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Boston Beer Works - Canal Street

Not Rated.
Boston Beer Works - Canal StreetBoston Beer Works - Canal Street
BEER AVG
3.63/5
Based on:
146 Beers
1,864 Ratings
Place Score: 86
Ratings: 104
Reviews: 77
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: n/a
Taps: 16
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

112 Canal St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02114
United States
phone: (617) 896-2337

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @beer_works

Notes:  Master Beer Listing
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 104 | Reviews: 77
Reviews by merc7186:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of PJK
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Canal Street BBW has a very comfortable vibe, with pleasing, industrial decor. Service is good-to-very good. But I don't understand why all Beer Works locations insist on having the servers explain their "team service" concept. Like you're going to freak out if the person who delivers your food is different from the one who took your order. Don't most places work that way? Does it really require an explanation ahead of time? As long as I can find someone if I need ketchup or silverware, we're good. Aside from that, the service is fine.

The food for me is on the high end of pub fare. Good burgers, sandwiches and sides. Overall a pretty safe bet

Photo of mr-jj
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Big place with lots of seating. Food was standard brew pub fare and of good quality. Beer selection was okay - lots of styles should cover most peoples tastes.

Photo of zachgroves
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

This is my happy place. Proximity to the Garden and the subway is definitely a plus, but it's got a lot more going for it than that. No matter what your beer preference is it's got something for you. This is a great place to take your hophead buddies, but it's also a place to take your uncultured friends who drink yellow fizzy piss water and enlighten them with good entry level beers. Some of the best beer in Boston (and therefore America) is served here. If you're lucky enough to be here when they're serving the Chocolate Strawberry Stout, get it and it might change your life.

Photo of smcolw
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Large cavernous room with a long curving bar. I'm here on St. Patrick's Day. I arrived at the right time, just after a Bruins game started at the Garden (less than a block away).

So, it is a bustling location today, but I did get a seat at the bar. To give you an idea I've seen four kegs kicked in the last thirty minutes. Because of the size, it is noisy.

Basically, this is your typical brew pub on a game day. If you like that atmosphere, come on a game day for the Celtics or Bruins.

I didn't get a chance to try the food, but the location at the Fens has a typical brew pub fair. The beer selection is extensive and overall fairly decent.

Photo of bszern
2.83/5  rDev -25.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5

Atmosphere is ok. Tables are all over the place, and any person who gets stuck sitting by the garage doors in the winter will regret going there.

Food and beer quality were ok. I wasn't really blown away by anything. Standard pub fare on the first page of the menu, and up-scale dishes on the second (the prices pretty much double).

Service sucked (went on a Saturday around 8 PM). I was surprised, considering how empty the place was (now I know why). Sat at a table for 15 minutes without anyone coming over to take a drink order before I finally went to the bar.

Pretty big selection of beers, not mind blowing. If you like Pale Ales, you are in for a treat!

Food was ok. They forgot the bacon on my cheeseburger, and the desert pizza was made without all the ingredients.

The only reason I would come back here would be for a beer or two before a Bruins/Celtics game.

Photo of seanwhite
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 1.5

Come for the beer, but you won't be blown away, avoid the food.

They have a wide selection of beer and one cask at all times, but they are more mainstream beers (nothing wrong with this), and nothing really pushes the envelope.

I joke that it is a gateway drug for mainstream beer drinkers to get turned onto craft beer.

You will see hundreds of beers go by with floating blueberries headed to college chicks, but just lit it slide. The back bay IPA is not bad, and can help you overcome the dry food.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped by after visiting our niece who is in college in Boston. Great looking place from the outside, as well as when you walk in. Prime location, too, being walking distance to North Station/The Garden. The place is pretty spacious, with a ton of room and a ton of seating. It was pretty empty for a Sunday afternoon...I can imagine it packs in depending on the day. They have quite a list of brews available on-tap, and have quite a few available in 6-packs to go. They also have a group of 3 or 4 "seasonal" brews that rotate each month along with a themed portion of their menu. Very cool. The food was very decent, and the prices were not bad at all, especially when compared to most establishments in downtown Boston. Our waitress was helpful, and very prompt. All in all, a very decent place to hang out with a group and watch a game while drinking some decent beers.

Photo of FightingEntropy
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

After a day on the Freedom Trail, we headed to Boston Beer Works for a beer break before walking over the bridge to Bunker Hill. Tried only a couple of beers since we had had some of the in common brews the day before at Salem Beer Works. All were adequate brews with the India Pale Porter that stand out beer on Canal Street. Similar to Salem, each place had ok beer with a single beer that was just a bit better than the rest. Nachos were too big and ok as well. Nice break, but a bit pricey. Best feature was that for some reason there was a very cooling breeze down the street that made the patio very nice, in spite of it being fairly warm walking in other parts of the city that day. So, great patio dining if that's something you enjoy.

Photo of BennyL1
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Went here before the Celtics and Rockets on 1/10/11

Very nice place to have a pre-game meal. Interior is nice, plenty of flat screens on all of the walls. Music was a little loud but didn't bother me that much. Packed with people going to the game.

The beer is what really did it for me. I had a Back Bay IPA with my meal and a Bunker Hill Blueberry with my dessert. Both were quality offerings. There were about 15 or 16 beers on the menu. You could choose from 12, 16, or 22 oz servings which I liked.

The food was also very good, I had a chicken sandwich and some very good fries. Both the girlfriend and I enjoyed our meals.

Service I thought was timely considering how packed it was. Two dinners, beers, dessert, and tip was about $50. Well worth it to me and will definitely come back when I go to my next Celtics or Bruins game.

Photo of BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Located pretty close to the North Station stop on the Green Line. The inside is rather modern, with lots of finished wood and metal.

Behind the bar are signs that show the beer selection. Each sign is colored to match the color of the beer which I think is a great idea, especially for those unfamiliar with beer in general.

My dad and I showed up to this place planning on waiting for my sister to go get a late lunch, but she texted me to tell us that they were eating, so we ended up with a salad. The salads were pretty good, and there seemed to be a good amount of options on the food menu.

The beer was really good, and there was a good ranged of beers available, from very light to very dark, sessionable to strong. The beers seemed to be reasonably priced as well.

Photo of DrJay
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I've stopped in here a few times while waiting for a train back to the burbs. The inside is large with an open layout, seems kind of like a converted warehouse. There's a large bar on the wall to your right as you walk in - that's where I've seated myself during my visits. The bartenders have always been quick to take my order and answer questions about the large selection of beer that's been available during my visits, even taking the time to ask questions about favourite styles, make suggestions, and provide small samples. Friendly and quick service is always appreciated, particularly when you're a slave to the train schedule. As mentioned the beer selection has always been large during my visits, probably on the order of 15+ taps. There have usually been multiple choices for a given style, particularly stouts, IPAs and pale ales. I'll continue to stop in here due to both the convenient location and the selection/service.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

My favorite pre/post Bruins haunt, Beer Works Canal St. is like one of those choose your own adventure books. You can sit around for awhile or you can get in and out before a game. You can fill up on some of their pedestrian brews or you can pontificate upon something fancy. It's up to you.

First and foremost this place is about getting people fed and quenched before sporting events at Garden (or whatever it's called now). The service is accordingly fast and efficient. Consequently, if you're looking to sit around for awhile you should probably let your server know.

Beers range from mediocre standards such as Fenway Pale, which are geared more to the sports fan who just ended up here, to takes on Belgian ales and sours. When they want to Beer Works brews some good stuff. They also brew a wide variety as they trade out with other Beer Works locations.

The food is similarly eclectic and hit-or-miss. I personally recommend the jambalaya.

If you're not careful they may blast club music at you in the upstairs. Watch out for that.

It's right next to North Station so it's a nice place to wait when you're train is late.

Photo of HT75
2.7/5  rDev -29.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 3

OK, I would like to add I have been here a ton of times because of its location to the Garden. Not touting, just like to point out that this isn't a single encounter review. Beer Works is a large , converted warehouse type brew pub walking distance from the garden making it an ideal choice for pre game festivites. The beer varies a lot in quality, There most popular beer has blueberries floating in it and tastes awful, however, they always have at least one awesome beer. Lately the brewers have been flirting with Belgians. The bartenders will also give you tastes if there isn't to big a crowd, Tough to nail down a work for the beer except wide ranging. It's a brew pub so there isn't a selection. The food is the same as the beer in that the quality fluctuates wildly. It can go from mediocre to very food. Its better when there isn't a pre-game crowd, Its also seems to be better with specials. Service is all about getting you in and getting you to the game. One of my pet peeves there is that the servers never seem to know whats on tap, so I'll order off the menu or the board over the bar and they'll come back to say that was kicked last week. It happens almost every time I go. THe service is all about getting you in and getting you out before game time. So it's no frills. However, that is nice at times because there's no waiter tying to impress me with his beer knowledge by responding the the question of "What's on tap?" with "What are you in the mood for?".. A horrible move if you want a tip from me?

Photo of jaluria
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3

During a recent visit to Boston, I made a point of swinging by here for lunch a few beers.

Overall, I enjoyed my visit, but would not consider coming back unless I was very close by. The service was not very good in that I could not order additional beers since my waitress was nowhere to be found.

The atmosphere is that of a typical sports bar, gimmicky type place. Banners and posters inside clearly showcase the establishment as being Bostonian. Besides, that the place was pretty typical for a regular themed bar.

On tap, there were nearly a dozen different brews including 1 on cask. I ordered the sampler and tried the cask ale (Fenway pale ale), Summer ale, a stout, and one of their Belgian style ales. I thought all of the beers were tasty and well made, but nothing that blew me away.

The food was average; nothing special.

Photo of wspscott
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in here on the way to the airport after a conference across the river.

Looks like a big sports bar, a bunch of TVs over the bar in a large open space, probably gets very noisy on game days being right around the corner from the Garden.

The bartender was competent and able to answer my questions about the beer. I asked if any of the brewers were around and she offered to find the head brewer if I would like. Jack was/is a nice guy who seemed very knowledgeable about beer. It sounds like he (and the other brewers are given a lot of freedom in the brewing process). He gave me a couple of samples of "his" beers and answered my questions about a couple of others. The "Cherry Bomb" was a great summer beer, a pale malt base with sour cherries. The cherry flavor came through, but had been added before fermentation so it was not a sweet beer. The porter and "Double Pale" were also excellent.

The steak tip sandwich was huge and tasty, although a little pricey (I think ~$11), I would order it again.

Beer prices were reasonable (~$5 for 22oz), the selection of beers was over the top (about 15 beers) and a cask beer (a summer ale dry hopped with Saaz, very nice).

All in all a great way to spend an afternoon, easy access from the T, definitely worth checking out.

Photo of Deuane
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Located a few blocks away from The Garden and from our hotel, the Bullfinch, this was our last stop of the evening before turning in for the night.

My companions and I sat at the bar and were waited on quickly and had the luck of sitting right beside the brewer who was there finishing up for the day and having a beer. The bartender was pleasant and being able to talk to the brewer was nice. He was very interested in what we thought of his beers and I feel he took our comments seriously.

With 17 beers on tap to include a cask selection the line up was fairly impressive and would not leave you wanting. I was most interested in the Victory Green, a gruit, made with rosemary, marjoram, mint and nettle.

All of the beers we tried were quite nice and very fresh.

The place itself is a very large room with an industrial feel that works but doesn't impress. It is a fine place but nothing wows you. I liked the long swooping bar and the view of the brewing equipment.

A good place, certainly worthy of a visit if staying in the area or visiting The Garden for an event. Solid and varied beers at a good price...a good combination.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Our last stop of the evening before heading back to the Bulfinch a few blocks away. The three of us grabbed a seat at the bar and were waited on almost immediately considering the moderate crowd. Our bartender took the time to go over all of the beers available on tap and in great detail. There were many styles to choose from and you are sure to find something you'd like. I settled on the Victory Green made without hops. Tasty, different and very fresh. We did not order any food as it was getting late, so I can't comment on that. Like I said earlier, service was friendly, helpful and timely. Prices were reasonable for the area.

Photo of bkett01
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is my pre-game bar, and as a Bruins season ticket holder, I have been here many times. I prefer the upstairs bar, which is in a room full of pool tables and HD screens. The place tends to get crowded before/after games, but usually isn't bad other times.
Beer is hit or miss at Beer Works (Fenway or Canal St.). I typically go with the Back Bay IPA which is average, but am sometimes blown away by a special offering (Imperial Stout) or greatly dissapointed by another (differnt batch of same Imperial Stout the following year).
Food is good, but takes awhile to come out. Menu has plenty of pub-grub choices and I've never been let down by the food.
All things considered, it's my favorite bar near the Garden, and certainly worth a try if you're looking to avoid the mainstream BMC bars. And I recommend signing up for their VIP card (not a CC), good discounts on food & beer.

Photo of Duhast500
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I have been to the Boston Beer Works many times. One or twice on Canal Street and once or twice at the one near Fenway Park. I wasn't very impressed of my first two visits so when my work decided to do a night out there I tried to be open minded and try the place one more time.

Free beer is always a good thing but quality beer is heaven. I was pleased to say that the beers that I tried were very good. I don't remember the names but the Stout and the IPA was quite good. Once the Celtics game started the crowd filtered out a bit and maybe it a lot less crowed and easier to get waited on. The service was quite helpful even when your not sure what beer to drink. The food is really good. I had a burger that was quite tasty and the appitizers were good as well.

Photo of jwheeler85
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stopped in here after work around 6pm on a Tuesday. The place is very nice looking and spacious, although I did have to wait for a seat at the bar. Didn't go upstairs, but apparently there are pool tables and stuff. One really nice idea they have employed here is a beer express line. There is a section at the bar that has ropes coming out from it (like the things they use at movie theaters to direct lines of people). This makes getting a beer really easy and fast. I tried a beer sampler. I found that the beers I sampled all seemed sort of watered down tasting. Perhaps I just didn't try the good ones. They have a blueberry beer that seemed to be very popular, though I didn't try it.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I've been to this place countless times before Celtics games over the years. For me it is one of the best pre-game spots near the Garden. Good food and good beer.

The burgers are always very good and the variety of Chicken sandwiches is very nice. My favorite item on the menu is the Rajun Cajun. Spicy Shrimp, Chicken end peppers over rice. Good stuff if you like it spicy.

The beer is always pretty darn good. Tonight I had a Scotch Ale that was very good and their Victory Green. This was described as a spiced up Hefe... It was really good. I didn't see it on the reviewed beer list, so I may have to add that one tomorrow. They have an English Style Nitro Ale that I really enjoy.

I really don't think of this place as a first line beer place. So if you are seeking out great beer, go elsewhere. But if you are near the Garden, it sure beats the other joints around.

Service is always suspect. Even when it's not slammed. I just think they are so used to getting their crowds due to events that they don't really care if "you" come back.... All the others will.

Photo of ejimhof
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I stopped in on a weekday around 6 PM the bar and the dining room was not very crowded. I sat at the bar and had a chicken sandwich which was ok but not great. I had 2 of the four beer samplers and I liked the Boston Common Ale and Kolsch the best. I tried the reds which is a style I really like but they were average tasting. This is a nice place to visit but there is nothing exceptional going on here that makes you want to visit again and again. With just a little more flavor to the beers this would be a great beer destination.

Photo of kbnooshay
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Pretty much what I expected it to be. Very large and clean room with multi stories and lots of brick. Most of the beer tanks on the third floor. It was fairly crowded with a younger crowd. The bar was very long and the bartender was kinda weird They have a lot of their brews on tap but most of them were mediocre to average. THe bullfinch pale ale was kinda gross. The food was decent. Good southern fried chicken and AWESOME nachos. Our waitress was not very prompt in doing anything. Much better beer places to go in boston!

Photo of gcarl
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Boston Beer Works has a special place in my heart; it was definitely a big step in my search for beer advocacy. The Canal Street location is always clean and welcoming. I don't go during the time after events at the Garden so pool tables are always available and servers are always attentive.

It is a great place for your standard pub grub and also good for a surprisingly delicious beer. Several brews are above average but Victory Red is among one of my favorites in town; malty, creamy, and smooth...always hits the spot.

GC

Photo of Tonyrobts
2.4/5  rDev -37%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Just now and again I venture back to this place (or the one at Fenway) to see if it's got any better. I really want to like Beer Works - I don't know why - but the place becomes more of a joke each time.

The beer is ok - no more, no less, and the food selection not bad either. They seem to be having an issue with their fries at the minute - change in recipe says the manager - no-one likes them (well why not change back?)

Their biggest problem is with the service - consistently bad.

The latest charade saw me and 5 friends sat at a table in the middle of the place having just been seated. (We chose Beer Works for the location - we were all coming in from different directions). 20 minutes pass with no drink order being taken, despite the place being half empty. We're trying to catch people's eye all the time, but we don't even know who our server is supposed to be at this point.

In the end I go to the bar to order drinks - but the barkeep REFUSES to serve me on the grounds that I am seated at a table! I explain the situation, and that I will pay cash here and now for the drinks but again she won't serve. (The bar is not busy either). She says she will send our sever over - 10 minutes later there is no sign.

In the end I found the manager who apologized and said that he's send someone over and our first round would be on the house. Even that took 5 minutes.

I didn't want free drinks - I just wanted service!

This episode is typical of the type of shambles I consistently experience on every visit. Guess I'll try them again next year.

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Boston Beer Works - Canal Street in Boston, MA
86 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.