Many people from the Western US don’t understand how small the eastern states are. While the western states were conquered as large land masses of desert and forest during expansion, the eastern states, including the original colonies are quite small. Case in point: it is about 2 hours exactly to drive completely across the state of Massachusetts, west to east. There are others that are far smaller, including New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. It must be quite different than what I’m used to, to live over here – with the frequent traveling I imagine they do to other states, one must get to know all the slight variations and differences in state law. Especially regarding sales tax, driving rules, where to buy alcohol, etc.
Anyway, the point is that we drove from exit #1 at the western border, to Boston today. Just think of it as a travel day, with stops at Trader Joe’s, a really good (and popular) deli for lunch, and a state-approved liquor/beer store to check out their selection. Besides that, our real goal was to get to the Samuel Adams Brewery in southern Boston by the last daily tour at 3pm. We arrived and found parking, then got inside at 2:30 where we were able to join the tour.
This was possibly the most complete brewery tour I have taken, in terms of the guide being completely serious, trying to impart knowledge, and giving really detailed information. We got to play with hops, taste different kinds of barley, and see the original brewery which is now used as the test kitchen and is also used for the special batches.
Then we went into the tasting room, all 50 of us, sitting at long communal cafeteria-style wooden lunch tables. We got to try three beers: the flagship Boston Lager, the Summer Ale, and the Brick Red, which is only available on tap and only within the city of Boston. He actually poured 6 pitchers to split amongst us, so I think we got about 7 ounces of each. Before drinking though, the guide took us through proper methods of judging beer, tasting it, etc. Very extensive tour! And it is free! They ask for $2 but that goes toward two local charities. I got to keep the 7 oz. tasting glass, and we also got a voucher to go to Doyle’s.
This is a pub about a half mile away and was the very first establishment to sell Sam Adams beer back in the mid ’80s. I needed to buy any Sam Adams at regular price, and it would be served in the unique Sam Adams beer glass, which I could keep. (During the tour, we also learned all the special features of the glass, including thicker material toward the bottom and lasered imperfections cut into the bottom to create pooling spots for the bubbles to rise from. And while I enjoyed my Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer, I also had a bread bowl of clam chowdah (!) which was buttery and amazing.
With that experience complete, we drove up to a suburb north of Boston, actually right between Boston and MIT (Cambridge). We are staying with my friend Wendy and her husband, Justin. Wendy was a co-teacher in Hungary and the one Kellie and I spent the most time with.
We got to their condo, settled and chatted for a bit, then went out to a local restaurant. I don’t remember what I ordered, but it was light because I had just eaten that chowdah.
A nice relaxed day , though with very little photography. A busier day tomorrow, exploring Boston and seeing the Red Sox!