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bearded dave

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129
Beer Reviews from bearded dave
   

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Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
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Good Great Good Great

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

Establishment: River City Brewing Company, Wichita, KS

I spent a week staying at the Hyatt for a training event in Wichita and was glad that this place was just a short walk away. I stopped in twice and had a great time both nights. The beers were good, the food was great, and the staff, as well as the people at the bar, were friendly. The brewpub is located in the Old Town area in a brick building with a wrap around porch. I never ventured upstairs, but there apparently is a bar called Loft 150 upstairs. Downstairs there is a long wood bar with windows behind it overlooking the brewing vessels.

The first night that I stopped in was a Wednesday which happened to be “Big Ass Beer Night.” They were serving all of their beers in large 22 ounce glasses for the same price as a pint. I started with the Tornado IPA, which was my favorite of the evening. It had an amber color and a crisp, dry, bitter, citrusy hop flavor. I next tried the Emerald City Stout, which was also quite good; black with ruby highlights, smooth with a slightly nutty roasted malt flavor. I had a great buffalo burger with BBQ sauce for dinner. As I was eating and enjoying my beers the brewer was in the process of mashing a batch behind the bar. For dessert I tried the seasonal Honey Rye, which was thankfully served in a smaller pilsner glass. This was a strong (12%) amber colored beer; sweet up front but with a bitter, rye finish. I normally don’t like honey beers because they are often too sweet, but I think the dry rye malt really made this beer quite drinkable. I fully intended to end the evening at this point, but the two people who had sat next to me at the bar were very into beer and as we all talked, I found myself ordering another. By the end of the evening I had tried all six beers that they offered; quite a feat considering it was Big Ass Beer Night. I also tried the Rock Island Red, which was a deep amber, almost red colored beer; well balanced but a bit light in body – not my favorite of the evening (but at this point it was getting hard to tell). I also tried the wheat and the brown ale.

Two days later, after I had finally recovered from Big Ass Beer night, I went back for a second visit. I was really happy that I did because it turned out to be “Randal Night.” They were serving a “randalized” version of their IPA using “Randal the Enamel Animal,” an invention created by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Randal is a contraption that is used to infuse more hop aroma and flavor into the beer. The IPA flowed from the keg through the device, which was filled with Cascade hop flowers, then through a cooler (and I assume a copper coil buried in ice to chill the beer) and then into the glass. I had read about this device many times, but never seen one in action before. I thought that the IPA was even better this way. It was just slightly cold (as a good IPA should be) and had a nice fresh hop aroma and flavor. I had some great fish and chips with a couple of IPAs. I also tried the Old Town Brown, which I had tried the previous night but really didn’t remember all that well. It was a decent reddish-brown colored ale; a bit bitter with a malty background. They had some good live music at the bar (a guy who said he used to play for Tommy Two-Tone [867-5309] in the 80’s but now just plays hippy music), and I had another great evening here.

(11/19/2007)

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

Establishment: Railroad Blues, Alpine, TX

In my opinion this is the perfect bar. They have an amazing selection of bottled beers as well as two beers on tap from Live Oak Brewing in Austin. They have everything from domestic megaswill to Chimay, Dogfishhead, and Arrogant Bastard Ale - a great selection of microbrews and imports, and they always seem to have something new. In addition to a great beer selection, they also have great live music. The owner gets some great bands (usually from the Austin area) to come down to Alpine. My wife and I stop here on a monthly basis throughout the cooler months on our way down to Big Bend. We always spend Saturday evening here listening to some great music, drinking great beer, and hanging out at the fire outside and talking with the locals- a really friendly crowd (a mix of college students, artists, old hippies, and cowboys).

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Padre Island Brewing Company, South Padre Island, TX

My wife and I have spent Columbus Day weekend on South Padre Island for the last 3 years, and visited this brewpub on each trip. I gave it a so-so rating after our first visit, but had to write a new review after out last visit, because things had vastly improved.

The first two times we visited I thought the beers are all alright, but I found many of them to be a little on the weak side. Still, they were far better than the domestic beers served in any of the other bars on the island. None of the beers were really bad, just not quite as good as they really could be. The food here has always been excellent; another good reason to visit. And really, after sitting out in the sun all day, perhaps lighter, weaker beers are a bit more acceptable.

However on our third visit in 2005 I was pleased to find that the quality of the beers had greatly improved. They were all good, true to style beers. The Speckled Trout Stout was a good, fairly light bodied stout with a slightly roasted flavor. The Padre Island Pale Ale was a very good, nice and hoppy American style pale ale. The Tidal Wave Wheat was a good, refreshing Hefeweizen style wheat with a rather subdued banana-clove flavor. My wife liked the Raspberry Wheat, which was a refreshing light wheat beer with a nice raspberry flavor. They also added NTN trivia to the bar, which is a great way to spend an evening. The food was excellent as always.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Edelweiss Brewery and Restaurant, Alpine, TX

My wife and I were extremely excited when this brewery opened since Alpine is our favorite town in Texas and we spend quite a bit of time there. It is the perfect place to go for a beer before heading to Railroad Blues for some live music. The best part is that you can stay in the hotel in the same building. The brewery is located inside the Holland Hotel. It’s a small place with a great atmosphere and fun crowd. They serve great German food, and open early for a fantastic breakfast (free [except for beer]) when you stay at the hotel– great food for hangovers.

We were there for their grand opening/Oktoberfest celebration on Columbus Day weekend 2005, which involved like polka music and beer games. We have been back several times since, and certainly plan to make it a regular stop on our excursions to Alpine. The Texas Gold Black Bavarian Lager is my favorite beer. It is smooth and malty with a slight smoky flavor and just a hint of hop bitterness. The Pale Ale, a mildly hopped English style ale, was also excellent. They’ve also had a good refreshing Kolsch and a decent Oktoberfest.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Southampton Publick House, Southampton, NY

This is a great restaurant and brewery. We ate lunch there with my parents while on a Long Island road trip and we all really enjoyed our meals and the beers (except my mom who hates beer). I started with a seasonal porter that was excellent; a dark, very smooth, medium bodied ale with a nice roasty flavor. My wife had the Southampton Pale Ale which was a nice hoppy, well balanced American style IPA; assertively hopped, but not overpowering. My dad had the Southampton Golden Lager; a light but flavorful Munich style lager. I also had a pint of the Secret Ale; an excellent alt style copper colored, well balanced, hoppy ale with a nice malty background. In addition to several draught beers, they also had several of their beers that they bottled available to go in 22 oz bombers. I got a saison and an imperial porter to go. (I later found the imperial porter in a liquor store in New Jersey for a bit cheaper).

The food was very good. My wife and I both had one of the daily specials; Cajun spiced bay scallops on a Caesar salad. My parents both had chicken burgers that were quite good and came with some excellent sweet potato fries.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Brickhouse Brewery and Restaurant, Patchogue, NY

The beers are brewed on premises by the brewer from Blue Point Brewery, which is located just down the road. In addition to their own beers, they also have a couple of Blue Point beers on tap. My wife had a pint of Blueberry Ale from Blue Point that she really enjoyed. I decided to try the sampler, which consisted of seven beers, including two from Blue Point; the blueberry and Blue Point Toasted Lager. The toasted lager was quite good; a smooth, full-bodied lager. We picked up a six pack in a gas station nearby to bring home with us. The first Brick House beer in the sampler was a decent Light Ale, followed by a winter seasonal called Blitzen, which was a strong, amber colored bitter ale. The Brick House Boys Red was a nicely hopped amber ale. The Hurricane Kitty Pale Ale was an outstanding American style pale ale; nice and hoppy with a strong, malty background. I began to get nervous when I saw that the next beer in the sampler was a pumpkin ale with pumpkin spices floating on top. I still think that pumpkin and beer should NEVER be mixed together. However, this was better than expected – it was actually drinkable, though I still wouldn’t ever want to drink a whole pint.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Black Forest Brew Haus, Farmingdale, NY

A nice German style brewpub. The beers were all very good, although quite pricey; $5.00 to $7.00 for a pint. I started with the Big Rye Doppelbock, which had a nice malty flavor with a good deal of bitterness. It was rather strong (8.3%), but quite smooth. The rye adds a nice depth of flavor. My wife had the Black Forest Amber, an excellent, well balanced märzen/Oktoberfest style lager (GABF gold medal winner). I also had the Hefe-Weizen, which was excellent; a traditional Hefeweizen with a nice though not overpowering banana-clove flavor. The food was also quite good. They had a decent menu consisting of typical pub fare as well as some German specialties. We had some killer home-made pretzels that came with a great honey mustard. My wife and I split a great wing sampler that consisted of 30 huge wings (hot, BBQ, and Thai peanut). They were so big we had to take about 10 of them home with us.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Independence Brew Pub, Philadelphia, PA

The brewpub is located inside the Reading Terminal. There is a large bar and restaurant downstairs and a pool room and bar upstairs. We had just eaten a Philly cheese steak, so we just tried a couple of beers. We both had the IPA. My wife had the regular IPA, which was a pretty decent crisp, bitter IPA. I had the cask-conditioned version of the same IPA, which I thought was quite a bit better. It was a somewhat mellow hopped bitter ale that was well suited to cask conditioning. We also tried the Kolsch, which was light and crisp. All decent beers, but nothing really out of the ordinary.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA

The brewery, bar and small restaurant are located on the second floor of the building. It’s a rather small place, but they have a great bobblehead collection at the top of the stairs. I was really disappointed in this brewery. I had heard good reviews and had been reading about all the awards they had won at the latest Great American Beer Festival. The place had a rather unpleasant sewage-like smell that we noticed upon entering. That can immediately turn you off of wanting to eat or drink anything. My wife tried the Grog, which had just won some awards at the GABF. It was a very good, dark brown English style ale with a slight chocolaty flavor. I tried the sampler, which ended up being very pricy - $2.00 per sample (they were slightly larger than normal samples – maybe 5 or 6 ounces). In addition to the Grog were four other beers. The 700 Level was a good light golden ale with a slightly bitter finish. The second beer I tried was the 60 Shilling, a Scottish style ale that had recently won a silver medal at the GABF. It seemed like this batch had gotten seriously contaminated. It had an awful sulphury smell that my wife thought smelled like a wet fart. It’s probably not a good idea to ever actually try a beer that smells like a wet fart, but I ventured a taste. It had a really strange off taste and was absolutely undrinkable. I really wish that the brewer would take a beer off line when these sorts of problems occur; it can’t be good for business (there’s always going to be some jerk like me telling everyone how terrible it was). The next beer I tried was a holiday beer called the Sled Wrecker. It was a spiced ale with a bit of fruit and molasses. I don’t care much for spiced holiday beers, but this one was fairly smooth and drinkable, though I still don’t think I’d want to drink a whole pint. The best beer in the bunch was the BPA (Bill Payer Pale Ale); a very good, hoppy, West Coast style pale ale.

Overall, most of the beers here were actually quite good, but the smell of the place and that one awful skunky beer really ruined the whole experience for me.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Stewart's Brewing Company, Bear, DE

The brewery is located in a strip mall not far from the interstate, which made it a nice place to stop at on our way from New Jersey down to Baltimore. There’s a nice large bar area and they have steel tipped darts and NTN trivia. This would have been a great place to hang out for a while if we didn’t have another hour to drive to Baltimore. All of the beers we tried here were quite good. I started with a good hoppy, slightly fruity IPA. They also had a double IPA I would have loved to try, but I still had a ways to drive. My wife had a beer called the Cherry Bourbathalon, which was a great strong (13%) oak aged beer brewed with cherries and flavored with bourbon. It had a great cherry-oaky-bourbon flavor. I also had an Irish Red Ale which was very good; deep amber color with a nice balance of hops and malt. My wife had a nice tasting amber called the Big Bear Amber Ale. We played a game of NTN trivia and enjoyed some really good crab quesadillas. The bartender was very knowledgeable about the beers and the brewing process, and he talked in a cool DJ voice.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Wilmington, DE

The brewery is located in a big place just off the interstate and right on the riverfront. My wife and I stopped in on our way from Baltimore to New Jersey. We had a very knowledgeable waitress who could describe each beer in great detail. I started with an Ironbound Pale Ale and my wife had a Raspberry Wheat, then we split a sampler. This brewery has won a good deal of awards including best large brewpub at the 2005 Great American Beer Festival, and I can see why; all of the beers they had were excellent.

The Ironbound Ale was an awesome, hoppy American style pale ale. Although I am not a fan of fruit beers, my wife really enjoyed the Raspberry Wheat. The Sasquatch Barley Wine was an excellent seasonal; strong, bitter, and quite hoppy for a barleywine. They also had a seasonal stout which I think was my favorite of the batch; an outstanding, extremely smooth nitro stout with a slight coffee flavor. The Pig Iron Porter was also excellent; light bodied and very smooth with a roasty flavor. The Lodestone Lager was fairly light with a nice malty flavor. The Anvil Ale was described as a British pub ale. I thought it was a very good English style pale ale; hopped much more mildly that the Ironbound (a great session beer). And finally the Light Lager was a nice crisp, bitter, pilsner style lager. We each had a cup of crab soup that was quite good and we split a calamari appetizer that was excellent. They serve their food with corn bread that was also quite good. I’d love to go back again when we have some more time (and a hotel nearby).

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Wharf Rat At Camden Yards / Oliver Breweries, Baltimore, MD

My wife and I had dinner here on New Years Eve. They have a really large selection of beers, mainly English style ales. I started with the Black Friar Stout; an excellent, slightly chocolaty nitro stout. My wife had a cask conditioned ESB; a nice mild English style ESB. I later had the Oliver Old English Ale; a good, malty, slightly bitter English brown ale. My wife's second beer was the Oliver SW1 (Southwest One); a very good, well balanced amber ale. The food was very good. I had a platter of fried oysters and fries. The oysters and the nitro stout went really well together. My wife had an excellent dish called the Old Ben; beef with a great gravy, mashed potatoes, and bread. After dinner we went to the bar where I tried the Oliver Pagan Porter. This was the only beer I really didn’t care a whole lot for. It was a mediocre, dark, roasty porter.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Ryleigh's Oyster, Baltimore, MD

here is a bar downstairs and another smaller bar and restaurant area upstairs. It was very loud with a mostly young college crowd. We had a couple of beers at the bar upstairs, since it was not quite so loud up there. They had four house beers and an assortment of domestic beers, which most of the people here seemed to be drinking. I had the Ryleigh’s Revenge IPA; a very good, nicely hopped (though not overpowering) nitro IPA. My wife had the amber, which was a mediocre hoppy, amber colored ale.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Red Brick Station / White Marsh Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD

The brewery is located in a mall near Interstate 95. We visited just before Christmas, so there was tons of traffic all around the place. We stopped in to escape the traffic on our way from Baltimore to New Jersey and had some appetizers and some beers. The waiter was a bit of a dumbass. He didn’t know what the seasonal beers were, and didn’t bother to check when we asked him. My wife ordered the sampler and the guy brought out all the beers and then had no idea which was which. Other than that, the place was great. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the beers in the sampler. I started with a pint of Something Red, which was a very good, nicely balanced red ale; malty with a good deal of bitterness. The sampler also included Spooner’s Stout (an excellent nitro stout; very smooth; nice roasty flavor), Daily Crisis IPA (a decent hoppy IPA – could have had a better malt balance), HoneyGo Light (a decent, smooth light beer), Avenue Ale (a light ale with a hoppy bitterness), Spiced Winter Ale (seasonal; not overly spiced; the spices complimented the beer rather than detracted from it), and Highlander Heavy (another seasonal; a decent strong ale). We also enjoyed a great order of beer boiled mussels and some good hot wings.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: DuClaw Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD

We visited this brewpub for lunch on New Years day, still feeling a bit woozy from the night before. Both the food and the beers here were very good. I started with the Misfit Red, a really good, deep amber colored beer with a nice malty flavor and a decent amount of hoppiness. My wife had the Venom Pale Ale, a very good hoppy American style pale ale. I later had the bare Ass Blonde, which was quite good; a mildly hopped ale with a decent malt character. Seasonals included a barleywine and an Imperial Stout. Both looked good, but my stomach was still slightly queasy from the previous night’s festivities, so I stuck to the lighter beers. We both had an excellent lunch. I had some outstanding crab cakes; generously portioned with fries on the side. My wife had a very good tuna steak with rice and a broccoli salad.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Capitol City Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD

This brewery is located right on the harbor in a large food mall. Glass walls look out over the harbor; a very nice place to drink a few. We stopped in on New Years day and had a couple of beers and appetizers. I started with the seasonal Saison, which was a decent Belgian farmhouse style ale with a deep amber color and a fairly bitter, hoppy flavor. My wife started with a seasonal Strawberry Tart, a sour tasting strawberry flavored ale; not a real strong strawberry flavor. We also tried the Amber Waves Ale, a very good, deep amber colored, medium-bodied ale; fairly hoppy with a nice bitter finish. The Pale Rider Ale was a light-bodied, mildly hopped pale ale with a nice bitter finish. We each had an excellent cup of shrimp bisque; thick and creamy with small pieces of shrimp. We also had some excellent duck quesadillas. All food orders come with soft pretzels and a nice, spicy horseradish mustard.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Brewer's Art, Baltimore, MD

This was my favorite brewpub of an 18 brewpub tour of the East Coast (and one of my favorite nationwide). It is located in an old townhouse. There’s a small bar up front with windows overlooking the street, another small bar and wine cellar downstairs, and a restaurant in back. We sat at the bar and just had a couple of beers. The other customers at the bar were all friendly and seemed very knowledgable about the local beer scene, and knew this was the place to be. They specialize in Belgian style ales, and in addition to their house brews, they also have a great selection of bottled Belgian beers. I started with a beer called Resurrection, which was a fantastic brown Abbey style ale. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and would have loved to spend the afternoon drinking a few more. My wife had the Ozzy; a great, light, golden Belgian Ale similar to a Duvel. I next had the St Festivus; a really good brown winter Belgian ale spiced with orange peel and ginger. My wife's second beer was the House Pale Ale, an excellent mild, English style pale ale. All in all, a fantastic drinking experience.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery, Berkeley Heights, NJ

My wife and I stopped in once for lunch with my parents while we were visiting them in New Jersey. This is a really fancy, though somewhat expensive, restaurant. The food and the beer were fantastic; definitely worth the visit, and the price. There is a bar and a nice restaurant with a fireplace and huge windows downstairs, and a neat little drinking room with couches and a fireplace upstairs.

I started with the Steam Engine, a great amber colored steam beer; very smooth, slightly bitter, and nicely balanced. My wife had the Kestral’s Joy IPA; an excellent, hoppy American style IPA. My dad had the Ghost Pony Helles Lager; an excellent, crisp, bitter lager. My second beer was the Hathor Red Lager, which was also excellent; deep amber color, hoppy up front with a nice balance of maltiness.

I had a great sesame seared tuna salad. It was a bit small, but there was plenty of great bread to help absorb the alcohol. My wife had excellent crab cakes, although also a bit on the small side.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Long Valley Pub and Brewery, Long Valley, NJ

We stopped here for dinner with my parents on the way back from Delaware Water Gap. The brewery is in a really cool stone building that apparently is a restored two story barn. Both the food and the beers here were excellent. I started with the Cask Conditioned Best Bitter which was excellent; smooth with a nice amber color and bitter flavor. My wife had the German Valley Amber; an amber colored ale with a nice citrusy hop finish. My dad had the Hookerman’s Light; a bitter light beer with a decent hop flavor. I next ordered the Nut Brown Ale, which I really wanted to try since it was a 2005 GABF winner. The waiter brought a beer that was light amber in color and I immediately asked if this was really the nut brown. He assured me it was. The nut brown was described as having a nutty sweetness with toffee and caramel flavors. This beer, while very good, was more of a hoppy beer with no noticeable toffee or caramel flavors; perhaps a slightly nutty finish. It did have a malty aroma. To me it tasted very much like the amber my wife just had, though she had finished it so we couldn’t compare them side by side. I asked the waiter a second time if this really was the nut brown ale. He said maybe he had made a mistake and brought me a new beer (I had pretty well finished the other already). The beer he brought back was the same as the one I’d just drank, so either he screwed up again, or this really was the nut brown. Whatever it was, it really was an excellent beer, and I thoroughly enjoyed it (especially the second one since it was free).

I had an excellent fish and chips dinner made with really good, battered cod. My wife had mussels on linguini that was also very good. We all enjoyed everything we ate and drank here.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Krogh's Restaurant and Brew Pub, Sparta, NJ

The brewpub is in downtown Sparta on the lake in a collection of Bavarian style buildings. Inside the place looks like a log cabin. They have a restaurant that served decent food; basic pub fare. We stopped in for lunch with my parents on our way to Delaware Water Gap. I started with the Log Cabin Nut Brown Ale, which was a dark brown ale with a good head on it and a good, malty, slightly nutty flavor; smooth and quite good. My wife ordered the Brogden Meadow Pale Ale; a decent pale ale – hoppy with a malty background. My dad had the Krogh’s Gold; a decent amber colored golden ale with a good deal of malt and a nice amount of hoppiness to it. I also tried the Alpine Glow Red Ale, which was my favorite; a fantastic malty, slightly hoppy red ale with a deep amber color and a nice malty aroma.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant, South Orange, NJ

My wife and I stopped in here with my parents after having lunch at Trap Rock, just a few miles away. We ordered the sampler, which came with eight different beers. The Prince of Darkness was a mediocre dark ale with a slightly oily taste. The Dunkelweizen was quite good; fairly dark with a slight banana-clove flavor. One of my favorites was the really smooth oatmeal stout. The Governator was a very good bock beer; amber colored, not real strong. The Satan Claws was a strong (8.7%) amber colored beer that was very smooth, somewhat bitter with a good deal of malt to back it up. The only beer we could not finish was the pumpkin ale; way too much pumpkin flavor for me. I truly believe that pumpkin and beer should NEVER be mixed together. Next came the Bison Brown; just what I needed to get that pumpkin taste out of my mouth. This was a good, dark brown, light-bodied ale with a nice nutty flavor. Finally we finished off the sampler with the Big Dog Blonde; a mediocre blonde with a medium body and a slightly sour taste. All in all it was a pretty good sampler (except the pumpkin). I’d like to come back sometime in the evening and play some darts while knocking down a few pints.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Basil T's Brew Pub and Italian Grill, Red Bank, NJ

This is another great NJ brewery. It’s a really good, somewhat pricy Italian restaurant that also brews some great beers. They have a large assortment of pizzas and panninis, as well as many other Italian dishes. All of the food we tried was great. We stopped in for dinner with my parents and my brother and sister-in-law and their kids while we were visiting for Christmas. Although it’s a bit pricy, the pizzas are big enough to feed two people each, so that can make things a bit more affordable.

I started with the seasonal Big Vic’s Short Order Porter, which was a very good, medium-bodied porter with a nice chocolaty flavor. My wife had the Rosie’s Pale; an excellent, hoppy pale ale. My brother got the Weimaraner Wheat; a good, slightly sweet American style wheat beer. I had a pale ale for my second, since it was so good. My wife had the Red Ribbon seasonal beer, which was a spiced Christmas beer. I’m usually not a huge fan of spiced Christmas beers; too many brewers tend to overdo it on the spices. This beer however was fantastic. It was a very dark, stout-like beer with a serious licorice (anise) aroma and flavor. I’ve heard of brewers putting anise in Christmas beers before, but I never imagined it would be this good. I think I’ll try to brew one myself next Christmas.

(02/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Times Square Brewery, New York, NY

The brewery is located right near Times Square. There is a restaurant on the bottom two floors and the brewery and bar on the 3rd floor. The beers I felt were mostly average, as was the food. I first tried a seasonal Northern English Brown Ale, which tasted much like a Newcastle; not bad. The Pale Ale was a decent English-style pale ale. The Pilsner was really just a step above the typical American megabrew.

(06/13/2005)

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

Establishment: Hyde Park Brewing Company, Hyde Park, NY

I thoroughly enjoyed this brewery. I started with the SOB (Special Old Bitter), which I found to be excellent; nice and bitter with a nice balance of malt and hops. The Winkle Lager was a rather flavorful pilsner (not normally my favorite style, but this one was quite good). The Rough Rider Red Lager was also very good; a nice malty red-colored ale. I really enjoyed the Von Schtupp’s Black Lager; a dark (although light-bodied) lager with a slight roasted flavor. The seasonal Hefeweizen was also quite good; a traditional hefe; a little light on the banana/clove flavor (I thought) – my wife thought it was one of the best she’d ever had. The food was also very good.

(06/10/2005)

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

Establishment: Gilded Otter, New Paltz, NY

This was one of the best brew pubs I’ve been to (and I’ve been to a lot of them). I used to hike and mountain bike all over the “Gunks”, and was happy to revisit the area to stop by the Gilded Otter on my last trip back to New Jersey. All of the beers we tried were fantastic. I started with the Three Pines IPA, which was outstanding; very smooth, lots of hops, but not overwhelming; very nicely balanced. My wife started with the Back Porch American Lager, which was actually a beer brewed with fresh berries. It had locally grown blueberries added to the glass. Being a big fan of fruit beers, loved it. The Belgian Spring Wit was excellent; very smooth with a light Belgian flavor. The Rail Trail Pale was also great; good and hoppy; nicely balanced. The May Day Maibock was very good; a nice balance of hops and malt. We finished with the Centennial Barley Wine, which was fantastic; strong, but very smooth. The food was also great. I had a really good grilled salmon entree with rice, black beans, and veggies.

(06/10/2005)


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