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Trillium Brewing Company
Photograph: Courtesy Trillium Brewing CompanyTrillium Brewing Company

The best breweries and taprooms in Boston

Discover the best spots to grab a pint or tasting flight—all in a city that helped fuel a craft beer renaissance

Jillian Dara
Written by
Jillian Dara
Written by
Eric Grossman
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While you can pull up a barstool just about anywhere and find a wide-variety of local draft beer, it’s always better to go straight to the source. The best breweries and taprooms in Boston will let you get a taste of the innovative spirit that spurred on the craft beer reawakening that started in the 1980s and continues still today—not to mention, some of the best brews you’ll find in all of New England. Whether you’re touring a brewery, tasting your way through a taproom or enjoying the city’s seasonal beer gardens, one thing’s for sure: The Hub offers no shortage of brew-centric experiences. Not a beer person? Explore more top-notch drinking options at the best cocktail bars in Boston or try one of the best craft ciders in Massachusetts.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Boston

Best Boston breweries and taprooms

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Though Trillium’s brewery is located in Canton, MA, the popular New England craft beer covers its bases in Boston, with a three-level brewpub in Fort Point and a seasonal Fenway location featuring experimental brews. If you’re able to make it out to Canton, the main 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.

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  • Somerville
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With locations in Somerville and Everett, Aeronaut brews a long list of innovative beers with unique flavors. Brews change with the season, however, past flavors have included a piña colada IPA, wheat beer with sumac and cocoa milk stout, so you never know what the brewmasters will come up with next. It’s not all about good beer though, as 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. You can bring in your own food from outside eateries, and Sundays are an all-out “BYO Picnic.”

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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, small-batch limited releases and hard seltzers. Fans can enjoy flights, pints or cans, and folks unfamiliar with the brand can sign up for donation-based tours led Fridays through Sundays. 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 its Lovejoy Wharf location next to TD Garden, which has a full kitchen and a cafe with Night Shift coffee.

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  • Seaport District
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Located in Boston’s Seaport, Harpoon has been a staple within this ever-evolving neighborhood 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 freshly poured beers and a giant pretzel. 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 vibrant events and festivals throughout the year.

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  • Roslindale

This couple-run, community-focused brewery in Roslindale offers a permanent, 75-seat taproom and beer garden, as well as rotating pop-up events to showcase the versatility of their handcrafted beers. Lora and Mike Estey, the duo behind Distraction, create their flavors and styles based on seasonality, so you can expect an ever-rotating selection, including the likes of a porter ale infused with vanilla and a double New England IPA.

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  • Central Sq
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On a leafy stretch of Broadway—between Kendall and Central Squares—Lamplighter’s taproom is a relaxed spot to catch up with friends over New England IPAs, a selection of barrel-aged sours or funky experimentals. Try a tasting flight or a pint, and hang out in the bright front area, out back or on the patio. Lamplighter also hosts live music, trivia nights and other events like Cheese Nights (they feature local dairy producers) and supper clubs throughout the year, so no one visit will ever be the same.

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Another brewery in Everett’s "Fermentation District," Bone Up is a nano-brewery producing fresh new beers every week. Four year-round beers are always available, in addition to the slew of one-off, experimental batches. The husband-wife duo behind Bone Up describes its selection of beers as classic American styles inspired by Belgian farmhouses, presenting either prominently hop-forward beers or twists on the traditional.

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  • Somerville
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Remnant brews unique ales, stouts, IPAs, goses and more—all in the primely located Bow Street Market in Somerville’s Union Square. You can start your day here with fresh roasted Barrington coffee, then ease into a brew or two, before filling up a growler to take home. 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 any questions. A few snacks are available, like crackers made from spent grain, but Remnant does the neighborly thing and encourages patrons to check out Bow Market’s food vendors. There is outdoor seating available, where dogs are welcome, too.

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  • Dorchester
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Dorchester Brewing spans a 9,000-square-foot space, which includes a taproom serving up 20 of Dorchester’s freshest brews (IPAs, porters, cream ales) at any given time, as well as a gameroom, restaurant and Hopservatory, an all-season rooftop greenhouse with city views. Tours are held from 12-2pm on Saturdays, but they’re limited to 10 people. The small suggested donation goes to a different local charity each month.

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  • Roxbury

Known for its plant-based and organic hard kombuchas, Flying Embers opened its Boston taproom to showcase even more brewed beverages, including handcrafted hard seltzers and adaptogenic beers. The taproom offers an especially appealing alternative for drinkers with certain dietary needs, including keto-friendly, vegan and sugar-free options. Though Flying Embers was born in Ojai, California, the local location has adapted to its surroundings with beers and booch brewed on-site, including flavor combinations that are exclusive only to our city.

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  • Roxbury
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This brewery was once at the forefront of the craft brewery movement. Now popular worldwide, Sam Adams nevertheless remains a hometown classic. Tours are offered every day except for Sunday, with voluntary donations going to local charities. Visit the taproom to sample exclusive brews and pick up something in the gift shop for your beer-loving friends. The Faneuil Hall location offers a more contemporary taproom to indulge in these beers, with 15,000 square feet spread over three levels, including an outdoor rooftop deck.

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  • Kendall Sq
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Established in 1989, Cambridge Brewing is the oldest brewery-restaurant in Boston. You’ll find classic styles of beer (think ambers, porters, English ales) as well as unusual brews, like a corn lager or a sake-beer hybrid—all served up in a gastropub venue. The menu includes pizza made with spent-grain dough, as well as other hearty pub favorites and even some salads for variety. Seating is available inside, where you can see the brewing tanks, or outside on the patio.

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  • Seaport District

Nantucket’s popular brewery opens a seasonal pop-up every summer in the heart of the seaport, offering city-goers the chance to sip on brand favorites like Gripah Grapefruit IPA and Whale’s Tale Pale Ale in its bustling, downtown beer garden. There are a variety of happenings throughout the season, including live music and partnership events that keep you coming back for more. A rotating fleet of food trucks can easily turn an after-work beer into an easy dinner and an entire evening out. When the cold weather inevitably arrives, devotees can get their Cisco fix on draft at most local bars around Boston.

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  • Jamaica Plain
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Head over to Jamaica Plain, where Turtle Swamp Brewing welcomes everyone as if they were a friendly neighbor. Built in a former mechanic's garage, the brewery features an indoor taproom and outdoor, dog-friendly patio. Food trucks provide sustenance as you sip a wide range of brews. Creative events—like adult prom night—keep things lively, and there's a room with board games and comfy seating, if you just want to chill. Expect to find year-round classics (like Orange Line New England IPA), as well as seasonal offerings (like 02130 Copper Kolsch) on the menu.

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  • Downtown
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Democracy Brewing's vaulted ceilings, exposed brick walls and general cave-like ambiance aim to echo the meeting places of yore that helped fuel the fight for democracy. Any gathering needs good beer and tasty food, and this Downtown Crossing spot delivers in both respects. Beers range from pale ales to porters to stouts. Many of these brews (like "Fighting 54th" and "Workers Pint") are named for historical struggles for change. Standard bar fare includes flatbreads, pretzel bites and wings. The brewery also hosts community events, fundraisers, film screenings, live music and comedy.

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