Craft beer is having a big moment not only in Boston, but across the country. With that, there have been quite a few breweries opening up both in and around Boston that are worth checking out while you're in town. Right in the city, there's the new Trillium Fort Point and recently opened Night Shift at LoveJoy Wharf. And of course there are two breweries best known to Boston since the 1980s, Harpoon Brewery and Sam Adams.
Trillium Brewing Company
Trillium Brewing Company, which first opened on Congress Street and now at 50 Thompson Place in Fort Point, has quickly become one of Boston's most popular craft breweries. Trillium Fort Point is a spacious spot to grab not only a beer, but also delicious food from Executive Chef Michael Morway. Their goal is to create a communal vibe with food that mimics how they approach beer making.
When the weather warms up, they open the Trillium Garden, an outdoor beer garden that has popped up on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston for the past two years. Trillium also has a brewery south of the city in Canton.
No matter what location you visit, be sure to try a few of their most popular beers, Fort Point Pale Ale, PM Dawn and their wide variety of stouts. They frequently release limited-edition beers as well, which do sell out quickly.
Night Shift may have been officially founded in 2012, but the trio behind it, Rob Burns, Michael Oxton and Mike O'Mara have been homebrewing since 2007 as they worked the "Night Shift" working on their passion project as a side gig to their day jobs.
Their first location can be found a short ride from downtown Boston in Everett, where there's a taproom and also free brewery tours. Tour hours are Fridays at 3, 5 and 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. and Sundays at 3 and 5 p.m. Weekday tours are available through their events team. If you plan on taking a tour, don't forget your close-toed shoes.
During warm weather seasons, along the Charles River Esplanade is their Owl’s Nest beer garden. If you're traveling with your dog, kids or are meeting up with friends, this is a great spot to enjoy the nice weather over a few beers. Night Shift recently opened up a brewery, bar and restaurant at 1 Lovejoy Wharf near the TD Garden and North End, where they will have at least one new beer on tap every week.
Night Shift's most popular beers are Santilli, Whirlpool and Nite Lite, one of the few light craft beers available today.
Dorchester Brewing Company
Dorchester Brewing Company, located on Mass Ave in Dorchester, is a no-frills tap room with something for everyone. They, of course, have DBco beers, but they also have games, an outdoor patio, food trucks on the weekends and bar snacks. They host events throughout the season, including one dedicated to dogs for a "yappy hour." If you're looking to host a private event, check out their space. On Saturdays, you can tour the brewery. Dorchester Brewing Company is convenient as it has plenty of free on-street parking nearby. Popular Beers at Dorchester Brewing Company include the V1 Double IPA, Clapp's Cream Ale and Embarrassment of Riches.
Down the Road Beer Co.
Down the Road Beer Co. can be found a short drive from Boston's North End and Charlestown in Everett, right off of Route 99. This warehouse-style brewery has plenty of beer but also lots of old school games like pinball machines. This brewery welcomes children and dogs, frequently hosting events like trivia, birthday parties, live parties and corporate events. While you're visiting Down the Road Beer Co., try out the Golden City NEIPA, 7th Star IPA, Sour Berliner Weisse, Rasenmaher Kolsch and Wolfgeist Dunkel.
Lord Hobo Brewing Co.
Lord Hobo Brewing Co. isn't quite in Boston, as it's about 9 miles north off of I-93 and I-95 in a town called Woburn. It's worth the drive thanks to the 40 beers they have on tap, along with gourmet pizzas, other light bites to eat and a peek into how they make their beers in the 50,000 square foot facility. Lord Hobo, founded in 2015, is best known for their flagship New England IPA Boomsauce. The brewery has been recognized as the fastest growing regional brewery in the country and is now available in 14 different states. Other beers include Hazy IPAs, Lagers, Stouts and even some experimental options such as their Pilot Series GOSE and SOUR IPA.
Also just north of the city in Somerville is Somerville Brewing, makers of Slumbrew craft ales. They have their headquarters and taproom on Ward Street in Somerville, along with two other locations in Assembly Row, the American Fresh Brewhouse and American Fresh Beer Garden, also in Somerville. This family-owned brewery has been running since 2011.
Idle Hands Brewery & Tap Room
Just north of Boston is Idle Hands Brewery & Tap Room in Malden, about a 3-minute walk from the MBTA Orange Line's Malden Station at 89 Commercial Street. This craft brewery offers variety of beers that range from classic German style lagers and Belgian-inspired ales, to more popular IPAs. Some of their most sought after beers include Four Seam, a New England Style IPA, and Adelais, a German Style Pilsner. Founder and Head Brewer Christopher Tkach's love for the craft of beer making started as soon as he turned 21 when his uncle game him his first beer-making kit. If you're planning a visit to Idle Hands, check out their website for events like Bootcamp and Brews and Taproom Yoga where you can get a workout in before enjoying their craft brews.
Aeronaut Brewing Company
Aeronaut Brewing Company is another spot to check out, especially if you plan on visiting Somerville, also just north of the city. The brewery is located in a funky warehouse space outside Union Square and has been open since 2014. Aeronaut's inventive beers are inspired by New England's agriculture, and as a company they're on a mission to brew world-class beer, amplify community voices and support arts & culture through programming.
Aeronaut offers local programming and live music five nights a week, along with events like trivia and board game night that keep people coming back for more. Their beer menu rotates frequently, but you can count on a good mix of IPAs, sours, wheat beers, milk stouts and more. Fan favorites include the flagship, A Year with Dr. Nandu (American IPA), Hop Hop and Away (Session Ale), Double Hop Hop (Double IPA) and Saison of the Western Ghats (Saison). One key thing to know before you go: food is BYO only, so plan ahead.
Vitamin Sea Brewing
One of the newest breweries in the Boston areas is Vitamin Sea Brewing, which opened in February of 2019 and is located south of the city in Weymouth. Their taproom has twelve taps with a range of beers from IPAs to stouts and even cold brew coffee. Vitamin Sea brings in local food from several partners, so you can also enjoy a bite to eat with your beers. Given that this brewery is brand new, be sure to follow them on social media to stay up on the latest news as they grow.
Harpoon Brewery has been a Boston staple since 1986 and you'll find their beers in most local bars, as well as across the country. Located in Boston's Seaport neighborhood, this is a great spot to visit if you prefer to enjoy craft beer without leaving the city. Trillium isn't far if you want to visit both breweries in one afternoon.
Harpoon Brewery tours are $5 and run on the hour Monday through Friday, with more frequent tours on weekends. During warm weather months, they also have the Haropoon Keg Yard open on weekends, weather permitting. Their most popular beers are Harpoon, UFO and Clown Shoes — and don't forget to also grab one of their delicious pretzels.
Harpoon holds all kinds of events throughout the year, from trivia and road races to a BBQ festival and St. Patrick's Day festival. But the biggest of the year are HarpoonFest in May and OctoberFest in October.
Sam Adams Brewery
Sam Adams has been around even longer than Harpoon, started in 1984, and is the most popular Boston Beer thanks to that and the historic figure it's named after. The Boston Brewery, located in Jamaica Plain and open since 1988, is where all of their beers were first made, other than Boston Lager, which was made in founder Jim Koch's kitchen. At the Boston location, you can take a tour or try out beers in the tap room.
Boston Lager is the most well-known Sam Adams beer, and there's a reason for that. They get their Heirloom aroma hops from Germany in a region known for its unique soil and climate, which is important to producing a quality lager. As soon as spring hits, Bostonians await the launch of their Summer Ale, with others looking forward to OctoberFest.