A free tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston will add a bit of beer to your history lesson. So take a tour of the facility, and your guide will school you in Sam, the brewing process and the Samuel Adams brand.
Arrive early at the Brewery, as parking can be tough (Take the T if you can.), lines can be quite long and reservations are not permitted. The site's hours include Monday - Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and then Friday from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $2 for tours, which start every 45 minutes and last for one hour. While you wait for the next one, peruse the museum, where you’ll find fun facts about the history of beer and Sam Adams, the famous brewer.
Samuel Adams was, in fact, one of the most well-known American Patriots. A Bostonian by birth, Adams was from a prominent family and and received a good education. He attended America’s oldest public school - Boston Latin School - and then graduated from Harvard. He later found his way into politics to become one of the driving forces behind the American Revolution. Boston Lager — Photo courtesy of Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams was also a brewer, and in 1984, Jim Koch decided to celebrate this American icon and his passion for great beer by starting the Samuel Adams Brewery, which provided one of the first craft beers in the States. Koch’s success was fast and his growth rapid. Through this growth, Koch maintained the high standards that set his Samuel Adams Boston Lager apart in the first place: quality ingredients.
At the Boston brewery, you won’t find massive amounts of beer being produced, as this location - once home to the first large batches of Samuel Adams' beer ever brewed - is now simply used for brewing small quantities of test batches, and giving tours to the public. Although you won’t be in the massive main plant and bottling station, you’ll be able to tour the spot where taste is perfected and see the entire craft brewing process, including taking a whiff of the Hallertau hops used to brew Samuel Adams.
After the brewery tour, your group will fill the beer hall, where the history lesson ends and the drinking begins. Seat yourself at the long wooden tables, and listen to the guide as he explains to you the proper way to a taste test a beer step by step:
- Appearance: Much like a diamond, color and clarity come into play. Be sure the color gives you an idea of the type of beer you’re tasting, and then be sure the product’s clarity matches the type of beer you are about to taste. Finally, check the foam, which, on a Sam, should linger.
- Aroma: Much like tasting wine, a proper beer tasting should be done by swirling your glass to release the aroma, before making note of the flavors you discern from your sniff.
- Taste: Sip your beer. The taste should match the aroma.
- Body: Get a sense of how the beer feels at it crosses your tongue.
- Finish: The flavors that linger after drinking are the finish of the beer. You should be enticed to have another.
Then, grab a pint and get a taste of the special malts and award-winning beers on tap for tasting. Pitchers will be passed down for you to pour yourself a frosty pint (or two or three) of your favorites.
End your tour with a trip through the gift shop, where you’ll find all manner of beer paraphernalia and possibly even the perfect gift for the beer lover in your life. Brewhouse — Photo courtesy of Samuel Adams