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Reviews on PubCrawler from bruce
Other Reviews by this User
December 22, 2014 @ 03:41 PM EDT
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Beer Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Beer Reviews from bruce
Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great

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

Establishment: Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works, Normal, IL

They must have changes some things since the previous reviews. I agree that it seems more like a mall restaurant than a brewpub, but they had 16 on tap (one of which was barrel-aged)and a cask when I was there in November. It was crowded on an early Friday evening, but found a spot at the bar and talked with John and Chuck behind the bar, both great guys, and knowledgeable about their beers. I started with their cask "Black Angel Stout". It was dry, with a little bite in the throat after a swallow, just enough to be a good thing. I'd go back for another. Had a taste of their Rauchbier, their Pumpkin Porter, and their Cerise Stout. All good, just not what I wanted for my next beer. Another taste of the Deadhead Double Red on tap, a good red with fair hops, not as syrupy as some reds can be. Then I had the same thing in their barrel-aged version. Wow! Much smoother than you would think a 10% ale would be. I loved it, and will definitely go back next time I'm in town. They apparently switch the barrel aged selections from time to time, so knowing what's there ahead of time might not be possible, but I'd try anything they came up with. I'd have bought a growler, but was in town for a conference for a couple of days, and didn't have a way to keep it long enough to get back to NW Chicago and enjoy it at home.


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

Establishment: Round Barn Brewery, Baroda, MI

We stopped in August, our second time through that part of the state in two years. They have improved the quality of their beers quite a bit in that time. Nice to see real effort put out by a relative unknown. They still have the standards you find at any microbrewery, but they had on tap their "Oaked IPA". There is some confusion on what it is actually called. In the tasting room, it's Oaked IPA, the label calls it Oak Aged IPA, and the back of the bottle label calls it an American Pale Ale, yet later in the label it is again referred to as an IPA. Identity crisis? Regardless of the name, it is a good beer. Not near the hop level I would expect from an IPA, but the oak aging (oak chips added to the tank for 12 days, as the bartender told me) adds a twist. Really pretty mellow, but a nice flavor. I bought a six-pack, hauled it through the rest of our trip through Michigan, then back, put it in my crawlspace, and just shared two bottles this afternoon. One was with a brewer at Emmett's, our local brewpub, the other was with the "beer guy" Matt, at my favorite microbrew store, Dobby's in Palatine. It's worth a trip to the tasting room if you're in the area. We may be back in October, looking forward to whatever seasonal they have on tap at that time. I don't know where they sell it, other than at their facilities. I'd buy it again if I can find it. Oh, yeah, they make wine and vodka, too.


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

Establishment: Emmett's Ale House-Palatine, Palatine, IL

This is particularly in reference to the Summer Brewmaster Dinner last week. I've been to a couple of theirs before, but this one topped them. If you haven't been to one here, go! I'm more of a beer guy than a food guy, and the Brewmaster Dinner is more than I usually spend for dinner, but it's a lot more dinner (quality-wise) than I usually get. The shrimp summer roll appetizer paired with their RyePA, great salad with their Scottish Ale, the sorbet, then the best piece of beef I have ever had (Boursin-stuffed Beef Tenderloin done to perfection)along with their Centennial Amber, finished with the Berry Chocolate Crepes and their Double Barrel Oatmeal Stout. It was an amazing night. You really should look into it on their website, and make plans to go to one.


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

Establishment: Bob's House of Brews aka B.O.B.'s House of Brews, Grand Rapids, MI

We were there late in the afternoon on a weekday, and there were only two others in there at a table. We sat at a corner of the bar, and the bartender could tell us the names of their own beers, and what else was on tap, but that was about it. She did offer us tastes of a few before we ordered, so that was helpful. They were good, better than a national brand, but none of them were outstanding. A guy came in and sat down at the opposite end of the bar from us, and seemed to have some "issues". He was conversing with some invisible person, sometimes loudly, and became a little abusive with the bartender. She handled it very well, unobtrusively calling the manager, who showed up quietly and quickly with another guy, taking a nearby table. She let us know that it was being handled. When he started again, the manager went to him, had a very quiet conversation, and returned to his table. A few more customers had arrived by this time. At the next incident, the manager must have quietly asked him to leave, and he did so with no problems, leaving the man his dignity, and not disrupting other customers. Very well handled. We had a couple of pretty good appetizers, and some good conversation with a few of the locals, which is one of my favorite parts of visiting a brewpub. We went back again the next evening, and it was all positive. Good food.


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

Establishment: Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI

I'd also put Founder's in my list of top ten favorite brewers. It's a special treat to have their beers on tap within 15 feet of where they're made. While we were in Grand Rapids for two days, we somehow managed to get to Founder's on both. Go figure. Both visits were mid-afternoon weekdays, so they weren't too busy. Customers (regulars) were friendly, but I'd like to have had more of a challenge on the pool table. Oh, well, it let me concentrate more on the beer. I'm sure we had some kind of food, and it was probably good, but I was there for the beer and the place. I made sure to have at least one of each of the seasonals which, at least in the Chicago area, weren't available in bottles, except for the wheat and fruit stuff. I know a lot of people like those, and they probably do a very good job with them, I'm just more of an ale/stout/porter kind of guy, and theirs are among the best.


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

Establishment: Brewhaus, Springfield, IL

Neat place. We were there Sunday night (after dinner at Saputo's, which is an Italian restaurant you should try if you're in downtown Springfield). As mentioned below, it is a little dark to read the beer menu, but it's worth straining. Old black painted tin high ceiling, good looking back bar. My wife had some Smithwick's, and I had a Samuel Smith Taddy Porter, then a Samuel Smith Imperial Stout. Nice seeing several Smith products on a beer menu. While I was drinking the stout, I asked Nate the bartender if he would take another Taddy Porter out of the cooler so it could warm up, if we decided to stay for another. He nodded, grabbed a bottle, and set it unopened in front of me. He seemed very knowledgeable about the beers, and was quick to point out that the owner worked with the local distributors to offer the best beer list available. For Springfield, it's fantastic. For ANY place, it's fantastic. He also filled us in on the trio performing at the time, a local singer/guitarist/songwriter named Tom Irwin who also writes for the local alternative paper, along with another guitarist and a bassist. Nate told us they had performed there for 700 (not a typo) Sunday evenings since the place opened about 15 years ago. We stayed for the Porter. Great way to end the night.


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

Establishment: Ram Restaurant and Brewery, Wheeling, IL

I'd been to the Ram in Schaumburg a few times, and hadn't been that impressed. I stopped in here (Wheeling) in mid-December, and tried the seasonal Frosty's Delight Baltic Porter. A step or two up from their regular Total Disorder Porter, thicker and more balanced. Maybe a hint of licorice or molasses? Nice. I came back at the end of December, and had another Frosty's, then tried another seasonal, their Icebreaker Java Stout. Wow! The coffee flavor is definitely not a Folgers, more like something approaching espresso, but it doesn't overwhelm. Great balance. Brett the bartender was very knowledgeable about their locations and beers, and offered information regarding some of their upcoming specials and other promotional stuff. Good guy. These things are making me take Ram more seriously. Schaumburg was a place we could go because my wife enjoys their "Buttface" amber ale, and I'd have a Total Disorder. They're improving. Today at Wheeling, they had four seasonals on tap, which made a total of 11 beers/ales brewed on site. Every time I go now, I have an empty growler or two to be filled. The seasonals in Wheeling and the seasonals in Schaumburg are not the same. The brewer at each location determines his offerings outside the standard selections. Wheeling seems to be geared a little more toward the serious beer geek, and Schaumburg seems geared toward the crowd leaving the mall and stopping for a bite and something to wash it down with. Wheeling is about a half-hour out of my way, but I'm making it a fairly regular stop, even with the Schaumburg location about ten minutes from my house.


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

Establishment: Emmett's Tavern and Brewery-Palatine, Palatine, IL

They're open here again! They had a "mug club" pre-opening The beer selection is only rated "Good" temporarily, I hope. While they're waiting for their brewing license in this location, they're bringing in brews from their other three locations. Double Barrel Stout is a good starting point for any winter evening. Hopefully, they'll be brewing in Palatine again soon. They do have their taps all filled with some really good selections from other places while waiting to get into full production. Staff seems very well informed.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Brockway Chophouse, Palatine, IL

This place is not only closed, but Emmett's has returned to this location! Please support Emmett's and keep them in Palatine.


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

Establishment: The Old Hat Brewery, Lawton, MI

Another place we went several months ago. Got there Sunday at noon (opening time), and had some Stuebin's Stout, which had just the right sweetness and malt. Smooth. The Alt was a really good blend of smooth and bitter. I got to talk with Tommy Fuller, the brewer. He let me try a sample of something he had "experimented" with, his Single Barrel Stout. It was beautiful. He put it on the hand draw when we finished talking about it, so I bought the first pint. Nice cream to faded copper head, and absolutely opaque when I held it up to the sun. Hope he continued it. I'd definitely go back.


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

Establishment: Bell's Brewery / Eccentric Cafe, Kalamazoo, MI

We were there just for the beer, and the bartender knew it. He was proud of what they make, and took care of us very well. The beer garden is great! (Yeah, it was a few months ago. So I'm slow.)I can get most of their stuff here (Chicago), but it's so much nicer drinking it at their home instead of ours. Met some great people from Arbor Brewing while we were there, just enjoying themselves on a Sunday afternoon. They were cool enough that I want to hit their place next time I'm in the Detroit area.


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

Establishment: Blue Star Brewing Company, San Antonio, TX

Neat place. I can't imagine that San Antonio only has one brewpub within the city limits.

People from San Antonio: GO THERE! SUPPORT THIS PLACE!

They didn't have the King William on tap, but I had a good Amber ale, and a Stout which I really enjoyed. The food was good, too. I really liked the Pork Green Chili. The service was a little slow, but we were there in the middle of the afternoon, and they were busy setting up one of the rooms for a dinner that evening. No big deal. We were there to relax, anyway. Got to spend some time with the brewer, and he seemed happy to talk with us, and gave us some of the history/local stuff, which we always enjoy. The other patrons were friendly, too. I'll go back next time I'm in the area.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Prairie Rock Brewing Company, Schaumburg, IL

Closed, now it's a steak and seafood place. Don't know if they kept the brewing equipment or if it's being used. Bummer.


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

Establishment: Durty Nellie's Pub, Restaurant and Music Venue, Palatine, IL

I can't believe I haven't reviewed Nellie's. I've been going there since it was in its old location, which I did love. This place is great, too, just in different ways. The staff is very knowledgeable for the most part, and they are constantly changing beers several times per season. They may not have the exact beer you want on each visit, but you'll find something you like.


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

Establishment: Three Dollar Dewey's, Portland, ME

Hit this place on a Sunday evening, easily got a table, and ordered a bowl of their smoked seafood chowder. Amazing. I'd go back for that, even if they didn't have a great selection of ales. Waitstaff was very knowledgeable and friendly, without the forced insecure hovering you sometimes get. Loved the place.


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

Establishment: Ri Ra Irish Pub and Restaurant, Portland, ME

We stopped in on Sunday afternoon after the Old Port Fest had ended. Knew nothing about it being part of a chain, since they don't go into the Chicago area. Enjoyed the place, since it wasn't too busy at that time. Bartender was friendly, knowledgeable about local beers and the city in general. The place was filling up, but he still took time to chat when possible. We had a pint, and enjoyed the atmosphere.


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

Establishment: Gritty McDuff's, Portland, ME

First pub we hit in Portland on Saturday evening, June 3rd this summer. Bartender was knowledgeable, but not overly friendly. Got a table in the bar area, not much of a wait. We ended up talking with a group of women out on a "girls weekend" seated at a table next to us. Waitress seemed to look around a lot and hang around at the end of the bar waiting for her placed orders. Food was good, beer was good, but not what I had expected from previous reviews. Maybe it was bad timing on our part. I'd give it another try. Liked the Old Port section of the city, and would go back.


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

Establishment: Sebago Brewing Company, Portland, ME

We visited Sebago on Sunday, June 4, 2006, during the annual Old Port Festival. We sat out on the portico. Staff was great. Enjoyed a plate of the Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms, and enjoyed watching the people on the street during the festival. My wife and I sampled the Boathouse Brown Ale, Frye's Leap IPA, Lake Trout Stout, Runabout Red Ale, and Midnight Porter. All were good, but I chose the IPA as my pint(s). Very relaxing experience.


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

Establishment: Emmett's Tavern and Brewery-Palatine, Palatine, IL

I loved it, but it closed on May 20. Planning on opening another "somewhere in the Northwest suburbs". Hope it's nearby. Bartenders were all knowledgable, and seemed to genuinely appreciate your business. I'm going to miss it, I was kind of spoiled having it less than two miles from home, and belonged to their "mug club". I went in twice the last week, and they gave me certificates for one of their other locations about 13 miles away.


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