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December 11, 2006
From the outside, The Salem Beer Works looks a bit industrial. The large vats where they brew beer on site are visible from the street and do not really add a welcoming air to non-beer aficionados. Despite this, I convinced my parents that it was worth a try because I had heard good things about this restaurant.
Once inside the Salem Beer Works, the restaurant looks like a typical sports bar with dark wood, beer insignia, sports decor and big screen televisions everywhere. It isn't bad, but if you're looking for something fancier this is not the place for you.
My parents and I were politely greeted at the door during the lunchtime hour and seated at the table of our choice in the restaurant. Once seated, the waitress presented us with a menu the size of a small novel- there must have been 50 pages of items to choose from. From Italian fare to typical hot dogs and hamburgers to salads, to veggie burgers, this restaurant's menu had a little bit of everything- not just the bar staples that we were expecting giving the restaurant's appearance. Everyone in our diverse party was able to order exactly what they felt like eating - which is a rare occasion indeed!
The prices at the Salem Beer Works are more than reasonable with the more expensive entrées topping out at about $15. Most burgers and sandwiches were below $10. Happy hour specials with free appetizers and drink deals are the norm for the Salem Beer Works on certain nights.
The service at the Salem Beer Works was nice, personable and attentive. The waitress did not forget about us even though she seated us in a quiet corner far away from the action of the restaurant (at my parents request). All in all I have to say that we were pretty pleased with our choice to have our meal at the Salem Beer Works and would not hesitate to go back here on another occasion when we happen to be in Salem.
From journal Witch Hunting in Salem Mass
September 23, 2004
It was near the hotel and in the middle of Old Salem and some of the tacky witch museums. It was easy to find.
It was also very popular, as the wait was about 50 minutes for walk-ins. It is mostly a bar (brew pub) that serves bar food. The bar is the center of attention, with some pool tables in the back and tables set around a TV showing the baseball game. There is a huge neon green witch on one wall.
We got some beers and waited for a table. I had the watermelon beer, which came with a slice of fresh watermelon. Chris had a blueberry beer, with a handful of fresh blueberries bobbing in his beer - it was delicious! The kids tried the homemade birch bark beer (like root beer) and gave it a thumbs up.
We finally got our table and the waitress came in a jiffy. We ordered fried pickles. They came quickly and were gone in a minute. They were outstanding, a bit spicy, but came with a cool dipping sauce. I could have eaten another order by myself!
For my main meal course, I had fish and chips, Chris and the kids had a beef tip. My fish was very heavily battered and very greasy. It was not very good. The beef tip looked great and they said it was good, but not outstanding.
Our waitress was very good. She checked back on us often and the food and drinks always came very quickly. She seemed to enjoy her job and was laughing and joking with all her tables.
The main event was the Boston–Yankees game on TV. The whole room was glued to the TV set on the wall. There was a group of Yankees fans at one table and they were being harassed mercilessly. It was funny at first, but started to turn ugly and mean. The group had to get up and leave – seriously, I think we were about a minute away from an all-out barroom brawl. It was a bit uncomfortable.
I would come back here for some fried pickles and a beer. It was a lively spot with great and unusual beers and delicious finger food. I was not so keen on coming here for a main meal.
From journal Salem - More than just witches.
October 11, 2002
There isn't much free parking at the resturant, but one of Salem's parking garages stands diagonally across from the resturant, on the corner of Derby and Congress Streets. FYI, this is very close to The Grapevine, so if you can't get a table there, you can always walk a block up Congress and grab a bite here.
The menu runs to bar food - an extensive selection of appetizers big enough to share, along with burgers and chicken sandwiches, pizzas, and some pasta dishes for good measure.
The beer is good - they have two or three seasonal brews at any given time, plus a standard stout, light, lager, hefeweisen, and IPA. The Pumpkinhead Ale (one of the fall's seasonals) is a rich amber color, smooth and not too hoppy, with a hint of the nutmeg and cinnamon it was brewed with.
Desserts are good but nothing spectacular. The most impressive is the Big Dig, a huge brownie sundae made with creamy Herrell's ice cream.
From journal Salem, Massachusetts: Sorcery, Seafarers, and Samuel McIntire