The Best Breweries, Brewpubs & Taprooms in Massachusetts
Bay State beer lovers rejoice! You have nearly 200+ craft breweries in Massachusetts spread out across Boston, Worcester, Cape Cod, the North/South Shore, Metrowest, and Western Mass.
Written by CraftJack | Updated | 5 min read
The United States craft beer boom has left the Commonwealth with a fair share of local breweries and craft beer taprooms. Urban brewpubs and microbreweries now adorn the streets of Boston, Somerville, Lowell, Worcester, and Springfield. Suburban enclaves of sudsy liquid joy can be found in Everett, Plymouth, Salem, and Framingham.
And we all know the Cape likes to drink!
New England is home to over 600 breweries (micro/nano), taprooms, brewpubs, contract breweries, regional production brewers, and the like. Massachusetts is home to nearly a third of them. Massachusetts may be the 7th smallest state in the Union, but that doesn't mean it lacks for fresh beer. In fact, because of Sam Adams, a New England brewery produces one of the highest ABV beers in the industry with their Utopia series.
Ok, well maybe if you set it against California, then sure. Burlington, VT, Portland, ME, and Portsmouth, NH get better reps as beer cities, but that's because Camberville (Cambridge and Somerville), Chelsea, Everett, and Medford don't count among Boston's 23 neighborhoods.
When you add them all together, Boston is a sneaky good beer town and a great place to start a brewery.
Though not comprehensive and representative of the whole, the following regions of Massachusetts deliver a good representation of the state's craft beer scene. While it would be in poor form to leave Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard (The Islands) out, adding the Quabbin-Swift River Valley or Montachusetts-North County might be a bit much.
What's more, leaving out the Blackstone Valley wasn't hard, as there aren't a ton of microbreweries there. However, Purgatory Beer Company serves what may just be the best DIPA (Double India Pale Ale) in the state with their 2-Car Garage.
The Berkshires, or the end of the Pike to Bostonians, is a wonderful, rural part of Massachusetts. Known for tourism centered around music and the arts (Tanglewood, Norman Rockwell Museum, etc.), and for an eponymously-named mountain range that is part of the Appalachians, The Berkshires has a few places where you can get a pint if you have the transportation, including:
- Barrington Brewery & Restaurant
- Big Elm Brewing
- Bright Ideas Brewing
Kind of a "B" thing going on in Western Mass.
Ohh the Cape. A place where Budweiser "born on" dates were rumored to be yesterday. Though permanent residents would disagree, the Cape is for partying. As such, it only makes sense to brew the beer here. Here are a few places where you can get fresh beer on the Cape:
- Barnstable Brewing
- Devil's Purse Brewing Company
- Naukabout Brewery and Taproom
The Cape Cod Brew Fest is also a rippin' good time, we're told.
Beer Lover's New England: Best Breweries, Brewpubs & Beer Bars
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It's a good thing that Worcester hotels aren't that expensive, as you're going to need one if you visit Millbrook Street's Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company. Their Mt. Greylock, coming in at 12% abv, will leave you feeling like you're also the highest point in the state. Though Worcester has the stronghold of Central MA brewing, the Spencer Trappist Brewery is just a 20 minute drive down the street, located, in, well, Spencer.
- Flying Dreams
- Redemption Rock Brewing Company
- Wormtown Brewery
And of course, Tree House Brewing Company. Tree House is the Dave Matthews Band of breweries. Everyone wants to go there, and only half of the people understand why. The rest just wanna party. Yes, Tree House makes excellent beer. Yes, they have a pretty slick taproom/tasting area, especially with a rotation of live bands. Yes, they have every type of IPA imaginable (the pink hat of beers). And yes, you have to wait.
Like travel throughout the Commonwealth, if you can take a trip during business hours, you're golden.
Boston and its surrounding cities & towns are packed with beer halls and brewing companies, lagers and new england ipas. The independent craft beer movement owes a bit of inertia to Boston's own Sam Adams Brewery. And while the Boston Beer Company and Harpoon Brewery have been around for decades, it's the Aeronaut's, Trillum's, and Night Shift's that make up some of the best places to get fresh beer around the city.
- Merrimack Ales
- Navigation Brewing Company
- Riverwalk Brewing Company
With microbreweries on The Islands, mainlanders can now take home pints of beer on the ferry, as opposed to those ridiculous white circle ACK/MV stickers. Party central, aka, Cisco Brewers has had a multi-decade run just outside of town on Nantucket. Martha's Vineyard leads Nantucket, by a score of 2-1.
- Bad Martha Farmers Brewery
- Offshore Ale Co
If you take Cisco's afternoon brewery tour, asking the main brewer inane, DudeBro questions is a party foul. You know who you are.
With more breweries than you realize, Metrowest MA has a pretty good thing going, especially if you're near Framingham. Craft beer powerhouse, Jack's Abby, has got the market cornered on lagers, with their ale production next door at the Springdale Barrel Room. Natick's The Kells Beer Company works with you to brew your own small batch kegs. To top it off, Start Line Brewing is so named for its proximity to the start line of the Boston Marathon.
Brewers on the North Shore must enjoy healthy sales in October, as Salem and the surrounding towns get flooded with Witch Trial tourism. Halloween, FTW!
Beverly and Salem are keeping pint glasses full, with a slew of breweries, as well as Far From the Tree Cider and the Deacon Giles Distillery.
- Backbeat Brewing Company
- Channel Marker Brewing
- East Regiment Beer Company
On the Mass side of the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border are Bog Iron Brewing, SkyRoc Brewery, and 67 Degrees Brewing. We suppose Providence Metro didn't need a section.
Oh, forgot Wormtown @ Patriot Place.
The South Shore, or, all of the breweries on the way to the Cape. These breweries are a little more spread out than their ordinal opposites on the North Shore, until you get to Plymouth, where beer flows readily from several craft beer taps.
The South Shore is the opposite of the Berkshire "B's", sweeping up the end of the alphabet.
Of course Western Mass brews their own beer. It's the most Western Mass thing you can do. Well that and farm the barley and hops yourself. And, grow the yeast. And, fetch pails of mountain runoff before running it through your DIY water distiller. Sounds about right.
Should you find yourself in Springfield, or traveling up or down the Pioneer Valley on I-91, have a Massachusetts Afternoon and stop at a Northampton brewery for a pour. Or, if the Patriots are on, swing on up to Amherst Brewing for some honey bbq wings, courtesy of The Hangar Pub & Grill. I shouldn't say courtesy, you have to pay for these kinds of things.
- Brew Practitioners Brewery and Taproom
- Drunken Rabbit Brewing
- Fort Hill Brewery
- Two Weeks Notice Brewing Co.
It's really too bad Lefty's Brewing in Greenfield closed.
- City Brew Tours / Boston
- Bay State Brew Tours
- Hops and Stops
- New England Brewery Tours
- Craft Beer Lovers of Boston
There are 200+ breweries, taprooms, and brewpubs in the Commonwealth.
There are 15 breweries within Boston proper, plus another 15-20 in the surrounding cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Those in Boston proper include Boston Beer Works, Democracy Brewing, Dorchester Brewing, Samuel Adams, Trillium Brewing Company, and more.
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