New England is known for its abundance of great breweries, which in turn means that it also has a bunch of great beer bars. You might be asking: “Aren’t all bars beer bars?” Well, technically yes, but not all tap lists are created equal. So what makes a great beer bar? The obvious answer is that they have to have a wide selection of well-known brewery beer on tap. But what also sets the places in our list apart from the rest is that they also have delicious food and a vibe that makes you want to stay for that one extra round.
We really wonder how many mechanics there used to be back in the day, because it seems like every brewery and beer bar is located in an old garage. Brewer’s Fork is no exception. Just like the breweries that carefully craft the beers that are on tap, Brewer’s Fork carefully crafts every part of your experience. The speciality here is the Neapolitan-style pizza. The crust is super thin, which means you can take an entire pizza to the face and not feel bad. These are far from South Shore bar style pizzas. Our favorite is the Killa B, which had a red sauce base with hot honey and genoa salami. The hot honey adds an addicting heat to each bite. When it comes to the “pineapple on pizza” debate, we are strongly on the side of Hawaiian pizza, so we had to try the holiday ham pizza. This is quite the step up from the fiery Hawaiian pizza we used get from Domino’s at 2 AM in the dorms. Instead of a deli ham it has prosciutto, and to add extra sweetness it’s drizzled with a mustard and brown sugar glaze.
We would come here for the pizza alone, but the real reason why Brewer’s Fork is on the list is because of their killer tap list. They constantly have some of the best beers from around New England (and the U.S.) flowing through their lines. Vitamin Sea is easily one of our top breweries, and Brewer’s Fork is one of the few spots around that has the privilege of having them on tap. While we visited we were lucky enough to try their blueberry maple pancake sour from their sour pipe series. You can also expect them to have fire from Toppling Goliath, J.Wakefield, and other heavy hitters across the nation. The kegs are constantly being rotated, and they don’t post their tap list online, so you never know what gems you will find.
A rule of thumb we live by is that if the menu is written in chalk, then the place is probably good. With almost 40 beers on draft, Tip Tap Room has to have one of the most extensive draft lists in the city. There is something here to please everyone, not just the juice heads. From farmhouse ales, to lambic, and everything in between, even your most picky beer drinker will find something here that they like.
Of course, this spot is known for its steak tips & swordfish tips. At Tip Tap Room, you name it, and they will “tip it.” They also have creative twists on classic bar food. The best example of this is their Korean chicken wings. These meaty wings are drenched in chili citrus, which pairs perfectly with a draft pour. Also, when we saw the boar meatballs we couldn’t help but try them out. Are these meatballs for everyone? Probably not. But we thoroughly enjoyed these gamey meatballs, which came in a savory cilantro broth.
Lulu’s is an Allston staple that has some of the best brewery connections in the game. You can expect local legends like Trillium, Widowmaker, and others on tap– and you never know what other heavy hitters from across the U.S. they will have each day. We have seen Burley Oak and their ridiculous sours, Cinderlands juice bombs, and Weldwerk (a Colorado heavyweight). And if you really like the beer, Lulu’s offers growlers to go. You heard that right, growlers aren’t dead just yet! They also usually have a few four packs of hard-to-get beers. For example, they were recently offering a fruit bomb from Mortalis.
When it comes to food, they are known for their smash burger. The patties are smashed down onto the grill top and cooked extra thin. In our opinion, the garlic parm smash burger is the move. Topped with bacon and covered in a garlic parm sauce, it’s a match made in heaven for a beer. Another great drinking food is their duck confit poutine. The gravy is thick and hearty, the hand-cut fries are a strong base, and the duck confit is essentially a gamier version of a carnitas.