Subject: Boston Brewing Co. Tour
Date: 1992-07-09 22:57:00 GMT
Boston Brewing Co. Tour
I was recently in Boston for a conference, so I decided to check out
the Boston Brewing Company (Samuel Adams beers). I took the "T"
(subway) down south of town to Jamaica Plain, and walked through a
pretty bad neighborhood to get to the brewery. They only conduct tours
twice a week (Saturdays and Thursdays), so I planned ahead. There is a
nice area with lots of old Boston beer memorabilia to look at while
waiting for the tour to start. There is also a display (*inside* an old
conditioning tank) which takes you through the process of making beer
and gets you to answer some trick questions about beer.
Soon the tour gets started, and a young fellow takes you around and
shows you their brewing set-up. His knowledge is somewhat lacking
(couldn't even *name* another type of hops besides Hallertauer when
queried), but probably adequate for the general public. The brewery is
rather small; it only brews beer for the Boston area. Another brewery
in Utica, NY brews for the east coast, and west coast Samuel Adams is
brewed in Portland, OR.
Boston Brewing Co. is definitely a brewery with an attitude. They are
decidedly snooty about beer, and about their beer in particular. They
make a big deal out of a number of things:
1. Their beer follows Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law) and
is the only American beer sold in Germany.
2. European beer is not fresh and is adulterated with corn for the
American market (of course they are mainly referring to Heineken
and Becks, but they don't make a distinction).
3. The big American brewers are great brewers, but don't brew good
4. Beers bottled in green or clear bottles are skunky. They talk
about the bottle color being determined by the marketing
department when the bottles are green. They use Miller as an
example of a beer that gets skunky because it is in a clear
bottle, but we homebrewers know that Miller can get away with a
clear bottle only because it chemically treats its beers to
5. They won the Great American Beer Festival three years running. The
story I've heard on the net is that Sam Adams won the consumer
preference poll because they hired a fetching young lass in a
revealing outfit to serve their beer and ask for votes. I've also
heard that this kind of unfair campaigning was the main reason
that the consumer preference poll was discontinued, leaving only
the blind panel judging.
After the tour, you are escorted into a tasting room where you can
sample their wares. We tried Samuel Adams Lager, Samuel Adams Ale, and
Samuel Adams Wheat. I must admit that, even though I was a bit put off
by their cockiness, I really like their beers. I would describe them as
assertively hopped, but not as strongly hopped as an Anchor or a Sierra
Nevada beer. They also have a nice maltiness, and the wheat beer had a
hint of a clove taste, as well as good wheat character. They also make
seasonal beers, including an Oktoberfest, a Winter Ale, a Double Bock,
the famous Cranberry Wheat beer (made with a touch of maple syrup for
New England flavor), and possibly a Cream Stout (they had just made a
small batch when I was there). Alas, they had no samples of their other
brews for sale (believe me, I searched).
All in all, it was an enjoyable tour, with the tasting being the high
point. One note for future tour-takers: the tour guide doesn't keep a
good watch on the tap while he's tending the souvenir store, and a
quick refill of your pitcher is easily accomplished :-).
Michael L. Hall
New Mexico Hophead
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