Friday, September 11, 2009

Beantown Beers

Who needs Cambridge, England when Cambridge, Mass. is just a few hours away! The Harvard vibe is reminiscent of the U.K. university and the beers we sampled in the neighborhood just as good. First stop was the Cambridge branch of Back Bay’s Bukowski Tavern, located in Inman Square, which boasts upwards of 130 beers as well as some rotating specials. Named for the beat poet/barfly (yes, the Micky Rourke character was based on him), this former garage has doors which roll up to take advantage of the weather and is decorated with a mural of the author and his typewriter. There’s even a wheel of beer for those times you just can’t make up your mind (beware the tab for these surprise picks!) We only had time to sample one draft each with our lunches – cask-conditioned Dogfish 75 Minute IPA from Delaware and a BBC Lost Sailor IPA from Mass. – downed with the aptly named and very good Barfly Burger and California Burger. Bukowski’s is apparently well known for their peanut butter burger but couldn’t go there. The bar also has a Dead Authors Club which credits each beer toward an engraved mug for use at the bar (sound familiar?) so we will be back to try some of their Imperial Bottle series- especially looking forward to the 2006 Pripps Carnegie Porter from Sweden ($13.50). Followed up with a quick visit to the Druid a few doors down – very authentic Irish atmosphere and accents with a few select beers including Brooklyn Ale on tap.

Back in Boston proper we loved the food and atmosphere at several of chef Barbara Lynch’s restaurants – pasta shrine Sportello, downstairs hot spot Drink, where we sampled Gritty McDuff’s Pale Ale from Maine, and 9 Beacon, in a townhouse overlooking the Commons where the mixologists plied us with exotic cocktails as well as Brooklyn Local 2 and Fin de Monde. The food is fantastic at all three and the bartenders at the latter couldn’t be friendlier and more knowledgeable about their wares. They have assured us the beer selection will be expanding in the near future. A great place to spend an evening with your cocktail loving managing partners!

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