Our morning started with freshly brewed coffee, my homemade mini muffins (banana and maple walnut), and orange juice. We brought our bananas with us, and headed over to Massachusetts Avenue to take the T from Central station. It was pretty straightforward once you remember that to get to Boston is “inbound” and coming home is “outbound”.

We decided to get the 7-day pass for $18, because a one day pass is $11. The woman at the ticket booth was incredibly helpful. She left her booth and joined us on the unpaid side, asked how we were paying and then set us up on one of the machines.

We headed in on the red line to Downtown Crossing to start our partial tour of the Freedom Trail. We found our way to Boston Commons and the Public Gardens. The gardens have a pond / lake where you can take the “white swan boat” around the lake. The boats are powered by pedals by the “captain. They looked pretty cheesy and we didn’t see anyone using them.

Sadly, the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial had been paint bombed. From there, we visited a graveyard, an old school and then were off to Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market.  The sun had been beating down on us for about an hour at this point and NosyNeighbour was looking for a hat. We each found one at a stall at Faneuil Hall: $12 each.

Our  plan was then to take the ferry over to Charlestown because it was free to travel in the inner harbour. We wandered up to a farther wharf, stumbling across craft booths and through a splash pad. I had lots of fun on that one and it cooled me off too. Before we found our we to the harbour, we came upon an off ramp coming up from the underground highway. I can only imagine how different Boston was before the Big Dig.

Eventually we found the Long Wharf, where the ferry departed.  It was a small boat, with an uncovered deck up top, scattered with plastic stackable lawn chairs. We grabbed two and looked back at the downtown core as it shrank before our eyes.

At the other end, we walked down the wharf and turned left to take a peak at the U.S.S. Constitution, a ship made of oak, which fought in the War of 1812. Once we’d snapped a few pics, we made our way back for the return trip.

A blogworld friend had recommended Legal Seafood as the place in Boston for chowder (or chowdah as it’s said here). It beginnings were humble, but it’s now a bit more upscale than our Friday restaurant. We both had a small New England clam chowder, and NosyNeighbour had salt cod fritters and I had a half Greek salad. We were both quite satisfied with our meals. And the service was excellent.

With food in our bellies, we were ready for the free brewery tour at Sam Adams. We just had to get there.  Eventually we found the T stop for the blue line, then transferred to the  orange line to Stony Brook. I’d written down the directions and looked at streetview so I had an idea of what to expect. Except I didn’t expect the crazy guy in the park. At least he was on the other side of the street.

We followed the other T passengers to the brewery tour where we were given tickets for the 3:40 tour, an hour and a half away.  The closest restaurant had a patio, but it offered shade tables only to customers ordering food. We’d just finished eating so we decided not to sit in the sun drinking and found a spot across the street under the shade of a large tree at the edge of a park that ran parallel to the road.

While we were sitting there, we saw the trolley bus heading to Doyles Irish pub. We decided to walk back and take it as a way to pass the time. It was an experience … disco ball … tunes pumping and a driver with a thick Boston accent raving about Doyles. We learned about the TV shows and movies that have been filmed there, how they make a mean lobster roll, but most importantly they were the first pub in the world to sell Sam Adams. And they helped get it in the rest of the bars in Boston.

We shared a lobster roll with sweet potato fries. When you order a Sam Adams at Doyles you get a free Sam Adams glass. Later on the tour we learned about how the glass is specifically designed for the beer to ensure the best taste, gassiness and temperature for your entire drink. I tried to get a third glass for free. I liked the cherry beer so much it was gone in five minutes so I ordered a red brick. I tried to get a third glass but the bartender asked me where the third person was. As we were exited the building, the trolley bus was just pulling away from the curb. Maybe it was because NosyNeighbour hadn’t tipped him on the incoming journey. Instead, we decided to  walk back to the brewery  for our tour.

The weather has been incredibly hot here. I thought it would be breezier being close to the ocean, but if you’re not right at the harbour it’s like dead, stinking hot air. There is no air conditioning in the brewery, but they do have numerous water stations spread about. It’s not actually that big, and the bottling is done at the other two plants.

First we stopped in the ingredient room, where we tasted different types of malted barley and learned about the other three ingredients to beer:  hops, water and  yeast. Yeast does two things: it adds fun (alcohol) and bubbles.  Our guide also told us that there are only two types of beer: ale & lager because two types of yeast.

Then we moved on to learn about mash (like oatmeal), wort, and how hops are added. By this point the crowd was getting restless for the third stage of the tour … free beer!

In the tasting room, we learned how to officially taste beer through five steps:

1 check colour by holding up to light

2. check clarity by looking through it

3. smell it for aroma

4. take sip and swoosh for sweetness

5.  roll over tongue for bitterness.

We tasted a Boston Lager, Oktoberfest and Honey Shandy.  We now had four glasses as souvenirs for our ride back on the orange line to Downtown Crossing, where we  transferred to the red line to get to Harvard. There was a group of young women who were totally sloshed, singing a way. Their goal had been the free beer tour but they had decided to stay at Doyle’s instead.

Our packed red line train broke down at Kendall .  We had to disembark and wait for the next one. We’re not sure what was wrong with it, but the next train’s a/c was definitely better than the first. Instead of getting off at Central, we went to Harvard square and used the Trip Advisor app for a walking tour of Harvard. Then we stopped for a pint of real ale in Russell Tavern. Served at the perfect temperature.

We talked to the neighbour again for almost an hour, trying to figure out breakfast spots, live entertainment and all things beer and urban planning. Our feet were tired, our bellies were full so we called it a night.