In the rolling hills north and west of Boston are several commendable brewpubs. But I’d also recommend nearby Allston’s busy blue-collar tequila-beer joint, Sunset Grill & Tap, a Brighton Avenue corner dining spot with vintage saloon-styled exterior mural, magnanomous 400 bottled beer selection, discriminating 100 tap beer option, and 21 billiard tables. Beer coasters, taps, and bottles lined brick walls and full yards of ale were available.

About 20 miles north of Beantown lies sleepy port town, Ipswich, known not only for its clams and fishing, but also excellent brewery. Head brewer James Dorau has annually supplied my family with fantastic Ipswich brews at MERCURY BREWING COMPANY (which also brews lighter-bodied Stone Cat’s and does contract brewing for Fisherman’s Brew). During one 2008 trip, the kind-hearted Dorau handed me a case of unlabeled beers that were just hanging ’round. We had previously got together at Brooklyn’s Barcade, Thanksgiving weekend ’07, to quaff a few previously untried brews during his visit to New York City.

Found incomparable unpasteurized half-gallon Ipswich brews at local Marcorella’s Liquors on Route 1A. During ‘00/’01 Cape Cod summer trips, enjoyed Ipswich IPA, Porter, and Stout growlers while swimming pristine beaches near Provincetown or watching drive-in theatre films (ironically, the Cape Cod-based Perfect Storm on first trip).

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