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Dorchester Brewing Co.
Photograph: Courtesy Dorchester Brewing Co. Dorchester Brewing Co.

The best breweries and taprooms in Boston

These popular Boston breweries offer tasty brews and a welcoming place to hang throughout the year

By Time Out Boston Staff and Eric Grossman
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You can sample a wide range of beers and share insight with fellow beer afficionados at the best craft beer bars in Boston, but there's something about getting a pint fresh from the source. (Here's where you can score fresh brews to go.) Boston’s local brewers are making some of the best beers around, and spending time at these breweries is a must for beer lovers. Newer upstarts are gaining attention by incorporating innovative ingredients (local herbs, rare fruits), historic techniques and funky experiments, while old standbys like Sam Adams and Harpoon remain popular and worth a visit. Explore more top-notch drinking options at one of the best Irish bars in Boston or best cocktail bars in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Boston

Best Boston breweries and taprooms

Trillium Brewing Company
Photograph: Courtesy Trillium Brewing Company

1. Trillium Brewing Company

Bars Breweries

Trillium’s brews—New England wild ales, sour ales, wild saisons, and more—are highly prized around Boston. Head to the 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 Fort Point Channel location is a three-level brewpub where you can get farmhouse food with your fresh brew, and the Fenway location features experimental brews.

Night Shift Brewing
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Mary C.

2. Night Shift Brewing

Bars Breweries

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. Enjoy flights, pints, or cans while partaking in trivia nights, fun runs, food trucks, and pet-centric fundraisers. 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 (next to TD Garden), which has a full menu/kitchen and a cafe with Night Shift coffee.

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Harpoon Brewery
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Michelle L.

3. Harpoon Brewery

Bars Breweries Seaport District

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.

Lamplighter
Photograph: Courtesy Lamplighter

4. Lamplighter Brewing Co.

Bars Breweries Central Sq

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 Nights (featuring local producers).

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Cambridge Brewing Company, Bars, Cambridge, Boston
Photograph: Nina Gallant

5. Cambridge Brewing Company

Bars Breweries Kendall Sq

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.

Dorchester Brewing Co.
Photograph: Courtesy Dorchester Brewing Co.

6. Dorchester Brewing Co.

Bars Breweries Dorchester

Dorchester Brewing's taproom features Dorchester’s freshest brews—IPAs, porters, cream ales—alongside their latest collaborations. M&M BBQ provides amazing barbecue. Don't miss the new Hopservatory, an all-season rooftop greenhouse with city views, a game room, restaurant, and more taproom space with expanded offerings such as cider and wine. 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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7. Aeronaut Brewing Company

Bars Breweries Somerville

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.” 

Sam Adams Brewery
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Thomas C.

8. Samuel Adams Brewery

Bars Breweries Roxbury

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.

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Sam Adams Faneuil Hall
Photograph: Courtesy Samuel Adams

9. Sam Adams Faneuil Hall Tap Room

Bars Breweries Government Center

Sam Adams Brewing's newest tap room is located just steps away from the Sam Adams statue at Faneuil Hall. The 15,000 square foot tap rooms is 3 levels, including an outdoor rooftop deck with views. Rotating taps feature the best brews, and #RandallThursdays feature innovative new drafts available on that day only. Stop by for Cheesy Hour on Wednesdays when you can try a flight of four "R&D" beers only available in Boston, plus four paired artisanal cheeses.

Bone Up Brewing
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Mary C.

10. Bone Up Brewing

Bars Breweries

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, with lots of one-off, experimental batches. Visit the taproom for fresh flights and pints, game nights, food vendors, popups, and more.

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Remnant Brewing
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Thanh L.

11. Remnant Brewing

Bars Breweries Somerville

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.

Turtle Swamp Brewing
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Christine C.

12. Turtle Swamp Brewing

Bars Breweries Jamaica Plain

Head over the Jamaica Plain where Turtle Swamp Brewing welcomes all like 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 for sipping a range of brews. Events like adult prom night keep things lively, and there's a room with board games and comfy seating.

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Democracy Brewing
Photograph: Democracy Brewing

13. Democracy Brewing

Bars Breweries Downtown

Democracy Brewing's vaulted ceilings and cave-like setting, not to mention its worker-operated approach, aim to be reflective of the meeting places that shaped the fight for democracy. Any gathering needs good beer and tasty food, and this Downtown Crossing meeting spot comes through. Beers on offer range from pale ales to porters to stouts. Many (like "Fighting 54th" and "Workers Pint") are named for historical fights for change. Standard bar fare—flatbreads, mac&cheese, sandwiches—is made fresh from scratch. The brewery also hosts community events, fundraisers, film screenings, and live music.

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