When Kendall Square’s newest craft beer bar opened last week, it apparently wasn’t prepared for the mob that immediately flowed through its doors. Some rather astringent Yelp reviews have already been published, most of them harping on the lack of staffers and the small menu. We’d also heard that the first few nights were crazy-busy, resulting in poor service and frazzled bartenders. But the instant influx made clear our city’s frenzied desire for more, better beer lists.
Curious to see for myself, this past Sunday I made the trek with some of my craft-beer-drinking partners in crime. We sauntered in around 2:30 in the afternoon, and (fortunately for us) the two-story space was nearly empty. A somewhat vacant-eyed hostess seated us at a table next to the bar, a tall, double-sided monstrosity with 100 taps (heavy on IPAs and Belgian-style brews). Glorious! The beer list at the table, we assume, is meant to match the large chalkboard list on the wall, though the board listed which kegs were kicked, as well as a few selections not on the menu. Our server had to check in three times before we were ready to order, leaving me to conclude that more is not always better: too many choices can be overwhelming. I settled on the Brouwerij De Halve Maan’s Brugse Zot Belgian ale, a crisp and slightly citrusy blonde, while my cohorts went with an Allagash Confluence and a St. Louis Gueze Fond (the latter of which is noticeably more pungent in flavor and aroma on tap). Round two included Ithaca’s hoppy Thirteen wheat ale, which was the only disappointment due to a criminal pour: The 12-ounce glass came with two inches of head on top; and for anyone paying $9 a pop on a slow day, that’s definitely a party foul. But my Peak Organic Taza Imperial Stout was outstanding — rich yet light, with overtones of delicious chocolate straight from Somerville.
As far as food goes, those Yelpers didn’t lie—the menu is small, but many ingredients are sourced locally, which we dig. For three hungry twentysomethings (two of whom don’t eat meat) the selection was rather limited — a burger was the most substantial option — but snacks like the hand-cut Parmesan French fries with garlic aioli ($7) and the hummus plate with olives and goat cheese ($8) were delectable. Service was solid; though our server didn’t have the answer to some of our beer questions she was happy to ask the bartenders for info and opinions on our chosen suds.
In a word, we’ll be back. We’re most interested in how selections will change over time — may we suggest more saisons to herald the impending arrival of summer?
Have you been to Meadhall? Tell us what you think!
4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, 617-714-4372.
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