Best craft beer bars in Boston
Lord Hobo Brewing in Woburn crafts hoppy ales and IPAs like the popular Boom Sauce. Their Inman Square bar features their brews as well as one of the most thoughtfully-curated beer lists around. 40 taps and 30-plus bottles may be a relatively small offering, but the taps rotate frequently and feature craft brews from around the country alongside occasional rare and obscure beers that bring in the beer geeks. The menu includes thorough descriptions of each beer, and staff are happy to inform and help you decide. Despite the rarities and the expert knowledge on tap, Lord Hobo maintains a neighborhood vibe, with a tasty menu of elevated pub fare.
Divey and kitschy, Bukowski Tavern exudes the attitude of its namesake author. By the looks of it, you might think you’d only find PBR and High Life, but the draught and bottle list are extensive and focused on hard-to-find craft beers. Much of the list features regional brews, and the styles represented will satisfy all tastes. If you can’t choose, chat with a knowledgeable bartender or just spin the Wheel of Beer and let fate decide.
If your thing is Belgian and Belgian-style beers, Publick House has a top-notch selection. You’ll find an astounding collection of Trappist and Abbey Ales, Flemish sours, stouts, eisbocks, and more. The draft list has three sections: Belgian-style, “Here” (regional craft beers), and “There” (elsewhere). You’ll find regional craft brews from Trillium, Fiddlehead, Exhibit A, Hermit Thrush, Maine Beer Company, and others. For sustenance with your strong beers, the menu is equally attractive, featuring a notorious five-cheese mac ‘n cheese and a selection of moules frites with a choice of broth made from different local beers.
Trillium’s brews are highly sought after, whether at their experimental brewery/retail shop in Fort Point Channel or at their primary brewery and taproom in Canton. Trillium is offered at several craft beer bars around Boston, but the seasonal beer garden on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is one of the best places to enjoy their beers. (The garden is open Wednesdays through Sundaya during Spring and Summer.) The selection changes daily, but any of their offerings—New England wild ales, sour ales, wild saisons, double IPAs, and experimental brews—will taste delicious in the open air.
The team behind Row 34 is as enthusiastic about craft beer as they are about fresh seafood. The beer list features seafood-friendly options to pair with dishes. The rotating taps are always fresh and unique, often including rarities or exclusives. Breweries such as Bissell Brothers and Upland Brewing have offered exclusive drafts here; regional breweries and other craft favorites are always on tap. For serious craft beer fans, repeat visits will likely introduce new beers every time.
The oldest brewery/restaurant in the city, Cambridge Brewing Company is a well-oiled machine. They produce a range of crowd-pleasing beers in different styles—ambers, porters, English-style ales—as well as some unusual brews like a corn lager or a gin barrel-aged sour with cucumber. The setting is convivial, great for large groups. If you’re looking to try different styles from a single producer, CBC is the place. Enjoy a sampling of beers inside with a view of the brewing tanks or out on the front patio. A varied menu of upscale pub fare keeps the crowds satiated.
A massive, U-shaped bar at the center of Meadhall is lined with nearly 100 taps. Mead is on the menu, of course, but the list of craft beers on draft is the main draw. The changing list, written on a chalkboard, includes many styles—IPAs, Belgian whites, lambics, dunkels, Flemish reds, and much more. Equally impressive is the glassware collection to match each style. Occasional tap takeovers spotlight beloved craft breweries like Founders, and other events feature rare beers or “showdowns” between breweries. The huge space also includes table seating where you can try beer-friendly fare like poutine, pretzels, and pizza.
Amidst all the college bars in Allston, Deep Ellum is an oasis for craft beer aficionados. Dim lighting and exposed brick match the stylish collection of craft brews. Find a range of styles, including Trappist, farmhouse, and sours. You’ll find Massachusetts brews like Lord Hobo, Mystic, and Honest Weight, as well as national craft faves like Bell’s and ales from as far away as Estonia. In warmer months, enjoy lighter lagers on the outdoor porch.
Located in a historic building in a space dating back to 1868, Stoddard’s has a classy, vintage feel. The dark wood bar, vintage furniture, and stainless steel elements suit the list of classic and inventive cocktails and the impressive beer list. The beer selection rotates and features casks, drafts, and bottles; if you want to sip craft beers in a classier pub atmosphere, Stoddard’s is the place. The lengthy food menu features a lauded burger as well as an assortment of elevated comfort fare.
This underground beer bar near Fenway is cash-only and has a casual vibe. But with more than 150 bottles and 17 rotating drafts, the beer list is anything but lower-level. New England craft beers like Jack’s Abby, Fiddlehead, and Notch are represented. Curious tasters can try interesting selections like Flemish sours, and beer enthusiasts will be keen on the rare bottle list. If you can make the commitment, try all the available beers within six months and get a free mug. Just be sure to enjoy tacos and tots from the menu during your journey.
Worden Hall is named after a 19th Century Saratoga Springs guest house, and the decor at this South Boston modern American restaurant reflects that town’s horse racing culture. In addition to its impressive list of more than 100 whiskeys, you’ll find 40 drafts and 75+ bottles of craft beer. Cask ales, sours, belgians, and hop-driven brews are available, plus a selection of seasonal and limited release options. New England craft breweries take up the bulk of the menu. Sit at the bar—covered with more than 12,000 shiny pennies—or on the patio, and enjoy upscale American comfort fare made with locally-sourced ingredients. (Bonus points for the vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options.)
A solid spot for upscale American fare, Russell House Tavern also has a worthy beer program. All of the taps feature New England craft breweries, and the extensive bottle list covers ample ground. You’ll also find nitro and cask selections, reserves, and interesting ciders. Pick up a growler of one of the harder-to-find options. After 11pm nightly, enjoy $1 oysters with your beers.