Conan O’Brien is decidedly not a beer aficionado. But that didn’t stop him from taking a tour of the Sam Adams Brewery during a recent visit to his hometown of Boston. The late night host’s reactions during this segment will resonate with anyone who’s ever been painfully bored while either taking a brewery tour, or talking shop with a bunch of beer nerds.
“Why am I here?” Conan quips before entering the brewery. “Sam Adams sponsored my tour.”
This week’s brewery tour and last week’s visit to Olive Garden suggest that perhaps O’Brien will be focusing a bit more on the food and drink world with the latest installment of his late night show, which returned for its ninth season this January.
The tour begins with Conan meeting Sam Adams co-founder Jim Koch, who speaks at length about the 12,000 year history of beer. If you’re familiar with Conan’s comedic style, you know a joke is coming. When Koch lands on a bit about the Mayflower, Conan interrupts him. “I’m going to stop you for a second—you’ve got to tighten it up a little bit,” Conan says. “You’re taking me through the day by day.” And when a fellow brewer tells Conan that he’s heard Jim’s story before, the comedian remarks, “So you’ve heard it twice in 25 years—it’s a long story.”
Conan then visits the brewery floor, where he learns about how “hops are the closest botanical relative to marijuana,” which leads the host to begin stuffing handfuls of the plant into his coat pocket. “This is an adult version of Santa’s workshop,” Conan says. As another brewer is telling O’Brien about the nano-brewery operations, the host gets distracted by the fact that the brewer and all of his co-workers are sporting beards. “Mind if I rub it?” Conan says to one guy with a shoulder-length beard. “It looks like the police are coming, and they’ve got a picture of you, and you quickly clip this thing on.”
At the end of his tour, a brewer named Eryn Bottens offers O’Brien tastings of all the beers that are made at the Sam Adams Brewery, but the host quickly gets exhausted sipping all the samples and starts drawing shots into a pitcher. He calls this “the Conan brew: a simple blend of twenty-six randomly selected beers.” Although the comedian seems to be happy with this vile concoction, Jim Koch tastes it and calls it “a mess.”
Last week, after a three-month hiatus, “Conan” returned, for its ninth season on TBS, as a late-night show stripped down to its essence. It’s running time is now a half hour. The monologue is trimmed down enough to qualify as brief remarks, which is good, as O’Brien has a limited appetite for topical comedy. The show will probably lean more heavily on outside-the-studio segments like the Sam Adams tour, and will perhaps focus a bit more on the food and drink world as well.
Watch the entire brewery tour in the clip below.