EXPLORING THE SOUTH SHORE ONE BITE AT A TIME
Beer Works Worth The Wait
Years ago, during lunch breaks from an office job, I’d wander down to gaze at the boats moored at Hewitt’s Cove in Hingham. Hingham Shipyard was an aging World War II shipbuilding facility back then with rusted buildings hosting a car repair shop, a detailing business, and the Hingham commuter boat terminal. As I chewed my sandwiches, I never pictured the transformation that would come to pass to the dilapidated area.
Recently though, the location has been transformed to a multi-use, residential and retail development with a nod to history, via vintage pictures of WWII workers, displayed on the sides of renovated buildings. A gift certificate to Hingham Beer Works provided the excuse my husband and I needed to experience the reincarnation of the quiet spot where I used to sit so many years ago.
When we arrived at the restaurant on a Friday evening, the most obvious change to the place was the sound. Where seagulls used to squawk, a live band played to a patio filled with patrons, sipping drinks and dining. Opting for inside seating, we gave our name to a hostess in the slate-floored lobby, who told us to expect an hour delay, advising us to check back to claim a beeper, as the restaurant’s supply had been depleted by waiting diners.
With nothing else on the agenda, we opted for patience, fending our way to the crowded bar where folks were drinking beer, wine, and massive margaritas. My husband and I are purists though; at brewpubs we drink beer. He opted for a Back River Red, which the menu describes as “dark ruby ale, balanced with a blend of hops.” I went for a World’s End IPA, described as “dry, copper-colored strong ale. Hoppy, with a strong bitter finish.” We were happy with our choices and leaned against an available counter, watching as customers ranging from teens to grandparents were escorted to their seats. Due to its former life, the restaurant sports a cavernous ceiling, which makes conversation difficult, but on the day we were there the sliding glass doors were open and a breeze wafted off the water making our wait pleasant.
Once we scored a beeper, only a few minutes elapsed before it vibrated; our total waiting time was about a quarter of an hour less than expected. We were escorted to a table for two in a vast dining area with glass walls overlooking the patio. Upon viewing the range of selections on the menu we decided we could use every one of the minutes we didn’t wait perusing the extensive offerings. “Starters” included soups, wings, and Mexican specialties and averaged between $8.00 and $10.00. The menu is deep with grilled hamburgers, pizza, chicken sandwiches, and salads. A section called “Beer Works Classics” features meatloaf ($10.95), turkey tips ($11.95) and chicken and broccoli penne ($10.95). Hingham Beer Works also offers a selection of seafood and steaks ranging from $18.95-$22.95.
After a thorough review, my husband chose baby back ribs (half: $12.95, full: $18.95) which were advertised as “fall off the bone” and lived up to their billing. I’d walked in dreaming of a juicy burger and in spite of my husband’s chagrin that I’d consider paying over $10.00 for mere chopped beef, I ordered a blackened burger topped with blue cheese for $10.50. It was cooked medium as requested and the Cajun seasoning offered a warming kick in contrast to the cool blue cheese. For $1.00 extra, I opted for sweet potato fries instead of regular and they imparted a honeyed crunch. The two of us split an order of beer battered onion rings, relishing their light beer-batter coating. Service was just right—attentive without being rushed, which was a bonus in such a crowded venue.
After we finished our huge dinners, we had no room for dessert so when a group of young men seated less than two feet away from us became, well, boisterous, we called it a night. We were of the few who did. It was 10:30 p.m. and there were still people waiting at the door.
Hingham Beer Works, 18 Shipyard Drive, Hingham, MA, 781-749-BEER
Liza Carens Salerno is a freelance business writer from the South Shore. She works part-time at a cheese shop and can’t decide which is more fun—working with food or writing about it. Liza blogs at www.middlepassages-lcs.blogspot.com.