Discover Local Breweries

by Amy Scheuerman

There are three more weeks of winter vacation, and how better to spend them than touring the local breweries.  While brewing in Massachusetts has only started to make a come back in the last 25 years the region has many craft breweries to explore.  No matter what your method of transportation, from bike to train to car, there’s a brewery close enough for you to visit over the break.

Breweries to tour in the Boston area:

Harpoon Brewery

  • 306 Northern Avenue,
  • Boston, MA 02210
  • 1-888-HARPOON

Hours:

  • Tuesday-Thursday 4:00pm
  • Friday 2:00 and 4:00pm
  • Saturday 11:30-4:30pm
  • Sunday 12:00-3:00pm

Harpoon’s knowledgeable and amusing staff lead a half hour long tour followed by another half hour of beer tasting.  Weekday tours are free, but while you will get a couple complementary samples it’s nothing to the deal you’ll get on a weekend.  Weekend tours cost $5 per person and include a souvenir glass as well as a full tasting.  The beers on tap rotate based o n seasonality as well as what’s selling like crazy.  If there’s a beer you simply can’t live without tasting be sure to call ahead as even their website isn’t guaranteed to be up-to-date.

Samuel Adam Brewery

  • 30 Germania Street
  • Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
  • (617) 368-5080

Tours are held on:

  • Monday-Thursday 10-3
  • Fridays 10-5:30
  • Saturday 10-3

Located in Jamaica Plain, the Sam Adams Brewery tour is a fun weekend activity.  Tours are technically free, but the brewery requests a donation of $2 per person.  The donations go to local charities.  Tours depart approximately every 45 minutes and last about 1 hour each. The website stresses that Saturdays are especially busy and capacity is often filled by noon, so it’s a good idea to arrive as early in the tour day as you can.  One sad thing, unlike the Harpoon Brewery, the Sam Adams Brewery doesn’t sell beer onsite.  Oh well, you can buy it at pretty much any liquor store in MA.

Breweries to tour in the northeast:

Magic Hat

  • 5 Bartlett Bay Road
  • South Burlington VT 05403
  • (802) 658- 2739

Tours are held on:

  • Thursday-Friday: 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00pm
  • Saturday: Every hour on the hour starting at noon
  • Sunday: 1:30pm

Head up for a weekend in Vermont and be sure to stop by the Magic Hat Artifactory, where you can watch 400 bottles of beer getting bottled each minute and taste any of the 30 beers the brewery keeps on tap.  You’ll find beers there that you’ll never see at the store, so get ready for some scintillating samples.  Tours are free, although the purchase of a growler is highly encouraged.

Smuttynose Brewing Co.

  • 225 Heritage Ave
  • Portsmouth NH 03801
  • (603) 436-4026

Tours are held:

  • Thursday-Friday: 3:00pm

The Granite State’s leading craft brewery, located in the historic seaport city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Smuttynose was founded in 1994 and has since become a New England favorite.  Tours are only offered twice a week, so you have to plan carefully if you want to visit.  However, the sister company to Smuttynose, the Portsmouth Brewery, is located less than five milks away and offers all the joys of your favorite brewpub.  Oh, and don’t worry, sixpacks and Big Beer Series bottles are available for purchase at the Brewery.

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