I had the pleasure of dinning at the Salem Beer Works the other night and I can’t help but let you folks know about it. Beer Works is a chain of restaurants in the North Shore/Greater Boston area which brews its own beer on location, and also provides a vast menu of food items to choose from. Truthfully, I could not gush enough about their menu. It has something for everyone, from cheap appetizers, to fancier ones, and from sandwiches and burgers to steak and seafood. This menu was meant to drink lots of beer too, and each of its artfully crafted meals goes down great with a brew. To start off the night my girlfriend and I tried some fried pickle spears which were phenomenal, and we also tried the mako shark skewers which were just sublime. The skewers were served with perfectly sizzled onions and tomatoes and surrounded by a simmering clump of jasmine rice and some cilantro and mango fresh salsa, and they were perfect.
I, of course, also decided to be a proper little beer geek and get myself a sampler flight of 4 of their beers while my girlfriend ordered the Watermelon Ale. My four beer samplers were: the Summerworks (“A Belgian wheat beer with special spices”), the Brookline Weizen Bock (“A German-style strong, dark wheat beer), the Double Pale Ale (“A deep orange, high gravity American Pale Ale”), and a cask conditioned IPA. My favorite of the flight was probably the Brookline Weizen Bock which had some excellent bananay-flavors from the yeast and a great mouthfeel. The cask conditioned IPA was actually one of the weirdest things I have ever tasted, since it was basically and IPA without its claws. Its mouthfeel was extra smooth and mellow, with hardly any carbonation, but it still was bitter like an IPA but without the bitter bite. The Double Pale Ale was properly bitter though, and more than made up for the IPA with nice mouth puckering citrus. The Summerworks rounded up the flight as a pretty standard summer wheat beer, with nothing of real note, but the real winner of the evening was my girlfriend’s watermelon ale. This beer tasted exactly like watermelon and beer (which is no surprise since they literally just add watermelon juice to it…) and comes with a nice big slice of watermelon on the glass. It is extremely sessionable and extremely tasty, with a fantastic light caramel mouthfeel that left me wondering how this beer was made. My waitress nicely filled me in on this one by explaining that the Watermelon Ale is their North Short Light Ale with watermelon juice added. Now, such revelations make me feel a bit like a blasphemer, especially since that means I’m raving about a light beer, but the beer gods can go ahead and smite me if they want to, that Watermelon Ale is the best light beer I have ever tasted, and is in the upper echelons of fruit beers for me as well.
For dinner my girlfriend and I split two very affordable sandwiches. One was the Southwestern Bronzed Chicken which was a grilled chicken breast spiced with Cajun seasoning and topped with avocado, bacon, and a side of mayo and the other was called the Dreaded Green Monster and consisted of grilled chicken tenders, basil pesto, parmesan and melted mozzarella cheese on a baguette served with the house red sauce. The sandwiches were all right, being tasty meals but not memorable, but what really struck me was the French fries that came with the meal and all the types of fries I could have ordered. My girlfriend and I ordered the sour cream & chive fries and the spicy fries and both tasted amazing. Bottom line from me is that the food and drink are both great at the Salem Beer Works, and they make their own beer, which is awesome. I haven’t been to any of their other locations but I’m sure they are great too. Check them out if you are ever in Massachusetts.
Note that the flight displayed is not the flight I had… It’s just a visual example)