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Boston Bars with Belgian Beers

  • j

Despite the subject line, this is a serious request. A friend is coming to visit and is a big fan of Belgian beers. My local packy has some I can purchase for home, but if we're out, I'd prefer to hit a restaurant or bar with some of her favorites. Sour Flemish reds, anything Trappist (esp. Trappist Rochefort 10, but it's rare). Any of the fruit lambics (framboise, kriek) would be cool to have handy as well (though doesn't need to be at the same joint). I know I have seen a selection somewhere recently, but it escapes me at the moment.... Looking for a place within the confines of Back Bay/South End/Beacon Hill/downtown. I think Jacob Wirth is a place to start, but other recs. appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. I think Brasserie Jo had some Belgian beers available.

    5 Replies
    1. re: 9lives

      Confirmed: Brasserie Jo has several Belgians by the bottle and the proper glassware to serve it in. The house draft lager, Hopla, is Belgian. Nice atmosphere, too, though on the posh side.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        A hoppy pils from Belgium? I remember reading that Hopla was styled after beer from the Alscace region of France.

        1. re: rl

          You may be right about the Hopla, and it would make sense, given the Alsatian tilt of the place. I just remember a barman describing it as Belgian to me when they first opened.

          I like to drink beer, but I'm am something of an ignoramus on the finer points, more of a "spin the Bukowski wheel and see what Fate serves" kind of beer drinker. I like all kinds, though I'm more likely to drink something browner than paler. I have fond memories of cask-conditioned, hand-pulled draft ales in rural UK pubs.

          I am looking forward to trying the revived, slightly reformulated Narragansett in bottles. It has not turned up in any bar or retail outlet that I have noticed.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I thought I read somewhere (maybe the Dig) that Liquor Land was going to carry 'Gansett.

            However i don't see anything in terms of retail or bar sales in Boston and only a couple in Brighton or Cambridge.

            Link: http://www.narragansettbeer.net/

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              "I have fond memories of cask-conditioned, hand-pulled draft ales in rural UK pubs."

              Then a session or two at NERAX is in order. Get there early to avoid the wait times to get in. See the link below for details. I think it may be the biggest real ale / cask fest in the US now that the Chicago fest has fallen apart. All kinds of English casks are flown over and many New England brewers provide casks for this fest. Since there are different beers on each night (due to the nature of cask conditioning), I end up attending at least 3 sessions each year.

              Link: http://www.nerax.org/

      2. The Publick House, iirc.

        1. The Publick House in Washington Square, Brookline is the place to go. Half a dozen or more Belgian beers on tap, probably forty or more in the bottle (I lost count on their website). Rochefort 10 is on the menu in bottles, and all of the styles that you mentioned above are represented, and you will be served in the proper glassware. Good food, too, a cut above the usual pub grub.

          On weekend nights it can be crazy, the service can be flakey and cool, and it is always seat yourself (no hostess), so don't go in a rush, but for the kind of beer you want it has to be your first choice. It is also T accessible - take the Green Line "C" to Washington Square and you are right there - so you can avoid driving.

          You could also check out the Sunset Grill in Allston, nice selection and much improved quality control and glassware from a few years back. The food isn't as good, and it can be a real zoo sometimes. Worth a visit if you want to hit two beer destinations in town. Also T accessible, Green Line B to Harvard Street, then a short walk.

          Link: http://www.thepublickhousebrookline.com/

          1. As Limster has already written, Publick House is the place to take your friend. I've had a Chimay at Brasserie Jo.

            Here's a great resource for beer near and far.

            Link: http://beeradvocate.com/beerfly/city/3/

            1. Bukowski's. Boston, not Inman. And I think Boston Beerworks.....

              1 Reply