Beer Boston with Harley Zipori
By Harley Zipori. Vacations are a good chance to kick back, relax and have a cold beer. When you travel on vacation it’s an excellent chance to taste beers from other regions and even explore the local craft and boutique beers.
My vacation this year took me to Boston. Besides being a culturally rich city with a large percentage of college students and young people, it is also the home to a number of small craft breweries and brewpubs. In fact, Boston was the heart of the microbrewery explosion in the 1980’s with the founding of the Samuel Adams beer. Technically the Boston Beer Company it was founded by Jim Koch, Harry M. Rubin, and Lorenzo Lamadrid and is today, one of the largest craft brewers in the US. The brewery is located in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston, is easily accessible on the T, Boston’s famous subway system and is one of the popular tourist attractions in the city.
Since I participated in the Samuel Adams Longshot competition last year (as those faithful readers of my blog will remember) I could not visit Boston without a visit to the brewery. The tour itself is fairly short with our tour guide, Ryan, providing a very entertaining and easily understandable description of the brewing process and the history of the brewery. The tour took place in the development brewery, a real microbrewery sized brewery that they use for developing and testing new beer varieties. Seeing a brewing operation of this size gives a much clearer idea of the brewing process since all the steps occur in the same small area. Samuel Adams beers are brewed in much larger quantities in other areas of the brewery which spread over an entire city block. It is, after all, a brewery selling commercial quantities of beer over a wide geographical area and real beer production would occur on a much larger scale than the equipment we saw.
The tour ended with the obligatory tasting of three Sam Adams beers. The first was the Boston Lager, which was the first Sam Adams beer brewed. It is actually available in Israel and can even be found on draft in pubs and in bottles in those stores that chose to sell craft beers. It is a smooth and refreshing amber lager with a full flavor but very well balanced and highly drinkable, making it an excellent session beer. It is not a golden colored Pilsner but more similar to color and taste to Goldstar but in my opinion, is truly a craft beer. Just to be clear on one thing, in Israel, Samuel Adams beers are imported and distributed by Tempo beverages, the same company that makes Goldstar.
The second beer we tasted was their Summer Ale, an unfiltered wheat beer flavored with lemon peel and a pepper like spice called Grains of Paradise. The final product has only hints of these extra flavors and is a light, refreshing beer perfect for summer.
The third beer was the Boston Ale is an ale, as opposed to a lager, so it is fermented at higher temperatures and is a bit hoppier than the Boston Lager. It reminds me of English style pale ales and on the Sam Adams web site they note that is made with English hops. It’s a full bodied beer that I will definitely try to get hold of at some time. It was the only beer of the three that I never tasted before.
If I have one complaint about the tour from a very personal perspective, it is that none of the three beers were of the more interesting varieties that the brewery produces. If you look at the Sam Adams web site you will see a very large number of varieties, most of which I have never tasted and all but a very few, unavailable in Israel.
I am still on vacation and blogging from the road with limited time and internet access but there are more stories to tell so stay tuned to the blog for updates.
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