Salem Beer Works

Salem Beer WorksSalem Beer Works

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

278 Derby Street
Salem, Massachusetts, 01970
United States

(978) 745-BEER | map

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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 70
Photo of mynie
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Here's maybe the most succinct rating I can give the place: I've lived two blocks away for 5 months, and I've only been there three times. But, each time I've been there, I've enjoyed it.

So... I dunno. It's a pretty boilerplate gastropub. The food is solid, if unhealthy, but there are better dining options within short walking distance. Likewise, the beer is solid, and the selection is admirable, but there is better within walking distance.

The "Works" locations are pretty old school, and so their strengths are the British-inflected east coast styles. The newer styles, like the super hoppy IPAs and coffee stouts, are hit and miss.

The decor is post-industrial but warm, with lots of amber lighting and steel bunting. The servers are friendly.

The prices... kind of suck. For a brewpub especially. I don't mind paying 8 bucks a pint for a high ABV beer that had to be trucked in from somewhere (well, I do mind, but that's understandable), but paying the same for a medium strength, so-so beer that was brewed a few feet away is kind of a rip.

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Photo of nikoconnor
2.86/5  rDev -25.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 1.75 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3

I really love the beer here and I always have. The Black Bat stout was amazing, and I try to get it every time. They have a relatively small selection of beers, but they are all great and cover most types beer. At the least, there's something for everyone. The atmosphere is pretty typical of a bar/restaurant, nothing special but not ugly. It has a lot a space, which is nice for big parties. My only big problem with this place is the service. It varies so much from really good bar service to horrendous table service. I've had to wait for over an hour to get a beer on a day that was actually pretty slow. Similar occurrences have happened a few times here. So while the beer is great, and the food is okay, the service can be a real killer.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Our trip to Salem on 10/20/11 was a blast. House of seven gables was fun and then we went to the Brwery which was a really nice surprise. We met some of my fiance's family there had a nice meal, I had New England clam chowder and my fiance had glazed shark. All yummy. Between us all we must've had all the beers available at the time which was about 7 or 8 selections, including one cask.

It was buzzing with engery on this Thursday night before Halloween, the place was full and very loud, the music was turned up a bit too load for my taste but we all enjoyed ourselves. The place itself is really spacious with good looks and a nifty, green-neon witch on the far wall. The service was pretty good to for being so busy. Fun!!

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Photo of danmcg62
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

My family and I love Beer Works in Salem. It's a great value for food, beer, and fun. They just recently renovated the dining room and bar area. It looks more like the Boston locations and it is a lot more open and comfortable. They have lots of TVs for viewing the various sporting events. The food almost always good and pairs well with the beer they serve. The tap list is pretty solid with various standards (Salem Pale Ale, an IPA, a Stout) and they brew three to four beers to go with the seasons. Overall, Beer Works is a great place to go after work and grab a few beers and some apps with friends and also a great place to take the family and have a nice meal and catch the game.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

With the exception of once stopping at the OK Corral in Tombstone, AZ, or possibly a buffalo burger (pre-veggie) at Wall Drug in South Dakota, Salem is the biggest tourist trap I've ever visited. However, our quick stop for an eye roll at the witch museum and the confusing search for the "memorial" quickly led us to the Salem Beer Works for a quick and friendly lunch stop before getting back on the road.

Our made to order pizza was a pie of gouda over white sauce on a spent grain crust surprised our waitress--and then us as to how good it tasted. I also enjoyed some of the themed names for the beers like Black Bat and Witch City Red. But, good if not great beer finished off our trip to Salem. Like Beer Works on Canal Street, one beer stood out and here it was an interesting and funky leftover barrel aged Belgian Imperial Stout. If a stop to see the witchcraft kitsch of Salem is a must, including the Salem Beer Works is a decent plan to break the spell.

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Photo of rousee
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This Beer Works is pretty similar decor-wise to the Boston locations that I have tried. All the names of the beers are changed to match the Salem location. For example Boston Garden Golden is called Seven Gables Golden yet they are the same beer.

They have a good selection of beers and styles represented and also offer one on cask.The food here actually seems like it might be a little better here than at the Canal street location. They also offer brunch items here which the Canal street location does not.

Our server was friendly and professional and there really isnt much to knock this place on. Its a good brewpub and the beers are decent. They are not the best beers I've ever tried but certainly a worthwhile place to check out if you are in Salem.

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Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Salem Beer Works is the quintessential brew pub: High ceilings, a vast room with plenty of seating, brewery equipment when you enter, plenty of taps and plenty of American Pub fare. The beers were good and mildly unusual. I particularly enjoyed the cask conditioned IPA.

The Buffalo Wings were superb. As a fellow patron said to me, "they never use frozen wings." I can attest as a former upstate New Yorker, the wing sauce was authentic.

The beer selection was ample, probably a little over a dozen beers on tap. The bartender seemed adequately knowledgeable, although he often referred to the alcohol content in estimated terms (5% for the aforementioned cask conditioned IPA and 8% for the special Barley Wine, I think both were on the low side). He was alone for lunch, but he did a good job keeping up with everyone.

So, for four 12-ounce beers and a double order of wings, the price was $35, without tip.

In short, if you are a tourist or a local in Salem, I would make the trip. Otherwise, I'd stick to the breweries closer to Boston.

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Photo of KJGAGNE
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Salem Beer works always a staple. The food and drink always great. Staff always on point. Food decent, yet quick. Salem spot well worth it!!Downtown location is perfect in downtown Salem. Spots are tough. Lived in salem and they are always tough. Plenty of walking distance bars, Beer works has the best options. Pickering Wharf not to far. Other options in the area are Gulu Cafe, great beers, different crowd. Enjoyed Gulu on a day off, not my type of place, but try it it out! they have great tap beers there. Out of towners would be surprised by list!!

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Photo of muttyd
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

My go-to brewpub for a Friday/Saturday night meal and beer.

A - They recently completely renovated the entire pub. Went from a typical 90's sitcom bar with pool tables (nothing wrong with that) to an almost hip/young gastro-pub. Semi-mood lighting, bars, high-top tables, glass walls, very modern look. Cool place.

Q - The beer here is damn good. The double IPA and double pale are excellent representations of the style. The regulars (porter, golden ale, red, etc.) are all great too. The monthly rotating specials are hit or miss. Big fan of the pumpkin ale, MayBock, Imperial Stout, Bierre de Garde, and more. Some of the beers are just "meh," but with near a dozen taps at once, you will find something you like.

S - Service is usually great. Only been upset with the service (slow service, not checking in with the table for new drinks, etc.) maybe 2 or 3 times out of the dozens of times we have been there.

S - As mentioned earlier, there is usually about 10 beers on tap. Great selection, but not all the beers are homeruns or even above average.

F - Huge menu, seems to have changes several times over the years while keeping the most popular dishes. Not exactly gourmet and doesn't stand up to some of the other restaurants in Salem, but still good. Steak tips, fish n' chips, sandwiches, are all delicious.

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Photo of drumminbrewer
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Atmosphere is clean, modern take on a pub with a nice outdoor section (which unfortunately we got rained out of today). Large food selection; standard sandwich and fair but GREAT appetizers. Raspberry Mako Shark skewers?!?!?! I thought the Mako was endangered...perhaps that added to it's deliciousness.

Solid selection on draft. Lots of ales in the British style, I had a right nice Barleywine, but was upset because the menu said to ask for "cask selections" - the waitress told me they've had stuff out of the cask like twice in the two years she's been there. Meh, still good stuff.

Overall I liked this place. Friendly service, reasonable price - four beers, two appetizers and two sandwich plates plus dessert was under $80. I'd be curious to come back and try a few other of their brews (it was about 1pm when we ate so we had to limit ourselves a bit on the sauce)...but worth a trip if you're in the area.

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3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Took the ferry from Boston to Salem just to visit the brewpub.
Hit it early on a Friday and it was very quite. Great bartender ,very friendly and attentive. Had the abbey ale which was a golden ale. Wasn't bad ,but almost flat with next to no carbonation or head.
Taste was pretty one dimensional .
Later we stopped back for a bite and another beer. This time I went with the house I.P.A. which was tasty but again lacked carbonation . Also ordered a lobster roll which was delicious with hardly any mayo - no filler and a nicely toasted bun.
All in all I enjoyed the visit ,but feel they need to work on the co2 levels in their beers.
A fun day with a great boat ride both ways.

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Photo of californiakulak
3.44/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

My wife and stopped here for some beer after a long tiring day of site seeing in Salem. They had several of their beers on tap so the decision of what to drink was not easy. I ended up ordering their watermelon beer. It was interesting. It had a pretty strong watermelon taste and was very refreshing. My wife ordered their blueberry beer. It was very good. They actually put a spoon full of blueberries into the beer.The place seemed kind of dingy to me and even though the beer was pretty good I doubt that I would ever return.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Came to this location yesterday while doing some Halloween style activities in Salem. Significantly less busy than last year at this time (where there was a line waiting outside), but still very busy and packed.

I prefer the interior of the Fenway location when comparing Beer Works places, the overall setup also isn't as nice with the table setup looking a bit crowded.

The food was excellent, split a couple meals with my girlfriend, we each got a different style of chicken sandwich "witch" were top notch, I also enjoy the handcut fries. Got to try a couple of their beers, one is like a Pumpkinhead clone which was alright and the other was decent, but nothing to really write home about.

The service rating is low because we were standing at the entrance waiting to be seated forever, several employees would just walk by and do nothing. After a long while we just said f it and squeezed in at a couple seats at the bar. Once there though, the bartender/waitress was excellent and timely, but that initial experience was souring.

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Photo of Deingeist
4.41/5  rDev +15.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Firstly, I would like to start by saying I am commenting primarily on the bar. It was extremely busy when I went and we weren't getting food, just went for a couple of brews.

The atmosphere is sort of what you'd expect from a beer works, but it was nice and roomy, it was crowded but you still had enough room to move around. The decor is wood and brushed steel and all their offerings were written on chalkboards along one of the walls next to the bar. The bar is a 4 sided central bar about 10x30' Other customers were friendly which was also a plus.

The beer quality was good. Some were a little watery but they were the ones you'd expect to be so. (watermellon beer for example) However I tried several and was pleased.

Our bar tender was a really nice guy who wasn't pushy but always kept his eye out incase we ran dry. He kept them coming but only when we wanted him too. Very polite hostess helped find us a spot at the busy bar.

Selection was great. They only served their beers, which is expected of a brewery. Unlike other breweries who will often have between 6 and 8 beers on-tap, these guys had 16 of their own fresh beers. It was very impressive, I didnt expect that at all.

I didn't try the food, but the beer wasn't overpriced from what I remember and it was pretty tasty. I'd go here again if I was in Salem and looking to get some local fare.

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Photo of slumbrew
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Is it a contradiction to be a fan of great craft beers *and* fall all over the place for Beer Works Blueberry Beer? I think not!! A major draw for the Beer Works chain is the Blueberry Beer and as much as I like my 80 IBU IPA's, barleywine's and imperial wheat's, I can't resist their Blueberry Beer. In a continued effort to enjoy delicious summertime food+beer outside, I made a small road trip to the Salem Beer Works (ahem... Beer Works needs a new website - BAD) for some patio dining. It's always a favorite of mine and a little less of a college scene than the other two Boston locations. Unfortunately, the rain clouds would have none of that and opened up only moments after sitting down. It's ok, inside is nice at SBW too.

My only significant gripe with Beer Works is that they don't take the craft in their brewing serious enough to put the IBU's, alcohol content and other pertinent information on the beer menu. This isn't 1994 anymore. People know a thing or two about what they might like to try and should be given the opportunity to know more about the beer they are about to consume.

The SBW beer menu is a little quirky sometimes and seems to cater to the lawnmower crowd on occasion. Tonight had a number of beers that were little more than "ordinary", though the Kenmore Kolsch was fantastic. It was amazing. I really didn't become a fan of the kolsch style until a trip through some 30 or so breweries from Seattle to San Francisco in August 2007 - oddly enough the West coast got me into kolsch. The Kenmore Kolsch at SBW was a silver medal winner at GIBF in 2006, and was up there with some of the best I remember. Amazingly smooth and a nice Captain Crunch wheat finish. After my obligatory Blueberry Beer and before the Kolsch, I also tried the Victory White - especially since Slum Brew has a batch of Slum Wit available soon. Victory White was a little unremarkable though. In general it lacked body, seemed a little flat and possibly had a problem with the presence of acetaldehyde. I'm sure I've had this other times and so it may have just been an off-batch. I also tried the ESB which really has a strong hop tartness that hangs on long after you swallow. I probably would have been a bigger fan if not for trying it between a Blueberry and a White beer (bad idea). Overall, it was a pretty pleasant time as usual.

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Photo of Nutleybeer
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

It is located in a great spot, right along Derby St in downtown Salem. Walking distance from pretty much all of the hotels. We stopped in for lunch. They do have a small patio area, overlooking the street and parking lot, but it was too hot to sit out there.

They had a decent selection of beers on tap. 3 fruit beers, which was unusual: pumpkin, blueberry and watermelon. The pumpkin was a typical fall style, but I think they keep it on tap year round to go with the whole "witch" theme around town.

They do samplers is groups of 4. Aside from the fruit beers, they had a Gables Golden, Kolsch, Red, White, stout, brown and a few others. All of them were pretty good.

The atmosphere was ok. A decent sized bar. The dining area is not huge. The menu is fine, standard grub food. The meatloaf sandwich was pretty good. The "half" order of nachos was still pretty big.

They do sell shirts, pint glasses, etc.

2 pool tables and darts in the back. A pretty good place overall. Friendly service. Same folks who operate the Boston Beer Works.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in here on the way home from my vacation in NH and the Kate the Great Day.
Walked around Salem for a bit, and came here for lunch. The bartender was friendly but didn't come by much. My wife and I had Grilled chicken sandwiches which were very good and we drank several beers which I though all were in the good to very good range. (Watermelon Ale, White, Red, Brown, Pale Ale, and IPA)

Overall- The highlight of my Salem afternoon trip! A must if you're in the town or driving by, like us!

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Photo of JoeCeez
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I have to start this off by saying that Salem Beer Works is my local brewpub that I have frequented for awhile so I might come off as a little biased.

A: Large family friendly dining room with a large bar area and two pool tables. several fermenters are located behind glass when you first walk in as well as in the back to remind you that this is a brewpub not a family restaraunt. Flatscreen tv's are everywhere, and it can get pretty crowded

Q: The beer is usually pretty good, not to say i haven't had a few pints that tasted like soap or made my stomach upset

S: I never have really had a problem with service but I always sit at the bar and the bartenders seem to remember me and usually imediately tell me what if anything's on cask

S: very god selection of different beers, the usual suspects: IPA, Pale, Amber, Blueberry, Stout, Porter, Light etc. and theres always a belgian offering, last week they had a saison and a dubbel. Cask, cask, cask, I love cask beer and usually SBW has one on and that is what I am drinking. There's often a decent DIPA or strong ale, in fact last year I had the pleasure of trying their Greenman IPA several times which was awesome and is probably in my top 5 New England IPA list (which is pretty exclusive) They also have two other limited IPA's, Mad Hops and Attack of the Hops which are both really good

F: The food is fairly typical pub fare, with 8 or so monthly specials, the food is good and I know alot of people who eat there for the food alone.

Overall Salem Beer Works has been like a good beer oasis on the North Shore, their beer isn't even close to the best I've ever had at a brewpub but it's pretty good and they usually have a cask and it's nearby

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Photo of ohmesohoppy
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Living in Salem I end up at this place a lot so I can get quite bored of it but I'll try not to let this influence my review. So atmosphere this place is pretty good...pool table, nice big bar, and the outside seating is good on summer nights or on a warm october night for people watching. The quality the beers is really hit or miss most of the time unfortunatly. The stout always seems to be pretty good along with their amber or red ale. But their casks never seem to be that impressive and their "mad hops" ipa really doesn't live up to its name. The service here is also hit or miss. There are times that the service is amazing (usually when I get a waitress who I went to high school with) and then there have times where I've honestly sat at a table with my friends for 20 minutes with out a server coming up to us. The selection is similar to the boston locations lots of beer...big menu. Generally the food is pretty tasty..I really like the steak tips and the burger is always a good choice. The pricing is pretty reasonable but honestly I'd like to see a little more from the beers for 5 dolllars or 4.50. Overall its pretty much the best place to get a beer in Salem besides the Old Spot (which isnt in the directory but should be).

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Photo of morebeergood
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Spent a day in Salem on Saturday 10/13 to see the Halloween sights and have dinner with friends. Before dinner, we stopped at Beer Works for a few drinks. It was pretty crowded in there for a Sat afternoon, because the BC game was on and there was a fest going on in town. After snagging two seats near the bar, the bartender was able to help us out pretty quick. My wife had the pumpkin, and I tried the stout and the octoberfest. All were pretty good, usual Beer Works standards. This was a fun place to hang out. There is outdoor seating here, plenty of tvs all around to watch, lots of dining tables, and a few pool tables also. Compared to the two Beer Works in Boston, this one ranks right up there with being a great brewpub to spend some quality time in.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Visited the establishment on a Tuesday afternoon while touring Salem with my wife. We were promptly seated and our waitress soon arrived to take our drink order. I thought it took a bit to long to receive our drinks considering the place was almost empty. Part of the problem was that the servers were responsible for tables both inside and ourside, rather than putting their tables in the same location (poor management??) Considering that problem our service was acceptable. Our food order was taken the menu was massive and we had much difficulty making a selection. Our food was very good and the portions were reasonable.. It was a pleasant dining ang drinking experience and I will return if I am in the area.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Stopped in for lunch while tooling around in the eclectic town. Brewing equipment on display through the front windows as you walk in. Patio seating available to the right, front of the establishment. As you walk in, the bar is located to the left with high tables and regular seating to the center and the right. Loads of televisions line the wall next to the bar in the usual fashion of Beer Works establishment. On tap were about a dozen house brews; most of which, were fruit/veg-based, summer brews. Selection included: Watermelon ale, blueberry, Kolsch, Pale, Mysterian, Black Bat Stout, Pumpkinhead, etc. The IPA was kicked during our visit, and the cask of Mad Hop IPA (double IPA) was not in service due to something wrong with the line. Both the Mysterina and Black Bat Stout were decent, but nothing impressive. The service was slow, and not due to a packed house. The wait for a refill was longer than I'd expect, and when the food came out, half the order was completely wrong, which had to be sent back. When the correct order did come, the food was surprisingly good for traditional pub fare. Not a place I'd return to, unless something special was on tap. Call ahead before you make the trip, unless you're in the area already and just want to stop in for a pint and an appetizer.

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Photo of beerjournl
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Went to Salem last night to show my friend Tom the town, but also to check out Beer Works. We were very satisfied with our visit. They had a great selection of beers on tap, and had a pale ale on cask which was very good. We sampled the Irish Red, IPA, Mad Hops IPA, Pumpkinhead, an oatmeal stout, and the regular pale ale. All were very good, but there was nothing that I personally thought was "great." There were a few we couldn't try due to having to drive a good ways back to the hotel near Lowell, so there are more selections that might be great that I'll leave for next time, or maybe I'll visit the other locations.

I had the Delmonico steak with sweet potato fries and fresh broccolli. Tom had a burger which was big and tasty. Everything was cooked perfect and served quickly. The bartender was friendly and spent the time to talk with us even as the place filled up.

I'd come here again if I was in the wharf area of Salem for sure.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I enjoyed the Salem location of Beer Works but not as much as the one at Fenway. The Salem location seemed like it was trying to be more trendy and concentrated more on the food. We had a great bartender. The place was packed; he was super busy but very friendly and kept a constant smile. After I told him that I had been to their Fenway location he was real quick to recommend some beers that you could taste some little differences in. The beers were all good. The bartender did make a difference. I wish I could say the same about the waitresses. One that filled in for the bartended was friendly but seemed as if she did not know what she was doing. Another was flat out rude when asked about souvenirs. I would give this place another shot if I was in the area I would not go out of my way to try it though. Parking was another problem. I recommend street parking if you can find it. Their lot is small and very tight.

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Photo of bierSnob
4.78/5  rDev +25.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Salem Beer Works is right in the heart of it all. It's interior is an old mill/factory of some sort. High ceilings in the dining room and brick and wood make up the decor. The Aluminum chairs and wood tables are a great accent to each other. In my last visit, we finally sat at the bar. Suprised to see that the bar only beer. I never order mixed drinks, but to see the back of bar with just glasses was very cool from a beer drinkers point of view.

Lots of flat screen tv's. A great place to watch a game. From any bar stool you can see 4-5 placed aboive the rectangular bar.

The mix of tourists (read kids) and locals round out the atmosphere.

Beer. My wife's favorite is their pumpkin ale. Subtle hints of spice and pupmkin make it a nice beer. I enjoy thier Brown ale.

on the last visit we went for a munchies fest. We always get the basket of chive fries served with ranch sauce. We also wnt with a quasadilla (sp-1) which had a generous amount of cheese.

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Salem Beer Works in Salem, MA
3.68 out of 5 based on 1,617 ratings.
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