Known for its traditional Irish pubs, Boston has recently become a haven for beer nerds, a self-described group for whom one kind of lager or stout is not enough. The journey to find the next great craft beer can occupy an entire weekend (or a few hours at work stalking a bar’s Twitter feed), and there are plenty of destinations from which to choose. Today’s beer bars are an eclectic group offering everything from hopped-up, West Coast IPAs to rare Belgian and German brews. And local brewers from the Bay State and New England are represented all over town. The bars themselves range from dark, subterranean hideouts to pizza restaurants, but the common thread is an emphasis on tap and bottle lists.
Here are the things to look for in a good beer bar: selection and rotation, ambience, service (bartenders aren’t just pouring your brew, they also need to be able to talk about it), food (Buffalo wings are not good enough), and pricing. Other issues inevitably crop up, of course, but this a good place to start. I’ve limited my selections to the metro Boston area.