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Reviews on PubCrawler from steve checkosky
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Reviews By
steve checkosky

Beer Reviews
(55)

Restaurant Reviews
(1)






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55
Beer Reviews from steve checkosky
   

Review Page: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ ALL ]
Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great
Great Great Great Great

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: Empire Brewing Company, Syracuse, NY

Empire is back! It is open right now for food, but as of today (June 19, 2007) no liquor license. They expect to have it in 1-2 weeks. They have brought back their "Louisiana" menu and will be serving many of the beer styles from the original brewpub, as well as new ones. They also will feature four guest taps with other NY State craft beers - Middle Ages, Ommegang, and Ithaca are among the first taps they will put on. The brewer is Tim Butler, a great talent who had been with Mark Rubenstein at Middle Ages. A helluva pedigree.

Great news for Syracuse beer lovers! Check back for more details.

(06/19/2007)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Crescent City Brewhouse, New Orleans, LA

The "big fella at the end of the bar cracking oysters" refers to Vernell. We have sat at the end of the bar with Vern dozens of times. He is friendly, customer oriented and thoroughly professional. If you have problems with Vernell, the problems are yours, Not Vern's.

(11/19/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Good Great Good Great

Establishment: Red Oak Brew Pub, Greensboro, NC

I don't understand. No funky taste. No poor service. Just fine Beer and good food in pleasant surroundings.

We got there around 2 PM. Hot in Greensboro. 95 degrees. If this place isn't good, it will be a long afternoon. The first impression wasn't great. They have nine taps. Five weren't their own. Miller lite, Rolling Rock, Shiner Bock, Spaten Lager, and Sierra Nevada. No treasures in the bunch. Sierra Nevada is good, but readily available. They had only four of their own. Battlefield, a schwarzbier; Red Oak, a vienna style lager; St George, a strong Maibock; and Humminbird (sic), a lite lager. We had samples of all of the Red Oak beers. My question is: Why the Millers and Shiners? The Red Oak beers were fine. Something for every taste. The Battlefield was our favorite. I didn't notice a "funky" taste. Instead an appealing touch of sweetness complementing a very true to style dark lager. The maibock was also wonderful. Strong, malty and slightly sweet. The vienna is a fine example of the style. I don't usually favor light beers. But the Humminbird went down well on a hot summer day. A strong and pleasant malty aftertaste. Nothing particularly hoppy. But this is a lager house, not an ale house. Can't expect a strong dose of hops.

We ordered the Drunken Chicken. If the chick got drunk on the local beers, he died happy. A fine choice. Nicely seasoned, dirty hands food. Finally we had a chance to discuss beer with Adam, the manager. No need to pester him for free stuff. The beer and foor were excellent. A can't miss stop. We'll be back.

(07/09/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Awesome! N/A So So So So

Establishment: Toronado, San Francisco, CA

Well they sure have a lot of beers. I guess if I lived in California, was familiar with the beers, knew what I wanted, and didn't care much about the service this place would be OK. The problem is that many of the beers served here are not available in New York, or where we regularly travel. No point in coming all this way for a Sierra Nevada. Also it appears that they are big on cute marketing names for beers in California (Moonlight?, El Toro?) so reading the beer list on the wall wasn't much help. So what to do? Their "samples" were pints which cost $3.50 - $5.50. No actual samples were offered and by the demeanor of the servers, it didn't appear that requests for samples would be welcome. So we wasted about $12 and got the hell out. We should never have left Magnolia.

(06/22/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Magnolia Pub and Brewery, San Francisco, CA

This is an amazing place. In town on business and had the opportunity to stay over the weekend. Went to PubCrawler and noticed the positive reviews. We saw that it was on Haight Street and figured that we can experience some history, an interesting neighborhood and good beer. So we hailed a cab and headed over. We were not disappointed. First the beer. Five on cask, incuding two IPAs, a pale ale, a brown ale and a "guest ale". I had a couple samples and settled on the "Spud Boy" IPA. Outstanding. There were several more on tap: two Belgians, an IPA, a Wheat, a Kolsch, a Brown, a Porter and a Stout. I sampled most of them and had pints of the IPA and Porter. The IPA was very good and the Porter was world class, comparable to my personal favorite, Middle Ages (Syracuse, NY) Dule of Winship. How they can make such a variety of high quality beers is a mystery. No off tastes. The lines are kept clean. All served at proper temperatures. Not a bad beer in the place. The service was attentive, friendly and genuine. Samples were readily offered and pints were empty for only a few seconds. Can't ask for more. If I lived in the area, I'd pitch a tent and squat here.

The visual surroundings were extraordinary. Both in the Pub itself and around the neighborhood. I took several pictures and posted them on this site. They are described in an earlier review. We didn't have any food on Friday. But they opened early Sunday serving breakfast and brunch so we came back. Had an oyster and bacon omelette washed down with three pints and a couple more samples. They had just put on their Jubilee Ale, described as a Pale Ale but very hoppy. Also outstanding.

I like Magnolia

(06/22/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A Awesome!

Establishment: Magnolia Pub and Brewery, San Francisco, CA

I'll review the beer and food later. A large part of Magnolia's appeal is visual. There is a wonderful mural surrounding the bar and much of the dining area. Many of the pictures are of portions of the mural. Jerry Garcia walking into the sunset with his guitar is particularly striking. The Morrison/Joplin image is on a building across the street and is visible from the dining area. The Haight Ashbury neighborhood retains some of the flavor of the revolution. Well worth a visit. The beer, service and food is spectacular. Topics for a later review.

(06/15/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Faegan's Cafe and Pub, Syracuse, NY

We stopped in at Faegan’s before the Syracuse vs Harlem Globetrotters game. Gotta agree with Dave. Nothing interesting or special here. We were forced to choose from among the following uninteresting beers on tap: Anchor Steam, Blue Moon, Boddington,Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Weisse, Chimay Triple, Dogfish India Brown, Ellicotville Pale Ale, Faegan’s Brew by Middle Ages, Flying Dog, Harpoon IPA, Hoegaarden, Lindemanns’ Framboise, Otter Creek Octoberfest, Newcastle Brown, Abita Purple Haze, Red Hook Octoberfest, Sackets Harbor Funny Cide, Saranac Amber Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Ithaca Apricot Wheat, Southern Tier IPA, Stella Artois, Red Hook ESB, Lake Placid UBU, Victory Hop Devil, Yuengling Lager, Young’s Oatmeal Stout, Sam Adams Lager, Sam Adams Apricot Wheat. Damn, no bud, coors or miller on tap. Guess we better go downtown.

(11/11/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: Blue Tusk, Syracuse, NY

Blue Tusk serves 20 oz “pints”. Their happy hour is 11 AM to 8 PM. A dollar off the listed price. More like a happy half-day. We stopped in last night at 5:30. Had three beers. The Middle Ages IPA was $3. The Southern Tier IPA was $3. The Guinness was $4. This place is not expensive.

(11/11/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
So So So So N/A Good So So

Establishment: Ram Restaurant and Brewery, Indianapolis, IN

The first thing we noticed when we walked in is the Bud Light and Coors Light taps. A bad sign. And an accurate one. Their beers were watery and virtually indistinguishable. Damn shame. Indianapolis deserves better.

(11/07/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: BarrelHouse Brewing Company, Cincinnati, OH

All is forgiven. Back in town on business. After reading the positive reviews of this place, we had to try again. This time we found a parking place directly across the street. A good start. No cover charge this time. It was early in the day. Our first impression suggested an honest, unpretentious bar that is about the beer. Too many brewpubs are now about catering to the yuppie crowd. See and be seen. The beer is an afterthought. Not at BarrelHouse. I led off with “You got Bud Light?” Always interesting to see the bartender’s reaction. Got a You must be crazy look and a polite “No”. At BarrelHouse they serve only their own. And they are rightly proud of their offerings. The bartender offered samples. My first pint was their Pale Ale. Hoppy, floral and outstanding. I then tried their Imperial Stout. Nectar. This place is fine. We happened to be sitting next to the assistant brewmaster. Had a great conversation. He suggested the Vandermeer 00 Strong Ale. Named for double no hit Johnny Vandermeer. I had a pint. Spectacular. Don’t worry about the neighborhood. The beer is worth it.

(11/07/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: Faegan's Cafe and Pub, Syracuse, NY

A question for Dave. You say we should drink downtown. Where? You hated every downtown bar.

(11/07/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: Empire Brewing Company, Syracuse, NY

Closed. 09/23/2003.

(09/23/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Crescent City Brewhouse, New Orleans, LA

Crescent City is one of our favorite places in all the world. There are few things in life to compare with sitting at the end of the bar, eating a couple of dozen raw oysters covered with a “special” sauce, chatting with Lou or Vern, Richie, and Knut, and drinking too many Black Forests! CCB is our first stop on each of our 5-6 trips per year to New Orleans. I favor the Black. My partner prefers the Red. We occasionally try the Weiss or the Seasonal. By and large, the beers have been good. We have noted the criticisms of beer quality, consistency, price, etc. and, in fact, on occasion some of the beers, particularly the Seasonals, have fallen a bit short. If you are cost conscious, wait until 5 p.m. on weekdays and the two-for-one Happy Hour.

On our most recent trip, we learned that CCB has a new brewer – Tom Conklin. We spent some time with Tom and came away very impressed. He is bright, knowledgeable, personable, experienced (8 years with Abita), and committed to maintaining a consistently high-quality product. As always, we started with the Black and Red. They were wonderful and indeed true to type. If you expect big, hoppy beers, you won’t find them here, as the Black and Red are German-style lagers – a Schwarzbier and a Vienna. The emphasis is on the malt. One of the Seasonals on this visit was a Kolsch. Ordinarily, not our favorite beer style, it was wonderful. Clean, fresh, with a fine malty aftertaste. A helluva beer to chase oysters. We are looking forward to the Octoberfest that Tom will have ready in the fall.

(08/20/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
So So So So Good So So Great

Establishment: Cooter Brown's, New Orleans, LA

We occasionally stop into Cooter Browns on "getaway day." It's a short drive to the airport. As others have mentioned, we found the beer selection disappointing. So many taps, so few good beers. There is a large bottle selection, but we can drink good bottled beer at home. The service is indifferent - the bartenders are chatting up with their buddies at the other end of the bar. You often have to go through some dramatics to get a refill. No point in asking questions about the beers, since they seem to neither know nor care. The pub grub is good. Boudin goes well with beer. The overall rating is higher than any of the components because of the atmosphere. A highlight of visits there is the wonderful caricatures of famous people. Each person is shown drinking an "appropriate" beer. Bela Lugosi is drinking "Evil Eye". Jacques Cousteau is drinking "Kingfisher". Mother Theresa is drinking "Bishop's Finger". Clever and very entertaining. With some time on our hands on a visit last fall, we photographed many of these. They are now on the site.

(08/20/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: Blue Tusk, Syracuse, NY

Is it me? Or has this place slipped a bit? First, the Good. 65+ taps, rotated regularly, the largest selection of Middle Ages products anywhere. Walking into this place for the first time, it reminds you of beer heaven. What's not to like? For one thing, beer quality has slipped. It used to be impossible to get a bad beer here. However, of my last 10 beers, maybe 2-3 were flat, or had a slightly "off" flavor. Are they still paying attention? I'm not sure. There also seems to be a shift in the atmosphere behind the bar. The bartenders seem to be in a collective bad mood. Less discussion of, or interest in the beers. This used to be a strong plus for the Blue Tusk. No more. Or is it just me? I'd be interested in the comments of other Blue Tusk "regulars".

(11/22/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Good Awesome! Great

Establishment: Faegan's Cafe and Pub, Syracuse, NY

This is the place to hang before Cuse sporting events in the Dome. Get there early. One hour before game time Faegan's is packed. They have an excellent tap selection, including several microbrews. Their house brew, "Faegan's Ale", is made by Middle Ages in Syracuse. Great choice. Beer geeks will not be disappointed. The service is excellent, even during their busiest times. Food is variable. My "medium-rare" burger came well done and dry. The Buffalo Board appetizer, chicken strips with a spicy dipping sauce, was fine. All in all, this sure beats the warm overpriced Bud and cold soggy food in the Dome.

(11/22/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub and Restaurant, Syracuse, NY

Stopped in again last night. A cold and rainy Thursday night in Syracuse. The bar was crowded. For many good reasons. The atmosphere, service and physical surroundings are superb. They have a decent selection of microbrews. Very unusual for an Irish pub. My favorite is the Highlander, an excellent dark Scottish ale brewed by Middle Ages in Syracuse. The pub menu is by far the best in the city. They currently feature oysters on the half shell. Decent sized and flavorful. The mussels with a light garlic cream sauce is also a good choice. Most important is the atmosphere. Kitty Hoyne's is a friendly place. It starts at the top. David Hoyne is a world class Publican. He tours the bar every few minutes, and chats with the patrons. Most are greeted by name. All feel welcome. This attitude is reflected in the rest of the staff. Well worth a stop on your next trip to Armory Square.

(11/22/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good Good Good Good

Establishment: Bar @ Ponce and Giralda, Coral Gables, FL

If this is among the best beer bars in Florida, this state is in trouble. The draft selection was ordinary: Guinness, Bass, Honey Brown, etc. The Sierra Nevada was their best, but is available in many places. They have a fine bottle selection, but it is not hard to find good bottled beer. OK ambience and service. Nothing spectacular. The smoked fish appetizer was good.

(10/09/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: Thai Orchid Restaurant, Coral Gables, FL

Thai Orchid is no longer a brewpub.

(10/09/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Shifty's Bar and Grill, Syracuse, NY

Shifty's is what a great neighborhood bar is all about. Tap selections include Middle Ages IPA, Cooperstown Stout, and Prior Double Dark (Black Forest) from Saranac in Utica. There is a huge bottle selection which I have not yet tried since the Middle Ages IPA at 8$ a pitcher is irresistable. The service is second to none. Pam, who takes care of the bar until 6 most evenings, is as good as it gets. The food is excellent. If you are traveling to Syracuse, get off the beaten (Armory Square) path and try this place.

(05/07/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good Awesome! So So Good

Establishment: Sackets Harbor Brewing Company, Sackets Harbor, NY

Afer a great afternoon at Red Lion in Watertown, we decided to cap it off at Sackets Harbor. Mike, the brewmaster at Red Lion, called ahead and verified that they had an IPA on tap. Very gracious on his part, big mistake on our part. Good time, great atmosphere, fine service at Red Lion. Cold service and atmosphere at Sackets. The beer was mixed. I had the IPA. Not a good IPA. Berta had the Railroad Red, fine tonight. Andrea had the lager which she did not finish. The food was excellent. My filet mignon was perfect. Medium rare. Warm and red in the middle. Perfect on the outside. Berta's mahi-mahi and Andrea's scallops were excellent. The service was cold and indifferent. On balance, we should have stayed at Red Lion.

(05/07/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great Awesome!

Establishment: Red Lion Brewing Company, Watertown, NY

Thank you Lew Bryson. Thank you PubCrawler. We were about ready to head out for our TGIF pub crawl in Syracuse when we checked this site for “recent reviews”. Red Lion was listed. We had nearly forgotten this place after a visit there last summer. They had not yet begun to brew and featured “guest brews”, Sackets Harbor, Sam Adams. OK, but nothing special. Not worth a 75 mile trip from Syracuse on a cold day. Things have changed. They brew their own now and do a fine job. But first you have to find the place. It is not easy but well worth the effort. Slight modification to the directions in the previous review: Take exit 46 as Berta said and turn on Coffeen towards Watertown. Watch the street signs on the left. Take a left at Howk St (1.2 miles). It dead ends at Newell at the Red Lion. Do NOT rely on the computer directions provided by Yahoo. You may drive around Watertown for days. Located in an old (1800s) brick building on the Black River. It is the scene of whitewater rafting, and this past weekend, kayaking. Both are visible from the dining area. Check out the picture on this site. The atmosphere in the bar is relaxed and friendly. We were there on Friday, and returned on Saturday. There were regulars in the bar both days. Good people. Good conversation. Great beer. The Stout was superb. The Hefe Weizen was also outstanding. They also had beers with fruits and spices. Not my taste. Didn’t try them so I can’t review them. Others at the bar were very enthusiastic, however. If you are in the area, don’t miss this place. You will have a great time. Stay for dinner.

(05/07/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: BarrelHouse Brewing Company, Cincinnati, OH

In town on business staying in Florence, KY, just across the river. We checked PubCrawler as always to find a place for a few good brews and some food. Nothing in Northern Kentucky. Oldenberg had closed and no brepubs in Covington. On to Porkopolis. As other reviewers have mentioned, The Barrelhouse is in a rough neighborhood. So we arrived before 8. It was still light. In fact the area around Barrelhouse is very rough. Undaunted, we parked the car and made our way. When we got there, a guy at the door asked for $10 from the 2 of us to get in. There was music tonight. I told the greeter that we didn't want music, just good beer, food and a friendly atmosphere. No deal. We left and went to the Rock Bottom on Fountain Square. Good, not great. When we returned to our hotel, we read that there was a mini riot in the Barrelhouse area the night before. Car windows were smashed and people driving through were threatened. My advice: Call ahead and watch the news before risking a trip. Damn shame.

(04/29/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: Geisen Haus, Canton, OH

This is a hard place to rate. So I'll skip the ratings and offer some impressions. We were in the area for one night only and, as we always do, consulted PubCrawler. Two places were listed in the Akron/Canton area: The Thirsty Dog (Great) and this place. First Impression - a lot of taps and a large beer menu. So far so good. Second Impression - most of the taps were standards. Third Impression - we asked the bartender for recommendations. She mentioned the bucket of Bud special. She also mentioned that some beers were strong, and others weren't. We then checked the beer menu. A couple of Young's beers were listed. As domestic beers. Didn't know they moved. They also listed a couple of Middle Ages beers. No complaints here. These are fine products. The bartender never heard of them. German food was listed on the menu. I guess the place used to be a German restaurant. It doesn't remind you of a dinner place, though. After a couple of snacks, we ate at the Burger King across the street. Bottom line - A local tavern with a larger beer selection. Travelers, skip this place.

(02/28/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great N/A Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, Canton, OH

On a business trip to Akron, we went to PubCrawler to find all the brewpubs in the area. It turns out there was one - the Thirsty Dog in Canton. Initially, we were skeptical. A rule we generally go by is "the cuter the name, the worse the beer." Thirsty Dog is the exception that proves the rule - cute name, GREAT beer! The bartender was happy to provide samples and was very knowledgeable. We tried the IPA (Robinson's English Ale) - a good beer, but not a great IPA. We then tried the "Old Leghumper Porter" - another cute name, but a very fine Porter. One of the regulars at the bar suggested that we try the Hoppus Maximus, a wonderful beer. This is an outstanding beer, very hoppy, a great finish. One sip of this is well worth the trip. We had to have 2 pints each! The bartender introduced a Russian Imperial Stout, another fine beer. The warm chips are a fine complement to the beers - apparently homemade. We spoke with Brett Babick, their Director of Operations. They are proud of their beer, food, and ambiance and justly so. If we lived in the area, we would be regulars. Don't miss this place. We made one mistake. We should have stayed for dinner, but instead drove down the road to the Geisen Haus hoping to have some good German food and beer. Damn. What a mistake. That place's only saving grace is Syracuse's Middle Ages in bottles which the bartenders knew nothing of.

(02/27/2002)


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