Brew City Grill & Brew House ~ Worcester, MA

Brew City Grill & Brew House was brought to our attention by our fellow artist friends Scott & Donna (Erb Photography... literally the best people ever!) They told us that great people worked here and that they had even greater food to boot. It was as classic as you could get to a Boston bar & grill. For a minute, I felt like I was in Cheers, waiting for an ice-cold beer to be delivered into my hand (or slid into it, like a classic bartender does). Speaking of beer, this place really knows how to keep the beer enthusiasts happy—with more beer on tap than food menu items—definitely Good Bites & Glass Pints worthy!

Brew City had a large space, with outdoor street-side seating, a 12 seat L-shaped bar, 7 high tops near the bar and a dining room that could seat about 70. Right away I was impressed with how genuine the staff was. Cindy the MOD (manager on duty) was professional, personable and just genuinely happy we came in, The owner, Jerry, was a classic Worcester man, singing praises to us about how innovative his chef is. And our server & bartender were both very informative about the food & beer menus while always putting a smile on their faces—I remember that. I did it for years, and believe me when I say, they did it all so effortlessly.

We got so wrapped up in chatting with the staff (who were all super cool), we almost forgot to order! Their beer list is off the charts! 150+ beers with 40 of them on draft! Their list is quite extensive, with breweries like Maine Beer Co., Two Roads, Wachusett, and even Berkshire Brewing. Their taps are always rotating, so you never know what will be pouring next. And if you find that choosing a beer is a bit overwhelming, you can get a sampler tray and narrow down your favorite. The possibilities are endless. We were happy to see two of our favorite breweries (Zero Gravity & Stone Cow) were on tap. We got Stone Cow's Field & Forest New England IPA, and Zero Gravity's Little Wolf Pale Ale. We were ready to indulge, Brew City had two different sizes for beer to choose from, 16oz or 22oz. So either indulge or really indulge. Well, when in Rome, go big or go home, you know the drill, let's keep that beer flowing.

Just like with the beer, the options for food are endless for this classic American bar. They had all the barroom greatest hits that you'd expect. Buffalo chicken tenders, fried pickles, nachos, and of course, the big one—burgers. If you thought the options for beer were impressive, then let me tell you about their burgers. Brew City had an entire menu page, dedicated to their burgers. They had options for every part of the burger, different cuts of meat, different types of bread, different cheeses, condiments, add-ons, you name it, they had choices. Do you want a burger with smoked gouda, cherry peppers, mushrooms, potato chips, and a fried egg? They got you. Want a turkey burger with blue cheese, bacon, honey mustard and sautéed peppers on a pretzel roll? No problem. Hungry for a Kobe Beef burger on ciabatta, with Havarti cheese, peanut butter, fried pickles, coleslaw, and a cheese ravioli? ...I don't know why you would be, but yeah, Brew City's got you. Six types of bread, 10 proteins, 11 kinds of cheese, and over 30 different toppings & sauces. You can create whatever burger masterpiece you can think of! And if you're not feeling quite so inspired, don't worry, Brew city has several signature burgers that are sure to please. I decided to go with one of those burgers they created—"The Smokeshow,' which to me, screams Boston more than anything. For those unaware, smokeshow is a term used by a 20-something-year-old man to describe a woman as 'hot' (not that I agree with a woman being called this...), Hailing from Boston & dining at this Worcester bar—I had to get it—it was just calling out to me because of how Boston it was. The Smokeshow is an 8oz. Prime beef burger, served on a butter toasted roll with house-made brown ale & bacon marmalade, smoked gouda—and to make it complete—a fried egg on top. And yes, it was just as amazing as it sounds. That meat was so juicy, it trickled down my chin. The smoked gouda really brought out the smokey flavors from the beef, and like Chris always says, egg yolk is the best condiment. If you're looking for a burger & beer, then search no more, you've found your Mecca.

But like I was saying, Brew City's food menu has a little something for everybody. They also highlighted a lot of Italian American items like arancini, risotto, ravioli & the classic, pizzas. Chris was feeling the Italian food in the bar and got himself the Italiano Club, a classic Italian cold cut sub served on a ciabatta roll with cherry pepper relish & oregano-infused olive oil. Our friend Scott, looking for something a little light, grabbed the Strawberry Field Salad, romaine, strawberries, candied walnuts, feta cheese, with grilled chicken. And to share? The most delectable pulled pork nachos. Crispy corn tortillas, topped with Monterey Jack cheese, diced tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, chopped scallions, drizzled with sour cream, and topped with their in-house hickory-smoked pulled pork. It gets better. After it's smoked for 8+ hours, it's then bathed in their house-made beer BBQ sauce. You'd think we were stranded in a desert without food for months, the way we demolished those nachos. I LOVED the pickled jalapeños, it was a welcomed spicy tartness with all the savory going on in this dish. And I can't tell you enough, how much I appreciated that drizzle of sour cream delicately woven on top. So now, every chip has just enough sour cream, so it won't overpower all those heavenly flavors. It's actually a (very unreasonable) pet peeve of mine when nachos get a big glob of sour cream smack dab in the middle. Leaving you with three chips buried in sour cream, that you have to try and dip the rest of the chips in—it never works. Thankfully, Brew City is wicked boss, and made these nachos the only way you should, with a sour cream weave.

With my tall 22oz. beer in hand, perfectly distributed nachos and the Smokeshow Burger at home in my tummy. I couldn't help but close my eyes for a moment and rub my stomach like Winnie The Pooh. The staff, the beer, the food, they hit all of the checkmarks needed to keep us coming back for more. With all the endless options Brew City has to offer, they're sure to please any guest that walks through their doors.

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Chris Boudrow & Ally Voner

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Lee, Massachusetts

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