Q&A With the Sam Adams Brewery Manager
Founded in 1984 by James “Jim” Koch and Rhonda Kallman, Samuel Adams — or Sam Adams, for the familiar — is the flagship brand of the Boston Beer Company. Just one year after its founding, Samuel Adams Boston Lager was named Best Beer in America at the Great American Beer Festival. Truly exemplifying the American dream, only 30-something years into its existence, the Boston Beer Company is the United States’ second-largest craft brewery.
Especially within the craft world, Sam Adams is known for its experimentation with new flavors. In recent years, the brewer has branched out with popular seasonal offerings like the Samuel Adams Rebel IPA, the Samuel Adams Utopias — one of the world’s strongest beers — and its Nitro Project. This summer, Sam Adams has the Tropic of Yuzu, the Porch Rocker, the Hefeweizen, the Berliner Weisse, and the Golden Hour. My favorite is the lemon-zesty Porch Rocker, which perfectly complements a seafood or grilled meat dish.
Beyond its successes within the business world, Sam Adams is also known to embrace small businesses. Its Brewing the American Dream initiative has given more than 1,300 loans totalling $16.7 million to entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Competition has been in effect for 20 years, leading many new beer connoisseurs to start careers as professional brewers.
The Daily Meal had the pleasure of speaking with Jennifer Glanville, the Boston Beer Company’s Brewery Manager. In addition to her Q&A about Sam Adams, its new beers and brewing in general, Glanville shared a Samuel Adams Summer Ale Sangria — or “Samgria” — recipe that can be made at home with the summer beer.
The Daily Meal: How did you wind up in the Sam Adams family?
Jennifer Glanville: For as long as I can remember, beer has always been my passion. I got my start in brewing when I attended Doemens Academy in Munich. I was lucky enough to join the Boston Beer Company in 2001, and was actually out skiing when I received the call to join the team. While my hobbies have changed a bit since joining Sam Adams, I’m still partial to the slopes — and of course après ski — and continue my trips to Germany, whether it be to the hop fields in the Tettnang and Hallertau regions, where noble hops are grown, or to visit a variety of German beer halls.
I thank the luck of the beer gods each day for allowing me to do what I love and follow my passion for brewing.
Sam Adams has been known in recent years to have limited-edition seasonal offerings. What's coming up for the summer?
We’re in the midst of a very exciting summer for Sam Adams. Summer Ale — celebrating its 21st birthday this summer — is an American wheat ale that balances bright, citrusy noble hops and peppery spice. It’s one of our most highly anticipated annual releases and definitely one of my favorite beers we brew. Our German-style radler, Porch Rocker, is also available, which is a delicious, crisp, and refreshing brew with a fresh-squeezed citrus tang and hint of sweetness. And in addition to our Summer Ale and Boston Lager, our summer variety pack beers include Tropic of Yuzu, Hefeweizen, Golden Hour, and Berliner Weisse.
What's a typical day at the office like for you?
I think it’s safe to say there’s no such thing as a typical day at the brewery. My day could range from participating in tasting panels to ensure our beers meet highest-quality standards, collaborating with our Brewing the American Dream Experienceship brewers to create new and innovative recipes, or traveling to pick hops in Germany or Yakima Valley. The beauty of being a brewer is no day is ever the same — which is exciting.
Seasonal offerings aside, what else is Sam Adams doing?
Every day we are experimenting with new styles, brewing techniques and ingredients. We have a nanobrewery, which allows us to brew in very small batches and experiment with a wide variety of ingredients and continue to innovate.
We recently introduced the LongShot American Homebrew Competition variety pack, which features the most talented homebrewers in the country. With thousands of entries submitted each year, three winners are seeing their beers on shelf in this pack.
We’re also working on our barrel-aged beers like our Sam Adams Utopias and KMF.
Separately, our philanthropic program Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, which supports small businesses and craft brewers across the country through business coaching and microlending, is approaching nearly $17 million in micro-financing loans to food, beverage, and craft brewing businesses nationwide.
When not busy with Sam Adams, how do you like to spend your free time?
I love New England summers and spend a lot of time in Wellfleet on Cape Cod. We actually brew a limited-release beer brewed with Wellfleet oysters, which is delicious. I’m also a self-proclaimed foodie and love pairing food with different beers and cooking with beer. We have some great recipes with beer-infused dishes that incorporate our beers, like Summer Ale and Seafood dishes and Boston Lager grilling recipes.
What's your favorite restaurant near your office?
Doyle’s, which is right down the street from our brewery in Boston, is a great bar and restaurant and was actually one of the first places to carry Sam Adams beer. It’s run by an amazing family, and there’s actually a shuttle from our brewery directly to Doyle’s. My favorite dish is probably the burger paired with a delicious Boston Lager.
Finally, do you have a favorite of the Sam Adams varieties?
We brewed over 60 beers last year alone, so that’s a tough call. But I’d have to say my all-time favorite Sam Adams beer has to be Boston Lager. With its balance and complexity, there’s no surprise the beer’s our flagship brew, and the beer that started the craft beer movement we are seeing today. I of course love our seasonal styles like Summer Ale and OctoberFest and also really love Bohemian Pilsners, Weissbiers, Märzens, and Rauchbiers.