Massachusetts is loaded with some of the best breweries in the world. Yes, the world. New England especially has exploded in the beer world with the NEIPA taking the coast by storm. Love it or hate it, here is my list of top breweries in Massachusetts. Just a note, I’m really rating these breweries on beer alone. Sure, the atmosphere is important but I think we can all agree it’s hard to have a bad time at a brewery unless the beer sucks.
Trillium is my overall favorite brewery in Massachusetts. Trillium has a powerhouse track record of juicy, hazy IPAs that are bursting with hop flavor and aroma. You can also get a unique array of intense sours and wild ales along with stouts that are reminiscent of your favorite desserts. Keep an eye out for their DDH street beers (esp Melcher), Mettle series, and Soak series of sours. They’re constantly experimenting and breaking the mold.
I’ve never actually been to the missive treehouse brewery but I’ve been lucky enough to try a wide array of their flagship beers plus many more. Like Trillium, Treehouse specializes in constantly rotating world-famous hazy IPAs that will make your mouth water. Look for Julius, Haze, Green, and Very Green. I don’t know if I have a favorite as of right now but I haven’t tasted a beer that wasn’t delicious. It’s worth noting that Treehouse is opening a new location on the cape!
Vitamin Sea has become a very popular spot in the South Shore incredibly fast and for good reason. Vitamin Sea has an extremely strong NEIPA game. I’d heard amazing things about their beer so I had to go and check it out for myself. The defining characteristics of their IPAs are super soft, juicy, and drinkable beers that are hoppy yet ultra-smooth. Look for ANY NEIPA they produce. There are too many to name and I’m yet to try anything I don’t like.
Barrel House Z (BHZ) is another small south shore craft brewery and probably the most unique brewery on this list. Barrel House Z produces an array of rotating east and west coast IPAs, flavored stouts, ales, fruited sours, wheat beers, and even craft seltzer. They reserve limited releases of their highly sought after barrel-aged stouts, pilsners, and ales. Look for easy sipping Sunny and 79, Bamboozled by Hops, BAM BAM, and their Pom Pear seltzer! Check out my brew day with BHZ.
Mighty Squirrel is a newer brewery with loads of juicy IPAs. Two to call out, in particular, are Cloud Candy and Cosmic Distortion. Both of these NE-style IPAs are bursting with pineapple flavor, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted in my life. It’s a pretty amazing hop phenomenon. Cloud Candy has a unique subtle wheat/Belgian beer characteristic that sets it apart from the style.
Widowmaker is home to some delicious NE-style IPAs and pale ales. They have a smaller menu of beers but they brew one of my favorite stouts of all time, a peanut butter and chocolate stout called, There’s No Wrong Way. Keep an eye out for Ecstasy of Gold and Blue Comet.
Castle Island is very local to me so I’m sure I’m a little biased however they do have some awesome beers. You’ll find a handful of their beers distributed locally in Mass, but the good stuff is reserved for their taproom (in my opinion). My favorites are Suit Parade, Overzealous, Social Studies, Parrot Trust, and Hi-Def.
Exhibit A has some ultra hazy IPA’s that have made a mark on my life. My favorite being Cat’s Meow, which is a bright and hazy golden IPA with notes of tangerine, orange, and grapefruit. Certainly one of my top 10 IPAs in NE…which says a lot. Also, try Hair Razer and Wandering Thoughts.
Nightshift has something for everyone. Definitely one of the broadest breweries in terms of styles on this list cranking out a variety of styles and flavors. Nightshift is yet to really jump on the haze craze of NEIPAs but they do boast a solid array of classic citrusy and hoppy beers I love. Look for their flagships Whirlpool, The 87, Santilli, and their weise series of sours.