Samuel Adams Brewery: The Complete Guide

Sam Adams Brewery
Sam Adams Brewery.

Courtesy of Sam Adams Brewery

When you think Boston beer, the first that likely comes to mind is Samuel Adams (or shortened to Sam Adams), which started back in 1984. It was then that founder Jim Koch first brewed Boston Lager right in his kitchen using a recipe from his great great grandfather. From there, the Sam Adams Brewery opened its doors in 1988 and today continues to be one of the top breweries in Boston, even with the rise in craft breweries popping up in and around the city.

The Samuel Adams Boston Brewery is hidden down a side street in the city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood and has been there since 1988. Here they offer several types of tours, from the classic tour that’s free to visitors, to other specialty tours offering more unique experiences, all of which will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process and give you the chance to sample at least a few varieties of Sam Adams beer.

Here are all the details on visiting the Samuel Adams Brewery, including the types of tours, tips on visiting, other local activities and more. Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide of things to do in Jamaica Plain as well.

How to Tour the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery

Taking the classic tour of the Sam Adams Brewery is free, though they do ask for a voluntary donation to local nonprofits the brewery supports. This tour lasts an hour, with the first half dedicated to educating visitors on everything from the ingredients to the brewing process, including tasting roasted malts and smelling the German Noble hops found in their Boston Lager, and the second half spent sampling in the tasting room. During the tasting portion, you’ll get to try out three different beers and take home a glass as a souvenir.

There are also other specialty tours of the Sam Adams Brewery, which range from $15 to $60 depending on the type of tour and date you plan to visit. First is The Bierkeller, also known as the “Samuel Adams Barrel Aged Experience,” which combines two favorites—barrel aged beers and local cheeses—into one tour. This hour-long tour runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for $30 to $45. 

Every morning at 10:30 a.m. is the Morning Mash In Tour, which includes a fourth tasting and gives you the opportunity to experience the Brewery Tap Room before it officially opens. The general admission ticket is $15, but you can also upgrade that to include beer to take home. Similarly, the one-hour Before the Brewhouse tour dives into the history of brewing with a tour of the brewhouse and a guided flight for $20 to $35, the latter of which also includes beer to go.

Get your tickets to the specialty tours in advance by visiting the company's website (note that availability is currently limited and tickets are posted one week at a time. The website recommends checking for tickets the Saturday before you plan to visit).

Private tours are currently offered on Thursdays and Fridays at a max capacity of 20 people. You can book in advance by filling out the private tour request form located in the "tour experiences" tab on the company's website. If you’re visiting with someone under age 21, they can still participate in the tour, though of course, anyone who plans on tasting the beers will need to show a valid ID.

Where to Eat & Drink

The Samuel Adams Tap Room in Jamaica Plain next to the brewery has you covered with any Sam Adams beer in season, including pints, flights, and other tasters. However, what they don’t have is full-service dining to go with your beer. They typically have food trucks and other local restaurants offering food options on-site, but you may want to consider packing lunch or grabbing take-out from one of the local restaurants. When the weather is nice, you can enjoy it all on the outdoor patio.

There are a few popular restaurants walking distance, most notably Ula Café and Bella Luna & the Milky Way. Ula Café has all sorts of sandwiches on freshly baked bread, along with salads, soups and baked goods like popovers, muffins and cupcakes. Bella Luna is an Italian eatery with take-out dishes ranging from sandwiches to pizzas and “Better Than Your Mama’s Meatballs.”

How to Get There

The Samuel Adams Boston Brewery is located at 30 Germania Street in Jamaica Plain. It’s an easy walk from the MBTA Orange Line, as it’s two blocks from the Stony Brook stop. If you’re driving, they do have limited parking available but given that the brewery is in a neighborhood, if you miss out on one of their spots you’ll need to rely on street parking.

Keep in mind that hours for the brewery tours and Tap Room differ a bit, with the brewery tours running Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Sundays. The Boston Tap Room hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.

Tips for Visitors

  • Bring your own food. Food trucks are often serving up food at the brewery but not guaranteed, so you may be better off bringing your own snacks, sandwiches (Ula Café) or even pizza (Bella Luna).
  • Opt for the train. Parking isn’t a guarantee, so if you’re coming from an area easily accessible to an Orange Line stop, you may want to take the MBTA.
  • Visit the Samuel Adams Faneuil Hall Tap Room. If you don’t have time to visit Jamaica Plain but still want to see what Sam Adams Brewery is all about, consider visiting the newer one in Faneuil Hall.

Things to Do Nearby

Jamaica Plain has a tight-knit community with plenty of outdoor activities and restaurants to check out while you’re in the area, including:

  • Turtle Swamp Brewing: If you want to continue your day of sampling beer, head to Turtle Swamp Brewing, home of “The Beer of Jamaica Plain.” The owners are all about creating an enjoyable experience for guests to try out beer made with local, high-quality ingredients, including IPAs, Pale Ales, sours, and more.
  • Arnold Arboretum: When the weather is nice, plan a walk at the Arnold Arboretum, a National Historic Landmark filled with 281 acres of plants that Harvard University students and other scientists study throughout the year. It’s especially beautiful in May, which is when almost 400 lilac plants are in full bloom, which is celebrated annually on Lilac Sunday.
  • Local Restaurants: Aside from Ula Café and Bella Luna & The Milky Way mentioned above, there are lots of other restaurants to choose from in Jamaica Plain. For breakfast, try Exodus or the Little Dipper. Other popular options include Chilacates (Mexican), The Haven (Scottish pub), Tres Gatos (Spanish tapas), The Dogwood (brick oven pizza), or Ten Tables (farm-to-table).
  • J.P. Licks: Stop by the original J.P. Licks for handmade ice cream and frozen yogurts. Take your pick from classic flavors or more innovative, limited-edition specialties like Pink Grapefruit Sorbet and Homemade Baileys Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.
  • Centre Street: Those looking to stop into local shops will want to do so along Centre Street. Stores include On Centre, a gift shop with trinkets, home decor and more, Boomerangs, a thrift shop that gives back to nonprofits, and Hatched, where you’ll find eco-friendly children’s clothes and accessories.