Octoberfest at Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston

If you're an expat living in a foreign land, it helps to be adaptable - kind of like a chameleon that changes color to blend in with its environment. So, while I may have mentioned enjoying a glass or two of wine in Paris, I also have wonderful memories of linking arms with friendly Bavarians, swaying to Oom-Pah-Pah music and downing my fair share of wheat beer at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Without fail, our German friends always declared that their beer tasted better than American beer because of the "German Beer Purity Law" stipulating that only water, hops and barley could be used during the brewing process. Yeast was later added to the list of legal ingredients.

When our tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston began with an explanation of this ancient German law, I knew that we were in good hands. Their "brew crew" understand beer and brew it the way that it's meant to be brewed. They've just added a bit of American innovation.

Pale malted barley, chocolate malted barley and hops (the green leafy stuff). Malt tastes kind of like Grape Nuts cereal.

After offering us samples of pale and chocolate malted barley, our guide explained that there are two main branches of the "Beer family": ales and lagers.

Our wonderfully entertaining guide striking a pose for the camera. 

Knowing that everyone was already thinking about the free beer at the end of the tour, our guide gave us a short and informative description of the brewing process before escorting us to our final destination, the tasting room!

We had the good fortune to be with this boisterous group from New Jersey, who had lots of fun teasing the Bostonians about the Red Sox. Being from the Midwest, I loved watching East coast rivalry at its best!

Even though the group looks a bit serious in the photo, the mood in the room quickly changed once we got to the most enjoyable part of the tour: pouring and tasting three different kinds of beer - Boston Lager, Octoberfest and Boston Brick Lager. With a deep red color and a pleasing caramel flavor, Boston Brick was my favorite. And best of all, for every pint and keg that is a sold, a donation is made to "Brewing the American Dream", a fund that helps small business owners in the Boston area.

Cost of the tour: absolutely free, although guests are invited to make a $2 donation to charities supported by Samuel Adams. It's best to arrive early because the line gets pretty long after all of the college students roll out of bed and make their way to the brewery in the afternoon! Be sure to bring a valid ID.

30 Germania Street
Boston, MA 02130

Barrels used to age some of the specialty beers.


  1. I love the Samuel Adams seasonal variety packs at the market--three bottle of four types of beer, always fun to have on hand. They do take their beer making seriously don't they?

    And speaking, off topic, of rivalries--who are you picking to win the Rugby World Cup? I'm torn with France and New Zealand in the finals. I have plenty of Kiwi friends and I love France, so..... Is it a big deal there?

  2. Since I haven't been following the Rugby World Cup, it's a good thing that I had lunch with someone who has been. She said that the French realize that it's a bit of a fluke that they're in the finals and don't expect much on Sunday. They're just enjoying the fact that they made it this far. Her French boyfriend wants to watch the match at one of the Kiwi bars in town. Even though I love France, I can't think of a time when I've been on their side in sports. Maybe it's because Stephane always cheers for them by default if there isn't a Swiss team playing. I may have to go to a Kiwi bar at 10:30 on Sunday morning and support New Zealand. It sounds like it would be a lot of fun...even if I don't know the first thing about rugby. You'll have to let me know what you decide - France or NZ. Chances are that I may change my mind half way through the match because I usually end up cheering for the underdog.


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