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Reviews on PubCrawler from ken kane
Other Reviews by this User
December 22, 2014 @ 12:36 PM EDT
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Reviews By
ken kane

Beer Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

User Tagline: even a mediocre hand-crafted beer beats mass-market fizzy water!
Favorite Beer: Scaldis (Bush) 12
Located In: Portland, Oregon
My Website:
Beer Reviews from ken kane
Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great

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

Establishment: Desert Edge Brewery, Salt Lake City, UT

Had the Ragin' Rye which was on nitro. It was a refreshing beer (within the parameters of Utah's "3.2" beer law). Also tried the Latter Day Stout which is a dry stout. Again, better than expected.

The service was friendly and efficient and the food was very good. I had a paella-like pasta dish which was tasty and filling.

The brewpub is attractive and in an upscale downtown mall called Trolley Square.


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

Establishment: Zion Canyon Brewing Company, Springdale, UT

Zion Canyon Brewing is doing a lot within the constraints of Utah’s liquor laws. The brewery does not have a brewpub, nor does it make seasonal beers, but according to one of the brewers I spoke with (a great guy named Keith), both of those shortcomings should be addressed in the future.

Keith was gracious in allowing a friend and I to tour the brewery while he was filtering an amber. This is a small operation – just three employees – located in the basement of a hotel in this southwest Utah tourist town.

Zion Canyon makes a Jamaican lager, a stout, an ESB, an amber and an IPA. Somehow, though these are “3.2 beers” (actually 4% alcohol by volume), Zion Canyon’s brewers manage to keep the full mouthfeel and maltiness in their brews. According to Keith, strict attention to the strike temperature of mash enables Zion Canyon to maintain the flavor of its beers.

Zion Canyon beers are well worth finding if you’re in the St. George area of Utah or near Zion National Park.


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

Establishment: Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, Rio Rancho, NM

There isn't much really good microbeer in the Albuquerque area, so given that, Turtle Mountain is a rather good effort. While none of their beers are drop-dead great, there are no absolute dogs either. I give them kudos for their effort.

I visited in mid-afternoon, so I don't know about their evening ambiance or their food. But they have a nice space and good outdoor seating and they host a number of bands.

If you want to escape the Coors/Bud/Miller swill, it's worth the trip a few miles west of Albuquerque to seek Turtle Mountain out.


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

Establishment: Abbey Brewing Company, Miami Beach, FL

This place is a gem in the beer wasteland that is South Florida. The day I visited -- 2/3/07 -- they were serving four of their beers: a pale ale, a Belgian dubbel, a Belgian quadrupel and an imperial stout. All were excellent, the quad and stout especially so. They went far beyond what I was expecting in terms of depth of flavor and overall quality.

(They beers are produced off-site in Melbourne, Florida. I don't know if this is a contract brewing situation, but if so, it's perhaps the most successful such arrangement I've encountered.)

David, the barkeep, is a friendly fellow, quick with a sample of whatever you'd like. He's knowledgable and passionate about his place.

I also had an order of empanadas and they were very tasty.

A Hofbrauhaus has just opened on the Lincoln pedestrian mall a couple of blocks away. That might get the traffic and the tourists, but make the nearby Abbey Brewing Company your first stop for good beer in Miami!


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

Establishment: Point Brugge Cafe, Pittsburgh , PA

I visited Point Brugge on July 13 while in town for the All-Star Game. It is a very nice neighborhood place -- bustling and noisy, but in a pleasant sort of way. Their tap beer selection was rather limited but their bottle selection (especially of Belgian-style beers) was impressive. In fact, it was fun for us to buy several different bottles and then share sips to see just how wide-ranging the few Belgian beers on the table could be.

If you go to Point Brugge, go for the the Brugge Ftires (Belgian fries). I don't care if you're watching your carbs (as I am) -- indulge yourself. I can't say I've ever had fries as good as these. I just hope they're as good in Belgium when I visit there this fall!

I also enjoyed a plate of Carbonnade Flamande (basically a Belgian pot roast medallion dish). The brown ale sauce in which it was cooked was excellent.

I'm not sure why Pittsburgh is home to excellent Belgian beer and food establishments (see also The Creekhouse), but I'm hoping they'll survive and thrive until I get back to town!


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

Establishment: Sharp Edge Creekhouse, Pittsburgh , PA

I visited on July 11 and 12 while in Pittsburgh for the All-Star Game with my wife and a friend. My pal and I had found The Creekhouse three years ago while coming through town. This was our first visit back. We were not disappointed!

The selection of beers -- particularly Belgian-style beers -- is impressive indeed. The prices are a bit on the high side, but I don't quibble about that when the selection is as vast as it is here. The wait staff is knowledgeable about the beer and about Pittsburgh. They gave us several good suggestions about places to see.

The food is very good. We went during the afternoon happy hour for appetizers and then again the next day for lunch. The Belgian-style mussels are fresh, tangy and tasty. I thought the buffalo wings were quite good though my companions thought they were a little overcooked. (I like them a bit crunchy.) For lunch I had the smoked chicken and poblano quesadilla and enjoyed it.

This is a great place to visit -- the Creekhouse and PNC Park almost make me wish I lived in Pittsburgh!


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

Establishment: Pennsylvania Brewing Company aka Penn Brewery, Pittsburgh , PA

This is a borderline "great" recommendation, based more on the food and the surroundings than the beer. I visited Penn Brewery on July 13 while in town for the All-Star Game. I had been there once before many years ago, probably in the early 90s.

The venue is a good one: lots of long tables not unlike a German beer hall. And since it's German beer and food styles they feature at Penn Brewery, the decor and seating makes sense. It was a very hot day when I visited, so the inviting outdoor beer garden space was not being used. However it looks like a great place in cooler temperatures to while away an hour or two.

I had the Rouladen (stuffed sirloin rolls), mostly because when I saw it on the menu it reminded me that my mom made the same dish occasionally many decades ago. They were well-prepared and the spatzle and red cabbage accompaniments were likewise satisfying. My wife had the potato pancakes and loved them. We also had the German meat sampler plate as an appetizer and it was hearty. (I'm headed to Munich this fall for Oktoberfest and figured I'd "test-drive" my taste buds with this hearty German fare.)

The weakest link at Penn Brewery is the beer. What was offered was certainly clean but not overly memorable. I had the Maibock and the Penn Pilsner and sipped my pal's Kaiser Pils. All were OK but there was nothing particularly noteworthy about them. Later that night I had a Penn Gold at the ballgame. It was just a crossover beer for the Bud Light crowd and can be bypassed by folks in pursuit of microbrews with character. The biggest drawback was that only five beers were available at the brewery, and three of those were variations on the same golden lager theme. I know it's a German-style brewery, but I would have welcomed an alt or other lesser-known such style.

Overall, Penn Brewery is certainly worth seeking out ... especially if you're hungry.


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

Establishment: The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh , PA

I visited The Church Brew Works on July 13 while visiting Pittsburgh for the All-Star Game. I found the beers clean and certainly drinkable. The Imperial Stout (a specialty beer) was quite good. They only had about five of their beers available. Coming from Oregon, I guess I'm spoiled, bout I would've hoped for at least two or three more to choose from.

The untraditional Pittsburgh pierogies were a tasty, if small, appetiser. The chicken cordon bleu sandwich was only so-so, though far from terrible. I guess uninspired would be the word I'd use. The seven onion soup was definitely the best food I sampled. It was robust and enjoyable.

All of this said, much of the experience to be savored at The Church Brew Works comes from the building itself. It's a former church, for God's sake (pun intended). The stained glass windows are a hoot as is the brewhouse/altar. If you're religious there's a slight chance you'll be off-put by this unusual re-use of a former house of worship. But for most of the rest of us, it's just a cool place to down a couple near downtown Pittsburgh.


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

Establishment: Mash Tun Brewpub, Portland, OR

This new brewpub is still ramping up but it's well on its way. They had three of their own beers on tap when I visited in mid-March 2006. I had their IPA and their stout. Both were clean, tasty and representative of their styles. They also have about a half-dozen guest taps.

This is a rough-hewn place in the aspiring Alberta neighborhood. I mean this in a good way -- it isn't pretentious, has a neighborhood feel and brings microbeer to another area of the city. This is one brewpub that hasn't been "Pearlized," thank god!

There are a couple of TVs for us sports nuts but it doesn't pretend to be a sports bar. The menu is fairly limited but the lentil appetizer I had was good -- but I didn't really have enough food to offer a review.

This is a welcome new entrant to the Portland beer scene.


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

Establishment: North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery, Austin, TX

Being from the Northwest, I was drawn to this establishment on a recent trip to Austin. The decor is full of historic photos of the Northwestern U.S. They offer nice happy-hour specials. The beers have names reminiscent of the region, though the breath of styles was not as wide as would typically be found in Oregon or Washington brewpubs. The beers are well made and the spring seasonal hefeweizen is particularly fine -- not Northwestern in origin but rather Bavarian. Wonderful clove-y yeast finish, refreshing and clean. The wait staff told me the locals are somewhat put off by this assertive wheat beer but I say "Three cheers for the brewer!"


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

Establishment: Blue Star Brewing Company, San Antonio, TX

Very nice establishment just south of downtown. Warehouse feel in an industrial part of town. Beers far above par for Texas -- pale ale has nice hop aroma; stout has good mouth feel. Tex-Mex on the menu is first rate.


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