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Free State Brewing Co.
Active Beers: 44
Beer Ratings: 1,041
Beer Avg: 3.86
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
636 Massachusetts St
phone: (785) 843-4555
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev
| Reviews: 58 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
I have visited this brewery many time as I am always curious as to what the hub bub is about. Overall I have never been impressed with much at this brewpub. I almost always can count on subpar service and my last visit was no exception. While some might find the atmosphere cozy i find it to be cramped and a little rundown. It is located downtown so you can count on walking aways from wherever you can find to park. Overall, the beer is fresh but very uninspiring making it difficult to support my local brewery. The word on the street is that they are going to be opening a bottling plant in north lawrence. I hope the beer gets a little better before then.
02-04-2008 18:35:16 |
More by cer40
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $
I stopped in on Monday afternoon around 6PM for the $1.75 Oatmeal Stout special. It was an unusually warm day and the place was packed on the inside as well as outside. Just look for the crowded front on Massachusetts Ave, you can't miss it. The had about 9 beers up on the board, three of which carried the special price.
Very laid back crowd. I have never been to this part of Kansas before, but this street could have been lifted right from the Haight-Ashbury section of San Fransisco. I have never seen so many white people with dreadlocks gathered in one place. Not that it is a bad thing, I just didn't expect it in Kansas. The whole street was lined with unique independent shops.
There were tables available for dining by the bar, and in the upstairs section as well. Most patrons seemed to be enjoying the beer, I did not see many people dining, maybe 20% of the entire crowd. I did glance at the menu, and it seemed to list some quality offerings.
The service wasn't great, but you really can't expect much from 2 bartenders when they are as busy as they were. They moved fast, and the wait for a refill was short, but conversation was not going to happen. They did hustle and kept up with the crowd pretty well.
The beer was great, and the price was even better, but it was the Monday special, the rest of the week you will fork over a little more cash. A definite revisit if I am ever in the area again.
03-15-2007 22:33:36 |
More by gixxerman
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Updated review (July, 2011) after living in Lawrence over two years.
I seek two things in a brewpub: good food and, more importantly, good beer. Free State is incredibly over-hyped, although they're trying. In the long run it's the best thing going here, but it isn't what everyone says.
Free State is a prototypical "locals' favorite" kind of establishment. Who are these locals? I don't know, but there are lots of them, and they love it here. They're not beer lovers, and they probably have way too much civic pride (the biggest annoyance in Lawrence).
The atmosphere inside is nice when it's not overcrowded, which is never at dinner hours, Mondays, and weekends. The front room is awful and the "patio" is worse--this is where the "locals" hang out--smoking cigs, talking loudly, and wanting to be seen and heard. Many aren't even drinking. The building is huge and there is tons of seating in different rooms, some of which are quite cool. But usually I find myself elbowing through the door only to stand in a crowded, overlit room for 15 minutes or more--and I'm usually seated in this giant, crowded room.
The beer menu changes a lot, which is great. However, most of the choices are boring. They don't do many big beers and they aren't into hops--perhaps this is what I dislike the most. Lots of light to medium offerings. I've never seen anything on cask. Half the beers I order are either bad or unmemorable--often a balance problem. Occasionally I get something I really like, for example a dark lager on a recent visit. The stout is good.
The service is typically slow and steady. Seating is the main problem. Refills are often a challenge, which in my opinion is a serious problem for a brewpub. Food comes out quick enough.
The food is acceptable but, and some of it is good. They change the menu often, which is a plus.
I used to like 23rd St. better, because I like the bitter professor IPA (West Coast style) ... but after going there often I can't stand it--they (23rd) haven't changed their menu in 2 years, and their service has declined significantly. They don't try anything new. So now I have to give the not to Free State, even though I don't like it.
09-20-2010 05:52:11 |
More by boogles
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
If you don't mind waiting in line to get in (a good sign) this is a great place to eat, drink and be merry any time you're in Larrytown. Good selection of beer, good pub food. It's always been crowded when I visited, so my opinion of the service isn't as high as it might be if the girls had actually paid some attention to us...but them's the breaks.
03-02-2003 18:14:14 |
More by texascarl
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Located on the main drag, this building is larger then it looks from the outside. You will be greeted by patio seated smokers as you enter the building.
The bar is relatively small, as this is more of a dining establishment. It also seems to be catering to more of the family and older crowd. The service at the bar was swift and warm.
The beer was good, however I didn't see many seasonal or specialty beers on tap.
I did not eat the food, but it looked good and seemed to be the place for food as it was packed on a Wednesday night.
Overall, I would reccomend this place if you are looking for a calmer evening and something good to eat...and of course a good beer!
06-10-2011 21:30:33 |
More by ndolover
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
Stopped by Free State on a 1/2 day road trip to Lawrence and Topeka while visiting a friend in KC.
It's in the cute downtown area of Lawrence. We found easy street parking and fed 50 cents to a meter.
There's a nice patio space out front, and the interior is great. Big open space with some lofted seating and brewing equipment behind glass. Unfortunately it was busy when we got there, so they led us into a drab back room.
Beer selection was pretty good. Eight on tap, including a decent IPA.
The food was not that great. The burger was a little dry and served only with lettuce, on an onion bun that was a bit burnt. The fries were good though. The thai noodles were bland and just tasted like soy sauce.
Our service was good enough, especially considering they were busy.
10-04-2011 00:54:57 |
More by shivtim
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
My parents live in Eudora which is just outside Lawrence, so recently when we took a family trip to KS I was looking for places to go. I did some research online and found FSBC. Now, For me this place wasnt that bad based upon the food it was more about how the waiteress had no idea about what I was asking her about the beers they had on draft for that weekend. So after not having her full faith I decided to just grab a flight and go from there. The beers were not 1/2 bad. Infact their Saison was very good. The food here was excellent and not overly priced. They did show on the menu that they use their beer with their food which was a treat because their Cheddar Ale soup was amazing. I didn't go on a very busy night Fri or Sat so I cant say what its like during a very high paced night. Im sure a lot would suffer being in a college town. Overall, was a nice place during a slow lunch to grab a flight and talk with my wife and sister.
10-18-2010 03:07:00 |
More by FosterJM
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
My sister lives in Lawrence, so I have visted several times since it opened. Beer is pretty decent, not great. Food is pretty decent. I love the Barley Wine, and this year I dragged a standard size empty growler with me on the airplane. Although I had a Free State growler, I grabbed an empty from another brewpub, with a New Mexico logo.
Upon arrival, I was informed that Free state does not fill growlers, other than their own. So, that is the primary reason for my review...
Stop this ridiculous, self-serving practice. Your battle is not with other brewpubs. It's with AB, Miller and Coors. Promote your industry, don't hinder it.
02-15-2008 03:18:38 |
More by bosstep
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5 | $$
Free State came recommended to me by Mr. J Walters, current DJ for KU's student run radio station, and being that his opinion comes highly respected I chose to check it out.
Outside, people are gathered together gleefully enjoying beers, chatting, and relaxing in a nice warm atmosphere. Inside there is a small bar to the far left and bar seating where people are grubbing on delicious dishes. The tanks are visible through windows in the bank and overall the place is real neat. Lots of action inside and out, it is located on the downtown stretch of Lawrence. THEY LET YOU DRINK OUTSIDE WITHOUT A FUSS!
The beer selection is just around average, however, the brews they do produce are tasty. Being that it is in Lawrence, KS their wheat beers tend to highlight the beer list.
Their ipa, copper ale, and stout all kept me going deep into the night. The food is real good. From appetizer to entree, you'll be glad you ordered something.
A must if you're in Lawrence.
09-12-2009 23:51:58 |
More by nickiversen
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Stopped by on a Saturday for lunch, was pretty busy. Makes me wonder how packed this place is when U is in session
The place had a nice open & airy feel, but not a place that just reeks of atmosphere
The quality of the beer ran from good (most) to very good of the 5 I tried
Service was good & friendly
8 Beers on tap one lager & 7 ales
The food was tasty & there were many items left on the menu I will try in the future
Beers & food weren't too pricey, niether was the grower I purchased ($11 for a jug &a fill )
Not a place I would go out my way to hit again unless Bachus is on tap. But will visit this again when near Lawerence
07-08-2012 23:17:22 |
More by russpowell
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Free State Brewing Co. in Lawrence, KS
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