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The Beer Column

One of the greatest gifts the beer gods have given us is the brewpub. Short of making your own, it is the only place where you can get a fresh pint made in small batches with the utmost care and tenderness. While brewers in large breweries make the same old thing over and over again, only to send it out to someone they’ll probably never meet, brewers at brewpubs have the freedom of small batches to carefully craft every gallon to perfection for customers sitting nearby. Luckily for the Boston area, there are plenty of brewpubs to choose from, offering a plethora of fresh pints. What follows is a guide around town, brewpub by brewpub.

 The first of what is now a chain stretching as far south as Pennsylvania, John Harvard’s Brewhouse is an award-winning mainstay in Harvard Square. Brewer Geoff Bisschop brews a variety of beers that have brought home many awards from the annual Great American Beer Festival. Its large dining room and ample bar space make this a popular meeting place. Watch out for big crowds at happy hour.

 Just across the square is Brew Moon. Matching its modern d‚cor, the beers are less traditional here with seasonal selections like blueberry ale and the unique basil beer. Their menu extends beyond traditional pub fare, offering diners the rare chance to pair complex foods with interesting beers.

 Cambridge Brewing Company, is a tasty spot in Kendall Square. Its location is convenient to both the movie theatre and a pool hall. Stop by for a pint of one of their award winning ales after a flick or before shooting some stick.

 One of the most adventurous brewpubs in the area is the Northeast Brewing Company on Comm. Ave. in Allston. Brewer Dann Paquette keeps his ever-changing cask tap filled with beauties that are worth the trip. The exceptional menu complements the beers very nicely.

 Thanks to location and a wide selection of beers available all the time, Boston Beer Works is one of the area’s most successful. With one branch near the Fleet Center and another across from Fenway Park, Beer Works has cornered the beer/sports nut market. Normally offering at least a dozen beers at one time, they’ve got something for everyone.

 Commonwealth Fish and Beer Co. is the first brewpub to open in Boston and may be the next to close. Their English style ales are good enough to give the Brits a run for their money. Like the name indicates, the menu features seafood in addition to pub fare.

Boston’s brewpubs offer something for beer drinkers of all sorts. If you haven’t already made the trip you ought to. Many are located in prime going out areas and make a fine stop on a pubcrawl. You go out to restaurants for freshly made meals, why not go to a brewpub for the same amount of care and detail put into your beer?
Matt is an HBS staff member

November 19, 2001
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