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British Beer Company

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Over the past two weeks I’ve eaten at the newly opened British Beer Company in Framingham several times and can see myself continuing to go back.

My impression of the atmosphere is that it seems to be the corporate interpretation of an English pub, that is a commercialized “homeyness.” I also get kind of a TGI Friday’s vibe. There is plenty of use of dark stained woods and along the walls are funny quotes (most of which are about drinking) from celebrities. Quoted are Dean Martin, W.C. Fields, writer Dorothy Parker, and even a line from the band Spinal Tap. The bar area has plenty of wide screen TVs.

Overall, the menu isn’t purely English cuisine. They do offer fish & chips, shepherd’s pie, pasty pies, and bangers & mash, as well as a burger topped with a truly English cheese, Wenslydale with cranberries. The other notable English menu item is plenty of English beer and ale. One fun thing about the beer list is they have a section titled “crappy beer of the week”; this week it was Pabst Blue Ribbon (I didn’t know they still made it), last week it was Busch.

Two of the times I was there, I had the Cuban Sandwich, which was a “just o.k.” non-traditional version. What made it “just o.k.” was a missing key element, the Swiss cheese. At first I couldn’t put my finger on what was missing but there was something about the pork and ham that was throwing me. The second time I noticed it, the overt “meatiness” of the sandwich, all you could taste was the texture of the meat. The sandwich was served on toasted Ciabatta bread instead of Cuban bread or the more common French bread. I did mention the lack of cheese to the waitress when she asked how the meal was, and she said she’d pass it along to the kitchen.

The third time I tried the Mac & Cheese, which was also “just o.k.” It wasn’t lacking, it just didn’t do it for me.

As a side dish (also available as an appetizer), I had Panko encrusted green beans that came with a parmesan peppercorn dipping sauce. The beans with the coating were tasty enough without the need to sauce them. I could see myself getting addicted to them.

For dessert I had an awesome lemon mascarpone cheese filled yellow cake with blueberries and raspberries. A nice finishing touch was that the cake was dusted with confectionaire’s sugar.

The only downside was that on one of my visits the service was lacking. The waitress lacked enthusiasm (she was like a wet blanket on the party), brought the appetizer too close to the entrée, and brought the check before we were even done with dinner. I got the sense she was trying to rush our party out.

Overall, I found the place worth my repeat business. And, if you’re a beer fan, I think it would be worth checking out for that alone.

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  1. I used to frequent the one in Cedarville when I lived in Plymouth and I have to say, overall, I was a big fan. I do know they recently added some items to the menu and I haven't tried it since but, as a "regular" at that location, I can say the food and service was typically very good. If it wasn't I wouldn't have become a regular to begin with! :)

    1. what food was good besides for the Panko green beans side? It seems that you liked the place but didn't really enjoy the food. At least that was the impression I got from reading your post. Or should I just stick to the beer and side of green beens?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gordough

        As I said, I have only been there thrice. I do like the place, but the two dishes I got were lacking. I can't make any more recs on the food as I haven't tired the other fare. Perhaps more people will chime in.

        http://www.britishbeercompany.com

      2. the pasty pies are tasty pies. flakey and crusty and very filling. the side of veggies were crisp and fresh, the mashed taters were pretty standard. it was almost too much for lunch. i went with a turkey burger the next time, and it really hit the spot. it wasn't anything out of the extra ordinary, but i wasn't in the mood for a beef burger.

        you won't find many, if any, places outside of metro boston with a craft beer selection this diverse. they are also making the effort to use the proper glassware...and none of these 14oz "pints"/pours that we're seeing in boston beer bars. i ordered an avery maharaja (9.7% abv) and they gave it to me in a 20oz glass. it was $5. i think it was supposed to be 16oz, but i didn't complain. wooop!

        1. Was there last night....I had the chicken pasty pie my colleague had the pot roast. Both were acceptable but not memorable.

          That said, the place had very good energy. One of the most livel crowds I've seen in the Natick/Framingham in years...even more so then the now deceased Desmond O'Malley's.

          Great beer selection both British and otherwise...a bit surprised that some of the better know British beers like Boddington's are only available in those charged cans.

          Definitely worth a try....it would takes months to work the menu...

          1. So I've been aware of the British Beer Co. outpost in Framingham for a couple.of weeks and figured I'd wait for the start-up jitters to pass. Looking at their website it appears we're swapping McIrish O'Malley's with it's custom made in Ireland bar and McBrit BBC's custom made in England bar. Fair enough, there'd be enough breadth of brews to hold my interest for awhile. BAD MOVE on my part! Evidently, every scenester, Yelper & Hound in the Metro-West had by word of mouth, or otherwise, divined that tonight was THE NIGHT.

            The expansive parking lot was absolutely jammed packed and with about a half a dozen cars in constant circular pursuit of a spot, any spot. After dropping off DW in front to jujitsu a couple of seats at the bar I finally found parking at an adjoining lot a couple of hundred yards East. Approaching the entrance there were somewhere around two dozen people standing or sitting, on whatever was available, and obviously "waiting". Inside there were similar numbers doing the same. After circumnavigating the large handsome bar I found DW desperately clinging to but a single bar seat. Her words upon our reunion were "Let's get the f*%k out of here!" And so we did.

            Pondrat described it as "lively" but it couldn't have been as crowded as when we arrived. There is no way that even the most battle-hardened staff could deliver any kind of decent service under these conditions. BBC deserves a fair shot and we will return at some point but it will be a Tuesday or Wednesday and not next week, I'm guessin'.

            Harp

            3 Replies
            1. re: Harp00n

              Was there on Thursday at about 7pm and it was packed, but doubtful as crowded as when you were there. That said being 6'2" and 260 lbs did have its advantages in the jujitsu seating competition when I was there..

              1. re: pondrat

                At 6'3" & 270 lbs we'd balance a see-saw just about perfectly :-0)
                I use your tactic when by myself or when the individual situation warrants it. But I find, more often than not, the better tactic is to send DW, the vertically challenged one, into the fray. Being built strategically low to the ground, she can quickly and purposefully slice through the forest of humanity and pop-up at a proper two. Alighting gracefully the one whilst hammering into place the 25 lb. handbag on the other. I love DW.

                Harp

                1. re: Harp00n

                  I should have thought of that before I got married !

                  pr

            2. I think it is pretty good...On Tuesday nights they run a buy one get one free pizza deal.

              2 Replies
              1. re: xperteater

                I've only been to the BBC's in Falmouth and Walpole, and I think they're only a place to drink. The food is no better than TGIF or Bennigan's. Go for the beer and the atmosphere, and think of soaking-up food, not eating food.

                1. re: winedude

                  I agree wholeheartly. The food is pretty bad, although from a distance, the pizza actually looked pretty decent. The service in Framingham cannot currently handle the extra traffic so if you go there now, make sure to lower your expectations.

                  Great beer selection though and there's nightly entertainment which can also be a plus.

              2. I think the food at the BBC is fair at best, but the Bar room is very comfortable and the beer selection is great.

                1. "they have a section titled “crappy beer of the week”; this week it was Pabst Blue Ribbon (I didn’t know they still made it)".

                  Hmm, someone hasn't been hanging with the hipsters. PBR made a resurgence at least a a couple years ago (and actually are very cool about sponsoring various rock events around town). Narragansett is back too, and I just read Schlitz will be back. For better or worse.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Joanie

                    Yeah, the 'Gansett is actually a pretty good brew in a PBR, lawnmower beer kinda way. From what they're saying on the Beer Board the "new" Schlitz is the same in name only.That's not, nessicarilly, a bad thing but I'm not waiting in anticipation either.

                    Harp

                    1. re: Harp00n

                      Naragansett has supposedly gone back to the "old forumla", IIRC & FWIW. PBR has been around but as Joanie pointed out, started a resurgence about 6-7 years ago (from what I've seen) - it just started popping up and now it is ubiquitous. I forget exactly who it is distributing them but IIRC it was a distribution deal.

                      Schlitz has always been around, but supposedly they're going back to the "old formula", but I've read that the last time Pabst pulled that (Ballantine Ale) it most certainly was *not* (the new one wasn't even an ale).

                      In general "retro beer" is pretty hot these days and the big boys know it - they're all dusting off their old intellectual property rights and firing these things out.

                      1. re: jgg13

                        Shocking as it may be, some of these beers taste different in one's youth than they do now as adults even with the exact same formula. During my undergraduate days in western Pennsylvania in the 70's we used to regard Iron City as the nectar of the gods..

                        1. re: pondrat

                          If you're talking that far back, I'd imagine some of it might just be that there are a lot more "better" options now. I see college kids drinking stuff now that was way better than what we had easily available in upstate NY just 10-15 years ago.

                          1. re: jgg13

                            Speaking of upstate NY beer --just back from a short trip where I bought a 30 pack of Genny cans at Wegmans for 12 bucks!

                            1. re: Duster17

                              Wow- that's a lot of beer can chicken for not a lot of money! That's what I always used Genny for... when is that darn Wegman's getting built?!!

                  2. Why would anyone expect a good Cuban sandwich at an "English" pub? ;) Anyway, I've eaten at the Framingham BBC a couple of times and i like it. Of course it's not a "real" English pub, but it's still a lot nicer inside than a lot of pubs you'll go into. I found the service to be good (they took our order and got us our food in a timely fashion). And the food is pretty good. I've had three different entrees at the BBC: Fish and Chips (good), Shepard's Pie (decent) and Bangers and Mash (good).

                    But why are you at the BBC if not for the beer? they have a really good selection of draft and bottled beers, and also feature a cask ale, which is not common around here.

                    I also frequent the BBC in Pembroke, and it is very good. I recommend both places, but don't see the point if you aren't into beer :)

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: donpaul

                      What actual British beers do they have on draught and in bottles? I'd be curious to know.

                      Rudy's in Teele Square has Fuller's London Porter on draught -- something which is hardly seen in the UK in my experience -- and nice enough. I can't think of many other British beers seen on draught around town just now -- except Belhaven (good) and Newcastle Brown (ubiquitous). Please don't say Stella. ;)

                      1. re: chickendhansak

                        Stella.

                        Sorry, coulnt resist, so what if it's the french PBR. And then there's Kronenberg...

                        1. re: chickendhansak

                          Fuller's London Porter on draught...
                          Cask ale?

                          1. re: bgavin

                            I don't think so -- it seems to occupy a tap position amongst the gassy beers -- but if I remember correctly, the Fullers itself was not gassy. I'm not sure it's worth a trip, but if you're nearby ...

                          2. re: chickendhansak

                            Don't know what they have on tap in Framingham but a few years ago the BBC in Plymouth center was a regular spot for me. The draft selection was pretty legit: Jouhn Courage, Old Speckled Hen, Boddingtons, Tetley's, Belhaven (scottish) and a hand drawn cask ale which is always a must for a beer lover. But these are just a few- I think they had about 12-15 drafts available- and they rotate regularly.. The Plymouth center location can fit perhaps 40 people at max. It is really small and intimate and has more or an English pub feel than any of the other locations. It's just a bar and they don't, or didn't, serve food. Great place to have a few pints while playing darts upstairs.