ever 45 minutes or so.) While the tour is free, they suggest a $2 donation, will all proceeds benefitting a local charity. I cannot recall what the charity was, but I happily threw a $5 or $10 into the collection box, as did someone else in our foursome.
-> Even if you do have to wait for a tour to start, have no fear – bits of trivia line the waiting area! <-
The tour was incredibly informational AND interactive, beginning with a bit of an education about the ingredients used to make beer. Jars filled with hops and malts were passed around for folks to smell – or taste, if they wished. The hops I smelled (no, I didn’t eat them!) had a delicious floral scent. Lovely!
-> Who knew hops were so leafy and green?! <-
Moving on into another room, we learned more about the intricacies of the beer-making process. Humongous brew kettles, fermentation tanks and aged oak barrels stood impressively around us. So many buttons to press and knobs to turn – it would be fun to be let loose in there for a few hours!
And then the best part of the tour began – the tasting portion. Our whole group piled into the tasting room where our wonderful guide handed out 4 oz. tasting glasses, which we were encouraged to keep. As the excitement in the room grew (FREE beer!) our guide filled pitchers that were passed around the room with glee.
Three different brews were sampled and a brief description of the characteristics of each preceeded a group “cheers.”
As the tasting portion of the tour concluded, the group funneled into the brewery shop. In addition to gift shop usuals like tee shirts and hats, the brewery shop sold growlers, tap handles and limited batch brews like this Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru, a Belgian ale that’s been aging in their barrel room for over a year.
Of course we couldn’t depart the brewery without posing with Mr. Samuel Adams himself. (I love that it looks like he’s caressing Nicole’s face… or knocking her in the head with a glass.) Either way, you naughty man, Mr. Adams!
After touring the brewery, a visit to Doyle’s Cafe is a must. A post-brewery stop for many, Doyles – a neighborhood favorite since 1882 – offers classic pub fare and a large selection of Sam Adams on tap. It’s just a short drive from the brewery so we decided to drive, but the brewery does offer a complimentary shuttle that goes back & forth between the two.
And BEST of all – those who order a pint of Sam Adams get to keep the pint glass. And it’s not just any pint glass, it’s the Sam Adams “perfect pint glass,” designed with a bulbous top which, they say, is meant to “preserve the head, concentrate the aroma, and maintain the optimal temperature.” A bit touristy, yes, but a really fun thing to do with friends. (Plus, Charles and I drink out of our glasses all the time – they’ve made a really fun, memorable souvenir!)
If you’re a beer-lover headed to Boston, a visit to the Samuel Adams brewery is a really fun way to spend a few hours! Tours are offered on Monday – Thursday from 10AM – 3PM, Friday from 10AM – 5:30PM and Saturday from 10AM – 3PM. More information about brewery tours may be found on their website. Enjoy and CHEERS!