Thursday, August 5, 2010

How I Spent My 30th Birthday

What does a man who is obsessed with tasting new and exciting beers, brewing beer, and talking about beer do for his 30th birthday? Well, if know me, then you would probably say “Adam, you old fart, go to another brewery!” Well, that’s exactly what Sarah and I did last Thursday.

As part of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), we were invited to attend an Open House Rally at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain, MA on July 29th. This was an opportunity to peruse the brewery at our own leisurely pace, while sipping on a perfect pint of complimentary Samuel Adams beer, and enjoy the company of fellow home brewers.

Although Sarah originally wanted to take me on a tour of the Sam Adams brewery for my (first) birthday celebration (read the story here!), she opted for the Harpoon Brewery as she could get advance tickets to the tour. In addition, we had not previously taken the tour, so it would be a good chance to see how their ship is run. We have both been lucky enough to tour the Sam Adams brewery many times in the past, so this would provide some familiar territory among unfamiliar faces.

As soon as we walked in the door, we were instantly handed a Perfect Pint glass, along with three drink tickets, a ticket for sampling the Samuel Adams Beer Lover's Choice, as well as enter for a chance to win cool brewing stuff from Beer and Wine Hobby.

We immediately headed over to one of the tap rooms, where we both ordered a pint of the Glacier Ale – what they call a test batch, and only available at the Boston brewery. This was a single-hoped Pale Ale, which was soft, and smooth, with a great hoppy finish. It had a nice body, and was a great way to kick off our evening!

After milling around for a little bit, we decided to cast our vote for the 6th Annual Beer Lover’s Choice.

The choices were between a Belgian Style IPA, which was an IPA brewed with a specific type of Belgian yeast – one that worked quite well actually (which I plan on trying to brew an inspired version over the next few months), and an American Rye, which lacked a certain pizzazz – which Sarah and I didn't really care for all that much. We gave our votes for the Belgian Style IPA, before returning to the tasting room for our second pint.

To find out more about the Beer Lover’s Choice click here, and find out where you can try these beers in your area (throughout the country) follow this link!

Our second beer was Rob's American Rauchbier, which was at least at one point found in the Beer Lover's Choice pack. It was a VERY interesting beer, which featured a great smokey, malty flavor, which finished with a noticeable bacon flavor. It has a fantastic dark body, and is quite tasty. I don’t know if I would drink more than one or two in a sitting, but it is definitely worth a try if you can find it – or if you visit the brewery.

After grabbing our Rauchbier, we hit the bar-b-q, which featured food that incorporated beer in each recipe.

The Sam Adams Beer Garden

The food was delicious, and a great way to make sure we still had something in our stomachs, considering we were drinking. For my final beer, I opted for the original – Sam Adams Boston Lager, while Sarah opted for the Boston Brick Red. We enjoyed our final beer, while chatting up the proprietors of Beer and Wine Hobby, which has been my homebrew supply store of choice since December.

It was not long after where we ran into the one and only Jim Koch. We had met him a few years ago, as he gave Sarah, I, and about 40 others a private tour of the facility. He was amazingly nice the first time, and even more so this time! Of course, this was the icing on the cake, so to speak, of my birthday. Sarah was quick to let him know it was my 30th birthday, and asked to get a quick picture. Of course he was willing, wished me a happy birthday, and told me with a big smile that he vaguely remembered his 30th. That was followed by a big “Cheers!” and our exit of the brewery.

Jim Koch takes a moment to take a quick picture

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday and an amazing time at the brewery. I really look forward to future AHA rallies! If you’re not a member of the American Homebrewers Association, and are a home brewer, I highly recommend you register. It’s rather inexpensive for a yearly membership, you get discounts at countless bars/pubs, a subscription of Zymurgy Magazine (exclusive to the AHA), and cool opportunities to hang out with other home brewers.

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