This winter, instead of reaching for a beloved Samuel Adams or Harpoon (we still love them), we recommend trying a winter beer from a smaller craft brewery. These breweries are popping up all over Massachusetts and we, for one, couldn’t be happier. Whether you are on the North Shore or South Shore, or anywhere in between, you can find a decent brewery. Here are our picks for some of the best ones to hit for a winter brew.
369 Congress St.
Boston, MA 02210
You can barely find this small unobtrusive brewery tucked away in the Fort Point Channel. If you are one of the lucky ones who have come across it, you are sure to become a follower. Open for just a few hours a day and closed on Sundays, the beer is available in growler pours only, but there are some nearby restaurants that do carry the local brews. The Pot & Kettle Oatmeal Porter is one of the best in town.
100 Clinton St.
Framingham, MA 01702
One of the best beer halls west of Boston is located in Framingham. Jack’s Abby made a name for itself when it opened in 2011. Since then, they have created a range of beers that vary from mild to hoppy and specialties to seasonal, including the winter Baltic porter, a chocolaty creation that balances malts with hops. When you visit, be sure to check out the beer hall for snacks and 24 beers on tap.
30 Germania St.
Boston, MA 02130
Everyone in Boston knows Sam Adams for its Boston Lager and infamous Winter Lager (pronounced “lag-ah”), but one of their best winter brews is the limited release Utopias. Made in small batches, the barrel-aged brew pushes the complexity mark. The 2015 offering has a 30 percent ABV and flavors of earthy wood, molasses, nuts, smoke and even toffee. New this year, the brewers used White Carcavelos wine barrels to finish the beer for added flavor.
306 Northern Ave.
Boston, MA 02210
Harpoon Brewery is best known for their hoppy selection of IPAs which are on tap at so many restaurants. Instead of reaching for one of those, try the wintery Boston Irish Stout, a low alcohol (just 4.3 percent ABV) a deliciously dark pour with a light, creamy head. The full bodied beer is surprisingly light tasting despite its dark appearance. Pair it up with a bowl of French onion soup for the perfect winter warmer.
12 Resnik Road, Suite 3
Plymouth, MA 02360
For an deep flavor of winter, try Mayflower’s Oatmeal Winter Stout. This malty brew has 5.4 percent ABV and tastes rich and creamy. This beer is made with three types of oats, which give it the extra flavor. Enjoy it as an after dinner beer or pair it up with a hearty meal for the perfect complement.
Related: Boston’s Best Fall Craft Beers
Kellie Speed is a Boston writer with more than 25 years of experience writing for local and national publications, including JustLuxe, Haute Living, The Boston Globe, Mohegan Sun’s Legends and Amtrak’s Arrive. She is the Boston restaurant writer for Gayot’s travel site and contributed to Moon Metro’s Boston guidebook, as well.