5 Fantastic Factory Tours You Can Only Take In Boston
Boston doesn’t only produce cutting-edge research and graduates clasping freshly minted degrees; our city also has a long history of tangible industry, from cotton mills on the Charles River to the shoe factories of Lynn, and – yummiest of all – the Baker Chocolate Factory that used to be in Dorchester. These businesses may be long gone, but production in Boston continues. Today a range of tours are available to satisfy your curiosity about how your favorite things are made. Your favorite things are booze and chocolate, right?
1. Downeast Cider House (East Boston)
Sure you can grab some Downeast Cider from most local packies, but that isn’t nearly as much fun as heading out to Eastie to tour the actual cider house. First, go
to reserve your spot – it’s free – and get ready to view massive cider tanks housed in a bustling facility. Downeast uses New England apples such as Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh, and Cortland varieties, and the flavor of the fruit comes through strongly in the end product. The tour includes complimentary samples, right from the tap. Tours run Friday through Sunday and you’ll find this cider house at 256 Marginal Street, Building 32 in East Boston.
2. Taza Chocolate Factory (Somerville)
You had me at "chocolate factory." However, unlike the Willy Wonka story, touring Taza doesn’t involve golden tickets or blueberry gum that inflates you into a human balloon!
There are plenty of reasons to want a sneak peek into the Taza chocolate-making process. Viewing the company’s hand-carved, granite millstones is pretty cool. These are used to turn beans into delectable Mexican-style chocolate, bursting with flavor and with the gritty texture that easily identifies a sweet treat as a Taza product.
Tours of Taza allow you to observe the chocolate grinding and depositing rooms from the factory store - tight food regulations mean that the public isn’t allowed closer than that, but you still get a great peek into the process. Like all of the best factory visits, an abundance of free samples are included in the price of the tour ($8 per person). Tours are currently held every day except for Monday and last for 45 minutes. Since hours do shift seasonally, double check the Taza tour
, where you can also reserve your spot in chocolate heaven! Taza is located at 561 Windsor Street in Somerville.
3. Sam Adams Brewery (Boston)
Doubtless, you’re aware that Sam Adams offers tours, but have you actually taken one yet?
The Boston location is the only Sam Adams facility that provides access to the public and it acts as a test kitchen. On a visit here, you may get to sample a beer that has yet to hit the market or even a trial recipe that is never actually released!
Tours last for about an hour, during which time you can taste malts, sniff hops and, of course, sip on samples of beer. Guides make this tour fun and informative and did we mention the FREE BEER? Sam Adams doesn’t take tour reservations – it’s first come, first serve – and everyone in the group must have ID proving they are over 21 years old. This experience is free, although a $2 per person donation is requested to support the brewery’s charitable fundraising efforts. Tours run every day except Sunday. Sam Adams Brewery is located at 30 Germania Street in Boston.
4. Bantam Cider Company
Described as a "lazy person’s tour," Bantam offers a low key, behind the scenes glimpse into cider making. If you’re mildly interested in the production end of things, but don’t want to be overwhelmed with information, then this experience might be a good fit for you! Tours are free and take place once a day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Afterwards, hang out in the taproom, where cider flights cost $10 per person. Bantam is located at 40 Merriam Street in Somerville.
5. Harpoon Brewery (Seaport)
At Harpoon Brewery, you can take a brief, but engaging tour of the facility, which concludes with plenty of tastings. Tours here cost $5 per person, but you get your money’s worth in terms of samples - and definitely order some pretzels. Tickets for tours are on a first come, first serve basis (the brewery opens at 11:00 a.m.) The Harpoon Beer Hall is located at 306 Northern Avenue, Boston and it’s open daily.
Have you taken any of these tours? Do you know of any others we should check out? We’re always looking for suggestions on where to go next! Share your experiences in the comments and on the
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