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John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House

Not Rated.
John Harvard's Brewery & Ale HouseJohn Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
Based on:
188 Beers
936 Hads
Place Score: 83
Reviews: 80
Visits: 99
Avg: 3.65
pDev: n/a
Taps: 8
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

33 Dunster St
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138
United States
phone: (617) 868-3585 | map

Notes:  Master Beer Listing
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

No longer brewing beer at this location.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 80 | Visits: 99
Reviews by atigerlife:
Photo of atigerlife
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Stopped in after doing the touristy tour of Harvard U. Pretty easy to find on a side street. Decended to the basement to find a whole lot of dark wood. I really like the decor and was impressed by the size of the place. Lots of seating. Of course, I was there in the afternoon, so there was very few people around.

Service was stellar. Our waiter was knowledgeable and attentive. We sat at on the bar stools [as opposed to the tables]. Nice option.

Food was the only disappointment. We weren't that hungry, so only ordered fries. They came out quick [too quick] and it seemed as if they had been sitting around for a while. We may have had better luck with other options. The food menu looks good for beer [nachos, calamari, wings, burgers, pizza, salads] but I have no idea if it is better than the fries.

Overall, a nice place. The one beer I tried [Imperial Stout] was well made and quite tasty. On a humorous note, on the way out I noticed that they were using a BA magazine as their doorstop!! Not sure what that was all about!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of LXIXME
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of fastestmanalive
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.75

Photo of costanzo_mike
3.79/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of Dicers
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of WheelsPSU
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.25

Stopped here before Harvard's home opener v Holy Cross in September. It was average. They had a beer from most styles on the menu and my wife and I both chose to go with the all seasonal harvest ale. Food was average. Cant go wrong with a burger but nothing to write home about.

 278 characters

Photo of DavidSomers
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of Sludgeman
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Visited in the 90's and have a pint glass to prove it

54 characters

Photo of dabarton
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of ricp215
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of bluehende
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of tikk
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of harsley
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of CAMay
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of TheAnk
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of kevintaraross
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Doomcifer
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Mini4x
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of bpfrush
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of bckayaalp
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of MJSawyer
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of skepticus
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

I didn't read all the reviews, but IMHO it is very important to mention that John Harvard's (nee 33 Dunster St) was the _first_ (and still the only) brewpub in Harvard Square. It may have been the first brewpub in the state of Massachusetts for all I know. Like many other chains, the Harvard Square location was the first. (Au Bon Pain, Steve's, Herrell's, the Coop, etc....) So, I guess the question is, did they start this trend? Maybe. It might just be that the Cambridge Brewing Company would not have happened if John Harvard's had failed.

And it continues, as a reliable, albeit too busy, brewpub destination in the heart of Harvard Square, if bitten somewhat by the 'family-friendly' label.

 699 characters

Photo of orangesol
3.66/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped in here for brunch after a bit of sight seeing over the weekend. Decent atmosphere with a large space. Long bar looking into the brewhouse with some TV's above it, a large dining area behind you. Quality was decent enough but nothing over the top. Selection was a good variety but nothing overly amazing. Service was ok, he forgot a few things I asked for but he seemed to have an ok beer knowledge. Since I was there for brunch I went with their platter. Eggs were not the greatest, I only finished about half of them, and their in house sausage was quite dry and rather bland. Decent pricing on the beer and food for the area. I had a cask ESB with my food, it was ok but it tasted a little dull. Overall an ok stop but I doubt I would return with so many other places in the area.

 791 characters

Photo of FightingEntropy
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

I've been to the JHBH in DC and wasn't very impressed, but the location right by mythic Harvard is a much better pub. Showed up right when they opened after touring (lurking about, actually) the campus and had a very nice stop. The bartender was chatty and informed, providing great conversation to go along with the samples.

The Demon DPA (Double Pale Ale) was the best--clean and hoppy with a resiny spine to hold it together. Very strong beer to compliment the rest of the line up, including one cask. Surprisingly, the Harvard Square Helles was my next favorite, in spite of not really being fan of the style. Very clean and balanced beer that I'm sure is popular with students, but nothing to shy away from as a beer geek. Always a good sign when a pub can do a light beer so clean. I didn't check out the eats in order to save room for a more vegetarian friendly restaurant later in the day. Overall, a surprisingly pleasant stop.

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Photo of beenitty
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

This was one of the first places I truly started to appreciate beer.

Not the extreme beer geek's place of choice but if you want solid offerings and great food then this is your place. The good thing about JH is that they're always brewing different beers for every season.

Lots of different types of styles but most of their beers are ABV less than 8%. Thats not a criteria for good beer, but it adds to the variety of the offerings. Good thing about low ABV is that all their beers are super sessionable!

The food is really really good. Their menu doesn't really change from year to year but the food is solid. Definitely not your average bar food, good and affordable.

Not close to Cambridge Brewing Co., but a solid place to stop in and have a few pints.

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John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House in Cambridge, MA
83 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.