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A flight of beer in Lamplighter Brewing-branded glasses sits on a bar, with brewing equipment visible in the background
Lamplighter’s taproom is currently closed, but you can pick up its Helles lager Giants Under the Sun at the Lamplighter retail counter or get it shipped within Massachusetts
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

12 Great Local Beers That Aren’t Hazy, Juicy New England IPAs

Spend the summer seeking out saisons, lagers, and more excellent beers brewed in and around Boston

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Lamplighter’s taproom is currently closed, but you can pick up its Helles lager Giants Under the Sun at the Lamplighter retail counter or get it shipped within Massachusetts
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

There is certainly a time and a place for a heady, hazy, juicy New England IPA. These mildly bitter, often funky, and sometimes quite sweet beers pair great with salty foods, for example, especially with pizza. This variety of IPA enjoys a loyal fanbase in Greater Boston; a cohort of the area’s most celebrated breweries enjoy a sort of cult status for their outputs of this variety of IPA.

Over the course of the past decade, the heady, hazy, juicy New England IPA variety has transformed itself from a delicious but still relatively obscure tasting room darling into a beer that dominates draft lists at bars — even bars that are not particularly hip — and shelf space at package stores. Finding a decent locally brewed kolsch — at a bar, in a package store — is a near impossibility, but there is no shortage of choice when it comes to New England IPAs. (If you don’t like this, you can probably just blame the nerds on Beeradvocate.com.)

New England IPA orthodoxy notwithstanding, it’s not the only kind of beer that local breweries are producing. Here are 12 excellent local beers that are definitely, absolutely not New England IPAs — and notes on where to get them right now.

Please note that a number of Massachusetts dining and drinking venues have resumed dine-in service, and the level of service at the below taprooms, breweries, and brewpubs is offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases in the area, please visit the Massachusetts coronavirus website.

Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ipswich Ale Brewery: Farm House

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2 Soffron Ln
Ipswich, MA 01938
(978) 356-3182
Visit Website

This North Shore brewery is perhaps best known for its eponymous ale, but the star of its roster is Farm House, a saison. An homage to beer originally brewed by farmers in Wallonia — the French-speaking part of Belgium — Ipswich’s version is slightly spicy and citrusy, with a creamy finish typical of a good saison. This beer pairs incredibly well with oysters and is available year-round.

Availability: Ipswich Ale Brewery’s restaurant, the Brewer’s Table, is currently open for takeout as well as indoor and outdoor dining. Farm House is available on draft and for purchase onsite in crowlers, cases, and six-packs. It’s also available at stores around the region.

2. Notch Brewery & Tap Room: Zwickel

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283R Derby St
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 412-7674
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Another North Shore brewery, only this time it’s the Zwickel we’re after. This unfiltered German pale lager is simultaneously sweet and dry and goes great with grilled meat, especially sausages. It’s available year-round.

Availability: Notch is currently offering curbside pickup for beer to go, as well as contactless beer and food table service outdoors in the brewery’s biergarten. Zwickel is currently on tap at the biergarten but not available for curbside pickup. Notch distributes throughout Massachusetts and Maine.

3. Idle Hands Craft Ales: Evelyn

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89 Commercial St
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 333-6070
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Idle Hands’ Evelyn pale lager (brewed in conjunction with Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen in Brighton) is light and refreshing, with the slightest hint of lemon on the finish. It’s good with pretty much everything and is especially well-suited for a good old-fashioned New England clam bake.

Availability: Evelyn isn’t currently on tap at Idle Hands or available for curbside pickup (the taproom is currently offering onsite consumption on the patio as well as some cans and bottles to go), but you might spot it in area stores such as Downtown Wine & Spirits in Somerville’s Davis Square (which delivers within a five-mile radius).

4. Night Shift Brewing: Night Lite

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87 Santilli Hwy
Everett, MA 02149
(617) 294-4233
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Most know Night Shift for its roster of IPAs, but do not sleep on its light beer offering, aptly named Night Lite. It’s sold in one of the best beer cans in the game — the Night Shift owl is crafted with colorful dots, which resemble the nodes on a Lite-Brite board — and at 4.3 percent alcohol-by-volume, it functions as a well-crafted replacement for Bud Light (or whatever other mediocre-to-bad light domestic lager is typical of summer cookouts).

Availability: As one of Night Shift’s year-round, core offerings, Night Lite is always available at the taprooms and many local stores (Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and New York). Night Shift is currently offering pickup from its Everett taproom, including four-packs, 12-packs, and cases of Night Lite (and lots more). Four- and 12-packs are also available from the Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, taproom, and it’s also on draft there for patio service. Night Shift is also offering home delivery throughout the Boston area; watch Instagram for updates on which areas get deliveries on which days.

5. Aeronaut Brewing Company: Sister Alva

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14 Tyler St
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 987-4236
Visit Website

Aeronaut’s Sister Alva is a dry-hopped golden ale fermented with Belgian yeast that gives it a pleasant but not overwhelming fruitiness. (And If you insist on getting an IPA in addition to this excellent beer, try Aeronaut’s most beloved beer, A Year With Dr. Nandu.)

Availability: Aeronaut’s courtyard is currently open, and the brewery is also selling beers to go (pickup and delivery available; details here). Sister Alva is available on draft and to go.

6. Lamplighter Brewing Co.: Giants Under the Sun

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284 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 945-0450
Visit Website

Lamplighter’s Giants Under the Sun is a low alcohol-by-volume, eminently crushable Helles lager. It’s floral and malty and is best imbibed ice cold and in the sun.

Availability: Four-packs of Giants Under the Sun are currently available for pickup at Lamplighter’s daily retail counter or shipping within Massachusetts. (The taproom is closed to onsite consumption at the moment.) You may also find it at one of Lamplighter’s accounts in and around Boston, Cambridge, and elsewhere in Massachusetts, along with some stores in New York City.

7. Cambridge Brewing Company: Cambridge Amber

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1 Kendall Square Bldg 100
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 494-1994
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Cambridge Brewing Company makes the best amber ale in the area, period. It exhibits the same toasty, caramel flavors typical of American ambers.

Availability: Cambridge Amber is available on tap or via growler at Cambridge Brewing Company, which is currently offering table service indoors and on the (dog-friendly) patio as well as takeout.

8. Dorchester Brewing Company: Helles Bier

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1250 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 514-0900
Visit Website

The roof deck at Dorchester Brewing Company is going to be one of the best places to hang in the city sometime in the future when it is safe to gather in crowds again. (It is currently open, albeit with capacity limits, masks, etc. as dictated by state guidelines.) For now, the easiest move is to pick up a four-pack of its excellent Helles lager, Helles Bier, and some food from onsite barbecue restaurant M&M BBQ.

Availability: The taproom is open, both indoors and out, for onsite consumption, and takeout and delivery are also available. Helles Bier is available to go in four-packs as well as mixed six-packs; find ordering links and details here. Onsite, it’s available in a sampler size, full pour, and part of a flight.

9. Turtle Swamp Brewing: All Ears

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3377 Washington St
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-0038
Visit Website

Turtle Swamp has an impressive roster of beers, which includes one of the best hazy IPAs in Greater Boston. Alas, this map is not about all that. Instead, opt for the dry-hopped golden lager, which is made with malt and hops produced by growers in Massachusetts.

Availability: Turtle Swamp has outdoor seating available at its original Jamaica Plain location as well as at its beer garden in Roslindale, which also has indoor seating. Pickup from JP (walk in or preorder) and delivery (Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Dedham, Somerville) are also available. While four-packs and cases of All Ears are listed on the pickup and delivery order form, they were sold out as of press time. Drinkers may have luck finding them at one of these area stores.

10. Jack's Abby: House Lager

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100 Clinton St
Framingham, MA 01702
(508) 872-0900
Visit Website

The perfect beer doesn’t exi...

Just kidding, the perfect beer absolutely does exist, and it’s Jack’s Abby’s house lager. This golden lager is perfectly balanced — quite malty, and the slightest bit bitter — and it is the kind of beer that you’ll want to have in your fridge at all times.

Availability: The House Lager, available year-round, is easy to find; try the beer locator to zero in on all the local stores that are currently carrying it. Plus, the beer garden is currently open (with the House Lager and many other options on tap), and six-packs are available for takeout.

11. Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company: Goody Two Shoes

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81 Morton St
Framingham, MA 01702
(508) 202-9297
Visit Website

As stated above, a good kolsch is hard to find. Lucky for everyone in Greater Boston, Exhibit ‘A’ exists. Its Goody Two Shoes is almost impossibly dry, with an ever-so-slightly fruity nose. It pairs excellently with any and all spicy foods.

Availability: Goody Two Shoes is available year-round. Pick up a four-pack or case at the taproom, or drink onsite at the outdoor beer garden.

12. Castle Island Brewing Co.: American Lager

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31 Astor Ave
Norwood, MA 02062
(781) 951-2029
Visit Website

Castle Island’s American Lager is made in the tradition of Bohemian pilsners — think Pilsner Urquell — and is crisp and malty sweet. This beer is award-winning for a reason.

Availability: American Lager is available in six-packs for curbside pickup, or watch for it at many stores around Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

1. Ipswich Ale Brewery: Farm House

2 Soffron Ln, Ipswich, MA 01938

This North Shore brewery is perhaps best known for its eponymous ale, but the star of its roster is Farm House, a saison. An homage to beer originally brewed by farmers in Wallonia — the French-speaking part of Belgium — Ipswich’s version is slightly spicy and citrusy, with a creamy finish typical of a good saison. This beer pairs incredibly well with oysters and is available year-round.

Availability: Ipswich Ale Brewery’s restaurant, the Brewer’s Table, is currently open for takeout as well as indoor and outdoor dining. Farm House is available on draft and for purchase onsite in crowlers, cases, and six-packs. It’s also available at stores around the region.

2 Soffron Ln
Ipswich, MA 01938

2. Notch Brewery & Tap Room: Zwickel

283R Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

Another North Shore brewery, only this time it’s the Zwickel we’re after. This unfiltered German pale lager is simultaneously sweet and dry and goes great with grilled meat, especially sausages. It’s available year-round.

Availability: Notch is currently offering curbside pickup for beer to go, as well as contactless beer and food table service outdoors in the brewery’s biergarten. Zwickel is currently on tap at the biergarten but not available for curbside pickup. Notch distributes throughout Massachusetts and Maine.

283R Derby St
Salem, MA 01970

3. Idle Hands Craft Ales: Evelyn

89 Commercial St, Malden, MA 02148

Idle Hands’ Evelyn pale lager (brewed in conjunction with Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen in Brighton) is light and refreshing, with the slightest hint of lemon on the finish. It’s good with pretty much everything and is especially well-suited for a good old-fashioned New England clam bake.

Availability: Evelyn isn’t currently on tap at Idle Hands or available for curbside pickup (the taproom is currently offering onsite consumption on the patio as well as some cans and bottles to go), but you might spot it in area stores such as Downtown Wine & Spirits in Somerville’s Davis Square (which delivers within a five-mile radius).

89 Commercial St
Malden, MA 02148

4. Night Shift Brewing: Night Lite

87 Santilli Hwy, Everett, MA 02149

Most know Night Shift for its roster of IPAs, but do not sleep on its light beer offering, aptly named Night Lite. It’s sold in one of the best beer cans in the game — the Night Shift owl is crafted with colorful dots, which resemble the nodes on a Lite-Brite board — and at 4.3 percent alcohol-by-volume, it functions as a well-crafted replacement for Bud Light (or whatever other mediocre-to-bad light domestic lager is typical of summer cookouts).

Availability: As one of Night Shift’s year-round, core offerings, Night Lite is always available at the taprooms and many local stores (Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and New York). Night Shift is currently offering pickup from its Everett taproom, including four-packs, 12-packs, and cases of Night Lite (and lots more). Four- and 12-packs are also available from the Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, taproom, and it’s also on draft there for patio service. Night Shift is also offering home delivery throughout the Boston area; watch Instagram for updates on which areas get deliveries on which days.

87 Santilli Hwy
Everett, MA 02149

5. Aeronaut Brewing Company: Sister Alva

14 Tyler St, Somerville, MA 02143

Aeronaut’s Sister Alva is a dry-hopped golden ale fermented with Belgian yeast that gives it a pleasant but not overwhelming fruitiness. (And If you insist on getting an IPA in addition to this excellent beer, try Aeronaut’s most beloved beer, A Year With Dr. Nandu.)

Availability: Aeronaut’s courtyard is currently open, and the brewery is also selling beers to go (pickup and delivery available; details here). Sister Alva is available on draft and to go.

14 Tyler St
Somerville, MA 02143

6. Lamplighter Brewing Co.: Giants Under the Sun

284 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

Lamplighter’s Giants Under the Sun is a low alcohol-by-volume, eminently crushable Helles lager. It’s floral and malty and is best imbibed ice cold and in the sun.

Availability: Four-packs of Giants Under the Sun are currently available for pickup at Lamplighter’s daily retail counter or shipping within Massachusetts. (The taproom is closed to onsite consumption at the moment.) You may also find it at one of Lamplighter’s accounts in and around Boston, Cambridge, and elsewhere in Massachusetts, along with some stores in New York City.

284 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

7. Cambridge Brewing Company: Cambridge Amber

1 Kendall Square Bldg 100, Cambridge, MA 02139

Cambridge Brewing Company makes the best amber ale in the area, period. It exhibits the same toasty, caramel flavors typical of American ambers.

Availability: Cambridge Amber is available on tap or via growler at Cambridge Brewing Company, which is currently offering table service indoors and on the (dog-friendly) patio as well as takeout.

1 Kendall Square Bldg 100
Cambridge, MA 02139

8. Dorchester Brewing Company: Helles Bier

1250 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02125

The roof deck at Dorchester Brewing Company is going to be one of the best places to hang in the city sometime in the future when it is safe to gather in crowds again. (It is currently open, albeit with capacity limits, masks, etc. as dictated by state guidelines.) For now, the easiest move is to pick up a four-pack of its excellent Helles lager, Helles Bier, and some food from onsite barbecue restaurant M&M BBQ.

Availability: The taproom is open, both indoors and out, for onsite consumption, and takeout and delivery are also available. Helles Bier is available to go in four-packs as well as mixed six-packs; find ordering links and details here. Onsite, it’s available in a sampler size, full pour, and part of a flight.

1250 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02125

9. Turtle Swamp Brewing: All Ears

3377 Washington St, Boston, MA 02130

Turtle Swamp has an impressive roster of beers, which includes one of the best hazy IPAs in Greater Boston. Alas, this map is not about all that. Instead, opt for the dry-hopped golden lager, which is made with malt and hops produced by growers in Massachusetts.

Availability: Turtle Swamp has outdoor seating available at its original Jamaica Plain location as well as at its beer garden in Roslindale, which also has indoor seating. Pickup from JP (walk in or preorder) and delivery (Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Dedham, Somerville) are also available. While four-packs and cases of All Ears are listed on the pickup and delivery order form, they were sold out as of press time. Drinkers may have luck finding them at one of these area stores.

3377 Washington St
Boston, MA 02130

10. Jack's Abby: House Lager

100 Clinton St, Framingham, MA 01702

The perfect beer doesn’t exi...

Just kidding, the perfect beer absolutely does exist, and it’s Jack’s Abby’s house lager. This golden lager is perfectly balanced — quite malty, and the slightest bit bitter — and it is the kind of beer that you’ll want to have in your fridge at all times.

Availability: The House Lager, available year-round, is easy to find; try the beer locator to zero in on all the local stores that are currently carrying it. Plus, the beer garden is currently open (with the House Lager and many other options on tap), and six-packs are available for takeout.

100 Clinton St
Framingham, MA 01702

11. Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company: Goody Two Shoes

81 Morton St, Framingham, MA 01702

As stated above, a good kolsch is hard to find. Lucky for everyone in Greater Boston, Exhibit ‘A’ exists. Its Goody Two Shoes is almost impossibly dry, with an ever-so-slightly fruity nose. It pairs excellently with any and all spicy foods.

Availability: Goody Two Shoes is available year-round. Pick up a four-pack or case at the taproom, or drink onsite at the outdoor beer garden.

81 Morton St
Framingham, MA 01702

12. Castle Island Brewing Co.: American Lager

31 Astor Ave, Norwood, MA 02062

Castle Island’s American Lager is made in the tradition of Bohemian pilsners — think Pilsner Urquell — and is crisp and malty sweet. This beer is award-winning for a reason.

Availability: American Lager is available in six-packs for curbside pickup, or watch for it at many stores around Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

31 Astor Ave
Norwood, MA 02062

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