The Sam Adams Brewery is a ways off from Downtown Boston but definitely worth the trek to experience the process of beer making if not for the free beer at the end of the tour. The free tour starts about once every 45 minutes and weekday tours did not seem very crowded. There may be a short wait between tours but visitors could distract themselves at the mini museum showcasing the many Sam Adams varieties and company history. I was actually surprised to find out that Sam Adams hasn’t been around all that long – only since 1984. Its wide appeal, many awards, widespread distribution, and iconic name has built a brand that feels like it has been around for much longer.
I wish I could say I have tried all these beers but I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface. Many of these varieties are readily available year-round, some are seasonal, and a few are either limited to certain regions or unavailable altogether.
I won’t even try to go through all the details our expert tour guide edumacated us with but here’s a quick run-down on the key ingredients (aside from water and yeast).
These little flowers imbue different flavors into the beer. Some of the best hops in the world are grown in Germany which is where Sam Adams sources its Bavarian Noble Hops from.
Sam Adams uses two-row barley which means the seeds grow in two rows on the central stem as opposed to four or six. Two-row barley tends to malt much better than other varieties but at a higher cost. This barley tasted very much like Grape Nuts cereal.
The barley is roasted, giving it a range of colors which ultimately determines the color of the beer. The Caramel 60 will end up in a darker beer and smells and tastes a lot like a coffee bean.
The brewery floor is much like that of a winery with huge tanks filled with millions of yeast cells hard at work to help us get our buzz later in the tour. They were in the process of replacing some equipment so the brewery floor was filled with brand new equipment still wrapped in plastic (not shown above).
Here’s the best part of the tour – free beer! Everyone sat in rows of long communal tables as the tour guide and his buddy passed down pitchers of 3 different beers: the Sam Adams Boston Lager, the Marathon 26 crafted specifically for the Boston Marathon, and the seasonal Summer Ale.
The Summer Ale was the most refreshing and had light citrus-y notes; Alice was quick to declare this one her favorite. The classic Boston Lager, which we had to try while we were in the city itself, was a more full-bodied brew, rich with roast-y malt flavor. Our third and final tasting is a Boston exclusive – the annual 26.2 Brew. Named for the 26.2 miles in a marathon and particularly for the Boston Marathon that was to take place the week following our visit, this brew is exclusively served at the Brewery and at select bars along the marathon course.
Whether you’re looking for free beer or for fun things to do in Boston, we recommend visiting the Sam Adams Brewery. It definitely helped us appreciate the process and effort that goes into making each glass, pint, and keg.
Check out Samuel Adams Brewery: samueladams.com
30 Germania St
Boston, MA 02130
See their Yelp reviews here!