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Reviews on PubCrawler from ben
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Reviews By
ben

Beer Reviews
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46
Beer Reviews from ben
   

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

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

Establishment: Dillon Dam Brewery, Dillon, CO

Just off I-70, the Dillon Dam is an exceptional brewery, but not for the reason that one might think. While all of their brews are passable, it's not the quality of the beer that stands out. Rather, it's the great DISPARITY in quality between their lagers and their ales. In fact, as a die-hard ale drinker, I can say that this is the only brewery I've ever been to where I had a CLEAR preference for the lagers. The Dam Straight Lager, the Yohan Bock, and the Pilsener were all excellent! Even the light lager was really tasty. Given the quality of the lagers, the ales were a bit disappointing. The EPA and Brown Ale had a bitter aftertaste. It's well worth stopping in this place for a pint and burger (try the buffalo!).

(08/25/2004)

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

Establishment: Thirsty Pagan was Jack Tar's Brewing, Superior, WI

Twin Ports is one of my favorite brewpubs in the entire country! The converted creamery is like a museum for beer paraphanalia; they've got great local folk bands and singers coming through most nights of the week, which adds even more to the ambience. And then there's the beer...

We met Rick the owner and head brewer on our last visit. While they've only got six taps, he's got a 50+ beer rotation per year, so the selection here night-to-night is quite good and diverse. The three flagship brews--North Coast Amber, Derailed Ale (an APA), and the Burntwood Black--are all delicious. But, it's really the smaller batches and experimental beers that make this place so sweet. Recently, they had a wheat beer that had been touched up with spruce sprigs, and it was unbelievable. I'll keep making trips up to the Northland just so long as I can make it to the TPB.

(07/21/2004)

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

Establishment: Bo's Brewery and Bistro, Pontiac, MI

Slightly creepy and ill-designed brewery space lacks character and ambiance, but makes up for it (somewhat) with beer quality. The Seminole Hills Red looks more like a Copper Ale or Altbier and is extremely drinkable, with a nice caramel palate and strong hop finish. Bo's Blonde is equally inoffensive and uninteresting. The most interesting part of their brewing repetoire, however, is their selection of stronger ales: amber eisbock, imperial stout, old ale, and grand cru all with over 14% ABV! My friend and I tasted the eisbock and stout and two ounces of each between the two of us was about all we could handle. The stout was a beautiful, deep ebony and strong sweet flavors, but the alcohol was just overwhelming! The eisbock, hard to swallow, was nicely flavored but again, the alcohol was overpowering.

Other microbreweries in the area (the NW Detroit suburbs) abound; unfortunately, it's hard to name any one that's significantly better than Bo's. Big Rock in Birmingham, Copper Canyon in Southfield, and the Royal Oak Brewery in Royal Oak are all equally disappointing. So, whether I'm really excited about it or not, I may end up back at Bo's before too long...

(05/30/2004)

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

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

The Troy Brewpub (aka Brown's Brewing Co.) offers riverside relaxation and a few good beverages. The Cherry Raspberry Ale is one of the best tasting Fruit Beers in the Northeast. The fruit flavor is strong and noticeable without being overpowering. The fruit beer strikes a balance--as do all of their ales--between strong flavors and strong hop finishes. While most of the other 9 beers on tap are rather ho-hum (average to just above average), their Oatmeal Stout DOES live up to the reputation its earned over the years. The sweetness is matched by a robust coffee aftertaste. Quite yummy. Certainly the best of the three brewpubs in the Albany/Troy region.

(05/28/2004)

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

Establishment: Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, Buffalo, NY

Well, I'll be the lone dissenter against this place. This place needs a lot of work...I stopped in on a Thursday night, and while the bar itself (design, decor, music) was really cool, the beer is HORRIBLE!!! The Lighthouse Blonde is the only of their brews that passes the test for drinkability. I struggled to tell the difference between the IPA (underhopped and flavorless) and the Alt (underbodied and flavorless). Their other house brews--Oatmeal Stout, Bock, Hefeweizen--were, by contrast, over the top with flavor. They lacked any sense of moderation or balance in flavor. It's strange to find a brewery that's so inconsistent and erratic in its problems!

(05/28/2004)

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

Establishment: Quay Street Brewing Company, Port Huron, MI

Above average microbrews just on the American side of Lake Huron. I tried the sampler, which included five of their house standards and 2 part-time beers. The Michigan Cream Ale is the real winner--the beer pours a beautiful straw color and is awesomely drinkable with a tasty cream palate. The Bohemian pilsener and the Blue Water Pale Ale were quite good as well. The pilsener was clean, with fruity overtones and a smooth finish. The pale ale poured very dark with a strong malty flavor that catches (surprises) you at the same time as the hops. It's a little heavier than other pale ales and fairly complex. The rest of the beers (Tug-b-oat-meal Stout, Ed's Red, Raspberry Wheat, Quay Street Wheat) were all passable. Service was friendly, attentive, and the food quite tasty. Certainly worth a visit if you're passing through the area.

(05/28/2004)

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

Establishment: Trinity Brewhouse, Providence, RI

This was the last stop on a New England Brewpub tour that my friends and I took this week, and what a disappointment! The pub itself is dimly-lit, with some beautiful paraphanalia on the walls, and a nice view onto the fermentation tanks, but beyond atmosphere this place is struggling--BIG TIME. The beer was insipid: flavorless, watery swill. I struggled to drink a single pint, and we didn't even finish our sampler! To be fair, one of my friends thought the IPA was quite good, but the majority vote found it over-hopped and lacking a distinct flavor or aroma. The food is quite tasty--the nachos and the BBQ Bleu Pizza--and it was a welcome surprise after having had such a bad drinking experience. From the other reviews, it seems like this place has fluctuated in quality a lot over the years, so perhaps there's something positive on the horizon for Trinity. But for now, I'll drive the extra hundred miles to New Haven and drink at the Bru Rm. at BAR.

(05/14/2004)

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

Establishment: Sea Dog Brewery, Topsham, ME

This place really blew it! What a beautiful place to have a brewery and what an awesome space to play around with...but they really dropped the ball somewhere along the line. The beer (ALL the beer) is watery and bad. I'll provisionally recommend the Hazelnut Porter, not because it's particularly good, but it stands out as above average in a sea of mediocrity. We came in at Happy Hour to try the Sampler, expecting to order pints based on what we liked, and ended up leaving because nothing caught our fancy. The view onto the Androoscoggin is impressive and on a nice day the balcony is a great place to relax, but when it gets down to it, this place just isn't worth it. A total dud.

(05/14/2004)

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

Establishment: Gritty McDuff's, Portland, ME

This was my second visit to Gritty's this year, and it's still a fine place to grab a drink and relax. They've got a Smoked Porter on tap right now that is really exceptional and I'm quite fond of the Best Brown. The other beers (Best Bitter, Pale Ale, Black Fly Stout, Raspberry Wheat, Vacationland Summer Ale) are average--drinkable and inoffensive, but none particularly stood out. The food is a bit pricey given the quality, but this is a tourist destination, so it comes with the territory.

(05/14/2004)

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

Establishment: Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, NH

My friends and I stopped in here during a tour of northern New England around lunchtime and the place was packed. The atmosphere is a little too neat and tidy, and it seems like they're shooting for an older, more discriminating crowd (tourists, perhaps?). The beer menu gives nice descriptions of all of their offerings--even those that aren't on tap. During our visit, they had seven of their own beers on tap, plus two from Smuttynose and Anchor's Old Foghorn Barleywine. Amongst their brews, the big winners were the Cream Ale, Altbier, and Scotch Ale. Absolutely worth a visit.

(05/14/2004)

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

Establishment: Delaney's Tap Room, New Haven, CT

Best beer selection in southern CT! The staff was friendly and eager to please (though we did have to wait quite some time for someone to get us a first round). They've got an impressive selection of Belgian and German imports as well as some choice offerings from American microbreweries. New England breweries, as it should be at a bar in CT, is particularly well represented by three taps for the New Haven's own New England Brewing Company, and taps from Olde Burnside, Victory, and Magic Hat.

(05/04/2004)

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

Establishment: Bru Room @ Bar, New Haven, CT

It's worth singing the praises of this place again...it's far and away the best bar in New Haven (and the only brewpub). The four flagship beers--blonde, amBar, pale ale, and stout--are always complimented by a seasonal (in 2004, we've seen a barleywine and the 'raven haired beauty' black ale), and every single one is shockingly good. The BAR style tends towards sweeter, creamier beers with very smooth aftertastes--admittedly, these will never win GABF medals in their categories--but the brewers here show just how tasty beer can be. And what a better accompaniment than BAR's thin crust pizza, which rivals the big boys of New Haven pizza. Thursday night pints are $1, but this place is worth visiting any day of the week.

(04/18/2004)

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

Establishment: Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe's best bet for beer! The IPA and ESB were both out of this world. Two friends and I split a sampler and were pleased with everything except the Irish Red. The food was tasty and came quick and the service was attentive. This place is the yardstick by which all other brewpubs in the Southwest should be measured!

(04/18/2004)

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

Establishment: Three Rivers Eatery and Brewhouse, Farmington, NM

All of the other reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations about this place made my two friends and I pretty psyched about finding a brewpub in the NW corner of New Mexico; unfortunately, our visit was less than stellar. It was St. Patrick's Day and the green-dyed Golden Honey Ale was quite good, and we all agreed that the Arroyo Amber was out of this world. The rest of the sampler was below par--the raspberry wheat, in particular, tasted too much like Clearly Canadian and not enough like a good fruit beer. But the real disappointment was the food and service. The nachos were gross, the soups tasted like poorly made bisques, ugh.

But, to be fair, this was our third brewpub of the day (the other two had been in Santa Fe), we were tired, and we only tried half of the beer. If I were ever in Farmington again (chances of that though are pretty slim), I'd definitely give Three Rivers a second chance. But, be smart about what you go for at this place...

(04/18/2004)

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

Establishment: Southend Brewery and Smokehouse, Charleston, SC

This place was SHOCKINGLY bad. We should have been suspicious and left as soon as they told us that they were still serving their Pumpkin Ale in April! The bartender refused to sell us a sampler, the pints we bought were overpriced, and the beer (nut brown in particular) was flavorless. Yet another reason to avoid chain brewpubs...

(04/18/2004)

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

Establishment: Capitol City Brewing Company - Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Stopped in for a happy hour while passing through DC a month ago. The Kolsch stands out as quite good, and the Porter was surprisingly (in a good way) light and nutty. Service was friendly, and even offered my another taste of the IPA when I had said that I didn't like it as much as others I had tasted. I'd happily return and give this place another try next time I'm in DC.

(04/18/2004)

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

Establishment: Willimantic Brewing Company / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic, CT

My friend and I made a special trek up to Willimantic from New Haven and WOW was it worthwhile! The brewpub is in an old post office (not bank, hence all the beers have names related to the postal service) which they've redesigned beautifully. Unfortunately, the brewing equipment is only visible from the restaurant side of the building, so if you're sitting in the pub you'll have to walk around a bit. We tried all 8 beers on tap: the golden, two IPAs, an IDA, stout, rye pale ale, bock, and amber. The PS Spring Bock is hands down the smoothest bock and the best smoked beer I've ever tasted. We preferred the floral E-mail IPA over the Limited Edition IPA which tried to make up for its lack of flavor with extra hops. The IDA is an interesting experiment and tastes like a slightly hopped up nut brown. The service was friendly and attentive. Now, if only they sold growlers...

(04/18/2004)

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

Establishment: Crystal Beer Parlor, Savannah, GA

The only thing this place has going for it is a really cool space and really cool BIG booths. For anyone who might be under the impression that this is a 'beer palace' and not a 'beer parlor,' don't waste your time looking around. The person I was eating with looked at her batter-like crab bisque in the middle of our meal and said, 'if you baked this, it would turn into a biscuit.' The beer was so bad we couldn't even finish it off.

(03/20/2004)

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

Establishment: Crescent City Brewhouse, New Orleans, LA

The beer menu placed on each table at Crescent City makes the bold claim that lager breweries and brewpubs (like Crescent City itself) ought to be held in higher esteem than their ale-producing counterparts because lagers are more delicate and difficult beers to master. While this is probably true, it doesn't excuse a brewpub from turning out crappy swill--ales, lagers, or anything in-between. There were five beers on-tap during my two visits to CC, a pilsner, vienna lager (their flagship brew, "Red Stallion"), a German black beer ("Black Forest"), their Carnival Bock, and their single ale, a Weiss. The Bock, Pilsner, and Weiss were lackluster, flavorless, and left a bad aftertaste in one's mouth. The Red Stallion had the same bad aftertaste and only a little more flavor--a poor showing for their most celebrated beer. The Black Forest was tasty, creamy, and VERY dark, but...they ran out of it! With some many fine places to drink in New Orleans (and so many of them serving other locally brewed beers like Abita and Dixie), the attraction of Crescent City is a big mystery.

(03/02/2004)

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

Establishment: Fitger's Brewhouse, Duluth, MN

Fitger's is the best brewery north of the 45th parallel and east of the Mississippi. Nowhere, I mean NOWHERE, in the Northland can compete. The Witchtree ESB & Duluth Steam (seasonal) are two of the best brews you're likely to find anywhere. The food is delicious and makes for a sweet homecoming if you're heading back south from a trip up along the North Shore or in the Boundary Waters. The entire Fitger's Complex is beautiful, and the brewhouse's prominent space, right on Superior Street, puts you at the heart of Duluth's main drag. Beautiful t-shirts and growlers (now legal in MN!), and to boot...Duluth's best waitress has moved over to Fitger's from Old Chicago!

(01/06/2004)

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

Establishment: Arbor Brewing Company, Ann Arbor, MI

Once again, ABC proves that it's among the best of the best. They've pulled out all the stops to start 2004, namely an 11 beer sampler that would make even the most hestitant beer drinker fall in love. It's just that easy--they've got something for everyone. Some highlights...Duggie's Rye Ale is strong and not for the weak of heart. It's got a powerful rye aftertaste but it tastes just right. The Terminator Doppelbock is back on tap, and the two Belgian (Phat Abbot Dubbel and Trippel) are like liquid cotton candy. The Alt is black and heavy with a smooth aftertaste.

Arguably the best college town brewpub in the United States!

(01/06/2004)

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

Establishment: Kaltenberg Castle Royal Bavarian Brewhouse, Vail, CO

Good thing we stopped by during Happy Hour, otherwise the steep prices and mediocre beers would have made me throw a temper tantrum right there at the bar. We tried three of the four beers on tap (Oktoberfest, Wheat, Dark Lager) all of which were watery, lacking any sort of aroma, and poorly colored. The service was pushy (they suggested we order an $85 meal to split for apres-ski snacking! HA!) and condescending. There are plenty of places to grab a drink after a day of skiing or snowshoeing at Vail; this one isn't worth your time.

(12/22/2003)

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

Establishment: Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub, Idaho Springs, CO

Tommyknocker's is phenomenal. We were given a 45 minute tour of the facilities, and their staff is ON THE BALL. They keep a 10 beer rotation on tap, all of which are prime examples of what different types of beer ought to taste like. You might not find a better American Style Lager than the Alpine Glacier. The Ornery Amber (lager) and the Pick Axe Pale Ale are top notch. Beautiful, cheap growlers. Anyone driving through the Front Range needs to stop here.

(12/22/2003)

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

Establishment: Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery, Boulder, CO

HUGE selection of tasty beverages in a homey, bluegrass-friendly setting makes Mountain Sun the Boulder's best watering hole. All beers are worth a taste, but the Colorado Kind and the Tsunami Strong Ales are standouts. Though conservatives wouldn't think it from the hippy-dippy atmosphere, the kitchen is Boulder's cleanest too. Great staff.

(12/22/2003)

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

Establishment: Walnut Brewery, Boulder, CO

Not much worth stopping here for, especially when there are so many great options just a few blocks away. The Irish Red was flavorless, and both the ESB and Brown left something to be desired.

(12/22/2003)


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