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Gardner Ale House
Active Beers: 11
Beer Ratings: 65
Beer Avg: 3.93
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
74 Parker Street
phone: (978) 669-0122
(Place added by: Todd on 05-02-2006)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 26 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
I really really wanted to like the Gardner Ale House. It is in a cute New England town. Nice brick outside, warm homestyle restaurant inside. It has local artists paintings on the along the restaurant walls. Plenty of huge tvs and dart boards adorn the bar area. Kudos to any microbrewery that contains dart boards. The lighting was warm and inviting. The biggest problem with the dining room layout is that there is a huge list of beers on the side wall chalkboard. However, from about half the seating area the chalkboard is hard if not impossible to see. Additionally unlike some breweries that print out a list of their beers for the table—Gardner does not. When I asked the waitress, she could only rattle off a handful but suggested to look at the board—uggh. She was helpful though in describing what certain beers tasted like and by getting free samples. Overall the service was marginally on the better side of ok.
I like the fact that Gardner has 12 taps and six are guest. I like that they tried some different styles. Kolsch, Alt-Bier, Imperial IPA were some of the beers represented. Great variety in styles. I always appreciate a microbrewery that offers more than the brown, stout, and ipa. I unfortunately was underwhelmed by each of the beers that I tried which also included a chocolate porter that I really had to search for the chocolate in. Some breweries seem to cater to my palette. Gardner does not.
The food menu looked glorious with several options from shrimp, the to steak tips, to veggie burgers. However much like the beer menu, it underwhelmed. I had a homemade soup with beer, peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and pasta. That was amazing—Panera quality or better—and I really like Panera soups. The French fries were also fairly good. However, my chicken teriyaki sandwich was bone dry and overcooked-even with the teriyaki sauce. The most disappointing part of the menu was my daughter’s meal. She ordered the mac and cheese kids meal. It came with the good fries, but it was Kraft macaroni and cheese. I do not go out to eat to buy Kraft food that has nothing done to it. It should have been noted that it was just Kraft from a box—or more home made. It makes me suspicious if nothing else about the rest of their menu—especially their children’s menu.
I can see Gardner Ale House being a decent place to have a couple of homemade brews and watch a game. This certainly beats places that just serve BMC by a lot. If I was closer I could see myself playing darts there. However, as someone who lives a bit of a drive away, I just cannot see myself stopping there unless I was so famished that Gardner was the only place to get a non-McDonald’s meal. Perhaps it was an off day. I just was underwhelmed by the beer and a bit upset by the children’s menu. There are places that do small town brewery great—Edleweis in Alpine, Texas—Bear Brewing in Orono, Maine amongst countless others. I think Gardner could be great and has a lot of potential—it just is a miss for me.
10-17-2011 13:48:01 |
More by tigg924
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
A good, potentially great brewpub.
We really liked the atmosphere of this place. A long bar on the right with a good sized dining room to the left and an exposed brick wall in between. Very cool and comfortable.
There were only 3 house beers on tap for our visit, which was quite disappointing. Guest tpas ranged from the nearly sublime (Mad Elf) to sports bar ridiculous (Coors Light AND Bud Light).
Service was just ok, falling just short of inattentive and well short of welcoming.
Food was really excellent. We had a tuna melt and mahi mahi sandwich, both well prepared as were the really tasty fries.
Glad we stopped for lunch, and glad it came fast so we could head out after one pint.
02-16-2009 20:32:57 |
More by sholland119
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
First time there it was packed, but I got to drink a beer off tap while waiting to be seated and talked with a lovely old couple in there sixties waiting for a table and another growler re-fill. Pizza was great and the waitress was nice. The beer was good too.Definitely will go back.
09-27-2013 22:49:32 |
More by Ferris32
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$
I stopped by the GAH on a Saturday afternoon. There were a few folks eating lunch and having beers at the bar and a few tables were filled. Not bad for a brewpub out in the sticks on a nice Saturday afternoon.
I like the layout of the place, the room is divided into three sections the bar area (long bar and a few low tables surrounding), the dining room, and the kitchen(which has tables also), all are seperated by a red brick wall with enough openings to make each room feel airy. All new bar and fixtures make this one of the nicest brewpubs I've been in.
I sat at the bar and ordered the sampler which was immediately filled, and placed in front of my friend. In fact, everything I ordered was given to my friend. At one point the bartender asked if I wanted another beer, I ordered it, and she set it front of my friend (who already had a half full beer) then asked me (now beerless) if I wanted another. Weird and funny at the same time. So after moving the sampler in front on me, my friend orders one also. Both came with the same two beers in the wrong order, but I figured it out before the brewer pointed it out. Five house beers (and two quest taps) were offered - a summer beer (like an ordinary bitter, made with kolsch yeast and served with a lemon), an IPA, an Altbier, Oktoberfest lager, and a roasty dry stout.
Talked with the brewer and he was telling us how the first batches went. He seemed pleased with the outcome of most of the beers, but thought the IPA and the Alt still needed more hop aroma. I agreed. The Oktoberfest was the best of the bunch and the IPA the worst due to hot/fusely alcohol flavors - but the brewer said he overshot the original gravity, so next batch should be better. But for the most part the beers are well made and clean tasting - enough to come back when the recipes have been tweeked a bit.
Ordered the portebella/bacon burger which was ordered medium, but arrived well done. My friends burger seemed to be cooked perfectly medium. Mine was tasty and still juicy, so I didn't send it back. Fries were the "handcut" from a bag variety that still had the skins on the ends.
Not bad for a soft opening - Grand opening is at the end of September I believe. I wish these guys great success.
09-18-2006 14:01:27 |
More by Longstaff
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$
Visited the Gardner Ale House for the first time last weekend, and it was like going home again. I used to go to the former restaurant there years ago when I worked in Gardner.
The beer was good, although only four house brews were on tap. The highlight was Alt, which was a great example of the style. I also liked the stout, which, at less than 4 percent, is easy to drink several if you want to stay there for awhile.
The food was also decent. I had a chicken ceasar salad, and split a fish appetizer. Both solid.
The service was very good. Our waitress was very helpful and attentative.
The only negative, again, was there were only four beers on tap. I think that will change as the place becomes more established. I'm pretty sure I'll be back again.
11-07-2006 19:43:52 |
More by n0rmann
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
This brewery is only 16.5 miles from my girlfriends parent's house in New Ipswich New Hampshire. This Brewery has been open for less then a year.
Located in downtown Gardner, very easy to find and is easily one of the best looking buildings in the downtown area. Plenty of space inside, much bigger than I had imagined. It has three sections, the bar area which includes the two brewing tanks which are very visible from the large bar area which can easily seat 25 to 30 people not including the tables that are located within that area. Then there's the dining area, very spread-out and spacious; the third is the wide-open kitchen, you have total visible access to the kitchen which looks like a very orderly enviroment and very free-flowing, these sections are only divided by old-style brick walls that have windo's and seperations that allows the entire place to gel together.
They had six of their own beers on tap and a few "standard" beers and special guest beers you had to inquire about. My first sample was the newest beer on-tap, the Chocolate Porter. Very impressed with this Porter, I highly enjoyed this brew. I ordered the Coconut shrimp and crab cakes as appetizers and the Hawaiian Chicken sandwich as my main dish. The Hawaiian sandwich was excellent, maybe the best sandwich I've had in a while, the appetizer's were o.k. I washed this all down with the Facelift IPA, which was a really good, clean and fruity brew.
Overall, very impressed. It has a very professional yet comfotable atmoshere with plenty of space and good food with decent brews. Nice job Gardner.
03-29-2007 03:33:46 |
More by GratefulBeerGuy
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
The wife and I took a ride to Gardner for our Valentines Day dinner (Saturday night). There is plenty of parking out back. The atmosphere was quite quaint. There is alot of stained glass windows and the copper kettles out back looked great. We were seated in small somewhat isolated room towards the front, made for a nice quiet dinner. The service wasn't prompt but I wasn't in any rush. The beer selection was pretty vast for a brewpub, all kinds of styles. Plus they had guest taps from Goose Island, Narragansett, and Wachusett I believe. I had their DIPA and Imperial stout. Not overly impressive but they went well with my surf n' turf, a new york strip with baked scallops. The wife had the filet mignon and was very pleased. We will check this place out again in the future for sure.
02-15-2011 14:22:46 |
More by BumpkinBrewer
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Columbus Day Weekend 2011:
A weekend excursion to the Monadnock region yielded a couple of visits to Gardner Ale House this past weekend.
I had the chance to check out the bar on Friday as well as a return visit for lunch on Saturday. The atmosphere here is northern New England casual and comfortable with a long bar on the right side as you enter. Ample seating awaits in the back area.
Local artists' work decorates the walls in the dining area with a sizable crowd enjoying their food and drink. I noticed a few dart boards in the back. A great place to hang out and enjoy some local beer.
The beer selection was good, but I think there is plenty of untapped potential. I like Guest Taps, but would appreciate more of their beer offerings with a total of 12 taps available.
Selection included Summer's End, Chair City Pale, Facelift IPA, Oma's Altbier, Oktoberfest Lager and Chocolate Porter. Expect about 12 Guest Taps that included Wormtown Pro Am Porter & Weizenbock, Shipyard Pumpkinhead and crusty beers like Coors Light and Bud Light.
I tried the Chocolate Porter & Facelift IPA, both were very good with quality malts and a smooth drinkability.
The food here is special, they offer some creative and tasty dishes. However, I honestly thought the Buffalo Wings were subpar with a disappointing "extra hot" sauce. Don't be misled though, the wings were only a minor hiccup, the rest of the dishes sampled were really good. The Eggplant Parm Baguette was awesome.
I enjoyed this place, worth stopping by if in the area.
10-10-2011 02:26:37 |
More by Hibernator
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
This is a cool little brew pub not far from my home. This place has a nice laid back atmosphere. The waitstaff isn't the fastest Ive seen but they're certainly friendly enough. Your best bet for getting served quickly is to sit at the bar. Although they don't have a giant selection of house brews, what they do have is pretty good stuff. My personal favorites were tha Naked Stout and The Chocolate Porter. The Face lift IPA is good too, nice and hoppy. They also have the best pizza in the area. If you're in the nieghborhood give this place a try.
02-27-2010 20:19:04 |
More by steviec
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
My brother has been telling me for a long time about how good the Sunday brunch is at the Gardner Ale House. So this past Sunday, we took a drive out there. The place is divided in two, with the bar to the right and the restaurant to the left. There are brew kettles on display in the back of the bar. The brunch buffet was amazing. For $16 pp, it was all you could eat. Waffles, pancakes, bacon, eggs, and tons of breakfast food, plus prime rib, chicken, pasta, fish, potatoes, and tons of sides. There was also a pastry display and a chocolate dipping fountain. I had three plates of food. All very tasty. Our waitress was friendly and cleared off used plates quickly. They had 7 house beers on tap: Summer, Alt, IPA, Pale Ale, DIPA, Stout, and Chocolate Porter. They also have four guest taps: Bud Light, Coors Light, Wachusett Country Ale, and Harpoon 100 Barrel. I had a pint of the chocolate porter, which was good. For $50, we had two all-you-could-eats, a beer, and two sodas including tip. If this place was anywhere closer to Worcester or Boston, I could see us hanging out there more often. But for now, it will remain a great road-trip destination.
05-17-2010 20:22:27 |
More by morebeergood
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Gardner Ale House in Gardner, MA
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