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of Hops Grill and Brewery - Alexandria, VA
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"Hops! is a chain brewpub. I don't have anything bad to say about it, although it's not a standout either. The beer is good but not distinctive. The menu is tasty but short. They usually have one or two items that you don't usually find in restaurants, such as meatloaf, shortribs, or pork chops.
We got a couple beers from the bar and settled down to wait. In due course, we got our table. Everyone was coping pretty well, and the service was good once we sat down. The Thorougbred Red ale is pretty good. It has a nice body. There's a hoppy taste when you first sip it, and it has a malty aftertaste. My wife also tried the "Hoptoberfest" seasonal ale. It had a color only slightly lighter than the red. She reported that the taste was just the opposite: a slightly bitter, malty taste at first, followed by some hoppiness (how do they do that?).
I had the shortribs. They came on a bed of mashed potatoes and gravy and were topped by thin onion rings. It was a nice meat-and-potatoes combination. My wife had the shrip platter. It had two skewers of large fried shrmps, with yellow squash, saffron rice, and a tangy sauce. My wife remarked that the squash was actually edible, since it had been cooked with butter and spices. On the whole, it was good food and good beer, if nothing to make you say "wow." The atmosphere was pleasant and roomy. There seemed to be some kind of music playing, but all you could here was the rumble of conversation, which is how I like restaurants."
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