Back to Boston for Beer (Elvis Costello) #BrewedAwakening

By / Wine + Drinks / November 17th, 2018 / 6

Although we’ve lived close to the border for 20 years here in New Brunswick, and 12 years before that in Hamilton, Ontario, we’ve rarely crossed it.  To be honest I prefer to drive the 4 hours to Halifax, as it has just as good a beer scene as any city in the eastern US, plus a local wine scene, great dining, live music, and my family is nearby.  It’s also a beautiful coastal area, and it’s Canada.

Sometimes we do cross, to go to Portland or Boston, but it is always for music, not beer, although I do seek out the good local beer when I’m there…   We went to Portland for They Might be Giants and have crossed a couple times for Elvis Costello, including last month to Boston.

Going down there is fun, and surprisingly foreign, considering it’s so close. Americans are very different from us, and this is not just a matter of accent and politics. There is a different feel there, and it is hard to describe. Either way, it is slightly exotic, even visiting the relatively sleepy Maine.

We had to stop over on the way due to a late leaving, and chose the capital, the small city of Augusta. This was fortuitous, as it allowed us a nice supper at Cushnoc Brewing in the downtown, near the Kennebec river. They have tasty beer and great wood oven pizzas, and we received lovely service. Go there.

The weather was frightful in Boston, so we didn’t go to as many beer destinations as desired, but did check out Cheeky Monkey right next to Fenway Park.  We had terrific service, the beer was quite good (I enjoyed their Down Undah Pale Ale), and the food was truly of the comfort variety, which we needed in that weather.

The next day we visited the gorgeous, historic Stoddard’s Fine Food & Ale, close to the Boston Common. I loved this place! They do cask ale right – the Mayflower Porter was on point – and have a beautiful, huge, ornate wooden bar and a shiny tin ceiling. It really feels like an old world pub and the staff were super friendly.

The bar at Stoddard’s

At Stoddard’s the bartender recommended a lager from lager specialist Jack’s Abby, from nearby Framington, their crisp and lean House Lager. It was just what I needed.


On the way home I stopped at the impressive Stompers in Holden, not far from the border, and picked up a good selection of beer, including cans of the Jack’s Abby House Lager.

Yes, I went to Boston for music, but the beer made the trip extra special.








Craig Pinhey discovered good drink circa 1985 at Ginger’s Tavern/Granite Brewery in Halifax and has been writing about beer, wine and spirits for 25 years. A Certified Sommelier and BJCP judge, Craig lives in New Brunswick where he runs his own writing and consulting business and is the beverage columnist for Brunswick News. He is the only person to have judged all of the national wine, spirits and beer awards of Canada.

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