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Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great
Great Great Great Great

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

Establishment: Twisted Pine Brewing Company, Boulder, CO

Last week I very much enjoyed an all-too-brief visit to Twisted Pine Brewing Company. The tap room fronts the brewery, which can be seen through the glass behind the set of taps. Each tap is made of a unique piece of (what else?) pine wood. As inferred in a previous review, the coasters at the bar are interesting, made of thin slices of pine, each displaying the names of a Twisted Pine brew on each side. I thoroughly enjoyed the two beers I selected: the rich and malty Red Mountain Ale and the “brewer’s whim” offering, a very tasty Razz-Brown Ale. I also brought a six-pack of the GABF medal-winning Honey Brown Ale back to Texas with me. The folks at the tap room were friendly and welcoming to a pubcrawling stranger. Cheers to owner Bob Baile, and Pete who was busy behind the bar and in the brewery, for some good conversation about beer and related topics with me and several other patrons. Guys, I shall return.

(10/11/2004)

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

Establishment: Only The Best Brewing Company, Divide, CO

I tried to stop in here a couple of weeks ago to perhaps pick up a couple of their products. I was a bit too late - they close at 5:00 PM. The sign indicated that this brewery will cease operations at the end of October.

(10/02/2004)

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

Establishment: Bitter End Bistro and Brewery, Austin, TX

I returned for another visit to the Bitter End after about a two year hiatus. There are always some interesting and flavorful beers to be had here and this time was not exception. I sampled three on this visit: the Farmhouse Belgian Brown Ale, a smoked porter, and a very interesting ale called Richter Scale Rye at 7.5%. All were superb. Kudos to Mark behind the bar as well. I really need to get to this place more often!

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Sherlock's Baker Street Pub, Houston, TX

Last week I was part of a group that met at Sherlock's Pub after work one evening. Sherlock's is an enjoyable place to drink and socialize and it seems to draw a good crowd. There are some good happy hour drink prices and a decent free buffet. There are several different gathering areas, including some outside seating. I was gone before the music started so I cannot comment there. Still, let's be clear - Sherlock's is NOT a great beer bar. The taps are dominated by the US megalagers and a few common imports (yes, you can get a black and tan). American craft beer on draft was limited to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Fat Tire, and Shiner Bock. Other than Guinness and Bass, Pilsner Urquell was the only other notable import I remember seeing on tap. From what I could see of the bottle selection, choice was even more limited (I believe I did see Shiner Hefeweizen). I saw no evidence of beers from Houston's own Saint Arnold Brewing, but perhaps I just missed it. You are likely to enjoy Sherlock's more if you go there with less than high beer expectations.

(07/13/2004)

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

Establishment: Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI

Others have mentioned how enjoyable the tours are at Lakefront Brewery. I just want to add this observation, from our visit on a Saturday in early June. Unlike most tours that have you wait till after the tour to enjoy the beer, at Lakefront, you are encouraged to begin your sampling right after you register for the tour ($5) and get your logo pint glass and tokens. In fact our tour guide insisted that we be drinking while we followed him throughout the brewery, and encouraged us to go back to the tap area to refill during the tour if we ran out. This was indeed a really fun tour. I think there were about six beers available the day we visited, with the Eastside Dark being my favorite.

(06/29/2004)

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

Establishment: BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Houston, TX

We stopped for a late Sunday afternoon meal at BJ’s this weekend. Our service was good and each of our group of four seemed pleased with our food, which ranged from calzones, to a large dinner salad, to chicken fried steak. On this visit, BJ’s loses a few points for beer selection because they were out of three of their standard house brews – the hefeweizen, the brown ale and the porter. This left the blonde, red and pale ales, the stout and a brewmaster’s special pilsner available. I understand that this in not a brewing location and that availability is subject to the production and distribution schedule of those that supply the beer, but three empty taps deserves some criticism. However, a couple of extra points are awarded for the quality guest taps, which included Saint Arnold Amber, Celis White, Stone Arrogant Bastard, Sierra Nevada IPA, Paulaner, and a cider. Unless you are near the bar or ask your server though, you may not know what comprises the guest taps. There is also a menu page listing a good range of available Belgian brews by the bottle. I had BJ’s strong red ale and the pale ale and found both to be well done.

(06/29/2004)

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

Establishment: Legends Brewhouse and Eatery, Green Bay, WI

This is one of three Legends locations in the Green Bay area. Each appears to have its own small brewing facility, I believe all used by the same brewer. This location had the four standard brews that are available across all three locations (described on the website). I was not made aware of any seasonals currently offered at this location. I had no interest in the Longtail Light or the Founder's Honey Weiss, so the bartender allowed me to sample the other two - Acme Amber and Duck Creek Dunkel. The amber was a bit disappointing, while the dunkel was closer to being on the mark. I happened to be there on a Friday night when 22 oz house beers are $2.50 so I was reasonably happy with 22 oz of dunkel. It was not very busy, and some patrons were drinking bottled domestic corn and rice lagers. This stop was later in the evening, after dinner and beers at Titletown Brewing, so I have no report on the food. Beerwise, Legends would seem to rank well below the other two Green Bay brewpubs in terms of quality or selection, but you may find a beer to your liking nonetheless.

(06/15/2004)

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

Establishment: Titletown Brewing Company, Green Bay, WI

I don’t have much to add to the other endorsements of Titletown – cool place, good food, and flavorful beer. They offer an impressive beer sampler which came with three different seasonal Belgian style brews. I think there were ten brews in all to sample including the house root beer.

(06/15/2004)

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

Establishment: Hinterland Brewery, Green Bay, WI

Hinterland is indeed an upscale restaurant we opted to enjoy a couple of beers in the lounge here and then cross the street for a more casual dinner at Titletown. I enjoyed both beers I ordered, a tasty, slightly roasty amber ale and a rich and complex bock. My wife ordered their special version of a raspberry wheat – their framboise poured atop the honey wheat, creating a reddish and gold version of a black and tan. I would have liked to have sampled a couple more beers here, but it was time to move on.

(06/15/2004)

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

Establishment: Shipwrecked, Egg Harbor, WI

This brewpub occupies an old historic inn, overlooking the harbor. We had a perfect day to enjoy the outdoor seating (which admittedly sits right next to the road through town). The beer sampler (yes, plastic cups) offered seven selections which included a light lager, an equally light blonde ale, a cherry wheat, a moderately hoppy copper ale, a tasty seasonal bock, and a porter. These may not have been outstanding beers, but all were drinkable and the bock was quite good. Unlike the previous reviewer, our server seemed reasonably beer knowledgeable. Try the seafood chowder or the Portobello sandwich. Overall, this brewpub visit was a pleasant lunch-time experience. Also, check out the Door Peninsula Winery just a few miles south of Egg Harbor with a nice little tour and wine tasting available.

(06/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Minocqua Brewing Company, Minocqua, WI

With the many critical reviews of this place, I did not have very high expectations of Minocqua Brewing Co. But our experience on a recent weekday was OK. We did lunch and both beers that I had were solid – the respectable red ale and the amber-colored wild rice lager (a former GABF winner), which had a sweet, nutty taste like I might expect in a brown ale. My companions chose somewhat lighter beers. We returned later in the afternoon and did the entire beer sampler so that we could try them all. Other choices included a light honey ale, and amber light, an appropriately hopped pale ale, and a decent rye porter that was not quite as complex in flavor as the menu promised. I even saw a couple of Minocqua’s Island City beers in six packs in a liquor store in Rhinelander. This is not an outstanding brewpub, but ours was not a terrible experience as others have described. And it does have a great setting overlooking the lake.

(06/09/2004)

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

Establishment: LogJam Microbrewery, Tomahawk, WI

This is a seven barrel microbrewery with a small tap room located at a historic Wisconsin River dam site, just east of Tomahawk. In the tap room, the four LogJam brews can be found in half pints, pints, pitchers, and growlers to go, along with peanuts. Bottled versions of the beers are available regionally but may not always be easy to find. The four beers are as follows: > Axe Handle Ale – a light ale made with Wisconsin honey > Dam Lager – a flavorful yet understated lager with only a slight hop bitterness > Swede Saw Red Ale – a medium-bodied amber ale brewed with caramel malts > Nut Brown Ale – made with a generous dose of chocolate malt Overall these are good beers for what they are, but there is nothing here that would satisfy a hophead. The brewery is easily found of off US 51. Take the Highway D exit, go east a half a mile or so, and turn left on Kings Road. Follow it to the river and the brewery is on your right. LogJam is worth a stop, but note the limited hours.

(06/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Bugsy's Sports Bar and Brown Street Brewery, Rhinelander, WI

Bugsy’s is basically a sports bar with sports on TV, seven pool tables, shuffleboard, and even an indoor basketball court. The small extract brewing system is highly visible in the front to the right of the front door. Four house beers were available when we visited: a “lite” beer of some sort, a raspberry wheat beer, a pale ale and a “spring ale”. The bartender gave me a sample of the latter two so as to help me select one. The pale ale was not true to form in terms of hops or overall flavor profile, with a lighter color and more of a sweet aftertaste. The spring ale had a surprisingly nice amber color and was drinkable but largely undistinguished. I’m told their brown ale is pretty good when available. The bottle selection offered few interesting choices, although I did find New Glarus Spotted Cow and LogJam Nut Brown. Bugsy’s is probably the best beer choice in Rhinelander but expectations should not be very high. Pizza is served till midnight, with other pub grub available earlier.

(06/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, WI

This is one of America’s oldest continuously operating breweries, and one that still does a very good brewery tour that literally takes you through the entire operation. There is a small museum area and a nice tasting room with walls covered with old Wisconsin beer bottle labels. My only complaint was that our group was given too little time to enjoy our three beer samples because our guide had to get ready for the next scheduled tour. Beers available for tasting included the flagship Point Special, Point Amber, Honey Light, Point White, a new recipe Point Pale Ale (nicely hopped), and Augsburger and Augsberger Dark, We missed the seasonal Point Spring Bock on draught, although the bottled version was available in the company store and gift shop. This is a revival of the seasonal bock for this brewery and is a tasty true-to-style rendition. This is a recommended stop.

(06/07/2004)

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

Establishment: Moosejaw Pizza and Brewing Company, Wisconsin Dells, WI

There has been lot said about this place recently, some praising and some critical of Moose Jaw. This is indeed a large restaurant that primarily caters to tourist families visiting the Wisconsin Dells area. There was a waiting list on the Sunday evening of Memorial Day weekend. There is a bar on each of three levels, with displays of beer cans and trays in the lower level among the arcade games, darts and other diversions.

The several Moose Jaw beers that I tried were pretty good – a well-done altbier, a dark and complex brown ale that seemed more porter-like in terms of color and flavor profile, and the Kilbourn Hop Ale, a nicely hopped amber ale. Our food choices included a pizza, a calzone and a Portobello sandwich. We had no complaints. A couple of Moose Jaw beers were also found at the Showboat Saloon on Broadway in downtown Wisconsin Dells.

(06/07/2004)

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

Establishment: Angelic Brewing Company, Madison, WI

This place was fairly quiet when we visited on a mid-Saturday afternoon. We liked the feel of the place, with the large rectangular bar and reproductions of classic art illustrating the angel theme adorning the walls. The number of available beers was a bit limited, however I enjoyed both of the brews I tried – a Scottish ale and their award-winning (and hoppy amber). We just had a couple of appetizers, so I won’t comment on the food. Service was adequate, given the light crowd at that time of day.

(06/07/2004)

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

Establishment: Essen Haus, Wisconsin Dells, WI

This is apparently a fairly new German restaurant patterned after the Essen Haus in Madison. This place is located in a little German village area in downtown Wisconsin Dells, with its beer garden open to a plaza with a glockenspiel that tells the story of the Pied Piper on the hour. We found about a dozen German beers on draught (a good list with few suprises) and even Okocim Pilsner from Poland. The menu mentions a large selection of unnamed bottled imports and micros but I did not investigate further. I was satisfied with my draughts of Franziskaner Dunkel Weiss and Kostritzer Schwarzbier. The menu offers a nice selection of German dishes, plus pizza, burgers and such. Our entrees were good but not outstanding. There is also live music in the evenings. The Essen Haus offers an alternative to many of the other bars and restaurants in Wisconsin Dells where Leinenkugel’s beers may otherwise be the best draught choices available.

(06/07/2004)

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

Establishment: English Ales Brewery, Marina, CA

English Ales is both a production brewery and a pub. Their ales are seemingly becoming available throughout the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. I saw several of them at the Englander Pub in Dublin, and the brewery website lists many more places where their brews can be found.

The pub is small and fairly light and airy. The beer line-up is not small. I found ten selections available when I stopped for lunch last Friday, mostly UK-inspired ales as the brewery name implies. Choices included their flagship EA Pale Ale (formerly “1066”), Dragon Slayer IPA, Monk’s Brown Ale, Borthwick’s Best Bitter, Ramsey’s Fat Lip Ale (a Scottish), Black Prince Porter, Black Hound Stout, plus a lighter golden or cream ale, and a filtered Monterey Bay Wheat. The porter was also available on cask and there was an ESB in the fermenter. I enjoyed the very tasty brown ale and the Scottish ale with my fish and chips, which was a popular menu choice with the lunch patrons that day. Karen was a delightful presence behind the bar. This is a recommended stop just off of Highway 1 north of Monterey.

(05/26/2004)

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

Establishment: Los Gatos Brewing Company, Los Gatos, CA

This is a rather upscale restaurant in a vintage 1920’s building that also brews its own beer. There seem to be three full time beers: Pilsner, Hefeweizen, and the Oktoberfest Marzen (their most popular according to the bartender). On the night I visited, there were three seasonals or brewer’s specials as well: a golden ale, Morgan’s Maibock, and Sherman’s Stout on cask. None of the six seemed likely to stimulate the senses of a hophead. I opted for the maibock, which delivered a sweet taste and full mouth feel that had it nearing some of the qualities of a dopplebock. I had a somewhat unusual smoked salmon pizza, which was good but probably not the best pairing for the sweetness of the maibock. The brewpub is pretty easy to find in downtown Los Gatos not far off of Route 17.

(05/25/2004)

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

Establishment: Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Princeton-by-the-Sea, CA

Other reviewers have mentioned the oceanfront setting of Half Moon Brewing Company. The pub is truly a comfortable place, with its restaurant seating overlooking the bay, the bar area with its big fireplace, and the outdoor seating complete with comfortable chairs surrounding a couple of large firepits. My sampler came with eight beers: Harbor Light Ale – malty and clean with slight hop presence – seemed like a kolsch. Sandy Beach Blonde – a Bavarian-style unfiltered hefeweizen. Mavericks Amber Ale – very tasty, with Cascade hops. Pillar Point Pale Ale – a bit light on the hops for the style. Princeton-by-the-Sea IPA – a deep gold color with both British and American hops. Bootlegger’s Brown Ale – a true-to-style, malty but not overly complex British brown. ESB – Deep amber color with a good malt, hop balance. Paddle Out Stout – a mildly sweet stout served on nitrogen. If you are there for lunch, try the swordfish taco. Half Moon Bay Brewing is definitely worth a stop.

(05/25/2004)

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

Establishment: Hop Yard Alehouse and Grill, San Ramon, CA

I find it somewhat remarkable that the only reviews of the San Ramon Hop Yard over the past several years are from my rather infrequent business trips to San Ramon. Well after a year and a half, I again returned to the Hop Yard on parts of two evenings last week. Each of two dinner companions and I were pleased with our food selections – there is a good variety of sandwiches, salads and pub grub. The beer selection is always great (although I felt there were a bit too many craft brewery lagers on at one time at the expense of other styles). What especially seems noteworthy is the fact that the Hop Yard offers a number of beers from brewpubs perhaps not often seen outside of their own establishments. On this visit, these included a stout and another offering from Black Diamond, a kolsch from Ross Valley, a hoppy concoction called Beerinator from Russian River, Snowshoe’s superb ESB, and others from Hoptown and EJ Phair.

(05/24/2004)

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

Establishment: Englander Sports Pub and Restaurant, Dublin, CA

I made several visits to the Englander in Dublin while in the East Bay area on business last week, including Tuesday night pint night. The more than 50 taps include several North American macro-lagers and roughly 15 quality but largely unsurprising imports. The rest of the Englander taps pour a wide range of beers from a variety of predominantly West Coast craft brewers – Sierra Nevada, Pyramid, Gordon Biersch, Mendocino, Red Hook, Deschutes, Lost Coast, Anderson Valley, North Coast, Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Speakeasy, El Toro, Alaskan, Rogue, Kona, and Abita. And then there are the hand pumps serving a variety of ales from the English Ales Brewery in Marina, plus offerings from the UK as well. The food menu looked good, but I only tried the garlic fries. If Tony is behind the bar, he will take good care of you. This pub, with lots of sports on its many TV’s and outdoor seating when the weather is good, is about halfway between the two Hop Yard Ale Houses in Pleasanton and San Ramon, making for a very good three-stop pubcrawl if you have a designated driver.

(05/24/2004)

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

Establishment: BJ's Restaurant and Brewery, Webster, TX

Well, after more than a year, I finally made it to the BJ's brewpub last weekend. The inside has been totally redone since the days when this was Bradley's Restaurant & Brewery. The interior is spacious and nicely done with booth and table seating and the bar area in the back. Available beers included their seven full year offerings - Brewhouse Blonde (kolsch), Harvest Hefeweizen, Piranha Pale Ale, Jeremiah Red (strong ale), Nutty Brewnette (brown ale) PM Porter, and Tatonka Stout....plus three special pours - a pilsner, a Belgian wit, and a cask-condition version of the PM Porter. I went with the brown ale (good), the award winning Jeremiah Red (excellent), and the caskporter which was OK, but perhaps not a preferred style to be served on cask in my opinion. Several guest taps are also available (at the time of our visit: Saint Arnold Spring Bock, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Anchor Steam, and Guinness), plus a fair selection of bottled Belgian offerings. My ribs and chicken entree was well done and my wife enjoyed her shrimp pasta dish with her pint of BJ's Blonde. Our server was friendly and attentive and a manager came by to check on us at least twice.

A conversation with the bartender before we left indicated that this location does not provide beer for the other non-brewing BJ's locations in Texas, due to state restrictions and the fact that they are selling about all the beer they can produce at this location anyway. Happy hour prices on drinks and appetizers are only available in the bar area.

(04/28/2004)

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

Establishment: Hops Restaurant and Brewery, Jackson, MS

We stopped here for dinner early on a Saturday evening. I’ve never had a bad meal at a Hops restaurant and this one was reasonably good as well. I opted for a grilled chicken dish while my wife really enjoyed a somewhat different chicken scaloppini club sandwich. Although most of the standard Hops brews have never been held in high regard, some of their seasonal offerings rate a bit better. I was too late for the Winter Amber Ale, but I enjoyed the seasonal Flying Squirrel Nut Brown Ale and the year-round porter-like Alligator Ale – each seemed relatively true to style. This brewpub is right along I-55 near exit 102.

(04/06/2004)

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

Establishment: Hal and Mal's Restaurant and Brewery, Jackson, MS

This long established restaurant and music venue added a brewery a few years ago. The music theme is emphasized throughout the décor. The men’s room is a tribute to Elvis Presley, and the woman’s room is dedicated to “sweet potato queens” (www.sweetpotatoqueens.com).

When we stopped for lunch as we passed through Jackson, I could not sample any of the six listed house brews due to some problem with the dispensing system. The bottle selection is decent but generally unremarkable. My wife and I ate light, sampling soup, some good salads, and very tasty beer battered mushrooms. We made a return trip through Jackson about a week later and found the house beers available. I sampled four of the six beers offered: a light lager (somewhat sweet and designed for mass appeal), an amber ale (good but not overly complex), a pale ale (nice hops), and the seasonal sweet potato ale (see reference above – actually very tasty). The other two available were an unfiltered version of the pale ale and a stout. Not available but on the printed menu were a pilsner and a Scottish ale that was the favorite of one of the servers we spoke with.

I’m a bit puzzled by the previous review saying that this place was difficult to locate – Hal and Mal’s is easy to find right off of the Pearl Street exit of I-55 – just follow the directions on their website.

(04/06/2004)


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