With the summer solstice arriving this week, and patio beer season right behind it, we figured it was a good time to revisit one of our most popular blogs: Massachusetts Breweries With Awesome Outdoor Drinking Spots. With more and more breweries offering beer gardens, patios, and decks, this year’s edition is bigger and better than ever. In Central Mass. alone we’ve identified 20 outdoor drinking spots, and highlighted some of the best, where you can enjoy a refreshing Berliner Weiss or a thirst-quenching Kolsch, right from the source.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more picturesque scene than Stone Cow’s farm brewery in Barre, especially on one of the many days when they enjoy a rainbow. Their sustainably brewed pints and gorgeous views are enjoyable any time of year, but a summer trip for their famous Field-to-Flame BBQ is to die for. Prepared on an outdoor wood-fired grille, and accompanied by one of their tasty brews and some live music, it’s an outing you’ll want to share with some of your favorite craft beer friends.
Not too far away you’ll find the Gardner Ale House. They recently started distributing their beer under the name Moon Hill Brewing, but head right to the source to enjoy some of their tasty food on their outdoor deck, or check out their new Summer Brew Barn at Red Apple Farm in nearby Philipston, which opens this Friday.
If you’re still not convinced that a trip to Northern Worcester County is worth it, consider that Wachusett Brewing’s new Brew Yard is now open. Featuring a 1968 Airstream Trailer converted into a one-of-a-kind outdoor bar, as well as a huge copper kettle fire pit and frequent live music, there’s no better to enjoy their classic Blueberry Ale or one of their juicy New England IPAs.
Another nearby option is River Styx Brewing’s new 450-square foot underworld-themed patio, which co-founder Jackie Cullen says should be ready for their First Anniversary Party at the end of the month. They’ll set up under the brewery sign out front where according to Cullen, “guests will drink with the Ferryman [their logo] this summer, under the stars in downtown Fitchburg.”
Another unique experience can be had at Rapscallion Brewery in Sturbridge, located at Hyland Orchard, where you can work up a thirst on the 18-hole disc golf course right beside the brewery. Afterward, tip a few pints while listening to some live music or attending one of their many local charitable events (Pups N Pints is this Sunday). While in town you may want to check out Altruist Brewing, where you can enjoy a cold one in their secluded beer garden facing the river. Both locations are only a rib bone’s throw from one of the best barbecue joints in the state, BTs Smokehouse. Just sayin’.
Head south of the Mass Pike to find Krestchmann Brewery’s bustling 1,600-square foot beer garden in downtown Webster, next to the river walk. Sit and chat by the fire pit, play some corn hole, enjoy the live entertainment or attend the monthly “Beer Show” dinner theater while sipping one of a dozen brews on tap. While you’re in that neck of the woods you might also want to enjoy a brew and a food truck bite at Purgatory Beer Co. in Whtinsville, where you can chill on their back patio while sipping your beer and watching the waterfall.
If you’re looking for an urban oasis in Worcester then head to Wormtown Brewery, where it’s even easier to not worry and be hoppy once the warm weather arrives and they open their comfy, spacious patio. Sunshine, couches, great beer, what’s not to love? For another option, head uptown to Greater Good Imperial Brewing and you can enjoy your brews on any one of their three cozy terraces. Another option, though you didn’t hear it from us, is 3cross Fermentation Coop, rumored to be seeking approval for outdoor seating in time for summer.
If you’re looking for the Massachusetts version of craft beer nirvana then head to Charlton, where highly acclaimed Tree House Brewing is situated on 70 acres of pristine woodlands that feature everything an outdoor-loving craft beer drinker could ask for. A large outdoor pavilion where you can enjoy full pours of their amazing brews will soon be supplemented by a second indoor/outdoor bar for more and faster service. Can retail sales will relocated to make way for a number of open pergolas and a newly constructed sunset patio.
And that’s not all: they’ve carved out three miles of hiking/biking trails, begun planting an orchard of fruit trees, will start curating their own bee hives, and will grow hops on five acres of open field. Whoever wrote the lyrics “In Heaven There Is No Beer” must not have heard about Tree House.
A spot that should appeal to both wine and beer drinkers alike is Nashoba Valley Winery, which also shares its panoramic hilltop view with Bolton Beer Works. The brewing team, now headed by Jeff Matthew, oversaw a brewery expansion a while ago and has breathed new life into many of its old recipes. Plan your trip on the weekend when they hold their brewery open house and pour full pints. Not far away, both Battle Road Brew House and True West Brewing offer great food and comfortable patio seating with umbrellas to shade you from the sun.
Head to the Metro West and you’ll find Cold Harbor Brewing in Westborough and an outdoor space they call the beer barn. Pull up a seat, grab some grub from a food truck, and choose from the impressive array of brews they usually have on tap. If it’s a real barn you want, then try Lookout Farm Brewing in Natick, a working farm where you can pick your own fruit, and that offers craft beer and craft cider at their newly opened Barnside Pub and field patio.
As for the rest of the area, anyone looking for outdoor seating should head to Framingham, where you can choose from either Jack’s Abby, John Harvard’s, or Framingham Beer Works, all of which have a limited amount of patio seating.
* Photos courtesy of Rapscallion Brewery, Stone Cow Brewing, and Tree House Brewing Facebook pages.