Samuel Adams Brewery
No trip to Boston is complete without a tour of the brewery that pays tribute to one of the American Revolution’s most famous patriots -- and, they say, enthusiastic brewer. Learn about the brewing process, taste the malts, smell the hops, and (of course) sample some of the brewery’s award-winning beers. The Boston Lager is the brewery’s most famous, but if lager isn’t your thing, try the seasonal Summer Ale, a crisp lemony favorite available April through August. Tours of the brewery are free, but donations ($2 is suggested) benefit local charities. Call (617) 368-5080 for more information.
Another local favorite, Harpoon Brewery offers complimentary tastings on weekdays and tours on weekends when they aren’t brewing and packaging their beers. Some of their most popular brews are the Harpoon IPA and UFO Hefeweizen. Consider signing up to become a “Friend of Harpoon” for updates on specials and events (and VIP access to the brewery’s seasonal festivals). The brewery’s motto is “Love Beer. Love Life,” and it’s clear they operate that way. Their 3 festivals (St. Patrick’s Day, HarpoonFest and Oktoberfest) come with plenty of food, music and, of course, beer, drawing huge crowds. Call (617) 574-9551 for more information.
Atlantic Beer Garden
Located in Boston’s Seaport District, the Atlantic Beer Garden has a large roof deck overlooking the harbor, as well as 2 patios, one of which is right on the waterfront. The beer garden is also a great place to catch a game, with plenty of big screens on all the walls inside to ensure that you have a close-up view of the action. The beer selection is extensive, and the food is pretty standard bar food. It does get crowded, however, especially on weekends and game days, so plan accordingly! Call (617) 357-8000 for more information.
Boston Beer Works
With 2 locations right near Boston’s biggest sports venues, Boston Beer Works has become a local favorite. The brewpub serves up a variety of different homebrews -- there’s certainly something for everyone on the menu. Try their blueberry beer with fresh blueberries, or their seasonal watermelon beer that’s served with a fresh slice of watermelon. The Fenway location is a great (although crowded) place to stop in for an “ice cold beah” before a summer game. If you have some extra time to kill in the airport before your flight home, Boston Beer Works also has a location in Terminal B at Logan Airport. Call (617) 536-2337 for the Fenway Location or (617) 896-2337 for the TD Garden Location.
Sunset Grill and Tap
With one of the largest beer selections on the East Coast, even people who claim they “don’t like beer!” are sure to find something they’ll enjoy drinking at Sunset Grill and Tap, located in the neighborhood of Allston. The beer bar boasts 112 taps, and 380 bottled microbrews and imports. Don’t worry if you’re having trouble navigating the impressive beer list -- the staff is incredibly knowledgeable and will help you pick the perfect brew. It’s no surprise that the bar has taken home 10 of Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston Awards for Best Beer List over the past decade. Call (617) 254-1331 for more information.
Other Local Brews and Pubs
Even if you don’t hit up one of these spots on your trip, there are plenty of restaurants and bars with local beer on the menu. For a true taste of Massachusetts, keep an eye out for beers by Cisco Brewery, based on the island of Nantucket; Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich; Wachusett Brewing Company in Westminster; and Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield.
If you find yourself in Boston’s neighboring town of Cambridge, you can also check out John Harvard’s Brewery & Ale House in Harvard Square or Cambridge Brewing Co. in Kendall Square for more great craft beers. Now go out and have a cold one (or two) … after all, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.