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Breweries in Boston and points North?

I’m heading to Boston soon and could use some recommendations on breweries/brew pubs to visit while I’m there. I will be staying north of Boston, up the coast a little ways, so New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine are all close as well.

Thanks in advance!

Don’t discount going to beer bars. If you go to a place like the Public House, Deep Ellum, or Sunset, or will have your mind blown and be able to have a lot of the local breweries.

Redhook, Smuttynose, and Portsmouth Brewery are all in Portsmouth, NH.

Smuttynose is the only one that does not have a brewpub. They do tours, but I am unsure of the tour schedule.


I live in Brunswick, ME. If you are up this way check out Lion’s Pride pub. They have plenty of taps and also lots of bottles–usually lots of Belgians. I’m not a big fan of Shipyard or SeaDog (I think Shipyard brews Seadogs beer), but I do like some of the stuff from Grittys…particularly the oatmeal stout. If you are in the Portland area hit up the Great Lost Bear–they also have lots of taps with plenty of Belgians. Allagash is based in ME as well.

Harpoon in Boston is a good brewery tour. Much better than Sam Adams. SA brewery in Boston isn’t active any more. It’s just for testing new beers and small batches. At the end of the Harpoon tour you get 30min to drink as much beer as you can/want from about 8-10 different taps. Just take a cab there or have a DD.

In general, I find the smaller the brewery, the better the tour. Not always (Victory was EXCELLENT) but for the most part that is what I’ve seen. if a brewery is small enough that the owner is the brewer and the tour guide, you will have a great time every time.

I know people that have enjoyed the Allagash tour, i didn’t think it was that great. Smuttynose was a decent tour, but you will be shocked and appalled at how disorganized the brewery was! Portsmouth Brewing Company is a great little brewery and beer bar.

Forgot to mention the Mercury Brewing Co…the brewers of Ipswich Ales and Clown Shoes. I have tried a few and have not been disappointed. They are in Ipswich, MA.

The best brewpub in the Boston area is probably the Cambridge Brewing Company, with a long row of GABF awards hanging over the bar. It’s just over the river in Cambridge and easy to get to by public transportation (Red Line to Kendall Square/MIT). In the neighborhood are some great beer bars, including Lord Hobo (which usually has a few really distinctive beers on their 28 taps) and Meadhall (with 100 well maintained taps). In Boston proper (and up in Salem) are scattered a few Boston Beer Works brewpubs, which usually have a large selection of solid beers and occasionally something particularly worthwhile.

North of Boston, I agree (highly) with the recommendation of the Portsmouth Brewery pub. Also, The Tap, in Haverhill Mass. is an excellent brewpub. If you are here between November 10-12, The Tap will be hosting the annual NERAX North cask ale festival, with ~40 casks of real ale split about evenly between New England and British breweries.

If you want to take a big brewery tour, I like the Harpoon Brewery tour, but a lot of people like the Sam Adams tour in Jamaica Plain, where they make their small batch beers in the 19th century Haffenreffer Brewery building.

In southern Maine there are a ton of places to go. Sebago, Allagash, Maine Beer Company, Bull Jagger, Marshall Wharf, Brays, Oxbow, etc. (I left Shipyard out on purpose snicker) For beer bars in Portland you have Great Lost Bear, Novare Res (huge Belgian list), Sebago, Grittys, etc. Outside Portland is Run of the Mill, Lion’s Pride, Ebannezers (sp). There is a lot…

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