Massachusetts is the new rising star of American craft brewing. Don’t believe us? Check out this selection of breweries, which goes from medieval-esque tasting rooms to hi-tech fermentation centers.
Dedicated to resurrecting the age old brewing methods of centuries gone by, the folk at Trillium offer up truly interesting labels from their small, family-owned distillery. This place is set between the historic wharfs of the Fort Point Channel district in Boston. That means tasters can expect a philosophy that’s heavily weighted towards using native New England ingredients. This gives rise to tipples like the Fort Point Pale Ale, with its solid American 2 Row malts. There is also the flavorsome Wakerobin red rye, empowered with the unmistakable tinge of Sterling pedigree hops and a range of summer fruits.
Trillium Brewing, 369 Congress St, Boston, Massachusetts USA, +1 617-453-8745
Since brewing up its first batch in an old ice cream factory in Worcester in 2010, the Wormtown Brewery has grown significantly. First came the loyal crowd of local patrons, followed by the seemingly unstoppable success of beers like the Be Hoppy unfiltered IPA. This garnered a gold at the prestigious Denver International Beer Competition. Today, Wormtown operates out of an all-new base on Shrewsbury Street in the heart of the town. It churns out much larger quantities of quality ales and stays true to its home-grown mantra: ‘A piece of Mass in every glass’.
Something of a welcome anomaly among the earthy and traditional throwback brewers that dominate the Massachusetts agricultural heartland is the Element Brewing Company. Located in Millers Falls, this place is dedicated to advancing the technologies of beer making with a meticulous focus on the scientific side of the process. No dreamy fields of swaying wheat and rustic hops here, just the apotheosized chemical formula for xanthohumol. There is one curious line-up of interesting ales. This includes brews from the naturally gluten-free Plasma, brewed with brown rice and buckwheat, to the bone-chilling Absolute Zero in limited edition.
Set amid the salt-sprayed coastal lands of southern Massachusetts, the Buzzards Bay Brewery and tasting room enjoys a fine location. In the summer, patrons are invited to wander the gardens while sampling the rich, farm-to-glass brews. Winter brings roaring fire pits and a hearty local welcome. The beers are pretty impressive too. Among them are the tri-malt Moby D, fermented to mimic the top-brewed ales of German Westphalia and the hoppy Sow and Pigs, lifted straight out of Cologne. These are perfect company in the shimmering New England sun.
Buzzards Bay Brewing, 98 Horseneck Rd, Westport, Massachusetts, USA, +1 508-636-2288
Sat neatly between the sleepy streets of Hyannis on the Cape Cod panhandle, this local brewery is a real kingpin of the surrounding community. Local folk love to drop by for a pint at the brewery on Phinneys Lane. The beers here reflect the earthy traditions of this coastal section of the state in their unforgettable flavors. Don’t leave without sampling the flagship Cape Cod Red amber ale, with its blended undercurrents of caramel and dark chocolate. There is also the Beach Blonde Ale, complete with a light and bubbly texture that’s perfect for enjoying under the Massachusetts sun.
Cape Cod Beer, 1336 Phinneys Ln, Hyannis, Massachusetts, USA, +1 508-790-4200
This spot proudly breaks with the traditions of all-American breweries in favor of the ancient Trappist rituals and brewing techniques of Belgium. The folks at Mystic Brewery offer an altogether different experience to the hop head making their way through The Bay State. First off, the beers are noticeably more flavorsome than most. This is the product of an alchemical fermentation process inspired by the medieval methods of the European Low Countries. Then there’s the tasting room itself. It oozes a certain Gothic charm that sits perfectly with the brooding malts and hops of those Entropy and Powerhouse reserve ales.
Mystic Brewery, 174 Williams St, Chelsea, Massachusetts, USA, +1 617-466-2079
Wachusett Brewing Company has a long history of more than 20 years. And with its many awards and accolades now adorning their repertoire of country pale ales, dark farmhouse porters and light IPAs, there’s no question these folk are here to stay. Today, the Wachusett label has risen to become one of the largest in the state. It touts the likes of Blueberry Ale, with its infusions of summer fruit, the hoppy Larry Imperial IPA, and the full-bodied cream flow that is Milk Stout. Free tasting sessions and tours are available on Saturdays at the company’s brewhouse in Westminster.
Set against the salty breezes, billowing winds and refreshing rollers of the Massachusetts North Shore is the Cape Ann Brewing Company. It occupies pride of place on the waterfront of Gloucester town. Inside, the venue feels half rickety-shanty-shack and half artisan craft company. This just makes sampling the Atlantic-inspired brews here all the more interesting. And what wonderful brews they are. Included is the Fisherman’s American amber lager, infused with two-row barleys straight out of Bavaria. There is also Fisherman’s IPA, citrusy to the hilt thanks to a dousing of Sorachi Ace hops—the list goes on.