From large breweries that distribute nationwide to small microbreweries that offer a one of a kind experience, we’ve put together our picks for the best breweries in Massachusetts.
This is arguably the most famous of the best breweries in Massachusetts. This beer was first introduced in 1984, and, in the decades that have followed, it has become one of the country’s most famous. A trip to this brewery will provide you with all of the interesting history surrounding this beer done with a touch of humor too. Your tour will include stops in the ingredient room, brewing room and tasting room, the last of which is, as expected, a favorite of visitors.
Night Shift Brewing
Night Shift Brewing provides an excellent and extensive section of beers to select from while its food truck and friendly clientele help create an inviting atmosphere. This brewery was founded in 2012 and has evolved from a “nocturnal hobby” to an expanding business with a number of locations in the Boston area. While it’s been garnering more and more support, it has kept its comfortable feel as it’s still owned by its three original founders and their family and friends.
Cape Cod Beer
Out in Hyannis, in the midst of the famous region of Cape Cod, is Cape Cod Beer. Its slogan is, “A Vacation in Every Pint,” and it lives up to that by creating the best suds possible for those who live in and love Cape Cod. Not only does it pride itself on outstanding customer service and beer quality but also on its involvement in the Cape Cod community and conserving the world as best as it can.
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
This brewery dates to 1986 and was started by three friends who enjoyed beer. They had not been satisfied by the selection of breweries in Massachusetts at the time so decided to start their own. Much of their inspiration came from Europe as the three of them had spent a bit of time there drinking local beers, and they brought that back to America. A tour of its brewery is also available.
Jack’s Abby Brewing
Three brothers founded Jack’s Abby Brewing in 2011, and it quickly became immersed in the local brewing culture and has attracted beer aficionados from throughout the country. Its inspiration is Bavaria, and it focuses its brewing on lagers as its owners view that as the world’s premier beer. In fact, that’s all that Jack’s Abby Brewing brews. With its German inspiration, this is an especially great place to enjoy Oktoberfest while its food is tasty as well.
The gorgeous Nantucket island is the home of this brewery. In fact, it’s also home to a connected winery, and Nantucket Vineyard was what got this operation underway in the early 1980s. Cisco Brewers opened here in 1995, which resulted in the opening of Triple Eight Distillery five years later. So, if you were already planning to make your way out to Nantucket, stopping here is a must. It’s got a cool outdoor setup that creates an especially cozy feel.
Downeast Cider House
The roots of Downeast Cider House can be traced to the co-founders spending time on a family orchard before dedicating themselves to their studies. They were soon joined by a third, and one of the best breweries in Massachusetts resulted. Many who visit are tentative after having had poor cider-drinking experiences in the past but are usually quickly blown away by how tasty and high-quality Downeast Cider House’s ciders are.
Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery
In Martha’s Vineyard is this brewery, which offers a lot of personality. It regularly promotes its belief in “great beer, getting bad and doing good.” This is a place that wants to be where you can leave the world behind and not be so concerned with being “too good.” To help that along, there’s “a bit of bad in every drop of beer we brew.” Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery is easily accessible and has a beautiful outdoor drinking area and a wonderful ambiance.
Trillium Brewing Company
Another one of the best breweries in Massachusetts, Trillium Brewing Company was founded by a couple in love who wanted to create something that they’d be proud of, and, by all accounts, they were successful. This brewery is already one of the most respected in the Boston area after having recently opened in 2013. Not only that, but it also prides itself on its food as it operates a full restaurant in addition to offering an outstanding selection of beer.
Buzzards Bay Brewing
In the quaint community of Westport is Buzzards Bay Brewing. It describes itself as “Your South Coast Beer.” If you’re looking to get away from the hustle-bustle of Boston, head here. You can relax with your beer while looking off miles into the distance without a soul in sight. Live music and fresh food is often available on site too. As far as the beer goes, many regulars recommend the Buzzard’s Bay IPA.
The story of this Salem-based brewery started in 2010, and, ever since, Notch Brewery has focused on session beer. In fact, it was the first American brewery to have that be its sole focus, and it’s a definite pride of everybody who works here. The beer at Notch Brewery is inspired by and brewed similarly to session beers that are found in places like Belgium and Germany. As far as its food items go, many of the best ones here include its pretzels and cheese plates.
Ipswich, a coastal town that’s known for its clams, is also home to some of the best mead that can be found anywhere. The story of 1634 Meadery started in 2005, when a trip to Denmark resulted in Viking Mead being brought back to the United States and, finally, a year later, being consumed and absolutely loved. The founders had always had a passion for brewing beer, but that experience unexpectedly narrowed that focus to mead. Visitors quickly learn to love mead as well if they hadn’t already.
Stone Cow Brewery
Barre’s Stone Cow Brewery is known for its beer, food and farm, the latter of which is spread over 1,000 beautiful acres and has been producing raw milk for eight decades. In fact, it attracts quite a number of people who come solely for its milk. But you’re here for its beer, of course, and you will not be disappointed. Its selection is varied with some of the favorites being its Gypsy IPA and Roll in the Hay IPA.
Tree House Brewing Company
In the western part of the state is the Tree House Brewing Company. It provides an impressive selection of ales to its visitors, a selection that varies depending on several factors. These can include predictable things like the seasons as well as unpredictable factors such as the owners’ moods at the moment. The facility is sprawling and provides plenty of room to walk around while allowing visitors to more easily relax than is sometimes possible at inner-city breweries.
Cold Harbor Brewery Co.
Cold Harbor Brewery Co. has a regularly rotating selection of brews, all of which bring visitors back time and again. This company prides itself on its attention to detail and ensuring that quality is the focus, not quantity. In making its brews, it uses top ingredients that have, whenever possible, been sourced locally. Also, many visitors cannot stop raving about the pizza that’s available on site as well as its brews.
Cape Ann Brewing
The mission of those bringing you your beer at Cape Ann Brewing is to match both the creativity and passion that exists in the brewing world and the courage and grit of those involved with North Atlantic fishing. For that reason, much of its symbolism on site is related to the sea. In fact, you can smell the ocean while you take advantage of its beers and top-notch seafood.
Far From the Tree Cider
Salem is home to some of the finest cider found in Massachusetts. The history of Far From the Tree Cider dates to 2014, when the fermenting of apples in January of that year led to cider four months later. However, this brewery’s founders had been brewing for years prior to then, and that time even included the earning of a degree in winemaking. Visitors are often drawn in by this brewery’s ambiance and attitude as well as its changeable selection of ciders.
Bright Ideas Brewing
In the far northwestern corner of Massachusetts, in North Adams, is Bright Ideas Brewing. Its inspiration dates thousands of years. Well, all breweries can say that as that’s how long brewing has been taking place. But what Bright Ideas Brewing brings is a style that’s unique and that is varied as its selection of IPAs, porter and other types of beers is impressive. Its location is also great as it’s situated next to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art as well as near some outstanding barbecue.
It all started with ice cream. A vision of opening a brewery occurred while a restaurant and ice cream factory were being operated, and, as this focus was narrowed, beer and hops were kept in the cooler with the ice cream. In 2010, Wormtown Brewery opened, and it quickly became popular with nearby restaurants as well as visitors to the brewery itself. Although its beers have interesting names like Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Rocket, their tastes are what will have you returning for more.
Medusa Brewing Company
This is one of the newer premier breweries in Massachusetts, having opened in 2015. It features an inviting wood-focused ambiance and a 50-foot bar for patrons to sit at as they consider which of its ales and lagers to try. Live music is often performed here while you can practice your darts-throwing skills between drinks. Its drink names are original as well, including ones like Hidden City, Bad Omen and Ghost Lantern.
Wachusett Brewing Company
As is often the case with Massachusetts’ top breweries, Wachusett Brewing Company’s founders were inspired by the craft beer that they’d drunk elsewhere and decided to start their own brewery. In this case, their inspiration came from other New England-based breweries. As a result of this passion, Wachusett Brewing Company has grown from getting its start a couple of decades ago to being one of the largest in the region.
Oak & Iron Brewing Company
One of Andover’s premier destinations is Oak & Iron Brewing Company. It’s definitely the focus for brewing aficionados in the area. The founders’ vision of it when it was created was to duplicate the New England spirit of being rugged, independent and innovative. They want this place to be one that not only has flavorful beers but also provides an engaging and positive social experience for patrons. Some say that its beer selection is the best in New England.
Iron Duke Brewing
Ludlow is home to the historic building that houses Iron Duke Brewing; it opened its doors more than 100 years ago while Iron Duke Brewing took over its space in 2010. As is the case for some but not all of the best breweries in Massachusetts, Iron Duke Brewing is dog-friendly. It’s also known for its friendly service as well as the quality of its beer, which includes local flavors and a variety of others.
Devil’s Purse Brewing Co.
Devil’s Purse Brewing Co. provides a great ambiance, and its outdoor selection of shaded picnic tables often fills up on beautiful days. This brewery had originally focused on a European selection, but that’s varied quite a bit since then. However, if you’re looking for European beer, few places in the region top this one. Although tours of its brewery are not available, you can easily see it from the taproom.
Castle Island Brewery
The Boston suburb of Norwood is home to this brewery, which offers a terrific location, quality beer and friendly and helpful staff and is friendly to dogs too. Food trucks are often but not always available for you if you want to have a bite to eat with your brew. Board and video games are often played by patrons, and Castle Island Brewery has a chill, laid-back vibe.