MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: “Want to grab a beer?”

This being a popular refrain at conferences, we thought we’d pull together some locations where you might want to do that. Many thanks to Kate Markopoulos for her research!

One of the best parts of living in the Northeast is the proud craft beer culture that is thriving in it. Using local ingredients, experimenting with different flavors and styles is what makes the culture of small breweries unique. They love what they do! The goal of this [very small] list is to introduce you to a variety of places within the Boston area. Listed with each stop is the most straightforward public transportation, although Uber is available in Boston and cabs are readily available when going to the breweries. Keep in mind heading back into town may take a little longer if you are calling a city taxi. 
Photo by Cyberslayer, Flickr,

I encourage you to check the website or social media site before your visit. This way you are updated on what they are currently pouring, learn some extra background information, and be sure they are open (many places book their space for private events).  It would also be a nice gesture if you are traveling in a larger group (10+) to call before you go and let them know.

Night Shift Brewing
87 Santilli Hwy, Everett (Orange Line – Wellington stop, then 15 min walk or quick cab ride)
Hours: Monday – Friday 3-10pm, Saturday 12-10pm, and Sunday 12-6pm. Free daily tours (check website for specific times) and weekend food trucks.

Current favorite: Somer Weisse – Sour wheat beer aged with lemongrass and ginger.

It is easy to start with this one as it the brewery most frequented by myself. They offer a wide variety of beer – hop heads, dark beer and sour lovers alike can all find something to enjoy. There are usually at least ten draft lines flowing at any given time. The tasting room is expansive, the bar extending most of the length of the room and picnic tables fill in the rest of the space. The tap list is on the wall and towards the bottom lie suggestions for food delivery if the food truck doesn’t have what you’re looking for. Feel free to bring in something of your own as well. Grab a flight (4-4 oz. pours) or a larger pour from of the listed beer on tap. Sorry, there is one beer that is only for Barrel Society members.

Slumbrew Tap Room/American Fresh
300 Canal St. Assembly Row, Somerville (Orange Line – Assembly Stop)
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11am-10pm, Sunday 11am-7pm.

Current favorite: Porter Square Porter – Maybe because of the cold weather, maybe because they use Taza chocolate.

The brewery/taproom on Ward St. in Somerville in the final stages of construction but it isn’t complete yet. Worry not, you can still get a taste of their delicious beer at American Fresh and get some good food to boot. American Fresh is an outdoor beer garden created by the folks at Slumbrew. It is a big white tent in Assembly Row, a growing shopping area, and surprisingly cozy inside. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a picnic area with colorful chairs and smaller tables. Local wares are available or you can play a board game while relaxing. Want to make a night of it? Check out their calendar for trivia and game night dates.

Mystic Brewing
174 Williams St. Chelsea (Green Line to Haymarket, 111 Bus to Beacon St. @ Broadway)
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11am-9pm.
Saturdays have 2 free tours: 1pm and 2pm

Current favorite: Melissa – Gruit style ale. Herbalicious!

Mystic Brewery is an artisan brewery focusing on rustic farmhouse ales. While keeping their focus on brewing these styles, they still incorporate a surprising amount of varieties into their lineup. The tasting room is rustic and cozy with locals ready to strike up conversation with you. The bar has roughly ten seats and barrel tables fill in the rest of the space. Note that the entrance is in the back of a parking lot so look for the Mystic flag hanging outside the door or you may pass it.

Bantam Cider
40 Merriam St. Somerville (Green Line to Lechmere, 87 Bus to Somerville Ave @ McGrath Hwy)
Hours: Thursday – Friday 4-7pm, Saturday 1-7pm.

Current favorite: Rojo – They use sour cherries and peppercorns, but it’s not too sour (if there is such a thing).

Looking for something other than beer? Check out Bantam. Started by two women, and now boasting a staff of eight men and women, they push the boundaries on what cider is and expected to be. The tasting room is streamlined yet warm and inviting, usually offering about 5 different ciders on tap. Take a tour and learn about not only the ciders but also about how they have burst into the craft beer scene and made it their own while helping pave the way for cider experimentalists.

Aeronaut Brewing
14 Tyler St. Somerville (Green Line to Lechmere, 87 Bus to Somerville Ave @ Loring St.)
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 5pm-11pm, Friday 5pm-Midnight, Saturday 2pm-Midnight.

Current favorite: Bonsoir Quad – Raisiny. 
Stepping in to a warehouse is fairly typical, especially if you are a seasoned brewery visitor.  Guided tours are available Wednesdays between 5 and 7pm or by special arrangement. Select one or a few of their beers, available as small pours (or growler fills) and some local treats to take home such as Taza chocolate and Q’s Nuts. They also have trivia and movie nights as well as other locally inspired events listed on their calendar.

Trilium Brewing
369 Congress St. Boston (Green Line to Park St., Red Line to South Station, ~ 10 minute walk.)
Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday 4-7:30pm, Thursday – Friday 12-7:30pm, Saturday 12-6pm.

Current favorite: Fort Point Pale Ale. They have done several batches featuring specific hops.
Trillium is usually open for tastings, however, it is only growler fills and bottles for sale at the moment so if your travel plans allow for the transport of liquids, definitely wander over. Lunch time can be very busy and you may have to wait in line outside as it is not a very big space inside. It is worth the wait, I assure you. If all else fails, Row 34 is a seafood restaurant next door and they feature at least one Trillium product amidst their thorough beer list.
You may be wondering why Sam Adams and Harpoon are not on this list, since they are settled easily within city limits. It was on purpose. The simple reason being they are already widely established throughout the Northeast. Visiting is encouraged, both breweries frequently offer pilot batches (a friendlier way to say experimental batch) to taste to the happy tour groups and the tours can be quite entertaining. The hope is that you are able to experience a new brew during your visit that you are unable to get at home. That is, unless you elect to bring home some bottles or growlers. Cheers!

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