This blog post was UPDATED in January, 2020 with more than a dozen changes and additions.
Featured Image: Cleo is the official brew dog at 7th Wave Brewing in Medfield, which recently upgraded its tasting/retail space to a full fledged taproom that now serves flights and pints for on premises consumption.
It’s no secret that breweries and dogs are a popular combination, especially in the warm weather months. Finding a taproom to bring your four-legged friend to during the winter, however, is a bit more challenging. Luckily, Massachusetts has several beer makers who are as crazy about canines as they are about can releases. Below, we’ve highlighted a number of them with spacious taprooms that welcome dogs inside all year long. It should go without saying that responsible dog owners need to keep their pets leashed, respect that not all patrons are animal lovers, and recognize that some dogs aren’t suited for the noisy, crowded conditions in many taprooms. Use discretion.
Though Trillium’s Fort Point restaurant and brewery in Boston aren’t allowed to welcome dogs inside because of food service ordinances, their Canton brewery has been dog friendly since it opened in 2016. The spacious and open taproom is ideal for playful pups, and hand-crafted Alehound Dog Treats made from spent grains are aways on hand. Humans will appreciate the 20-plus beers on draft and the food trucks on weekends.
“We love our furry friends, so we’ve decided to allow dogs in the taproom seven days a week” says the Castle Island website. Like other breweries, they’re expected to remain on-leash and need to be comfortable with crowds and children. Marketing Manager Janine Pohorely reports that the taproom staff loves four-footed visitors and always has plenty of treats on hand. For taproom visitors who walk upright, treats include 16 lines of the freshest Castle Island beer you’ll find anywhere, and an industrial-yet-cozy beer hall with communal tables, board games and a retail shop for takeaway beer.
Dogs are also welcome at nearby Percival Brewing, whose large taproom and chill vibe provide a perfect place for pets and their owners to bond. “Dogs are a core aspect of our brewery,” says founder Phil Oliveira. “We even provide biscuits and water bowls.” They also provide small-batch beers with big taste, a rotating art gallery, and an on-premise coffee roasting business. And they’ve got leather couches, “for those lazy beer days,” with a variety of pour options ranging from flights to proper pints.
Mayflower Brewing in Plymouth is so crazy about dogs that they actually named a beer after one of them, a rescued German Shorthaired Pointer named Otto that belongs to head brewer Ryan Gwozdz. He can usually be found waiting in the taproom by the treat jar. In addition to allowing dogs inside, Mayflower often hosts fundraiser events with groups like Survivor Tails Animal Rescue, a non-profit volunteer organization that rescues, re-homes, and rehabilitates unwanted, abused, and neglected dogs and cats.
A newer dog-friendly option in Western Mass. is Leadfoot Brewing in Chicopee. Located at the former location of Hampden Brewing, which closed back in 1975, the newly developed space offers a combination of old school and new school beers. As one of their recent social media posts explained, “when the cold winter weather arrives most dogs don’t want to leave the house for more than five minutes. That’s when it’s time for a visit to Leadfoot! It’ll be good for both of you.” We concur.
Another dog friendly brewery with the luxury of wide open spaces is Easthampton’s Abandoned Building Brewery, just a stone’s throw from Millpond Park. After playing with your pooch, you can kick back and grab a brew while they rest beside you. The 2,700 square foot space in an old mill building aptly named “the brickyard” normally has a relaxed vibe, but Friday and Saturday evenings feature live music, so it’s probably a good idea to plan your visit when it’s less noisy.
A long-standing affection for canines, as well as a renovated and expanded taproom makes this brewery a fan favorite among its region’s craft beer loving dog owners. They even hold an annual Barks & Brews event every June that raises money for animals in need. Aside from the live music Thursday through Sunday evenings, which not all dogs are fans of, it’s hard to find a better place in Western Mass. if you want to enjoy some tasty brews with your tail-wagging sidekick.
The loss of Metro Boston’s only two dog-friendly taprooms this fall (Mystic Brewery and Down the Road Beer Co.) was unwelcome news for those of us with canines. Until a spacious new brewery opened up in Everett this summer, that is. After trialing a Thursday-only Paws & Pints night at his fledgling taproom, BearMoose Brewing founder Andrew Gilman found it was pretty popular with patrons. So much so that people started showing up on other days with their dogs in tow. Rather than fight it, he embraced the idea and now welcomes friendly, leashed pups everyday, and even sells BearMoose branded bandanas. Word to the wise, parking at the brewery is limited, but there are plenty of spaces at nearby Everett Veterans Memorial Stadium near the intersection of Spring Street and Revere Beach Parkway.
A micro brewery and taproom that opened last year in Salem, East Regiment Beer Co. was founded by two friends, one a Navy Veteran and the other a Merchant Marine, who built everything by hand – from the bar and tables to the wort boiler. Their heated patio allows patrons to bring their dogs along with them year round. According to its Facebook page, the brewery is “dedicated to producing the finest classic and modern style craft beers on the North Shore.”
Among the many things that make Worcester’s Redemption Rock Brewing so great is its love for dogs. Not only are they welcome inside the cafe side of the brewery year round, but back in July Worcester Animal Rescue League’s pups received a $3,000 donation from the state’s only registered B-Corp brewery thanks to its policy of donating all taproom tips to charity. Then in October they held a taproom dogs calendar competition that chose 12 adorable winners to represent 2020.
If you and your dog are up for a trip to the underworld, then head for River Styx Brewing in Fitchburg. There, “dogs are not just allowed, but adored.” The spacious taproom and its distinctive decor is family friendly and often full of kids playing games, so you’ll want to make sure your pooch isn’t skittish. “The pups make it feel like home for a lot of our visitors,” says co-founder Jackie Cullen.
Well behaved dogs are a welcome addition to the family-friendly atmosphere at Granite Coast Brewing in Peabody, according to cofounder Jeff Marquis. “We love seeing them walk through the door,” he says, “and their humans are welcome too.” The brewery welcomes rescue groups such as Last Hope K 9 and has hosted adoption events with New England Lab Rescue. The taproom also serves some pretty tasty beer, focusing on original versions of classics and underrepresented styles.
Lowell area dog lovers, especially those who love craft beer, rejoice! The expansive Merrimack Ales brewery converted its longtime dog-friendly space into a full-fledged taproom back in October. Now you can lounge around on their comfy couches with your pooch while enjoying a pint of their many offerings, “some hoppy – some not.” Resident brewery dog Shiro is still there on weekends, and a new pup will be welcomed to the brewery in the near future.
“The taproom is pooch and kid friendly as long as both play well with others,” says Navigation Brewing in Lowell. Getting along with the resident brewery cat, Trouble, is also a necessity, but given the roomy accommodations, relaxed vibe, and variety of small-batch beers it shouldn’t be too hard. Of course, you’ll need to keep your four-legged sidekick on a leash at all times. A bonus, if you’re the artsy type, is that the brewery is located inside Western Ave Studios, home to more than 300 working artists and a “First Saturday” open house at the beginning of every month.
A few others that might have made our top tier list include Brick & Feather Brewery in rural Turners Falls, which should be on every beer nerd’s must-visit list, especially those with pups. “We get dogs in here every weekend,” says founder and head brewer Lawrence George. “Lots of them are regulars.” Two others, If you crave cider more than beer and want to bring your canine companion along, are Far From The Tree Cider in Salem and Downeast Cider in East Boston. Their taprooms welcome well-behaved dogs, and serves flights or full pours of offerings that are “dry and refreshing with light carbonation, and taste deliciously of apples.”
Other taprooms we know of that welcome dogs inside year-round include 6A Brewing in Bourne, Article Fifteen in Weymouth (recently featured on Chronicle), both Bad Martha locations (Martha’s Vineyard & Falmouth), Black Hat Brew Works in Bridgewater, Bog Iron in Norton, Canned Heat and Troy City Brewing in Fall River, Cape Cod Beer (in its retail shop only), Devil’s Purse in South Dennis, Independent Fermentations, Llamanama Beer Labs, and Second Wind in Plymouth, Old Colony Brewing in Whitman, Untold Brewing in Scituate, Widowmaker in Braintree (but not on Fridays & Saturdays), and 7th Wave and Zelus in Medfield, and that’s just in the southeast.
Up north, there’s Barewolf Brewing in Amesbury, East Regiment Brewing in Salem, Gentile Brewing in Beverly, and Newburyport Brewing in Newburyport. Central Mass. has Cold Harbor in Westborough, Greater Good, Flying Dreams* and 3cross Fermentation Coop in Worcester, Lost Towns in Hardwick, Purgatory Beer in Whitinsville, Rapscallion in Sturbridge, Seven Saws in Holden, Tree House in Charlton, and the pending 67 Degrees Brewing in Franklin. And out west, you’ve got Berkshire Brewing in South Deerfield, Big Elm in Sheffield, Brew Practitioners and Building 8* in Northampton, Element Brewing in Millers Falls, New City in Easthampton, Honest Weight in Orange, Iron Duke in Ludlow, and Wandering Star in Pittsfield, though getting along with Fuggles, their brewery cat, is a prerequisite there.
It’s worth noting that there are several dog friendly breweries that take full advantage of spacious patios and outdoor spaces but don’t appear on our list because their policies restrict dogs from being inside the taproom. One good example is Vitamin Sea Brewing in Weymouth, which has a large biergarten out back that’s actually bigger than their taproom. It’s even shaded for those warm weather months and they provide dog bowls to help keep your pouch hydrated.
Still others, such as Burke’s Alewerks in Hanover or Stone Cow Brewery in Barre, have fluid policies that sometimes allow dogs during non-peak hours when they aren’t particularly busy, but it’s best to call ahead and confirm. And there are probably others we’re leaving out. Post a message in the comments section below if you know of one. Many of the above breweries are also involved with various animal charities and often host special events. And dozens of others welcome dogs on their decks, patios, and beer gardens when weather permits. *Above breweries marked with an asterisk are tasting rooms, not taprooms, and don’t sell full pours for on-site consumption.
Be sure to check that pet policies haven’t changed before planing your trip. For example, Lord Hobo Brewing in Woburn converted to a brewpub and no longer allows dogs inside. Nor does Drunken Rabbit in South Hadley, or Bent Water in Lynn, due to issues with their city/town ordinances. Always a good idea to call ahead and avoid disappointment.
A helpful resource we found is the New England Brew Dogs Facebook Group, which shares information and reviews on dog-friendly breweries all over the region. Its spreadsheet, available to all members, has an extensive listing of dog policies at hundreds of breweries throughout the region. Another, Dog Friendly Tap/Tasting Rooms New England, has a convenient feature that allows users to filter by state or taproom type, but it’s not as up to date as it could be. Both are worthwhile for getting the most recent dog-friendly developments.