Boston Samuel Adams Brewery organizes free tours where you can learn about the history of Samuel Adams brand, the beer brewing process, taste the malts and smell the hops used to brew Sam Adams, and of course sample different types of the beers.
History of Sam Adams Brand
Samuel Adams Brewery was founded in 1984 and named in honor of the Founding Father of the United States, Samuel Adams. Adams was a leader of the movement that later became the American Revolution. In 1768 he wrote the Massachusetts Circular Letter calling for the opposition to the occupation of Boston by British soldier, which eventually resulted in the Boston Massacre of 1770. Most importantly in the context of beer, several generations of Samuel Adams’ family produced the malt necessary for brewing beer.
In 1984, the American beer market was significantly different from what it is today. The only option for the flavorful quality beer was a handful of imports, such as Heineken and Beck’s. The domestic brewers produced only pale lagers.
Jim Koch, the sixth-generation beer brewer, saw an opportunity to start an American craft beers brewery that were virtually non-existent at the time. Jim’s father Charles Koch had left the brewing business during Prohibition but kept the old brewing recipes in an old trunk upstairs.
In 1985, the Samuel Adams brewery introduced Samuel Adams Boston Lager, at the recreation of the first battle of the American Revolution on Patriot’s Day. Following Jim Koch’s great-great grandfather’s recipe, the brewery continued using traditional brewing processes that would allow the beer to form layers of complex flavor. Only three months later it was voted the “Best Beer in America” at the beer festival, where 93 regional and national beers were competing.
Thanks to the publicity that followed the competition, the company’s sales rose to 63,000 barrels in 1989. The Sam Adams Boston Lager beer was first put on tap at Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain, Boston. Currently, Doyle’s is the only bar in Boston that serves new or experimental Sam Adams beers. Thanks to its historic look and atmosphere, the Doyle’s Irish pub has been used in several Hollywood movies, such as 21, Celtic Pride, Mystic River, and The Brink’s Job.
Sam Adams – Top Craft Brewery in the United States
Over the years Samuel Adams beers have won awards around the globe, more than any brand in history.
The company’s success was backed up by the uprising craft beer movement in the U.S. By 1995, 600 independent breweries were producing craft and specialty beers in the U.S.
In 2013, Boston Beer Company was listed #1 on the U.S. top 50 craft breweries based on beer sales.
Nowadays, the company has breweries in Boston, MA, Cincinnati, OH, and Breinigsville, PA. Since Boston tap water has traditionally been used as one of the main components of Sam Adams beers, the breweries in Ohio and Pennsylvania recreate the kind chemically identical to Boston tap water.
Samuel Adams Beers
Along with its seasonal collection, Sam Adams products include:
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA – West Cost style India Pale Ale
Sam Adams Light – lighter version of Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection – 5 beers that are left in wood barrels for some time to pick up he flavors of the wood
Samuel Adams Utopias
Utopias was introduced in 2002, at 24% abv it was then the strongest commercial beer in the world. Utopias is made with caramel, Vienna, Moravian and Bavarian smoked malts and four different types of noble hops. The beer is matured in cognac, scotch and port barrels for a year. Every year, Sam Adams produces a limited number of bottles that now cost around $200 each.
Triple Bock – a predecessor of Utopias, Triple Bock was introduced in 1994 as the strongest beer at 17.5% abv. The specialty of this beer is maple syrup that is added during the brewing process.
At the Boston Samuel Adams Brewery tour you will have a unique chance to sample most of these beers, experience the beer brewing process and literally touch (or taste) some of the beer ingredients.
At the gift shop, you can buy some of the rarest Sam Adams beers and all kind of swag.
The Brewery collects a suggested $2 donation per person that will be distributed to local charities. Sam Adams brewery does not take reservations – tickets are handed out on a first come, first serve basis.
However, you can reserve a ticket for the first tour of the day, so-called Mash In Tour, that offers 4 instead of 3 types of beers for sampling.
The tour starts at 9:40am and takes about an hour. In case you didn’t make a reservation, if you arrive early, you may still be able to take the Morning Mash In Tour, as they do have space for walk-ons. Walk-on tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis. Oh yeah, you can take the branded Sam Adams glass with you after the tasting! Cheers!