August 14, 2012

Review of the British Beer Company – Manchester, NH

Filed under: restaurant, review, Uncategorized — Tags: — glutenfreebymarriage @ 14:17

British Beer Company - Manchester, NH

The British Beer Company 1071 S. Willow Street, Manchester, NH 03103 (603) 232-0677

The Facts:

  • price: Moderate, $28 for two lunches.
  • atmosphere: Friendly staff, very, very loud, typical chain style pub restaurant.
  • menu: Sandwiches, pizzas and traditional British dishes.  Extensive gluten-free menu including sandwiches/wraps, burgers, pizza, salads, and many other items.  They even have gf beer!
  • food quality: Pretty Good!
  • overall recommendation:  Get in line now!  With their huge gluten-free menu (including beer!) I can see the British Beer Company quickly becoming the IN place for GF Granite Staters to meet friends and have a quick meal.

The Details:

We had no idea what to expect when they built the new British Beer Company on South Willow Street.  The mustard yellow building plunked down in the middle of the Pier One/Michael’s parking lot wasn’t too inspiring and British food always seems so bland and heavy, but we went to their website and found that not only do they offer gluten-free items, but they have an extensive selection.

Instead of the tired looking plain steak and potato that some places call gluten-free, the British Beer Company listed a range of options including appetizers, salads (not just lettuce and tomato with oil & vinegar dressing, but the same dinner salads as the main menu), wraps, entrées, burgers and pizzas.  They even had gluten-free cider and beer!

They Have Gluten-Free Beer!

Just the possibility of finding a local restaurant with more than one or two gluten-free items on the menu was enough to make us look past the yellow exterior and beat feet to their front door.

I’m not sure if it’s the newness or if perhaps there are a whole lot more people looking for gluten-free options, but this restaurant was packed.  The first time we tried stopping by was around dinner time and there was a 45 minute wait.  We were in a hurry so we decided to go to Ninety-Nine instead of waiting.  Our second attempt was midweek around 1:30 in the afternoon.

You would think that it would be a little less busy on a Thursday afternoon, but there was still a 30 minute wait for a table.  Fortunately, The British Beer Company has free wi-fi and the time flew by.  (What did we do before smart phones?)

Mr. GF had the Roast Beef Wrap with Cole Slaw.  (Fries were not offered as a gf side.) A large portion of thickly sliced roast beef wrapped with lettuce, tomatoes and horseradish in a gluten-free wrap.  (Not sure what kind of wrap it was.  Definitely not brown rice, it was white like a regular flour tortilla but had the texture indicative of a gluten-free product. )

He said it was good, but not exceptional.  It was a little too bland, but attributed it to the general lack of horseradish in the sandwich.   I think that it was really a matter of preference.  We use a lot of spices at home, but most people seem to prefer a more temperate taste with just a hint of spiciness.  He would order the sandwich again (once he has worked his way through the menu) but would ask for extra horseradish.

I had the (non-gf) Chipotle Chicken Avocado Bap with fries and was pretty pleased.  The avocado was creamy and the roll was almost decadent in it’s glutenous flakey goodness.  I was expecting something like a Kaiser or bulky roll, but it was more like an oversized croissant.  (flakey, buttery, etc…)  It was a huge sandwich for someone who doesn’t normally eat an entire chicken breast, particularly one served on a giant croissant like roll, so I didn’t get to the fries.  They looked crispy and lovely, but I can’t really say how they tasted.

Over all it was well worth the wait.  Their prices are slightly higher than other local chains, but was well within our modest budget and definitely worth it.  The service was friendly, the food was fresh and the gluten- free menu was huge.  When you add in the gluten-free beer option I could easily see the British Beer Company becoming our go to restaurant for meeting friends or getting a quick meal when we don’t feel like cooking.


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