Ale House

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

40 Ratings
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 28
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: n/a
Taps: 30
Bottles: 100
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

33 Main St
Amesbury, Massachusetts, 01913-2808
United States
phone: (978) 388-1950

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @ale_amesbury

Notes:
From the owners of the Barking Dog in Amesbury, MA.

(Place added by: MugOfGoodness on 01-05-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 28 | Display Reviews Only:
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4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

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4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

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4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

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4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

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4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

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4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of nootch23
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

I had heard so many great things about the Ale House that I just had to pay it a visit. My girlfriend and I went for the beer selection and got exactly what we had expected. A lot of taps with great choices for each of them. The bartenders were knowledgeable about each one and offered their recommendations and gave the correct glassware for each beer. Their service was just alright, nothing exemplary or anything. One of them was just one of those employees that didn't seem as if he wanted to be there but luckily it was at the end of his shift and the new bartender was better and I felt we were taken care of.

The food was really good but nothing outstanding. They are more known for their tap selection than their food so my expectations were pretty middle of the road. I got the haddock sandwich which was good and I loved their fries. I forget what my girlfriend ordered but they allowed her to substitute the fries with their fried pickle chips which made her day. She really enjoyed her meal.

Even though this place is about 45 minutes away from me and I can't get there too often, I will be paying them another visit in the near future. Really great place, nice and clean with a good amount of space. Definitely worth going again.

Photo of messrock
3.15/5  rDev -28.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3 | service: 2.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 2.5

Oh Amesbury Ale House, how things have changed.

Prices used to be downright reasonable for the area. In the last year they've crept into Boston Beer Bar territory. $7.50/pint for Nugget Nectar and Green Flash WC IPA? Also, all beers are served at one temperature (COLD) and casks are left on for far too long (6+ days in some instances).

Food used to be more hit than miss, last few times have been a definite miss all around. Burgers overcooked and dry. Flavorless short rib.

The service has always been suspect, especially when busy, lately it's been worse.

In the area, it's a great spot to hit for a beer and conversation, but I no longer go out of my way to stop in.

Photo of skyelorien
3.93/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I first visited the Alehouse several years ago when they were in their old location. At the time they were a hole-in-the-wall with amazing beer. When we went in, we were treated well by the knowledgable bartenders and felt like we'd found a hidden gem. Then they moved around the corner to a new, fancier location. At first I was still impressed, but over the past year or so each time I've made the 45 minute trek to the Alehouse I've been disappointed.

Food: Food is hit-or-miss. I'll get a dish one time and it will be great, only to get it the next visit and encounter problems (ex: nachos with unmelted cheese).

Beer: The beer selection seems to have gone down in quality from a few years ago. There are still better beers than other places in the immediate area and a large selection, but where once I considered it the best in the region (counting Boston), now it is no longer a bar I'll be going out of my way to visit. I'm not a hophead, and for me I find less and less to get excited about with each visit.

Service: Service is another area that has gone down with their success. Servers often don't know about the beers they have on tap. In one case a few months ago they made a point of tapping one of their beers on their Facebook page, but when I went in to try it the server had no clue what I was talking about.

Overall, if you're in Amesbury try it out, but if you're used to top quality beer bars don't go out of your way for a visit.

Photo of Damian
4.78/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

The Alehouse is located in a renovated mill in Amesbury center. Alongside the building is a huge waterfall that was flowing aggressively on the night that we were there. I can just image how amazing it would be in the summertime to drink a beer on the back deck and listen to the sound of running water. The interior of The Alehouse is large and spacious, and its brick walls are adorned with enormous flags of various breweries from around the world.

As for the beers, the tap offerings at The Alehouse were the best I have seen at a beer bar in quite a while. Ballast Point Victory at Sea, Founders Breakfast Stout, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA and Firestone Walker 15th Anniversary Ale were just three of the thirty-or-so beers pouring that night. The bottle list was quite impressive as well. It ran 100+ beers deep and included a number of offerings from Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and Fantôme, as well as Sam Adams Utopias. Most of the tap beers were reasonably priced (usually a dollar or two less than they would be in the city) and were served in the appropriate glassware.

My girlfriend and I were also amazed by the quality of the food at The Alehouse. Since it was St. Patrick's Day, we ordered the corned beef special, as well as the haddock sandwich. My girlfriend claimed that it was the best corned beef she ever had. The haddock was coated in a traditional, thick beer batter and was quite flavorful. The handmade potato chips that accompanied the sandwich were fantastic. Like the beer, the food was priced fairly.

Even on a busy, St. Patrick's Day evening, the service was efficient and friendly, and the food came out of the kitchen in a matter of minutes. We even had a chance to chat with the owner, who seemed like a really down-to-earth guy.

Our night at The Alehouse was fantastic. The only disappointment was the realization that this gem of a bar is nearly an hour from our place in Cambridge. Hopefully they will open another location closer to the city one day.

Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I went here for the first time today with the wife and kids. I know St Patrick's day probably isn't the best time to bring the family to a pub, but they enjoyed it. The beer selection is really good for the area with probably 20 taps and a bottle list that's at least a hundred deep. The food we had was fantastic, my wife and daughter raved about the French onion soup and my shepherds pie was great as well. Our server was less than attentive, but it was busy and hes did apologize more than once and took some stuff off the bill for making us wait. I found the beer a bit pricey, 5 bucks for Guinness, 6 something for smuttynose. 8 for breakfast stout and choklat. I'd go back again the selection a food were great. I would have rated higher if the prices were a bit more reasonable.

Photo of bird18
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

the Alehouse is my favorite beer bar/restaurant. My husband and I go often and are always happy with the beer selection which is the best for many miles around. I am a big hop head and have had some exceptional IPAs here (Sculpin, Flower Power, Stone Ruination) the list is ever changing so we always enjoy taking a few minutes to peruse the list.
We have never had bad service here and the waitstaff is one of the reasons we return again and again. Granted some are more knowledgeable about beers than others but everyone is extremely friendly and attentive. We like that they always have local craft brews. We do think that some of the stronger beers with the shorter pours are a bit pricey for what you get. Food is very good - I like the beet salad or the spicy chicken salad and hubby enjoys the Amesbury Steak and various sandwiches.

Photo of capeannbass36
4.2/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Visited the Amesbury Ale House for the first time today for lunch with my son.
This place has a pretty darn good draft beer list. Lunch menu food prices were very reasonable. Quality of sandwiches was excellent. I highly recommend the Cuban Sandwich.
Some "food snobs" may wish to argue....but I found the Cuban to be absolutely delicious. Washed it down with a Gouden Carolus Noel belgian strong ale. Outstanding! Son opted for a turkey wrap and a Notch session ale. He was also very satisfied. We will be back soon.
If I had to nitpick...service could be just a tad friendlier. Bartender/server did nothing wrong...just wish person was a bit friendlier.
Beer prices may be borderline too high for some. Have seen worse. Without a doubt would happily pay the price of quality beer at the Ale House than for sometimes higher priced domestic swill one has to settle for at all Boston team sports events.

Photo of rbowser
4.05/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

First, I would recommend you visit. If you are within 30 miles of Amesbury, this is likely the best beer bar you can find. If you are also within 30 miles of Boston/Cambridge then the Alehouse is not yet at the level of Mead House or The Public House and a few others, but still worth a visit.

The Positives
- The beer selection on tap is large, varied, and impressive from West Coast IPAs, to German Largers, Belgians, to local craft, and a lot more. They have a World class beer selection that would compete with any large urban beer bar.

- Their new space is very attractive with dark wood, expansive, long bar, tastefully decorated, with lots of different seating options.

- Location is downtown Amesbury, right near the waterfall through the middle of the city is superb. Look out back and check out the mill area. Amesbury has come a long way in 20 years and is an attractive little town, that is worth a visit or a walk around.

The Negatives
- The beer knowledge of the staff is very spotty and service can vary a lot. They have a new person on staff that is enthusiastic and super knowledgable so perhaps this will move in the right direction. The rest of the staff, I have encountered could be working at any bar and seem to have no real knowledge of and in some cases almost any interest in the beer. For me, this is not a big factor, as I am a beer geek. But, it is not unusual for someone to come in, looking for advice on the large selection, and the best the staff can do is just wait for them to decide.

- The food is really below par for almost any pub in the area (Newburyport to Portsmouth). I would choose very carefully. If you find an unusual combinations of ingredients in a special on the menu, don't assume the chef is going to surprise you by making it work, instead imagine a beginning home brewer thinking that 15 unusual ingredients not knowing what they bring to the table will be better has to be better in a beer recipe then 5 ingredients. I am hoping there will eventually be a Ramsey style intervention to bring up the food quality to the level the beer selection deserves.

Great place, worth a visit, and a super addition to the area, but be careful if you plan to eat.

Photo of Sarah515
4.68/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I go to the Ale House often since I live in town. The bartenders are friendly and helpful. They have a great selection of draft and bottled beers (and they usually have a cask beer as well). They update their draft list on Facebook which makes it easy to keep track of what is new. The food is awesome- the pulled pork sliders are good and their veggie pizza is great. It has a great atmosphere, whether you're sitting by the fireplaces, upstairs looking over the first floor, or sitting at the bar. I'm so glad it's so close to home. I've brought all of my friends here and they love it. I would recommend this place to everybody!

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.53/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is my new favorite beer bar they have an ever changing and excellent selection of beers on tap, while the bar tenders and waitresses may not be the most knowledgeable in the business they are still very friendly and do serve beers in the proper glassware(most of the time). They have some harder to find brews come through on tap from time to time as well as a very good bottles selection. the beer on tap is always fresh and the food is very good the nachos are excellent. the price is dependent upon the beer, i have seen beers hat i thought should have been priced lower, but i have also seen some beers come through that were outstanding deals. port older viscosity 10 oz pouurs for 8 bucks, compared to 19 for a 12 oz bottle.

Photo of dugmar
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

We are fortunate to have a place like The Alehouse. Only issue with the location is that it is in Amesbury, as this town has a slightly seedy reputation. Other than that, this is THE place to go for hand crafted beer on the North Shore / S. New Hampshire area. The selection is good (not Great Lost Bear or Sunset good) but still very good.

The best part is that they changed locations. The previous location was terrible, it felt like an airport bar with foam drop ceilings and wall-to-wall high-traffic office carpeting. Yech. This place feels much better, with an pub-like organic feel. The only thing lacking in the new place is the placement of signage, decorations and "flair" on the bar and walls. Everything is placed with precision, and looks like they used a level to make sure it is 100% in the right position. The best bars let things accumulate over time, and have a slight level of disorganization to them that give the place character, and just a right amount of dust. While this location is much better than the old, you can tell the decorations were all new (even if meant to look old) and all went up at the same time, in perfect order and are perfectly clean. It feels like a TGI Fridays, where all the bar decorations come in a kit with an instruction book as to how to put them up. Again, I will reference the Great Lost Bear, that place has a true pub look and feel inside, with millions of things (stickers from around the world, old beer ads, porcelain advertisement signs, badges, foreign currency, neon, vintage beer cans, etc., etc., etc...) on the walls and behind the bar to look at. It really sets the right vibe.

Photo of EnronCFO
4.68/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Amesbury has become my regular bar for good craft beers, having supplanted the Portsmouth Brewery as my favorite place to drink in the area. The tap selection is almost always phenomenal for the area. Went last night to watch game 7 of the Stanley Cup (awesome atmosphere for the game) and drank the following: Sculpin, Mayflower Summer Rye, Haverhill Schwartz, and Haverhill Leatherlips on cask. My buddy also had the Sculpin, along with Dark Horse Plead the 5th, and NE Brewing Sea Hag. Pretty great line-up and that was just an average night. Have been able to consistently get the best IPAs available in the state, they always have two stouts on nitro (usually Guinness and Berkshire Coffeehouse), and one beer on cask. A great mix of local stuff, imports, and beer geek favorites (Sculpin!). My wife and I are both big fans of their food, the pizzas are delicious, they have the best frites around, and I love the greasiness of the Pattymelt. They have healthy options as well that are quite good. The staff is always friendly and really do know their stuff, plus they're always forthcoming with samples. Pricing is pretty good for the area, most beers are in the $6/pint range, with some up to $9. The short pours are pricey for the volume you get, so stick to full pours. Overall, the Ale House is the best choice in NE Mass. for quality craft brews and downtown Amesbury is a nice little town to wander around. Highly recommended!

Photo of Sully62601
4.9/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Been to the Amesbury Ale House multiple times now and have been incredibly happy with everything each time I have gone. The draft selection has always been great as other reviews have said, having locals, craft, and imports changing continuously. My first visit allowed me to try Struisse Black Damnation II- Mocha Bomb, another visit was a Cantillon Vigneronne! The bottle selection is great also. They always seem to have something that is unavailable around here, which the beer buyer Matt must have some great contacts to be able to get ahold of them. The food has been very good also, a nice added feature though the star of this place is the beers that are available. The Amesbury Ale House is a bar you must check out if you are in the area or not, find a way to get there.

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Ale House in Amesbury, MA
97 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.