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The Layover Boston: The Harpoon Brewery Tour

December 27, 2011

While I’m a bigger drinker of Sam Adams beer than Harpoon, I’ve long heard that the Harpoon Brewery Tour is a superior Boston brewery experience and the visit of my brewery touring buddy (our first brewery tour together was Goose Island in Chicago) was the perfect opportunity to check it out. Tifferoo also came along for the bubbly ride. An easy trip on the Silver Line from South Station dropped us off at the corner of the Harpoon complex in South Boston – in warmer weather, we might have walked.

A welcoming sight for newcomers

Admission is $5 for a tour of the facility, beer tastings, and a small souvenir glass. Unlike the two other brewery tours I’ve been on, the beer drinking began almost immediately. We were each poured a tasting glass of what I think was the Harpoon Hefeweizen to kick off the tour.

The usual explanation of the brewing process took place, although I commend the Harpoon team for their editing of the spiel to contain the most important and interesting brewing facts and sharing more with the audience about the business of brewing – this might reflect the Harvard Business School roots of Harpoon’s founders.

Midway through the tour, and after our second glass of beer, we were treated to Harpoon I.P.A. straight from the vat, with less carbonation and incredibly cold and fresh. The flavor of the hops seemed to bloom through the sinuses while leaving the palate refreshed. I think I might like unfinished beer more than finished beer.

One of two Kevins pouring us superfresh beer

Other Kevin explaining the bottling process

I think there might have been even one more refill of beer before we hit the end of the tour. Suffice it to say, the three of us were well warmed up for the tasting bar.

At the end of our tour, for what felt like 30 or so minutes, we had our pick of 12 Harpoon beers on tap. The highlight for me was a mix of the Chocolate Stout and UFO Raspberry. Tifferoo had an “Apple Pie” – Winter Warmer and Harpoon Cider. I felt really full of beer and had to choose between the Munich Dark and the Belgian Pale Ale for my last drink. I ended up going for the Munich, not knowing if I would like banana flavor in my beer. Despite having drank both, I’m not sure if the rumor that Harvard 1636 is really just Munich Dark is true although the two certainly look similar.

This was fun. Very fun.

Anyways, we had a great time at the Harpoon Brewery – the facility was very impressive, the guides were entertaining and educational, and the beer was generous and tasty. The three of us were definitely sated upon exiting.

Next stop: Curing the drunchies

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