The Publick House
1648 Beacon St.
In case you haven’t noticed, I get around. I’ve been to some of the coolest bars and restaurants in all 50 states.
So you’re probably wondering if I get a bit jaded with all these exciting places to eat and drink.
I have to admit, there is a bit of that “been there, done that, bought the shirt” attitude that can seep into my road weary consciousness. (I have an entire closet full of t-shirts.)
But there are still a few places in America I still get excited about.
I’m talking school girl at a Justin Bieber concert excited.
Like deprive myself for 24 hours in advance, pack a supervalue pack of BC Powder, and clear my schedule the following morning kind of excited.
The Publick House in Boston gets me THAT KIND of excited.
The dark, candlelit Old World ambiance of this place and its world class beer selection make it a premier destination for serious beer drinkers.
Not “Do you have something that tastes like Blue Moon?” beer drinkers.
I’m talking REAL SERIOUS beer drinkers.
The best beers brewed on Planet Earth. Beers you can’t find anywhere else. Poured into the right kind of glass specifically designed for each beer.
Beers like Houblon Chouffe, Piraat and Gulden Draak, my three favorite beers from Belgium – a proud specialty here at The Publick House.
Belgian beer tastes different from beer brewed anywhere else in the world.
Usually well-balanced between hops and malt, Belgians typically let the alcohol and yeast shine through with a sweet, fruity taste.
The Publick House is so famous for its wide selection of draft Belgian beer, that it really is obligatory I start off with one.
My Houblon Chouffe looked beautiful sparkling in its specially designed glassware in the fading twilight. Crisp and refreshing, but with a powerful 9% alcohol punch, it slid right down.
Despite the “Dobbelen IPA” label on the Houblon Chouffe glass, this Belgian is smoother and less hoppy than its more aggressive American Double IPA brethren. It may claim the IPA label, but Houblon Chouffe is still a Belgian at heart.
As if to test my theory, I moved on to the American microbrew portion of the beer menu next and ordered a double IPA called “Mongo”, brewed by San Diego brewery, Port Brewing.
Now that’s a hoppy kick in the pants!
While The Publick House is known for its fresh Belgian beer on draft, sometimes a bottle-conditioned Belgian can be even better.
So I opted for a Belgian classic, St. Bernardus Abt 12, a dark but fruity 10.5% alcohol package of liquid heaven.
After three high potency beers, I desperately needed something to line my empty stomach.
While I’m sure the rest of the food at The Publick House is delicious, I’ll never know. That’s because I always get their famous gourmet mac and cheese made with five types of Belgian cheeses and orecchiette pasta.
I occasionally wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat dreaming of this dish.
Best of all, you can add meat, seafood, or veggies for a truly over-the-top dish of comfort food.
Most folks pick only one. But not this guy.
Maybe it was those high alcohol beers on an empty stomach, but I just couldn’t decide.
Top notch bacon? Andouille sausage? Caramelized onion?
“What the heck. Give me all three!”
My waitress looked a bit stunned as she scribbled my order and tallied all my extra add-ons.
I have to admit, her reaction gave me a bit of buyer’s remorse.
Would it be too much meat? Too greasy? Too over the top?
Would it be worth nearly twenty bucks for a modest-sized dish of college student fare?
When she slid my steaming mound of gooey cheese, meat and pasta under my nose, all those apprehensions disappeared into the night.
Worth. Every. Penny.
Holy St. Bernardus!
This was one of the most fantastic dishes to ever grace my taste buds.
The melty cheese and noodles were luxurious. The bacon added a smoky essence to every bite while the andouille sausage gave a zesty kick of spice.
Best of all, the caramelized onions balanced everything with a sweetness that elevated this dish to the Comfort Food Hall of Fame.
I knew I needed a special brew to accompany my self-created masterpiece.
Something smoky and sweet and savory, just like my gourmet mac and cheese.
I found my answer deep in the bowels of The Publick House six page beer menu.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urboch.
Translation: mind-blowing German smoked beer!
Yes. This beer is smoked.
Well, the malt in the beer is smoked, more specifically.
If you are a beer connoisseur looking to try something different, you have to try a good German rauchbier like Schlenkerla Urboch.
Like smoked country sausage in bottle, rauchbiers are almost exclusive to the German town of Bamberg – and The Publick House, luckily for me.
As I poured this dark beer into my glass, the smell instantly brought me back to some long ago Boy Scout campfire.
Unlike some American smoked beers I’ve tried, this real deal German smoked beer doesn’t skimp on the smoke.
It’s like drinking a pack of Marlboros. But in a good way.
It was the perfect complement to my bacon and sausage studded mac and cheese.
At this point in the evening, it was WAY past my time to retire to my hotel room.
But then I remembered I was taking public transportation.
Transporting my tipsy self back to my hotel room is one of the few good uses I can imagine for massive taxpayer subsidized enterprises like Boston’s venerable “T”.
“Hey, this is MY piece of the bailout,” I rationalized while I perused the menu for a good nightcap.
Sensing a rapidly approaching law of diminishing returns, I knew I should tone down the exotic flavor and high alcohol for something my altered palate could still appreciate.
So I opted for a classic German pilsner, Kulmbacher Edelherb Premium Pils, served on draft in a traditional German stein.
American mass-produced watered down light beers like Miller Lite claim the “pilsner” label, but that’s like referring to SPAM as an ethnic delicacy.
Kulmbacher is what a pilsner REALLY tastes like.
Crisp and dry, with a nice hop kick, it was a perfect ending to one of the greatest beer drinking experiences of my life.
As I stumbled through the Brookline darkness to the Green Line station a block or two away, I had a big sudsy smile on my face.
Despite all the build up, excitement and anticipation, my evening at the world famous Publick House still lived up to my heightened expectations.
Exceeded them, in fact.
That’s what makes The Publick House a true “bucket list” destination for serious beer drinkers.
So I’m telling you. If you love beer like I do, go there now. Plan your vacation around it.
Even the most jaded among us won’t be let down.
Rating: Bought the Shirt!