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John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House

Not Rated.
John Harvard's Brewery & Ale HouseJohn Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
BEER AVG
3.56/5
Based on:
189 Beers
907 Ratings
Place Score: 84
Ratings: 47
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

1 Worcester Road
Framingham, Massachusetts, 01701
United States
phone: (508) 875-2337

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @johnharvards

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 47 | Reviews: 30
Reviews by Hibernator:
Photo of Hibernator
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Classic John Harvard's layout with the nice dark wood and dim lights. Plenty of seating at the bar and dining room area with booths and tables.

Food is standard pub selection with a concentration on burgers, wraps, pizza, salads and apps. Also featured are enticing specials and other quality dishes. We started out with the chicken quesadillas and spilt a pizza & wrap. Food quality is better than average and enjoyable overall.

The beer selection is one of the main reasons you come here though, right? Expect a diverse draft beer selection of about 8 brews.

Selections during my visit included Rye Dunkel Lager, John Harvard's Pale Ale, Fat Turkey Brown Ale, Double Pilsner and Munich Light Lager. The featured beers were Harvest Spice Ale and Imperial Round House Belgian Stout (10.8% ABV).

Word to the wise, you can get a sampler platter that comes with 5 beers for $5.99. Pretty good deal.

I sampled a bunch of of their different beers and ended with the Imperial Round House Belgian Stout that was delicious. Good beers. Service was good too, our waiter was attentive, prompt, friendly and knowledgeable.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Sweffin
2.66/5  rDev -26.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 2.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 1.25 | food: 3.75

The place was solid, but this is some of the worst beer I've ever had

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Two reasons to like this place:
The bar area with all the TVs is separate from the dining area. The best of both worlds. You can go watch your game, or you can bring your family and sit in an area that's relatively quiet.
The food is quite good, at least what we were eating. The veggie burger, Greek salad, and vegetarian pizza were excellent.

Photo of GonzoHomebrewer
4.33/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

If I'm going to drink in Framingham, this is really the only place to go. Prices and poor draft maintenance keep me from BBC.... and that's about it. Not too many options in the immediate area, though I still haven't been to the Framingham beer works due to the fact they were delayed in brewing on the premises

The beer is at the worst always true to style and a respectable representation of style and on occassion they hit one out of the park, some of their IPAs are worthy of more praise and the rotating cask selection has recently been a lot more experimentive and fun.

The service cannot be beat. I'm generally here on Sundays after work and it is usually the assistant brewer bartending, "Baggles". Always on top of everything, never waiting for a pour and is quite passionate about brew, the best attributes in a brewpub 'tender

Food is alright, typical american grill/pub style, but the cheap late night offerings are what give it a bump

Quality spot in a bit of no mans land for beer in Framingham.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

This is not the easiest place to find if you aren't familiar with the mall setup...it's in a corner between 2 huge anchor stores. Once you find it, it's very welcoming inside...fairly typical brewpub set-up, with the bar area immediately in the front and dinner seating in the back. They had 8 beers on-tap when we went, and it seems that they rotate fairly often. There were a lot of summer-style brews, with one stout. Looking at their beer list, they have plenty of different brews to rotate through. Growlers available to go, and very reasonably priced, between $10-15 for filled ones, depending on style. The food was decent. Standard gastropub menu, with ranges from chowders and chilis to sandwiches and burgers to some more hefty entrees. Our waiter was fantastic...we were there with our 17 month old, and she wasn't feeling overly well, but he was awesome, bringing our stuff out quickly, checking back often, and getting our check out quickly. The hostess, however, was a bitch. She glared/rolled eyes at us when we walked in, I had to walk up close enough to count her gray hairs before she would acknowledge us/seat us, and she mumbled and walked off abruptly after we thanked her for helping (barely). The rest of the experience was enjoyable enough that I don't want to dock the whole place for one person, but she was hell on wheels. Other than that, good place to eat and drink.

Photo of tigg924
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I like John Harvard’s in Framingham and it has improved strides since I was there last. The atmosphere strikes me as an old time bar with the addition of several tvs. There was a good mix of people there for the last half of the Patriots game. They featured about seven different beers on tap, yet their selections were very impressive. A saison, dubbel, and October spice beer among others. Very solid compared to stout, ipa, etc. The beers were high quality in my opinion, but not the best I have had. Certainly none was one that I would not gladly order in most microbreweries. The service was excellent. Our server let us try the beer before ordering and dropped off additional bread when she noticed we still had some hummus to get through. I really enjoyed my hummus and pulled pork sandwich, although my wife’s buffalo chicken wrap left something to be desired. The food by in large was good, but not great. I would certainly come back here if I was in the area. I was really pleased with how much better this place is over the last time I was here.

Photo of beer2day
4/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Located in the corner of the large Shopper's World. Kind of tucked away.

Very large restaurant with a nice visible brewing operation. Menu is pretty extensive with sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and pizzas. Apps were a huge hit for our kids. Nice kids menus too.

8 beers going the day we visited, with a decent range. Nothing dark, though. I get it's summer, but it is NE. One beer on cask and quite tasty.

Service was very attentive, even though they were crowded. Professionally done.

If you are in the area, worth a stop. Decent place to catch a game. Great way to kill time while the wife shops.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is the only John Harvard's I have visited. It is usually pretty busy I think it is because it is in an outdoor mall/shopping center and right next to a giant shoe warehouse and a arts/crafts store. I don't know if It is coincidence or great planning. They always have a wide variety of styles and for some reason every time I go there it's the first day they are serving a new brew. Had an Imperial Belgian Stout the other day and it was very good. If I took notes probably a b+/a-. The food is pretty good and if you just want a burger and beer it isn't that pricey. The girlfriend loves the fall seasonal pumpkin spice where they dip the rim in some cinnamon sugar.
I like going here every month or so just to see whats new. Being a home-brewer I love seeing the whole brew system behind the bar.

Photo of DrJay
3.75/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I stop in here fairly often with my family when we're in the area shopping. It's pretty kid friendly - we haven't had any trouble bringing our preschooler here in the past. Most of the time we've sat in the dining room, but the same solid service is available when seated in the bar area as well. The beer selection covers about 7-8 offerings, with a few of these being seasonals or occasional releases. Beers tend to be solid, ranging from mediocre to quite good. Same with the food, with some of our favourites being the pot pie and beef stew. A great place to stop in for lunch and a beer to break up the monotony of shopping.

Photo of morebeergood
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Stopped in for dinner last Saturday night. Bit of a wait for a table, but there were tvs above the bar to watch football. This restaurant is certainly kid-friendly: lots of families dining here tonight. Strange ambiance here: looks like a brewpub took over an Olive Garden. Our waiter was very good. Friendly and quick, but did not bother us constantly. He was there when we needed him. Beer selection was pretty good. There were about 9 beers on tap that night. They still have the Harvest Spice Ale on tap, first tapped in September 2009? Kinda old. Tried the two newest beers to be tapped (this past week): the Old # 13 Imperial Porter and the 2010 Stout. The porter was excellent. Food I thought was better here than what I remember at the Cambridge location. My buffalo chicken mac and cheese was tasty, and my wife liked her burger. The mountain of ice cream brownie sundae for $4.99 was a steal. Food and beer prices were all reasonable for a brewpub. Worth a visit if in the area.

Photo of Jayli
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Visited this location with some co-workers last evening. I've been here numerous times before but hadn't had a chance to review. This location is more similar to the Harvard Sq location than the Manchester, CT location - dark wood and stained glass, exposed brewing machines. Service - our waiter was exceptional at first, very attentive, but then dipped off. We took a bit to order appetizers and dinner but there was a pretty big period in between when he would come and check on us. Selection was decent - I always enjoy their beers, however they were out of the two selections that I was most eager to try, on the up side they had two additional offerings to replace what they no longer had. Food is outstanding. I've yet to have something that wasn't incredible there. I always enjoy the food, beer, and atmosphere at John Harvard's.

Photo of mymrnngjckt
2.45/5  rDev -32.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Stopped here on a Friday afternoon with some fellow travlers. Waited about five minutes to get seated even though there were empty seats avaialble. The place was your cookie cutter brew-pub. Beer decor on the wall and corny pictures of famous people portrayed as monks. The service was less than stellar. The woman who waited on us appeared to be less interested in us and more interested in what social-political female based movement she could join when she punched out. We waited for beers and also to order food. The beer was unimpressive. I had a winter beer and an oatmeal stout. The oatmeal was decent. The winter tasted like a christmas wreath dipped in rubbng alcohol and scented with Corning Insualltion (the pink one with the panther.) Not good at all.

The food was good. I had a burger which was excellent. A bit pricey, it is a major metropolitian area. I would go back for the food. I would not go back for the service or the beer.

Photo of Bagman007
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Went here on a Sunday night. No problem getting in or getting a table. Got a sampler with my meal. They were out of several of their beers, but I still got a pretty decent selection. The price of the sampler was very affordable as it was only $5.50 for 25 oz of beer. Good deal. I had the buffalo tenders for an appetizer. Very good, but a little hot for me. I got a burger as my meal which was just OK. The prices were definitely cheaper than I thought they would be. Much better than anywhere else in the Boston area that I have been to on this business trip. I would go back here again, though I hope if I do that they have more of a selection of beer available.

Photo of fitzy84
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Was stopping by Framingham and decided to visit this spot. Its location is at the end of a shopping plaza surrounded by a Barnes and Noble, Old Navy, Best Buy etc, right off Route 9. It was lunch time so it was pretty busy. The place is relatively long and big. Many tables and booths so big parties were able to be seated quite quickly during the lunch hour. I sat at the bar which was a round, curved area in the front. Multiple plasma TVs helped make this big place seem cozy, relaxing and also fun.

The bartender was very friendly and informative about the menu. The place offers free bread with oil. I had a burger that had some of the best cheese bread I have ever had on a sandwich. The menu also consisted of pizzas, sandwiches, wraps and salads.

While sporting many wines, I believe all they sport for beer is their own. So I had their reasonably priced sampler.

If your going shopping or just want to go to a fun place outside of the hecticness of the Cambridge location or the far drive of the Hancock location, I would say this John Harvard's was a pretty good one. Of course, I need to venture to the other Mass John Harvard's before I can say this one was the best.

Photo of Yamar18
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Went here for the first time last weekend and was pretty happy with my visit. I split a pitcher of Chocolate Stout with my wife and sort of wished I had tried some other things, not because it wasn't good but it limited what I was able to taste. They had about 6 beers available when I was there. It looked like another 3 or so different ones were in the works so it seems like they probably just rotate them out trying different things. The bar area has a nice feel to it with some raised tables as well as lower ones and the dining room in the back of the place was packed with kids. We sat in the bar and I'm glad we did, it was pretty loud back there. This was on a Saturday afternoon though and in fairness, its right near a major mall so the entire area was packed. I would go here again for sure, probably not soon because there are so many places I would like to try but it was good overall.

Photo of kmo1030
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

john harvard's framingham... you've seen one john harvard's you've seen them all... this ones got the trademark dark wood and stained glass, though with a higher cieling than the others i've been to. exposed brewing equipment lets you know they make the beer there. they offer between 8 and 10 beers on tap, the majority of which a fine representations of their style, nothinhg to blow your mind, but solid. the service here during the couple of time's i've been here has been pleasant and attentive.
the food is always pretty good for what it is: chain restaurant food. some of the specials and whatnot can be worth the trip by themselves, and almost always for a reasonable price.
most john harvrd's are good places to go if you live in the area and are into beer, but not someplace to go out of your way for. this one is no exception. i will be a resident of framingham in july and will return here pretty often.

Photo of Faulconerbrewing
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

My wife and I go here pretty often and I have only had one experience that was not great. I ordered their Deutschland Dunkel and it was dead flat. No carbonation what-so-ever. I drank it, after all it is still beer, and the ordered a new beer and was very pleased. besides that little hick-up, John Harvards is one of my staple places to eat and drink. The food is always top notch (the meatloaf is to die for) and the selection of beers is always appealing! I can't wait for summer when they come out with their Kolsch!

Photo of NEhophead
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Dinner with friends on a Friday night; 09.01.2007.

Located in the corner of a large strip mall. As you walk in the front entrance, the wrap around bar is located directly in front of you with seating to the back left. The establishment seems pretty large, but not large enough on a Friday night as the wait was about twenty minutes. The brewpub seems almost like a sportsbar when the Sox are playing, with tv's intelligently placed to give most patrons a decent seat. On tap were approximately seven brews including: Golden Ale, Pale Ale, IPA, Belgian Blonde (Wit), Belgian Tripel, Maple Brown Ale, and Milk Chocolate Stout. The Tripel (at 8% abv) was surprisingly tasty and practically true to style; however, the IPA was nothing special. In the sampler, the milk stout was very tasty with a hefty smokey quality, the Wit was a decent version of the style, the Pale had some substance, the Brown was a little too sweet, and the Golden was the bad seed of the bunch. Service was a bit slow as the dinner continued, but to be expected for such a busy night, and very pleasant throughout our time spent. The food for a slightly upscale, casual dining experience was good enough for me to keep this place an option in the future. All in all a pleasant experience, with a few highlights from the brewing perspective.

Photo of capo56
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 2.5

John Harvard’s in Framing ham is located in the back corner of a shoppers world shopping plaza, A place where shoppers end their sprees, or workers end their day, At least they use too.Went their at lunch time and what use be a long line to get in was gone! With just a mere two people sitting at the bar and it seats about 30. With 5 beers on tap we had to try a sampler (their’s is five 5 oz samples for $5!) but they all seem to be a bit watery and bland. Average at best. I had a salad to eat, and it was ok. Seemed to be Fresh ingredients, but small portions. The menu was fairly extensive, but a bit on the pricey side. Service was pretty good too. I had some questions for the bartender, and he was more than willing to take the time and answer them. Disappointed I use to enjoy this place.

Photo of n0rmann
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Working in Framingham, I have a chance to head over to John Harvard's on a semi-regular basis.

I've never been disappointed when I go there. All the beers I've tasted have been decent, although none have been spectacular.

The food is also pretty good. The parking sometimes is tough, despite being in a mall.

I look at this place at a regular restaurant that you'd go to with friends that just happens to brew their own beer.

I never go there specifically for the beer, but always have one when I'm there.

Photo of taez555
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

John Harvard’s in Framingham is located in the back corner of a shopping plaza, within the endless strip of malls and big box on the stretch of Route 9.

Interior is classic John Harvard cozy. Old dark rustic wood booths and tables, dimly lit atmosphere, and yet at the same time very family friendly. An L shaped bar is off to one side with flat screen TV’s above it tuned to sports at all times.

Food is typical Pub Grub. Burgers, Sandwiches, salads, entrees, appetizers, etc. All food is hearty and good quality. I tend to find their food a little greasier than some places, but overall I’ve always been more than happy with it.

Beer, well… it’s good, but compared to others in the chain this is probably the lowest quality. They have about 5 on tap with usually 2 specialties at any given time. I’ve been here many times and no matter which specialty or standard beer I order they all seem to be a tad bit watery and bland. Still better than any macro or local micro, but you can tell their beers are geared more towards casual shoppers in the area who convinced their family to try something other than the Olive Garden.

If you’re spending a day shopping, it’s terrific to have a brewpub around. Sure beats TGI Fridays or Pizzeria Uno, but if you’re looking to truly experience John Harvard’s, there are other’s in the chain a short trip into the Boston area which I like a lot better.

Photo of slander
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Phil is all about the chain brewpubs, it's true (You knooow.... each one's totally different... complete freedom to brew what they want.... each brewer brings his own skills... corporate ownership's good... dih dih dih dih dih). So we try to oblige him whenever possible. Still, driving up and down and up Route 9 again looking for this Harvards, tucked away in the far back corner of a strip mall, with no goddamn sign out on the road even hinting of it's existence; I'm not happy and there's going to be some shit for this one all right. I shouldn't have to work this hard for a beer (sampler)...

The half a hex wood bar seats 20, with the bar back being a wrapping counter stacked with booze & glassware, an oj squeezer, a lemonade dispenser, wine and a cooler with growlers below a half an octo glass front room with a pair of copper vessels. An area forward the bar holds about a dozen bar tables with good views of a row of 6 fermenters in a glass front room. Off the other side of the bar, a strip of 4 low tables sharing a common bench and 4 bar tables run towards the rear. A room to the rear holds roughly 30 tables and booths in neat rows, and there's a rear rear banquet room as well.

Deep yellow walls decorated with mirrors below a series of hanging signs depicting the life of John Harvard. Spot lighting above the bar and drop lamps over the tables, stained glass panels with portraits of prophets and biblical figures with photo faces (JFK, Jerry Garcia, Teddy Roosevelt), a flatscreen mounted up high and TV's above the bar in both corners and here and there.

7 taps listed, showing original gravity and tap dates on the long boards above the glass front fermenter room, but you only get 5 beers on the sampler (boooo!!!). The Pale Ale was hoppy, pleasant; the Kolsch decent to style; the Oatmeal Stout was good, oaty, maybe a little thinnish; the Dunkel Weisse was nicely fruity & very clovey; the Nut Brown Ale surprisingly chocolatey. Didn't get to have the IPA or Winter Ale. Taps were spread over a pair of towers, one at each end of the bar and a sad lonely unused hand pump sits to the center.

Menu was usual Harvard's fare though we didn't indulge, having put down lunch just an hour or two before. Service was pleasant enough, although they didn't seem to appreciate my getting all mean about the lack of a goddamn sign out there on Route 9. The things we do for Phil.

Photo of Suds
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

On a recent trip to Natick, I needed to find a place for dinner. I saw that John Harvard’s was just a short drive away, so decided it would be worth a stop.
The brewpub is located in a strip-mall, and seems to have lots of parking available. The set-up is similar to a lot of chain restaurants, with separate bar and dining areas. It has an artificial, fabricated feel, but is clean and comfortable.
The service was extremely good. First, the hostess not only seated us, but gave us a nice run-down on the beers. She was also to answer some questions, and seemed generally knowledgeable and passionate about beer. (In my book, this is a huge plus for a brewpub.) The waitress also pushed the beer, and was very quick. Food came quickly, but it didn’t feel like we were being pushed. No complaints in this area.
Beer was fairly average for a brewpub. The Oktoberfest was tasty, but could have been a little more malty. The Spiced beer was desert-like. No real complaints, but the brews didn’t wow me either.
I had a steak, which was cooked to order (unlike many places that over-cook meat). Other than that, it is typical chain-like food, with little flair.
All in all, I’d come back to this pub. It’s not world-class, but I don’t think that anyone could be very disappointed.

Photo of OldSock
3.75/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Atmosphere: Pretty standard chain restaurant feel, Red Sox game is often on. Always a good number of people in there, but rarely overly crowded.

Quality: Beers have always seemed fresh, probably because they don’t have that many taps. The beers are served a bit cold for my taste, but not as cold as some places I have been.

Service: Can be a bit slow, in particular it often takes a few minutes to get a beer if you are sitting at a table.

Selection: The selection is just they’re stuff about 6 taps, they could have a few more taps, but its fine as is. The beer is generally pretty good, I particularly enjoyed the Irish Stout on nitro last time I was there.

Food: Nothing special, but still solid. Certainly not worth going to just for the food, but its fine if you want something to eat with your beer.

Conclusion: A pretty good brewpub, but nothing amazing. Unlike many brewpubs they keep some more flavorful beers, Stout, Scotch Ale etc…, on tap during the summer which is nice as there are only so many golden ales I can handle.

Photo of PatandDavid
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

David and I visited here a month or so so ago. Brighter (so it seems cleaner) than the one in Havard Square, we actual had much quicker service at the bar as well. I will do reviews for 4 beers separately. Service was attentive, although I think there was a shift change while we were there. The one bartender was covering the whole bar. We didn't get any food besides some chips, so I won't comment further. It was a nice change form the Harvard Square location, and the beers were over-all decent and fresh. If I am this way again I would go, but wouldn't make a special trip.

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John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House in Framingham, MA
84 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.