Friday, January 27, 2012

today's friday photoblog is sponsored by steph gas and sam adams

Holy crap, Nicki's doing a Friday Photoblog. On a Friday. Not Sunday. Not Wednesday. FRIDAY. Ye gods. The times really ARE a-changing

Back in August, I tweeted that I was off to the Sam Adams brewery tour. The awesomely amazing Steph Gas replied and requested that I take pics since her husband is a big Sam fan. No prob, I think. It'll make a great photoblog.

And here we are in January. And here I am finally posting these pictures. From August. In January. 


Derrick's dad came up to visit this summer and we decided a trip to the Sam Adams Brewery was in order. Because a.) how more cliché Boston can you get, b.) it's beer, and c.) it's free.
Combine b and c and you've got free beer

Or as I like to call it, Christmas.

Before the brew tour, I'd never really been a big fan of Sam Adams. Didn't love 'em, didn't hate 'em, but I'll take a foaming glass of Guinness over ole Sam any day. But Sam Adams offered free beer samples, and no beer tastes better than free beer, my friends.

And something magical happened inside that brewery, readers. Maybe it was the roasted hops. Maybe it was the local charities. Or maybe it was the pitchers of beer they kept passing to me. Whatever it was, this beer snob's heart grew three sizes that day. 

I, Nicki the Guinness Girl, became a Sam Adams fan. 

First of all, Sam Adams is incredibly local-focused. The brand is Boston born and raised. The place just oozes the red brick buildings, the crooked smiles, and the reckless driving habits I've come to love over the past few months (okay, I don't looooove the reckless driving thing). Sam Adams makes a hell of a lot more beer varieties besides the Boston Lager, which, if I'm being honest, turns me on about as much as a bucket of mopwater. But the stouts! The pale ales! The reds! The maple porter! The chocolate stout! THE COFFEE BLACK & TAN! All these years I've thought of Sam Adams as a patriotic picnic alternative to Yuengling. Oh, Sam, you tricky bastard, you. 

Sam Adams actually makes a delicious red called the Boston Brick Red that's only served within Boston city limits. It's the ultimate Boston beer, and if I'm in a pub with Brick Red on tap, I'll be ordering 'em 'til I leave...even if they've got my Irish lover on tap. Hey, I've got Guinness in my fridge-- and the odds are pretty damn good the Red's going to be cheaper. You want the ultimate Boston experience, you come to Beantown during a Red Sox game, head to a pub, and knock back Brick Reds while the bar explodes over each play.

Ain't no bar culture like Boston bar culture, that's a fact -- and Sam Adams is a huge part of that culture. You walk into any bar in the area you are gua-ran-teed to have two choices on tap: Boston Lager and Sam Adams seasonal. No exceptions. Even the 5-stars in town carry 'em. It's like the sweet tea thing: you don't have sweet tea, you ain't in the South; you don't have Boston Lager and Seasonal on tap, you are certainly not in Boston.

The brand also creates special varieties solely for local events. At the Wellfleet Oyster Festival (pictures to come), Sam Adams sells the Wellfleet Oyster Stout, a to-die-for stout brewed with oyster shells that's made specifically for the festival. The two-day, once-a-year festival. Local love, man, local love.

Beer labels serve as your tickets for the tour (or, as our tour guide pronounced it, tee-yure), which would've been fun and whimsical had our tickets not been for Sam Adams Light. I tried not to see it as a personal assault on my character.

The Sam Adams brew tour is heavily accented with cardboard signs and fake vinery. I appreciated this.

So you're picked up by a charming young Bahston man (who will utter sentences like "Cambridge-- y'know, Cambridge, where all the wicked smaht people ah"), who leads you on a meandering tour through the brewery (which is fully functioning while you're there, btw) and has you taste hops and grains and all the other lovely dried ingredients that make beer beer. 

It's interesting, sure, and the guy knows his stuff -- he knows what we're all here for, so he keeps it light and interesting and with plenty of "Ya guys almost ready for some free beer?"

Why, yes, Stereotypically Boston Tee-yure Guide, yes we are. 

And then comes the best part, kids: the tastings.

Some college kids played it smart and hit up the other breweries in the area before our tour and I couldn't blame 'em -- no better way to pregame for free beer than with more free beer

The folks at Sam Adams are in no way stingy with their beer. They pass out pitchers, everyone pours a glass and starts a-tasting. The great thing was that we were in the front, so all the pitchers kept getting passed back to us...pitchers that were by no means empty. Instead of being Tasting Nazis (you know the type), we spoke the same language: You Don't Waste Beer. Ever.

So we got another round on the house before they whisked the empty pitchers away. 

And yes, I think this strongly contributed to my newfound Sam Adams fandom.

My favorite part of the tour was when the guide asked a woman how she liked the beer.

"It was okay. For a beer. I mean, it was really good for a dark beer. I don't really drink dark beer," she said apologetically.

"What do you drink?" someone hollered.


This sign is there to tempt you when you step out of the brewery.

The Party Trolley to Doyle's

The Party Trolley is a crammed-to-the-gills free ride to Doyle's Café. The Party Trolley comes with its own hanging disco ball. You've got about a 65% chance that the driver will be blaring Journey. And you will be standing so close to your neighbor that there is a slight chance he can impregnate you. But it's okay, because you've got a belly full of free Sam Adams and you're on your way to get some more,

Now, Doyle's is the real deal -- the bar dates back to the 1880's and has dozens of famous politician visits under its belt. Ya walk in and you just know the Kennedys went campaigning here. The food's not bad, but you're not here for the food -- you're here because it's a historic bar that offered you a free ride to a free Sam Adams glass. That said, you could do a hell of a lot worse. The pastrami was good, the fries were hot, the beer was cold. And the Sam Adams glasses were free. 

So in short? Sam Adams? I'm a fan.

Hope I did ya proud, Steph.


  1. Sammy and I are good friends. We go waaaay back.
    And if you like-a the Guinness, you will like-a their Black&Brew. Yummy, yummy stuff. ;)

    1. I LOOOOOOOVE THE BLACK & BREW!! One of my all-time favorites.

    2. I knew you would. Me, I'm in love with the Latitude 48. And the Blackberry Witbier. And the Holiday Porter. And the Rustic Saison. And...
      Well, you get the point.

    3. Haven't tried the Blackberry, but I'm pretty fussy about flavored beers. I'd give it an honest go, though. The Holiday Porter is a delicious in-front-of-the-fire beer (in a frosty mug...I'm salivating), but I DEFINITELY have to be in the right mood for it. But I'm that way with any porter -- have to be in the mood for a good stick-to-your-ribs kinda beer.

  2. That's it. I'm coming to Boston. For Sam Adams. And you. And I'll make sure our sweet Kat is there too. That would be a party. Get ready!


    2. I of course whole-heartedly endorse this.~♥

    You know how I feel about Boston. There are NO words to express my love. It was love at first visit. That being said. I'm a big Sam girl but I've never been to the brewery. Without a doubt I'll be there this spring/summer.

    1. Ya gotta go. YA GOTTA GO. I want to physically embrace the entire brewery. Or live there. Or live outside the brewery in a cardboard box.

  4. You have no idea how thirsty you just made me.

    Well, ok, you took the tour and drank that beer, so you actually DO know how thirsty you just made me. You are a girl after my own hops-filled heart.

    Now, it's 2:15 pm. All I have to do is hold out a teensy little bit longer and then it's beer time!

  5. Padawan is a fan of their Oktoberfest beer or something like that.

    He's very appreciative of most of their products, though, which will more than make up for me saying that I don't care if it's Sam Adams or our very own Shiner, beer is beer and I do not like it. Not even for a free Sam Adams glass, which are pretty cool. But I'd probably just drink soda from them if I had them.

  6. yay! very awesome post. makes me want to go to boston even worse. i hate the red sox but i'm dying to see fenway. it's baseball history. i also want to go to the brewery. so does awesome husband. i'm SO GLAD you posted this finally! it looks like it was a lot of fun.

  7. Never heard of Sam Adams but then I am in a different country so not surprise there.....that said I enjoyed reading about your experience.....

  8. Award time for you...because I'm crafty like that.

  9. I don't drink beer, but I definitely appreciated this fabulous photo blog. It was most impressive. I'm only wondering how jealous Derrick was when he saw you canoodling with Mr. Samuel Adams right in front of him. Did old Sammy boy get a face full of fist? He probably deserved it, the old lady-killer!

  10. Those photos would have gotten a whole lot crookeder if it were me. I can't hold my beer.

    Shots, yes.

  11. I love seasonal beer. And free beer.

    I can't say I was ever a SA "fan", but it's probably because I only ever had access to the lager. I certainly enjoyed it when I had it, but if I am going to CHOOSE which beer to drink, I would choose Rolling Rock. Or Honey Brown. Or Guiness. Those were my faves. But if the choice was between SA and Miller lite? SA wins every time.

    I don't drink any more. But I will definately make an exception when I visit Boston. And Europe. Because I am NOT going to France or Italy without wine, and I am NOT going to Ireland or the UK without beer. Dark, warm beer. mmmmmmm.

    I love beer. Shots? not so much.

    The fact that I gave up drinking alcohol (including beer) for my children just shows how much I love them.

    What a fricking great mom I am.

  12. As usual, we are on the same wavelenghth because I feel that Mr. Adams is very over rated. That said, I've had a few of his seasonal brews and they were tasty enough that I no longer stick my beer snob nose is the air if someone ask me my opinion of his fare.

    That is utter BRILLIANCE to sit at the front to get the return pitcher as well. *makes notes for a planned visit*

  13. So you got the day right but you're a few months late.. We can't have everything, now can we? :) What a great photoblog and review. I'm not a beer drinker at all since I've just never been able to acquire the taste for it. Does that make me a liquor snob?

  14. I really have to gather some beer loving friends and head south. Loved this post. Thanks for the laughs!!!



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