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Anniversary dinner for a beerhound

Can anyone recommend a restaurant worthy of a special occasion dinner that also has a really great beer list? My husband is beer obsessed (home brewer, partial to Belgium beers, spontaneously fermented stuff, funky/sour beers) and we both love great food. I love Oleana - creative food that's in season and locally sourced, with an unpretentious vibe - but we went there last year.

Any suggestions? Thanks so much!!

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Oleana
134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

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  1. Dunno if it's "worthy of a special occasion" -- but The Independent in Union Sq, Somerville has very good, unpretentious food, and an excellent, rotating list of draft beers. Often several Belgian choices and a few for the adventurous. Tasted Monk's Flemish Sour Ale last time I was there. Not my kind of beer, but your husband might dig it. In any case, it's my go-to for a great beer menu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: franksnbeans

      Have you been to The Independent recently (like, in the past month)? It has been one of my favorites for a casual but yummy meal since it first opened, but something has gone horribly awry. We had a horrible dinner there with friends last Sunday and I just heard this morning from a friend that his meal last night was awful as well. I am pretty dismayed about it.

    2. Eastern Standard has a pretty extensive bottle list with plenty of Belgians, as I recall... Hungry Mother has a small but generally excellent selection on draught.

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      Eastern Standard
      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

      Hungry Mother
      Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

      1. Great question. Sadly, I think you'll have to choose food or beer--or maybe make the special occasion part not the part at the restaurant ;)

        I've found the Independent to be hit or miss lately w/the food but a great beer list.

        Highland Kitchen in Somerville has a pretty good list and great food: more of a gastropub atmosphere.

        Hungry Mother in Kendall has a limited selection of drafts, but great food.

        Gargoyle's in Davis has great food and a few good drafts

        If you can: go to Armsby Abbey in Worchester: amazing localvore food and fantastic beerlist (heavy on the Belgiums) -- really is worth the drive!

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        Highland Kitchen
        150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

        Hungry Mother
        Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

        Armsby Abbey
        144 Main Street, Worcester, MA

        1. I would strongly concur with Hungry Mother as the best beer/food combo I've come across in town. The two times I've been there they have had a solid tap selection and a very nice bottle selection. That said, it leans a lot more heavily toward american craft brews than the super-obscure, funky belgiany types that you'd find at a top-notch beer bar. If you're really lucky, Lord Hobo will open by then (they're saying any day now), and it's very nearby, so you can follow up your meal with a walk over there from some crazy beers. (Lord Hobo has an ambitious menu too, but since it's not yet open it's clearly too soon to recommend that aspect).

          I've never had beer at Eastern Standard (the cocktails are too good) but if the beer list is good it seems like a solid second option.

          I would NOT recommend the Independent. Nice tap list, and passable food, but far from a special occasion meal.

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          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          Hungry Mother
          Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

          1 Reply
          1. re: celeriac

            Another thought: go to Hungry Mother for dinner and stop by Cambridge Brewing Company for beers either before or after. It is right down the street from Hungry Mother, and the sampler of their seasonal brews is definitely a beerhound-worthy experience. Currently they've got a lot of pumpkin in their seasonal beers: http://cambridgebrewing.com/beer/seas... If that isn't your thing maybe best to skip it, but I've always been very impressed by the CBC brews. Unfortunately, while the food is decent, it is definitely not special-occasion worthy IMO.

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            Hungry Mother
            Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

          2. Your husband may be partial to Belgium beers, but I love a good America beer, and sometimes can enjoy a good Germany beer or a nice England ale. ;-)

            2 Replies
            1. re: LStaff

              I thought I was the only one...

              I second Armsby Abbey in Worcester, even though it's a haul.

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              Armsby Abbey
              144 Main Street, Worcester, MA