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Reviews on PubCrawler from john way
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December 18, 2014 @ 03:44 AM EDT
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Reviews By
john way

Beer Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Beer Reviews from john way

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

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

Establishment: Ellersick Brewing Company - Big E Ales, Lynnwood, WA

I must have had a very different experience than everyone else. Reading the reviews below, I will have to give them another try in the future...

I had been really interested in visiting since having Rick's Scotch Ale at a brewers dinner at Ray's in Seattle and talking with him. The pub is nice enough - I really like the atmosphere. I sampled all of the beers available and most were totally unremarkable. The Scotch Ale is pretty darn good, probably the 2nd best in WA after Fat Bastard (Silver City). Otherwise, the Holiday Spice and the Blueberry were probably the most interesting things on tap - I am not a fan of fruit beers, but the Blueberry was really good and the Holiday Spice was much better than most of the crap the larger craft brewers have been putting out recently (Jubelale, Ebenezer, Winterhook, etc). The crembrewlay was interesting if only for the surprising first taste of an alcoholic creamsicle. However, the "regular" selections weren't particularly interesting or special. The golden and copper were really bland (even for their styles), the hoppy redhead was just ok, the regular IPA was pretty good but definitely nothing special for the northwest. The 2 pint IPA had more hops but was very unbalanced and not nearly as drinkable as other double/imperial IPAs. Finally, the stout was absolutely horrible, it definitely tasted stale and possibly infected. As for the food, the rib tips were pretty good, but it took 3 tries to get our jalepeno poppers actually cooked all the way through.


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

Establishment: Speedway Brewing Company, Lacey, WA

I agree the BBQ is the real reason to go, but the beer (especially the new/reformulated IPA) has improved. When I first visited it seemed like there was some sort of contamination in the lines or somewhere, giving all of the beer a slightly off taste. This has been rectified. The Oly area still needs a good brewery (Sorry, except for their winter beers, Fish doesn't cut it)but this is a great improvement to the scene.


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

Establishment: Hood Canal Brewery, Kingston, WA

Stopped by on Saturday night recently. The brewery is in a commercial park on Bond Road but was easy to find (I am not from the area, was just visiting the area and on the way to the ferry). This is truly just a tap room w/ the brewing taking place feet from the bar. There were about 6 beers on when I was in, including 2 that weren't bottled (it appears most beers are bottled or sent out to accounts on Kitsap or Olympic peninsula - not much tap room biz) - a really good, rich Doppelbock and a nice, smooth ESB. Apparently the owner until recently brewed a Porter year round that the regulars love (the bartender was keeping an unmarked tap w/ the last keg just for them) that is now just a seasonal - unfortunately I didn't get a taste of it. I did try the stout, which was quite good, and the barley wine, which was excellent. Only complaint is that the only thing to drink other than beer was water, so my girlfriend who is allergic to beer was disappointed. Considering that the food available was pretzels from a 5 pound Costco bag, it shouldn't be too much to also have a couple of cases of soda for designated drivers or non-beer drinkers. Bartender and regulars very friendly & great service


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

Establishment: Bend Brewing Company, Bend, OR

Ok - maybe I totally missed it, but I had seen the running commentary on who was better, Deschutes or Bend Brewing and had to check out Bend Brewing when I was in town. I certainly don't think the beer is even close to Deschutes, but the atmosphere and service are definitely better. None of the beers, and I tried them all, was really that great. In any other town this size (except maybe Bellingham & Newport) this would be an outstanding place. There were 2 Hefeweizens on tap, the High Desert and another, even blander one. I still don't get how no one in the NW can brew a Hefe with actual banana and clove notes. The IPA was well balanced and easy drinking, but a little bland. The porter had a nice taste and finish, but was pretty thin. The old ale or alt was pretty decent, but Alaskan Amber out of the bottle is better. I will definitely go back to try Bend Brewing again, but for now I think the beer at Deschutes is much, much better.


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

Establishment: Columbia River Brewing Company was Laurelwood, Portland, OR

I always like stopping here when I am in town. The service is always first rate, the food is a lot better than other brewpubs and the beer is always very good. I don't think that everything they do is top notch ( they had a malt liquor on recently), but so many of the beers are excellent, including the IPA, the Porter, the Stout and the Red.


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

Establishment: Amnesia Brewing, Portland, OR

First trip to Amnesia - aptly named b/c I had almost forgotten how it was 20 years ago when the first brewpubs sprung up. Great place. They only had 4 beers on, 2 IPAs, a porter, and a pale. The porter was pretty good, but it was hot so I chose to try the IPAs. One of them was a "sunshine" IPA - really closer to a pale, but who cares. Great nose, lighter flavored but plenty of hops - very well balanced (am I the only person in the NW that is tired of everyone creating hoppier & hoppier beers that are so incredibily unbalanced???). The other IPA ("Demolition?") was even better - really full bodied, assertive and balanced. Great place, will definitely be back the next time I am in town!


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

Establishment: Fish Brewing Company / Fish Bowl Pub, Olympia, WA

I am not sure how the ratings on the beer from the other reviewers are so high. None of the beers were bad, just nothing special at all. Tried samplers of all beers (both Fish and Leavenworth beers). The Fish Amber was decent, pretty malty, almost like a weak English Mild. The IPA was definitely nothing special, organic or not. Actually, the Leavenworth IPA was much more interesting. The Wild Salmon Pale was definitely the best of the Fish Brewing selections, though I would have a hard time chosing this over any number of other possibilities in the Puget Sound. Leavenworth's Blind Pig wheat is pretty decent for an american wheat - but still quite bland. The dunkel weizen was a bit better, but definitely not the bayrish style (no real banana/clove notes). The seasonal pilsener was quite good and definitely the second best beer on tap. Unfortunately there was no Mudshark Porter or Stout to try. I may be back, but considering the Eastside Cafe is blocks away with an outstanding selection - it may be quite a while.


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

Establishment: Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery, Puyallup, WA

Well, I had a much different experience than the last reviewer. I sat at the bar, had great service and enjoyed conversations with a number of locals and regulars - most of whom worked in the trades, but no one who was disgusting. The food was good - better than a lot of places I have been recently. The beer was certainly better than a number of brewpubs I have tried recently. The Porter was quite good, the seasonal hop ale was pretty good, even the Scottish was pretty good (lacking a bit of malt, but close). I agree the Pilsner was nothing special, but that is true of almost all of the lagers in the NW. The rest of the beers were decent, if not great. The service was quite good. Puyallup is quite a bit out of the way for me generally, but I would definitely go back.


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

Establishment: Maritime Pacific Brewing, Seattle, WA

Hadn't been back here in a while, & recently led a pubcrawl that included the Jolly Roger - I had almost forgotten what a fun place this can be. First of all, this is as close to a real tap room as you can get here in Seattle (remember, you must serve food to serve liquor). The Food is nothing special, but the beer is great. I am not generally an ESB fan in the NW, since most are simply a weak IPA. But Maritime's is excellent, probably one of the 2 best in the NW (Bridgeport in Portland), it is malty & slightly sweet, not just a watered down version of their IPA. Of course, their IPA is also excellent, especially in the dry-hopped version that you can get at the Jolly Roger. The hefeweizen is pretty decent & drinkable, not a bavarian style hefeweiss but it has body and some sweetness to it (unlike so many of the Widmer/Pyramid clones).

Don't bother with the food unless you are really hungry. It isn't horrible, just not very good.


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

Establishment: Celtic Bayou, Redmond, WA

I may be a bit critical about the food b/c I lived in N'awlins for a number of years, but it is still the best cajun/creole I have had in the NW!! As for the beer, some of the blander styles, like pilsner or "amber" are just ok. But the "red" is excellent (basically a hoppy amber) and the IPA is very good (in an area w/ so many of them). I really like making the trip over to Redmond for this, it is actually very easy to get to, just off WA 520. Perhaps not the best beer in the area, but better than most & always a really good time!!

NOTE - they no longer make a pale ale - they are using Manny's - not sure if this bodes well for the future...


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

Establishment: Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, WA

Went on a slow Sunday afternoon and was suprised at the slow service. I had tasted a number of the beers in Seattle, but this was the first time to try them all....

BLONDE ALE - quite good for a blonde, clean & crisp, but w/ a lot of body. One of the best "blonde" ales I have had, though a bit sweet (w/ citrus notes). 8 out of 10.

ESB - I have had this before & still don't think it is that great (try Maritime Pacific's). Not as malty/sweet as you would expect, but a nice amount of hops. It'a a little thinner than you would expect, with a bit of a lingering ascerbic aftertaste. Still better than most. 7 out of 10.

IPA - Excellent, nice grapefruit notes, malty, a lot of hops but very well balanced. One of the best in the area (which is saying a lot!) 9 out of 10.

AMBER - caramel/toffeeish start, almost like a sweet porter. A lot more depth than the usual "amber", really nice balance. One of the best of the style - 8.5 out of 10.

Scotch Ale - one of my favorite styles, but my only disappointment of the beers. Amazing lack of depth, especially considering the Amber. No somke flavor and lacking in malt, more hops than should be obvious in this style. 6 out of 10.

IMPERIAL OATMEAL STOUT - interesting, very strong alcohol finish. Hard to taste the oatmeal. Smooth, but almost a mismatch of styles. 7 out of 10.

PILSNER - this was a seasonal. I don't generally like lagers, but this was excellent. Certainly the best I have had in the Northwest. A really nice balance of malt (wow, actual malt in a lager!) and hops (wow, it isn't just 15 IBU). One of the best I have had in this country - 9 out of 10.

DRY HOPPED ESB - hard to believe this is the same basic recipe as the ESB (that is what I was told) - has much more malt and better balanced, even though it clearly also has more hops than the regular version. 8 out of 10.

IRISH DRY STOUT - seasonal, smooth, nice, "soft". Missing a bit of the flavor, but does have some of the chocolate/coffee notes - 7 out of 10.

IMPERIAL IPA. More of a good thing, but I actually didn't like this one as much as the regular version. Still excellent, 8.5 out of 10.


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

Establishment: Elliott Bay Brewing Company, Seattle, WA

Well, I finally made it down here & I have to say that I am very disappointed. It is a nice location, the service was great, but the beer was horrible! They have a number of good guest taps, but their own beers miss the mark. Considering all of the great breweries here in town, this is amazingly bad.

When I was there, they had 5 beers. First, the LUNA WEIZEN, which had a very citrusy taste, but absolutely no banana/clove and very little real flavor - 4 out of 10. The ALEMBIC PALE was more bitter than I would expect from a pale, not very well balanced, decent but nothing special - 5 out of 10. The IPA was incredibly unbalanced and overly bitter. I love hops, but this was ridiculously bitter w/ almost no malt. Their literature promised "floral" but it didn't come close, no grapefruit, no real citrus - 4 out of 10. The DRY HOPPED IPA was a bit better, there was actually a bit of malt to balance the hops, but still overly bitter - 5 out of 10. The NO DOUBT STOUT was highly carbonated, complete with a bit of "bite". Pretty good, a medium body stout w/ coffee notes. Easily the best in the place, 7.5 out of 10.


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

Establishment: Waimea Brewing Company, Kirkland, WA

The quality of the the beer rating from me is based on the excellent selection and the quality of those brewer's wares. The Waimea beers are not bad, but don't generally stand up to some of their guest taps. The manager I spoke with on my visit said that almost everything is currently contract brewed w/ Boundary Bay - that's not necessarily a bad thing, esp. since BB does very good beer. I sampled all of the Waimea beers on tap except the light lager. I agree w/ the other reviewers that the Captain Cook IPA is very good. It is less of a strong, citrusy NW variety and closer to a well-balanced English style - I found it reminiscent of Bridgeport's. The American Wheat, not a favorite style of mine, was ok for the style as far as I could tell. The Pale is not bad, but isn't as good as other choices in the guest taps. The brown ale is such in name only - it really is just a maltier version of their red. It isn't bad, actually very drinkable and goes well w/ some of the spicier foods - it just isn't a brown ale. Kudos to the bartender/manager who when asked by another customer if it was like a nut brown said "no, not really - would you like to try it?". I have been in too many places recently that won't offer samples or be honest about the styles of their beers. The red was also pretty good - a very drinkable, medium body session type beer - though not my style. The great thing about this place really is the guest taps and the location. The food is ok - I had a burger w/ the "lava sauce" which was pretty good. I thought the menu choices were overpriced, but maybe I haven't lived out here long enough to get used to paying $9 for a burger.


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

Establishment: Rock Bottom Brewery, Seattle, WA

I generally don't go to the chain pubs, but I have now been to 4 different Rock Bottoms & all were pretty good. Unlike some of the other chains (like Ram) that force the brewers to brew the same (& in Ram's case - awful) beers, each Rock Bottom has different versions of their staple Wheat, Lite, Red, Brown & Stout. The Seattle location's versions of the regular beers are pretty good, though the Hefeweizen at other locations is an American wheat here & the Brown Ale is a little bland & doesn't have any of the Scottish style notes a number of others have. The nice thing is that there are always a few seasonals & the brewers generally shine when it comes to those. The Stout was a nitrous pour the day I was there & it was nice, the IPA was excellent, in the grapefruity, flowery style. There is also a very good barley wine on tap. In many other cities this would be an excellent choice, but in Seattle (or Portland) I think of it mostly for convenience to downtown. The food isn't bad, but it definitely isn't anything special (although I like the salmon fish & chips). The service that I have gotten has always been excellent, however & there are a lot of places in Seattle that is not true of.


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

Establishment: Big Time Brewery and Alehouse, Seattle, WA

When I moved here, I had a few different apartments that I could have taken & I choose one w/in stumbling distance to Big Time. It is definitely a college bar, but not that many undergrads hang out here & there is a large contingent of 40 - 60 year old regulars here - a pretty good balance. The beers are all pretty highly hopped, and during the summers they often run 4 different IPAs. The Scarlet Fire is my personal favorite IPA - grapefruit notes, very hoppy, but really there is not a bad beer on tap. The Old Wooley barley wine is one of the very best I have ever had, the Baghwan's Best IPA is a nice hoppy northwest style IPA, the Old Rip is a nice full-bodied stout and there is always something on the handpump. I am surprised that more beer people don't know about this place - I would definitely rate this as the consistently 2nd best brewpub in Seattle (The Elysian would be first) - others may put out a good beer or two of a particular style, but only a couple even approach the quality & breadth of Big Time.

Some people may be turned off by having to stand in line & order food from the kitchen (& pay there) separately from the bar - it is kind of a pain. The food really is nothing special, go for the beer!


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

Establishment: Triple 7 Brewpub, Las Vegas, NV

This was the worst beer at a brewpub I have had in many, many years. All of these were very bland, perhaps b/c that is the local taste (I found that elsewhere in Las Vegas as well). The Porter was the only beer I thought was drinkable, a nice flavor although it was a little thin. The Vienna Style was incredibly bland, tasting a whole lot closer to an AB product than anything from Wien. The prices were great, but after the sampler I just couldn't justify spending even $2.50 on another beer


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

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

Stopped by just before Christmas. The only beers that were drinkable were the hefeweizen & the stout. The hefe was ok, tasting more like a german radler (1/2 lager, 1/2 limonade) than an actual weiss. The stout was thin, but at least it had some flavor. The pale was about as close to a pale ale as budweiser, and the seasonal & red were basically the same bad, bland beer. On the upside, the live entertainment was fun. I would have thought that this was the worst brewpub I had been to in many years (I travel a lot & have been to well over 150), but then I went to Triple 7.


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

Establishment: Hale's Ales Brewery and Pub, Seattle, WA

I am constantly amazed at the reviews of Hale's, and so I have kept trying it, thinking that I was missing something. I moved to Seattle about 2 months ago (after visiting many times) and tried it again. Most of the beers are incredibly bland - even for their styles. The Stout had no bite and had no chocolaty/coffee taste - very thin. The IPA was bland - certainly my view is affected by so many great highly-hopped ones in the area but I also like the more traditional ones, like Bridgeport's & Hales doesn't come close. The Irish Nut Brown was the biggest dissapointment. A 2 year old bottle of Sam Smith's has at least twice the flavor of Hale's version. I know that Hale's has been around for a long time, but with all of the incredible brewpubs in the Seattle area I am amazed at how well this place does.

On the upside, the service was outstanding and that kept me in my seat and influenced me to stay for dinner. The food was pretty good, but not much better than most brewpubs. The building that Hale's is now in is a great space & I like the seating choices.


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

Establishment: Mickey Finn's Brew Pub was Libertyville Brewing, Libertyville, IL

Wow has this place slipped!! I used to make pilgrimages here when I still lived in the Chicago area - they always had their excellent Bayrish-style hefeweizen and a number of good ales and stouts. I visited on a Wed. night and tried all of the beers. The hefe is still excellent, but the Pale has almost no taste, the stout is not nearly as good as before, the American wheat was even blander than most versions of this style, and the seasonal belgian was ok, but certainly not as good as what other area brewers (Goose Island, Lunar) produce or, more importantly, as good as Mickey's used to. I don't know if any of this has to do with the change in ownership, but it is sad to see. I always considered Mickey's to be one of the 3 best brewpubs in the area (w/ Goose & Flossmoor Station), I hope this is just a brief downturn.


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

Establishment: Yard House, Glenview, IL

I second the previous review. Apparently this is a chain, but most chains at least try to make sure everything is close to perfect when they first open a new location. First the good: There is a great beer selection, including a number of great beers from around the country and abroad - & I don't just mean 50 different lagers. There, that's what is good.

Bad? Well, start with the fact that there is an extensive beer list, but no prices. We found out at the end of the meal that 2 1/2 yards of Rogue Hazelnut Brown (only 20 oz., it's just an imperial pint) cost $22!!!! They literally have different prices for each different beer! The food was horrible - 3 of the 4 of us tried a seafood pasta dish that sounded great, but they used dried mushrooms that had been salted so the effect was the entire dish tasted liked a canister of Morton's Salt had been dumped on it. The service was ok - but they certainly want to turn the tables fast here and are overly attentive. Call me old-fashioned, but while I expect that at a red lobster at $15/plate I don't expect it at a place where it cost us almost $200 for 4 people.

Yes, they definitely have the selection, and at least so far it's fresh (let's see in a couple of months...), but other than going in for a beer or two that I can't otherwise get I can guarantee I won't be back.


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

Establishment: Emmett's Ale House, Downers Grove, IL

The beer was excellent, Emmett's even has a couple of Belgian's on tap. They had 5 styles on tap. The Pale and IPA were both excellent and the porter was quite good. The current seasonal is their Hefeweizen, which was only so-so, but even the bartender and brewer acknowledged that this batch wasn't as good as it normally is, so I will give it a try later. They are doing all of the brewing on-site, none of it is coming from the Dundee location. The menu is pretty standard "fancy yuppie brewpub" fare - but the food was generally pretty good. My only real complaint are the price of the food, and they are still working out the service issues. I will certainly be back in the near future.


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

Establishment: Taylor Brewing Company, Lombard, IL

I have been away from the area for about a year & either this place slipped completely or my tastes have changed dramatically. All of the beers I tried recently seemed to be infected. The Hefeweizen was pure crap - tasted like bad lemonade. The Dark Satin seemed to be infected as well. Even the beers that were contract brewed by 2 Brothers or Capitol were bad. I inquired about the cleanliness of their lines, but the bartender swore they were cleaned weekly (weakly!) - perhaps, but I tried other macro's including Guiness & they tasted "off" as well....

The burger & trivia remain the only reasons to go here, especially with an Emmett's opening in downtown Downers Grove..


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

Establishment: Millrose Restaurant and Brewing Company, South Barrington, IL

This (& Taylor Brewing in Downers Grove) may be the worst "brewery" in the Chicago area. I have been here 3 times over a 2 year period and it just keeps getting worse. 4 beers on tap, very little difference between them, all incredibly bland.


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

Establishment: Salmon Creek Brewery and Pub, Vancouver, WA

Just moved to the area (partly for the beer!) and visited for the first time. Tried every beer & was amazed at how bad they are. First, they seem to all be variations on the same recipe - I defy a blind taste-tester to consistently pick out which is the Scottish, which is the Nut Brown, which is the Porter, etc. The IPA is incredibly bland - neither an English style version nor the Northwest heavily hopped variety. The "Sweet Stout" suffers from the same thing all of the beers do - it has a strong alcohol content that comes through clearly at the expense of any real flavor. This is most definitely not a "sweet" stout. Finally, the Scottish (normally my favorite style) actually tastes like the ginger soda "Vernors" and is very carbonated. On the plus side it is a very nice place, the food (esp. the fries) was quite good and the people were fantastic. But with so many other options in the area I doubt I will be back any time soon.


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

Establishment: Alcatraz Brewing Company, Tempe, AZ

another chain brew pub w/ a couple of good beers and a lot of crap aimed at the masses (especially since this one is in a mall). I had been to the Gordon Biersch on Mill in Tempe just before ending up here, so I can honestly say that there are worse places for beer. The service here was quite good, and there were a few beers that obviously got more care than others, especially a Scottish Ale and their stout. Their IPA was actually a pretty good session type beer (but certainly not Northwest-style IPA). The rest of the beers ranged from ok to so-so, but only a couple were on the level of the big commercial brewers, so its not that bad. Overall, for a place in a mall that I sat in while the wife shopped, pretty decent. A lot of styles available, a few that are actually good, and great service. Not a place to go out of your way for, but it beats the hell out of shopping!!


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