By Dane Feldman
Photos by Dane Feldman.
Welcome to a special edition of Thirsty Thursday here on Dish + Drink. Just last week, I was fortunate enough to have the time to travel to Boston, MA where I had the opportunity to tour one of Harpoon’s two breweries. (The other is located in Windsor, VT.)
The Harpoon Brewery has been around for nearly 30 years and the Boston location, looming large in the Seaport District, is the original. What’s great about Harpoon is the welcoming atmosphere. The brewery is open to the public and patrons can either just hang out in the beer hall, take a tour (for a mere $5), or do both. Of course, I did both.
While I waited for the tour to begin, I sat down at the bar in the spacious beer hall to take it all in. I ordered a pint of the UFO Hefeweizen (Harpoon is known for its “UnFiltered Offering”), which was served in a glass specific to the Hefeweizen and garnished with a lemon wedge.
I should mention that the beer hall has almost every single one of Harpoon’s beers readily available on tap. So many of their beers are seasonal, so the ones most applicable were available, while some more suited for summer are currently not. For each of those beers, Harpoon’s beer hall has a glass specially made and sitting in organized rows behind the bar—a sight and a detail I won’t soon forget.
After I finished the Hefeweizen, I tried the gingerbread UFO, which is a wheat beer and aptly named Gingerland. This is easily one of the best beers I’ve had, though I must confess to being a member of the wheat beer fan family. IPAs are not for me, though I did enjoy a taste of one during the tour as much as anyone who dislikes IPA could possibly enjoy it.
During the tour, which spans about 45-60 minutes on average, patrons are offered a bite of the ingredients and a whiff of the fresh hops and barley. Then, when the tour is almost finished, everyone files into the tasting room for about 5-10 minutes of free time to taste anything on tap using a small tasting glass.
I must say, it’s fairly easy to get enough bang for your buck at the Harpoon Brewery. It’s a great place to take a date or hang with friends and try some beers. If you get hungry, the beer hall also serves the absolute best soft pretzel I’ve had in my life (alongside a variety of dipping sauces, which includes extremely hot and fresh mustard, ale cheese, bacon ranch, and red pepper aioli).
Oh, and for three pints and a pretzel, it’ll run you somewhere around a mere $25. Harpoon Brewery is clearly not your average bar. For one, it’s only one brand of beer (I promise there’s enough variety), and if you like what you had you can buy a 6-pack or a case on your way out.
FYI the silver line buses go right to the brewery, so there’s no need to drive.