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best places to buy beer in cambridge/sommerville

I recently moved to Cambridge and am trying to find places with good beer selections. Thus far I've found A-Wines (or something like that ) on Cambridge St in Inman Square, which has an okay selection, but I'm wondering what else is in the area. Not looking for anything in particular, just a good selection of American Microbrews (along the likes of Rogue, Allagash, Lagunitas...), Germans, Belgians....A knowledgable staff would be great too.

I have no car, so the closer to Kendall Sq. the better. Boston would be okay if it were right on the other side of the Mass Ave bridge. Thanks!

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  1. I absolutely love Downtown Wine and Spirits in Davis Square, their beer selection is unparalleled on this side of the river. Also, the liquor store on Charles St. has one of the largest beer selections in the country. Other than those shops, Boston is pretty weak int he beer department.

    10 Replies
    1. re: DoubleMan

      Agreed on Downtown Liquors--even better than A-Wines (which is pretty good). This shop has all (or very nearly all) the Trappist beers except Westvleteren, as well as St. Bernardus 12 and tripel, etc. Lots of good stuff. Another to try, not as good as Downtown Wine and Spirits, but which may be convenient, is the Wine and Cheese Cask at the intersection of Kirkland and Beacon (half a mile up from Inman Square).

      You may also want to check this site: http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowTo... . It's sort of annoying, because you have to do separate searches for Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. Nevertheless, it is a useful guide to beer in the Boston area. Also http://beeradvocate.com/beerfly/city/3 .

      1. re: fenian

        Since you brought it up, is there any place to get Westvleteren in Boston (or even, outside of Belgium???)

        1. re: Sgt Snackers

          I read an article about it. They do not have any formal importing. One can only get the beer at the monastery/brewery. Some people take it back and sell it, which isn't illegal just seriously frowned upon by the monks.

          1. re: Sgt Snackers

            On the web they can be found at shop.belgianshop.com or ebay. Be prepared to pay $20+ a bottle with shipping.

            1. re: mkel34

              Oh boy. I wish you hadn't pointed me at that - I am so tempted to drop the $20 for 33cl of this stuff.

              1. re: Sgt Snackers

                Compared with wines, that's not a bad deal. Many people consider Westvleteren 12 the very best beer in the world.

            2. re: Sgt Snackers

              Not that I know of. Outside of Belgium, I've bought it from stores in several states (though not recently).

          2. re: DoubleMan

            There are a few other great beer shops: Bauer Wines on upper Newbury st just over bridge and Wine Gallery in Kenmore Sq.and Rt 9 come to mind. IMO Boston is certainly not weak in the beer department as we get a huge number of US and foreign brands. Downtown is great but be wary of old stock unless it is a style that ages well. Liquor store in Porter Sq. supermarket mall has some surprises for US micros. The links to ratebeer.com and beeradvocate.com are excellent info.

            1. re: PaulB

              A plus for Downtown is that it's right on the Red Line (I believe Charles St is as well). I think the turnover on American micros is high enough that I've never had a problem with freshness. The Belgian stuff is sturdy enough that it's hard to ruin. I'd be wary of German/Czech styles, since they tend to be more vulnerable and I don't see people buy as much.

          3. Yep. Downtown is the only way to go. Particularly the guy with the very long goatee.

            1. You can also try Cardullo's in Harvard. It's definitely overpriced, but carries some interesting beers, especially of the Polish variety.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Craig K

                Skip Cardullo's. Nothing there that can't be found cheaper at Downtown.

                1. re: Ernie Diamond

                  Agreed. I don't understand the press that Cardullo's beer selection gets - it is very mediocre and also overpriced. The only thing it has going for it that I can tell is that it is the only place to buy beer in Harvard Sq.

              2. Boston is NOT weak in the beer dep't -- there are many stores with excellent beer selections, but you won't find one place that has everything. Marty's in Brighton and Newton is close to spectacular and probably has the most extensive selection in the area (if it doesn't, please tell me who does!). Wine & Cheese Cask in Somerville has a somewhat small but very good stock of beers. More to choose from at Fresh Pond liquor store next to Whole Foods in the Fresh Pond Mall. Martignetti on Soldiers Field Rd and other locations has lots of good stuff. And there are many small neighborshood liquor stores where you can find amazing beers -- there's one on Broadway in Ball Sq. near Sound Bytes, don't recall the name, but they've got some killer brews. As for the original question, I don't know of any great beer buying spots near Kendall Square, but I find poking my head into whatever liquor store I'm around is worthwhile: sometimes you strike out and there's nothing more interesting than the ubiquitous Sam Adams, but sometimes the most unlikely locations have an intriguing beer you never came across before. The hunt is part of the fun.

                1. Agreed, best shop easily accessible to you is Downtown in Davis Sq.

                  Charles St. Liquors (Charles St, Beacon Hill) is also quite good, especially excellent on the Belgian selections.

                  Not especially close to you, but these stores give Downtown competition for the best beer selection in the Boston area:

                  Colonial Spirits (in Acton)
                  Martys (two locations: Newton and Allston)