British Beer Company is a “chain” of 13 pubs, mostly in southeastern Massachusetts, that seeks to replicate the experience provided by a small town pub in Great Britain. We have no first-hand experience with the original concept, but a countryside dotted with BBCs seems like a pretty good idea. We got a look at two of BBCs restaurants on one recent night, and they’re both pleasantly warm and inviting, with decor that emphasizes rough-hewn wood… and beer.
BBC offers a very large selection of draft beers, ranging from the industrial brewery Kings of Beers that people inexplicably like so much, to obscure craft brews, including the IPA from our friends nearby at Mayflower Brewing.
We stopped first at the BBC in Manomet, a neighborhood in south Plymouth, on a Sunday night, hoping for a seat at the bar to watch the Brooklyn Nets with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnet in their ultimately triumphant return to the Boston Celtics’ storied parquet floor. The bar was full and the TVs were tuned to some obscure Atlantic 10 college basketball re-run. Fortunately, there’s another BBC right down the road, so we moved on.
Being on the Cape Cod side of the Canal, the BBC in Sandwich is far more mellow in the winter than it likely is during the summer, and probably more mellow than Plymouth is year-round. We easily found a spot at the bar, whose only other occupants were a young couple on a first date, which we surmised because the woman’s unbearably annoying laugh would likely preclude a second encounter.
Our pleasant but brisk bartender, Sunny, offered us a taste of some fancy cabernet, but Gina opted instead for the house (Avalon, $7), in part because the sample was overpowered by the odor of chlorine in the glass. The Big Dog spotted one of those little spoons that signifies the possibility of a black and tan, and got a muddled version ($6.50).
We started with an order of Andouille Scotch Eggs ($8.99). We’d never had any Scotch eggs before, and the basic premise, involving soft-boiled eggs baked in a crust, made Gina squeamish. But these were outstanding. The Andouille sausage made for a flavorful coating, the eggs were lightly cooked but not runny, and the presentation was nice.
The Big Dog ordered a steak and ale pie ($13.99, pictured above) as his entree. It came with a sauteed zucchini and carrot medley that was delicious unless you have an irrational dislike for green summer squash, and mashed potatoes. The crust was heavy and the Dog characterized the gravy inside the pie as “overbearing,” and the steak inside was overcooked. But we’re both Irish enough to know that this is probably just how people in the Old Country like it.
Gina ordered a mahi mahi dish ($16.99) off the full page of “gluten friendly” offerings. While the dish was delicious — moist fish topped with a piquant mango pico, with jasmine rice and approximately seven green beans — the order was apparently so confusing that the kitchen cooked something else entirely then discarded it before starting in on the proper order. We didn’t take note of the time and weren’t in a hurry, but the result was definitely a complimentary-dessert-grade delay, if not handwringing apology from the manager. Here, nothing.
There was enough positive about our visit to the British Beer Company to ensure our return, not just to Sandwich but also to Plymouth. The prices were very reasonable, portions large, food pretty good, and the atmosphere was comfortable. Maybe we just need to recalibrate our expectations before we go.
British Beer Company
46 Route 6a, Sandwich