This past weekend we ventured up to Boston. Winter still wasn't over, but we didn't let the weather deter our plans. We woke up early on Saturday for the morning mash in tour at the Sam Adams Brewery.
This is their only tour you can book tickets for, but keep in mind that it starts at 9:40am. None of the tours cost money, instead they take donations for local charities. Your ticket is a fresh label and you walk through a gutted tank to the brewhouse.
The group was lead to a small room next to the barrel room. Here our tour guide Jessica gave us the background of the brewery and the usual ingredient show and smell. This was the first brewery tour I have been on where they tell everyone to take a few hop pellets and crush them by rubbing your hands together. After everyone is covered in hops we are lead back into the brew house. This is the smallest of their three breweries, the other two being in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The tour group seemed rather large for such a small brewery. In Boston they do more experimental beers, especially the collection stored in the Barrel Room.
After the brewing process overview, the fun begins: day drinking at 10am in a brewery. The tour group is lead into the tasting room pictured below. On one wall they have a frame with a bunch of their Great American Beer Festival medals, on the other pictures of Jim Koch and other brewers. Jessica described the process for evaluating beers as pitchers of Boston Lager were passed around to the group. Boston Lager is definitely not a corn-infused macro brew, but it will never be the first beer I reach for. The second of the three tastings was Cold Snap, a belgian wit. Middle of the road yeast profile for a wit with a lot of spices thrown at it. It ends up a little all over the place, but is still an approachable beer.
The morning mash in tour is known to have special beers at the tasting portion. For our third and final tasting we got to try the 26.2, a gose brewed for the Boston Marathon. Jessica described it as a gatorade beer. For the style it wasn't too salty, very smooth and mellow. I have to say it surprised me. I think it's one of the best beers they have made, aside from their sour line (and the utopias).
Unfortunately the tour does not include going into the barrel room. You only get to view it through the window overlooking barrels and foeders. The tasting ends and you exit through the gift shop. They also point out that you can take your beer label down to a bar called Doyle's Cafe where if you order a Sam Adams pint, you get to keep the glass.
All in all the early morning trip was worth it. The brewery is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but they still make it clear that they are a giant in the craft industry.