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Campus Eats: Boston Beer Works

Stick with starters at this Fenway spot


At Boston Beer Works, the starters, like fried calimari (above) and fried pickles (below), are your best bet, paired with one of the bar’s trademark fruity ales. Photo by Barbara Varanka

I spent almost four years at BU attempting to avoid Lansdowne Street’s sports bars and clubs — not an easy task for someone who goes to BU and lives minutes from Fenway Park. But Boston Beer Works finally pulled me in: I had heard too many good things about the restaurant and brewery to stay away any longer. Located on Brookline Avenue directly across from Fenway Park, Beer Works is right in the heart of the Green-Monster-loving, beer-drinking, plasma-screen-watching scene that defines the area so well.

The menu’s starters and snacks are pretty standard, but include a few rare finds such as the Mako shark skewers ($9.95), made with Mako shark meat marinated in the brewery’s Raspberry Ale, and sour cream and chive fries ($5.95). Starters and sides run around $7, but can range from $3.95 for a bowl of chowder or chili to $12.95 for the buffalo shrimp.

The extensive menu also includes a variety of chicken sandwiches, burgers and specialty sandwiches (priced from $9.50 to $13.95), dinner salads (priced from $8.95 to $11.95), pizzas (priced from $7.45 to $13.45), signature dinner plates called the “Beer Works Classics” (priced from $10.95 to $18.95), desserts (all priced around $6), and a full lunch menu that tends to stay under or around $10 per dish, as well as featured dishes that change monthly.

Our food was a little slow coming out, but the starters were impressive: we couldn’t resist the bacon and potato in the house clam chowder ($3.95 per cup, $5.95 per bowl), which added terrific flavor to the dish. We also tried the fried pickles, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes ($6.95), which are surprisingly messy and difficult to eat, mainly due to the fact that they came out — and remained — finger-searingly hot.

Unfortunately, we had to move on to entrees, and my classic cheeseburger ($10.50) was at best bland. We had better luck with more starters: the sweet potato fries I ordered with the burger were awesome. We also tried the calamari appetizer ($8.95) as an entrée, which played its role as standard fried calamari fairly well and was served with the restaurant’s signature “sunshine aioli,” a mayonnaise-based sauce with mandarin orange, lemon juice, and cilantro, which really made the dish.

But what about the beer? Well, Boston Beer Works brews around 50 different kinds of beer annually, and has 14 to 18 on tap every day. Beer-lovers can enjoy the brewing equipment on display near the front entrance, and beers like the Bambino Ale ($4.75 for a 16 ounce glass), the Haymarket Hefe-Weizen ($5), and the Boston Common ($4.75) are in keeping with the Boston-themed menu. However, the brewery is most famous for its fruity and mostly seasonal ales, such as the year-round Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale (served with fresh blueberries in the glass and priced at $5), the summer-menu Watermelon Ale (served with a slice of watermelon and priced at $5), and the Pumpkin Ale (offered in the fall).

Overall, the beer is promising, but the food is standard, deep-fried American fare — not overly impressive, especially for the price. However, I think that with Boston Beer Works, it is more about the atmosphere and how it is delivered than what is delivered. The eatery and brewery serves as an ode to Boston and all of its peculiarities. While dishes like the Brattle Street Chicken Sandwich ($10.45), the South End Burger ($10.45), the Dreaded Green Monster sandwich ($10.95), and the “Big Dig” Brownie ($6) cater to tourists, they also celebrate Boston in a way that few other restaurants in the city seem to do.

Famous for: Sweet potato fries and blueberry ale.

Ideal for: Entertaining out-of-towners or your beer-loving dad (or mom), catching a game on the plasma screen, or just a relaxing night out with a group of friends.

What you can get for around $25: an appetizer ($7), a burger ($11), and a beer ($5).

Boston Beer Works is located at 61 Brookline Avenue, across from Fenway Park. For more information call 617-536-BEER or visit the restaurant’s Web site, http://www.beerworks.net/.

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4 Comments on Campus Eats: Boston Beer Works

  • Konstantinos Mavromatis on 07.31.2008 at 10:51 am

    Under Age?

    Is it possible for UnderAge people(over 18 but less than 21) to attend to places like that? i mean just for the food? and if not could you suggest me some restaurants/ pub anything, that serves good(tasty, loca prefered) food?

  • Ashley on 09.13.2008 at 4:38 pm

    for barbara

    hey, this has nothing to do with the article, i was actually just wondering where the writer of this article is from. Because i used to have a friend with the same first and last name, we drifted, and i haven’t heard from her since, so yea, just wondering.

  • Anonymous on 03.08.2009 at 3:06 am

    boston beer works is only 21+ on game days…red sox games (the one thats near fenway is anyway)

  • Anonymous on 03.08.2009 at 3:06 am

    hot or not those fried pickles are freaking amazing and they come with ranch dip which makes it even better

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