Hopheads unite! New England is a hotbed of the craft beer scene and Bostonians are particularly blessed to have a ton of great breweries right outside their city (and a few within the city too!).
Here are some of our favorite spots to visit when we’re looking for a fun company outing, special occasion, or just a lazy afternoon with friends.
Jack’s Abby is bringing back lagers in a big way, in fact that’s all they do! While they only give tours once a week (Sundays from 1-4pm), their beer hall and kitchen is open from Tuesday to Sunday and has a huge range of their craft lagers on draft as well as some of the best pizza around.
- Must Trys: Smoke and Dagger (Black Lager), Hoponius Union (India Pale Lager), and Blood Orange Wheat (Fruity Radler).
When you have a fermentation scientist at the helm, you know that you’re in for some amazing yeasty beers, and that’s exactly what you get here at Mystic Brewery. With yeast strains collected and refined in-house, and a range of ales accessible for all types of drinkers there is something for everyone from beginner to beer nerd. Bring your own food, this is a pours only taproom, and enjoy some of the best saisons and wild ales around.
- Must Try: Table Beer (Lemony, dry, infinitely drinkable saison), Saison Renaud (Bottle conditioned farmhouse ale)
Home of the legendary Heddy Topper, commonly listed among the top beers in the world, this small brewery churns out some of the best fresh unfiltered IPAs in the country. Arrive early and be prepared to wait in line, but make sure you have a group so that everyone can rotate up to the bar, grab some tasters and merch before you get your hands on those cans.
- Must Try: Heddy Topper (American Double IPA), Luscious (British Imperial Stout)
Nestled on Nantucket Island is a hidden gem, combining both a winery and brewery, with a distillery thrown in for good measure. While tours are seasonal only (May-October), they give you an amazing overview of all three businesses with some tasty samples included.
- Must Try: Grey Lady (White Ale), Whale’s Tail Pale Ale (English Style Pale Ale)
With their happy-face logo adorned bottles and a wide range of styles, there is nowhere to go wrong at Wormtown. Their seasonal rotation series is always a nice complement to the flagship Be Hoppy IPA and the taproom views are a fun complement as they look over the “brew-pit.”
- Must Try: Be Hoppy (American IPA), Be Hoppy-Comet (American IPA dry hopped with Comet hops)
Awesome beers in an amazing taproom is an apt description of the Night Shift experience. With a rotating lineup of food trucks in addition to the ever-changing brew lineup, this hotspot on the edge of Boston is a must for local and tourist beer lovers alike.
- Must Try: Morph (Rotating IPA Series), Nite Lite (Craft Light Lager)
While this is a smaller taproom, one shouldn’t discount this newcomer to the craft beer scene. Founded by the original head brewer of Harpoon in 2016, these small batch, barrel-aged beers have become the darlings of the South Shore and are steadily increasing their footprint across all of New England. Make sure to keep this as a constant visitation site because with their small batch philosophy you can bet on always finding a new brew on draft when you visit!
- Must Try: Sunny & 79 (Ginned Pilsner), Trifecta (Whiskey Barrel Aged Red Ale)
With a new all-weather taproom and bar built into an old Airstream trailer with 24 different beers on draft do you really need to know more? Longtime Boston and New England favorites are the stock and trade of Wachusett Brewing, known for their Blueberry Ale as well as their Red Sox inspired Green Monsta IPA. Stay for a bite and if you’re there on Friday or Saturday make sure to check out the tour and see how the magic is made.
- Must Try: Blueberry Ale (Wheat Ale), Wally Juice (New England IPA)
While this darling of the New England craft beer scene has their flagship location in Fort Point as well as a beer garden in the Greenway, the Canton taproom is where this brewery really shines. Open 7 days a week with two different tasting rooms and a retail space that look out and over the entire brewing process, Trillium continues the tradition of brewers stepping their game up when it comes to the taproom experience.
- Must Try: A Street (IPA), Free Rise (Mosaic Dry-Hopped Saison)
10. Notch Brewery
Located just a couple of blocks from the center of Salem and its witchy happenings, Notch Brewery exclusively produces session beers, making an afternoon there seem to slip away as you move through their well-crafted offerings and traditional beer snacks sitting in the Biergarten as you watch the tide come and go, maybe spotting a harbor seal or two.
- Must Try: Land Speed Record (Pale Ale), Slanted and Enchanted (German Hoppy Lager)
Grab some friends, rent a bus and head out on a free weekend to explore all of these awesome brews. Skedadde Charter allows you to add up to 3 stops to your trip so it really is your very own brewery tour! Cheers to that!