Brewed Awakening: Five Must-Visit Taprooms in the Greater Boston Area
Finding a pint of locally brewed beer at your neighborhood barâ€”beyond those from trailblazers Sam Adams and Harpoonâ€”was once a difficult task. Until 2011, that is, when tiny breweries like Idle Hands, in Everett, started brewing Belgian styles and Chelsea-based Mysticâ€™s elegant bottles of saison began appearing on shelves. Fast forward to now, when itâ€™s never been easier to try before you buy, as we find ourselves in the throes of a bona fide craft-suds moment. Here are five standout breweries worth visiting. â€”Heather Vandenengel
Jackâ€™s Abby Brewing
Opened by three brothers, this Framingham brewery has been reinventing the lager since 2011, scoring approval to serve full-size pours last fall.
On Tap: A variety of quirky flavor profiles, from extra hoppy to rich and roasty.
The Must-Try:Â Hoponius Union, an â€śIndia Pale Lagerâ€ť with a West Coast IPAâ€™s boldness and a lagerâ€™s drinkability.
Insider Tip:Â To grab and go on Saturdays, hit the express line for growler fills and bottles.
Open Wednesday to Saturday, noonâ€“8 p.m.
Night Shift Brewing
Everettâ€™s Night Shift has earned a loyal following for its outside-the-box style, and now the brewery is about to open a bigger facility near its current location to meet demand.
On Tap:Â Innovative styles with a focus on sour and barrel-aged beers.
The Must-Try:Â Its line of Berliner Weisse beers, like the tart Cape Codder Weisse, aged on Cape Cod cranberries and infused with orange zest.
Insider Tip:Â On Thursdays the brewery taps a new caskâ€”unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated beerâ€”for on-site consumption.
Open Monday to Friday, 3 p.m.â€“9 p.m.; Saturday, noonâ€“6 p.m.
Itâ€™s all about the fermentation at Mystic, which offers a variety of yeast-forward beers. The Chelsea-based brewery even isolated yeast from New England fruit to ferment beer in its â€śNative Series.â€ť
On Tap:Â Refreshing saisons on tap and heftier barrel-aged beers from the bottle.
The Must-Try:Â Mystic Saison, a complex, yeasty, and crisp sipper thatâ€™s even better during warmer months.
Insider Tip:Â Thereâ€™s usually at least one brewery-exclusive beer on tap, often an experimental gruit, an herbal ale.
Open Wednesday to Friday, 3 p.m.â€“7 p.m.; Saturday, noonâ€“5 p.m.Â
Idle Hands Craft Ales/Enlightenment Ales
In August, Bostonâ€™s original nanobrewery sized up, installing a bigger brewhouse in Everett and partnering with Enlightenment Ales to produce its brand of bubbly biĂ¨re de champagne and saison styles.
On Tap:Â Belgian- and German-style beers and earthy farmhouse ales.
The Must-Try:Â Triplication, a 9% ABV Belgian-style Tripel, is one of the best in New England: clean and slightly sweet, with notes of banana.
Insider Tip:Â Brewer-led tours ($5 per person, by reservation only) include four samples and a tasting glass, and are held Saturdays at noon and 1 p.m.
Open Wednesday to Friday, 5 p.m.â€“8 p.m.; Saturday, noonâ€“5 p.m.
Trillium Brewing Company
The Fort Point brewery is modern yet cozy, thanks to the wood-heavy tap room and rustic ales that often feature local malt from Valley Malt, in Hadley.
On Tap:Â Locally inspired farmhouse ales and bright, hoppy pale ales and IPAs.
The Must-Try:Â Fort Point Pale Ale, a fresh, fragrant, and juicy American Pale Ale.
Insider Tip:Â For a post-tasting-room treat, stop by oyster bar Row 34 down the streetâ€”thereâ€™s a good chance theyâ€™ll have a Trillium beer on draft or cask.
Open Tuesday to Thursday, 4 p.m.â€“7:30 p.m.; Friday, noonâ€“7:30 p.m.; Saturday, noonâ€“6 p.m.Â
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2014/02/25/boston-microbreweries/