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Reviews on PubCrawler from timothy j. o'connor
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November 26, 2014 @ 02:56 PM EDT
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Reviews By
timothy j. o'connor

Beer Reviews
(64)

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64
Beer Reviews from timothy j. o'connor
   

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Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great
Great Great Great Great

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

Establishment: Saranac / F.X. Matt Brewing Company, Utica, NY

Terrible, terrible news out of Utica last night. The Brewery was extensively damaged by fire:

http://www.wktv.com/

http://www.uticaod.com/

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Matt family. They say they will rebuild and it can't come soon enough. They are a class operation and we wish them the best.

(05/30/2008)

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

Establishment: Brown's Brewing Company was Troy Pub and Brewery, Troy, NY

Last night at Brown's every moron on the planet was in town for RPI's graduation today and the place all mucked up. With that said, the bar staff and wait staff did one hell of a job handling it.

Tere (manager) was on top of everything and Tina (chef) came out of the kitchen a hundred times to make sure things were going well.

Gary (owner) made a few trips through and the brewer (Peter) found time to stop and chat. I had service at the bar and had no problem, then moved to a table with again no problem. So I have no clue what the last review was about. I was there four hours (had a DD) and can attest to the whole night.

One final note about Brown's is if there is a problem bring it to Tere and it's handled right there on the spot. If the blonde at the bar shunned your advances, well, don't blame the staff. Try Harry's Bar and Grill next time. Maybe you'll have better luck.

(05/17/2008)

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

Establishment: Bayou Cafe, Albany, NY

Wow. I just read my last review. I guess all I can say is what a difference a couple of years make. The Bayou is no longer another storefront on Restaurant Row – it’s a destination. It’s taken me months to post this but it’s only gotten better.

You only need to pass through the doors once and you’re no longer a customer – you’re a good friend. Rit and Nick, who as a team are the finest two publicans north of Key West, keep uncanny track of your secret desires and what best to introduce to your taste buds on any particular evening. And they do it with class, style and flair. If you are three back in the crowd, don’t worry, you won’t wait for a drink.

Just a sampling of what’s on right now: Harpoon IPA, Rogue Dead Guy, Rogue Mocha Porter, Amstel Light, Bass, Magic Hat #9, Victory Hop Devil, Dos Equis, Wachusett Blueberry Wheat, Anchor Steam, Smuttynose IPA, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Murphy’s Red, Brooklyn IPA, and Hennepin. Hennepin on tap? Oh my. Good thing I bring a driver. And as I can now say I am a "regular," I have not gotten a bad beer here in the years since.

The food here has a Mexican flair to it and is incredible in quality, portion size and price. You have to try the steak Fajitas – we keep coming back to those as much as we love all the other dishes.

On Friday afternoons they have great bands in what I’ll call the main bar from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. The place has been added onto over the years with the main restaurant sandwiched between two separate bars and spaces. The back bar is where the late-night action is with bands there as well. With the nice summer evenings we’ve been having, the outside patio has been packed.

I would not know the owner here if he drove over me, nor was I ever in his other place in Glenville. But it’s obvious he had a plan and stuck to it. The Bayou is a jewel not just for downtown Albany, but for the region as well. If this place had a Overall greater than "Awesome" I'd rate it as such.

(11/19/2007)

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

Establishment: Otter Creek Brewing Company, Middlebury, VT

The Holy Grail. Not as big as I expected but bigger than life nonetheless.

No need to go into the quality of their staples - Copper Ale, Stove Pipe Porter, et. al,. We all know those by heart! The tasting room also had on tap an Oktoberfest and Otteroo Australian Sparkling Ale that were both most interesting, along with a nice Brown Ale (with Raspberries) and Oatmeal Stout. After the brewery tour our guide broke open a bottle of their Farmhouse Ale Saison that could rival Hennepin.

Probably the friendliest people I have met in a while working at Otter Creek. I returned the favor by buying everything in site! I'm eyeballing my Special Edition selection right now of Double-Decker Olde English-Style Holiday Ale, Otter Kilter Scottish-Style Wee Heavy Ale, and 15th Anniversary IPA. Hmmmm. Which one to open first?

(10/28/2007)

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

Establishment: Magic Hat Brewing Company, South Burlington, VT

On the rainiest day of the year (and then some) this place was a mob scene. I would have thought they were giving away their beer! Oh wait, they do.

Straight out of the 60's. No other way to describe it. I especially liked the collection of B&W TV's in the back past the bar. I had one HiIPA and that was enough to tide me over for a bit at 6.8%. I didn't know about the ramp to upstairs until someone tipped me off. From the top you can see their entire brewery operation and it is impressive. I've been in more breweries than I care to admit, and I could tell that someone knew what they were doing when they laid this place out. Very impressive indeed!

I am sorry I didn't get a chance to purchase anything in the gift shop in return for the free suds, but the place was out of control and we were on a schedule. Next time.

(10/28/2007)

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

Establishment: Bobcat Cafe and Brewery, Bristol, VT

Opened especially for us on a very rainy Saturday afternoon (thank you!). A nicely appointed pub both inside and out. A long bar on the left yet not enough room this day. I guess it didn't hurt to sit a table just once!

I ordered the sampler of five beers at a very low price of 75-cents a sample (4-ounces). The Pilsner was all Saaz but over the top. Remember - the water is key. It did warm up nicely though! The Pale and IPA were good, but the show-stopper was the Witches Brew Oktoberfest-style lager. In a very short time everyone in our party was drinking it and commenting that it was one of the best we've had.

The brewer came out and talked to the group and served up a sample of his latest. A friendly and knowledgeable chap indeed (and thank you for taking the time for us)!

The food was good, but the menu was limited and just a little more expensive than I would like. $10.95 for an Angus burger is a little much. Sorry.

(10/28/2007)

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

Establishment: Vermont Pub and Brewery, Burlington, VT

A very attractive pub both inside and out. The wait staff seemed in tune with the crowd and were friendly, but the bar staff seemed snippy. Unfortunately my ratings reflect that as I was particularly put off but some of their comments to other folks in my party.

The Red Burly Irish Ale was what I expected and I would liked to have had another, but sensed we were on Mitzi's nerves so didn't dare ask. As I was about to leave another girl happened by and asked if I wanted anything, so I got a small Ethan Alien "Vermont Logger" and it was good as well.

Sorry to be slightly down on the place but we hit American Flatbread after this and, well, just read the review. Some people can handle busy and some can't.

(10/28/2007)

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

Establishment: Three Needs Taproom, Burlington, VT

OK. I'll try to go easy. I've heard all about this place, but I have no clue why. A dump (or doomp as my wife would say). We could start with the pool table but we'll leave that alone. I immediately went back 30-years to my college days as soon as I walked in. Except I don't want to go back to my college days.

The young chap behind the bar was efficient. The ESB was too smoky, and tasted more of a rauschbier. The strong ale was all coriander and had no alcohol present in the nose or palate (I'm not referring to the ABV). It did have a nice melange of flavors though.

I can't do any better than that. We had too many other great places we had been to that day.

(10/28/2007)

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

Establishment: The Alchemist Pub and Brewery, Waterbury, VT

Dropped 50 people in their lap Saturday night and no problem. Some people decided to eat and sit at tables, but I relegated myself to the bar as is my custom. I looked at the two blokes tending and said "this ought to be good" meaning it'll be Tuesday before I get a beer. Wrong. I'm sorry I forgot their names but nobody nowhere could have handled a crowd as deftly as these guys did. And friendly!

We all tried different beers and compared notes and all I saw was raised eyebrows. I remember one beer was 140 IBU's (!), but other than that I lost track of what we drank (it was a long day and no I wasn't driving). It doesn't matter - they were all good.

Two minor complaints. The Sox were playing but they had no TV's (a rare complaint as I rarely watch TV). That and get rid of the pool table. No need to get into why.

(10/28/2007)

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

Establishment: American Flatbread Taproom was Burlington Hearth, Burlington, VT

Drop this place in any other city and 12 other restaurants will go out of business! This is a world-class pub and restaurant that can stand up there next to ANY of them.

We invaded this place on a busy Saturday night and they never flinched. 80 bottles of beer, 40 wines, and 5 house brews. And the best pizza on the planet. Uh, yea. Forget NY City. Take a seat.

Young Sara knew we were short on time and ran interference with the kitchen. I barely got through my first TLA India Pale Ale when our pizza arrived. Their small was the size of other's large! And I finally found a place that isn't afraid to actually COOK a pizza and not send some soggy sloppy doughy excuse of a pizza out.

The IPA was so good I stuck with it so I'm sorry I can't review the other brews (but I'll be back soon to try). Anybody out there looking to open a place? You better come here first and see how it's done. And done right.

(10/28/2007)

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

Establishment: Bayou Cafe, Albany, NY

Wow. I just read that last guy’s review (mine). I guess all I can say is what a difference a couple of years make. The Bayou is no longer another storefront on Restaurant Row – it’s a destination.

You only need to pass through the doors once and you’re no longer a customer – you’re a good friend. Rit and Nick, who as a team are the finest two publicans north of Key West, keep uncanny track of your secret desires and what best to introduce to your taste buds on any particular evening. And they do it with class, style and flair. If you are three back in the crowd, don’t worry, you won’t wait for a drink.

Just a sampling of what’s on right now: Harpoon IPA, Rogue Dead Guy, Rogue Mocha Porter, Amstel Light, Bass, Magic Hat #9, Victory Hop Devil, Dos Equis, Wachusett Blueberry Wheat, Anchor Steam, Smuttynose IPA, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Murphy’s Red, Brooklyn IPA, and Hennepin. Hennepin on tap? Oh my. Good thing I bring a driver. And as I can now say I am a "regular," I have not gotten a bad beer here in the years since.

The food here has a Mexican flair to it and is incredible in quality, portion size and price. You have to try the steak Fajitas – we keep coming back to those as much as we love all the other dishes.

On Friday afternoons they have great bands in what I’ll call the main bar from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. The place has been added onto over the years with the main restaurant sandwiched between two separate bars and spaces. The back bar is where the late-night action is with bands there as well. With the nice summer evenings we’ve been having, the outside patio has been packed.

I would not know the owner here if he drove over me, nor was I ever in his other place in Glenville. But it’s obvious he had a plan and stuck to it. The Bayou is a jewel not just for downtown Albany, but for the region as well. If this place had a Overall greater than "Awesome" I'd rate it as such.

(10/01/2007)

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

Establishment: Bayou Cafe, Albany, NY

Wow. I just read that last guy’s review (mine). I guess all I can say is what a difference a couple of years make. The Bayou is no longer another storefront on Restaurant Row – it’s a destination.

You only need to pass through the doors once and you’re no longer a customer – you’re a good friend. Rit and Nick, who as a team are the finest two publicans north of Key West, keep uncanny track of your secret desires and what best to introduce to your taste buds on any particular evening. And they do it with class, style and flair. If you are three back in the crowd, don’t worry, you won’t wait for a drink.

Just a sampling of what’s on right now: Harpoon IPA, Rogue Dead Guy, Rogue Mocha Porter, Amstel Light, Bass, Magic Hat #9, Victory Hop Devil, Dos Equis, Wachusett Blueberry Wheat, Anchor Steam, Smuttynose IPA, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Murphy’s Red, Brooklyn IPA, and Hennepin. Hennepin on tap? Oh my. Good thing I bring a driver. And as I can now say I am a "regular," I have not gotten a bad beer here in the years since.

The food here has a Mexican flair to it and is incredible in quality, portion size and price. You have to try the steak Fajitas – we keep coming back to those as much as we love all the other dishes.

On Friday afternoons they have great bands in what I’ll call the main bar from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. The place has been added onto over the years with the main restaurant sandwiched between two separate bars and spaces. The back bar is where the late-night action is with bands there as well. With the nice summer evenings we’ve been having, the outside patio has been packed.

I would not know the owner here if he drove over me, nor was I ever in his other place in Glenville. But it’s obvious he had a plan and stuck to it. The Bayou is a jewel not just for downtown Albany, but for the region as well. If this place had a Overall greater than "Awesome" I'd rate it as such.

(09/24/2007)

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

Establishment: Bayou Cafe, Albany, NY

Wow. I just read that last guys review (mine). I guess all I can say is what a difference a couple of years make. The Bayou is no longer another storefront on Restaurant Row  its a destination.

You only need to pass through the doors once and youre no longer a customer  youre a good friend. Rit and Nick, who as a team are the finest two publicans north of Key West, keep uncanny track of your secret desires and what best to introduce to your taste buds on any particular evening. And they do it with class, style and flair. If you are three back in the crowd, dont worry, you wont wait for a drink.

Just a sampling of whats on right now: Harpoon IPA, Rogue Dead Guy, Rogue Mocha Porter, Amstel Light, Bass, Magic Hat #9, Victory Hop Devil, Dos Equis, Wachusett Blueberry Wheat, Anchor Steam, Smuttynose IPA, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Murphys Red, Brooklyn IPA, and Hennepin. Hennepin on tap? Oh my. Good thing I bring a driver. And as I can now say I am a "regular," I have not gotten a bad beer here in the years since.

The food here has a Mexican flair to it and is incredible in quality, portion size and price. You have to try the steak Fajitas  we keep coming back to those as much as we love all the other dishes.

On Friday afternoons they have great bands in what Ill call the main bar from 5:00  7:00 PM. The place has been added onto over the years with the main restaurant sandwiched between two separate bars and spaces. The back bar is where the late-night action is with bands there as well. With the nice summer evenings weve been having, the outside patio has been packed.

I would not know the owner here if he drove over me, nor was I ever in his other place in Glenville. But its obvious he had a plan and stuck to it. The Bayou is a jewel not just for downtown Albany, but for the region as well. If this place had a Overall greater than "Awesome" I'd rate it as such.

(09/15/2007)

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

Establishment: Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery, Glens Falls, NY

The only place with electricity within 50-miles Saturday night thanks to the morons at National Grid. Lake George was closed (yes, the whole place) so choices were limited (John Carr - I tried). The storm had passed anyway and it was a beautiful night to sit on the patio.

All of the beers here are above average but the current batch of ESB could be a gold medal winner at either the GABF or world beer cup. After finishing the sampler it was an easy choice! With bottles available I even took some home (I always forget my growler).

The service here is exceptional and Rick always finds time to stop and say hello. If there was ever a reason to move up north it would be this pub.

(09/10/2007)

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

Establishment: Bayou Cafe, Albany, NY

Wow. I just read that last guys review (mine). I guess all I can say is what a difference a couple of years make. The Bayou is no longer another storefront on Restaurant Row  its a destination.

You only need to pass through the doors once and youre no longer a customer  youre a good friend. Rit and Nick, who as a team are the finest two publicans north of Key West, keep uncanny track of your secret desires and what best to introduce to your taste buds on any particular evening. And they do it with class, style and flair. If you are three back in the crowd, dont worry, you wont wait for a drink.

Just a sampling of whats on right now: Harpoon IPA, Rogue Dead Guy, Rogue Mocha Porter, Amstel Light, Bass, Magic Hat #9, Victory Hop Devil, Dos Equis, Wachusett Blueberry Wheat, Anchor Steam, Smuttynose IPA, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Murphys Red, Brooklyn IPA, and Hennepin. Hennepin on tap? Oh my. Good thing I bring a driver. And as I can now say I am a "regular," I have not gotten a bad beer here in the years since.

The food here has a Mexican flair to it and is incredible in quality, portion size and price. You have to try the steak Fajitas  we keep coming back to those as much as we love all the other dishes.

On Friday afternoons they have great bands in what Ill call the main bar from 5:00  7:00 PM. The place has been added onto over the years with the main restaurant sandwiched between two separate bars and spaces. The back bar is where the late-night action is with bands there as well. With the nice summer evenings weve been having, the outside patio has been packed.

I would not know the owner here if he drove over me, nor was I ever in his other place in Glenville. But its obvious he had a plan and stuck to it. The Bayou is a jewel not just for downtown Albany, but for the region as well. If this place had a Overall greater than "Awesome" I'd rate it as such.

(09/09/2007)

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

Establishment: Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery, Glens Falls, NY

The only place with electricity within 50-miles Saturday night thanks to the morons at National Grid. Lake George was closed (yes, the whole place) so choices were limited (John Carr - I tried). The storm had passed anyway and it was a beautiful night to sit on the patio.

All of the beers here are above average but the current batch of ESB could be a gold medal winner at either the GABF or world beer cup. After finishing the sampler it was an easy choice! With bottles available I even took some home (I always forget my growler).

The service here is exceptional and Rick always finds time to stop and say hello. If there was ever a reason to move up north it would be this pub.

(08/30/2007)

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

Establishment: Pittsfield Brew Works, Pittsfield, MA

Great place with great beer. I could spend a half hour writing the place up then watch my review go to the Twilight Zone. I have reviews backed up 'till June of 2006 and have wasted my time tryin to get then on this lousy site.

Let me know when it's up and running and I'll catch up.

(08/27/2007)

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

Establishment: Bayou Cafe, Albany, NY

Wow. I just read that last guy’s review (mine). I guess all I can say is what a difference a couple of years make. The Bayou is no longer another storefront on Restaurant Row – it’s a destination.

You only need to pass through the doors once and you’re no longer a customer – you’re a good friend. Rit and Nick, who as a team are the finest two publicans north of Key West, keep uncanny track of your secret desires and what best to introduce to your taste buds on any particular evening. And they do it with class, style and flair. If you are three back in the crowd, don’t worry, you won’t wait for a drink.

Just a sampling of what’s on right now: Harpoon IPA, Rogue Dead Guy, Rogue Mocha Porter, Amstel Light, Bass, Magic Hat #9, Victory Hop Devil, Dos Equis, Wachusett Blueberry Wheat, Anchor Steam, Smuttynose IPA, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Murphy’s Red, Brooklyn IPA, and Hennepin. Hennepin on tap? Oh my. Good thing I bring a driver. And as I can now say I am a "regular," I have not gotten a bad beer here in the years since.

The food here has a Mexican flair to it and is incredible in quality, portion size and price. You have to try the steak Fajitas – we keep coming back to those as much as we love all the other dishes.

On Friday afternoons they have great bands in what I’ll call the main bar from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. The place has been added onto over the years with the main restaurant sandwiched between two separate bars and spaces. The back bar is where the late-night action is with bands there as well. With the nice summer evenings we’ve been having, the outside patio has been packed.

I would not know the owner here if he drove over me, nor was I ever in his other place in Glenville. But it’s obvious he had a plan and stuck to it. The Bayou is a jewel not just for downtown Albany, but for the region as well. If this place had a Overall greater than "Awesome" I'd rate it as such.

(08/18/2007)

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

Establishment: Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid, NY

The law of averages: A brew pub puts out seven beers. One is superb, five are OK, and one you pour on the floor akin to pawning off your Brussels Sprouts to Fido when you were a tyke. Well averages be damned at Great Adirondack - seven beers on tap and all seven deserving of a gold medal.

Consistency and quality are the operative words here. As always I jumped head-first into the Red Ale (Ausable Wulff). My eyes were as wide as saucers right about the time Hutch wandered in from the brew house. I was having a hard time getting the words out but I do recall saying it was the best one I’ve ever had. Finally a red ale that’s not too dry, sweet but not sickening. The six varieties of English specialty malt is probably the key, combined with an absolute perfect balance of East Kent Goldings and Target hops.

I then ordered the sampler so I could better identify and choose my next “victim.” The Haystack Blonde was most intriguing as I cannot put my finger on the nose except to say “clean and crisp.” Now I glance at the beer menu and lo and behold that’s how they describe it – “clean and crisp!” This would be a delight out on the veranda on a hot sunny Adirondack afternoon or at the ballgame. This is also the perfect beer to introduce to the stoic BL, CL, ML crowd to break them gently from that ugly rut and awaken them to the world of fine craft-brewed ales.

The John Brown Pale had just a hint of hops in the nose with a very slight but clean malt kicker. The taste was exceptionally clean and was a delight across the palate. The Adirondack Abbey Ale I wrote down “sweet sweet sweet” describing both the nose and the palate. The Adirondack Gold Cream had a most atypical nose (in a good way) and was smooth as silk. The Cloudsplitter Barleywine was like your favorite candy as a kid. The menu concurs saying, “…with pronounced fruity notes.” The Skyward Stout had a wonderful nose and the flavor I wrote down as, “mild but full.” It had all the superlatives a stout is supposed to have.

I forgot how close Lake Placid is – I hadn’t been in a while. I guess the 75 (er, 65) mile per hour speed limit on the Northway did it. This is a town where you park your car at the hotel and leave it, and walk on up Main Street for some serious quaffing at Great Adirondack. Bar-keep Jim was a gentleman and exquisite host, and it was a special treat for Master Brewer Hutch to come in and have a chat as well. This place is worth a drive from anywhere. If I said this is one of the top two or three brewpubs for beer in the US and beyond, I wouldn’t be lying. Finally, other half ate an appetizer of four shrimp, each the size of a Volkswagon, baked in a breading of light and fluffy cornbread. It was reported to have been excellent. I just stick to the beer. I always have peanuts back at the hotel…

(03/24/2007)

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

Establishment: Van Dyck, Schenectady, NY

Closed as of last week. Owner says for three weeks (for renovations). Smart money says for good.

What this place needs is for someone from The City who is sick of that rat race and who has the background, the track record, the know-how, and last but not least the bankroll, to rescue this place from impending doom. Upstate Wannabee’s don’t bother – it ain’t gonna work. A coat of paint and a happy face on the new logo won’t fool anybody. This place has needed some serious surgery for a long time. Two aspirin just won’t do it.

I hope the joint is resurrected. But I won’t be putting any money on it. Anytime soon that is.

(03/11/2007)

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

Establishment: Tyler's Taproom and Restaurant, Durham, NC

Oh my. The bar has again been raised - considerably. The Center of the Beer Universe has again moved - to Durham NC. Hands down. No contest. No close second.

A week later I’m still pinching myself – was that place for real? Was I really there? I kept looking for Kevin Costner to ask him, “Is this Heaven?” When they finally invent the “dream machine” I’m going to program it night after night with me sitting at the bar at Tyler’s. Where do I start . . .?

60-some odd taps and as another reviewer said, “No A-B”. As you approach the bar you are warmly welcomed and cordially handed a thick leather-bound “book” listing all of their beers sorted by style (and correctly so I should add). As I (slowly) perused the extensive list, I noticed what was going on around me as other folks were being served. All (and I mean ALL) of the beers being poured were being served in the correct glass. Not only the correct style of glass, but the glass from the actual brewery, of the proper shape and size, and with the brewery logo on it. Oh boy – a challenge!

I love a good red ale so I started with the Mad River Jamaica Red Ale (CA). Sure enough, the correct glass. Oooooh – Ommegang Three Philosopher’s on tap! Correct glass again (I won’t even get that in Albany which is just up the street from the brewery). Lindemans Framboise Lambic. Yes again (OK – easy one that time). Terrapin Rye Pale Ale. Yup. Dubuisson Scaldis Noel. Uh huh. Gaffel Kolsch. You bet. Same with the Bell’s Two-Hearted IPA and Hopslam Ale. Unfortunately they were out of the Dogfish Head Burton Baton (well, it did say “limited release”)!

Tyler’s is in the same complex as the Mellow Mushroom and a delightful walk past the waterfalls in the courtyard from the other end. Barman Nick was the consummate gentleman and knew his beers. Small talk with most barkeep's is like being relegated to a lifetime of drinking Coors Light. Nick sets the new standard for those that think pouring a “perfect” Guinness into a free glass the distributor gave you makes you eligible for the Nobel Prize. I can’t leave out gorgeous Leigh but she spent most of her time working the other end of the bar (my loss but no slight to Nick).

I have no idea about the food but if it were road kill it would not prevent an “Awesome” rating. Anyone wanting to open up a classy beer bar better stop at Tyler’s first and see how it’s supposed to be done. I hate to even call this a bar. It’s beer “Nirvana”.

(02/27/2007)

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

Establishment: Mellow Mushroom, Durham, NC

The Mushroom is right across the street from the Durham Bulls stadium and I spent half the time staring out the large windows thinking I could hear the crack of the bat and the cheer of the fans. It’s located at one end of the renovated Lucky Strike complex and the architects did one heck of a job on the overall facility. As I walked around the joint and admired their work, I said to myself over and over that had this place been in upstate New York it would have been knocked down long ago. Sure enough I come home to find another historic structure being demolished to make way for yet another drive-thru pharmacy. Nice job Troilets (if this planet was to get an enema the nozzle would be squarely placed in Troy NY).

16 taps and young Jill was quick to recommend the Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing Company in Ashville. Somebody there knows what they’re doing – it was a perfectly balanced Hop/Malt delight with (thank you) Willamette and Chinook up front masking the (boring and tiring) Cascades. It was so good I had the have the second.

Some of the other libations I was able to quaff over the couple of days I was in town were the Carolina Pale Ale, Total Eclipse (Foothills) Stout, Abita Purple Haze, and Duck Rabbit (Farmville) Milk Stout. The stouts were classic but heavy on the coffee aspect of nose and palate. $4.25 a pint including the Rogue Dead Guy - I can do that considering the atmosphere (and Jill).

The food featured pizza and calzones of every shape, size and flavor, but this is a beer site. Give me a bag of peanuts or pretzels and I’ll go away happy. Just stick to the beer please. Jill’s other duties regularly took her out from behind the bar, but I never had to wait. Aside from being attentive, she was extremely pleasant and made for delightful company for this stranger from out of town. And extra points for directing me to the next place (which had already been on my list). . .

(02/27/2007)

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

Establishment: Triple 7 Brewpub, Las Vegas, NV

Let’s see. Got hit up a dozen times, “Hey dude, can you spare 15-cents?” on the way from the parking lot to the Main Street Station for starters. The whole area is seedy at best and I almost got back in the car and left. I’m glad I didn’t.

The Triple 7 is a diamond in the rough. A very classy establishment right across the board. Very large and cavernous with lots of oak, brass and brick. Enough TV’s abound where it could be a sports bar where every college football game was on Saturday afternoon. Two of the bars within were closed but I was politely directed to the one that was open. Barman Brandon was there in a flash and my sampler arrived in a jiffy.

The Pale was typical (Cascades) but clean. The Gold had a pale malt flavor but strangely had no nose. The Red had the nicest nose of any red I’ve had but had a strange nutty flavor to it. The Special was a Blonde with some spice behind the Cascades and a spicy malt flavor as well. The Black Chip Stout had a fantastic Toffee-Coffee Toasty nose but was watered down. It was still quite tasty though.

We ordered the barbeque chicken pizza which amply served two, and it was by far the best pizza I’ve had in 20-years. And they know how to cook it too where it’s crisp and firm but not burnt.

I bought the glass ($4.95 including the beer) which I actually got it home without the morons in the airport breaking it.

On a sad note I just read where my good friend and fellow Pubcrawler Paul Ouderkirk passed away Sunday December 3rd. Please join me in hoisting a pint in Paul’s memory. I hope his reviews here live on.

(12/06/2006)

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

Establishment: Monte Carlo Pub and Brewery, Las Vegas, NV

The hostess is an idiot for starters. 50 empty tables and she had to put my name on "a list." I asked about the empty tables. "We're closing that section." Sure, at 6:00 PM on a Saturday. The next thing you know the line is out the door and down the hallway and now all of a sudden we’re seating people in that section. “Don’t bother – I’ll sit at the bar,” I said.

Fast forward to the end – after me writing two pages of notes on the beers I’m told the place has sold all of the brewing equipment and will be closing the brewpub in three weeks. “We’re going to have 150 beers on tap.” Yup. OK. Every dope (with a cowboy hat) that came into the place Saturday night ordered Coors Light (bleh). Who’s going to drink the other 149 kegs?

I made the mistake of asking the barkeep what hops the brewer used in the Jackpot Ale. You would think I had asked for the blueprints for the atom bomb, “Whoa! Our brewer doesn’t let that stuff out!” Yea, OK. It was all Cascade with probably Chinook as well. Sorry I asked.

If you get there in the next couple of weeks go straight for the Silver State Stout. It is all a stout is supposed to be. And if you do go please ask why their Monte Carlo Pub and Brewery staff shirts have a Miller Lite logo on them. I didn’t get a chance to ask. But then again, we could be talking atom bomb here.

(12/05/2006)

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

Establishment: Malt River Brewing Company, Latham, NY

Update -

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=491034&category=BUSINESS&BCCode=&newsdate=6/13/2006

Cut and paste the link for the whole dope. The plan is to open today (06/13/2006) as a "beer-bar restaurant" with 26 tap handles focusing on ales from Europe and craft beers from the US.

Sounds like a recon is in order - too bad the dog groomer is coming after work. Well, there's always tomorrow . . .

(06/13/2006)


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