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Boston's 8 Hottest Beer Gardens & Beer Halls

By Scott Kearnan
June 24, 2014

Warm nights with cold beers; breezy days spent getting buzzed. Summer is the perfect time to hit up a beer garden or beer hall with friends, and though Boston doesn't exactly runneth over with options, we've found several that deserve your time, attention and tippling. Cheers!

And be sure to check out our new Best Summer Ever page — we'll be bringing you the season's best eating and drinking all the way through Labor Day.

  • Sweet Cheeks Q in the Fenway

    There's a lot to love about Top Chef runner-up Tiffani Faison's barbecue spot near Fenway Park, but the sun-soaked beer garden, with a retractable roof for rainy days, holds a special place in our heart.

    Drink This: There's a very large list of bottled, canned and draft craft beers for sipping. But don't overlook the inventive cocktails (like the Kentucky Rosie of rye, pineapple, grapefruit and mint) served in cute mason jars. 

    Eat This: 'Cue from Q is on our bucket list of 30 Things You Must Eat & Drink This Summer, so we'd say to start with the Fat Cheeks Tray ($26) which lets you load up on three hot and three cold scoops of meats (the pulled pork is perfection) and sides (the mac 'n' cheese is a must).

    Know This: Mondays. 9 PM. Ramen nights. Ssh.

    1381 Boylston St.; 617-266-1300

  • Bronwyn in Union Square

    Chef Tim Wiechmann brings German and Central European cuisine to Somerville, as well as one fantastic, festive beer garden for tossing back those steins. 

    Drink This: Before opening, Wiechmann took his team to Oktoberfest and to visit historic German breweries. So the beer list is expectedly filled with educated picks representing Germany, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland and more. Take a taste tour.  

    Eat This: That beer goes well with a giant bretzel ($7) with spicy horseradish mustard. 

    Know This: While you're there, discover one of the 8 Best Hot Dogs in Boston

    255 Washington St., Somerville; 617-776-9900

  • Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square

    The dive charm of Charlie's includes an amazing Harvard Square oasis that is open year-round (weather permitting, of course) and with its own bar of 18 rotating draft lines. 

    Drink This: The brew selection changes often, but you can usually count on some of the staple local suds like Maine-based Peak Organic. 

    Eat This: Even in an area with a glut of burger joints, the sloppy sandwiches here are among the best around. Head here to see how they compare to other neighborhood patties in our Harvard Square Burger Smackdown

    Know This: Pound some brews and hit the karaoke machine every Tuesday at 8 PM. 

    10 Eliot St., Cambridge; 617-492-9646

  • Harpoon Brewery Beer Hall in the Seaport

    The local brewery brought to Boston a big, true beer hall filled with communal tables, the sound of clinking pints, and faces chewing salty pretzels. Perfection. 

    Drink This: Taps change to reflect Harpoon's latest seasonal brews, so make sure you take home a growler of something you love. (The Craft Cider is pretty tasty too.) 

    Eat This: You'll only be able to nosh on pretzels at this beer hall, so if you're hankering for a full meal, check out our Seaport Neighborhood Guide to find the perfect spot nearby. 

    Know This: If you're planning to take a brewery tour, buy tickets in advance. You can still only buy them the day of your visit, but weekend tours sell out, so at least you'll be guaranteed a spot. 

    306 Northern Ave.; 617-456-2322

  • Cambridge Brewing Company in Kendall Square

    Housed in a refurbished mill, the Cambridge Brewing Company has a beer-hall vibe, a spacious patio in the midst of Kendall Square and a lot of hops-related history: it was the first commercial brewery in America to produce a Belgian-style beer.

    Drink This: CBC produces plenty of rotating varieties worth sampling, but don't miss the sake-beer hybrid Banryu Ichi when it's available. 

    Eat This: There's some solid tavern fare to sop up the suds, but we're partial to the HefeWeizen-steamed Maine mussels ($12) with curry, coconut, lime and coriander. 

    Know This: We like that there are a few eco-friendly initiatives in place. For instance, the "zero waste" goal means that spent grain is used as animal feed by local farmers. 

    1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge; 617-494-1994

  • Hopsters in Newton

    This brew-your-own beer destination has the spirit of a beer hall. Book time to create your own beer from start to finish (you'll return in a few weeks to pick up the finished product) or just hang out at communal wooden tables sipping craft suds and diving into tasty pub plates. 

    Drink This: Hopsters just received its commercial brewing license, which makes it Newton's first commercial brewery since the 1600s. So now you can find three house-brewed Hopsters styles among the 20 rotating selections on tap at the bar. 

    Eat This: The flatbread pizzas are pretty tasty, but we'd go straight for the Ploughman's Board ($16) to build yourself a selection of hot and cold charcuterie with housemade jams and mustards.

    Know This: Have a friend who works in graphic design? The brew-your-own beer process even lets you design and print your own label for the bottles. 

    292 Centre St., Newton; 617-916-0752

  • Deep Ellum in Allston

    It's not so much a "beer garden" as a cloistered patio, but it happens to be adjacent to the spot that has one of Boston's best beer lists. We're offering an honorary nod. 

    Drink This: Besides the list of brews to geek out over, Deep Ellum offers some great cocktails, from the mint julep here to several variations on the Manhattan. 

    Eat This: The kimchi hot dog ($7) always makes us howl with delight. 

    Know This: While you're there, visit its neighbor, sibling restaurant Lone Star Taco Bar, which has some of our favorite tacos in the city.

    477 Cambridge St., Allston; 617-787-2337

  • Night Shift Brewing in Everett

    Last month the craft brewery opened its first facility with taproom, a 2,500-sq.-ft. space with 24 draft lines for pouring pints and tastings.

    Drink This: The rotating lines let you sip your way through a list of "cellared favorite, current regulars and some brand-new brews," says co-founder Michael Oxton. Among the newbies is the latest entry in Night Shift's "Art" series of experimental, test-batch beers and beer-blends: #23, R Squared - an imperial stout aged in red-wine barrels. 

    Eat This: No food is served here, but the BYOF policy invites you to take in some takeout. 

    Know This: There are T-shirts and other merchandise available, and brewery tours are available by request. 

    87 Santilli Highway, Everett; 617-294-4233

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Places Mentioned

Deep Ellum

Allston

Food23 Decor21 Service21 Cost$23
 
 
 
Sweet Cheeks Q

Barbecue • Fenway/Kenmore

Food25 Decor22 Service23 Cost$29
 
 
 
Charlie's Kitchen

Cambridge

Atmo.23 Decor18 Service19 CostI
 
 
 
Cambridge Brewing Company

Brewpub • Cambridge

Atmo.22 Decor20 Service22 CostM
 
 
 
Bronwyn

European • Somerville

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Harpoon Brewery Beer Hall

Bar • Seaport District

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Hopster's Brew & Boards

Brewpub • Newton

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
 
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