Metro, Food, Newton

Burke’s Alewerks Offers Inventive Pints and a Cheerful Atmosphere

A quote by Irish poet William Butler Yeats sits on the wall of Burke’s Alewerks in West Newton, greeting customers into the pub as if it were a home. 

“There are no strangers here; Only friends we have not yet met,” the inscription reads.

The quote serves as the motto of Burke’s Alewerks.

Owner Brian Burke said that when he decided to leave his career in the corporate world to pursue his passion for brewing beer, he wanted to create a community gathering space.

“For me, it’s about producing great beers, but also producing an environment where people want to come and hang out,” Burke said. 

The journey to open Burke’s Alewerks began in 2015 when Burke left his job and sold his house. Although an avid homebrewer of 25 years, Burke decided to formally hone his craft at the Siebel Institute in Chicago, Ill. and Doemens Academy, located in Gräfelfing, Germany, a town near Munich. 

Originally based in Hanover, Mass., the restaurant opened in West Newton in January. The brewery focuses on traditional and European style ales. 

“I tend to focus on traditional beer style,” Burke said. “Everybody has IPAs—and I certainly love them and make sure I have plenty of them on there—but we also do more traditional like British, German style.”

The drink menu has a wide range of pints including Oktoberfest, a full-bodied, malt-forward beer with a deep copper color. Additionally, Burke’s offers inventive beers like the Coco-Razz, which is brewed with “dark Ghirardelli chocolate and cacao nibs and finished with all natural raspberry puree,” according to the menu. 

Ashley Wood, a server at the restaurant, listed her favorite beers as the Life of Reilly, the Coco-Razz, and the Solar-Orbit. 

Burke’s also offers a beer flight for its patrons, allowing them to try a selection of the beers on tap.

“My wife always has a flight and so we started with that and then I would do traditionals,” Greg Maxwell, a patron of the brewery, said. “I did a lager and then an Irish [beer].”

Menu items at Burke’s Alewerks include margherita and pepperoni pizzas and hot pretzels. The pizzas are outsourced from CP’s pizza of Scituate. 

The minimal menu is intentional, though. Burke said he wants to focus more on the brewery aspect of his business than the food, but he wants to expand the food selection and plans on partnering with local chefs in the future. 

“We want to work with local chefs and do things like beer and food pairings, guest chefs, and events like that,” Burke said. 

The female servers at Burke’s Alewerks have attended the Pink Boots Society National Conference, where women in the alcoholic and fermented beverage industry from across the nation gather to learn about updates regarding their trade and improve their craft. 

“Women get together and brew their own beer and everything, so Brian wanted to start out with all the women over the past I think it’s been three years,” Wood said. 

Burke’s goal of making his brewery a community gathering space is accomplished through various events. Burke’s Alewerks hosts trivia every Thursday and invites local bands to perform on the weekends, Burke said. 

“We were here a few nights ago,” Maxwell said. “We had a great time chatting with the owner and bartenders and stuff. Just trying to have some different beers.”

January 23, 2023