The People's Pint is an old time pub in an old time town. There's an antique bicycle over the bar (forget about TVs, but that's part of the charm) and a series of vintage bicycle posters along one wall. The tables are all sturdy wood, as is the vintage dart board with the People's Pint logo carved in. It's a comfortable place that's as timeless as it is welcoming to families and beer fans alike. Homemade beer is the main attraction, and there's not even the slightest pretense about it being a barbecue joint. They just happen to have a smoker that's used to cook some of their appetizers and sandwiches.
The People's Pint menu is a mix of appetizers, salads, Mexican dishes and sandwiches. The smoked items include wings, a daily sausage and a pulled pork sandwich.
I visited with a friend for a Saturday afternoon lunch.
Wings: A quartet of smoked whole wings (attached wingette and drummette) ($7.50) arrived on a bed of lettuce, well coated with thick, brick-red barbecue sauce. Normally such a heavy sauce treatment would be cause for concern, but in this case the wings were large enough and wow-inducingly bumpy enough to handle it. Each piece held a pantrywide assortment of spices and seeds poking visibly through the sauce. Each surface had enough sturdy crispness to withstand the sauce without buckling under its heat or liquidity. Scattered areas of light char were either the result of a judicious grill finish or the aftereffects of a long smoke.
The bite fielded the tanginess of the sauce first, then the extra crispy surface, then an extremely tender (read: too tender) juicy interior. The rub was every bit as forceful as its visual, hitting with mostly traditional spices plus the faintest hint of Caribbean (possibly cinnamon). If the savory came from the rub, the heat came mostly from the sauce, which was a very balanced blend of tangy, sweet and spicy. Smoke was in there too, but as a minor player only. I'm guessing that the smoker here is an electric model, but as far as these wings are concerned, that's a small detail. I'd come back for these anytime, probably sharing one order sauced and another unsauced to investigate that rub a little more. They're a shoo-in for my next Wings List, but the actual placement will depend on whether the smokiness gets ramped up and the tenderness gets ramped down. For what it's worth, the friend joining me on this trip called them the best wings he's ever had.
Sausage: A sausage of the day ($8.75) is billed as "sometimes spicy, usually smoked, always made in house " was a bratwurst on my first visit, served as a single long link. The accompaniments—sauerkraut, whole grain mustard and a rigid ryeish mini loaf—allowed dipping and sandwichmaking, but I restricted my experimentation to only the former. The moist (but not juicy) sausage had a full, compex flavor on its own thanks to the light smoke and herbal qualities, so the mustard was more of a bonus than a requirement, but it was damn good. Back to the smoke: again, not quite as assertive as I'd like, but not a showstopper. More would be nice, but I'd rather they added a little more surface crispness and get some juiciness into it. Overall: good, not great.
Pulled pork sandwich: The pulled pork sandwich ($7.95) stuffed into a bulkie roll a sizeable mound of mostly-gray, mostly-stringy smoked pork, topped with the same sweeet-tangy-hot barbecue sauce that came with the wings. Bark was moderate; smoke was light. Moistness was even lighter-- it didn't totally depend on the sauce, but unlike the wings, it would be a tough sell without it. Aside from borderline dryness, the texture was right on the money, bearing a gentle flakiness similar to a smoked fish (while tasting like pork). I'd call this a below average pulled pork sandwich with above average sauce.
Burger: There's a regular burger, but "The Squealer" (ground grass fed beef and ground bacon patty, $9.50) sounded much more appealing. The end result got less bacony flavor than I anticipated, but the outside was lightly charred and crusty and all of it brought that funky flavor I like in a burger. Doneness hit the requested medium and allowed good moistness. Cheese (thick Swiss) and bun (toasted bulkie) were both adequate, but all things considered, we're talking about a decent burger, not a great one.
There's just one sauce, and it's a very good compromise in texture (not too thick, not too thin) and flavor (balanced among sweet, tangy and hot, with the heat the most prevalent of the three). It's not only a good beer-drinking complenment, it's good, period. Even if it is as much of a throwback as the joint itself.
Cole slaw: A simple rendition had very little condiment but didn't strike me as lacking in flavor. A little dry, but not prohibitively so.
The Bottom Line
The People's Pint is a comfortable place that serves a good brew and some decent food to go with it. The smoked fare ran the full gamut in quality, but the best items were well worth the trip—especially those unforgettable wings.
Boston's Hidden Restaurants review of the People's Pint
Yelp reviews of the People's Pint
Urbanspoon reviews of the People's Pint
||'Like' PigTrip BBQ Reviews on Facebook to keep up with all of the reviews and much more content not available on the site.