Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cambridge Brewing Company

After a beautiful drive along the Charles through Cambridge, the taxi dropped us off at 1 Kendall Sq., at MIT's backdoor. The entrance to Cambridge Brewing Company was immediately spotted across the square, nestled snug into a corner with an Irish-themed pub on one side and an unattached building on the other. The design of this place is very deceiving because standing in the middle of the square it's almost impossible to realize that CBC is an actual full-size brewpub. It has the outward appearance of a tiny cafe.

As you walk through the entrance sign, you encounter a host station to put your name in for a table. Since it was 3PM on a lazy Saturday, we could have sat anywhere we wanted. You can enter the restaurant proper, or stay to the right in their beautiful outdoor seating area. The tables are roughly divided equally between fully exposed to the elements and under a large overhanging tarp to provide some protection from rain. We chose to sit outside and enjoyed just hanging out and taking our time. Our server was very attentive and more than willing to let us take our time. She was also very honest when we asked about some of the appetizer specials.

The beer was fantastic. They had 4 regular offerings (Golden, Amber, Pale Ale, and Porter) along with 3 seasonals (Pumpkin, Arquebus (a "summer barleywine"), and The Wind Cried Mari (a heather ale)).

The highlight was the Pumpkin, which everyone loved. We all agreed it would be very easy to drink a lot of it. The heather ale was a very interesting beer that we all enjoyed because it was so different from anything we've had before. The hints of lavendar really stuck out. The Arquebus was very interesting, but a little sweet and tart for my tastes. It was overloaded with ripe fruit tastes and I wouldn't have wanted more than the sampler I had. I can definitely see why it gets good reviews on beeradvocate though, barleywines just aren't really my thing. The Golden was a very well made beer in the K├Âlsch-style with a lighter taste profile (obviously). Very balanced with no off-tastes. The Amber had wonderful body and was not overly sweet. A touch of hop flavor in the finish. The Pale Ale was bursting with citrus fruitiness in both the taste and aroma. Very balanced with its bitterness...a great beer. The beers were so good I wanted to buy growlers, but unfortunately we were going directly to the beerfest. We'll just have to go back.

As for the food, we tried 3 of the appetizers. The two chicken dishes (terryaki skewers and buffalo chicken quesadillas) were both very dry. The third was some type of tostada salad, which was very good. I'm willing to give them a pass on the food this time because it was a rather strange time to visit. That's not really a good excuse, but I liked their beer so much I'll be generous. Plus, their real menu looks fairly interesting. I guess the worst case scenario is that you go for the beer, which isn't really a worst case in my book.

I liked sitting outside at CBC enjoying their beer so much that when it came time to leave, part of me wanted to skip the beerfest and stay. Ultimately I'm glad we didn't...I'll just have to get back here again soon.


No comments: