Saturday Morning at the Brewery
Since the last time I took the Sam Adams Brewery tour, here in JP, it’s gotten a few write ups, become more popular, and been revamped a bit, formalized and fancified just a little. No more standing in puddles of beer and water while someone yelled about beer makin’ over the clanging sounds of, well, beer makin’. Now they have a special presentation area, and microphones, and…alright, it wasn’t really too different from the past, it’s only been polished a tiny bit more. It is still an especially excellent reason to come out to JP.
I love beer. I really love free beer. I also love learning about beer, and the Sam Adams Brewery tour combines all of these things, and hence, is an ideal way to spend a Saturday morning. (They also offer the tour on weekdays, for those of you who work off-schedules.) They do request a donation of about $2, which goes to local charities, and is totally worth it.
You get to hear a little spiel about Jim Koch and Sam Adams, and why they are different from other breweries. They talk about the history of beer brewing in America, and in Boston particularly. You learn about the ingredients to go into beers, and even get to taste and smell some barley and hops. You get to see the big mash tuns and fermenting tanks. The facility in Jamaica Plain is where Sam Adams does all their R&D work, and if you go on weekdays, you can sometimes see people actually brewing up some kind of beers.
It’s pretty interesting stuff, and generally leaves me with the notion that I want to chuck my current job and become a beer maker. We also found out that Sam Adams ships something like 472 million beers a year. Making them not exactly much of a micro brewery. But whatever.
Then they bring you into a back room and give you free and tasty beers. Generally you get to try three types: The original Boston Lager, whatever seasonal they are brewing at the time, and a third, specialty type that is generally not yet in stores. Even if you’re not a fan of the Boston Lager, there is something about drinking it there that makes it actually taste amazing. Maybe it’s fresher. Maybe it’s brewed slightly differently. Maybe it has a higher alcohol content, because even though you generally won’t have more than maybe 21 ounces of beer, you feel a little tipsy when you leave.
This time around, they had a Boysenberry Wheat for sampling, which apparently should be in stores in a few weeks, inside of a sampler pack. I am generally not a fan of fruity beers, but this was actually pretty tasty. The fruit smelled strong, but was much more subtle than I expected.
Apparently at one point in the past, my housemate got to sample the Utopias beer, a 54 proof wonder of a beer, and I hope everytime I go that I, too, will get a taste, but thus far no such luck.
Even without getting to taste the Utopias, it is well worth coming out for the tour. It lasts about 45 minutes or so, and afterward you can head to one of the many JP area pubs for lunch and more beers. It can be a little tricky to find the Brewery, but they are better than they used to be at putting up signs and giving directions.
Sam Adams Brewery, 30 Germania St, Jamaica Plain, MA
Tours are offered Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2 pm, Fridays at 2 and 5.30, and Saturdays, between 11 am and 2 pm, approximately every half hour.
Call 617.368.5080 for more information. Yay beer!