Brew City Grill & Brew House

Brew City Grill & Brew HouseBrew City Grill & Brew House
Brew City Grill & Brew HouseBrew City Grill & Brew House
Bar, Eatery

104 Shrewsbury St
Worcester, Massachusetts, 01604-4606
United States

(508) 752-3862 | map

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Ratings by krantul:
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Reviewed by krantul from Massachusetts

2.9/5  rDev -18.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3
Brew City is presently the "best" beer bar in Worcester, if you want to get technical about it. They have 30-something taps, and at first glance, the best variety of draft beer in the city. Unfortunately, about 6 or 7 of these taps are always pouring the worst kinds of corporate megabeer. They also have a lot of Wachusett, Sam Adams, and Harpoon; while these are not bad breweries, they make the selection incredibly redundant at times. Do we really need Sam Adams Summer Ale, Harpoon Summer Ale, and Wachusett Summer Breeze? All at once? They are basically just trying to cover anything that is popular around here. Brew City doesn't cater to craft beer enthusiasts, they're just trying to serve all the local brand loyalists.

There are some bright spots. Sadly, you can only count on 2-3 taps to be in any kind of experimental rotation, and these are often sold out. I managed to get a Harpoon 100-Barrel Kellerbier once, but the Woodstock Pig's Ear Brown Ale was sold out on my last visit. I'm not sure what's stranger: the fact that they always have Lindeman's Framboise of tap, or the fact that they put a price for a pitcher of it on the menu.

The staff are generally amicable, but appear to know very little about beer. They will also take it upon themselves to garnish your beer, so be wary if you dislike that. I had a Harpoon Raspberry UFO into which someone had shoved a handful of hard, frozen raspberries.

The atmosphere of the place is terrible. It's a nice space in an old building with tin ceiling plates and exposed spiral-ducts, but the general ambiance is purely that of a chain restaurant. Miscellenous local sports stuff on the walls, and other wannabe-hip accents. It can be deafingly loud at time, even though a wall separates the bar proper from the seating area. Not because the place is so busy, but because loud people like to hang out there. The kinds of people that seem to have no control over their own volume. Clusters of people who are basically shouting at each other, because they all want to talk and none of them are actually listening to each other. And 3 out of 4 people will be drinking a draft Bud Light or a bottle of Corona anyway.

The food is decent. I've never tried anything beyond the pub grub, but it's good pub grub with generous servings. The BBQ-type food tends to be the best.

This is not a serious craft beer bar, so don't be fooled. I mainly come here when I don't feel like driving out to the Horseshoe, but I often can't wait to leave after I get there.
Jun 24, 2006
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Oct 12, 2013
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Reviewed by cbutova from Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Pretty much just a standard bar feel and a pretty good sized dining room. Both rooms have TVs with local sports playing as well as ESPN/Sportscenter. Hard to describe the atmosphere, not much going on. Not a beer-geek haven but you could satisfy anyone here.

42 taps I think it is with a range from Guinuess/Bud to Racer 5, Harpoon, Sam Adams and other local brews from both Western MA and the Boston area, fairly well-rounded. I wouldn't expect barleywine or RIS draft but they do have a decent bottle list as well with Rochefort 10s and some staples of different styles (run-on). Service is prompt for food and drinks and the workers are nice and cheerful. Beer is fresh and pours are nice.

Food is pub fare and standard american dishes for the most part. I usually get a burger and they make a pretty good one. Pulled pork is also nice as well as the appetizers.

Food prices seem a bit high but the beer prices are lower than Worcester average. They also always have 20oz specials it seems on anything from Newcastle to Sam Adams. A good place for lunch or watching a game over a few beers.
Aug 26, 2011
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Reviewed by derekmorris7 from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Good place but they seem to push Harpoon all the time. I think if they reached out and really got some serious craft beers on tap and let the public know they would really get a good crowd. They should have a beer selection always visible. I have only seen it once. Kind of high priced beers though.

The staff is great service wise. I have never drilled them on their beer knowledge.

Food was good 5 dollar apps is a perfect fit for having a couple beers.

Worth a brief visit..they have keno too which helps. Very local type place dont think people come from far to go here. Will be looking for more from them in the future.
Jul 13, 2011
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Reviewed by HoopTime from Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2 | food: 4
Had a good lunch there, but very disappointed. They make a big deal about having three casks on in their advertising. Even sell t-shirts bragging about it. But when we went three for lunch, there were only two listed on the beer menu. The server said they were waiting for a third "to be delivered."

Ordered sample sizes of both, only to have the server come back and tell me they were out of one of those.

I did salvage a nice lunch with a 24-oz bomber of 2009 Sierra Nevada Estate, so all was not lost. But I went there specifically because of the drafts listed on their Web site. I could buy a bottled beer and drink it at home.

The food was good. I had a grilled veggie salad with grilled yellowfin that was cooked perfect medium rare. One of my companions had their mac and cheese with smoked chicken, and another had pulled pork and tomato soup. Tasted both and both were very good.

But next time i get to Worcester I'm going to try Armsby Abbey, which I hear has a more eclectic selection of beers and very good food (actually wish I'd have gone there after hearing they had 2007 Troegs Mad Elf on tap -- would love to see how that tastes after aging)
Feb 26, 2011
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Reviewed by nickdago from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
approx 40 beers on tap, with a decent selection of bottled beer. Nothing too exotic however. Beer prices are reasonable.

Food prices over the years have gone up to the point where they are kind of pricey for pub food. The food is good, lately they have been concentrating on gourmet burgers.

The two greatest things on the menu were removed a couple years ago, their french onion/beer soup and the waffle fry nachos. So please if you go mention that they should bring them back haha! but try the pretzel stick app.

Atmosphere is average. It gets very loud at night. It is a great place to meet up with friends. I will add, although it is no where near my favorite place, props to Brew city for being the first in the area to carry micro brews. They have been open for over 15 years now. For this reason I still stop in for a beer.
Jun 11, 2010
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Reviewed by morebeergood from Massachusetts

3.64/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
Met a friend here for a beer last night before dinner at 111 Chop House, which is right across the street. Looks like an average bar when you walk in. There is a wall between the dining room and the bar area, which is probably good for noise, but makes the bar area feel confined. Service was prompt, as she wasn't too busy on a Tuesday night, so she checked up on us. Selection was good for Worcester. While it's not the Dive or Armsby, the selection here can hold its own. Their taps run the gamut for all beer drinkers - macros, Sam & Harpoon, up to Lost Abbey. Their selection of Belgian beers on tap seemed overpriced. They also have three casks and two British hand pumps. I went with the Wachusett Larry on cask while my friend had a different DIPA on draught. Most pints were $6-7 and up, while some micros were priced at $4.75. Brew City is good choice for a beer if you are in the Shrewsbury St. section of town.
Jan 13, 2010
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Reviewed by StrangeBrewer76 from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3
On a day when my favorite place was closed I had to find a back up and what place could sound more promising than 'Brew City'.

Sitting at the bar I was pleasantly surprised at the bottle selection along with the taps. I was already planning which beer to have third before the waitress came to even take a drink order but it didn't really matter to me at the time, I was just pleased to not have to be drinking swill.

The menu was one you've seen before at every sports bar in the country with little variation.

This is not a high-end place or even one that caters to the craft beer drinker. It's more like a sports bar that decided to try to capitalize on the craft beer movement. Don't expect much from the wait staff as far as beer knowledge goes, that's something you have to bring yourself.

I don't want to seem like I'm trashing the place, I'm not. This is the perfect venue to watch a game with friends, even if they are BMC drinkers. There's something for everyone.

EDIT: Now that there are 3 casks in nearly constant rotation, I believe this place deserves a better rating from me, a first look from those who have avoided the place and a re-visit from all who have sworn it off. The food is still the same but who needs it when there are three casks to quaff?
Feb 08, 2009
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Reviewed by GJ40 from North Carolina

3.46/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5
I stopped into Brew City while in Worcester to see a hockey game.

The atmosphere isn't particularly memorable but it's adequate. The bar area has a moderate sized bar with a few tables. There's also a larger dining areas with lots of tables. The bar service is decent enough.

The beer selection is pretty good with 30+ on tap. It's mostly New England beers such as Sam Adams, Harpoon, Berkshire, Shipyard, Magic Hat, Wachusett and Smuttynose. But they also have some other US beers (DFH) and Europeans. I went with a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and really enjoyed it.

I haven't yet checked out the more highly rated beer bars in the area but Brew City was decent enough.
Jan 27, 2009
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Reviewed by Jayli from Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
I've been to Brew City a few times and I can't say that I had the bad exerience that others here have had at Brew City.
The beer menu here has roughly 30ish beers on tap - I've always had luck in what I wanted to try. Last time there, I tried the Anchor Porter. They have good representation of local beers to the New England area - perhaps not as good representation outside of New England though.
I thought the restaurant itself had decent decor, and the service was always great. The food is ok...they changed their menu in the last year, and I removed a few of the options that I preferred.. but they have decent appetizers and the sliders are pretty good.
Someone else here mentioned that this place could be so much more - and I do agree with that...however, given the are, not a bad place.
Sep 30, 2008
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Reviewed by antaydos from Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 1 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3
Maybe it was my own fault for going on a Saturday night, but the one time that I've been to this place, I decided right then and there that I would never return.

Brew City had been touted to me as a place I would love, due to their selection. And while their selection was great, the atmosphere absolutely killed the experience for me. 90% of the crowd was drinking the typical macro American lagers, which is fine, but why here, at a place where Chimay is served?

In the end, it was nothing more than a sports bar.
Jun 23, 2008
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Reviewed by rbwinchell from Massachusetts

3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2 | food: 3.5
Decent food (although if you are looking for good food there a LOT of better choices just down the street). Bartenders are nice and attentive, place is clean, easy to get to. As a place to sit at the bar, have a beer and get a bite to eat you could do a lot worse.

However, this place is a huge let-down as a beer bar. The vast majority of taps are either macros, or stuff I could get at almost any other bar (Sierra Nevada, Magic Hat, Wachusett, Sam, Harpoon, etc). There was a bizarre lack of any other local brews - no BBC, Paper City, Z Street, Smuttynose, etc. They have a good bottle selection, but I could have stayed home and had a Hop Devil from a bottle.

So, I pretty much agree with all the other reviews - good place, just don't expect the Publick House.
Apr 19, 2007
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Reviewed by ubermunkey from Massachusetts

3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 2.5
like a few others may have mentioned before, they didn't have my first two choices of beer in stock. it wasn't a huge deal, but why advertise such a large selection when you don't consistantly stock them? the food wasn't bad, typical pub style fare, but i couldn't score it any higher due to the very small selection in the menu. other than that it was a decent experience, our waitress was very nice, and the place wasn't overcrowded. i may try it again sometime just to give it a second chance.
Feb 26, 2007
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Reviewed by n0rmann from Massachusetts

3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3
If I had gone into Brew City on a whim and had never heard or read anything about the place, I would have been impressed.

Unfortunately, I had looked at their web site and could not wait to get there to try many of the beers they had listed as currently available.

However, when I got there, many of the beers I specifically wanted to try were unavailable.

Don't get me wrong, there's still an impressive selection, but I went in wanting and expecting more.

The crowd was similar to a sports bar, but there was a sporting event at the nearby Worcester Centrum Centre, so that's easy to explain why.

I'll be back there eventually the next time I decide to head into Worcester, but I'd advise don't expect to find everything you want there.
Sep 30, 2006
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Reviewed by bignick from Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5
From what I hear, this is the bar to go to for beer in Worcester. I stopped by before a basketball game at the DCU center. It was about a 10 minute walk from the arena and about a three minute walk from the train station.

The tap list was disapointing, considering the number of taps. The only beer on the list that interested me was a Berkshire Drayman's Porter. Other choices were from breweries such as Red Hook, Wachusett, Magic Hat, and the usual US and imported Macros. I must note they did have Lindeman's Framboise on tap and listed a price of $44 for a pitcher. Not a lot of places offer this option for such an expensive beer! In addition, the bottle list was diverse, sort of making up for the disapointing tap list. My pulled pork sandwich was tasty enough, and came with french fries, cole slaw, and cornbread for $8.

All in all, this is a decent enough beer bar if in Worcester.
Jan 18, 2006
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Reviewed by FirstMan from Massachusetts

2.95/5  rDev -17.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3
I tied a lot of hopes to Brew City when I first moved to Worcester. Coming from Seattle, I scanned the internet for good places to drink and this was tops on my list of likely places to find knowledgable beer drinkers and a great tap selection.

Well, sort of.

For Worcester, this is probably your best bet to find local brews on tap. I have to say, however, for a bar that advertises itself as beer-centric, they could do a lot better. For example, a full 10 of their 30 taps when I was there were dedicated to what I consider low-end and/or "safe" beer: bud, amstel light, harp, bass, etc, etc. (don't try to convince me otherwise on those last two... low end). The other 20 taps were not bad, though. I began a torrid love affair with Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout at this place, so I guess I should be thankful.

Food was pretty good - you can get a nice "sit down" dinner here in the restaurant area. I saw both younger people who were mainly drinking as well as families here.

My main complaint is just about how much MORE this place could be. Especially now that Shrewsbury street is really up and coming, Brew City should turn the corner and really dedicate itself to pouring only great beer. I know they would lose some of their ... um ... how to say this nicely ... "less evolved" patrons, but they would get me to show up a hell of a lot more often, I can tell you that. In fact, those patrons who are now drinking the Amstel Light and that sort of dreck would probably just as well drink Thomas Hooker Golden Lager if that was all that was available.

Oh please Brew City! You can do it!
Sep 01, 2005
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Reviewed by macpapi from Oregon

2.7/5  rDev -24.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3
Overall Brew City is a disappointment. It has the potential to be so much more, with its large number of taps and promising atmosphere. They have around 30 beers on draft and run decently priced monthly specials ($4 for a 22 oz.) At times there are some really good breweries represented, but I often wondered on their timing. For instance they ran their Hoegarden promotion in December!! My main gripe with the place, besides the too large number of macros wasting precious tap space (about 6 of the slots by my count) is that they always seem to be out of our first, second and third requests. Thus the two or three beers that would really stick out to BA's are not available. At times I wondered if they really even had such selections, or merely listed them to attract attention from people frequenting the bar solely due to quality beers. The service is absolutely awful!! One time there was a bartender who knew what he was talking about, and he spent most of the night telling me and my friend about better bars in places like Hudson and Amherst to go for a good selection etc...The regular servers know nothing about beer, and wait a good 10-15 minutes before telling you that your selection is out at the present time. Food is average at best and to my mind overpriced for what you get. Although it is still one of the better places to go in Worcester if you don't want to drink Guiness, Brew City could be so much more with just a little attention to detail.
Jul 21, 2005
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Reviewed by jeepcj85 from Massachusetts

2.4/5  rDev -32.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | food: 4
This place is an absolute shame. They have 30+ beers on tap but the selection is still mediocre, and never changes. This is due to an unknowlegable and very greedy GM named Chris. Not a real beer guy, he has failed this place over and over with his poor business tactics, lack of beer knowledge and inattention to service. All real beer lovers from the area know what I mean. The potential of this place with adequate cooler space, many taps and full kitchen is amazing. Its just too bad that they cant turn the corner and become a real beer bar dedicated to the beer. Also, most of the servers have no idea about the beers, which is because of the lack of training. If in the area I suggest that you walk about a half block west to Victory Bar and Cigar. They have bottles of Leffe, all 3 Chimays, Duvel, and a handfull of quality non-Belgians. This is in addition to a superb cigar shop and selection of scotch. Hopefully Brew City will eventually come to terms and replace their GM with a real beer guy.
Apr 17, 2005
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Reviewed by Billolick from New York

3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Mid sized spot, separate bar area and a good sized dining room. Beer selection is a bunch of decent stuff, but nothing amazing or off the beaten path. Wachusett, (3 varieties) and Floris Appel Wit beer (?) were the highlights of about 35 on tap. Bottles were equally middle of the road, again a lot of decent brew, but nothing amazing. Service was fair, food we tried was good. (pulled pork ). Dont know of anywhere better in the Worcester area, so if you're in town, its you're best place to stop in and check out.
Mar 26, 2005
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Reviewed by gentlebubbles from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
As you enter, the floor gently slopes down into a welcoming, open dining area. Two dozen taps at the bar make for an awesome sight on the way in. The beer itself is generally served cold in water glasses, which is a bit off-putting.

Service a bit leisurely at bringing food, but did a good job of making sure we had full glasses on our table.

Maybe it was the beer, but the meal got better as we went along. Our appetizers (calamari and poppers) were at best mediocre. The burgers were excellent, fries mealy. But the desserts were much better than I would expect at a "beer bar." Luscious ganache cake, homey apple crisp, decadent peanut butter pie.
Mar 21, 2004
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Reviewed by ppoitras from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +28.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Nice place local to work for me, a nice lunch today (and won $200 on Keno, WOOHOO!), but on to the review!

Medium sized place, with about equal size bar area and dining area, separated by a solid wall, excepting doorways at each end. Excellent service, attentive, messed up our order for food a bit, but quickly fixed the issue. Around 30 taps, most of which devoted to micros/imports. Great variety of darks currently, with at least 5 nitro taps right now. Different brewery special each month, with that month's brewery getting $4.50 23ozers. Harpoon's on right now. At least as many again beers in bottles, but I'm not so familiar with them, as I always am satisfied with the taps.

Nice place, nice selection, good food/pubgrub, easy on/off from I-290, give it a try if you're in the area.
Feb 13, 2004
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Reviewed by sulldaddy from Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Just visited this place with some friends for dinner tonite. The place is set up with a few tables close to the bar and then a dining area that is slightly partitioned off from the bar area. The decor focuses a lot on the beer specials etc offered at the bar. Also a lot of metal structures on the walls etc, exposed ligthing sort of deal.
We were seated very quickly and given a beer menu promptly, our server was able to answer my questions about a beer or two I hadnt heard of and alsowas very freindly and attentive.
The beer selection is very nice about 30 taps with a strong mix of MA and other New England brews. The bottle list is also nice again with good New England mix and also some Rogue added in.
Food was typical pub fare with sandwiches and some chicken dinners. Also the nachos were criss cross fires not chips, pretty cool I think.
This seems to be the best place in Worcester to enjoy a good selection of brews and tasty food. Stop by if you are in central MA
Jan 18, 2004
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Reviewed by kunzbrew from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +12%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
My friends who live in near by Millbury, brought me here on Wednesday, because they know how much I love beer. Great selection of draft and bottle, the food was good, the service a little slow the girl was kinda bitchy. Overall not to bad for Worcester, MA.
Oct 04, 2002
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Reviewed by Murph from Arizona

4.16/5  rDev +16.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5
One of my favorite places to visit in Worcester. They have a great slection with 30 drafts and 100? bottles. I have never encountered bad beer there even though they stock so many selections. A nice place to go if, like me, you don't always want to be packed in like sardines. There are always just enough people there so that it doesn't look empty but never so many that you have to wait longer than one beer for a seat. The service could use some improvement and I wouldn't suggest going there if they have a band called Probable Cause playing. Otherwise a nice place to hang out. I have yet to try any food there.
Mar 24, 2002
Brew City Grill & Brew House in Worcester, MA
Place rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 39 ratings