As it’s coming close to Christmas, we’ve decided to start publishing some reviews of places we visited during the year that we’ve been sitting on til now. We hope that these might be helpful to anyone travelling during the festive period. This week: Boston Beer Works in, you guessed it, Boston!
It will begin to become clear as more blog posts go up, but you’ll see that I have a bit of a soft spot for brew pubs. I love restaurants that brew their own beer, and even more, when they use that beer in their dishes. This week is just such a place – the Boston Beer Works!
This week’s review will be a bit of a departure from the norm in two ways. First, as the restaurant name suggests, we’re leaving Hamilton and stopping off in Boston! I’ve decided to post the review now before people start travelling for the holidays in case they past through Boston hungry. Second, the review is not quite as complete as I’d like – I was on a trip without Nicole and reviewed the place on my own. Unfortunately, that meant I wasn’t able to sample more than one dish. No matter!
Boston Beer Works is located in Terminal C of Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. At least, the location I went to. I found out afterwords that they’ve got seven locations around Boston, and the earliest location has been open since 1992, so Boston seems to like this restaurant!
Ambiance & Decor
The sign at the front gives off a bit of a metal-works feel with the pressed steel logo. Inside the restaurant is a bit of an odd mix – there’s a very slight diner feel mixed with a bit of a cafeteria feel, and then a sit-down bar put right in the middle of everything.
I would have loved to see a stronger “metal-works” theme in the restaurant, maybe mixed with the “we’re a brewey” look – I’m picturing an almost steam-punk style with lots of pipes. Would be very cool!
One issue at this location is that the seating is very cramped – I was seated at a table where I could reach across the entire neighboring table if I’d wanted to. Luckily, the couple that was seated next to me was very friendly and actually chatted with me for most of my meal. I told them about the blog and that I would put that visit up on the site. Thanks Woody & Lois, if you ever read this – you made my solo visit much more pleasant!
Food & Drink
Let’s start with the obvious question – how’s the beer? Not surprisingly, it’s great! They’ve got a solid core of beers that are almost always on tap with something to please everyone – light, pale, amber, brown, and stout. As well, there’s always a surprisingly large selection of seasonal beers.
I opted to get tasters of the Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale, the Nut Brown, and the Watermelon Ale. The nut brown was good, but a little on the light side for my taste. I was very excited about the watermelon – I love to see beers I’ve never tried before, even if they don’t always sound like they’d go together. This particular beer was very light and just had a hint of watermelon to it. It’s something I might drink on a very hot day out on a patio, but I wouldn’t have more than one.
I opted for the blueberry – as a Maine native, I have to admit I was grabbed by the fact that they put Maine blueberries in the beer when they serve it. I’m glad I did though – it was excellent.
What about the food? As I was on my own, I only sampled a single plate – the Old South Crunchy Fried Chicken. As you can see from the picture, they don’t take the crunchy adjective lightly – Woody & Lois even commented on how crunchy (burnt?) it appeared. I know that this is what they were going for, but I think they overshot a bit. Because the chicken patty was quite thin, the crunchiness dominated the texture, so there wasn’t the delicious thick and moist breast beneath the crunch like usual southern crispy chicken has.
A big plus of the sandwich was surprisingly the ranch dressing. I suspect it’s house made, as it’s much better than most ranch dressings I’ve received with dishes at other restaurants.
The fries were standard. As it was a southern-style sandwich, some cajun-dusted fries might have gone well with the sandwich.
I didn’t order dessert myself, but Woody & Lois did, and were kind enough to give me their review. They ordered the cheesecake and said that “it was tasty, well presented, and very light.” Their main point for the dessert was that it wasn’t quite so dense as many cheesecakes that you get, which is just what they were looking for.
Service was certainly the low point during my visit. My waitress was a bit rude – not very friendly, and made me feel like a nuisance for asking for things like a sampler of beers. Surely at a place that brews their own beer, this is not an odd request?
Wait times were, in general, just a little longer than I would have liked. I was seated promptly, but between ordering a beer sampler, ordering my food, and receiving my food, I was left waiting longer than I should have been. Considering that this location was in an airport terminal (and that I was assured up front I would be able to get in and out quickly, before my flight), I would expect this not to be an issue.
The Final Word
Between excellent beer, a slightly above-average dish, and not-so-great service, the restaurant is left a little lower in my books than I’d like to rank them. I like the look of the menu and really want to like this place, but this visit wasn’t the greatest. Will I go back? Next time I’m in Logan Airport with some time to kill, I definitely will – I think the place is better than this experience showed and I want to see that. For now, I’ll give it three and a half hammers and update if I ever return.