Baseball season has officially started and I am a huge Red Sox fan so you can expect a number of reviews highlighting bars in shouting distance of Fenway Park. Fenway Park has done a solid job expanding their craft beer selection, but at $9.75 a pop I try to limit my beer consumption at the actual game. The majority of beer bar reviews on this site will be local bars, I tend to prefer them over national chains. That being said, I did have a chance to stop by the Yard House in Boston a week ago and thought it was worth a write-up. The Yard House is a chain focusing on an extensive selection of draft beer, with locations in 19 states including three in MA. The Boston location occupies the space on Brookline Ave that used to be Boston Billiards, a massive restaurant just steps from Fenway. The room is impressive, large, open and dominated by a gigantic rectangular bar. There is also outdoor seating in the back, perfect for the nice weather to come. The bar tends to be a little dark, with a soundtrack populated by classic rock just loud enough to provide atmosphere without drowning out conversation. One of the reasons for the large bar is the number of tap lines, over 100 different beers on draft.
My wife and I went to the Yard House a couple years ago when it first opened and were disappointed by the beer selection, they seemed to have every macro lager and nationally distributed craft beer, but nothing that was locally based or outside the box. On a more recent visit I was glad to see that the selection has improved significantly. They still have all of the mass produced fizzy yellow beers, and you can buy them in massive “half yard” glasses if you want to re-live your college frat party days. Once you get past that, there is a well crafted menu of craft beers (click HERE for the full menu). Local beer is now well represented, with brews from Jack’s Abby, Mayflower, Slumbrew, Allagash, Cisco, Long Trail, Wormtown, Clown Shoes and many more. There is also a wide range of nationally distributed craft beers like Stone, Lagunitas, Southern Tier, Ommegang and Founders. There is an extensive range of styles, including some barrel aged and sour selections. The Yard House even brews their own beer, and has four taps dedicated to their house choices.* The taps rotate, so there is a number of limited release and seasonal beers. While I tend to prefer a smaller and well thought out beer list, there is something to be said for having a ton of taps to choose from. The Yard House is a great place to grab a couple beers before a game. It’s also a good place if you’re going out with a group of friends with a mixture of craft beer enthusiasts and macro-lager die hards. I will keep the Yard House on my list of Fenway pre and post game hangouts.
*=Correction: According to astute reader and twitter follower @churchyardbeer, The Yard House doesn’t brew their own beer. Instead it is contract brewed and sold under their label. Thought it was worth pointing out.