Salem Beer Works

[Salem Beer Works logo]

After their grand re-opening Memorial Day weekend, 1996, the Salem Beer Works shows its common ownership with the well-known Boston Beer Works to the south. The hallmark diamond plate steel rings the bar and even covers the tap towers. The decor consists of brick walls and red wood furnishings. From the two-story ceiling the painted drop-down plumbing gives the place a rugged, almost industrial look. The atmosphere was made relaxed by the CD sound system and the two TVs playing silently nearby. The open kitchen was visible from the neighboring three dozen tables while a back bar area featured more dining seating.

Along with the 13 wines available the draft selection was wide-ranging. The HefeWeizen was a hazy gold color with an intense clove aroma, followed up by a clove and lactic flavor that accompanied the light body, nice mouthfeel and estery finish. The Nut Brown Ale appeared dark brown and produced a fine lace, smooth mouthfeel along with a malty flavor balance and nice dry malty finish. The Salem Pale Ale was a light amber the started hoppy, turned malty then finished with a short sweet aftertaste. The IPA was a dark gold with an appropriately serious hoppy flavor and hoppy finish. The Seven Gables Golden was a clear light straw color with a medium body, even flavor balance and finished cleanly. The North Shore Light was a gold color with a nice hoppy flavor balance and hop finish. The Indenpendence Ale appeared a clear golden color, evenly balanced, with a smooth mouthfeel and very "clean" in its flavors. The Raspberry was one of the few beers not crystal clear. Its cloudy gold color was accompanied by a fruity sweet flavor balance and clean finish. The Watermellon Ale was a very clear golden color with a sweet flavor not that different from the Raspberry. It also finished cleanly. The Black Hat Stout offered a creamy mouthfeel, nice body, mild roasted character and a slightly smoky flavor. The Blueberry was most impressive for its animated blueberries rising and falling within the glass. The clear gold color was accompanied by an identifiable blueberry aroma and flavor and went well with the light body. The medium-bodied, dark gold Pumpkin Head Ale started with a nutmeg and cinnamon aroma and was followed by complex pumpkin pie-like flavors and finished cleanly. The cask-conditioned Pale Ale was a hazy amber color and had nice smooth body.

The new management seemed to be doing a good job based on the sizable crowds. Although there were as many ashtrays as bar stools the crowd composed of about half men and half women didn't seem to generate an annoying amount of smoke. Hours run Monday through Friday 11:30 AM to 12:30 AM, Saturday and Sunday 11 AM to 12:30 AM. Sunday brunch lasts from 11 AM to 3 PM. With a small stage for entertainment and a few ciders among the draughts there seemed to be something for everyone at the new Salem Beer Works.

Salem Beer Works
278 Derby Street
[HP symbol] Salem, Massachusetts

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri July, 1996

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