Boston Restaurant Blog -- August, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
As most beer lovers know, not all beer bars are alike. Some border on upscale (and are perhaps more in the "gastropub" category) while others are "beer-geek" hangouts where folks take their beers very seriously. And then there are places like the Union Brewhouse in Weymouth. Part beer bar and part townie roadhouse, this South Shore spot is much different from the likes of the Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square, the Publick House in Brookline and Deep Ellum in Allston. But a common thread does exist, namely a beer list that goes on and on, which is perhaps the sole reason why my visit to the Union Brewhouse a few days ago probably won't be my last.
Much like the nearby Italian restaurant Martini's, the Union Brewhouse has the look of a rough-and-tumble juke joint from the outside, and inside, that feeling continues to an extent. The layout is a simple one, with a bar to the left and an L-shaped seating area taking up the rest of the space (a fenced-in outdoor patio out back increases the capacity of the place during the warmer months). The low ceiling with wooden beams and recessed lighting, the high-top bar tables, and the dark carpeting all give the interior of the Union Brewhouse a bit of a dive bar feel to it, and, at least on the night we went, the abundance of inebriated folks downing beer and shots at a rapid pace seemed to support this overall vibe.
When we first walked into the Union Brewhouse, we had our choice of sitting either inside or out, and though it was indeed a beautiful evening, it looked like several people were smoking cigarettes and cigars out on the patio, so we opted to sit inside toward the back. Our server came over immediately and we ordered a couple of drinks to start--a Thomas Hooker Watermelon Ale and a Woodchuck Private Reserve Barrel Select. The watermelon beer was light and sweet (but not too sweet), making it a perfect summertime drink, while the Woodchuck was a delicious cider that had been aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, giving it a bolder and more smoky taste than a typical cider. We ordered a couple more drinks as our food came, and these beers were nearly as good as our first drinks. The Southampton Biere de Mars had a slight hoppy bitterness mixing with a nice caramel taste, while the Julius Echter Hefe-Weiss was a light-tasting wheat beer with a bit of citrus that brightened things up even more. As for our food, well, it didn't match up to the drinks; the pizza had the overall look of a South Shore bar pie, but it seemed to be almost all gooey cheese, overwhelming the taste of the sauce and crust. The boneless buffalo fingers were all right, though the coating was a tad bland and not overly tasty, while the fries were dried out and basically your classic Sysco variety of crinkle cuts. Service was good overall (our waitress was both friendly and funny) and prices for both the food and beer were slightly lower than your typical beer bar or gastropub. As for the overall atmosphere, it was almost disturbing at times, with folks stumbling through both the dining area and the outdoor patio, and some x-rated talk between males and females near us.
Based on our first visit there, I feel that the Union Brewhouse will not be a place I'll be frequenting as much as, say, the Publick House, partly because the food didn't seem all that memorable, and also because of the out-and-out drunkenness which, oddly enough, I don't tend to see much of in beer bars or gastropubs. But it's tough to argue with the beer list at this place, which makes me think that perhaps I'll be back on a rainy Sunday afternoon or on a weeknight early on in the evening, enjoying some of the terrific adult beverages that they have.
If you are looking for the address for the Union Brewhouse, here it is: Union Brewhouse, 550 Washington Street, Weymouth, MA, 02188. Phone: (781) 340-0440.
Related Blog Entries: Weymouth restaurants
Joe G said:
My local for 12 years! It DOES get crazy with the "ya dood" crowd on weekend nights, but the rest of the time it's very chill. I like the fact that it can maintain both types of atmospheres (townie bar and beer geek spot). Lots of Boston-based ones can be "aggressive" in their douchebaggy attitudes.
Posted on 8/4/11
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