The best craft beer bars in Boston are sure to please beer-lovers, but there's something about getting a brew fresh from the source. Brewers in Boston are making some of the best beers around, and tasting them at the brewery is a must. From innovative ingredients (think local herbs, rare fruits) to ancient techniques and funky experiments, the newer upstarts are gaining attention, but old standbys like Sam Adams and Harpoon offer fun and educational experiences. Explore more drinking options at one of the best Irish bars in Boston or best cocktails bars in Boston.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Boston
Best Boston breweries
Trillium’s brews—New England wild ales, sour ales, wild saisons, and more—are highly prized around Boston. The original brewery now only offers merch, cans, bottles, and growlers to go, so head to the newer brewery and taproom in Canton to try the freshest Trillium brews. The taproom hosts food trucks, pop-ups, trivia nights, fitness classes, and special Cellar Sundays, when a limited selection of previously bottled beer is available for purchase. Trillium's newest Fort Point Channel location is a three-level brewpub where you can get farmhouse food with your fresh brew.
Harpoon has been at it for more than 30 years, brewing IPAs, Hefeweizens, stouts, and more. Grab a seat at a long table in the lively Beer Hall to enjoy fresh beers and giant pretzels. The outdoor Keg Yard is open seasonally. Tours are popular, and daily tickets—the small fee goes to charity—often sell out quickly, especially on weekends. Harpoon hosts a variety of lively events and festivals throughout the year.
Named after a founding father, this brewery was once at the forefront of the craft brewery movement. Now popular worldwide, Sam Adams remains a hometown favorite. Tours are offered every day but Sunday at no charge, with voluntary donations going to local charities. Visit the tap room to sample exclusive brews, and pick up something in the gift shop for your beer-loving friends.
Head out to Everett to see why Night Shift has developed a strong following for its diverse portfolio: lagers, IPAs, milk stouts, saisons, weisses, porters, and small-batch limited releases. Take home a growler of whatever’s fresh, or stick around to enjoy flights, pints, or cans. Trivia nights, fun runs, food trucks, and pet-centric fundraisers fill the taproom calendar. For barrel-aged beer enthusiasts, the Barrel Society offers exclusive access to Night Shifts barrel-aged releases and events. Tours are offered Fridays through Sundays by donation. Seasonal Owl’s Nest satellite beer gardens (along the Charles River in Allston, and on the Esplanade) offer more ways to enjoy the Night Shift experience, as does the newest Lovejoy Wharf location.
On a leafy stretch of Broadway near Kendall Square, Lamplighter’s taproom is a chill spot to catch up with friends over solid beers. The focus is New England IPAs, with a selection of barrel-aged sours, seasonal brews, and funky experimentals. Try a tasting flight or a pint and hang out in the bright front area, in back, or on the patio. Most days feature a local pop-up for a bite, or ask for some free bar snacks. During the day, Longfellows serves coffee, tea, and light bites until 3pm. Lamplighter also hosts live music, trivia nights, and other events like Cheese Night (featuring local producers).
What began as a small brewery driven by the motto “Make good liquids; make good friends” has become a major player in the local craft brew scene. In addition to the main brewery and taproom in Somerville, patrons can enjoy Slumbrew beers—as well as innovative gastropub fare—at American Fresh Brewhouse in Assembly Row and outdoors at the seasonal American Fresh Beer Garden. The Somerville taproom hosts live music, comedy nights, and trivia nights, and free tours are offered at 1pm and 3pm on Saturdays.
Dorchester Brewing produces a range of well-respected craft beers. But they also reserve brewing space to partner with other notable craft brewers like Stillwater, Winter Hill, Radiant Pig, and Evil Twin. The taproom has 20 lines featuring Dorchester’s freshest brews—IPAs, porters, cream ales—alongside their latest collaborations. Snacks are available in the taproom as well as a roster of food trucks on weekends, and you can even bring your own food. With so many interesting beers to try, plus Rock’em Sock’em Robots to play, you’ll want to stick around a while. Tours are held from 1-4pm on Saturdays, but they’re limited to 10 people. The small suggested donation goes to a different local charity each month.
Cambridge Brewing, the oldest brewery/restaurant in Boston, has something for everyone. You’ll find classic styles of beer—ambers, porters, English ales—as well as unusual brews such as a corn lager or a sake-beer hybrid. With at least 10 different styles of beer on tap and plenty of seating, it’s a great place for groups. There’s a solid pub menu that includes pizza with dough made from spent grain. Seating is available inside—where you can see the brewing tanks—or outside on the patio.
Aeronaut brews a long list of innovative beers with unique flavors—piña colada IPA, wheat beer with sumac, cocoa milk stout—as well as high-quality classics. The brewery and taproom serves as a community space, with a range of programming supporting arts and culture, plus live music and events several times a week. Food is BYO, and Sundays are an all-out “BYO Picnic.”
Remnant brews unique ales, stouts, IPAs, goses, and more, all in a prime location in Union Square’s Bow Street Market. You can start your day here with fresh roasted Barrington coffee, then ease into a brew or two. The petit brewery doesn’t offer tours, but you can see the production area from wherever you sit, and the staff is happy to answer questions. A few snacks are available, like crackers made from spent grain, but Remnant does the neighborly thing and encourages patrons to check out the Bow Market food vendors. Crowlers are available to take home.
A relative newcomer to the local beer scene, Down the Road has a core lineup of IPAs as well as ales, witbiers, berliner weisses, and other European styles. Visit the brewery and taproom in Everett to try 15+ beers on tap plus exclusives like Dessert for Grownups, a cherry-lime-vanilla sour beer. There’s a rotating lineup of food trucks, local snacks at the bar, and fresh cans for takeaway. DTR hosts live music and other events. Plus, there’s a retro pinball arcade with close to 20 different machines.