By Bernie Whitmore
104 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester
In a city known for its independently owned restaurants, Brew City carved out their own niche and has enjoyed it for more years than most places hope to stay in business. I reckon there’s more than luck involved in this; they’ve never watered down their original commitment to presenting an astounding variety of bottled and draft beers. If you have the slightest taste for beer, they have you covered. But if your interest verges on passion, Brew City’s definitely the place.
And on top of that, of course, there’s also food…
A friend and I arrived at Brew City early enough on a Wednesday evening to get one of the remaining open booths. Heather waited on us and, with friendly advice and helpful hand gestures, guided us to our beverage selections. While she was in the area, we also placed our appetizer order.
It had been a few years since I last dined there, but, in appearance, Brew City hasn’t changed much. Their lighting, ductwork and metal booth dividers are straight from the industrial age and have proudly stood the test of time. The menu was scattered with notes indicating new items, but its real focus was on hamburgers, boasting The Ultimate Burger Experience, a selection that features Kobe, Angus and Italian beef as well as buffalo meat.
We took the hint and stayed to the meaty side of the menu, starting with the BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos appetizer. A mountain-sized portion, it was better suited to parties of four. Undaunted, we it dug into crispy chips glued into clusters by molten cheddar and mozzarella cheese. It was topped with a bounty of moist pulled pork that had been slow-cooked in smoky-sweet hickory barbeque sauce ~ so tasty it made me grateful for me entrée decision.
My tall glass of porter, Opa Opa Chocolate Raspberry, withstood all this food richness. Heather had allayed the concern I harbored regarding anything raspberry. When not done right it can be one of the most cloying flavors around ~ OK for lollipops but not much else. But she was right ~ the Opa brewmaster conveyed just the fruit’s essence and it finished with a realization of chocolate.
Bodacious flavor and generous portions seem to be the rule at Brew City. I thought their half-pound burgers would be too [delightfully] large. And then my entrée, BBQ Brisket Dinner, arrived. At least eight slices of buttery-tender beef were layered over a mound of cheesy mashed potatoes. It came with a mini-loaf of fresh cornbread and creamy cole slaw. After a heroic attempt to make a small dent in my meal, Heather helped me box up most of it for two more delicious meals I hauled home.
My friend made better progress with his Grilled Guinness Meatloaf. Three slices of mildly spicy meatloaf had been grilled and served over homemade mashed potatoes drenched in mushroom gravy, a blend of big flavors emboldened with Guinness Stout. These were thick chunky slices, enough to satisfy mega appetites. A tumble of jumbo onion rings gave the meal a touch of light golden color and crunch.
His beer choice, Saranac Pomegranate Wheat, was pale gold in color and crisp with citrus flavors ~ an ideal choice to lighten up a meal of rich comfort food. But Brew City has a beer on tap for just about any season or setting. Just ask Heather for some help making your decision.