The Would-be Brewmaster’s Wicked Local (beer) Favorites

As you may be aware, Wicked Local who is kind enough to host this blog is currently having its annual Readers Choice Awards for 2015. It is your chance to vote for your favorite local shops, restaurants, and even win great prizes! Click here to vote.

As the “Would-be Brewmaster” nobody cares what my favorite shoe repair shop is or where I get my hair cut. When deciding where to go out to eat, beer selection is always a factor. Maybe, just maybe my opinion is valued there. Here are a few of my beer-influenced picks:

  • Liquor Store: Henry’s Wine Cellar. Don’t let the name fool you, Henry’s has an excellent selection of both local and domestic craft beer, as well as imported beers. Beer guy John Strom hosts tastings every Thursday evening along with a selection of cheeses and pizzas from Henry’s Market. They recently expanded the make-your-own six pack program to their entire inventory. Now instead of staring at the cooler deciding what six pack to buy, you can mix and match. Henry’s also has frequent buyer cards where after ten purchases you earn a $20 store credit. Honorable Mentions to Bogie’s Craft Beer who probably has the most extensive selection in Beverly and also has tastings on Thursday, and to Depot Liquors who when they receive rare beer deliveries will hold beer for up to 24 hours if you call in. Henry’s is closer to my work so it is convenient to pick up beer on the way home. Bogies is closer to home, so when I buy beer on the weekends I usually go there. 
  • Restaurant for Lunch: The Indo Pub: One of the newest spots in Beverly, the Indo has an excellent selection of 24 beers on tap. The taps are rotated periodically. Every time I come back there are usually one or two beers that weren’t there last time. They also have the Notch Single Series on tap, currently Cerne Pivo. Before The Indo, it always seemed like Notch’s draught-only stuff was only poured in bars in Boston or Cambridge. I love that I can find it two blocks from my house. I picked The Indo as my lunch place because the food while quite good, is relatively inexpensive and perfect for lunch.
  • Restaurant for Dinner: The Wild Horse Cafe: The dinner menu is perfect for special occasions, but the lunch and late night menu features burgers and sandwiches for around $10. I hadn’t been to The Wild Horse in a long time until I saw recently that they had Another One on draught. The rest of the beer selection was varied and the cocktails looked delicious as well.
  • Italian Restaurant: Prides Osteria: Homemade pasta, homemade limoncello, and a beer list that features more than just pale Euro lagers that are marginally better than Budweiser.
  • Pizza Place: Flying Saucer Pizza Company: Some of the best pizza I have ever had. I tend to be a pizza purist, but their unconventional specialty pizzas are out of this world. Flying Saucer has a wide selection of canned beer, and their beers on tap are all local and always changing. Last time I was there they had several of Riverwalk’s beers. They also offer flights of their draught beer.
  • Mexican Restaurant: Howling Wolf Taqueria: Ah, a Mexican place with more than Corona and slushy, syrupy margaritas. Last time I was there Mo was on tap. Since Mo is more readily available than Lunch, it tends to sit of store shelves for weeks and months on end. Having Mo fresh on draught was a revelation. Clearly Maine Beer Company is the way to my heart. For a place that doesn’t have 100 draught lines like The Yard House, there are always interesting beers to choose from. The food is excellent as well. The only reason I don’t go there more is in the words of Yogi Berra, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”
  • Seafood Restaurant: Cape Ann Brewing Company: How can a restaurant that serves excellent fried seafood, that is located on the water, has outdoor seating, and brewery fresh beer not be on this list? It has been too long since I’ve been there. A colleague stopped by recently and suggested now is the perfect time to go as it is the off-season and less crowded.
  • Bar: Gulu Gulu Cafe: The best, and in my mind the only true beer bar in the area. Owned by the same owners as Flying Saucer Pizza, the beer selection is large and ever changing. They have sandwiches and paninis, but usually when I am out in Salem I will grab dinner, and head to Gulu for after-dinner drinks. The only quibble I have is that the draught system is often quite foamy and the bartenders are spooning the foam out from beers before topping them off and repeating. Honorable Mention for the Lucky Dog in Beverly. The place is a dive bar to be sure. If you’re like me and enjoy a dive from time to time, the beer selection is much better than I ever expected it would be. Their updated tap system has a couple dozen or so beers on tap and unlike Buffalo Wild Wings the taps aren’t mostly filled with macro-brews.

That is my two cents. I don’t exactly work for the company so I should still be eligible to win prizes. Any places that I missed? Feel free to mention your favorites in the comments.

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