Drink Local Beer: Harpoon Brewery in Boston, MA

Drink Local BeerTwo things I love are beer and Boston. If I can combine the two, so much the better.

There’s been a boom of breweries in the Boston metro area in the last several years, with tons of new smaller shops adding excellent options to local taps. A few of my favorites are Slumbrew, Jack’s Abby, and Trillium Brewing. These new entrants to the beer market offer interesting twists on classic beer styles, like Jack’s Abby’s variations on the lager.

As awesome as these new breweries are, I’m not here to talk about them. I want to sing the praises of one of Boston’s more senior breweries: Harpoon. Here’s why:

Running

Me finishing the Harpoon 5-Miler in 2014.
Me finishing the Harpoon 5-Miler in 2014.

A third thing I love is running, and Harpoon throws one of the best races I run each year: The Harpoon 5-Miler. It’s always one of the first warm weather races of the year, and it features my favorite race distance followed by an outdoor beer fest. The course goes through some of the dry docks in South Boston which makes me feel like a character in a gritty movie. And, entry fees benefit the Angel Fund, a non-profit supporting ALS research. What’s not to love?

Charity Support

I'm positive this was Rich and Dan's, my brew of choice following the 5-Miler.
I’m positive this was Rich and Dan’s, my brew of choice following the 5-Miler.

The 5-Miler isn’t the only way Harpoon supports non-profits. They also have a program called Harpoon Helps that provides donations to non-profit groups as well as opportunities to rent their private beer tasting room for fundraisers. Several of my Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge teammates have gotten donations from Harpoon for their opportunity drawings, and I co-hosted an event at Harpoon with my Junior League group that raised money for Project Bread.

Community Events

My mug of beer from the most recent X-Night I attended. In background, evidence of the delicious pretzel I ate.
My mug of beer from the most recent X-Night I attended. In background, evidence of the delicious pretzel I ate.

Through their Friends of Harpoon program, Harpoon hosts regular community events at their beer hall. Before they expanded the space, these events were often free and would feature a new brew. One I’ll always remember paired their Oyster Stout with freshly shucked oysters displayed on a rowboat full of ice. So good.

Now that Harpoon has a giant German-style beer hall, their events take the form of X-Nights where they unveil new experimental beers. For a small fee, you get a mug of the new beer as well as a second draft of your choice, served in your personally engraved mug.

Beer

Still my favorite Harpoon event: Fresh oysters and oyster stout.
Still my favorite Harpoon event: Fresh oysters and oyster stout.

Harpoon’s beers, especially the IPA, are ubiquitous on tap in the Boston area, which I think makes people perceive them as “regular” beer–not worthy of notice. Harpoon actually has some excellent beers on offer. One of my favorites is the Rich and Dan’s Rye IPA, which I always enjoy after the 5-Miler race. If you’re drinking in their beer hall, you can order a sampler of Harpoon’s more experimental brews, which are always fun to try. One recent entry to that sampler made it to the main taps: UFO Gingerland. Another fun bonus of going to the beer hall is that you can ask the bartenders to suggest beer mixes, where they combine two complementary flavors. Depending on what’s on tap, they can make apple pie beer for you.

Drink Local

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to sample the local beers, and when I’m here in Boston, I like to support the hometown beers. Even as there are so many interesting new beers to try, I come back to Harpoon again and again, not just for their tasty beverages but also for how they support the local community. I encourage you to give them a taste.

Cheers!