I arrived safely in Beantown, skipped the beans, and went directly for the hops…
My husband and I love to drink beer…and we love to eat burgers…so whenever we hit a new city, we skip the touristy destinations and head straight for the local brewery or dive bar for the local eats. Our philosophy on travel is “do as the locals do.” Getting to the local pub where LOCAL people go, gives you the opportunity to put your finger on the pulse of the city, meet local city dwellers, and get the locals’ perspective on the best of what to see and do while in their city…IF you’re lucky enough to get their attention. Most locals love to give advice and learn as much about you and your city (after all, you are a foreigner to them) as you do about them and their city.
Now, don’t get me wrong – we DO visit some of the obligatory tourist sites – I mean, you HAVE to do the Freedom Trail while in Boston, but we don’t let ourselves get overwhelmed with running here and there and everywhere trying to see and do it all.
As this was my first solo trip up North, I didn’t want to break the beers and burgers tradition…so I set out from the hotel to find the closest watering hole. After a brief consultation with the concierge, or more specifically, after a brief consultation with the 3-page pre-printed list of restaurants that the concierge handed me, I quickly eliminated the chain restaurants and headed out on foot to Lord Hobo, “…known for its extensive beer selection.” That sounded like a ringing endorsement to me!
This day was particularly hot with temperatures hitting the 90’s in Boston. Couple the heat with inevitable dehydration that resulted from the airline flight, my throat was feeling like the Sahara and I hadn’t even began the 1.5 mile trek from my hotel to the pub. With my trusty Google Maps App loaded on my iphone, I walked…and walked…and walked….WHERE the $%^& WAS this place?!
I’m sure if I would have continued walking, I would have gotten there, but as my blood sugar free-falled, it seemed to me that I perpetually had 0.2 miles to go. Sorry, Lord Hobo, it was a no-go. I quickly assessed my immediate surroundings and found that I was standing in what appeared to be a very architecturally hip area of town. Kendall Square.
A vision appeared like a mirage in the desert…could it be? ..an Irish Pub? An Irish Pub! Oh, yeah!! Beer and burger, fo’ sho’. As I made my way to the hostess’ podium, I was awestruck by the little gem I saw peeking out from behind the Irish pub…wait…was that….a BREWERY?! Now, THIS was a mirage…it had to be….but, nope…I had stumbled upon The Cambridge Brewing Company. It was real. And it was REALLY good!
As I approached the white arch emblazoned with the CBC logo looming over the brewery’s entry, I took in the outside patio. A long, white, metal awning covered the main patio area, which was PACKED with people dressed both casually and professionally. In the exposed areas of the brick patio, patrons dined under the shade of colorful umbrellas. The patio was enclosed by the brick walls of the adjacent buildings making a little courtyard in the back.
I entered the restaurant in a hunt to locate the hostess. Inside, almost every seat at the small, angular bar in the center was occupied. A windowed wall separated the inside area from the outside patio. The inside had an open feel with decor of light wood and high ceilings. Despite appearances, the air was a little stuffy in there. I located the hostess and opted for a table for one on the outside patio.
The hostess sat me at a table located at the far end of the covered patio closest to the courtyard. I got as comfortable as I could in my cushion-less metal chair and made a cursory overview of the menu. By this time, I was starving so ordering should have been a simple process ’cause….I knew I was ordering a BEER…and…I knew I was ordering a BURGER. But, this was a brewery with many, many delectable choices.
OK, beer, first. I went with the Regatta Golden, “light in body, crisp, and very refreshing” EXACTLY what I needed to quench my thirst. I also asked my server for a sample of the seasonal brew affectionately named, “See You Next Tuesday” after a loyal bartender who, after 15 years of working the Tuesday night shift, decided to abandon the barley and malt and move on to a career in education….(awwww…that’s SO great!)
OK, wow….four burger choices? I’m partial to bacon and cheese so I chose the BBQ burger – Pale Ale BBQ Sauce, Bacon and Cheddar. I was literally floored when the server told me that I had a choice – for no extra charge, mind you – of salad or fries with the burger. I went with the salad…I heard BBQ sauce has a lot of sugar in it….
Order – done.
My beer did not disappoint. It was light, smooth and went down oh-so-easily. Now that my brain was working again, I took a look around me. Behind me was a glass enclosure housing the actual brewing equipment with cast iron kegs stacked to the ceiling.
My burger had not yet arrived so I had some time to read the menu more thoroughly. This brewery was the oldest brewery-restaurant in the Boston area…and one of the first…IN THE NATION….very cool! Since its opening, the beers brewed at this place have won local, national and even, international awards. Impressive! And it was only founded in 1989…
The burger was perfectly cooked at a medium temperature. The bun was fresh. The cheese was actually melted. There was just the right amount of BBQ sauce so as not to overpower the other flavors. The bacon was prepared just right. The salad was a simple, but fresh serving of spring mix with a light vinaigrette dressing. Good choice!
My lunch was every bit of AMAZING! The beer was smooth and tasty, the burger was delicious, the salad was crisp, and – the price was right. The pints were $5.50 per…the burger was $10.00. With a tip, I was right at $20…a reasonable amount for fresh beer and local food as their slogan goes. Not too bad for my first meal in Boston!
I stumbled upon this place by chance….I didn’t consult the Boston guidebooks to find it. I simply changed direction. I didn’t meet any locals, but I saw how the locals live. I set out for a beer, a burger, and a Boston experience. That’s it. Mission accomplished.
As I sat savoring the last drops of my Golden, I toyed with the menu again and thought….See You Next Tuesday…where have I heard that before?….See. You. Next. Tuesday. OMG! Was that an intentional double entendres?!
Check out Cambridge Brewing Co. for a beer, a burger, and your own experience the next time you find yourself in Boston. One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.