Craft beer has dramatically changed the bar scene in Boston. New bars that cater to craft beer fans are popping up in every neighborhood and feature diverse selections of local brews and hard to find national favorites. It hasn’t always been this way. When I first moved to Boston (over 10 years ago now, and yes that makes me feel old) a “good” craft beer selection was any bar that branched out beyond Sam Lager and Harpoon IPA. There were a few bars that catered to craft beer enthusiasts before that was the thing to do. One of the original Boston craft beer bars was Sunset Grill in Allston. Jammed between BU and BC, Allston isn’t the first place you would expect to find one of the better craft beer bars in Boston, but Sunset is inviting to college students and craft beer fans alike. Sunset Grill occupies a large space, with multiple seating areas on either side of a large bar. Sunset is more of a restaurant than strictly a bar, as they have an enormous menu that leans towards Tex-Mex fare. Try their nachos, widely considered amongst the best in the city. While the food can draw people to Sunset, it’s the beer menu that makes Sunset a destination.
I have established in my beer bar reviews that I tend to prefer bars with smaller but very well curated tap lists over bars with an overwhelming number of selections. I make some exceptions to that, and Sunset is one. Sunset Grill and Tap has one of the largest selections of beers in the city. Their constantly evolving beer menu is multiple pages. The back page is filled with draft selections and the rest of the menu displayed is an impressive array of bottles. On a recent visit my cousin and his friend focused on porters and stouts, I sampled saisons and my lovely wife drank IPAs. None of us came close to trying all of the selections in our particular style. The list covers everything from limited release draft beers brewed by local and nationally renowned brewers to a 40 oz of malt liquor in a paper bag. That is truly the full scope of what beer can be. While the selection at Sunset has always favored craft beers, it’s been refreshing how much they have embraced the recent proliferation of local breweries. On a recent visit there were selections from Jack’s Abby, Pretty Things, Mystic, Allagash, Clown Shoes, Cambridge Brewing Company, Maine Beer Co, and many more. If you haven’t made a trip to Sunset I highly recommend the journey to Allston, grab a plate of nachos and sample some great beer!