What's the best packie in the Boston area?
April 6, 2007 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I have lived here for almost all of my adult life and don't know this-- What is the best package store in the Boston area for beer? I want something like Beers of the World outside Rochester, NY and I can't find it: beers from all over the world, and regional beers from the US. I know of some decent places, but nothing that makes me feel like I have just entered Mecca. Lets try to keep it in the 495 Loop, but I will drive further than that if the place sounds really fantastic. Baseball season is here and summer is coming so I am looking forward to some nice beer.
posted by Mayor Curley to Food & Drink (34 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
This might sound strange but what about Whole Foods? I don't live in the Northeast but as a beer connoisseur I found their selection about as good as it got when I lived in south Austin. They have the sales volume to move a lot of unusual beer.
posted by calhound at 9:51 AM on April 6, 2007


Blanchard's, at 103 Harvard St in Allston, is pretty serious about beer. Their keg list couldn't all fit on one page, last time I looked at it, and their beer selection was an adventure to wander around in.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:53 AM on April 6, 2007


Downtown Wine and Spirits in Davis Square is pretty good. They have a big selection of European and Microbrews.

You might also check out BeerAdvocate.com to see if they recommend anyone.
posted by MasonDixon at 9:54 AM on April 6, 2007


Colonial Spirits in Acton has something like 500 beers, as does Blanchard's in Allston/Brighton.
posted by fet at 9:54 AM on April 6, 2007


Oh, and Table & Vine in Northampton has over 500 as well.
posted by fet at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2007


Seconding Dowtown Wine and Spirits. I used to live right around the corner from them ... how I miss them now.
posted by pombe at 9:56 AM on April 6, 2007


Not huge, but locally I go to Downtown Wine & Spirits in Davis Square and Wine and Cheese Cask near Inman.
posted by neustile at 9:56 AM on April 6, 2007


Definitely Downtown Wine and Spirits.

Also Charles St Liquors on Beacon Hill has a huge selection.
posted by jdl at 10:05 AM on April 6, 2007


at one point I was looking for really obscure beer for a present. every shop I went to and didn't find what I wanted, they sent me to either Charles Street Liquors (143 Charles St., Boston) or Downtown in Davis.

And when I asked for more recommendations at these stores, they pointed at each other!
posted by whatzit at 10:08 AM on April 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cambridge Wine & Spirits (nee Mall Discount) isn't quite as big as Blanchard's, but it's pretty good, and much easier to drive to (if you're as scared of driving in Boston as I am).

Also possibly of interest: Boston Beer Map
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:12 AM on April 6, 2007


Kappy's in Wellington Circle.
When you walk in, turn right past the initial wine displays/bins, and check out the outside shelves of the last aisle on your left before the aisles become made of cases instead of shelves. That's where they keep their more unusual brews, including Chimays and Harpoon 100 barrel series.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 10:18 AM on April 6, 2007


If you're really serious about it, try calling and talking to someone over at the Beer Distributors of MA - if they don't know of places, then they can at least give you a name of someone to talk to at a major distributor.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 10:27 AM on April 6, 2007


Beeradvocate seems to be a great resource for finding local beer.

I know place that's pretty far outside 495, but if you're ever on the Masspike heading west, try Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge, Ma.
posted by saffry at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2007


Let me throw in another vote for Blanchards. Also, their generic Blanchards brand vodka is amazing, especially considering its ludicrous (cheap) price.
posted by Plutor at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2007


Third Downtown Wine & Spirits. Lots of fairly obscure imported stuff, a good selection of American microbrews, etc. [I will admit I've seen good selections in Whole Foods in other parts of the country, but I have no idea which Whole Foods in the Boston area are permitted to sell alcohol. Not the one I've been to in Cambridge, at least.]
posted by ubersturm at 10:59 AM on April 6, 2007


There's another Yankee spirits in Attleboro if that's closer to you!
posted by mkb at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2007


As a former employee and somewhat (probably too-) frequent patron of theirs, I'd have to second the recommendation to check out Blanchard's in Allston. You won't be disappointed by their micro and international beers and the prices are fair. Marty's down the block also has a fair selection but it doesn't really compare to Blanchard's. Also be sure to visit the Blanchards location in Allston, not the other Blanchard's stores throughout the city as they are owned by a different group of people and the stock is likely to be different as well.
posted by inoculatedcities at 11:23 AM on April 6, 2007


I will admit I've seen good selections in Whole Foods in other parts of the country, but I have no idea which Whole Foods in the Boston area are permitted to sell alcohol. Not the one I've been to in Cambridge, at least.

The Whole Foods on River Street (Cambridge) -- one block in from Memorial Drive has wine and beer.
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on April 6, 2007


Off-topic, but related --

Next weekend (Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14) is the Boston Beer Summit at the Castle at Park Plaza. Here's a list of beers that will be available.
posted by ericb at 11:37 AM on April 6, 2007


Its way outside the range you'd probably be willing to drive, but if you happen to be in RI anyway then pay a visit to Wakefield Liquors. Definitely the best selection I've ever seen. They downplay it a bit on the website, but they've seriously got everything. Reasonable prices too.
posted by blaneyphoto at 11:46 AM on April 6, 2007


I'm not a beer person, but I like going to Marty's in Newton for other alcohol, and I have friends who enjoy their beer. Their Mystery Packs are popular too. Some real losers, but sometimes real winners!

(And while you're in Newton, go two blocks down the street to get ice cream at Cabot's. Mmm...)
posted by olinerd at 11:50 AM on April 6, 2007


Lots of good responses, and fast! I'll investigate based on these!

(And while you're in Newton...)

The punchline is that I live in Newton.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:57 AM on April 6, 2007


Harpoon!
posted by buzzman at 11:57 AM on April 6, 2007


Beers of the World outside Rochester, NY

I used to love that place. Beers of the World, not Rochester, NY. Whole Foods has an OK selection.
posted by jeblis at 12:00 PM on April 6, 2007


Well, great, Mayor Curley. Ice cream for all!
posted by olinerd at 12:30 PM on April 6, 2007


I'm a big Harpoon fan, but they are not a diverse packie.

Now that I think about it, though, calling them would probably be a great way to find out about stores with good diversity of products, because they self-distribute in Boston. 888-HARPOON. The people who work there are really nice, so they'll probably be helpful.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 1:03 PM on April 6, 2007


Why go to a Packie? Boston Beerworks at Fenway and at North Station have Growlers to go. So does Rock Bottom in the Theater District.
posted by Gungho at 1:27 PM on April 6, 2007


You can also get growlers at CBC in Kendall Square.

If none of the above recommendations pan out, and that would surprise me, I'd go to Bukowski's in either Inman or Boylston and ask the bartenders. (Look for Max in Inman, first.)
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:00 PM on April 6, 2007


I don't know what qualifies as "nice beer" for you, but my Belgian-beer-snob boyfriend likes The Wine Gallery in Brookline Village. A smallish selection, so perhaps not quite Mecca, but very well-chosen brews. And hey, it's just a hop and a skip away from Newton.
posted by hilatron at 6:14 PM on April 6, 2007


Blanchard's and Colonial Liquors are both very good-- I hit both yesterday. I'll go to Downtown Liquors as soon as I can be bothered to cross the river.

Really I want Beers of the World, but it seems like these are as close as I will get.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:02 AM on April 8, 2007


Also John Harvards in Harvard Square sells growlers. See the nice thing about growlers is you can taste the beer before committing to a 1/2 gallon. I have had drought beers and their bottled counterparts and there is a vast difference. So why not get the real drought when possible.
posted by Gungho at 8:08 AM on April 8, 2007


Bunghole Liquors, conveniently located in Salem and Peabody.
posted by LilBucner at 11:56 AM on April 8, 2007


For the record, Martinetti's on Soldier's Field Road in Brighton has a decent selection at decent prices.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:37 PM on April 25, 2007


I went to Julio's Liquors on Rt. 9 in Westboro a couple weeks ago. Granted, it's pretty far west, but it's at least on par with Colonial Liquors in Acton. Even together they're not Beers of the World, but Julio's is worth a stop. So far my research suggests that Julio's and Colonial are tied for first with Blanchard's in third.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:04 PM on February 14, 2008


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