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How Samuel Adams Would Drink His Way Through Boston’s Bars
Restaurants & Bars

How Samuel Adams Would Drink His Way Through Boston’s Bars

Samuel Adams would be amazed at all of Boston’s brewhaha. Today, the New England Patriot and his Founding Father drinking buds would likely throw back a cold Sam Adams at The Green Dragon, Bell in Hand, Union Oyster House and Warren Tavern—Boston’s oldest taverns. And, beginning this season, Sam Adams will be the official beer of Fenway Park. Huzza, huzza, go Red Sox!

“Samuel Adams, the rebel, combined pride, confidence, passion and optimism in bringing Americans together to ignite the Revolution,” says Jim Koch, co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, producers of Samuel Adams beer. “I mixed these same emotions when I first brewed Boston Lager, the catalyst to the craft beer revolution—a revolution that is going strong to this day with more than 6,000 independent craft brewers.”

Sam Adams had a dream for liberty and freedom and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. And Koch had a dream, too—to celebrate the beer’s New England roots with millions of other fans as soon as the Red Sox season kicks off. “I moved to Boston the year of the ‘Impossible Dream Season.’ Now, visitors to Fenway Park will enjoy the freshest Sam Adams beer, while watching an incredible team, playing under our sign over in right field. It’s my personal impossible dream come true.”

And there’s a new Sam Adams in town, the Sam ’76—slightly fruity with a pronounced hop character of an ale with the balanced drinkability and crisp finish of a lager, says Koch. “We experimented for more than a year and tested more than 60 iterations of this brew to develop a concept for a completely new beer,” says Koch.

It’s true that Sam Adams’ buddies hoisted beers back in the day, but Sam Adams was probably the designated rider when they’d gather to plan the American Revolution in some of the best taverns in town. “Samuel Adams visited a lot of taverns in Boston, but he was not much of a drinker,” says Brooke Barbier, founder and owner of Boston-based Ye Olde Tavern Tours, a guided walking tour that believes “beer makes history even better.” The tour stops at 10 historic sites in Boston, as well as three historic taverns for a craft beer at each; Brooke has a PhD in American history and knows her stuff. (www.yeoldetaverntours.com).

Boston’s oldest taverns to slake your thirst with a cold Sam Adams

“We’re fortunate enough to have Sam Adams available to drinkers all throughout Boston in some of the city’s oldest bars,” says Koch, “such as the Bell in Hand Tavern, which is lovingly known to Bostonians as America’s Oldest Tavern, the Union Oyster House and the Green Dragon, called ‘the Headquarters of the Revolution.’”

The Green Dragon

The tavern has been around the block, quite literally. Since its opening in 1654 it moved, but not far from where the original historic tavern was located on Union Street. Order the Sam Adams vegetarian burger, or the Paul Revere, with bacon, American cheese, sautéed onions and ranch dressing, and pair it with a Sam Adams, of course. The tavern is located at 11 Marshall Street, Boston; www.greendragonboston.com.

The Bell in Hand Tavern 

This tavern also isn’t in the original spot when it poured its first ale in 1795. It’s changed several locations through the centuries, and today you’ll find it next to Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Government Center. Yup, there’s a Sam Adams burger on the menu here, too—this one with crisp bacon, Swiss cheese and barbecue sauce. Located at 45 Union Street, Boston; www.bellinhand.com.

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Union Oyster House

Slurp oysters at the celebrated semi-circular oyster bar at this iconic restaurant located on the Freedom Trail. While it didn’t open until after Adams’ death (it opened in 1826), his friend Paul Revere was a regular and we’re guessing that many tumblers of brandy were raised in a toast to Adams. You can also salute Adams and fellow Sons of Liberty with a Sam Adams beer and grilled oysters, baked bean, and broiled Boston scrod. Located at 41 Union Street, Boston; www.unionoysterhouse.com.

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Warren Tavern

This tavern in Charlestown was once a favorite haunt of the Sons of Liberty and, in fact, the tavern is rumored to be haunted. It opened in 1780, and was named after Revolutionary War patriot Dr. Joseph Warren. Order the Sons of Liberty Burger (sautéed mushrooms, Gruyere, herb mayo, lettuce and tomato). And hoist a Sam Adams to Dr. Warren. Located at 2 Pleasant Street, Charlestown; www.warrentavern.com.



The Green Dragon Tavern,
Union Oyster House,
The Warren Tavern

About the Author

Laurie Wilson

Journalist, author, blogger. Boston Globe, OpenTable, USA Today, CNN, TravelChannel. Author, Co-author Murder, She Wrote novels. Do what your heart tells you.