Whenever I’m in or around Boston, I always make some excuse to make a trip to the Seaport to visit Harpoon Brewery. If there’s one brewery tour and beer hall I swear by, it’s them. With the usual lines outside the building, so do a lot of other people apparently.
Modeled after the great German beer halls, Harpoons beer wonderland is centered by one long, large bar next to long tables and benches stretching down the beer hall. If you’re lucky enough to squeeze yourself into a full table, you may end up meeting new friends. This is the one brewery that I can do serious damage at, in a good way of course. Aside from the beer, do yourself a favor and get one of their pretzels. I seriously have dreams about these, especially dipped in the IPA cheese. It’s truly what dreams are made of. If you’re feeling something a little sweeter, grab the cinnamon sugar pretzel with the cider icing. My stomach is literally growling for these as I’m writing this. Ok, I’m done drooling.
Onto why we’re really here: Beer. Harpoon has one of the biggest tap selections for a brewery, hence why I can do some serious damage. My friend and I ordered two of the three flights, trading sip for sip. Of course, I had to go UFO. If you’re not familiar with Harpoon’s UFO series, it is their unfiltered, lighter beers. I was surprised to see UFO Pumpkin on their draft list as it was only the first of September, but basic bitches rejoice. It seems every year, the fall/pumpkin beers sneak earlier and earlier into the summer. I, for one, am not ready for it as summer beers are my love. Nevertheless, I downed the UFO Pumpkin (surprising, right?). Of the pumpkin beers on the market, Harpoon’s is one of the better ones. It’s a much lighter beer than most and they don’t drown the beer in spices like many do.
Of the UFOs, UFO White is the best. It is much like an Allagash White but lighter and more of a crispy taste. The UFO Raz as the name suggests, is bursting with raspberry flavors. Very refreshing and has just enough kick in it. Finally, the UFO Hefeweizen is a pretty good hefe. The customary banana taste isn’t as strong but still an overall good hefe.
Switching flights with my handsome counterpart, who had ordered the traditional Harpoon flight. I decided to start heavy with the Boston Irish Stout. To my surprise, this stout wasn’t as heavy as most, but more of a dry stout. This flight also features Secret Alloy Ale, which is one of their bottled beers. One of the coolest things about this beer was the partnership with drum/cymbal gods Zidjian. This pale ale has a very coppery taste . With the Pumpkin UFO and now the Flannel Friday, Harpoon has made it impossible to boycott fall beers until fall. This amber ale is the perfect beer to sit by the fire wrapped in your favorite flannel any day, not just Friday. Finally, I fell in love with Sweet Spot. This golden ale had the perfect crispness with hints of wheat and citrus. So good that I had to order more when I was at the White Horse Tavern in Brighton later that night. As I browsed the large draft board, I noticed a Pina Colada beer which was something I had never seen before. So of course I had to try it. It actually ended up being my favorite beer that I tried. The coconut and citrus hints were perfectly proportioned through this beer and was not the sweet beer that I was expecting, which was a good thing. I wish it wasn’t a limited edition because I want more!
I’m not just saying this because I love a good brewery tour, but if you get the chance, take the Harpoon one. Not only is it very informative and the crew is great, but the sampling portion is the best around. Word of the wise, if you’re looking to do a tour, get there first thing in the morning to book a tour as you cannot get tickets online and tours fill up very fast, especially on weekends. During the tour, you see where the magic happens and learn a lot about the history about the brewery. But the best part is the tasting room. With 12 beers on tap to try, you are given 20-30 minutes to try as much as you can. The brewery version of beat the clock. This is great for many reasons. Yes, you get a lot of beers and the shots of beer get you feeling good, but you also have the chance to step out of your comfort zone and try beers you wouldn’t normally try.
It may be a little of hike to head deep into the Seaport, but Harpoon Brewery is so worth it. If you’re like me, make a day of it. Head to Harpoon before the crowds then adventure your way down the pier and definitely make sure you hit the Whiskey Priest and Atlantic Beer Garden before they’re torn down next year to build more condos. Just what they need. And yes I lied, I’m still drooling over those pretzels.
306 Northern Avenue
Sunday- Wednesday 11a.m.- 7p.m.