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Reviews on PubCrawler from clark maxfield
Other Reviews by this User
December 22, 2014 @ 10:00 PM EDT
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Reviews By
clark maxfield

Beer Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Beer Reviews from clark maxfield
Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great

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

Establishment: Sheffield's Wine and Beer Garden, Chicago, IL

No reviews for FIVE years? This is now one of Chicago's best bars for microbrew connoisseurs. Two dozen taps, all of which are quality ales, stouts, imperials, and beers...don't think they have any mass-market stuff (Bud, Millers, Guinness) left on tap. Huge bottle selection too, that rivals Hopleaf or the Map Room.

Between this and "The Local Option" down on Webster Street in the DePaul neighborhood there are plenty of great beers available on the northside of the city.


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

Establishment: Local Option, Chicago, IL

Looking for a beer-lover's microbrew bar in Chicago? You can't do much better than The Local Option in Lincoln Park. Twenty taps of microbrews with an emphasis on the midwest. Always a couple Three Floyds taps, several imperials, several rich and tasty dark ales, porters and stouts. And legend bottle collection in the cooler.

Waitstaff is knowledgeable and friendly. Big south-facing windows make this a nice place for lunch on a sunny day, winter and summer alike. Bike rack out in front for easy non-motorized access.


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

Establishment: Trailside Cafe and Beer House, Monterey, CA

I arrived at 3pm on Friday afternoon, just as Trailside was closing. It is no longer open for a late afternoon beer, or dinner either. Bottled beer selection looked only so-so in my quick scan of the menu before being kicked out. No draft taps.

But location is excellent, the patio being right on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, and a block west of Cannery Row. So next time I'll try to get there and eggs?


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

Establishment: Steelhead Brewing Company, Burlingame, CA

No review in four years? Steelhead is always my favorite first and last stop when flying into/out of SFO. A great first breath of what makes California so enjoyable: imaginative, tasty brewing; fresh large salads; friendly conversations with both staff and patrons. And this area of downtown Burlingame is really growing: lots of good nearby restaurants, shops and activities. Plus it is accessible to transit, being right across the street from a CalTrans station.


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

Establishment: Beacon Bar and Grill, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA only one of several fine microbrews on tap. Deck was crowded at 4pm, but service was still prompt and food well-prepared.

This location is about 7 miles north of the state line on Hwy 89 (Emerald Bay Road). Turn in at Camp Richardson hotel, pay small parking fee at kiosk, and proceed down road to parking lot at Lakefront. Nice beach is adjacent, so bring your suit. Can also arrive here by boat and tie up at Marina pier.


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

Establishment: The Goat Tavern, Mount Shasta, CA

Great place for lunch. Nice sunny deck. This place used to be called The Billy Goat Tavern, until it got a call from the more-famous Chicago Billy Goat Bar of Saturday Night Live fame.

Twelve taps that rotate microbrews. Nice laid-back vibe; great place to meet the locals and find out where to hike, climb or hang. Small sunny west-facing deck overlooking Mt Shasta Blvd..nicest place in town for lunch.


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

Establishment: Mount Shasta Brewing Company, Weed, CA

"A friend in Weed is a friend indeed" embossed on every bottle cap...and very true. Located on the west side of town (follow signs to the college), the casual brewery is open from noon, with a small bar, table seating and outdoor space facing the afternoon sun.

The owner came over and personally welcomed us and told us a bit about the history of the town and brewery. Very nice to encounter a brewery owner who is also so involved with the town. Mt Shasta is available in growlers, six packs and cases. A case of the Mountain High IPA makes a nice addition to that motel room fridge, just in case you can't get back to the brewery after coming back down from your day hikes in those fantastic mountains (climb Black Butte!)


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

Establishment: Magnolia Pub and Brewery, San Francisco, CA

Only one block east of the famed "Haight-Ashbury" intersection, so can be crowded. My wife and I had just run in Golden Gate Park all the way down to the Pacific Ocean. So we wanted a refreshing fluid lunch; Magnolia didn't disappoint.

Great ambience, good beers, and huge windows looking out on the passing parade up Haight Street. Proving Ground IPA was one of the best I've had. They also had just introduced small-batch aged bourbon-barrel ales...gotta do that run again soon so I can come back and sample those.


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

Establishment: Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton, VA

Visiting here, and then Devil's Backbone brewery about 20 minutes further south down hwy 151, make for a nice afternoon "double." But make sure you allow enough daylight for a dramatic drive back on the Blue Ridge Parkway at sunset, as we did.

I agree with the previous post: these are the best beers with the widest selection in the central Virginia area. However the closed-in shiny new bar room fails to take advantage of the dramatic setting...better to take your beer out to the tables overlooking the hop-vine garden for views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


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

Establishment: Devil's Backbone Brewing Company, Roseland, VA

We played golf at the Old Trail GC in Crozet and then hit the Blue Mountain and Devil's Backbone breweries. I liked both, for different reasons. Overall Blue Mountain's beers were better..but the bright, shiny new bar room failed to make full use of its dramatic setting, although you can take your beer outside to the tables in the hop-vine filled garden.

On the other hand, Devil's Backbone has to be housed in one of the most dramatic, high-end new brewery facilities in the US...and the food and 8-point IPA weren't bad either! Located on the valley floor below the Wintergreen resort, and under to looming Blue Ridge Mountains, you'd have a hard time finding a more upscale and dramatic setting. Afterward we drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a spectacular drive back to Charlottesville at sunset.


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

Establishment: Randy's Fun Hunters Brewery, Whitewater, WI

Tuesday night was a bit slow. The house manager was also manning the bar. So we had to wait for service. But we enjoyed the Pale Ale..good hoppy taste.

But it is the food that makes you want to come to Randy's. Tilapia in a nice almond crust for $13. Great salad bar with two home made soups. A very nice stop near some great Cross-country skiing in the South Kettle Moraine Unit.


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

Establishment: Minocqua Brewing Company, Minocqua, WI

Since 2006 owner Ron has continued to upgrade his menu. Now I'd nominate the Minocqua Brewing Co. the best menu in town. Fresh, imaginative salads; well-prepared fresh fish; ambitious daily specials; great carrot cake to finish.

Beers were also very good, but no real IPA and no cask-conditioned ales. However the Wild Rice beer was very interesting - tasted a bit like sake. And the Brewmaster's Special, an Oatmeal Stout, very delicious with that Carrot Cake.

And if you're cross-country skiing out at Minocqua Winter Park west of town (arguably the best XC area in the midwest) they serve MBC beers in the Chalet!


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

Establishment: Vierling Restaurant and Marquette Harbor Brewery, Marquette, MI

One of my favorite brewpubs, in all the U.S. Where else can you get fresh-caught fish? And I don't mean "fresh-frozen"... Lake Superior is right outside the window, and the Vierling has some deal with a local fisherman to deliver today's catch! Then they cook the Lake Superior whitefish in several different ways. So we had to come back night after night, and try them all!

We stayed at the historic Landmark Hotel (3rd night is free!) two blocks away, so we could walk home, and not risk driving. And during the day, we hit all the local cross-country ski trails, and enjoyed the pristine grooming this North Country vacationland is so well-equipped to provide.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Firkin and Friar Pub, Coconut Grove, FL

Unfortunately, this bar is CLOSED.

It is on a cool block however. So worth the trip. Several other bars on this block of Commodore have decent beer selections. When we found Firkin and Friar closed, we went across the street to George's in the Grove...a very lively place with good beers, good service but don't tell them it is your birthday.


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

Establishment: The Titantic Brewery Restaurant, Coral Gables, FL

Best IPA I've tasted in a long while...or maybe I was just super-thirsty. This is a small-frontage bar on Ponce de Leon, but I've always found parking right in front - bring a pocketful of quarters for the meter.

The food was surprisingly well done. At the barkeep's recommendation I had the sautéed grouper, served with a mound of excellent steamed fresh veggies and awesome mashed potatoes.

People in South Florida don't seem to have much choice when it comes to beer; most bars offer the standard mass-marketed Budmillercoors swill with few other options. So finding Titanic right off US 1, on the way to the Keys, was a god-send.


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

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

Downer's Grove is one of the more pleasant western suburbs. While the downtown has suffered tear-downs of much of its historic stock, it still retains plenty of interesting things to do, and most are within walking distance of Emmett's up on the hill.

We stopped in on an early fall afternoon, and found the spacious bar quite comfortable, and pleasantly lighted with the afternoon sun angling in the large south-facing window. The barkeep was right there, immediately pulling samplers for us without request. We chose the two seasonals: Rafferty Red and Octoberfest. Rafferty quite bitter, with chocolate overtones...delicious.

Food came at a reasonable pace. We chose house specialities that were designated by a ale glass logo: potato skins (50¢ each), house salad, and salmon farfale (lots of capers, olives and artichoke hearts mixed in with grilled salmon in a alfredo sauce over bow-tie pasta).


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

Establishment: Fifty Fifty Brewing Company, Truckee, CA

We're very seldom so enthused about any bar or restaurant, but Charlie and my four days in the North Tahoe area were considerably improved by Alicia and Andy's Fifty/Fifty Brewing Co. in Truckee, California...We just kept going back. It was a truly "Awesome" experience, night after night.

The beers were all distinctive and top-notch. Each a taste treat, lovingly presented by Brewmaster Todd Ashman. Todd had migrated west from much-admired and well-reviewed Flossmor Station, outside Chicago. In addition there were

But it was the food that really set this brewpub apart from all others. We're talking gourmet dining here folks. Granted, we were in California. And foodies abound in this land of fruit and nuts. But so often, despite the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables growing locally, jazzy menu descriptions fall far short in actual execution and presentation.

Not so here: Start off with the Grilled Wild Mushroom appetizer with roasted red and yellow peppers ($8.95), or the Spicy Grilled Shrimp ($11.95) with sweet potato sticks and mango chutney. These starters were fresh, tasty and large enough to be small entrees. The grilled mushrooms and ample roasted peppers combined to make an unusual but delicious hot salad.

And a perfect prelude to the Grilled Salmon ($18.95) with artichoke barley, cucumber salsa and ginger tomato broth. We'd heard that the Caramelized Ahi Yellofin was their top-ranked seafood entree, but they were out the entire time we were were several other menu items. Apparently Fifty/Fifty would rather not sell something, than have too much left over to have to sell stale tomorrow; so they stock small quantities -- a discipline I heartily approve!

A special pastry chef is hired by Fifty/Fifty to make their excellent finish to a fine meal. (We got the last two pieces). How often have you been to a brewpub with a pastry chef on the staff?

Andy and Alicia are two engineers who escaped a dreary career in tech by opening this brewpub about a year ago. And typical of engineers, they've done their homework, hitting all the bases. With the help of the two capable and gregarious Mikes as bartenders, they've created a model brewpub in a wonderful setting...they even back up to the interesting Ponderosa Golf Course. And there's live entertainment often; an accomplished karioke evening was underway one night while we were there.

This is a very worthwhile food stop for those traveling I-80, or for anyone vacationing in the North Tahoe/Reno area.


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

Establishment: Goose Island Beer Company - Clybourn, Chicago, IL

I've been a Goose Island MBA for 10 years. Now their Clybourn location is closing:,gooseisland041408.article

Goose Island loses lease, to close its Clybourn spot April 14, 2008

BY DAVID ROEDER Staff Reporter

Goose Island Beer Co. said Monday it will close its original brewpub at 1800 N. Clybourn by year-end because it has lost its lease.

The Chicago-based company, founded at the Clybourn site in 1988, will continue to operate its Wrigleyville Brewpub at 3535 N. Clark and to brew and ship beer from 1800 W. Fulton.

The company sells its beers and handcrafted sodas in 15 states and Europe.

John Hall, the company's founder and chief executive, said the Clybourn location won national and international awards and produced 2,100 batches of beer in more than 200 styles.

Twenty years, ago, it also helped revitalize an industrial area plagued by vacant buildings.

"It's a very sad day for me," Hall said of the announced closing. "The Clybourn Brewpub has been like a second home to me for the past 20 years. I've made a lot of good friends over a pint of beer."


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

Establishment: Bulldog Pub and Patio, Upland, CA

Old Baldy Brewing Co. over on 2nd St doesn't open until 2pm, and we wanted lunch. Bulldog has a very nice, sunny, landscaped patio in back, even tho it is located in a shopping center. Beer selection is all imports and mass-market suds. No microbrews. We noticed the same thing last night. A regular at the bar explained the paucity of microbrews as an education thing: the San Bernardino Valley doesn't have a highly educated population, so they tend to want to stick with the tried-and-true. Nevertheless food, service and sunny ambience on patio were what we came for, and they were great!


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

Establishment: Royal Falconer Pub and Restaurant, Redlands, CA

Redlands is a nice college town with an attractive downtown. Royal Falconer is right in the center of it, across from Redlands Mall (easy parking) right off I-10. One long bar with 18 taps, mostly European've seen them all. These are the beers that the distributors push, and the local microbrews lose out again.

Nevertheless, it was a long drive to any of the microbreweries, so we settled on Royal Falconer, since we found ourselves driving right by it. We were coming back from a spectacular 10k run up the 3 mile hill from Prospect Park past the golf club and lots of orchards of ripe oranges, grapefruit and loquats....yum!


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

Establishment: Devil's Canyon Brewing Company, Belmont, CA

Yeah...this is a microbrewery not a warm and woodsy beer bar. What did that last guy expect??

The Devil's Canyon Rye IPA is available all over the San Francisco Peninsula...see their website for a list of bars. And it is the best IPA I've ever tasted.

In addition, Devil's Canyon has a open-house on the last Friday of the month, with $3 beers and bands! What more can you ask for?

I wish our microbreweries in Chicago had this kind of quality and public outreach program.


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

Establishment: CJ's Brewing Company, Commerce Township, MI

Played 18 holes at the great Bay Pointe Golf Club across the street from CJ's, then came over for a couple of beers and lunch. Bay Point used to be private, now public; but very well maintained. Has a beautiful dining room of it's own, but no fresh microbrews!

We sat at the bar at CJ's, and the waitress made us feel like we were her only customers, even tho it was 5pm and the place was filling up. Sampled the IPA and Amber (both $3.25) and they were excellent.

Our food selections were less successful: "Beer Onion Soup" ($4) served in a heavy crock with a thick, impenetrable layer of elastic cheese. "Michigan Salad" ($10 + $2 for chicken) was a bowl of dried cherries, nuts and cheese topped by a slab of sliced grilled chicken...sparse greenery. When we asked for some bread with the soup, a hot, greasy pretzel-like thing was finally delivered a minute before we finished the meal.

Overall impression: great location, beer, ambience and service. But if you are hungry, go across the street to the dining room at the golf course, sit outside, and watch the duffers play the 9th hole.


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

Establishment: C.H. Evans Brewing - The Albany Pump Station, Albany, NY

Dan was at the bar when we first dropped in from Chicago to check out some New York State brewing. Initially tried the Kick Ass Brown, and were so blown-away by this ale we scarcely tried anything else. Wonderful full-mouth sensation: from lips, to tongue, to palate, to gullet...all satisfying in varying ways. The Old Musty Barley Wine, despite the name, is a rich and powerful beer, wisely served in a small but brimming snifter. My buddy was out of the room when I initially ordered this beer. By the time he returned, the glass was empty: his eyebrows shot up when the waitress, on her next pass by the table, inquired if I'd like "another Old Musty..." The food was the best I've ever enjoyed in a brewpub. Well plated and served. Try the Shrimp and Chicken Gorganzola (lots of sun-dried tomatoes). A spectacular space, within walking distance of Pearl Street Restaurant Row and the Riverfront walk. Excellent parking too, with easy access right off I-787.


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

Establishment: Malt River Brewing Company, Latham, NY

We were visiting from Chicago and looking for a suburban alternative to the great Albany Pumping Station down by the Hudson in Albany, and found this place only after a disappointing visit to the Fox & Firkin on Wolf Road (still called Big House Grill on this PubCrawler website). The Best Bitter was acceptable, the service good (we were the only customers at 5pm on one of the first beautiful Sunday afternoons of the year) and the ambiance cozy at the long bar. If we lived in the area we'd definitely patronize The Malt River Brewing Company...wish we had more of these small craft brewers sprinkled around Chicago.


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