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Visit the Harpoon Brewery

10 Things to do in Boston Seaport District

6. Visit the Harpoon Brewery

One of the first businesses to transform the Seaport District from a sleepy former commercial port into a booming center of innovation and cultural excitement, the Harpoon Brewery has remained a mainstay among visitors who are looking for a fun, memorable time on the town. Located off Interstate 90 just a block from the Harbor, the Harpoon Brewery is legendary not only for its beer, but its engrossing tours, which act as informative sessions about the process of brewing itself.

When visitors first step onto the premises, they will be greeted with the impressive, gorgeously outfitted visitors center. This brick-lined and wood-panelled space includes enormous circular chandeliers that spotlight the roomy tables and benches that occupy the majority of the receiving hall. A full service bar with all the different brews of the company is located off to the side. Mouth-watering pretzels are served alongside fresh draughts of beer. Depending on the season, the Harpoon Brewery also offers special varieties of this foodstuff, including their famous “brunch pretzels.” During the weekend, an outdoor space known as the Harpoon Keg Yard that is used for production during the week is converted into a beer garden during the summer, replete with pop-up tents and the occasional DJ, depending on the specific celebration.

The brewery tour, meanwhile, takes visitors through the multiple stages of the process. The Roller Mill and Grist Cafe is where the malted barley is removed from its husk and turned into what is known as grist. The grist is then weighed in preparation for the next step of the process. This takes place in the Mash Tun, in which the grist is mixed in with water, which over a time of about seventy minutes converts the exposed starch into simple sugars. Once it has become sugary, the grist is referred to as “mash,” which is then placed into the Lauter Tun. The Lauter Tun gradually separates the mash into a liquid product known as wort, which is then funneled into the brew kettle. Here, the liquid is boiled for a little over an hour while a special mix of hops are added in to create flavor and different degrees of bitterness. Finally, this newly flavored (or “hopped”) wort is transferred to the whirlpool, which separates out any remaining physical impurities and transfers the clarified hopped wort to the fermentation tanks, where it waits to be bottled and eventually served.

With over a hundred different kinds of beer and beer-related products, the beverage options here are truly extraordinary. Connoisseurs of beer will have to make multiple visits to taste even a fraction of all the different brews on tap, while those who simply enjoy a delicious drink will revel in the relaxed, convivial environment. From their traditional IPAs to their more experimental lime-infused brands, the Harpoon Brewery is almost guaranteed to have a beer for every palate.

Excluding Saturdays, all ages are welcome to tour the Brewery, which serves as a remarkable demonstration of an industrial process. Those who have never seen the workings of a professional brewery will be impressed by the sheer size and power of the turbines, mixers, and cooling vessels used to create beer. Even better yet, the Brewery can be accessed easily via public transportation or by private vehicle.

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