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Visitor looking for Good Craft Beer Sections

Second time to Boston (from a small town in NJ); this past May we stumbled into Boston Beer Works, near the Aquarium, which was ok, and now we'll be nearby again this April so I'm wondering if there anywhere else to go to/try instead? I'm thinking we should go to Harpoon at least once. I JUST learned of them. But is there anywhere that has mix? We particularly love places that have either local (within 200 miles) beer or make their own and have stouts and porters. We also liked Yard House near Fenway. Jsut wondering if there are others to seek out or not. Only thing is we're not IPA people. Thanks!

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  1. Redbones in Davis Sq Somerville has a great selection

    http://www.redbones.com/

    1. A little spendy, but if you wanted to hit all of the local breweries at once, you could take a Boston Brew Tour.
      http://bostonbrewtours.com/

      (Even if you don't, their website has a list of many local breweries you could check out on your own). I'm a fan of the Night Shift and Idle Hands microbreweries over in Everett.

      1. Plenty of better places for you to try! Stoddard's, Lord Hobo, and Deep Ellum are my favorite "craft beer bars." If you are looking for a restaurant with an awesome beer program, Row34 would be my pick, but their selection isn't particularly local, other than they usually have beers from Trillium. And if you just want to visit some breweries, Night Shift offers full pours (a rarity in Boston), Trillium and Mystic offer tasters and growler fills, and Cambridge Brewing Co has a food menu.
        For the "not IPA" folks, locally, I usually recommend Mystic's beers, mostly regional spins on saison style beers, with their Table beer being my absolute favorite from them. But since you specifically mentioned stouts and porters, my picks would be Night Shift's Taza Stout, Slumbrew's Porter Square Porter (both made with chocolate produced by Somerville's Taza) and Pretty Thing's Babayaga.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bellegardbastos

          Great list, I'll add anything from Jack's Abby esp. if you can get your hands on some barrel-aged Framinghammer.

          1. re: phatchris

            Solid call on all the BA Framinghammer variants, I excluded them from my list because I think it's extremely unlikely that anyone will be able to find them out in the wild in April, bottles or draft. I know Fairsted Kitchen got a keg of the Vanilla, and Row34 got Coffee, but other than that, even just one month after their release, I haven't seen them anywhere.

            1. re: bellegardbastos

              The Barrleman in Marblehead has the BA Framinghammer on now, to be honest didn't even realize the op was coming in April.

          2. of course you probably would want to try the Sunset Grill, which has a huge selection of local beers and everything from around the world as well.

            http://www.allstonsfinest.com/welcome/

            2 Replies
            1. re: mwk

              Too many options, not enough good (let alone great) options, and no care for the beer. There's nothing you would order there that you couldn't find elsewhere fresher, and at the right temperature.

              1. re: bellegardbastos

                I guess we will agree to disagree about it. I'm not claiming it's gourmet food, but it's perfectly good, and I've always enjoyed my meals there, along with the beer.

            2. Row 34's beer list makes me cream my pants a little bit. And, as mentioned previously, they serve Trillium.

              If you go to Cambridge the Lord Hobo-CBC-Meadhall crawl can be nice.

              To add something new- I'll toss out Publick House

              1. For a small well crafted list and a great burger you could also hit JM Curley.

                4 Replies
                1. re: phatchris

                  Just an FYI (and phatchris did say "small") if you prefer beers on tap like I do, JM Curley does not have much of a tap selection. It's about 5 beers on tap and I often find that the tap menu on line differs from their current taps. Usually one or two of their tap selections are local. Still an awesome place to check out especially if you want to try their excellent burger also as mentioned. It just bears mentioning because some folks assume that it has numerous beers on tap when they hear it mentioned as an option for a craft beer bar.

                  1. re: Gordough

                    Two of the five are usually a Trillium and Jack's Abby.

                    1. re: Gordough

                      I didn't understand curley being mentioned here either. I love the place, the food, and most of all the people that work there. But cocktails are clearly their strong suit. Sure, the selections they do have are usually very good beers, but I think today that's a given. The selection is just way too small for them to be a beer destination for someone with limited time in the city. Not to mention, the selection usually features more breweries with national distribution than local ones.

                      1. re: bellegardbastos

                        Last time I was there they had Fort Point Pale and Mass Rising aka 2nd anniversary on tap... Two of the best very local beers IMO.

                  2. Flatbread Pizza in Davis Square only serves local beer and at very fair prices - pints are usually around $5-6.

                    Between that and Redbones, it's a worthwhile trip on the red line.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nyc_to_ma

                      Agreed. Flatbreads has an impressive local lineup and Redbones turns their taps over frequently and always has something new and interesting every time I stop by. I would add the frequently unloved (on CH) Cambridge Common (between Harvard and Porter) as another bar with a well priced craft draft selection.They aren't as interesting as Redbones or local at Flatbreads, but I'll keep coming back for $6 pints of Greenflash.

                    2. I think the Meadhall > Cambridge Brewing Company > Lord Hobo crawl is pretty hard to beat.

                      I'd also suggest Deep Ellum in Allston (as opposed to Sunset)

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: mkfisher

                        It's also not too long of a walk to throw in Atwoods for that mix but a) it's the furthest walk by far and b) the weakest of the four.

                        Still, it makes for a good bridge between some of the inman area bars and the kendall-ish trio of beer geek nirvana if one is doing more of a crawl marathon :)

                        1. re: jgg13

                          Well, since the OP seems interested in trying "local" selections, I think Atwoods is a valid suggestion seeing they are more likely to have Night Shift, Enlightenment Ales, or Idle Hands than Meadhall or Lord Hobo.

                          1. re: bellegardbastos

                            Meadhall still has a ton of local stuff (Notch, Smuttynose, Mystic etc.). It's true they don't have the 3 you mentioned. Hobo definitely has Enlightenment. They don't seem to be fans of Night Shift or Idle Hands, but again they have a bunch of local options. They had 3 different Trillum's on when I was there a couple weeks ago. Just depends what you want.

                        2. re: mkfisher

                          And you can continue on to Bukowski's after Hobo. The Independent in Union Square also has some decent taps but veers from the almost straight line from Meadhall to Buk's.

                          Stoddard's, Deep Ellum, and CBC all get regular visits from me.

                          http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com

                          1. re: yarm

                            Buk's is on my enemy list due to their short pours and ear-splitting volume in the after-dinner hours.

                            1. re: emannths

                              I forgot about the volume issue. I do recall that it gets solved in the warmer months when they open the windows in the front and have to worry about noise complaints. We stopped going as much when the food quality started to decline in parallel with the price rising, so I forgot about that. But the tap list is still generally good.

                              I have heard other complaints about establishments listed on this page in regards to short pours (and have made them to the bartenders on occasion). That etched in line was put there for a reason...

                              1. re: yarm

                                I am on the Bukowski's hate club. Bad food. Bad pours bad prices and bad atmosphere.

                                1. re: David_A

                                  And, on many occasions, bad condition of the draft beer. I haven't been in a while, so it's possible they've fixed that.

                                  1. re: jajjguy

                                    I haven't been back in 4 years.

                        3. CBC is a must-visit, imho, since their best stuff is brewpub-only and is really top-notch. Stick to the Belgians and barrel-aged stuff. Oh, and the house porter (always available) is perhaps my favorite porter.

                          Lord Hobo is great, though they have plenty their 40 handles dedicated to imports and beers from outside of NE. Area Four usually has local-heavy taplist as well as their excellent food.

                          Deep Ellum, Cambridge Common, Publick House and Flatbreads all get votes from me too.

                          Some local brewers to look for: Jack's Abby, Pretty Things, Trillium, Mystic, Ipswich (Oatmeal Stout), Berkshire (great dark beers like their Coffeehouse Porter)...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: emannths

                            That's a great general rule at CBC. Stick to the weirder stuff and the porter.

                          2. Another vote for Bukowski's. Always a must stop when we visit Boston (usually 3-4 times a year)

                            1. A place called "The Merchant" just opened downtown on Franklin Street. I haven't been there, but they do have an extensive beer list with some local offerings. I am curious to check it out.