A night at a Boston beer bar can be a comprehensive learning experience, with talented bartenders who engage their patrons and help keep this city on the map as a beer destination. Many know the inner workings of every brew on tap (in some cases, over a hundred) and can lay down the details on ingredients, brewing methods, and flavor profiles. From experimental American craft beers to sought-after German lagers and Belgian ales, you’ll feel like an experienced beer sommelier before the night is over.
Read T+L’s Guide to Boston Bars for more Boston bar ideas.
The Publick House
No shots or pitchers here. This Belgian gastropub takes it’s ale appeal very seriously. There’s a dining room on one side, and on the other, a mysterious, moody barroom called The Monk’s Cell, where you’ll find the perfect Belgian pour. If it’s not too busy, the bartender will give you the details on the draft list of uncommon brews. Try it out on a weeknight to avoid noisy crowds and a long wait.
Sunset Grill & Tap
This Allston all-star bar self-proclaims one of the largest beer selections on the East Coast, and with 113 taps and 380 microbrews, it’s easy to be convinced. They have lambics made from strawberries, flights of mead, Guinness-floats, and a menu changing daily to match its constantly rotating draft selection. Take your pick from the tightly packed shelves of beer bottles that nearly scrape the ceiling.
This is a second home for unabashed beer geeks. Casually settled off the beaten path in Cambridge, this place attracts a friendly crowd with an affinity for sweet potato poutine and impeccable selections of rare American craft beers. It also offers a fun list of inventive cocktails and “beer creations,” like the Blonde Carlina—Lunazul Tequila, lime, agave, Tabasco and lager.
If you’re not yet known as the hops and barley buff of Back Bay, just have a read through this dive bar’s extensive Beer Book. Get the rundown on everything you need to know to differentiate between heavily hopped pale ale, triple-blended porters, oak-matured lambics, and spicy German pilsners. You’ll sound like you know what you’re talking about when you order a pint of rare Middle-Aged German Zwickel Beir. Also, when you go, remember this place is a cash only affair.
With over 100 craft beers on tap and a specialized glass for each, this two-story Cambridge pub ensures you sit down with something to please your palette. Lively yet relaxed, go here on a weekend to drink, be merry, and make new friends with your fellow bar mates—a crowd likely peppered with MIT students and researchers. If you’re having trouble deciding what’s best for you, the bartenders are happy to provide a few samples.