How Sam Adams Came Up With The Perfect Post-Marathon Beer

April 17, 2016, 7:00 PM UTC
Courtesy of Boston Beer

I’ve run two marathons in my life and at the conclusion of each, I craved two types of drinks: coffee and beer. Samuel Adams maker Boston Beer (SAM) has got a handle on how to quench my thirst for the second of those requests.

For the fifth year running, Boston Beer will produce and sell a limited release beer called the “Samuel Adams Boston 26.2 Brew,” which is commemorating the 120th Boston Marathon, held on April 18 this year. It is a Gose style beer, with a relatively low alcohol level (4.5%). Special ingredients include Kosher salt and coriander.

The partnership between the two hometown heroes kicked off five years ago. But founder and Chairman Jim Koch didn’t just want the company’s name listed on race bibs along with other sponsors. He wanted to create a beer for the event.

“I started thinking, ‘Ok, for the marathon. What kind of beer would be suited for running a marathon,'” Koch said. He recalled his own marathon finishes in the 1970s, and tried to think about which beers would be best for that moment.


Gose, a style from Germany, seemed like the perfect fit to Koch. It is lower in alcohol, making it a decent source of hydration. It is a wheat beer – adding a sense of body without being too thick. And because it uses salt, it is an electrolyte replacement.

“The tartness, the lighter body, the available carbohydrates – it just fits,” Koch told Fortune.

The beer is sold at bars and restaurants along the marathon route, as well as at race-related events, the Sam Adams Boston Brewery and some other locations throughout New England.

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