Boston is known for its history and its brews and tour operators want visitors to get the best of both worlds.
Whether a tourist’s interest in Samuel Adams is his historical role in the founding of the U.S. or in the beers that bear his name, they can learn more about either through beer and brewery tours in the city known as both Beantown and the Cradle of Liberty. We’ve gathered five of the best tours to be found in the city, ones that vary in length and activities. Some focus on the drunken past, others offer scavenger hunts and trivia contests while still others put out a spread of beer tastings and food pairings. Yet another highlights bloody ghost stories. All of them open a window on Boston’s best breweries and the history that makes the city so memorable. The tours require participants to be 21 years of age or older.
Tour of Boston’s Revolutionary and Drunken Past
No one has to choose between drinking and history when it comes to Ye Olde Tavern Tours—our founders didn’t, why should tourists today? The Tour of Boston’s Revolutionary and Drunken Past is a two-hour small group tour (maximum of 12 participants) in which people will get to undertake both historical sightseeing and a pub crawl. The tour winds its way through the Freedom Trail and includes ten Boston landmarks. An expert guide shares stories about each one, making sure no one misses out on Boston’s history. The tour also stops in three historic taverns that are centuries old in which everyone gets to throw back a mug of beer or cider. Historic stops include the Old State House, Faneuil Hall, Old South Meeting House, the site of the Boston Massacre and the burial sites of John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. From $79 per person.
Freedom Trail Bar Crawl Smartphone Audio Guide
Gather up a team for an experience that combines a pub crawl, history tour, scavenger hunt and trivia game. Up to six friends and family members can compete in this smartphone-guided tour that takes in Boston’s history and its pubs in an interactive and immersive fashion. Participants will traverse the Freedom Trail while exploring some of Boston’s most interesting bars. Since the tour is app-based, participants can take as much time as they want at any pub or landmark, though the organizer, Brews and Clues, provides a guideline that the 2-mile walking experience can take three to four hours to complete. Along the way, the team can earn points by solving puzzles and answering trivia questions all while discovering secret history and landmarks. Each team will get to compare its results to others on the Brews and Clues leaderboard. From $72 per person.
Guided Craft Brewery Tours with Lunch or Dinner
For those seeking a more formal, but no less fun, experience, this five-hour tour by Boston Brew Tours is led by an expert beer guide who will lead participants through four breweries and cider houses to taste up to 16 beer samples. It’s a chance to dig deep into each of the different artisan beers with an in-depth analysis of each one and a food pairing at each stop. The tour also includes either lunch or dinner at one of the breweries that offers a full menu. While visiting the breweries, participants will experience VIP tours of the beer production areas and learn the unique methods of each brewery. While stops can change, typical destinations include places both new and old such as Samuel Adams Brewing Company, Chelsea Station, Winter Hill Brewing, Dorchester Brewing, Night Shift Brewing and Beermoose Brewing. From $119 per person.
Haunted Boston Ghost and Walking Tour
For those seeking out spirits of all kinds, the Nightly Spirits Tour company introduces its costumed tour guide who will lead participants on a 2- to 2.5-hour walking tour of history, haunts and hops. This alternative tour is promoted as a pub crawl that is “an intoxicatingly good time for history buffs.” The tour stops at purportedly haunted watering holes and reveals Boston’s bloodiest history at places like the King’s Chapel Cemetery and the Granary Burying Ground. The guide shares spooky ghost stories while the listeners enjoy any drinks they purchase from the nearby pubs. With a maximum of 12 participants, the tour is kept intimate for both history and beer lovers. At the end of the tour, each person is given a commemorative can cooler. From $36 per person.
Boston Small-Group Freedom Trail History Tour Pub Crawl
This two-hour tour has earned a badge of excellence from Viator because it has been so highly rated by those who have taken it and meets the company’s quality standards. With three different start times to the guided walking tour of Boston’s pubs, a maximum of 12 participants can select whether they’d prefer the Happy Hour tour with its four beers and ciders included or the Dry Run option where they can purchase whichever drinks they choose. All tours step through the city’s top pubs and major iconic historical sites with a local guide and beer expert sharing some of the key stories about the birth of the country. The tour begins at the Samuel Adams statue outside Faneuil Hall and moves along the Freedom Trail. All bars are within two blocks of each other and the start of the tour. From $60 per person.