Boston, Drinking

Craft Beer Lovers: Add a Sam Adams Brewery Tour on the Boston Itinerary

Craft Beer Lovers: Add a Sam Adams Brewery Tour on the Boston Itinerary

We love to visit breweries when we travel so we knew a trip to Boston would have to include a tour of Sam Adams Boston Brewery. We wanted to take in as much of the city as we could on this 3-day trip but two things were certain. A Sam Adams Boston Brewery Trip and a Boston Red Sox game.

We had only one day to make this tour happen during our trip and it was the day of our arrival in Boston. We dropped our bags at the hotel and grabbed a cab to head to the brewery. Our cab driver took us to the brewery located in the Jamacia Plain Neighborhood and dropped us at the door. If you love craft beer you should take a Sam Adams Brewery Tour.

Our timing was perfect- we were able to get in for a tour! The Sam Adams Brewery Tour fills up fast and is limited to first come first served. We made it- this trip was already off to a great start!

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Another great tour to take in Boston: Fenway Park

Jim Koch Sighting

As we were standing in line people watching and waiting for our tour to begin, Dusty said “Hey, that looks like the guy from the commercials”. Do you mean Jim Koch? The man who founded Sam Adams Brewery? Yes, that’s the guy in the commercials. We laugh about it to this day.

The energy was high in the building that day because, according to several employees, Jim Koch rarely makes appearances at this location, a couple of times per year at most. His daughter was graduating from college that weekend and he was giving personal tours to her of some of her graduating class. Imagine Jim Koch himself leading your Sam Adams Brewery Tour.

Sam Adams Brewery Tour

Sam Adams Boston Brewery History

A trip to Boston is all about the history and a Sam Adams Brewery Tour is no different.

As long as we opened with Jim Koch, it’s interesting to learn about him, where the popular brewer started, and why we have him to thank for the craft beer movement that we personally appreciate today.

We learned that Jim Koch comes from a long line of brewers. In the 1800’s His great-grandfather brewed beer in St. Louis and the flagship beer, Samuel Adams Boston Lager is a variation of that beer.

Koch, like most brewers, began brewing at home as he was not impressed with the bland lager beer being brewed by the big breweries. Those beers appealed to the masses and their big advertising budgets made it hard for people to know about craft beers (especially before the internet). Thinking about what our own dads drank in the 1980s- Miller Lite, Coors… it was all they knew (and loved).

It was after talking to his father who shared his great-grandfather’s recipe, Jim began brewing in his kitchen at home in 1984 and the rest is history.  He is credited with launching the ‘Craft Beer Revolution’ in the United States. Some argue today that with his production size and distribution Sam Adams is no longer considered Craft Beer.

We later learned that Koch earned 3 degrees from Harvard and eventually quit his six-figure job to start brewing beer.

Why Sam Adams?

Sam Adams, born in Boston, is one of the most famous patriots who fought for independence from Britain.  and the founder of the Sons of Liberty. He inherited a Malt house that provided malt to breweries in the Boston area. Sam Adams was also a brewer and Jim Koch celebrated Sam Adams by naming the brewery after him.  After all, Jim Koch started the beer revolution.

The Brewery Tour

The basic Sam Adams Brewery Tour is actually pretty short, as beer is no longer brewed at this location. It was the perfect amount of time for our trip as it didn’t take too much time. Though the brewery began in this location it is now used to make small batches for Research & Development, kind of like a test kitchen for beer,  and for offering tours.

While you stand and wait for the tour to begin  you see all of the awards from over the years and label artwork

We meandered through the brewing area where you can see tanks and brewing equipment. Again, this is just an R&D location but brewers are still in action so you’re really amongst things that are brewing on this tour.

The tour teaches how the hops flavor of the beer affects the taste of the beer. We all got to sniff the Hallertau hops that are used to brew Samual Adams beer.

Check out a guided brewery tour you can take in Boston!

Seven Wonders of Sam Adams Beer

We love brewery tours because you meet people who are so passionate about beer and the beer-making process. This tour taught us about the seven wonders of Sam Adams Beer including appearance, aroma, taste, complexity, body, smoothness, finish, and balance.

W also learned that in the 1980s Jim Koch created the “Born on Date” so that consumers know how fresh their beer is.

Yes, The Sam Adams Brewery Tour Includes Beer Tasting!

After our short tour, about 30 minutes, we were ushered to the tasting room. This was by far the coolest tasting we’ve experienced.

The tasting room is cool and dark with wood benches and walls. Sam, our very enthusiastic tour guide explained the PROPER way to taste beer. Above we mentioned the seven wonders of Sam Adams Beer. The tour offered a hands-on lesson on the seven wonders.

  1. Appearance: beer is like a diamond and should have levels of clarity. The color should tell you what style of beer and the clarity should match that style. Foam should linger
  2. Aroma: a proper beer tasting is to swirl the beer and make note of the flavor profile.
  3. Complexity Can you smell the complexity of the grain, hops, and yeast
  4. Taste: Sip it and if done right the taste will match the aroma.
  5. Balance: Are the sweetness of the malt and the bitterness of the hops balanced correctly?
  6. Body: Pay attention to how the beer feels on your tongue and the smoothness
  7. Finish: How does the beer linger on the palette? Ideally, it leads you to want another taste

The beer tasting was more than we expected. After the lesson, each pitcher was passed around for more tasting until it was gone. After that was finished we also were able to choose a pint of beer.

sam adams brewery tour

Read about our New Glarus Brewery Tour in Wisconsin

Sam Adams Brewery Gift Shop

After the Sam Adams Brewery Tour concluded we went to the gift shop where they had a big variety of merch. We left with only our tasting glasses from the tour and a brewery sticker.

Sam Adams Taproom

Of course, we made time to visit the taproom during our Sam Adams Brewery Tour! There is also an outside patio to sit on but we stayed in the taproom. We loved the vibe of it. Lots of exposed red brick, chalk art, comfy leather seats and a bar properly staffed for a busy taproom.

Sam Adams Brewery Tour- What To Know

The tour is $10 and is offered every 45 minutes, last 45 minutes, and is first come-first served. There are other tours are available.

Current Sam Adams Brewery Tours Tours:

  • Sam Signature Experience $10 – 45 minutes
  • Beyond The Brewhouse $25 – 45 minutes
  • Keller Crafted Arisan Beer & Cheese Experience $40 – 45 minutes
  • VIP Pass Experience $50 – 30 minutes
  • Sam Signature & Keller Crafted Package  $45 – 1.5 hours
  • Sam Summer: Seasonal Guided Tasting $25 – 30 minutes

Check out the National Beer Museum in Potosi, WI

Why You Should Take A Sam Adams Brewery Tour?

YES! If you love craft beer for sure should add a Sam Adams Brewery Tour to your Boston itinerary. If you’re staying in Boston proper it’s worth grabbing an Uber or taking public transportation. We stayed at the Westin Copley which was only 3 miles from the Brewery and it was a quick Uber as we didn’t have a car rental for this trip. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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