Drinking our way through Boston brewery tours

Our recent trip to Boston very quickly turned into our own beer tour of the city. If you are heading to Boston any time soon, check out these local breweries and bars to satisfy your inner beer nerd.

Samuel Adams Brewery Tour

Sam Adams, one of the largest craft breweries, was a must for us when we knew we would be in Boston. It is a bit of a trek outside the downtown area, but the closest T station puts you within a short walk of the brewery.

The tour itself was pretty short, and you quickly realize you are not in a production brewery when you don’t really move beyond one room throughout the whole tour. The tasting part of the tour was much better in my book.

Once inside the tasting room, your tour guide takes you through all the steps of a professional beer tasting, which I found to be pretty interesting. And you get to taste three samples of Sam Adams beers for free! (Okay, technically a donation to their charity foundation is suggested…but you get the idea.)

Your three samples consist of the original Boston Lager, a seasonal brew, and something that is less distributed. On our visit, we got Boston Lager, Oktoberfest, and their IPL.

Overall, I would give it a three out of five on the beer tour amazing-ness scale.

Harpoon Brewery Tour

I have always had some love for Harpoon so heading over to their brewery for a tour was a no-brainer. Their bar and tasting room setup is great, and I really could have seen us just coming here for a couple beers and housemade pretzels.

In the tasting room, you can buy a pint of any Harpoon beer or flights for sampling. They have some limited release pilot series brews that you won’t find anywhere else. But note that they don’t mix and match flights. So if you want to try the pilot brews, it’s best to start with the set flight of all of them before you try anything else.

The official tour is $5 and was much better than the Sam Adams tour. You actually walk through the brewery and get to see it in full production — huge tanks in the brew process, bottling going full force…you get the idea.

And then, my favorite part, the tour tastings.

Unlike Sam Adams, the Harpoon tastings are unlimited as long as you get them in within the time allotment. They explain the different brews as you sample the wide selection, both wide distributing as well as the rare and limited release beers.

After we tried every beer they had to offer, the tour guides even introduced us to “mixing” their beers, which is awesome and a must try experience. Think IPA mixed with a stout, blending all of their IPAs in one glass, or a cider combined with a stout. We had ’em all.

I highly recommend this tour if you are in Boston, especially because it is closer to the downtown area. If you don’t have the time for the tour, at least stop by and hang out in the tasting room for a flight…or two. They have pretzels!

Cambridge Brewing Company

Cambridge Brewing Company is a brewery and restaurant over in…you guessed it, Cambridge, MA. One of the oldest in the greater Boston area, their beers range from the classic styles to some very experimental brews.

We figured that, while it wasn’t a production brewery like the others, we had to try it and compare to the other two breweries that have been around since the 80s. I recommend trying the whole draft menu by ordering flights, even though you won’t find flight options listed on the menu. They offer them. The majority of their classic house beers weren’t anything mind-blowing, but their experimental, seasonal and limited release beers were damn tasty.

Lord Hobo

While in Cambridge, we decided to stop by this local craft beer mecca. The bar specializes in craft beer with a large portion of their draft list featuring Boston brews.

We weren’t able to make it to some of the smaller breweries we had been dying to try like Night Shift, Trillium, and more. So Lord Hobo was a good place to get to sample some (or all) of them.

If you want a diverse selection of beers in a laid back place, look no further. Try Trillium’s Fort Point Pale Ale for an amazing IPA or Night Somer Weisse if you love sours.

All in all, I’d say the trip was a huge success. I can’t wait until the Dallas beer scene has as much diversity as Boston does.

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