Beer Bar Review: Stoddard’s Pub, Boston

Bars featuring throwback themes, extensive and inventive cocktail menus, and local craft beer are all the rage right now, so it isn’t surprising to see a new bar that focuses on all three trends. Stoddard’s Pub, on Temple Place in Downtown Boston, covers all of these bases and more. Stoddard’s is located in a building built in 1868, that has gone through many tenants starting with it’s original occupant, a corset store. The history of the building is evident as soon as you walk in, with décor that pays homage to many of the former businesses that inhabited the space. The main room is dominated by a massive bar, fronted by a series of taps. The rest of the dining room features leather booths, destressed wood tables and galvanized steel windows. Much of the decor was reclaimed from historical sites around downtown Boston, giving a comforatble throw-back vibe. With the careful detail Stoddard’s put into the decor, it is no wonder that similar attention is paid to the menu. Stoddard’s features a full menu of food, with a smaller menu focused on snacks and sandwiches during lunch. My lovely wife and I ate lunch there this past weekend. All of the food was clearly fresh and well prepared. There is also an extensive menu of cocktails, ranging from traditional to experimental.

So, cool place, solid food, cocktails, all of this sounds good, but what about the beer (this is a beer blog after-all)? Stoddard’s beer menu is top notch. They have 20 drafts, a large selection of bottles, and up to five selections on cask. Cask ale, where the beer undergoes its secondary fermentation in the cask and is unfiltered, is currently undergoing a renaissance. Many traditional styles of ale were developed in casks before the development of pasteurization and metal kegs. Pasteurizing, filtering, and kegging beer in metal was cheaper and led to better quality control, so most breweries replaced casks. Now many craft brewers feel that serving ale out of a cask is more authetic and is worth the additional expense. Cask ales are typically hazy and lower in carbonation than beers out of a keg or bottle. There are still relatively few places in Boston that serve ale on cask, and Stoddard’s is one of the only places in the city with multiple cask selections.

As for the rest of the beer menu, it is exactly what you would hope for in a local craft beer bar. I am on record in stating that I prefer a place with a smaller and well thought out draft list to a place with a list that is enormous, but haphazard. Stoddard’s has a constantly changing draft menu, follow them on twitter (@stoddardspub) to get updates. On a recent visit there were local beers including selections from High and Mighty, Allagash, Peak Organic, Idle Hands, Mayflower, Jack’s Abby and Pretty Things. There were also craft beers from other parts of the country, including selections from Uinta, Troegs, Lagunitas, and Boulder. The styles also ran the gamut, with hop-bomb IPAs, dark malty stouts and funky Belgian ales all represented. If they don’t have a perfect style on draft to fit your taste, there is also a long and well-thought out list of bottled beers. With its diverse and thoughtful menu it is no surprise that Stoddard’s Pub has quickly established itself as a must-visit locale for craft beer lovers in the Boston area.

For Stoddard’s current selection of craft beers see:

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