Homebrewer Jim Koch brews his first batches of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen using his great-great grandfather’s recipe. He decides to pursue his dream and starts the Boston Beer Company. The first commercial batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager is brewed in December.

Sam Adams
Sam Adams Sam Adams Boston Lager Find Near You

Samuel Adams Boston Lager helped lead the American beer revolution, reviving a passion for full-bodied brews that are robust and rich with character. Since 1984, Samuel Adams Boston Lager has used only the finest hand-selected ingredients to create this perfectly balanced, complex and full-bodied original brew.

stains stains Faded Bottles

The first batch of Boston Lager is served at bars and restaurants around Boston for taste tests in bottles with black and white block letters while the final labels are printed.

April 15, 1985

Samuel Adams Boston Lager makes its public debut at approximately 30 bars and restaurants in Boston on Monday, April 15th, Patriot’s Day.

June, 1985

Six weeks later, on Saturday, June 1, 1985 Samuel Adams Boston Lager is voted “Best Beer in America” at the Great American Beer Festival.

November, 1985

Samuel Adams passes the Reinheitsgebot, also known as the German Beer Purity Law or the Bavarian Purity Law, and becomes the first American beer sold in Germany.

cap Medal
March 1986

The White House received its first delivery of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. The beer was also stocked aboard Air Force One, at Camp David, and in the Presidential Box at The Kennedy Center.

January 1998

We release our first seasonal beer: Samuel Adams Double Bock. Over the next 25 years, Double Bock goes on to win 12 medals at the Great American Beer Festival, 7 of which were gold.

Sam Adams Sam Adams Double Bock

Intense and warming, this indulgent lager is brewed with over a half-pound of malt in each bottle, almost enough for a loaf of bread. Brewed by monks since the 13th century, double bocks are one of the original “big beers”. The bold malts create a deep mahogany color, rich caramel sweetness and smooth body that’s balanced by the subtle citrus of German Noble hops.

1988 1988
July 1998

Legible freshness dating is introduced on all Samuel Adams bottle labels to ensure that drinkers will know their beer is fresh.

We celebrate the opening of the tour center at our Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston. We break in the brewhouse by brewing a new beer, Samuel Adams Boston Ale.

Sam Adams Boston Ale
Sam Adams Sam Adams Boston Ale Find Near You

When we opened our Boston Brewery in 1988, we created a special brew, Boston Ale, to mark the occasion. A “stock” ale with a distinctly American character, we use earthy English hops along with the sweetness of caramel malts, and ferment it as an ale and aged at cool temperatures.

Sam Adams Sam Adams Octobefest

In 1810, Munich celebrated the wedding of their Crown Prince with a special beer. After 16 days the party ended, but the tradition continues. Our version of the classic Oktoberfest lager blends 5 roasted malts for a rich, hearty flavor while Bavarian Noble hops add a touch of bitterness.

1989 Octoberfest
Sam Adams Sam Adams Winter Lager Find Near You

Bold and rich, with a touch of holiday spice, Samuel Adams Winter Lager is a wonderful way to enjoy the cold evenings that accompany the season.

1989 Winter Lager hops hops

Samuel Adams is voted “Best Beer in America” at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in the Consumer Preference Poll for the fourth time in five years.

October 1989

We release Samuel Adams OctoberFest for the first time, celebrating the 200 year old Munich tradition. This masterfully blended brew brings together five roasts of malt to create a harmony of sweet flavors including caramel and toffee.

November, 1988

Continuing the trend of seasonal beers we brew and release Samuel Adams Winter Lager, a dark wheat bock subtly spiced with fresh ground cinnamon, ginger & orange peel for a deep, smooth flavor and malty finish.

Fall 1990

We release Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic, the first American Lambic and one of the first craft beers to bring a uniquely American twist on a classic European style.

Sam Adams Sam Adams Winter Lager

Tart and sweet, with complex fruit, maple, and vanilla notes. This is a fruit beer with a unique fermentation character that makes this a holiday favorite for many.

1990 Cranberry Lambic 1992

As an experiment in the development of Samuel Adams Triple Bock, we pioneer the practice of aging beer in used spirits barrels, a first in American brewing.

Sam Adams Sam Adams Triple Bock

Smooth and very complex, like an unusual port wine, Samuel Adams® Triple Bock® is the craft beer that launched our odyssey into extreme brewing.

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Sam Adams Triple Bock
October, 1993

As a result of the barrel aging experiment, Samuel Adams Triple Bock is the first “Extreme Beer” served at the Great American Beer Festival. Triple Bock is a rich, non-carbonated ruby black beer that is sold in corked, eight ounce cobalt blue bottles. Its color, taste and lack of carbonation make it unique among beers. At 18% abv, it is the world’s strongest beer.

stains Long Shot
Past Winners
Fall 1995

We create a nationwide homebrew competition, the World Homebrew Contest, and release the winning brews under the name: Longshot. We received 1,680 entries from homebrewers across the country in the first year of the competition.

November 1993

The Boston Beer Company Inc. makes its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol “SAM.” Prior to the Wall Street offering, in an unprecedented move, 30,000 Sam Adams drinkers are able to buy 33 shares each at a price below the large investment banks by using coupons from 6-packs of Samuel Adams .

1995 image
Sam Adams Sam Adams Summer Ale

Crisp and tangy with refreshing lemon peel and a hint of pepper from rare Grains of Paradise. Golden, hazy, & thirst quenching, this American wheat ale balances bright citrus, Noble hops & spice for a lively brew that’s perfect on any summer day.

1996 Polaroid Sam Adams Summer Ale

April 1995
Samuel Adams Summer Ale is released for the first time. The crisp citrus character of Noble hops, wheat, and lemon peel combines with the subtle peppery spice of Grains of Paradise for just the right kick in a lively, flavorful, and utterly refreshing brew.

March 1996

We initiate the purchase of the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewery in Jim’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio to increase the production of Samuel Adams. Jim’s father had apprenticed at the Hudepohl and Schoenling breweries in the 1940s.

November 1999

To celebrate the beginning of a new millennium, we release Samuel Adams Millennium Ale, the next “Extreme Beer” following Triple Bock. Only 3,000 bottles were produced and Jim signed each one. The #1 bottle was auctioned off at a benefit for Outward Bound and was sold for almost $5,000.

Sam Adams Sam Adams Millenium Ale

Warm and sweet with a rich malt and wood complexity, Samuel Adams® Millennium is an example of the brewers’ art in its highest form.

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After experimenting with 22 different recipes, Jim approves one worthy of the name Sam Adams Light. It took more than two years of trials to find a way to achieve the right flavor, a blend of Noble Hops balanced with the caramel flavor of the malt.

Sam Adams Sam Adams Lite Find Near You

Great tasting with a clean, smooth finish. Sam Adams Light is not just a lighter version of our Samuel Adams Boston Lager but rather the culmination of over two years of tireless research and brewing trials that proved to be worth the wait. It features a crisp and smooth roasted malt finish without any lingering bitterness, leaving you yearning for that next sip.

Sam Adams Lite
Jan 2002

We release the first batch of another “Extreme Beer” Samuel Adams Utopias, which is brewed at a very high gravity using a wide variety of malted barley and a touch of maple syrup. It is then aged in a blend of scotch, bourbon, port and cognac casks for up to 10 years. It is descended from Triple Bock and Millennium and some of those liquids are blended into Utopias. The result is a rich, dark liquid that challenges the very notion of beer.

Sam Adams Sam Adams Utopia Find Near You

Sweet fire, with a rich malt and wood complexity, Samuel Adams® Utopias® is unlike any other beverage in the world.

Bronze Bottle
March 2005

After years of work, we introduce our Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Often referred to as the “Perfect Pint” glass, it was designed to showcase the beer as the brewers intended, delivering the optimum full-flavored taste and aroma of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. It is the first beer glass designed by brewers and sensory scientists to improve the taste experience of a specific beer.

Sept 2005

Jim is named “Knight of the Hop” and inducted into the ‘Order of the Hop’ (part of the prestigious European Society that dates back to the 14th century) , for his successful efforts to revive the cultivation of Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops.

2005 2005 2005 stain
background 2008 2008 2008 Hops
March 2008

When a worldwide hops shortage threatened many other craft brewers, we sell 40,000 pounds of hops at cost to small brewers who wouldn’t have been able to afford them otherwise. The need was so great we held a lottery since we couldn’t help every brewer who sent us request.

March 2009

Three Portuguese barrel makers, or coopers, arrive in Boston to build three huge wooden tuns that we need to ferment Belgian style beers. Seven months later, we proudly release the first three brews of our Barrel Room Collection, which included New World Tripel, Stony Brook Red, and American Kriek.

October 2009

We released the first three brews of our Samuel Adams® Barrel Room Collection, which included New World Tripel, Stony Brook Red, and American Kriek.

July 2008
We launch the Brewing the American Dream program to offer microloans and mentoring to small business owners in the food and beverage industry who need a leg up to expand or start their business.

June 2, 2008

We purchase the Pennsylvania Brewery.

Sam Adams Ballroom Collection

Sweet fire, with a rich malt and wood complexity, Samuel Adams® Utopias® is unlike any other beverage in the world.

2008 bottle
December 2010

We release Infinium, the collaboration beer we brewed with Weihenstephan, the world’s oldest brewery. Infinium is a champagne-like beer that was two years in the making.

Sam Adams Sam Adams Infinium

As crisp champagne-like brew with fine bubbles and a fruity, spicy aroma, this beer is truly one of a kind.

Bottle 2012
March 2013

We release the “Sam Can,” incorporating a unique can designed to enhance the flavor of Boston Lager. Later this year we release our seasonal beers in cans and also offer the patent-pending design to all other craft brewers.


I hope you enjoyed exploring my favorite moments from the last 30 years — now it’s time for you to add your own! Share an Instagram photo of your favorite Sam Adams moment using the hashtag #30YEARSOFSAM and it will be featured online.