During my trip to Boston last weekend, I got the chance to check out not one, but two of the local craft breweries, Sam Adams and Harpoon. They were the two biggest, which was OK in my book, though I would have love to have visited some others like Ipswitch, Night Shift, Notch or Clown Shoes, but those I guess might not be open for tours or located a little outside the area where we stayed. Not every brewery has a tasting room. Though I will say, we did get to try a ton of local beers during our adventure, including some amazing beers from Jack’s Abbey, Pretty Things and Mystic Brewery. We didn’t get to try all the top Craft Beer bars, but we did hit some awesome places including Meadhall, which aside from having an awesome selection, also had great food. Try the meatloaf, trust me. We also hit, Sunset Grill which had a really great selection, including some Dogfish 120 minute, which well, marked the end of our Saturday night.
Dressed and Buttoned Up
First stop after Fenway and Boston Beer Works on Saturday, was lunch. Yup, good ole boring lunch at one of the café’s near Sam Adams. Not much happened there in terms of beer. We were still working off the previous night’s toils. So, we ended up doing a quick tasting at the Sam Adam’s tasting room, where they served us their Whitewater IPA and Summer Seasonal. Not a whole lot going on, but very friendly staff, that must have said they are the greatest brewery on the planet of Earth, about 40 times during our brief chat. Team loyalty, gotta love it. They kicked us out of the tasting room as they had a tour come through. So, we got tickets(which are free) for a later tour.With about an hour and half to kill, we took the free shuttle to Doyle’s. We had quite the amusing driver, who mentioned how Doyle’s, aside from having the best lobster roll and clam chowder, was actually the first beer to carry Sam Adams, anywhere. Yup, the first in the world, to carry Jim Koch’s Boston Lager. Pretty cool. It’s a local townie bar, with a fun atmosphere. My buddy used to hang out there all
From there, you end up in a tasting room. Where they talk about the styles you’re about to taste, their flagship beer, the Boston Lager, then the Summer Seasonal and the closer, the Latitude 48 IPA. They also talked about their fancy little glass that Jim said we must all have after a trip to Germany and seeing how each beer has it’s own distinct glass. So, that’s it. Quick and straight on to the drinking of the beer. There wasn’t a whole lot going on and not all that much tasting, but definitely cool to get the tour around one of the staples of the American Craft beer movement.
We got to Harpoon Brewery after hitting Yankee Lobster Company just down the street. If you’re making the visit, definitely stop by there for some food before you head over. They had a fantastic lobster roll that was actually reasonably priced. They have a few beers and wine available too if your heart desires. So, now with full stomachs, we made our way over to Harpoon ready to drink some beverages. We waited about 20 minutes in the tasting room/gift shop. This was the perfect tactic to get us to buy stuff. They had really cool stuff, lots and lot of stuff that just made sense to buy. T-shirts, tasting glasses, hats, towels, etc… All at a great price point too.
Big difference here vs. Sam Adams is, you start drinking beer the moment you start the tour. They rocked some IPA right at the beginning as you stand around and here about the history, ingredients and what’s in the big tanks you are looking at. 2nd stop on the tour, they let you taste some IPA straight outta the fermenting tanks. That was pretty neat. Had a very cask type feel, with no carbonation and almost at room temperature. They then showed us their kegging and bottling lines. Even showed us where all the kegs are stored once filled. They claimed about 90% of all Harpoon beers you’ve had on draft come straight from that fridge. I thought that was pretty cool.
From there, we went back to the tasting room, where they talk about a couple of the different styles of beer they brew, you know, while actually letting you sample them. Then, they let you hang out in the tasting room, letting you sample any beer you want to try. Me, being a big fan of their Leviathan series, I pretty much went for all of those, including the Great Scott, Imperial IPA and Red Squared. Very, very good stuff. So good, my cousins even got some growlers to make the ride home with us. All and all, an awesome experience and definitely one of the best brewery tours I’ve ever had. Highly recommended if you find yourself in Boston.
Promise Ring – Why Did We Ever Meet
Awesome song, probably my favorite from their album Nothing Feels Good. I was never a big fan, but a bunch of my friends liked them while we were growing up. We walked past the Paradise on our way to the Sunset Grill when I thought I heard them playing. I asked someone smoking outside and he’s like yup, Promise Ring is playing here tonight. We grabbed a couple beers at the front bar, then on my way to the bathroom, I realize, I could just walk straight into the show. So, happy little accident and I end up checking out the Promise Ring, while they played this song. Alright!