A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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Karen -

Here are my two cents..

- In terms of craft beer, there are a lot of places in Cambridge/Somerville area. There's this BBQ place called Red Bones in Somerville that has 15+ beers on tap, and most of them are local brews. You should also check out Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth, NH and/or Harpoon Brewery in Boston

- Old Orchard Beach in Maine is one of my favorite beaches, and they have a little arcade area for kids as well!

Marshall Guthrie -

Buy clipper City anywhere you can find it, Newport RI has it for sure. While there, check out Newport Storm brewery, do some wine tasting, and eat at scales and shells (they only take cash).

Fall River, MA has a great diner called "Al Macs".

Bristol, RI has great Chinese food at Jackie's Galaxy, and amazing seafood at Quitos.

It looks like you're hitting NY as well. Just moved from Poughkeepsie, so hit me up if you need tips there.

Keith -

Connecticut Beer Stores: Manchester and New London

Mystic is a great town to visit, family friendly with the Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium, but not much beery going on.

Mystic also has Sea Swirl for the clam shack experience.

Dave Selden -

If you're in the Boston area, a trip to the Cambridge Brewing Company is totally, totally worth it. Lots of barrel-aged beers on offer, including some sour stuff.

Tim -

Oh, I can sure help with any Cape Cod and Boston advice.

As Karen suggested, Redbones is a good choice. They actually have up to 30 beers on tap (28 taps and 1 or 2 casks). http://www.redbones.com/brews.html I'm no BBQ connoisseur but they do have excellent beer and atmosphere. (I've been there twice in the last week.)

There is a bottle shop with a great selection around the corner from Redbones, but their prices can be bit scary. If you can, stop at Julio's (http://www.juliosliquors.com/beer.htm) in Westborough, MA for one stop stashing.

Cambridge Brewing Company (http://cambridgebrewing.com/) is also a great option in Boston area, unique brewpub beer, good food and a nice outdoor patio.

On Cape Cod, high quality seafood and ice cream are not hard to find. Brax Landing (http://www.braxlanding.com/) in Harwich Port is a good bet for seafood. For ice cream go to Four Seas (http://fourseasicecream.com/) in Centerville or Sundae School in Dennisport.

I could go on and on and on... but email me if you need more suggestions or more specific advice.

CH -

Red Bones in Somerville for sure.....but on your way be sure to stop in Portland

Gary Gillman -

Definitely agree with Al Mac's which is a 1930's diner in an old mill town, the river views from the bridge are quite dramatic too. Try the (Portuguese-influenced) kale soup, outstanding - a meal in itself. Great food all-round, the chorico sausage with eggs is a must for breakfast.

I like Providence (perhaps 45 minutes from Fall River), it is easy to get around and not expensive. The area where Brown University is very attractive and good to walk in with the family, lots of good basic restaurants and ice cream places.

Off the main commercial strip in the Brown area is a superb beer store, PM me Alan if you ago and I'll get the name for you. Another (not far from Brown area but outside it) is Towne Liquors, which also has many fine beers.

In Providence, there are at least 3 brewpubs, all good. The one in the converted rail station would be ideal for the family, the food is good and not costly, but for a visit at night (or any time), my favourite is Trinity:


The revived Narragansett lager beer is a must-try in the area, it is very good on draft. Trinity brews the 'Gansett revival porter. It makes some big APAs too and always has something on handpump.

About an hour from Providence (sttill in R.I.) is the State beach, perfect for the family. Cape Cod is not too far either, but a longer trip. Newport with its great clams and other seafood also is not too far, and you can tour Millionaires Row, the famous old mansions of J.P. Morgan and others.

If it was me, I'd base myself in Providence and tour from there, maybe some nights on the Cape. Great area. At the end of the Cape is Provincetown, famous for its dunes in the area and art colony. It looks like an old English seaside town.

My wife and I were there some years ago and I found it largely unchanged from 35 years ago. You could bookend, some nights on the Cape, some nights in Provincetown.



Gray Gillman -

Alan, the link below is a great resource re Provincetown, it has it all.

I couldn't find quickly on the Internet the second beer store I mentioned but you will find it easily. Walk up on the main commercial street in the Brown University area (where the bookstores, coffee shops and restaurants are). On a side street off that main street, on the City-side, is a small-looking wine and spirits store, in a half-basement as I recall. It is across the street from a large corner restaurant with some outdoor seating, so easy to find it that way. The streets around are very nice, old gracious buildings and large trees. Brown is the Ivy League but the area is very approachable for families and August is an ideal time to go there.



Gary Gillman -

Oops, that accomodations/local attractions link I gave was for Provincetown, and I meant to give you one for Providence! (Similar names). Lots of Internet resources on Providence of course, so you'll easily find that if you decide to go there. The Cape has many interesting areas, Provincetown is certainly worth a visit but if it was me I'd base myself in Providence, R.I. and take in Newport, the beaches, and Fall River for Al Mac's. (There is also an American submarine you can tour in Fall River from the Second War, very interesting, the area was a big naval base in that period).


Gary Gillman -

Alan, here is the second store I mentioned, with a superb beer selection in a convenient area (Thayer Street area, which is the commercial street adjoining Brown University). The store is called Spiritus Fermenti.

I know the area reasonably well because we have relations in Providence.



Alan -

Thanks guys,

Kappy's on the Cape looks good as well.

Patrick Morrison -

Alan, have you see our recent special issue called Beer Traveler? We have a whole feature that spotlights 14 days in the Northeast from NYC to Portland, ME. It's still onsale at your local Borders, Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods and other beer retailers.

Alan -

Good point! I do have that in the library and will pull that out.

Mark -

Any trip to the Cape MUST include a visit to the Chatham Squire and a 'Gansett (it's the official beer of the clam!)

Pok -

Just got back from the Plymouth - Cape Cod - Boston tour.

The highlight was of course those fabulous CC beaches, whale watching and the always outrageous P-town. Seafood joints were plentiful but without exception way way WAY overpriced - I guess they have to make their money when the touro dollars are there.

Mayflower IPA from Plymouth Brewing was a really good staple on the trip. Everyone has harpoon on tap but it is hardly a memorable brew. All the Smuttynose stuff was good but really hard to find on tap anywhere.

Some lovely little pubs in Chatham, MA and Wellfleet, MA.

Pok -

Yes - the Chatham Squire should be placed into your GPS.

Pok -

The John Harvard Brew Pub in Cambridge, MA was quite good if you want to try their own micro brew stuff and the folks there are totally over the top beer nerds. I didn't know that you should never place milk into a glass you may serve beer in - and now i do.

Lou -

Not sure if you will be visiting Western Mass, but if you do here are some great stops:

BSO at Tanglewood - nothing like eating/drinking on the lawn while listening to a great concert

Beer Stores: Table & Vine in West Springfield and Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge have some of the best selections of beer I have ever seen

Amherst and Northampton both have their own breweries that are restaurants and you can try their beers too.

Have fun!

RunawayJim -

Providence (skip the chains, the local restaurants are fantastic):
Nikki's Liquors: Great little liquor store, awesome beer selection, awesome management.
Julian's: Excellent restaurant, excellent beer selection, family friendly, very "Providence".
Trinity Brewhouse: Best brewpub in Providence, but I only give it a "meh" as it's very hit or miss. Sometimes the beer is awesome, sometimes it tastes like shit. Same goes for the food.
Union Station Brewery: Another "meh". The food is pretty good, though on the pricey side IMO. The beer is always "meh" as it always tastes watered down.

Newport Storm is the only brewery in RI. The beer is just OK, but worth a try. Narragansett is not actually from RI other than the business office. It's brewed in NY or CT, but sold as a "RI beer". It's worth a try. It's our PBR. If you can find the Bock, that's a good one.

If you make it down to the southern part of the state, go to Aunt Carrie's or Iggy's in Point Judith for awesome seafood. You should definitely get some clam cakes and chowder and dunk. Iggy's doughboys make an awesome dessert.

My personal favorite beach is East Matunuck State Beach. The beaches in Narragansett get crowded, but Scarborough is the most popular beach in RI.

CT isn't really a great beer state, but if you can get to Willimantic, the brewpub there is awesome. New England Brewing outside New Haven is also awesome, and if you end up in New Haven you MUST get pizza there from either Sally's, Modern, or (my last choice as someone who grew up there) Pepe's (the most popular, but has gone downhill). Modern has New England Brewing beer to go with the pizza as well. I recommend the clams casino pizza. Sounds gross, but it's awesome. Bar also has great pizza and has a pretty decent brewpub as well. Don't go to Mystic Pizza. It's not that good. It's only popular because of the movie.