Review Date 6/11/2001
If you happen to find
yourself traversing Route 128, otherwise known as I-95, around the outskirts of
Boston with the sudden desire to drink a beer and have a great meal, you’re in
luck: Watch City Brewing Company is easy to find off exit 26 in Waltham.
Conveniently located on Moody Street in the center of the city, the
brewery/restaurant is named for the product Waltham was famous for producing in
days of yore: watches. Massachusetts breweries seem to have a knack for that;
the Bay State also has Mill City in Lowell and Paper City in Holyoke.
I find myself sitting at Watch City’s bar rather frequently despite the one-hour or so drive to get there. I love the beer and the food, and to be frank this is one of my favorite brewpubs in all of New England. I should preface my highly favorable opinion of Watch City with the admission that I was actually an employee (albeit an honorary one) for about 90 minutes. I was attending the Great Northeast International Beer Exhibition last November in my capacity as a beer writer for the Yankee Brew News. There were two sessions of approximately three and one half hours each with a short pause in between to give the staff a chance to grab a bite. When the second session began, I and one of the paper’s editors noticed that the Watch City booth was unmanned.
As it turned out, the brewer and his assistant had gotten stuck in traffic. We didn’t know that at the time, of course, but we did the only thing any self respecting beer lover would do: we manned the booth ourselves. It was a lot of fun chatting with the patrons and sneaking an occasional Kingpin Imperial Stout (the show stopper in my opinion) for myself. I was actually disappointed to see the brewer arrive.
Watch City offers a decent array of pub fare along with daily specials and regular entrees. The appetizer lineup includes Buffalo Fried Rock Shrimp (my favorite, plenty of crisp and spicy popcorn-sized shrimp), Nachos, Crab Cakes (excellent), Calamari, Chili, and much more. Many variations on burgers are available, as well as chicken and grilled portabella mushroom sandwiches.
Entrees usually include pasta dishes and seafood. The Jumbo Shrimp, Seafood Sausage & Pappardelle is outstanding: delicious jumbo shrimp, sweet peppers, spinach, tomatoes, house-made sausage, all tossed in a parmesan cream sauce and served over noodles. The Bourbon Street Cajun Chicken Pasta is also excellent. The fish and chips are delicious here too. Steaks, meatloaf, roast turkey and other dishes are also offered.
Watch City is very kid friendly. There’s a kids menu that will surely please the little ones, and it doubles as a coloring book to keep them occupied. Crayons are provided; free sodas were too when I visited.
As much as it is a restaurant, Watch City is a brewpub, and the beer alone is worth coming here for. When you walk in you’ll see a Peter Austin brewing system complete with distinctive wooden mash tun and brick-clad brew kettle. You might be surprised to learn, however, that the brewery abandoned the distinctive Ringwood yeast soon after opening back in 1996 and went with a milder English strain. You’ll usually find at least eight beers on tap, and you can purchase growlers of your favorites to go.
Tick Tock Ale: Bright golden in color, healthy carbonation, buttery-malty nose. Crisp palate is like chewing a handful of fresh biscuity malt; blends nicely with a pungent, buttery yeast character and a dry hop finish. A wonderful sipping brew, it went very nicely with an order of Ginger-Soy Wings at the pub.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.