A few weeks ago I wrote about what I dislike about craft beer bars. Places like I described in the article have a certain level of pretentiousness that I don’t care for.
The Tap in Haverhill is not like that at all. I wouldn’t call it a sports bar, but they do have a few large TVs that are usually on; if you want to watch a game and not talk, you can! There is also a pool table downstairs, and function space upstairs. The staff are all completely friendly and awesome. The service is always excellent, and they are always engaging with guests when they’re not serving drinks.
The Tap is everything I think a brewpub should be. The food menu is approachable, and the portions are massive. My bangers and mash came with five sausage links and a huge helping of mashed potatoes. The Tap has a core group of beers that are available year-round, and they constantly experiment with and brew a wide variety of styles. Out of their year-round offerings, the Bitter Rival West Coast IPA is my favorite.
In addition to the laid back atmosphere, and variety of styles, the other way to my heart is seasonably appropriate beer. Pumpkin Eater uses fresh, local sugar pumpkin just like I used in my last pumpkin beer. As such Pumpkin Eater isn’t out in August. Maybe it is my bias, but the beer itself is my favorite pumpkin beer.
If that wasn’t enough, the another way to my heart is cask beer. They tap a new cask every Tuesday. For our visit they had a solid oatmeal stout in the cask. Special Hug? is a smooth English Porter that isn’t too heavy, which gave me some food for thought for the next batch of Curly’s Milk Stout.
My favorite beers of the night were Stardust, a Belgian Blond, and Asteroid B 327, a cloudy and juicy New England IPA. If you live in or around Haverhill, get this beer instead of trying to find parking in Boston, or driving or Vermont, to wait in line somewhere. This would be a solid addition to the year-round lineup to go with Bitter Rival, and Leather Lips which is a more balanced, traditional East Coast IPA.
If The Tap was a little closer, and the drive back to Beverly involve 45 minutes of almost total darkness, I would visit more often. The last time we visited was almost two years ago. We certainly will make sure not to wait another two years to go back.
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