It’s hard to believe Sam Adams is only 30 years old! A visit to their brewery helps us learn they really live by their slogan- For The Love of Beer! Boston Beer Company was founded by sixth generation brewer Jim Koch in 1984. He started the company brewing beer in his own kitchen. Jim found an old recipe that his great grandfather used and he decided to give it a shot, this beer is now know as Sam Adams Boston Lager. Six weeks after perfecting this brew Jim won “The Best Beer in America” at the 1985 Great American Beer Festival ‘s Consumers’ Preference Poll. Boston Beer Company has been making some wonderful craft beers ever since.
We were lucky to have some time to visit their Boston brewery while we were in town. They run free, yes I said FREE, tours Monday through Saturday starting at 10 am with the last tour starting at 3 pm except Fridays where they extend the hours until 5:30 pm. I would suggest going on a weekday if you can as they can fill up on the weekend. Guests are invited to make a donation, with proceeds going to benefit local charities.
The waiting area was very informative, with some interactive displays including hops and other spice-smelling and touch screen informational monitors. One section had their entire line of beers on display. There is something for everyone there! We saw some of our favorites from this past season’s small batch, limited releases like Merry Maker, a dark gingerbread stout and The Vixen, which uses a roasted, chocolaty base with an added element of warmth and spice from cinnamon and chilies.
If you’ve ever been on a brewery tour, this one will have many of the same points as other breweries. They give you the ins and outs of how beer is made, along with some specifics of Sam Adams’ particular styles. Our guide, Jack, was very informative and had a fun personality. He had group laughing throughout, particularly one group of ladies who cackled constantly. One unique thing we got to do was taste some of the barley they’ve roasted, very interesting. They had a few different roasts varying in darkness. We also were given a hand full of hops and did the thing you see in their TV commercials, rub them together and give a big smell. We also caught a glimpse of two of the brew masters, Bob Cannon and Dean Gianocostas, at work. You might recognize from some of Sam Adams advertisements.
From there we got down to business, beer tasting! We were provided with a souvenir 7 oz glass to enjoy beers from. The three beers that were currently on offer were the obligatory Boston Lager, the seasonal Summer Ale and a Black Lager. While tasting the Boston Lager we learned about glass designed specifically for the brew. Several interesting points were made. First, the bead at the lip is there in order to slow down the beer as you sip but also to pop bubbles which gives more aroma, enhancing the flavor experience. The bulb of the glass also helps to capture the aroma as you pour the beer into your mouth. Last, the glass near the bottom is twice as thick as top, so your hand doesn’t warm the beer as you hold the glass. Pretty smart stuff!
The Sam Adams Brewery Tour is located at 30 Germania St, Boston, MA 02130. It’s an easy walk fro the Stony Brook T-Station.