Boston is an unapologetic beer-drinking town. And not just because brews are crushed night after night while watching the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins dominate the opposition. It’s also in our history. Since the Pilgrims docked their boats here in the early 17th century, beer has been a vital part of Boston-area culture and lore.
As the story goes, the Pilgrims anchored in Plymouth so the ship’s crew would have enough beer on the way back to England. (Even children drank beer -- albeit weak ones -- when the settlers first arrived in America, since drink options were limited in the early days of the New World.) Beer was important to the Puritans, too. They did much of their business out of taverns flowing with beer and believed that, if good beer were available, people wouldn’t turn to liquor.
Fast-forward a few hundred years and craft breweries have been popping up in Boston so fast that many wonder if a bursting bubble is upon us. Regardless, craft breweries both big and small continue to open and thrive in the Boston area.
We’ve highlighted some of the finest -- peddling everything from undeniably simple saisons to impeccably hazy New England IPAs. This list is certainly not exhaustive. (Charlton’s top-notch Tree House lies just beyond the confines of the Boston area. Others, like IPA kings Lord Hobo, Belgian-style specialists Idle Hands, and Framingham’s Exhibit A Brewing, are just as worthy.) Narrowing down the best Boston breweries isn’t an easy task, but we sure had fun trying.