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By Scott Roberto / August 24, 12:00 AM
Boston Brew News
courtesy of Idle Hands Artisan Ales


From brewpubs to beer gardens to taprooms, several brewery favorites in the Boston area have reopened their public-facing operations, yet not without a few hiccups. Phase 3 re-opening rules for the state of Massachusetts—which don’t encompass bars—include provisions that businesses serving alcohol also serve substantial, non-prepackaged food offerings prepared on-site, causing issues for any facility that didn’t include a full-blown restaurant as part of its footprint. Creativity and resourcefulness have prevailed at locations like Malden’s award-winning Idle Hands Craft Ales (pictured), which added grilled cheese, hot dogs and pretzels to its menu that patrons can enjoy with their first round at its socially distanced outdoor patio seats. Due to limited space, reservations are recommended (the same caveat applies for most of the breweries mentioned from here on out). Also in Malden is the recently opened Faces Brewing Co., which offers limited indoor and outdoor dining at its new brewpub. The flagship location for Boston’s acclaimed Trillium Brewing Company in the Fort Point neighborhood includes a restaurant, which is up and running as usual (or as usual as it can get with COVID-19-related restrictions and regulations). Trillium’s Greenway beer garden, however, remains idle, although the Fenway beer garden is active along with the outdoor space at Trillium’s brewery just to the south of the city in Canton, thanks to help from some local food trucks. Not far from Fort Point in Boston's Seaport District is mainstay Harpoon Brewery, which is accepting thirsty—and hungry, thanks to its delicious pretzels, as well as pizza and focaccia sticks—visitors both indoors and out. Local delicacies from Yankee Lobster and The Sausage Guy are available outdoors as well. The Seaport is also, for the third year now, hosting a beer garden from Nantucket’s Cisco Brewers, complete with food from Oath Pizza. The Seaport continued its beer-focused trend with the recent opening of the new facility from Woburn-based Lord Hobo Brewing Company. While not at full capacity, the outdoor space can currently accommodate 241 socially distanced patrons, who can enjoy victuals from a rotating cast of local food trucks. If you’re in Charlestown and aren’t interested in sampling wares from just one brewery, then The Anchor at Charlestown Navy Yard is for you. This picturesque waterfront area offers beer—both local and international brands—as well as wine, food, live music and fun for the whole family. In Jamaica Plain, the venerable Boston Beer Company has pivoted from tours and its indoor taproom towards its reservation-only, Friday-through-Sunday outdoor beer garden, where patrons can enjoy Mexican specialties from Chilacates along with an IPA or two. (Its newer Sam Adams Boston Taproom near Faneuil Hall Marketplace is accepting to-go orders only out of an abundance of caution.) Also in JP, Turtle Swamp Brewing is slinging suds on its patio alongside offerings from food trucks and its own kitchen. Its Roslindale beer garden, with both indoor and outdoor seating Friday through Sunday, recently re-opened as well. In nearby Dorchester, Dorchester Brewing Co. boasts plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, including a rooftop patio, along with downhome cuisine from M&M Barbecue. In Boston’s Brighton enclave, Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen has stayed ahead of the curve (at least as far as having food as well as drink) by opening a new micro-bakery to supplement its existing brewpub during off-hours for beer consumption. North of the city in Somerville, many breweries have also rebounded from the initial pandemic-related shutdown, including Union Square’s Remnant Brewing at Bow Market and nearby Aeronaut Brewing Co., which both offer outdoor-only seating. Cambridge’s Lamplighter Brewing Co. also recently started welcoming guests again, and pioneering brewpub Cambridge Brewing Co. is pouring pints at its Kendall Square headquarters. The operations of Night Shift Brewing are going strong, including two beer gardens along the Charles River and its brewpub next to TD Garden, although its main facility in Everett is open for to-go sales only. Speaking of Everett, Bone Up Brewing Co. has a beer garden that is operating (thanks to a limited menu of food and bar snacks like pretzels, empanadas and hot dogs), as is nearby Bearmoose Brewing Company. South of the city, favorites like Norwood’s Castle Island Brewing Co.—offering an outdoor beer party in its parking lot four nights a week, as well as live music on select Friday nights—are plugging away as well. With a little flexibility and a lot of perseverance, the Boston brewing scene remains as hot as ever.

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