Finding the Craft in Boston

I’ve said it before: when discovering a new city my top tip is to get to the highest view point possible. Most places have some viewing tower / restaurant / sky deck type of affair. Boston has the Skywalk Observatory and from here you truly gain your bearings. Fenway Park, Boston Common, Cambridge… its all laid out. There’s a nice restaurant up there and if you don’t fancy a meal you can pop in just for a drink or two.

26.2 and view from the Skywalk Observatory

We were in town a few days before the Boston Marathon and it was in this restaurant that I discovered 26.2, Samuel Adams’ limited time brew celebrating the big race: only available at this time and in select Boston bars. Have a look at my tribute to Samuel Adams here. I love that they are keeping this local. 26.2 is a slightly sour gose but taste-wise I would say more like a wheat beer, with the addition of coriander bringing out a bergamot flavour.

Afterwards we went to the less-salubrious-therefore-more-authentic-for-breweries suburb of Everett. Down the Road Beer Co has a fantastic tap room. Huge seating area with spray painted walls and an army of pinball machines lining one side. It is an homage to the kind of geeky nostalgia so many beer nerds adore… see Level Beer for more of that. Even the beers themselves exploit the geek theme with names inspired by mythology and fantasy: these are beers to watch Game of Thrones with. Pukwudgie Session IPA, named after a forest-dwelling trickster of local Native American lore, is a fruity and piney number that could be easily slurped all night long. The Deepdwellwer Chocolate Cranberry Stout is an 8% Imperial with a surprisingly strong tartness cutting through the chocolatey fun.

Down the Road Beer Co.

Night Shift Brewing is just a mile away, with a location particularly notable to me as it is where Wynn Las Vegas are building their new resort. More your typical neighbourhood tap room with a friendly and lively atmosphere and a selection of beers that, at least when I was there, was particularly hop-heavy with pale ales and IPAs. Whirlpool is their core brew: a light, low body pale ale with some soft fruity aroma and flavour. Among the other beers I tasted was a particularly noteworthy saison, Matisse, with a heavy body and a nice spicy peppery flavour.

Bukowski’s Tavern

Take a look at my Trillium post for a little on that beer-bustin brewery. For this article I will finish with the best beer bar we found in Boston. Long, narrow, dark, a little bit divey and with a banging beer list, Bukowski’s Tavern is THE place in downtown Boston for beer lovers. It is close to a number of the big hotels around Copley Place but has a fairly unassuming exterior that belies the treasure trove inside. On draught they had the gamut from lagers to stouts, while denoting local and regional brews so the clientele can drink as locally as they like. Spinning the wheel of styles, as I tend to, I worked through a couple of IPAs, a milk stout, a coffee lager and a gose. What is great about bars like this is they dodge the pretension of most craft beer drinkeries: it is just a normal American bar with the usual mix of after-workers and reprobates… it just happens to serve an amazingly eccclectic mix of beers.

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