Samuel Adams has long been synonymous with beer in Boston — the name of the company Jim Koch founded here is Boston Beer Co., after all — but until now Sam hasn’t had a dedicated space in Greater Boston to exclusively drink its brews.
That changed last month with the opening of the new Samuel Adams Tap Room at the company’s brewery in Jamaica Plain.
“We’ve had ongoing talks for a number of years,” says Jennifer Glanville, who manages the Boston brewery. “We just didn’t have any space for it.”
It can be argued Sam was long overdue to lay down a Boston footprint — imagine a Sam Adams tap room 10 years ago in Back Bay or the Seaport, geared toward locals rather than tourists — but late is better than never, and the brewery seems eager to make up for lost time.
The new 80-seat tap room is offering some of Sam Adams’s most innovative beers, while showcasing the bones of the historic Haffenreffer Brewery (built in 1871) space it now occupies. Glanville says it was important to open the tap room here, steps from where the beer is made, on top of Stony Brook, whose water influenced dozens of breweries to open nearby in the early 20th century. The room has an industrial feel but is inspired by trips Glanville took to dozens of other breweries in New England and around the world.
“We had to create a space that people wanna hang out in,” says Glanville. “I’m always inspired by German beer halls where you’re able to sit at big, long tables and talk to your neighbors.”
The beer is truly exciting. Early offerings from the 10 taps (it will expand to 20) include two beers Sam plans to release next year, including New England IPA (6.8 percent), in the style of the juicy, fruit-forward beers that originated here, and Sam ’76 (4.7 percent), Boston Beer’s attempt at a sessionable lager.
“It’s funny because I’m a huge Boston Lager girl, have been since I started 16 years ago, but my very close second right now is the New England IPA,” says Glanville. “I love the balance, that it’s not tongue-stripping or resinous. That’s probably the brewer side of me.”
Also available now in the tap room are an oyster stout and a 2015 vintage of American Kriek, one of many upcoming offerings from a temperature controlled cellar space where brews are aged in barrels that previously housed bourbon, white Carcavelos wine, ruby port, and tequila.
The Samuel Adams Tap Room will offer entertainment ranging from trivia nights to food trucks to karaoke. It’s open to the public from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.