I am a true believer in cheeseburger therapy. I also believe that sometimes the body craves foods that deliver important nutrients like vitamins, minerals … and melted cheese. That is why in the midst of a recent craving, I headed straight for Cannery Row Brewing Company, a new restaurant and watering hole in the heart of Monterey County’s historic Cannery Row. The epic beer list at Cannery Row Brewing Company. This joint has a beer list as long as your arm – a staggering 73 of them on tap. None of them are brewed on site, although several beers are custom-brewed for Cannery Row Brewing Company. If beer's not your thing, they also have a tap for root beer and (more dangerously) one for bourbon and one for tequila. It would have required a wide-angle lens to get a shot of all the taps. On the other side of the menu is a respectable offering of sustainable fare. The slate includes lettuce from local farms, hand-dipped onion rings with locally grown onions, naturally raised beef and sustainably caught seafood – which is fitting, as the nearby Monterey Bay Aquarium pioneered the Sustainable Seafood Watch. But for me, there was only one possible choice: I was here for a burger! My husband doesn’t eat mushrooms, so a Mushroom & Swiss Cheese burger was on my radar for sure. It showed up piping hot thanks to our friendly server and it was everything I wanted. The burger was hand-formed (no hockey pucks are served here) and cooked medium rare to perfection. There was no skimping on the cheese or ‘shrooms, and the bun was oh so delightful. I later found out their rolls and other baked goods arrive fresh from a local bakery every morning. Unlike my usual “Gimme fries! Lots of fries!” habit, I opted for a salad. This was not a health or hippy related decision. Getting a salad in Monterey means sinking my teeth into a quality of lettuce I’ve never experienced before. This restaurant gets their greens from nearby Andy Boy and Tanimura & Antel farms; paired with the house-made citrus vinaigrette, the salad was divine. Not in a granola way, but a “wow, this tastes like the lettuce and tomatoes are still alive” kind of way. Don't miss the cozy outdoor patio! Other things not to be missed at Cannery Row Brewing Company:
- Outdoor fire pits: a great location to clink glasses and take in a different perspective of Cannery Row’s iconic structures
- Killer brew-themed décor: from the exterior sign framed by kegs to beer bottle lighting applications and interior decorations
- Bourbon: if you’re into it, they have more than 30 small batch Bourbons on hand
- Happy hour Monday – Thursday: Lots of classy snacks and surprisingly fantastic food and beverage specials from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., ranging from $3-6
- Groups: These guys do it right, I’ve dined here before with a large group and a good time was had by all. They’re also opening a private banquet room soon that seats 40.
- Fish and Chips: Predictable pub grub, sure, but theirs is made with locally caught rock cod
- Family Friendly: All booze aside, I’d also suggest this place to families as a happy middle ground that has honest prices, attentive service and a super laid-back atmosphere.