F.J. Doyle’s Braddock Cafe

I’m sorry that I’ve been very lax on the “beer” portion of my quadruple promise of “movies, beer, hotdogs and boobies” to you. I was recently in Boston just before St. Patrick’s Day, so I’ll be making it up to you in spades. We went for the Samuel Adams brewery tour, and while we were waiting, we walked to a nearby bar in Jamaica Plain called Doyle’s for short. It’s got some history, a great beer selection, and plenty of character.

It’s not uncommon for bars to festoon their walls with collected ephemera, but Doyle’s has some history up on the walls. World War 2 propaganda telling us the enemy has ears, sketches of JFK, and their collection of memorable beer bottles. The bartenders are like Formula One race car mechanics. A glance their way and your order is taken, over the din of the customers, put on separate tabs with little ado or confusion. Ask for a car bomb and you’ll be rebuffed, as “they been breakin’ the glasses on me.” Rough hood at night, maybe. We had them anyway, with chunky rocks glasses alongside our pints of Guinness. It was St. Paddy’s day weekend, after all. The Guinness tasted almost as good as it did in Ireland. Maybe Boston has a quicker shipping lane, or just has dibs on the freshest batches coming stateside, but it honestly tasted better than some draft I had a week before in Brooklyn. The Irish town comes out on top.
Being so close to the brewery, you know their Sam Adams’ beer is fresh too. They have the local-only brew, Boston Brick Red Ale, and a fine brew it is. Kicks the arse off Sam’s regular Irish red- a hoppier taste and a fuller body. Built like a brick red shithouse redhead ale, more like it. The White Ale is a fine brew as well- one of their newer varietals, and worth a chug or six. Look out Blue Moon, we may have seen you standing alone, but now you have some competition. The Harpoon Celtic Ale is a good pour as well. Just hoppy enough to perk your ears without going all IPA on you.
The crowd was lively; we ran into a photog from Men’s Health, doing a piece on the up-and-coming neighborhood. I’m beating him to the punch with the power of the internet, but I think his pro rig will give you better snapshots of this joint, so check it out in the grocery aisle in a few months. Doyle’s certainly has atmosphere- the huge clock over the dining room entrance looks more like a factory time clock. You got no excuse when it’s last call. You were forewarned. Cushy barstools and shipworthy wood for the bar, gouged and well sanded by a million beer-hoisting elbows. There’s no brass rail to rest your feet at this end- this is a workingman’s town, boy-o. That’s the old man section. Take it on the hoof.
Didn’t have a chance to grab a bite but the patrons seemed to enjoy their meals. Ours was a liquid luncheon, in prep for the tour. Brewery tours are best enjoyed with a wet whistle, lest you find the samples too skimpy. I regretted having to leave Doyle’s so early, and hike the half mile to the brewery, through colorful row houses with Camaros being worked on in the driveway. Beast called it sketchy but I think she just didn’t want to walk. So if you’re in Boston, visit Sam Adam’s Brewery- a few blocks down & over is Doyle’s. Sam can’t sell you his beer, but Doyle can. He serves it fast and friendly, and will even oblige you if you want a party girl drink like a car bomb. I can’t say if Jamaica Plain is “up and coming,” but if I moved near it, I know where I’d drink. Doyle’s.