Food & Drink

What Beers Should You Drink This Summer in Boston? We Tried Them All to Find Out.

Published On 06/16/2016 Published On 06/16/2016
Working Class Hero beer in Cambridge
Courtesy of Cambridge Brewing Company

With the weather getting warmer, the last thing you want is a fridge full of heavy winter beer. Whether you’re looking to breathe some life into your buddies’ boring BBQ coolers or just crush a few cans on the 4th, you can’t go wrong with one of these summer seasonals. And the best part: they're all so local you won’t break a sweat finding them.

Somerville Brewery Slumbrew Happy Sol

Blood orange hefeweizen, 5.5%
Somerville, MA
Slumbrew’s unconventional hef is available in cans for the very first time this June. Wheaty, spicy, and with a healthy head of foam, the bittersweetness of the blood orange cuts the grain flavor just enough to make this year-round favorite a perfect choice for pounding back when the weather heats up. (And the dark orange color is completely Instagram-worthy.)

Courtesy of Henniker Brewing Company

Henniker Brewing Company Sour Flower

Sour ale, 5.7%
Henniker, NH
This spanking new summer seasonal just debuted at the BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational in Boston. It’s a dry-hopped sour ale made from a blend of Chinook, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops for a particularly tropical collection of flavors that’s tart, bright, and refreshing. And since only two batches were brewed, it won’t be around for long. Find it at beer stores and restaurants across New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine beginning in mid-June. Sour Flower will also be available for samples, growler fills, and limited kegs out of the brewery’s New Hampshire taproom while supplies last.  

Oxbow Brewing Company Crossfade

Saison/farmhouse ale, 5%
Newcastle, ME
Oxbow specializes in blonde ales and other farmhouse brews, but Crossfade is our top pick for beating the heat. The small-batch favorite starts off strong, then develops into a crisp, bright, hop-forward blend with the brewery’s characteristic dry finish. It’s a particularly well-balanced beer that won’t weigh you down. The golden color and enthusiastic carbonation are exactly what we think of when we picture summer beer, although it comes in a little steep at $13/500mL.

Courtesy of Throwback Brewery

Throwback Brewery Beer From Here

Pale ale, 5.4%
North Hampton, NH
To celebrate the brewery’s fifth birthday coming up on July 3rd, Throwback decided to create a beer that represents what they’re all about -- making fresh beers from local ingredients. The brand-new pale ale is a light tangerine-colored brew made with 100% local malts (pale malt and wheat from Valley Malt, Vienna malt from Blue Ox Malthouse, and 2-row from The Maine Malt House), and Maine hops -- specifically Nugget, Centennial, and Cascade -- from Aroostook Hops. It’s bright, tropical, and extremely easy to drink on a hot day.

Hopsters Brewery Leaf Blower

American ale, 5%
Newton, MA
The Newton-based Hopsters offers DIY brewing parties for people who aren’t content just drinking beer. While you’re there, pick up one of the brewery's own formulations, like this light-bodied Prohibition-style (brewed with corn) American ale. It’s clean, bright, and after a few hours working in the yard, a lot more refreshing than your average six-pack.

Harpoon Brewery UFO Big Squeeze Shandy

Shandy, 4.5%
Boston, MA
Big Squeeze is a brunch beer through and through. It’s basically grapefruit juice, if grapefruit juice were a little wheatier, more robust, and secretly alcoholic. Some hardcore hop aficionados will scoff at the recommendation, but we firmly believe that drinking should be fun, and drinking a Big Squeeze on a breezy balcony -- preferably with a pile of pancakes in hand -- sounds pretty damn fun.

Courtesy of Cambridge Brewing Company

Cambridge Brewing Company Working Class Hero

American saison, 4.5%
Cambridge, MA
This light golden beer is brewed with Citra hops, orange, and lemon peel with a multi-grain base. Its cheerful citrus notes balance out the malt, making it a great summer brew that, just recently, has finally been released in cans. It’s one of our top crushables after a long day.  

Mystic Brewery Scatteree

Gose, 5%
Chelsea, MA
Scatteree is a tart German floral with a particularly light body. Mystic Brewery’s take on the gose uses only ingredients found within a 100yd radius on Cape Cod in a small stretch of coast known as Scatteree. Expect to taste foraged wild juniper berries, sea salt harvested specially from Scatteree waters, and a bunch of other hipster-approved local flavors.

Mystic Brewery Hazy Jane

Belgian farmhouse ale, 6%
Chelsea, MA
The brewery’s effervescent peach-colored saison is coming July 16th of this year, which means you have a ton of time to get excited about it. It combines a light citrus body with pepper notes for a super-refreshing, very-not-boring beer built for hot weather.

Courtesy of Night Shift Brewing

Night Shift Brewing Whirlpool

American pale ale, 4.5%
Everett, MA
Whirlpool is Night Shift’s flagship, a big ripe beer full of juicy Mosaic hops that bring out some delightfully peachy aromatics. It’s got a lot more flavor than your standard APA and can be found at bars, restaurants, and retail stores throughout Boston and the Greater Boston area. You can get it at Babbo Pizzeria in Seaport, Select Oyster Bar in Back Bay, and Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant in South Boston.

Clown Shoes Mangö

Kölsch, 5.5%
Ipswich, MA
This interpretation of a traditional German style is just as goofy and refreshing as the name of the brewery. It’s full of -- you guessed it -- mango, along with Australian hops and a light malty center. Mangö was tested in small amounts last year as 22oz bombers, but is now available year-round in 12oz six-packs. You can also find it at Flatbread in Davis Square and Champions at Marriott Cambridge.

Boston Beer Works Watermelon Ale

Fruity ale, 5%
Boston, MA
Unlike most fruity beers, this watermelon ale is both light and sweet without being saccharine. The doughy, malty base counterbalances what would otherwise be a froofy concoction. It’s the thin, hot-day fruit beer your picnic has been longing for. 

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Kim Prosise is a Boston-based travel & lifestyle writer who had to crush a lot of beers to write this story. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @kimprosise.

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1. Slumbrew Brewing Company 15 Ward St, Somerville, MA 02143 (Somerville)

Sitauted in Somerville, this local brewing company doles out about 27 beers at a time, most famous being the Trekker Tripel (Belgian Golden Ale), Flagraiser IPA (Double IPA), and Happy Sol, a blood orange Hefeweizen. Slumbrew also boasts an outdoor beergarden and restaurant (310 Canal Street), along with an onsite taproom that also supplies charcuterie, flatbread pizzas, and hearty sandwiches.

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2. Oxbow Brewing Company 274 Jones Woods Rd., Newcastle, ME 04553

Farmhouse Belgian ales -- with a modern American influence -- are offered at the unfussy brewery in Southern Maine. Beers at Oxbow are categorized as year round, bottled, periodical, freestyle, and "occasional," and include flagship, seasonal, and experimental brews. There are two taprooms: one on site in Newcastle, while the other -- Portland Blending & Bottling -- in in Portland.

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3. Hopster's 292 Centre St, Newton, MA 02458 (Newton)

This lively, Centre Street brewpub in Newton is known for its DIY brewing parties, along with its home brewing retail items. Its own creations include the popular Hopsters Leaf Blower, a lights, prohibition-style American ale. Food wise, Hopster's taproom dishes out eats like gargantuan meat and cheese boards (equipped with cured meats and nduja) and sandwiches, and flatbread pizzas.

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4. Throwback Brewery 7 Hobbs Rd, North Hampton, NH 03862

One of the state's best farm-fresh breweries, Throwback in North Hampton is dedicated to using local ingredients to create high quality, small batch brews. Among seasonal, year round, and "rare breeds" is the popular "From Here!" beer: a light tangerine-colored pale ale made with 100% local malts. Food at Throwback's pub is also sourced from nearby farms, and includes snacks, sandwiches, salads, sandwiches, and bowls.

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5. Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca 11 Fan Pier Boulevard, Boston, MA 02210

Babbo Pizzeria, brought to us by the famous Mario Batali, features signatures pizza and pasta dishes, along with a cheese list full of locally made cheeses. It's located in the Seaport district of town, and all the pies are made with organic wheat flour (100%!) and California tomatoes. A fan favorite is Babbo's goat cheese pizza with pistachios, red onions, and truffle honey.

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6. Mystic Brewery 174 Williams St, Chelsea, MA 02150

Specializing in farmhouse-style ales -- crafted with locally-sourced yeast -- Mystic slings a variety of seasonal, limited, and year-round brews. Old-world charm meets American industrial at Mystic’s beer café, and it’s also where your taste buds meet the signature saisons and abbey-style offerings like Table Beer, Inconceivable, Spectral Evidence, and Entropy.

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7. SELECT Oyster Bar 50 Gloucester St, Boston, MA 02115 (Back Bay)

Michael Serpa, formerly of Neptune Oyster, is behind this Back Bay seafood restaurant in a brick townhouse. Select is a seafood lover's paradise that produces daily ceviche, crudo, and grilled fish mains. If you're dining with a group, indulge in one of the platters that features lobster, Island Creek oysters, Littleneck Clams, and prawns. The space is snug with around 30-seats, and the best seats are definitely at the bar.

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8. Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant 425 W Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127 (South Boston)

A modern, yet classic American pub in Southie, Lincoln Tavern whips up decadent dishes like bacon and butternut squash pizza, oven braised short ribs with truffled mac 'n' cheese, and, for brunch, a memorable smoked prime rib hash. To wash it all down, make sure to check out the 40+ bottles/drafts, creative cocktail selection, or (if you're really thirsty) the 1.5 liter prosecc o "Bucket of Bubbles."

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9. Flatbread Company at Sacco's Bowl Haven 45 Day St, Somerville, MA 02144 (Somerville)

This Massachusetts-born pizza company dishes out creative flatbreads, crafted in traditional clay ovens and topped with organic and range free ingredients. Favorites include the "Punctuated Equilibrium" (Kalamata olives, fresh organic rosemary, organic red onions, Vermont butter, goat cheese and fire-roasted sweet red peppers) and "Mopsy’s Kalua Pork Pie" (smoked free-range pork shoulder or oven-roasted free range chicken, homemade mango BBQ sauce, organic red onions, and fresh pineapple). Beers are also available.

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10. Champions Sports Bar 50 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02141 (East Cambridge)

A flatscreen TV haven, this sports bar within the Marriott Hotel supplies an American menu that features breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Options include an overwhelming breakfast buffet, along with classic pub fare: burgers, nachos, sandwiches, 12-hour braised short ribs. A wide selection of beers and fruity cocktails are available, too, perfect for the seasonal outdoor patio.

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