Now that summer has officially arrived, and patio beer season along with 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. The Northeast alone has more than a dozen outdoor drinking spots where you can enjoy a refreshing Berliner Weiss or a thirst-quenching Kolsch right from the source.
Two options not far from Boston include dog-friendly Bent Water Brewing in Lynn, whose parking lot patio is just a few miles from beaches in Nahant and Revere, and longtime brewpub Salem Beer Works, where you can grab a bite to eat and wash it down with a Watermelon Ale
Craft beer drinkers have long been familiar with Notch Brewing, the first brewery in the U.S. to focus exclusively on session beers (typically no more than 4.5% ABV), but have you enjoyed one of their refreshing brews while kicking back at their brewery biergarten in Salem? If not, what are you waiting for? Something more scenic you say, then check out one of their Mobile Biergartens this summer, including pop-ups at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate on July 8 and Appleton Farms on July 13 & 14.
Head further north along the coastline and you’ll arrive at Ipswich Ale Brewer’s Table, the taproom and restaurant for the North Shore’s largest and oldest beer maker. You can bask in the sun on their sidewalk patio and treat yourself to the region’s famous clams. Wash it down with their limited release kettle sour, Cranberry Beret. If you’ve been there and done that already, then check out the other brewery patio in Ipswich, that of newcomer True North Ales, who opened late last year. They offer shaded picnic table seating, typically invite a food truck, and welcome friendly dogs. Consider ordering their Vincianne, a crisp Belgian Blonde Ale that recently won gold at the World Beer Cup.
North Shore craft beer drinkers have long enjoyed their Fisherman’s Brew from Cape Ann Brewery’s spectacular deck overlooking Gloucester’s working waterfront. This summer, it’s your turn. With an outdoor bar and ample seating, you’ll have a drink in no time. Then you can relax as you watch a Schooner sail into the sunset, or see a fishing boat unloading its catch. Bring your appetite and enjoy the brewpub’s extensive menu, loaded with fresh, local seafood. Open Sunday through Wednesday until 11:00, Thursday to Saturday ’til midnight.
Not far from some of the North Shore’s best beaches, Newburyport Brewing’s taproom is a popular spot for parched sun bathers, especially those who dig live music. Their lively tap room and outdoor beer garden features fresh pours, like their Maritime Lager, and fresh tunes from some of the best local and touring bands around. If you’re free on Saturday, July 21st, check out their family-friendly Annual Reggae Fest.
The other game in town is RiverWalk Brewing, whose recent brewery upgrade included the addition of a 2,000-square foot outdoor space that’s being converted into a beer garden. It’s still a work in progress, but already they’ve got picnic tables, lawn games and plenty of beer and food. Now that the warm weather has arrived you can quench your thirst with a Screen Door Summer Ale or any of a dozen other beers on tap every day of the week. Both the Newburyport breweries are bike accessible on the Clipper City Rail Trail.
For the region’s northernmost craft beer settlement, cruise up to Amesbury where you’ll find Brewery Silvaticus, whose brewing inspiration is rooted in Belgian Farm House Ales and German Style Lagers, perfect for the warm weather. Enjoy a few pops in their quaint beer garden, nestled between two historic mill buildings along the PowWow River. They were recently named one of the 50 Best New Breweries in Beer Advocate Magazine.
There are plenty of landlocked craft beer options in the Northeast as well, including The Tap in downtown Haverhill. Summertime at the brewpub is when the real fun starts: locals and traveling beer geeks flock to their huge deck overlooking the Merrimack River to enjoy the view and hoist summer favorites like Intergalactic Acid Berliner Weiss, Solar Plexus IPA, or Maize-A-Faire Corn Lager. A great spot for late night drinks, they’re open Tuesday to Saturday until 1:00.
One of the newer additions to the region, Oak & Iron Brewing in Andover, is another solid option for afternoon patio beers. Last June they opened their dog-friendly beer garden alongside their micro brewery in a renovated mill building on the banks of the Shawsheen River. If you haven’t checked out this “small but mighty” brewery yet, put it on your craft beer to-do list for this summer.
Another inland option is Navigation Brewing in Lowell. Their courtyard features a hop vine climbing the old mill walls, picnic tables, food trucks and live music. If you want to check out Lowell’s thriving art scene, plan your trip on the First Thursday of the month when the city’s Arts District comes alive with culture, art, buskers and street performers. Another option If you’re looking for a bite and a brew from Sunday through Wednesday is to head over to the Lowell Beer Works patio, where bar food is served and their Blueberry Ale is pouring all summer.
* Photos courtesy of Oak & Iron, Notch, Cape Ann Brewing, and The Tap Brewing Facebook pages.