Dining » Vol. 55

Get your beer from the source

By Kerry Cyganiewicz

Over the past five years, an interesting transformation has taken place in the area. Once upon a time, to purchase craft beer, you had a choice of going to one of the few liquor stores that carried it or going to a restaurant that served it. As time went by, not only has craft beer become easier to find, but breweries have opened up locally and have begun to sell their beer directly to you, the consumer.

Some breweries just sell their beer to go. Other breweries sell their beer to go but also have small taprooms for on-site consumption. Other breweries offer food or live entertainment. Below I’ve listed some of my personal favorite local breweries to visit, not just for their beers but for the entire experience they offer their patrons. All of these belong on your to-visit list. Cheers!

3cross brewing
26 Cambridge St., Worcester • 3crossbrewing.com
I’ve written before about Dave and his brewery in the space that used to house the former Playoff Arcade. If you haven’t been here yet, you are missing out on the ground floor of what I think will be the next big thing. I’m starting to see 3cross beers around the city, and the company just upgraded to more and larger equipment – which means more beer – and there is a never-ending stream of quality live music. As far as food goes, occasionally there will be food trucks here, but don’t count on it unless it’s listed on the website.  The brewery does allow you to bring your own food or have it delivered. With all of the great restaurants in Worcester, this is like an inverted BYOB – a BYOF. 3cross is currently serving old-school, mixed-in-front-of-you, non-alcoholic fountain sodas, kombucha and whatever Dave has on tap at the moment, usually about four selections. Seriously, go here.

Medusa Brewing Company
111 Main St., Hudson  • medusabrewing.com
There were 10 selections here when I visited, with something for everyone – a few hoppy selections, a saison, a cream ale and a couple Belgian selections. Medusa is another BYOF establishment with an occasional food truck visitor. The brewer, Keith, has won numerous awards across a wide spectrum of brewing styles. What that means is Medusa isn’t a one-trick pony. Whatever you order here is going to be, at a minimum, a very good beer, with many of the beers being world-class. Many of the better beer bars in the area serve Medusa’s beer, which speaks volumes to the quality. The Czech pilsner won an international beer competition recently. Medusa beer is available for on-site consumption and to go in growlers. There are also expanded hours now!

Kretchman
9 Frederick St., Webster • kbcbrewing.com
You would drive right by this hidden gem if you didn’t know it was here. It is right behind the Webster Post Office on Main Street. This establishment has a BYOF policy, as well, and has one of the best outdoor beer gardens I have ever seen. Outdoor fireplaces, tents, tables – you name it. As far as beverages go, Brian, the brewer/owner, gravitates towards German beers; however, there is a beverage here for everyone. Sangria, kombucha, hard sodas, meads, various spirits, craft beers brewed outside of Kretchman and Kretchman’s own brews. Did I mention there is also live music? Kretchman beer is available to go in growlers, as well.

Jack’s Abby
100 Clinton St., Framingham • jacksabby.com
A close friend recently asked for a recommendation, which was the inspiration for this entire article. He asked for a brewery to visit – with some conditions. It had to serve food, as well as serve beer that casual beer-drinkers and craft beer aficionados would enjoy. One place came to mind within a reasonable driving distance, and this is it. You can get you a simple meal or go as fancy as you like. Some current examples include a pizza called Old Reliable and another called Farmers Market with Goat Cheese. You could have a basic Caesar Salad or Smoked Cod and Parsnip Chowder. Framingham Lager is a drinkable American lager and, at the other end of the spectrum, is coffee barrel-aged Framinghammer. Jack’s does not allow BYOF, but it does allow beer to go in growlers, bottles and cans.

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