We're a city that loves its beer — especially if it's local. Even in the dingiest of dive bars, you can get your paws on a Harpoon or Sam. But what about the little guys? We tracked down nine of our favorite Massachusetts brews, then headed to some of the best spots around the city to nurse them properly. Bottoms up!
HIGH & MIGHTY BEER CO. (HOLYOKE)
Beer of the Gods (4.5% ABV); Don Cornelius (6.5% ABV)
We like to think that any beer can be considered a "summer beer," but when temperatures are reaching heatstroke levels, we suppose it's probably best to stick to the lower end of the alcoholic spectrum. Enter Beer of the Gods, a clean-as-a-whistle pilsner-style brew, laced with a hint of lemony orange. It goes down smooth, and pairs with seafood like a dream. If you're feeling a bit racier, Don Cornelius is more your bag: brown ale partly aged in Knob Creek barrels. And don't let appearances fool you — dark doesn't always mean heavy. High & Mighty makes regular appearances at Harvard Square's Russell House Tavern, whose bar already boasts an impressive local beer list. They've got Beer of the Gods by the bottle, Don Cornelius on draft, and an "it's-been-one-of-those-days" 22-ounce bottle of Two-Headed Beast stout for you to choose from. Tip: if you want your world rocked, keep your eyes peeled for Russell House chef Mike Scelfo's High & Mighty pairing dinners.
Where to find it: Russell House Tavern, 14 JFK St, Cambridge | 617.500.3055 | russellhousecambridge.com
NOTCH BREWING CO. (IPSWICH)
Notch Tafelbier (2.8% ABV)
Tafelbier is traditionally a Belgian "table beer" consumed by families (not only by Mom and Pop, but also the wee kinder) at mealtimes. As its low alcoholic percentage might suggest, it's a mild, easy-drinking kind of brew, with a slightly nutty finish. Bitter to some, citrusy to others, it's a farmhouse-style ale with no in-your-face acidity, built for a lazy summer afternoons. No surprise here, but the best place to throw back a few hours' worth of session-style brews is Allston's beer haven Deep Ellum. They've got Tafelbier on tap, so you can down a few rounds while sunning yourself on the patio and debating the value of Cascade versus Goldings hops without getting totally hammered.
Where to find it: Deep Ellum, 477 Cambridge St, Allston | 617.787.2337 | deepellum-boston.com
_Cassandra LandrySLUMBREW (SOMERVILLE)
Happy Sol (5.5% ABV)
There must be something in the beer-makin' water over in Somerville. Lately, we can't stop thinking about the newcomers over at Slumbrew (a nod to Somerville's less-than-sparkling turn as "Slummerville" back in the day). More specifically, a little something they like to call "Happy Sol," a hefeweizen to dominate all hefeweizens: where tradition dictates a hint of banana and clove, Slumbrew tosses in local wildflower honey, orange peel, and coriander, and then ferments the whole shebang with the juice from over 1000 blood oranges. It's tart, crisp, sunny, and complex enough to keep drinking for a few solid hours. Our favorite joint to pay respect to the sacrifice of all those blood oranges is Tech Square's bar/coffeehouse/bakery multitasker Area Four. Set yourself up with one of their infamous pizzas (perfect crust, we swear) and bliss out.
Where to find it: Area Four, 500 Technology Sq, Cambridge | 617.758.4444 | areafour.com