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You may have seen on Twitter that Daniel and I recently visited Boston in the USA.
You may ask why Boston? What is there? Well firstly Boston is home to the Red Sox who play at the iconic Fenway Park. As a teenager I was a big fan of baseball and I used to watch it on TV back when it was on Channel 5. This followed on to University where I played the sport and set up my own team and I am part of my local team the London Musketeers.
Secondly, everyone who I had spoken to said it was a cool city with lots to do. Baseball friends told me Fenway Park was amazing and others mentioned the culture and things to do. Throughout this one underlying them kept cropping up. BEER. Yes, people who have visited the city all told me the beer scene is great. Well Daniel didn’t need anymore encouragement, especially after I told him the price of flights through Norwegian Air.
To rehash a popular Bostonian phrase I’m now ALL SET to tell you about our trip.
We landed just after 7pm on the Wednesday evening so after an expensive cab ride to our hostel we were ready to go just after 9pm. Our plan for our first evening was to stay local and awake as long as possible to fight jet lag. Just opposite our accommodation we got our first experience of Boston cuisine with a tasting menu which included three local beers and a selection of bite size meals. It was a great start.
Our next stop was an Elvis themed bar which was quite busy but had an excellent selection of beer with an aptly named Ipswich Ale which obviously we had to try.
Our last and what ended up being our final stop was Clery’s bar. It was a thriving and bustling atmosphere full of locals having after work drinks. Again this bar had a massive list of beers and was the first one that we were able to sit in the bar and read the extensive beer list. We spent the next hour or so going through a few beers each and watching tennis on the TVs until we were so tired we had to make up way home.
On our first morning we found a traditional American Diner for breakfast where we ate so many pancakes that we almost exploded. We then decided that a walk was needed so we planned a long walk through South Boston to the Samuel Adams Brewery. Now I’m sure you’ve all tried their Boston Lager at some point which is a pretty, pretty …. pretty good premium lager I think. The brewery is located in the middle of nowhere that we worried we had gone to the wrong place. But then we say the striking logo outside and we knew we were in the right place.
So we booked ourselves on the next tour which was at about 11.30am so we waited for only 5 minutes or so. There was no cost for the brewery tour which was very good considering we were told there would be beer tastings at the end. Our tour has about 25 people on that was apparently a small group for them and we were taken to try some hops and informed of the whole brewing process. At the end we sat in a tasting room and were given tasters of Boston Lager, Octoberfest and the best one Rebel IPA at the end. We were also allowed to keep our tasting glasses. Now as someone who has been on quite a few brewery tours I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Mairead did our tour and she was succinct but detailed and it is good to have a person who specifically does tours as she was very engaging and was confident talking to big group of people.
After purchasing some t-shirts from the gift shop and leaving a donation we then made a trip to Doyle’s cafe via the party bus. Now our main reason for going to Doyle’s Cafe was that if you showed them your ticket to the tour you could get a free stemmed Samuel Adams glass. Now we spilt decision to jump on this so-called party bus as it was free and turned up just as we were about to do the 15 minute walk. We weren’t quite ready for the 5 minute trip in store. Rather than spoil the experience for you I would just highly recommend doing this trip. DOYLE’S. The bar itself was ok, the service was a bit short but it’s worth it for the party bus alone.
After stopping off back at the hostel to drop off our array of beer glasses we then headed out back into the centre to a place where everybody knows your name. Yes, we went to the Cheers Bar. I spent about two years rushing home from high school and watching episodes of this popular 1980s TV show so I was very excited. We went to the bar on Beacon Street which was used for the exterior shot in the opening titles and inside there were two bars and a gift shop which was to be expected at a popular tourist spot. We made our way to the main bar and found a spot on the bar where TV characters Cliff and Carla sat which was cool.
We did a lot of walking in our trip and we walked through the picturesque Boston Common and headed towards the Harbor in South Boston. Now this area is full of modern buildings, fancy bars and restaurants. We walked around for a bit just soaking up the views over the Harbor and then went into Atlantic Beer Garden which was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the trip. Very rude door staff asked for our IDs (rudeness was the norm in most places but this was the worst). This bar was very quiet and you could see why. After both visiting the restrooms we looked upstairs on the roof terrace and were surprised it was empty and then thought about sitting outside at the back but it was a bit chilly. Then at the bar we asked for a beer menu and then ordered two beers. There were about 6 bar staff which outnumbered the customers and one member of staff tried to overcharge us and then another came back with a cheaper price so we paid that once drunk up quickly and left that place in a hurry. Such a bad atmosphere.
We then carried on down Seaport Boulevard to Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall. We had been anticipating going here and we were not disappointed. a short walk upstairs we see a huge wooden long bar made with beer taps and seating all the way along. This bar overlooks the Harbor on one side and a big window to the in-house bottling plant the other side. We ordered flights of beers and even a homemade pretzel which was delicious when dipped in the bacon and IPA cheese sauce. This was a fantastic bar with loads of beers with the flights a great way to taste a variety.
We finished our evening at The Punk & Poet about 15 minutes south in Telegraph Hill. It was opening game of the new NFL season with current Superbowl Champions and local team the New England Patriots. We had to queue for 10 minutes before being allowed into a packed bar with just standing room. We didn’t have to wait too long to get served and squashed ourselves in and watched the game. About 30 minutes later at half time people started to leave so we found a seat. As the game went on more people left and by the end we were sitting at the bar. As British sports fans we would always stay until the end so we found it bizarre that so many people left.
The next day we walked along the Freedom Trail and popped into the other Cheers Bar in Faneuil Hall which was ok but the original is much better. After climbing the Bunker Hill Monument and ending the trail we walked down the road to the Warren Tavern. This was quiet pub so we just sat at the bar and ordered overpriced beers from a miserable barman.
After a walk around the USS Constitution ship we went back over the Charlestown Bridge and went to BEERWORKS Brewing Co. No 3 in Canal Street. They are a microbrewery who have been going since 1992 and are now at six locations in the city. We continued our trend of ordering flights but here we were allowed to choose four beers from the extensive list. We also had the popular local delicacy Clam Chowder which was alright. Daniel liked it more than me. The quality and array of beers was probably the best we found in our time in Boston. With the gimmicky blueberry and watermelon beers both very good, a decent milk stout but the best was the dunkel hefeweizen.
The evening was all about baseball as we went to Fenway Park to watch Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays. We walked around the whole ballpark and soaked up the atmosphere. After finding our seats we ordered some hotdog and a burger and a beer and found our seats. Draught options included Samuel Adams, Goose Island and Harpoon as well as cans from the latter. Beer was expensive at $10 a pop which was a lot more than the average $7 in the city.
Next day we visited Harvard and the Natural History Museum and then met up with my baseball friend and Bostonian Ed. He met us at Trillium Beer Garden which was packed with trendy looking young people (including us obviously) where we treated us to some great IPAs with Sleeper Street IPA the standout. We then spent the next few hours in Ed’s boat going around the Harbor tucking in to some more cans. He really spoiled us. Thanks Ed.
Our Sunday was spent walked around the city, visiting a sports bar so Daniel could watch the Newcastle game. WE then went to the airport that evening and flew back after an incredible time I couldn’t recommend Boston enough.
Favourite Beer – Wachusett Wally by Wachusett Brewing in Boston Massachusetts which is a 7% IPA which is hard to define as it is hazy with wheat like features with a strong citrus fruit flavour. Absolutely superb.
Overall thoughts – we were surprised that everywhere we went including tourist spots like Fenway Park and Cheers there were always a high number of local IPAs and lagers to choose from.
I will leave you with a map of all the drinking establishments we visited on our trip which you can see here
Thanks for reading