Less than an hour north of Boston proper sits the Lord Hobo brewery, in Woburn, MA, brewing a handful of variations on the IPA theme, perhaps most notably Boomsauce, an American IPA, or Consolation Prize, a double. If you’ve only got a scant few hours in Boston, however, and you can’t make it to their taproom for free samples, you might hit the pub that launched it all, in Cambridge, only about 20 minutes from the airport. With 40+ taps featuring their own brews on draft as well as some of New England’s best local options, Lord Hobo is the world class pub that launched owner Daniel Lanigan’s Hobo empire.
With barely enough time to land, head to a reunion and take off again the next morning, I thought, why not stop at one of America’s best bars on the way to the party? By outward appearance a corner dive, Lord Hobo sports a cozy, well-appointed interior – especially on chilly fall evenings. With local art on the walls and affable bartenders, you immediately get the feel of a welcoming neighborhood rendezvous. I settled into a quiet table in the corner for a pint of the powerfully aromatic Boomsauce.
As craft beer and gastropubs pervade the more potulent side of the retail industry – with chalkboard menus and subway tile and numerous taps and knowledgeable staff on every corner – how does one narrow the entire country down to a list of the 100 best spots for beer? It used to be enough maybe to merely have clean lines and a decent bottle list. You can have 100 taps but if you’re indiscriminate in your selections, taking the good with the bad, or even including macro swill, you’re just a World of Beer. I’d rather have fewer taps featuring only the best. Among the feathers in Lord Hobo’s cap, beyond its excellent 40+ taps and belied by its unpretentious aesthetic, is a better dinner and brunch menu than you have any right to expect, including charcuterie, rabbit pot pie, and lamb ragout, in addition to classic cocktails.
Throw in tap takeovers and special events, unobtrusive staff that will still walk you through the menu, and a brash owner in Daniel Lanigan on a mission to produce widely available IPA’s on par with a vaunted New England scene (tallying 8,750 barrels in his first year of operation), Lord Hobo certainly makes a bright star in the craft beer constellation from a quiet corner in Cambridge.