Brewing Up Intimacy with the Harpoon Brewery

Posted on October 31, 2010


What is partly cloudy, 38º, and tastes delicious? Harpoon beer. Boston claims to fame the un-cursed Red Sox, distinct “Bahston” accents, and well-crafted beer. Many east-coasters are familiar with the taste of Harpoon and the fun feeling they gain from consuming it, but few are aware of what really goes on at Northern Avenue in South Boston.

My first experience with the Harpoon Brewery could be described as heavenly intoxicating. Walking through the door, I got a whiff of the laid-back environment. Employees invited their tour groupies to get up close and personal with the Harpoon brewing process, smelling the hops aroma, listening to the loud machinery, and tasting everything they make.

From the start of the $5 tour to the end, you will be constantly drinking from a 5 oz. glass gifted by the brewery. Walking up the stairs to a bar filled with people gives an anticipatory preview of what’s to come. Fifteen people with IDs in hand stand in line. An employee makes quick glances and jokes “You’re not a cop are you?”

Suddenly feeling thirsty, we enter the brewing room where pitchers of original Harpoon I.P.A. are brought out and sipped as the tour-guide feeds us information about the brewing process. The room is filled with huge silver tanks, resembling a mad scientist’s laboratory with Harpoon flags hanging from the ceiling. Jars of different ingredients such as hops, barley, malts, and WORT are all explained and urged to munch on.

Down the stairs to the “green bar,” the tour gives a taste of Harpoon UFO-I.P.A. before it is filtered, and no, it is not actually green. “We have the most technologically advanced forms of sterilization,” says the sarcastic tour-guide as a flame from a blow-torch cleans the tap before he fills pitchers of the green beer.

The tour also offers an inside look in the bottling room, how beer is kegged, and a walk through the warehouse where cases upon cases of Harpoon are stored. “The roof is bomb-safe under WWII standards” explained the tour guide. Many fun facts were given throughout the tour.

One major aspect that makes the tour unique is all the free beer. The tasting room has 10 different kinds of beer on tap such as Octoberfest, Winter Warmer, Leviathan Imperial, Hard Cider, and UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen. Harpoon has 30 different beers, most of them seasonal. A half hour allows you to gulp down as much beer as you can in your 5 oz glass. One person commented on the style of the tour afterwards. “I like that we weren’t looking at slide-shows or wax figures like in a museum; we saw the real-deal. I love Harpoon beer even more now.”


Posted in: Nightlife