On the list of reasons why anyone goes to a brewery, the food is near the bottom of page two, sandwiched between “to enjoy the smell of yeast” and “to take a picture of every restroom in Boston.” In fact, most of our breweries don’t even serve food, and that’s fine - their main purpose is to provide a chill atmosphere for a beer-drinking city to drink good beer.
But Trillium is not most breweries. For one thing, it’s become far more famous than the others (with the exception of the one that starts with “Sam” that isn’t actually a Boston brewery). And for another, it’s the brewery that feels the least like a brewery. There’s no Sunday morning yoga here, people settling in with crossword puzzles and a beer for three hours, or groups of friends playing Apples To Apples. Instead there are beer tourists, regular tourists, and PwC execs filling either the packed tap room on the first floor or the rooftop bar on the third, which, thanks to big couches and views of Fort Point, is now one of our favorite places to drink in the city. It’s more crowded and more polished than most breweries, and, as a result, it isn’t really a place where people come to relax for hours at a time.
But the element that sets Trillium furthest apart from the others is that it has a full-service American restaurant on the second floor, complete with a big menu, an actual wait staff, and food that doesn’t come out of a truck. And, oh yeah - it’s actually really good. Put everything together and it’s as if Trillium is the anti-brewery brewery.
The main draw here will always be the beer, and you’ll find upwards of 30 different kinds on tap on any given day, along with a small selection of wine (as in three bottles). But now you can also get grilled octopus, poutine, big trays of sausage and cheese, and head-on prawns. It’s a meaty menu designed to keep the many bearded, flannel-wearing beer obsessives who pilgrimaged here happy. But even if you don’t spend your weekends biking to farmhouse breweries in the Berkshires, you’ll like it too. Start with the oysters baked with garlic and chili (three great ingredients), and move on to the fried chicken sandwich made with a piece of chicken that’s so good you’ll wish you could eat it on its own, without bothering with the bun or the slaw. The food is good enough to bring you here even if you’re in the middle of Dryuary (though we wouldn’t recommend doing that - no one has that much self-control).
Whereas most Boston breweries try to out-casual each other with board games and Bachelorette viewing parties, Trillium might remind you of the kid in a family of punk rockers who wears cardigans and goes to business school. Some would view this negatively, but there’s room enough in this city for both types of places. Besides, there’s no law that says breweries must be filled with more strollers than a petting zoo and source all their food from food trucks. And anyway, the important stuff is still here: the beer and the smell of yeast.
If you’re looking to shake up your life, you can always get a new haircut. But if that’s a little risky, maybe just get baked oysters instead of raw ones every once in a while. With fermented garlic butter and chili crumb, these are good ones to start with.
Goat Cheese Toast
The whipped goat cheese and smoked fig jam on this slice of sourdough go together like high school sweethearts - ones who, thankfully, never went to college and realized that there are more than 157 people in the world, one of whom might be a better life partner than the person you choose during the same stage in your life when Blink-182 represented the height of artistic achievement.
If asparagus is the last food in the world you haven’t yet had with aioli, then go ahead and get this. But if you’re not a mayo completist, you can skip it.
Trillium Fried Chicken Sandwich
You gotta be pretty confident to put your name on a piece of chicken. The confidence is well-founded in this case, as the chicken is plenty moist and flavorful. We actually would’ve preferred it if it wasn’t on a sandwich.
They’re served over a pea puree with sumac, which is great if you’re a medieval peasant looking for an herb to cure your gout.
Good news: if you order it medium-rare, you’ll actually get it medium-rare. But with white cheddar and an egg, it’s a solid burger no matter how you want it cooked.
Sausage And Wurst Tray
When you’re at a brewery, sausage just feels right. In this case, you get three different kinds: cheddar bratwurst, kielbasa, and linguica. We liked the linguica best.