Free Beer!

No, really.

On my last weekday before my new job, my Dad joined me for a Friday treat- a beer tour at the Sam Adams Brewery and lunch at Doyle’s.

If you’ve ever met me, you know how much I love free things, especially nerdy free things.  I think that a free beer tour is just on the edge of nerdy and cool, since I actually like walking through the brewery and hearing about the process even more than the free beer (there, I said it).

The Sam Adams Brewery in JP is actually a research and development brewery, where only about 1% of the company’s beer is made.  The bulk of the beer is made in either Cincinnati or Pennsylvania, but all the varieties start here in Beantown, where the company was founded.  Sam Adams’ claim to fame, according to this tour, is that they were among the first American breweries to abide by “Reinheitsgebot,” the German beer purity law.  It dictates that beer should be made of only four ingredients:

  1. Hops
  2. Barley
  3. Yeast
  4. Water

Any modern brewery obviously misses this distinction on beers that feature specialty flavors (cherry, chocolate boch, etc.) but for all their “normal” beers, they use only these ingredients, in different combinations and with some variations in the process.  (At this point in the tour, the guides usually talk some smack about other beers which are not as pure, and which use fillers that kill the flavor.)

After going on three tours here and hearing every single guide tell a story about eating barley and beer for breakfast (“It’s like grapenuts that give you a buzz!”) I am starting to doubt the validity of these stories.  But overall, the tour is informative, engaging, and entertaining, at least the first two times.  For a free event in Boston, this is a good one for groups of all sizes and varieties, and they even have local root beer available for those under 21 in your crowd.

A word of advice: get in the back of the group on part 2 of the tour so you can be near the front when you go into the tasting room.  By sitting here, you get to try all the beers first, which means you’re sure to get a full (7 oz) glass on each of the three samples.  I really like the Boston Brick Red (pictured here) and since you can only get it on tap and only in Boston, it’s a treat to get a glass here without having to specifically seek it out.

I still need to check out the Harpoon tour and see how it compares.  What breweries/wineries have treated you the best and taught you the most?

2 thoughts on “Free Beer!

  1. I prefer the Harpoon one only because I don’t get to have their beer as much since they don’t ship past Chicago.

    You don’t actually tour the facility at Harpoon because it’s so small but you can see all the happenings while you taste. Instead you gather round the bar (get there early so you get a seat!) and a few employees tell you a bit about the brewery and then the first round of tasting begins. You get the taster glasses but they will fill them up as fast as you can finish. Pick one of their beers on tap and taste away. I personally love love love their cider and will taste it in between really dark beers. Then they break about 15min later to tell you some more about the brewery and finish with 15ish more mins of tasting. Very yummy indeed. 🙂

    Oh and if you can make it to a week day tasting they are usually much less crowded and you can chat with the employees more and rack their brains about beers and their process.

    • Good to know, Rach! I have been meaning to check it out but a lot of my friends “don’t like Harpoon.” Somehow, the free beer thing has not gotten through to them. But I never thought of the cider component – now I’m headed there for sure!

      I went to the Taza Chocolate Factory tonight – definitely worth a stop next time you’re in town. More about that later…

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