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Archive for Sunday, September 30, 2012

Best of Lawrence 2012: Best Restaurant

September 30, 2012

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Free State Brewing Company

636 Mass., freestatebrewing.com

The Free State Brewing Co., 636 Mass., was readers' choice for Best Restaurant in the 2012 Best of Lawrence contest.

The Free State Brewing Co., 636 Mass., was readers' choice for Best Restaurant in the 2012 Best of Lawrence contest.

Free State Brewing Company hasn’t changed a lot in its 20-plus years, serving in-house brew and upscale pub fare at the north end of Lawrence’s downtown drag.

Maybe that’s because it’s awesome?

On a crowded night, a dull roar fills the dining room, and servers with trays propped high on one arm shimmy through the bar crowd to reach their tables. If the weather’s nice, Free State’s front patio provides a place to wait for a table — and excellent people-watching.

The menu features long-time favorite basics like black bean quesadillas and chicken and crawfish gumbo, seasonal dishes, rich desserts and a number of vegetarian options.

Free State now bottles a handful of its beers, but the pub remains the only place you can get the majority of their ever-rotating craft-tastic brews (current lineup includes C4 Imperial Black IPA, Konza Prairie Kolsch and Castle Rock Rye, to name a few).

To borrow Free State’s motto, “Because without beer, things do not seem to go as well.”

Runners up

l 715, 715 Mass.

l Pachamama’s, 800 N.H.

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