Category Archives: Boston Bars

It’s the Pretty Things in Life…

The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project

Last night, I was fortunate to meet and chat with Dann and Martha Paquette from The Beer Things Beer and Ale Project at a “pint night” event at The Gaff bar in Waltham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. (Check out my recent Barfly’s View of The Gaff.)

Pretty Things is a Somerville, Massachusetts-based brewing duo that’s grabbing a lot of attention in the Boston area right now thanks to some unique, quality brews, cool bottle art and good ol’ grass roots marketing—Dann and Martha frequently visit local bars and restaurants to spread the word about Pretty Things.

One of my favorite things about Pretty Things is that Dann and Martha never really make standard styles of beer, meaning most of their brews are original takes on well-known styles. They’re always coming up with something new and different, and best of all, unique. On the flip side, Pretty Things also brews “Old Beers” as part of its Once Upon a Time lineup, in which the brewers painstakingly recreate beers of yore based on ancient recipes.

I’ve been drinking Pretty Things beers for a couple of years now, and I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad Pretty Things brew. Dann and Martha make a killer IPA called Meadowlark. I’m also fond of their export stout, Babayaga; and their flagship saison, Jack D’Or.

The Pretty Things website only lists venues in Mass., Rhode Island, New York and Pennsylvania where you can find Dann and Martha’s beer, but I spotted some of the brewers’ unmistakable bottles during a recent trip to San Diego at the Best Damn Beer Shop.

Keep an eye out for Pretty Things, and if you’re fortunate enough to spot a bottle in your local shop or a Pretty Things brew on draft, purchase one and drink it post haste. After all, it’s the pretty things in life that count.

Learn more about Dann and Martha and Pretty Things on PrettyThingsBeerToday.com.

UBN

Tagged , , , , ,

Barfly’s View: The Lower Depths Tap Room in Boston’s Kenmore Square

The Lower Depths Tap Room in Boston's Kenmore Square

Whenever I’m in Boston’s Kenmore Square neighborhood, be it for a Red Sox game—Fenway Park is steps away from Kenmore—to grab a book at the Boston University Barnes & Noble or just wandering, I always hit up The Lower Depths Tap Room, one of my favorite beer bars in the city.

The Lower Depths is a cash-only beer bar—no liquor—with 16 rotating drafts, 150 or so bottles and a cask. The bar doesn’t serve any Budweiser beers. (Hurrah.) It also has better-than-average bar food, including a number of delectable tater-tot platters, an awesome handmade pretzel with beer cheese, and, my personal favorite, a rotating grilled cheese of the day. My girlfriend appreciates the vegan-friendly options. And you can get hotdogs for a dollar each.

The Lower Depth’s bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly. And the bar frequently holds “beer socials” and other events with local brewers. For all of these reasons and more, The Lower Depths Tap Room sits near the top of my Best Boston Beer Bars list.

UBN

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Barfly’s View: Brewer’s Coalition in Newtonville, MA

Brewer's Coalition Newtonville Barfly's View

Brewer’s Coalition in Newtonville, Mass., is located right outside of Boston and less than a mile from the Massachusetts Turnpike. Newtonville is a yuppyish suburb west of Boston, and that’s quickly apparent after rubbing elbows with the Brewer’s Coalition clientele. That’s not to say, I don’t like the bar, which is an offshoot of the popular John Brewer’s Tavern restaurants in Nearby Waltham and Malden, Mass. It’s just not exactly a hip scene.

The beer selection is decent for a location like Newtonville, but it’s definitely nothing special when compared to other beer bars in the Boston area. The two things Brewer’s Coalition really has going for it are its friendly (and easy-on-the-eyes) bartenders and its selection of local Massachusetts and New England beers. The bar claims to have 50 craft beers available; I saw 20 taps and maybe twice that number of bottles, many of which were local. The bar also serves bar food, but I never hang around long enough to try any of it.

Brewer’s Coalition isn’t really worth driving out of your way for, but if you happen to be heading west out of Boston and you need a road soda, or if you’re just passing through the Newtonville area, you could find a friend in this pseudo beer bar.

UBN

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Barfly’s View: Cambridge Brewing Co. in Cambridge, MA

Cambridge Brewing Co.

Cambridge Brewing Co. is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts’s Kendall Square neighborhood, just across the Charles River from downtown Boston, and it is hands down my favorite brewpub in the Boston area.

That’s because of the laid-back, upscale pub atmosphere and quality, fresh foods. But the real reason I love Cambridge Brewing Co., or CBC, as the locals call it, is the beer. I’ve never met a CBC beer that I didn’t like. Lots of small brewpubs make mediocre beer, but CBC, the oldest brewpub in Boston, makes world-class brews. (In fact, it just won a silver medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Fest.) CBC has four house beers that are always on tap, as well as a frequently-rotating selection of more experimental brews, some with rather amusing names. And you can buy growlers to go.

Kendall Square is a technology center of Boston and Cambridge, and it’s home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). So CBC is often packed with 30-something professionals drinking over lunchtime business meetings or quirky MIT students winding down after a day of hitting the books.

Whenever a beer-loving friend or colleague visits Boston, CBC is the first drinking-destination I recommend.

UBN

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Today I Got a Larry Bird Haircut

Larry Bird Haircut beer

Seriously. But, no, I’m not sporting a greasy golden mullet. I’m talking about a golden Belgian strong ale from my favorite Massachusetts brewpub, Cambridge Brewing Co.

Larry Bird Haircut tastes much better than its name suggests. In fact, it’s a very solid brew. And I literally can’t say the name without grinning. Well done, CBC.

Cambridge Brewing Co. Larry Bird Haircut

“Hey man, nice Larry Bird haircut!”

UBN

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Where the Beer Goes I Go

Bukowski painting in Bukowski Tavern, Boston

“stay with the beer.

beer is continuous blood.

a continuous lover.”

-Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog from Hell

UBN

Tagged , , , , ,

Barfly’s View: Bison County Bar and Grill in Waltham, MA

Bison County Bar and Grill Waltham MA

Bison County Bar & Grill in Waltham, MA, a Boston suburb that’s about 25 minutes outside of the city, is half barbeque joint, half beer bar. I’m not much of a barbeque guy—I don’t eat beef or pork—so I can’t say too much about the food, but Bison has more than 15 draft beers available at any given time and 50 or so bottles, many of which are local. And (most of) the bartenders are cool and willing (and able) to chat craft beer.

A number of Boston Celtics players have also been known to hangout at Bison, since the team’s practice facility is located in Waltham. (I’ve never seen any of the Celts’ “stars” there, though.) The atmosphere is decent, especially since Waltham is known more for its dingy sports bar than beer bars. I’ve even found a few cans of the extremely elusive Heady Topper IPA, from the Alchemist, at Bison.

UBN

Tagged , , , ,

Barfly’s View: The Gaff on Moody St. in Waltham, MA

The Gaff beer bar in Waltham, MA

The Gaff beer bar on Moody St. in Waltham, Mass., is a diamond in the rough. Waltham is a blue-collar suburb about 25 minutes outside of Boston, and Moody St. is Waltham’s “restaurant row.” Moody St. is packed with mediocre bars and ethnic restaurants, with a few shining exceptions—Solea Restaurant & Tapas Bar and Ponzu, a Japanese/sushi joint, both come to mind.

Moody St. literally has more than 10 bars within a half-mile stretch of road, but as far as beer bars go in Waltham, The Gaff truly stands alone. There’s even a brewery on Moody St., about a quarter mile from the Gaff, Watch City Brewing Co., but it gets no love from this Urban Beer Nerd. (In fact, you suck, Watch City.)

The Gaff has 20 or more beers on tap at any given time, many of which are local brews. And 30 or so bottled beers are also available. For these reasons and more, The Gaff makes my list of best Boston-area beer bars.

UBN

Tagged , , , ,

Barfly’s View: The Publick House in Brookline, MA

The Publick House in Brookline, MA

A couple of weeks ago I posted a Barfly’s View from my favorite Boston-area beer bar, the Publick House in Brookline, Mass.’s Washington Square. In that post, I spotlighted one of my favorite things about the bar: The cool green-marble taps in the Publick House’s Monk’s Cell, where they pour only Belgian beers.

I stopped by the Publick House yesterday for a draft Gueuze Tilquin and some chicken-and-garlic mac and cheese, and I snapped this new Barfly’s View. If you’re ever in the Boston area and you’re looking for a beer-nerd hangout spot, the Publick House’s 36 taps and 100+ bottles will not disappoint, which is why it sits atop my list of the best Boston beer bars.

UBN

Tagged , , , , ,