The Brewery Tour: Craft Beer in Boston

By: Katie Manning

May 15, 2013

Tea may figure more heavily in the city’s lore, but make no mistake about it – Boston is a beer lover’s town. Here are a few of the best spots for craft beer in Boston…

Since the 18th century, brewing has been an important local pastime. Rumour has it even the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, were said to brew their own ale.

Today, Boston is host to over 20 independent breweries producing batches of inventive and experimental styles. While Sam Adams is the biggest name around town, we recommend investigating a number of these smaller-scale breweries for an offbeat look at the city’s beer culture.

Harpoon Brewery, Boston

Harpoon Brewery | The Brewery Tour: Craft Beer in Boston

The Mayflower Brewing Company © Adam Sonnett/Flickr


Founded in 1987, Harpoon is one of the bigger craft brewers in the Boston area. Its visitor centre runs $5 tours around the facilities which provide guests with sample quaffs (private groups can opt to take personal tours as well), while a new beer hall makes it comfortable to hang out and sample all the good stuff on draught (the IPA is Harpoon’s classic brew, but try some other things too).

Harpoon Brewery, 306 Northern Avenue, Boston

Cambridge Brewing Company, Boston

Over the river, Cambridge Brewing Company produce a number of house styles which run the gamut of American craft beer favourites. Its Cambridge Amber is a good one to start with, followed by the Charles River Porter for robust, chocolatey flavours. Visitors can also sample from its seasonal offerings (past pours have included Barleywines, Scotch Ales, and Berliner Weissbiers) and explore the dining options at this popular local brewpub.

Cambridge Brewing Company, 1 Kendall Square (Building #100), Cambridge, MA

Boston Breweries | Mayflower Brewing Company

The Mayflower Brewing Company © Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism


Mayflower Brewing Company, Boston

Appropriately located in Plymouth, next to the Atlantic’s crashing waves, Mayflower Brewing Company is a quick 45-minute drive outside of Boston’s city centre. A craft microbrewery pouring pints since 2007, Mayflower now welcomes visitors to its on-site pub for tastings, and hosts Saturday tours of its brewing facilities where it crafts concoctions like its Spring Hope Ale and IPA. A bonus for history geeks: the brewery uses the same local spring water that slaked the thirst of the first pilgrims.

Mayflower Brewery, 12 Resnik Road, Plymouth, MA

Trillium Brewing Company, Boston

Boston’s buzzy new upstart brewery only recently threw open the doors to its tasting bar, but locals are already flooding in to try Trillium‘s elegant, perfectly balanced interpretations of styles old and new. Its house farmhouse ale offers a dry, floral flavour and its Wakerobin rye ale is a punchy, spicy brew. Visitors can stop by for a view into the brewing area and can even pick up a growler to go.

Trillium Brewing Company, 369 Congress Street, Boston

Boston Breweries | Mayflower Brewing Company

The Mayflower Brewing Company © Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Header photo: Beer Taps © Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock
Virgin Atlantic operates a daily flight to Boston from London Heathrow. Book your flight today.
Have you checked out Boston’s craft beer scene? Discovered a favourite brew? Share your tips with us in the comments below.

Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

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