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Reviews on PubCrawler from bryan carey
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December 21, 2014 @ 12:12 PM EDT
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Reviews By
bryan carey

Beer Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Beer Reviews from bryan carey

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

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

Establishment: CJ's was Sports City Cafe and Brewery, La Jolla, CA

This brewpub is located in a shopping center, and it was a pleasant surprise when we discovered it. We were just stopping by to make a purchase or two, and we were greeted by a brewpub.

They had six house beers available when I was there. The oatmeal stout, Whale's Tail Pale Ale, and Honey Ale were the best. The only one I didn't like very much was the Winter Ale. It was too weak and lacking in character.

The food was quite good and the atmosphere is great. If you get a booth, you will have your own personal television set. We stayed long after we finished our food and beer, because we found a good talk show to watch. They also have numerous other television sets all around, showing mostly sports, like you would expect.

I recommend stopping by and visiting this brewpub if you are in the area. The beer isn't great, but the amenities make up for it.


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

Establishment: Taylors was Terrific Pacific Brewery and Grill, San Diego, CA

Located right next to the beach, with a great view of the Pacific Ocean from the upper level, Terrific Pacific is a decent brewpub, but nothing special. They had five beers to sample when I visited: Honey Wheat, Pale Ale, Nut Brown, Amber Ale, and Hefeweizen. The Amber Ale was my personal favorite. The others were good, except for the wheat, which had too much of an alcoholic taste.

Food was ok as well. We tried their steak sanwich and grilled chicken sandwich. Everything was good, but nothing memorable. In fact, that pretty much sums up the whole place. It is worth a stop, however, just to sit on the outdoor upper level and listen to the waves hit the shore while you sip your beer.


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

Establishment: Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, San Diego, CA

Gordon Biersch is a large brewery/restaurant located just north of Interstate 8. They brew only four beers. There is a pilsner, marzen, bock, and blonde. The beer is ok, the standout being the bock. The pilsner has a woody taste, with a Old Milwaukee- style bite to it when you finish. The marzen is a good, malty brew and the blonde is good.

The food was great. We had a reuban sandwich and salad, and a pork sandwich. Service was also very good. Our waitress gave us very personal service by talking to us and recommending other places to go.

The best move the management could make to improve this brewpub is to start brewing a wider variety of beer. Four choices is not enough.


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

Establishment: Karl Strauss Brewery Restaurant, San Diego, CA

Karl Strauss operates a chain of brewpubs in the San Diego area. They have some very good beer to offer and a very good selection. They had eight beers to try when I visited. The Red Trolley Ale was my favorite, a very tasty, creamy beer. My next favorite would be Karl Strauss Amber Lager, a very good amber beer with a good hop/malt balance. The others were also very good. There wasn't really a bad beer in the bunch.

The food was excellent! I had Bangkok Chicken with rice and broccoli and the wife had a New York Strip steak with garlic Potatoes. These two dinners couldn't have been prepared any better.

Make sure you visit one of the Karl Strauss brewpubs if you are in the San Diego area. They will easily meet or exceed your expections.


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

Establishment: Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado, CA

Coronado Brewing is located on Orange Av., the main street in the city of Coronado. This brewpub has some decent products. I especially liked the Scotch Ale, which was malty and smoky, and the Porter, which had a nice roasted malt and coffee taste. The other three- Coronado Golden, Silver Strand Steam Ale, and CBC Hefeweizen, were average.

The food was all right, but I only ordered some buffalo strips and a bowl of clam chowder soup, so I can't really comment on the lunch or dinner selections. The atmosphere was good and it included an outdoor section. If you are in San Diego, take a trip over the San Diego Bay Bridge and visit the city of Coronado and its brewpub. It's nothing special, but good enough to make a short trip to.


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

Establishment: Pizza Port / Solana Beach Brewery, Solana Beach, CA

Simply put, this is one of the best brewpubs, in terms of beer quality, that I have ever visited. Every house beer that I tried, which totaled seven, was great. The best were the California Honey and the Ale Nino, which were both near perfection. The others- Sharkbite Red, Restoration Ale, Swams IPA, Blarney Stones Ale, and Golden Ale, were all very good as well.

The atmosphere is quite unusual. When you walk inside, the idea of this being a brewpub is the last thing on your mind. You order your pizza at the window, then turn to the window on the right and order your beer. Then, you sit at one of the indoor picnic tables and wait for your name to be called, to pick up your pizza order. You can then watch a little TV on the big screen and then finish the visit by playing a video game.

If you are in the southern California area, try to go out of your way to visit this brewpub and taste these outstanding beers. And while your at it, try to talk the owners into bottling this beer, and ask them to ship some to Ohio. I could drink this every day! It really is that good!


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

Establishment: Rock Bottom Brewery, San Diego, CA

Another edition in the Rock Bottom Brewery Chain, I found this one to be a little better than the others, in terms of beer quality. They had seven house beers when I was there: Pelican Light, Point Break Pale Ale, Regatta Red, Coronado Nut Brown, Sunset Stout, Wheat, and Cask- Conditined Pale Ale. The Point Break Pale, Wheat, and Cask- Conditioned Pale were the standouts. The light beer and the nut brown were too watery.

This Rock Bottom is located in the Gaslamp Quarters, along with a couple other brewpubs. So, if you don't enjoy your visit, there is plenty of other entertainment just around the corner.


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

Establishment: Westwood Brewing Company, Los Angeles, CA

Westwood Brewing is located within walking distance of UCLA. It offers a lackluster atmosphere, the only bright spot being the outdoor patio. The beers are ok, but nothing spectacular. There were six available beers when I made my visit: Belgian Triple, Belgian Quadruple, Wee Heavy, Smoked Scottish Ale, Honey Bear Porter, and a Pear Cider. The best in the bunch was the Wee Heavy, which had a nice malty, licorice- like taste. The others were ok, but not great. The Belgian beers were a little too much. The alcohol level was over 10 percent in both of them. The Quadruple, in particular, had a bitter, highly alcoholic bite in the finish.

The food we sampled included their Backyard Barbecue Sandwich and fries, and lemon chicken wih rice. I was more impressed with the food than the beer. Service was adequate, but there weren't many people there at the time. Overall, my experience was mediocre and I recommend this only if you have some time on your hands with nowhere better to go.


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

Establishment: Belmont Brewing Company, Long Beach, CA

I sampled five beers during my visit to Belmont Brewing: Marathon, Top Sail, Strawberry Blonde, Long Beach Crude, and Pale Ale. All of the house beers had a watery character. The Pale Ale was the only one that was good enough for me to order a second glass.

For dinner, I had Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza. It was interesting, but I think I will stick with sausage and pepperoni

The best thing about this brewpub is the view of the ocean. Other than that, it is only a so-so place.


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

Establishment: San Diego Brewing Company, San Diego, CA

San Diego brewing Co. has some pretty good beers. My favorites are Old Town Nut Brown and Old 395 Barleywine. The others were average or slightly less than average. Mission George Porter, San Diego Amber, and Friars IPA were a little too weak and Grantville Gold was an average blonde- style beer.

For lunch, I had a french dip sandwich and the wife had a chicken taco salad. Both were very good and the service was also very good. I like the beer selection. In additon to the six house beers, that had about 35 other microbrews on tap. A good place to visit and I recommend adding it to your list.


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

Establishment: McConkey's Big City Grill, Secaucus, NJ

This beer bar is located inside the Holiday Inn in Secaucus, New Jersey. I stayed at this Holiday Inn during my trip to New York City for the New Years Eve 2000 millenium bash. Because of its close proximity to my sleeping quarters, it made sense to at least give it a try. It turned out to be your typical beer bar. It had some good beers to offer, along with the usual mainstream beer. The food was good, but not great, and the service was adequate. The only complaint that I had was with the loud music. I had to shout at the person next to me in order to converse. There was no live band, just a load jukebox.

I recommend this bar only of you are staying in the hotel. I am not saying that it is all that bad, but it has nothing to offer that you cannot find elsewhere.


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

Establishment: Heartland Brewery-Midtown, New York, NY

Heartland Brewery is located a short walk from Times Square and it has some very good beer to offer. There were seven beers to sample when I visited: Cornhusker Lager, Harvest Wheat, Red Rooster Ale, Indiana Pale Ale, Farmer Jon's Oatmeal Stout, Cuyahoga Brown Ale, and Old Red Nose Spice Ale. On the negative side, the lager and the Red Rooster Ale were just average and not memorable at all. On the positive end, the Harvest Wheat, Old Red Nose Spice ale, and oatmeal stout were all very good.

The food was pricey, but excellent. I had a pork tenderloin dinner that was outstanding to say the least.

Heartland Brewery is worth the visit if you are in the area. Just make sure to bring plenty of cash.


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

Establishment: Times Square Brewery, New York, NY

This brewpub had four beers to sample: a pilsner, pale ale, bock, and a speciality beer called Millenium 2000 ale. All four had a distinctive watered- down character. The bock, with its buttery, coffee- like flavor, was the best of the bunch, but even the bock was not that good.

My expectations for this brewpub were pretty high. I visited on the eve of the New Years 2000 bash, on Dec. 30, 1999 and I figured that it had to have some pretty good beer, or at least something to offer, given the prime location in the heart of New York City on Times Square. It was quite a letdown to drink these four glasses of beer.

Next time I visit New York, I will probably visit this brewpub again, to see if it has improved. And since I didn't get to try the food, I have a reason to come back. The food has to be an improvement over the beer.


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

Establishment: Alcatraz Brewing Company, Indianapolis, IN

Alcatraz is conveniently located in downtown Indianapolis, on the outside of a large shopping mall. It offers a decent selection of beers. The ones that were on tap when I was there were Searchlight Golden Ale, Weiss Guy Wheat, Big House Red, Pelican Pale Ale, Birdman Brown, Lights out Stout, and a seasonal beer called Santa Ale. The Lights Out Stout was the only outstanding beer in the bunch. It was a dry stout, creamy, rich, and with a smooth finish. The Brown ale was good, but I was surprised to learn that it won a medal in the Great American Beer Festival. It didn't seem good enough to win a medal. Searchlight Golden Ale, Weiss Guy Wheat, and Pelican Pale Ale were all decent, but not memorable. The Big House Red was lame, and the weakest offering was the Santa Ale. This sorry excuse for a beer was weak tasting, bland, and lacked any character whatsoever.

For dinner, we had the Big Rock Burger and the Pork Sandwich. Both were quite tasty. The side order of fries was ok, but would have been better if they had toned down the spices a bit.

The atmosphere at Alcatraz is interesting. As you might guess, it tries to capture the feeling of being in a prison, with several jail doors and tables that have the appearance of being made of metal. The service was ok, but could have been better. There was a long waiting line and insufficient staffing to handle all of the orders.

Alcatraz is ok, but with a few improvements, it could be transformed into a great brewpub.


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

Establishment: Rock Bottom Brewery, Indianapolis, IN

Similar to the other Rock Bottom Breweries, this one offers beers that are very unadventurous and watery. The beers that I tried when I was there include Circle City American Light, Wagon Train Wheat, Sugar Creek Pale Ale, Raccoon Red, Brickway Brown, and Hoosier Ma Stout. Only the Brickway Brown was up to my standards of good beer quality. The others were either too watery, too light, too lacking in character, or a combination of the three.

I ordered some quesadillas as an appetizer and found them to be quite greasy and unflavorful. The atmosphere was ok, and the service was adequate.

Overall, a typical Rock Bottom experience.


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

Establishment: Oaken Barrel Brewing Company, Greenwood, IN

Oaken Barrel has many great beers to sample. I tried a total of eight when I visited: Leroy Brown, Meridian Street, Big Red Amber Ale, Razz Wheat, Gnaw Bone Pale Ale, Snake Pit Porter, Apple Buzz, and Yule Ale. All beers were better than average. The standouts here are the Pale Ale, which has a good amount of hops and a spiciness in the finish; and the porter, with its coffee- chocolate taste and a slightly bitter finish. The others that caught my attention include Meridian Street, which reminded me of Little Kings Cream Ale; Yule Ale, a spicy, cinnamon flavored Christmas ale; and Apple Buzz, a cloudy, alcoholic beer, with an apple taste that isn't overbearing. The Razz Wheat was good, but a little too sweet for my taste. It had too much emphasis on the rasberry and not enough emphasis on the wheat.

To absorb the alcohol, I had a pork barbeque sandwich platter and my wife had the reuben sandwich platter. My sandwich was good, but my wife said that the reuben was near perfection. Both platters were very generous in their proportions, with the meat overflowing from the buns.

Combine great beer and food with a equally great atmosphere and service, and you have a brewpub that should not be missed. Oaken Barrel is located just minutes south of Indianapolis and is well worth the trip.


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

Establishment: Teller's of Hyde Park, Cincinnati, OH

Teller's is located in Hyde Park, just east of downtown Cincinnati. It is the third branch of Main Street Brewery. Unlike the other two (Main Street Brewery and Watson Brothers Brewhouse)this branch, unfortunately, does not brew any beer onsite. But they do make up for this by having a very large selection of beer. There are about 30 microbrews on tap and another 60 in bottles.

The atmosphere is interesting. Teller's, as the name suggests, was built from an old savings bank. If you drive past and don't look closely at the name, it is easy to mistake this for a bank. On the inside, the bank theme is obvious. There are cashier windows, lock boxes, even a seating area that has a vault door for its entrance.

The food was somewhat of a disappointment. The house salad was too light, the philly steak wrapper did not have enough meat, and the steak and bond burger was dry and bland. So, you might want to check out other places for better food. But if you are looking for great selection of microbrew, you need not look any further than Teller's Micro Pub and Eatery.


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

Establishment: Hops Restaurant and Brewery, Dayton, OH

Hops is a national chain of brewpubs that was started in Florida. They are all very similar in respect to their beer and food. Four beers are available on draft: Clearwater Light, Lightning Bold Gold, Thoroughbred Red, and Alligator Ale. Clearwater Light and Lightning Bold Gold and both a little too light and watery. Thoroughbred Red and Alligator Ale are more full bodied and flavorful, but still not good enough to call them great beers. One way that these latter two beers could be improved is by turning the temperature dial a few degrees. I asked the brewmaster and he stated that Hops breweries, as a rule, serve all beer ice cold. These darker beers would taste better if they were served a little warmer.

The food was very good. We tried their chicken/chili burrito, Blue Ribbon sandwich, and baked potato soup. All were very well prepared and very tasty.

This brewpub was opened on Nov 1, 1999. We now have three brewpubs in the Dayton Metropolitan area. So, even if Hops doesn't produce the greatest beer, I am still grateful that they chose our brewpub-deprived area to open a new establishment. Any beer is better than no beer at all.


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

Establishment: Watson Brothers Bistro and Brewery, Blue Ash, OH

Watson Brothers is owned by the same folks who own Main Street Brewery near downtown Cincinnati. They brew the same beers as Main Street, so don't expect much in the way of originality. There are, however, a couple beers that I had not tried before. One was a smoked porter which, I just learned, was a bronze metal winner in the 1999 Great American Beer Festival. This beer is quite smokey indeed. It would complement beef and barbequed foods quite well. The other beer was a rye beer, a little weak for my taste, but still good.

For dinner, I tried a burger with garlic mashed potatoes and the wife had a chicken salad. The burger was pretty ordinary, but the potatoes were very good. The chicken salad was very generous in its proportions, so we didn't feel cheated in any way.

Watson Brothers offers a good atmosphere and a very good beer selection. Make sure that you go to at least one of the three Main Street brewpubs if you are in the Cincinnati area.


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

Establishment: Main Street Brewing, Cortez, CO

The Pale Ale and the Wheat beer were the highlights on my trip to Main Street Brewery. The food was adequate, but nothing outstanding. I was, however, very inpressed by the personalized service we received. The owner talked at length about the brewing business and even gave us a private tour.

Stop by if you happen to be in the area. What else is there to do in a small town, anyway?


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

Establishment: Bunky's Legends Brewing Company, Newark, OH

Bunky's is located about 30 miles east of Columbus. It offers a German beer hall atmosphere, complete with a seperate side bar with pool tables and cigars, along with room for live bands and many people.

Bunky's beers were very good overall. Patriot Extra Pale Ale was an excellent, hoppy version of this style, and very tasty. Equally good was Bunky's Fest, a medium hopped beer with a clean, fresh taste. Other beers that I sampled include Legends Light, Wild Welshman, Tess' Red, and Woody English Porter. The first three mentioned were good beers, while the porter was the only one that wasn't very good. It was coffeeish and dry, a little too weak, and had no real distinction.

The food was very good. For starters, they brought us a couple of very delicious bisquits and butter, which complemented the beer quite nicely. Then, I had a pork barbeque sandwich with fries and coleslaw and my wife had a grilled chicken sandwich with coleslaw. The only complaint that we had was with the blue-green colored dishes that the food was served on. it did nothing to enhance the food.

The service was adequate, but there were very few people present, so the servers had an easy time. Bunky's is a little out of the way, but I recommend making the trip.


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

Establishment: Barley's Brewing Company, Columbus, OH

Barleys offers a good, diverse selection of beer. There were seven beers brewed on the premises when I visited: Pale Ale, Pilsner, McLennys Scottish Ale, Crooked Sky Rye, Brown Lion Ale, Alexanders Russian Imperial Stout, and Glen Lennys Scotch Ale. The standouts include the Russian Imperial Stout, a very good stout with a sweet taste at first, then a dry alcoholic finish; Glen Lennys Scotch Ale, a scotch ale served the way a scotch ale should be- malty, alcoholic, and warming, served around 55 degrees; and Brown Lion Ale which was rich, malty, and nutty. The rest of the beers were nothing great, but none were bad.

To help absorb the alcohol, we added chicken tenders and rasberry truffle to our menu. The tenders were ok, but the truffle was not very good. It reminded my wife of a cake made in an Easy Bake Oven. The service was adequate and the atmosphere was decent, more like a tavern than a resturant.

Barleys is nothing spectacular, but it has enough good products to make it worth a visit.


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

Establishment: Columbus Brewing Company, Columbus, OH

Of all the breweries in Columbus, this is the only one whose produts are available in my local area. So, when I visited, I already had some tasting experience under my belt. I had already tried the Pale Ale and Nut Brown Ale in bottles.

I do not know if Columbus Brewing Co. produces any lagers at all. When I was there, all the beers on tap were ales, which is fine with me because I prefer ale over lager anyway. The beers sampled were: Alt, Golden Ale, Nutbrown Ale, Wheat Seasonal Ale, Pale Ale, and Apricot Ale. There was not a bad beer in the bunch. The Alt was the lightest in taste, but still good. The Golden Ale had an unusual taste that I could not put my finger on. The Nutbrown Ale was nutty, bread- like, and tangy. The Wheat Ale was bisquit- like and quite good. The Pale Ale was also good. But the standout was the Apricot Ale. I am not usually a fan of fruit beers because they are often so fruity, they taste like a wine cooler. But this one was exceptional. It had just the right balance of apricot and malt so you knew you were drinking beer.

Columbus Brewing Co. is the best of the Columbus area breweries. If you have time to visit only one, make it this one.


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

Establishment: Barley's Smokehouse and Brewpub, Columbus, OH

This brewpub, also known as Barleys #2, has a few of the same beers that are offered at the other Barleys on High St., plus a few unique beers of their own. The Pilsner, Pale Ale, and McLennys Scottish Ale are all served at both brewpubs. The beers unique to this location include Bavarian Wheat, IPA, Cherry Porter, and Queen Anne Stout. The Bavarian Wheat is true to the German tradition, with a blend of yeast that gives it a bubblegum- like flavor. The Queen Anne Stout was nothing special and the Cerry Stout was somewhat of a letdown because it had no noteworthy cherry taste at all. The most interseting beer in the bunch was the IPA. This style is usually very hoppy and bitter from start to finish. What makes this IPA unique and different is that is starts out hoppy and bitter, but then finishes with a sweet, almost chocolatey taste. I have never had an IPA quite like this.

I had some quesadillas as a snack, which were ok. The service was about the same, ok but nothing great. This Barleys has more of a family, resturant type atmosphere than the other one. Still, this was a decent experience, worth adding to your list.


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

Establishment: Hoster Brewing Company, Columbus, OH

Hoster Brewing Co. can be found in the historic German village, close to downtown Columbus. This brewery was built from a brick structured building that looks like it was once a garage or warehouse of some sort. It has a large resturant area, but no games or pool.

Hoster's beers range from ordinary to very good. The pilsner style beer, Gold Top, was the weakest entry offered. It had no unique or interesting characteristics.As I sampled more and more beers, they gradually got better and better, reaching a peak with the 90 Shilling Scotch Ale, India Pale Ale, and Oktoberfest. The others- Rev. Purley Pale Ale, Amber Lager, and Kolsch- were ok, but they lacked the boldness necessary to classify them as great beers.

If you are in the German Village, go ahead and give Hoster a try. There is a beer to suit everyone's taste.


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