Taps: 22 / Bottles: 85
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 112 | Reviews: 94 | Show All Ratings:
4.58/5 rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Because there was just no way I could scribble notes during ‘The Festival’ pregame; standing room only and an amped up tap list. Was just not happening. Let’s just say it’s considerably less jammin’ now, 3 months out on Monday, just after 5. Parked and meter fed until 6, and an easy jaywalk across Main Street, Worcester…
Ground floor corner of a bricky building on the strip. Past a handful of metal tables sidewalkside, and in. Front vestibule glass door with narrow windows bordering, and a wrapping iron piece over the door for the pull curtain. Corner nooks to both sides below vertical windows holding dangling ornamental stars, and horizontal windows above. Pale olivey walls & big brick, and 3 pillars down the center of the room. Slat wood floorings, and a black ceiling with matching ductwork, drop cheese wheel lamps over the front corners, and sunken & track spots about.
Wood bar with a rounded lip, panel base, & squared bar foot rail to the right; seating for a dozen and a half or so on leather swivel chairs. The barback holds a fat pillared center unit arched with panel mirrored backing over the taps from end to end below on a single row. Glassware shelved below and bottle selections housed in glass front cooler trios to each side. Tiered booze all countered up to both sides with windows above holding Belgian gnomes and mosaic glass pieced candleholders or, um, something. And then shelving units on the ends running to the ceiling; glassware glassware glassware, and display bottles & growlers along the top shelves. Clearly, some of this glassware is way out of reach and is just for show.
A bar counter wood beam with mosaic candleholders, a few stools, & piping foot rail connecting two of the center pillars, and some more bar counter space to the rear. 5 hightops on the far wall, a pair of 2-seaters between the next set of pillars, and a pair of 2-seaters in the front nooks on wraparound bench action with pillowings.
Events board on the far wall up front (movie night, shuckin’ truck raw bar), and a looong horizontal blackboard further down listing tap selections, origin, ABV & pricing. Orval & Dupont tins to both sides of that, and a doorway to the building bathrooms shared. T shirts displayed up front alongside the bar, and a single flatscreen in the rear corner.
22 tap in a row on barback center with nondescript wooden knobby handles; roughly 1/3 of them MA craft offerings (High & Mighty Sono Distrutto, Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union, Cisco Grey Lady, Pretty Things Saint Botolph’s Town, Blatant Session Ale, BBC Coffeehouse Porter), another 1/3 craft offerings regional (Allagash Fluxus 2012, Maine Peeper Ale, Smuttynose Strawberry Short Weisse, Victory Prima Pils, Troegs Dead Reckoning Porter), and not so regional (Port Wipe Out, 21st Amendment Hop Crisis, Greenflash West Coast IPA), and the other 1/3 very good imports (Drie Fonteinen Beersel Blonde, Tilquin Gueuze, Jandrain VI Wheat, Djaevelbryg Schopenhauers Vilje, Mikkeller Hop Bomb Challenge, Trois Dames Fraicheur Du Soir, Ca L’Arenys Guineu Riner, Freigeist Abraxxxas).
Oh, I don’t know, maybe a sampler. You get 4 shorty 4oz glasses of the ‘you pick’, so I did, and then bummed samples of things, and of course, drank Phil’s beer when he went out for a smoke. Had some things I really liked (Trois Dames Fraicheur Du Soir, Drie Fonteinen Beersel Blonde, Mikkeller Hop Bomb Challenge, Blatant Session Ale, Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union).
The bottle list holds some 80 selections, of which roughly ½ of are Belgian. I like that about a 1/3 of the list overall is made up of Gueuze, Lambic, Flanders, & American wild ale entries. Does not suck. Benchmark (lovely) Orval runs $12, just on the edge of pricing sanity.
And a light bite before we get back on the road home, thinking to split a sandwich. The roast beef sandwich was under serious consideration due to its sounding of awesome, but we opted for the apple bacon grilled cheese sandwich (Tougas Farm apples, house smoked bacon, Vermont cheddar, Smith’s Farm smoked gouda, & braised Swiss chard on house made honey oat bread). It was a kickin’ grilled chee, came with greens and everything.
Eriktender behind the bar. He dealt samples when I asked for them, and gave honest answers when questions asked, i.e., ‘is this any good?’, etc. Kickin’ selection, comfortable house, good crowd, fine eats. Worth the detour en route to points anywhere...
12-10-2012 06:40:01 | More by slander
4.36/5 rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
From their website "22 Rotating Craft Draughts
(6 dedicated to Belgian), 1 Cask, Over 120 Unusual Bottles (70+ of which will be Belgian), and will include some of the rarest beers on the planet." Beer wise this place has the goods, when I visited a few days ago, here is most of the draft list:
Founders Breakfast stout
Founders Backwoods Bastard
Petrus oud Bruin
Allagash Grand Cru
BBC Cabin fever
Southern Tier IPA
2 from Honest Town
A Smutty selection
A Mayflower selection
Extensive bottle list LOADED with very BA worthy selections. BA's will find total beer satisfaction here. Belgians, locals. they have it.
Pleasant, classy atmosphere, dim lights and Jammy music at an intelligent, conversation inducing level. Mixed crowd, older/younger, a few groups and couples. Large windows looking out onto the mysterious Worcester night. Appropriate glassware in full force. Respect for beer clearly going on here. No time for food, but the menu is full of tasty looking options, made with local products, cooked in house, reasonable prices. I will be back, and this place would be a no-brainer favorite place if I was local.
11-26-2008 10:38:21 | More by Billolick
4/5 rDev -14%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
A little re-reviewing after my second visit to Armsby Abbey. Busy on a Friday night at around 9:30pm but we managed to find a table. Service was excellent. I finally got to try the smoked bone marrow and it was spectacular. But I'm knocking down the "selection" score because, again, I was disappointed by the lack of variety. Lots of weird European beers you never heard of, and a ton of IPA's, but not a good Imperial Stout or big beer in sight. Great bottle selection with vintages and rarities, but pricey.
It is the wife’s birthday weekend and we are headed to Maine, where we spent a beautiful birthday years back. Worcester (say “Woosta”) is on the way, so why not enjoy some art at the museum and have lunch at Armsby Abbey!
Located in Downtown Woosta, this is a high-quality beer joint in a town more likely to drink Bud Light than quality beer. Unfortunately, the interior is bland,generic, lacking personality. Soulless like a McMansion, or imagine Applebee’s doing a beer bar. There is no charm here.
But you’re in for a good time here, with good beers and food. The draft list showcases rare and pricey beers from Europe and elsewhere (Hitachino Nipponia, $12; Oppigards Amarillo, $9; De Molen Op&Top, $10, Spain’s Guineu Riner, 2.5%) plus local/regional drafts from Allagash, Sixpoint, Hill Farmstead, Pretty Things… plus Port and Anderson Valley from Cali. All around good,with some treasures (Hill Abner!!!) but lacking variety. No Imperial Stouts, barleywines or big beers.
Food is mighty nice. We had “rillons”, which is deep-fried pork belly, and tried to have the smoked bone marrow but they were out. The bacon-onion pizza was delicious too, and huge. A ton of cheeses, but pricey. Pizza and apps are a better option.
Prices are all over. Hill Abner only $6, imports $9-$10, no price listed on cocktails and spirits but wine does have it. Great bottle selection with cool stuff like Parabola, but pricey ($35 for Parabola, $55 for Old Stock Reserve).
Very good service at lunch on a Friday and overall a great experience. Will return next time I happen to be in Woosta. Oh, parking before 5pm is street only and not too easy… plan accordingly.
10-27-2012 18:50:26 | More by DoubleSimcoe
4.33/5 rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Stopped by for brunch on my way out of town yesterday (Sunday) morning.
AA is a modest size restaurant with a long bar running all the way to the back on the right when you walk in off the street. There is also a pretty good amount of tables and chairs (15 to 20 or so I would guess) in the dining room, and I liked the high ceilings and amount of wood in the place. AA does not have any TV sets, and seems more like a fairly nice restaraunt that just happens to have a great selection of beer. On this day they had 22 beers on tap, with the Berkshire coffee porter on nitro. The selectoin was very solid, with a nice mix of beers, incuding 7 or 8 Belgians (St. Bernardus 12, De Ranke XX, Duvel Green and the like). Roughly a third of the menu was made up of local and regional beers (Allagash, Baby Tree, Berkshire, Southern Tier, etc.), which was something I was very happy to see. Tried the Scotty Karate and Berkshire porter while I was there; both were excellent, fresh and served in proper glassware. Service was quick and attentive, and I had the impression my server really knew something about the beers they had on offer. Food was very good here; had the breakfast pizza which was excellent. Prices were a bit less then what I paid over at the Moan and Dove (Belgians were in the $8 the $9 range, with pints of standard craft offerings closer to $5. Higher alcohol and/or limited release stuff were more expensive of course), but still what I would call fairly high (a pint of sculpin was $9 on my last visit in 5/11). However, I think that's pretty much what people are accustomed to paying for good beer in New England.
In any event, this was a very solid place, and one I found to be considerably superior to the Moan and Dove. I'd certainly go back.
03-01-2010 12:05:04 | More by johnmichaelsen
4.3/5 rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Finally had the chance to stop in here the night before Thanksgiving with some friends. Parking is a bit tight in the area if it's a busy night, but we got a good spot right on Main Street. Nice look from the street, brick building with huge windows and a very bold sign. Also very classy looking when you walk in. Brick everywhere, gorgeous wood, and cool ambient music playing. Bar itself is gorgeous, with all the Belgian beer glasses on display. A bit of a crowd for Wednesday night, but it's a big night to go out, so it was expected. There is a long bar to sit at, with a stand up bar behind it, separating the table areas. I can see how people can complain about the place getting crowded, as there does not seem to be a lot of room to maneuver if you are seat-less. Bartenders were very helpful, and the waitresses working the floor were very friendly. Huge chalkboard with the draught list, and a menu sized book for the bottle list. Impressive to say the least. I tried the '07 Pizza Port Old Viscosity, the Founders Backwoods Bastard, and the '07 Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence. PP and Founders came in snifters, and Omm was served in a branded glass. Our entire party was impressed with the beer. A friend ordered a pizza, and while I did not eat, it looked decent. The food menu look impressive also, but a bit on the high end price side. I have also heard that the portions are not immense. But I would love to come back soon to eat and judge for myself. Based on what a great time we had, the Abbey is definitely on my permanent must-visit list when I am back home. Plus, being so close to the Dive Bar, that's where we went after for late night drinks. Alec for Mayor of Woostah!
11-29-2008 17:42:02 | More by morebeergood
4.5/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Located right off the highway in Worchester, MA (whatever highway that is), this place was incredible. A selection of about 20 beers on tap, and many of them were things you just can't get anywhere else. I visited in 2011 after their stout-fest when they still had a great selection of stouts leftover. And the food... Lemme just say, I got the potato & herb pizza, and it was just about one of the best things I've ever had. My lovely wife got the hummus slate, and that was also amazing, and I don't even like hummus. I'd love to be able to go back here.
04-29-2011 12:58:17 | More by Rifugium
4.2/5 rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I have stopped at the Armsby Abbey a couple times recently while driving by Worcester. It is a great spot to hit for lunch/brunch and it sure beats the hell out of hitting some rest service area on the highway. It is pretty close to I-290 and really isnt much out of the way if you are on the Mass Pike to begin with. As you approach Worcester --take 290 east and take exit 17 and it is within a few blocks of the exit. Heading back east--you can take 290 west and then Rte 146 (towards Providence) south to Mass pike which doesnt require going back as far west as when you had begun on I-290.
Both times I have been-- it was on a Saturday afternoon and they had their brunch menu going. We had gotten this breakfast slate which is a cheese plate featuring cheeses and other items from some local farmers. In fact, most of the menu here is devoted to locally grown and produced ingredients/items. You could even say that the people that run this restaurant are somewhat of "local"-vores meaning they try to feature as many locally produced items as possible and it really helps in the quality department.
We have also had the corned beef hash calzone which was absoltely fantastic and their mac and cheese --also fabulous. I also had this eggs benedict pizza thing that was good but not as fantastic as some of the other items I mention.
Their beer selection is great and seems to change around with a good degree of regularity. The first time I went which was around Thanksgiving--most of the beers were more Belgian oriented. When I went back after Christmas--the focus was more on American craft beers. I tend to prefer the American crafts a little more as they can easily have a higher freshness level than something from overseas but just the fact that they change them around regularly is a good thing and definitely ensures freshness. The thing that I really liked about the beer selection is that they do these little flights of 4 beers in 4 oz samplers--this is perfect-- since many of them can be high in abv and you wouldnt be able to try as many and its not gonna really affect your ability to drive if you just have one flight-- where a few big glasses of big beer might make it less than safe to drive away from here. So this is an excellent way of doing the beers.
The service each time has been very friendly, prompt, attentive, and professional. She seems to know her beers pretty well too. I don't believe in testing people's knowledge as it is not that important to me but everytime I have discussed my opinioons on this or that-I got the impression, she definitely knew a good amount about the beers they serve here.
The pricing is a little on the expensive side but the emphasis is on quality, not mass produced junk--so overall, I'd say the pricing is fair but it isnt gonna win any "cheap eats" awards.
Overall, a fantastic place and a great addition to the Worcester scene. I have been driving by Worcester for years and never knew anywhere good to stop for food and a drink. Now I do and I wish this place much success. It is a great place for food and beer.
01-05-2009 21:46:20 | More by rousee
4.44/5 rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
An oasis within Worcestor. The downtown part of this city has seen better days, and I"m told it will again soon. For now, though, it's not a gathering place. However, if you are there you must stop by this Abbey of a bar. Small and quaint, longer than wider, it will seat a good amount of people. Small little outside area is where I sat while visiting a friend who's attending Clark College. Good amount of bottles, from local to Belgian. Taps were changing out when I got there, but were ready in about 30 min.
Friendly service and appropriate glassware. Food? I dunno, didn't look. I'd say the only problem is the location...right under the Sheriff's office!
08-18-2011 02:26:27 | More by Mebuzzard
4.15/5 rDev -10.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Worcester, particularly the downtown area, does not have too many positive connotations associated with it. However, it has gotten better in recent years. One of the businesses that seems to have helped in this is Armsby Abbey.
There is a long bar, as well as a good number of tables. For taps, I believe they have about 20 selections. During a couple visits, I have seen MA brewers including Mayflower, Jack`s Abbery, BBC, others. New England as a whole gets attention, and some Belgians and other US brewers are in the mix as well. For bottles, there is a list with some great options covering different styles, but is not one of those bottles lists that sometimes are larger than necessary.
Food is very good, although a bit expensive. Service is very good, even when they are busy. It is nice to see that have done so well, and with that, it can get crowded at "peak dining/bar hours".
06-09-2012 13:55:19 | More by mltobin
4.95/5 rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Finally made it to AA on a trip home from the airport. Found some parking right down the street and stepped inside on a snowy night to find a place that lived up to all the hype (and then some)!
Nice cozy place inside with exposed brick, a great bar and big open space with a good deal of tables and some quiet live music in the back.
Great tap list for sure. They had Imperial Stout Trooper, Sculpin and Rogue I2PA as well as Barrel Aged Allagash Black on tap. Pretty incredible stuff.
Service was prompt and helpful. The cheese plate was incredible as was the super spicy jerk chicken sandwich I got. Talk about some amazing food, I almost forgot I was there for the beer!
Price was more than reasonable based on the quality of both the food and the beer. I will be back and plan on driving the hour to go for dinner there with my wife sometime soon.
This is the newest place that I wish was right down the street from my house.
01-20-2010 03:23:24 | More by indiapaleale
Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA
100 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.