Tunes & Taps

  • Visit North Central

There are so many places in North Central Massachusetts where you can enjoy live entertainment — from country, to rock or jazz. Town commons, restaurants and concert halls offer a broad palate of music just about any day, or night, of the week.

But among the more popular places to kick back to enjoy some tunes these days are the region’s taprooms, brew pubs and brew barns — where you can sample the latest beers, ciders and seltzers at the same time!

Want to sip a cool one while enjoying your favorite music genre? Here’s a sampling of spots to visit:

Gardner Ale HouseGardner Ale House, 74 Parker St., Gardner. So many great brews, so little time! The Gardner Ale House — home of Moon Hill Brewing Co. — is the only full-menu brewpub in both North Central Massachusetts and Worcester County, and is known for its Sunday Jazz brunches. What more could you want? Great food, craft beer and entertainment, seven days a week.

Moon Hill, by the way, recently launched a new non-alcoholic brew called Dry Water, entering it into the growing marketplace for non-alcoholic beverages that taste similar to hoppy beers. Its new offering contains hop water, a beverage infusing sparkling water with hops and other flavors.

Red Apple Farm Cider The Brew Barn & Cidery at Red Apple Farm, 455 Highland Ave., Phillipston. The folks at Red Apple have teamed up with Moon Hill to craft a semi-sweet hard cider, and serve up the cider, wine from nearby Hardwick Winery, and, of course Moon Hill’s own craft beers. When you want to get out of the city, this is the place to be! Enjoy live entertainment, along with roasted nuts, popcorn, a BBQ menu, ice cream, hayrides, live music, a country store and farm animals. Kids love it, parents love it and craft beverage lovers are in their element.

Wachusett Brew Yard, 175 State Rd. E., Westminster. The Brew Yard is open seven days a week, with great food and fresh, handcrafted beer. Its unique bar built in a custom Airstream trailer features 24 Wachusett beers on draught along with its Country Hard Seltzers, Scratch Margaritas, and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. Settle in around the fire pit and listen to live music!

River Styx TaproomRiver Styx Taproom - Fitchburg MA, 166 Boulder Dr., Fitchburg. Live music, trivia games, food, indoor and patio seating… right in downtown Fitchburg. Enjoy a host of interesting brews, like Nectar of Aristaeus – Strawberry Cream Lifesaver IPA, Thanatos God of Death Stout and Chimera: Blackberry Smash Hard Seltzer.

Thirsty Robot Brewing Taproom, 265 Summer St., Fitchburg. Check out local musicians, performing weekends in the taproom. Enjoy the unique tastes of a New England IPA brewed with New Zealand hops, or a ruby red Irish ale — and pair your brew with a plate of pierogi, nachos or an all-American hot dog! Talk about an international experience!

Tap Room at Sterling Street Brewery, 175 Sterling St., Clinton. Enjoy a blonde ale, pilsner or IPA with light fare like paninis, bagels or wraps, along with trivia, comedy, and, of course, music!