2005 and Earlier
This website started in 2006 and has been used, each year, to review many different beer venues and also have a 'state of the industry' on each year’s page. On the original review page I stated that I would like to go back in my archives and, at the very least, list the microbreweries, brewpubs and beer bars visited. I have been on many trips and have made beer a part of each since (at least) 1994. So, here in 2020 I will try to list each place visited and add anything remembered or chronicled to each listing. I have boxes of stuff from most years and sometimes have memorabilia from breweries. This will be an ongoing endeavor and I am getting a good start while we all 'stay at home' during the current virus outbreak. Not a bad way to stay safe and relive some great memories at the same time! So, grab a beer and join me for an adventure into the past and see how much the industry has changed since those early years.
Click on each year. Enjoy, Larry
Ragtime Tavern - Atlantic Beach, FL.
Ragtime Tavern is a local favorite. they are known for great seafood and the house made beers. The night I visited there was a jazz band playing, perfect for enjoyment during dinner. The menu offers some great selections and the beers are great too. My favorite was Red Brick Ale a good malty ale hopped to give this brew good balance. Other brews include Dolphins Breath Lager, Westbury Wheat and A. Strange Stout. the stout was quite tasty and is named for the brewer's grandfather. I stayed at the Seahorse Inn just across the street. The following morning I got some pictures of Ragtime before they opened; this is outside and here is the main bar. Cool place and I returned in October on my way to NC..
2020 note: Ragtime is still there and it looks like they have stayed true to the original concept. Several of the beers are the same and the menu has good seafood as well. Nice to see that. They do have an IPA now which I tried on a more recent visit; most of the beer remains almost like it was. (Which was good.) Website: RagtimeTavern.com
A1A Ale Works - St. Augustine, FL.
A1A ale Works is in the heart of St Augustine, on King Street across from the Bridge of Lions. This is a great location with small upstairs balconies that look over the busy streets below. The first story is a comfortable bar and the main restaurant is upstairs. A1A and Ragtime (above) share the brewer (and ownership) so there are some in common and A1A has a few for itself. There are six house beers. The familiar Red Brick never disappoints They also have King Street Lager, Porpoise Point Pale Ale, Bridge of Lions Brown and A. Strange Stout. Of the group the pale ale got my vote that day. Seasonals are usually available. The food is superb here; any seafood is great; look for the daily special. I got a small folded menu that shows food and beer. It says Ragtime Tavern 32 Miles North on the cover.
2020 note: I am disappointed to find out that A1A stopped brewing their own beer in 2017. Now they feature a 24 tap system with rotating Florida craft beers. It has always been a challenge to brew in the small space. Years ago I came in and the house brews were not there. This was because the heavy tanks for brewing were stressing the floors. The solution was to move the brewery to the basement and start over. The beer change now are due to customer tastes changing and having more than five or six beers on tap. The food was always top notch and that continues, I'm sure. There are also several breweries locally now. Website: A1AAleworks.com
Florida Tap Room - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Florida Tap Room is probably the most 'Florida' of any beer centric place I have seen. In Fort Lauderdale, next door to the Swimming Hall of Fame, it is right on the docks along the Intercoastal waterway. To me it has the feel of the many Tiki bars of the Keys. Right on the water with cold beer and good food available. This is a Shipyard brewing 'south' (of Maine) location. Throw in Native Brewing's line up and you have a fun place wth good beer. It is hard to find; the SHOF was a helpful landmark to find it. It is laid back island style and it's fun to watch all the boats and activity on the water. I had something to eat from the varied menu. The beers were good Fuggles IPA and Old Thumper were perfect in this cool place. I have this menu from that day and will return again.
2020 note: I visited another time in 2004. (?) I happened to be there for the 'last call' as they were moving from that cool location. No surprise as being directly on the water probably wasn't practical as time went by. They moved to a place nearby that was in the 'middle' of the street. Kind of an island between the north and south roads. I seem to remember going there once but is was nothing like the original. There are pictures of this somewhere but where? It was cool while it lasted and it's now another piece of #beerhistory. No website.
TBONZ Gill and Grill - Charleston, SC
While walking around Charleston, I spotted TBONZ and had heard they made their own beer. TBONZ is a big place set up for tourists. I stopped by in the middle of the afternoon so it was quiet. I just wanted to try the beer and was able to have the Cooper River Red and Nut Brown Ale. Nut brown isn't that common so I hoped to find something good. This wasn't special so the Red would have to do. It too was unremarkable but was good to have on this warm afternoon. I see that the beer is brewed at their Mt. Pleasant location and they have three locations to send the brews to. It was a quick visit and maybe I will return one day for a complete meal. Here's the 2002 menu and beer list.
2020 note: TBONZ is still there and now has five locations. I believe they now get their beer from a local brewery New South Brewing. Some of the names look familiar so there is probably some connection to the original TBONZ brewery form 2002. Here's what beers they offer now. Website: TbonzGillandGrill.com
Southend Brewery and Smokehouse - Charleston, SC
I have heard about Southend Brewery and visited while walking downtown Charleston. Southend is located in the historic 1880's Wagner building on Bay Street. The building is supposed to be haunted and is on ghost tours at night. I stopped by for a couple of welcome cold brews on a warm afternoon. The Beer List had seven regular beers and for seasonal selections 'ask your server'. I had the Scarlet Red Ale and Bombay Pale Ale. Both were good but not memorable. Southend is part of a small chain with locations in Charlotte, NC and Greensboro, NC.
2020 note: Southend closed this Charleston location in 2016 and the property was taken over by Lagunetas Brewing of Pentluma, CA. Lagunetas (now owned by Heineken) did some remodeling and stayed open for about a year. At some point, they discovered just how much work the old building would require and closed for good in 2017. The brewing equipment was removed and as far as I can tell the building stands empty today.
R.J Rockers Brewing Co. - Spartanburg, SC
I found RJ Rockers in my beer book; Beer Traveler. Open since 1997, RJRB has been a big part of downtown Spartanburg's Morgan Square revival. It is known as 'The Rock on Morgan Square' locally. I arrived for happy hour and was able to try and enjoy several house beers. Panther Pale Ale the 'Beer of the Week' was a good start. There were two reds here Big Red Johnson, a good take on an Irish Red. The Horse You Rode in on Amber Ale also worked. I like some of the names of the brews; all listed on the shirt I got using the "Got Beer" theme. (Similar to an ad campaign: Got Milk?") The calender shows trivia, mug club night and other assorted specials each day. Beer List from that day. Photo of the bar and outside. A good visit and I will return one day.
2020 note: My visit above was one of the last nights RJRBC was open on Morgan Square. According to the current website history, they closed this location in November 2002! Glad I made it. I heard that they had closed a few years later. They eventually became a production only brewery and I do recall finding Bell Ringer Double Pale Ale somewhere in my travels in NC. While writing this in 2020 I was pleased to find out that RJRBC reopened in 2017.or thereabouts, as a full restaurant back downtown. I still have that shirt and it it fits! This will necessitate a visit in the near future. Website: RJRockers.com
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria- Greenville, SC
I knew Barley's form the Asheville location. Lots of good food and microbrews on tap. I was running late for dinner and found out that the kitchen closed as I got there. I tried a few brews from the list and found out that the only place left open was Wild Wings right next door. Details are sketchy as it had been a long day. I got something to eat and headed back to my hotel for the night.
2020 note: Barley's is still there and I have visited many times. Pizza and beer; you can't go wrong with that combo! They are friendly there. I remember coming in early one day and all of us, on both sides of the bar, were fairly hungover. It was one big family getting started for the day. I visit Greenville regularly now and Barley's is a great start for lunch before a 'brewery crawl'. Greenville has grown and changed in many ways since 2002. It has become a great beer city. In 2019 I reviewed several local breweries there. Website: BarleyGville.com
Smoky Mountain Brewery - Gatlinburg, TN.
I have visited Smoky Mountain several times since they opened in 1996. Each time it seems to get a bit better. In 1996 there really wasn't a restaurant area; you ordered at the bar and picked it up. The beer list was shorter and some was in 22 oz bomber bottles. Those bottles were some of the first 'microbrews' I tried outside of Asheville, NC. Now SMB has a full menu and table service. I was there with friends for lunch and all were pleased. The Cherokee Red still was good and I had it with lunch. I have a placemat that lists all the beers and a menu from that day. Still a good stop in Gatlinburg.
2020 note: SMB is still in Gatlinburg and now has four locations around Tennessee. Now owned by a restaurant group it is part of the huge craft beer explosion that has taken place in the last 10 years. The beers have all changed names and repines updated as any smart operator would do these days. SMB looks like it has a great idea with good beer and I would like to revisit someday soon. Website: SMB.com
Odds and Ends from 2002
Wrapping up loose ends from 2002. I am writing this in 2020 from memory, receipts and historical items. Everything is accurate as possible written just over 20 years later. At the end of the 2002 'collection' there were several pieces with no story or memory. These happened in 2002 but I simply don't remember and / or confuse it with another trip. I will list these here and if (ever) the mystery is solved the place will be added to where is belongs in the reviews section.
Rocky River Brewery and Grille - Sevierville - Pigeon Forge, TN. I have no memory of this one but have a Menu and a nice laminated Beer List. There is nothing about Rocky River on the web and the old website goes to a hotel cafe in NC
Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. Formerly Two Moons Brew and View (Visited in 1998). I met friends in Asheville in 2002; no doubt we had beer, pizza and took in a 'B' movie. It's a cool concept; remove every other row and put in tables so you can watch a movie, drink beer and enjoy pizza all at the same time. Asheville Pizza & Brewing now has three locations and their beer is available, in cans, all over western NC. Still showing (much better!) movies at that original location. 2002 Menu. Website AshevilleBrewing.com
Titanic Brewery and Restaurant. I have been going to Titanic before they opened and continue today. These pieces are 'historical' as after the first few years there were no more beer dinners and related beer centric events. In June there was a beer dinner and in August there was a seafood special with seasonal brews. These were both good events but over time must not have worked for management. Too bad as they were great fun. Dinner flyer and ticket, cool use of the corporate seal to make the ticket 'official'.
Goose Island Brewpub - Chicago, IL.
The Goose Island Brewpub - Clybourn was a good start to my 'Blue Chicago' trip of Aug. 31 - Sept. 9, 2001. After landing, the first stop was Sam's Wine and Spirits for beer. Sam's was just across the Street from Goose Island where lunch was had. (Sam's was bought by a local competitor in 2009.) The brewpub was not too busy and a great place for lunch. Being new to GIB, I saw the now familiar 'goose-neck' tap handles for the first time. These were a good idea as I could go into a place and see that they had Goose Island available. (That happened several times on this trip.) Somehow, a receipt was saved that shows me procuring an 'Anniversary Growler' for $9 with $1 for the glass. The food was good and it was time to hit the road for more. fun! 2001 Brewpub Brochure. Fresh Draft Beer Menu.
2020 note: GIB was bought by ABI (Budweiser) in 2011. They left the Chicago operations alone for 5 years then took over everything. The beer is now brewed in New York and is not like the original Chicago beer was.
Prairie Rock Brewing Company - Elgin, IL.
We were heading to Rockford, Ill for a concert by the California Trio later that evening. Along the way, Prairie Rock Brewing was discovered. I remember almost nothing about it; the beer was unremarkable; it was a pit stop on the way to that concert. I do have a beer menu which shows some decent sounding beers. A faded receipt shows we got an 8 beer sampler, something called 'Mush Bar Cup' and (food) 'Sampler'. It was a fairly quick visit. Some of the beer names do sound good: Rock'n Red Ale, India Pale Ale, Vanilla Cream Ale, (unusual for that time) Java Stout and The Belgian From Elgin a golden ale brewed with Trappist yeast. (I would really enjoy that now! That menu is HERE. We hit the road as it was getting close to concert time. (We made it, enjoyed the show and met the players after.)
2020 note: PRBC is no more. Apparently it went through different restaurant iterations and eventually the property was bought by a local church. RIP Prairie Rock!
Millrose Brewing Company Restaurant - So. Barrington, IL.
After checking out of the Clock Tower, we drove around the Rockford area for a bit. We then headed back toward Chicago and visited Millrose for lunch. Millrose was a cool place; made from 12 barns brought to the site and assembled into a huge place. The restaurant was only part of it. The brewery was nearby and there were at least five different big areas for extra patrons or meeting rooms. Unfortunately, the beers were not good. As the craft beer moment grew everyone and their brother thought they could be a brewer. Millrose's beers were mostly traditional styles and none of us were impressed. There was Country inn Ale a pale ale, Dark Star Lager, Prairie Pilsner and Panther Ale a strong amber ale. I had a taster of each and then two Panther Ales.. The food was good; I enjoyed Chili and Country Stew, whatever that was! We then headed to Chicago where we would stay for the rest of the trip. This printout is all I have from Millrose.
2020 note: Millrose is no longer in business. The brewery closed several years after our visit. The store and restaurant continued but the last reviews I can find were from 2016.
Timothy O'Tooles Pub- Chicago, IL.
In Chicago, we stayed at a just opened Embassy Suites right downtown. It was so new the bar wasn't even open. So, they issued free drink passes for Timothy O'Tooles Pub just across the street. O'Tooles is in the basement; reached by stairs down from the street. We were welcomed in and liked the place immediately. Looking at the postcard, I can see they had 16 beers on tap (a good number for 2001), 40 TVs, pool tables, darts and good pub grub. The beer selection was decent; I saw several Goose Island taps and a few other 'microbrews'. Of course they also had plenty of the 'Big Three' on as well. It was visited several times and it was good each time. There is enough variety so I was able to enjoy different beer and food each time. That postcard and drink pass is HERE.
2020 note: O'Tooles is still open, now with four locations throughout 'Chicago Land'. The menus look typical for now, same as it was then. The beer menu now has 50 or more brews with a similar mix as 2001. The postcard says that they have served "over 3 million pints since 1992". That was for one location in 2001; that figure must be over 15 million by now. Website: TimothyOTooles.com
Twin Anchors Restaurant and Tavern - Chicago, IL.
Twin Anchors is a classic 'must visit' restaurant in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The main attraction is the ribs; they offered original and zesty sauce. I had the zesty and enjoyed them immensely. Once again, I saw Goose Island handles so the beer was there. The place has linoleum floors, a classic jukebox and a great atmosphere. These is a lot of history here as it has been in operation for over 60 years. This interesting history can be seen on their website.
2020 note: Twin Anchors is still there, now with over 80 years of history! The website shows some tap handles and it looks good for craft beer today. When in Chicago, be sure to try this one and don't forget the chili! TwinAnchors.com
Hopleaf Bar- Chicago, IL.
Hopleaf is the first Belgian beer bar I visited. I wasn't familiar with many Belgian beers but after trying a few I found several that I liked. I remember the glassware had a bumblebee on it. Hopleaf serves in proper glassware so this was a popular Belgian pale ale in 2001. This is a neighborhood bar and has a wide selection of mainly Belgian beers. There was no food service; I ate next door at an Italian restaurant, La Donna.
2020 note: Hopleaf is still there going strong. It looks updated and has many more beers on tap than 2001. The selection looks more varied, but in 2001 Belgians were still a specialty and there were few Belgian-centric bars than. They also offer full food service. La Donna moved in 2008 and doesn't appear to exist today. Hopleaf website: HopleafBer.com
On a side trip to Kenosha I wanted to try a local brewpub. Brewmasters Pub and Restaurant was found in my beer book. Unfortunately, they were closed but the brewer was there and offered a tour. This was great and he was a good host. First get a beer to have while on tour. Like that! Brewmasters has mainly German styles: Harborside Light (Lager). Kenosha Gold, Vienna style Amber, and Royal Dark. The brewery was spread around over several small rooms. This was an interesting tour; after seeing the brewkettle the next room, with the fermentation tanks, was tight and you had to duck under some pipes to get in. It was a funky old place and the aging area was a walk-in cooler that was older than I was. Our sample beers were filled several times on the tour. Overall the tour was appreciated and it was too bad to miss the restaurant. This napkin is all I have from Brewmasters. "Enjoy good cheer with Brewmasters' Beer"
2020 note: Brewmasters is closed but details aren't available on when or why they closed down. Looking for more...
The Map Room- Chicago, IL.
The Map Room was another local beer bar on my list. On the return from Kenosha I stopped by. I didn't know Tuesdays was International Night; they offer a buffet of a different cuisine, each week, as part of happy hour. It was first come first served. This week it was Vietnamese and it didn't disappoint. Map Room was known for having a great beer list featuring many foreign brews and some of the growing category of 'microbrews/. it is a small place and seating was at a premium. I don't remember my choice of beers; I see some Belgians and a few micros in this picture of the tap area. There also were travel related books and periodicals available for 'check out' during your visit. This was a good visit to one of Chicago's classic neighborhood bars. This matchbook was in my photo album of this trip.
2020 note: The Map Room is still there and looks almost the same as my pictures. The Beer List is still impressive with some great beers both foreign and domestic craft. They now offer liquor and wine. There is no mention of food so I don't know if that happy hour deal still is happening. Their current website is HERE.
Clark Street Ale House - Chicago, IL.
A friend I hadn't seen since high school visited me from Madison Wisc. We went to Clark Street Ale House to catch up and talk about old times. It was a fun evening and the ale house was one of the best I had been to at the time. The beer menu promises "An Adventure in Fine Spirits", with 24 varied brews on tap. I remember having a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, which was hard to find on tap in season much less in September. New Glarus Spotted Cow was there, before it was "cool". (I don't recall ordering it, unfortunately as I still haven't tried it.) They had Three Floyds, Two Brothers, Bell's and Rogue to name a few. This was a great place to get together and we were able to walk to a nearby BBQ that had recently become Issac Hayes' Restaurant. After, we retruned to the ale house for a few beers before calling it a night.
2020 note: Clark Street Ale House still is there. They still have many craft beers and whiskey is big now. Since 2001 the whiskey scene has exploded and is probably a big part of the business. The BBQ closed in 2008 not to reopen. 2020 Website.
The Billy Goat Tavern - Chicago, IL.
The Billy Goat is a local legend in Chicago. Propelled to fame, nationally by an old Saturday Night Live Skit they serve Cheezborgers and No Pepsi, Coke. I visited the original location below Michigan Avenue and got the full treatment. It's a small space and the waiter played the role well. Upon ordering he shouted out the order and shortly brought it to the table. They did have beer; Schlitz Light or Dark! As with the everything else those were the only choices. My group decided to order another beer (why?) and one hesitated on which to get. (Remember there were only two available.) The waiter told him to "Get with the program!" which he promptly did and ordered a dark. The Billy Goat has 5 locations; this is the first one. For more on the 'Goat, it's history and legends see BillyGoatTavern.com
2020 note: The 'Goat now has 9 locations. The Billy Goat curse on the Cubs was finally lifted in 2016. The chezzborger bit still goes but most younger people probably don't know much about a skit from 1978. I found a bag from the 2001 visit.
Goose Island Wrigleyville - Chicago, IL.
I was able to take n a game at Wrigley Field home of the Chicago Cubs. It was a perfect day, Sammy Sosa played and Goose Island IPA was available in the stands. Atlanta won and it seemed like most fans headed to the nearby Goose Island Brewpub. I wanted to try the nitro IPA that had been out at the Clybourn location. It took some time to get it but was worth the wait. Nitro IPA is rare; most nitro setups are used with stout or other darker beers. This was so smooth and the hoppy taste was there but slightly mellowed by the nitro serve. I was lucky to get several as they were really busy and stayed that way through out the visit.
2020 note: This one was a surprise: The Wrigleyville location closed in December 2015 . Apparently a developer bought a large part of the area including the brewpub building. In 2014 the owner wouldn't guarantee that the brewpub could stay for the 2015 season but they were able to finish one more year. Read more in this article. This was a sad day in Chicago beer history as Goose Island got it's start as a small brewery here. The ABI takeover didn't help I'm sure.
The Berghoff Restaurant - Chicago, IL.
The Berghoff has been a Chicago tradition for over 100 years. I wanted to try their house made beers. The first floor has a smaller area which was good for enjoying a few beers and snacks. They are famous for German styles: Berghoff Regular, light, dark and seasonal. I tried them all and don't remember which I decided on. I have a receipt that shows several beers for the party of three. Here is a brochure from 2001.
2020 note: I had heard that The Berghoff closed but was pleased to see that it was temporary, in 2007. The fourth generation now runs it and remade it in several ways, The best, I think, is they now have Adams Street Brewery on the premises. This is a full craft brewery bringing the family tradition of brewing into the new century. There are more details on their History page. Looks like they will make that second hundred years! Website: TheBerghoff.com
Rock Bottom Brewery - Chicago, IL.
"You have reached rock bottom" is how they answer the phone here. I have been to RBB in Denver back in the 90's. It's a great place with many house brews and good food. This visit was the night before heading home so celebration was in order. I tried most of the house beers and had quite a few that night. Toward the end of my trips some of the picture taking / souvenir collection wears out and it's time to kick back and chronicle nothing. That happened here which was a fine way to end the trip. After many beers we headed back to the hotel and flew out the next day. RockBottom.com
2020 note: Rock Bottom is still around; I think it was a model for BJ's and Yardhosue two chains that are similar to the RBB I remember. Good beer and good food; it's hard to go wrong with that!. The chain is under pressure from the afore mentioned chains and others. They have been closing stores for the last few years. Hopefully they will survive Covid 19 and it's closing of restaurants. I flew back on September 9, 2001 two days before the 9/11 attacks. Glad to dodge that one as airports closed down for several weeks. Here's a list I had of places to visit in 2001 it was coded with a map I taped together to show all of Chicago. Things sure have changed; it's all on smart phones now.
Titanic Brewery and Restaurant - Coral Gables, FL
Titanic, 'the ship,' is my "home" brewery. It is one of the first brewpubs in the Miami area. Opening in April 1999 the ship has gained a reputation for great food and beer. There are six year 'round brews and seasonals as the year goes by. Brewmaster Jaimie Ray is brewing mainly English;ish styles with his own twist to them. Recently, Jamie and Titanic have won several awards at beer judging events around the country. In September, Titanic had the Summer's End Brewmaster's Dinner featuring these brews. I attended and it was great fun trying the various pairings. Titanic's restaurant features local fish and the Grouper fillet in a chunky smoked almond, cilantro & jalapeño glaze was the hit of the evening. It was cooked in parchment which I have not seen before. These dinners are not done often so when they come up I am there along with several friends. Here's the menu and ticket from this event.
2020 note: Titanic is now over 20 years old which isn't easy in this business. There have been many changes over the years. They now have liquor and update the menu every now and then. They still specialize in local fish and several brewers have come and gone. The latest, Freddie, has updated the older recipes and made a few of his own. This was long overdue and I hope to see more. I was a charter member of the Mug Club and remain in it today. I have spent many a Wednesday evening at 'mug club night' where a free dinner is served and the beer is discounted. When the Covid 19 virus hit they tried take out but eventually closed altogether. I hope this isn't the end of the 'plank' and Titanic will reopen after the pandemic issues are solved. 21 years is a good long time...Website: TitcnicBrewery.com
Texas Cattle Co Brewery - Macon, GA
Texas Cattle Co and Brewery was a lunch stop on my fall 2001 vacation. I saw that it was right off I-75 so it would be an easy stop. TCCB has an interesting history; it opened in 1988 and the owner made it into Georgia's second brewpub in 1994. My stop was for lunch and the beers were unremarkable. Rural Georgia wasn't really into the micros yet. I have a beer list and menu from the visit. If I didn't have these items this stop would have been forgotten.
2020 note: TCCB closed in 2006 due to the death of the owner. The brewing equipment moved to Coast Brewing in Charleston, SC. they are still brewing today! An employee revived the name for a few years; then re branded it Texas Boarder Grill.
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria - Asheville - NC
I first visited Barley's in 1994, it's opening year. This idea was new to me; a place with 24 taps none of which I knew. I tried a few and the rest is history. Before then I was a Coors Light drinker. Now, that era is long gone. Barley's has grown and become a stop for me when I go to Asheville. In previous years I have stayed the night within walking distance so I could enjoy Barley's and the music groups playing nights there. One year, I discovered Highland Brewing below Barley's accessible from the real alley. The food selection has also increased. On this day I was having lunch, with my parents, who introduced me to Barley's in '94 and going to an art gallery. I remember Catawba Valley Firewater IPA and Highlands Gaelic Ale. (I have the menu!) My dad was always up to try a different beer so it was a fun lunch. This is one of many visits, some of which are on these review pages. Here's a photo of Barley's taps and bar area from 2001. Also the beer menu.
2020 note: Barley's is still there and doing well. There are two other Barley's; in Greenville and Knoxville. They share the logo and idea but are each separate. I seem to remember a location in Spinville back in the day. I don't know the story of how this happened but I have been to the Greenville location and it is a fun friendly place. Barley's is temporarily closed for the duration of the Covid 19 pandemic. I hope to see them open soon. Website: BarleysTaproom.com
Blue Ridge Brewing Company - Greenville, SC
Blue Ridge Brewing, in downtown Greenville is a brewery with a good restaurant attached. It could be called a brewpub but there probably is some obscure SC law that doesn't allow for that. They have a full liquor bar as well. The liquor in South Carolina is all served from those small 'airline' bottles. (Another antiquated SC law). There are four 'craft brews' and several seasonals. I had a sample of each and choose Colonel Paris Pale Ale. It is an American pale with sweet malt tastes using American hops. The other beers were Kurli Blonde Aler, Rainbow Trout ESB and Total Eclipse Stout. I had a sandwich but don't remember which one. The menu does look good so I will try to come back when I have more time.
2020 note: Blue Ridge Brewing celebrated 15 years in downtown Greenville in 2010. Sometime after they closed and moved the operation to Greer, SC. They are there today with the original brews (updated, hopefully) and a new menu. I have not visited but will in the future as the Greenville area has become quite the beer destination. BRBC was the first! I believe they are one of the fist places I visited that refereed to the beer as 'craft'. Website: BuueRidgeBrewing.com
Charlie & Jakes Brewery - Grille - Melbourne, FL
Charlie and Jakes has been a favorite since 1996. It is the first microbrewery in Brevard county. The beer line up is solid and the BBQ never disappoints. This visit was on my return from the Daytona 24 hours race. The group had been there before so all were up for lunch. The brewery is about 3 miles form I-95 so it is an easy stop. We were able to get seats at the long bar, with the brewery equipment behind it. My favorite beer has always been the Indian River Red which I ordered. A close second is the Anniversary Ale a pale ale with a nice (Cascade) hop bitterness. This is the 'beer placemat' showing selections for this day. The BBQ is great here no matter which is ordered; hand pulled pork, sliced beef, chicken or turkey. My usual is the sliced beef with two sides. This group has gone to races and other events for years so there was the usual joking around with each other. We had just done the 24 hours so there were plenty of war stories to retell and get more laughs about. All good things come to an end; our visit was short but good. We finished up and headed back to Miami.
2020 note: In 2000 the original Charlie and Jake were still there. (Jake being his girlfriend.) Eventually Charlie was the sole owner. I remember meeting him on another visit. He had just returned from South Dakota and had put up a sign for Wall Drug a souvenir of the trip. I have visited there and, as it turned out, had been to many of the same places. The Badlands was the best place to visit, we agreed. I reviewed C & J's in 2006 when there were issues with the brewing. The place was expanded and renovated so the big bar in now in the space next door. Outside seating was also added and can be serviced from the bar which has an outdoor section. This neighborhood does enjoy their lighter beers but the original (now) craft beers still are on and enjoyed. There have been some 'corporate' changes for which I have no details. I appears that Charlie is now only affiliatied with the original location, recently moved to Indian Harbor. Website: cjbrewery.com
McGuire's Irish Pub and Brewery- Pensacola, FL
I visited McGuire's in 1998 and have this description from my trip log. "The motto of McGuire's is "Feasting, Imbibery and Debauchery", as written on the wall outside. As you walk in, the place is larger then just a pub. There are separate rooms to the left, among them a Notre Dame room and a 1920's style Irish pub room. In the middle, as you come in, is the bar area, which is a long bar on the left and bar tables on the right. Further right, down a step, is a room with a stage and more tables.". There aren't very many restaurants with a brewery attached these days. McGuire's is a top steak restaurant and has this Bus Ad parked a block away. I enjoyed McGuire's then and wasn't disappointed now. The beers are still great; my favorite is the Irish Red followed by the dry, creamy Irish Stout. I was there for dinner which was one of the best on this trip. It was a quite night so no MC or band was there. Instead, I sat at the bar and tasted the rest of the beer line up. I met a few people nearby and several were regulars. They weren't surprised that I had returned as many out of towners do. Pensacola is a bit out of my regular travel area but I always have a great place for beers and dinner whenever I get the chance.
2020 note: After nearly 40 years in the same location, McGuire's continues operations. They survived the current Civid related closings and now are operation at half capacity. Looking at the current website, it really looks like not much has changed since my visit 20 years ago. The facility is the same and traditions such as the 'kiss the moose' and having fun with the MC interacting with the crowd continue. The beer list is similar as they have retained most of the original recipes. The Red soldiers on and the seasonal list has newer styles and interesting one offs. I don't see Gentleman on the Floor Barley-wine which is too bad as it was a good one. Perhaps as a seasonal one day. Pensacola has grown since my times there and there are now other breweries and good beer bars there. McGuire's continues to compete with the newcomers in the now larger market. Current website: McGuiresPub.com
Spanish Springs Brewing Company - The Villages, FL.
Several years ago I visited the village center and tried Spanish Springs Brewing Co. It was an integral part of that village area in that their beer was served in most of the eateries there. I tried the beers at the brewery area and found some of them at a BBQ place nearby. I don't remember the year or much else about that visit. The brews were unremarkable but good to find in a place that would usually have only the big three on tap. Many of the locals agreed; I think they liked having their own local beer available. This visit was to see the monthly car show which had many old, mainly American, cars on display around the village square. Spanish Springs brews were served for the event. I have several pictures of the cars but only one with the brewery serving truck. (AKA the Beer Wagon) This was the end of my summer Florida vacation and shortly after, I headed for home.
2020 note: Apparently Spanish Springs and all of the village square restaurants were run by the developer of The Villages. The concept was good for the retirement village; it looked like an old rustic western town with everything centrally located. Behind the facade, however, things weren't going well. It's expensive to run a microbrewery and eventually the money became an issue. Florida's arcane beer laws didn't help. Back in the 2000's it took months, sometimes years to properly set up a brewery and secure distribution. In 2008, Swamphead Brewery, of Gainesville, bought the Spanish Springs brewing equipment. They dismantled it and moved it to their first Gainesville location. It would be over two years before Swamphead would serve their first brews in their new tasting room! That's another story but does exemplify how hard it was to set up a microbrewery in Florida at the time. I reviewed Swamphead in 2010 and that review is accompanied by two photos of the Spanish Springs equipment in it's new home. In 2015 Swamphead opened it;s new purpose built brewery. There is no mention of the old SSB equipment.
A1A Ale Works - St. Augustine, FL.
A1A Ale Works is a cool microbrewery with an excellent restaurant. Located in the heart of St Augustine, I try to visit whenever I am on the area. On this day I met family members for an afternoon beer. As usual, the Red Brick Ale was my favorite. We sat at the front bar and enjoyed a few before heading over to the beach area. My guests all like A1A and had appetizers with their beers. The creamy dry Stout is also a favorite. It was a short visit but I never miss A!A when in town. After, the group would head to the beach where further adventures awaited. See you next time, A!A.
2020 note: A1A's parent company filed for bankruptcy in March. They closed many under performing locations but say that A!A will stay open. This is unrelated to the ongoing Covid 19 virus issues. In May they reopened as the state opened up. Now, in late June the state has re-closed bars but restaurants remain open. So A1A is open for now. I now feel that there is a good chance that A1A might not survive. I hope I am wrong. I was disappointed to find out that A1A stopped brewing their own beer in 2017. Now they feature a 24 tap system with rotating Florida craft beers. The beer change was due to customer tastes changing and having more than five or six beers on tap. The food was always top notch and that continues, I'm sure. There are also several breweries locally now. Website: A1AAleworks.com
Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co.- Asheville, NC.
Asheville Pizza & Brewing , formerly known as "Two Moons Brew and View", is a cool concept. They removed every other row of seats and put in tables so you can watch a movie, drink beer and enjoy pizza all at the same time. I visited the original several years ago. The house beers have improved and they have other microbreweries beers as well. The four house brews are: Rock Porter, Shiva India Pale Ale, Houdini ESP and Scout Stout. All were good, my favorite was the ESP (Extra special Pale) followed by the India Pale Ale. The ESP is a hoppy ale with a light malty taste. I tried all their beers and a few of the others. There are 16 taps with quite a variety of styles. I appreciated having Anderson Valley beers on tap. They are bottles only in Florida. I met Brad the manager who gave me tickets to the next Widespread Panic show in Asheville. I enjoyed my time here with no rush or other things to do. I will return in the future. Even the building is cool; complete with King Kong looking over it.
2020 note: APBC is open again with limited seating and take out service. They now have three locations and their beer is available, in cans, all over western NC. There are many more beers now and all the brewing is done at the downtown location. (Coxe Avenue) APBC is still showing movies at the original location that I visited in 2000. The movies are much better and probably the best bargain ($3.) of any movie house in the universe! (Movies starting again soon.) Website AshevilleBrewing.com
Titanic Brewery and Restaurant - Coral Gables, FL
The Titanic had it's Grand Opening on April 1, 1999. I was there and a large crowd had assembled. I knew about Titanic for about 6 months, before the opening, as I saw it under construction. I visited, one day, and met owner Kevin Rusk who poured me a glass of Nut Brown directly from the tanks. At that time the bar was not completed and it was still a construction site. Now completed; the opening night went well. I was able to try all of the beers available and liked them all. The restaurant also opened and food was good from the start. I had several friends along and met many new beer lovers some of which I have become friends with and probably will see at Titanic and other places in the future. With a successful opening and being right on my way from work meant that I would visit many more times. The Porthole Sampler was introduced and a Brew Tour event was also advertised later int he year.
2020 note: Titanic - 'The Ship' celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019. We are still waiting on the 21st as they have closed until the global pandemic subsides. I will say that 20 years is a good long time in the restaurant / brewery business. Over the years i have celebrated birthdays, weddings and other significant life milestones at Titanic. I am a charter member of the Mug Club which offers a special mug at the bar and dinner on Wednesday nights. Needless to say, I have been there many Wednesdays over the past years. There is a group of 4 of us that have the birthday dinner (on the house) and celebration with many gifts of beers. The craft beer industry has exploded making these events great; every year there are new beers to give and try. In addition to the restaurant having a good reputation for seafood dishes, Titanic has become a music venue as well. Many shows have been enjoyed over the years, there is no cover and good beer to enjoy while taking in some of south Florida's best and up and coming acts. Website: TitanicBrewery.com
The Ram Brewery - Seattle, WA
In August / September I took a vacation trip, with two friends, to the NW area of the US. We landed in Seattle and soon found The Ram Brewery in the university area, north of the city. Ram is a big facility with the brewing equipment visible and a good selection of food. This was a short visit to try a few beers before heading back downtown to our hotel near the space needle. This is the first brewery of many on this trip.
2020 note: The Ram Restaurant and Brewery is still at this location. They have expanded and have several locations locally and a few around the country. The website shows Colorado and Illinois and Oregon locations. Back in 2018, I visited Seattle and tried Ram in Kent on a return trip from Mt Rainer. It was good and some of the beers are still being made. Of course they have changed since 1999 but I found several to enjoy with dinner. Website: TheRam.com
Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse - Seattle, WA
After walking around the Kingdome area, I went to Pyramid Alehouse for lunch and to try a few brews. Not being familiar with the Seattle beer scene I didn't realize that Pryamid was 15 years old! Coming from Florida which has very few breweries I was impressed. In the mid 90's Pyramid bought Thomas Kemper Lagers / Soda. The alehouse has both company's brews available. Pyramid has more of the English ale styles that are big in the micro beer scene. Thomas Kemper focus is on German lager styles. The pale ale and the India Pale Ale were my favorites here. ESB and a special DPA (Drought Pale Ale) also deserve mention. On the Thomas Kemper side there was a Marzen and a Porter. Lunch was great; I was lucky there were no football or baseball games as I heard that the place gets mobbed! I got a shot of the bar and a picture of the outside as I left. Current website: PyramidBrew.com
2020 note: This just in...Pyramid's parent company announced that the Seattle Alehouse location will close permanently! I was surprised by this turn of events and expect that this won't be the last closing in he craft beer industry. Over the last 20 years, Pyramid opened several other locations on the west coast. One by one they were closed. Pyramid was bought by the parent company of Magic Hat Brewing in 2008. They were then bought by North American Breweries (NAB) in 2010. NAB itself was acquired in 2012 by Cerveceria Costa Rica. Sounds like too many corporate bosses to me. This closing is probably the result of corporate been counters pulling the trigger sooner rather than later. it's a sad day for the industry. In 2007 Thomas Kemper was sold for the soda aficionados that loved the soda line. The beer is no longer being brewed.
Pike Brewery and Pub - Seattle, WA.
Pike Brewery and Pub is located in the huge Pike Place Market of Seattle. The market offers many different shops, fresh food and flying fish for locals and tourists alike. I wandered around for a while discovering some cool places, back stairways and a fresh fish market that would throw your chosen fish back to the butcher guy who would fillet it. After all this it was time for a beer and afternoon snack. Upon entering The Pike, I was greeted by a large two story atrium area with several side rooms on different levels. It was a busy place and soon I was at a table ordering beer. The Pike Pale Ale was good as as was Pike IPA. Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale (Does every brewery use this name?) was tasty and I sampled the Golden Ale. I like the facility and the beer. The food looks good; I just had a late afternoon snack. Of note was this collection of Pike Brewery breweriana. Brochure and Sampler List.
2020 note: Pike Brewery is still there brewing great beers to this day. The brewery has a revered place in #beerhistory both it's own and in the enlarged Microbrewery Museum on site. Pike beers have been in Florida for many years. The XXXXX Stout is a regular at beer at several birthday events each year. The anniversary of the Space Needle was commemorated with a special hoppy beer a few years ago. It's is good to see a brewery that is still independent and sticking to their original ideas and principals. May Pike keep on going. Website: PikeBrewing.com
Winthrop Brewing Company - Winthrop, WA
After a beautiful drive on the Cascade Highway my day ended in Winthrop. Winthrop Brewing looks like a small one room place from the front. Once inside, it opens up into a good sized pub and bar with a beer garden out back. It was Saturday night so there was a band coming on shortly. Meanwhile, I ordered dinner and a Hopalong Red Ale. I sampled others; Outlaw Pale Ale and Grandpa Clem's Brown a tasty malty brown ale. The food was good as well. it started to get crowded; good thing I got there before the band. Once they started it got loud and it was hard to get a beer. I joined my friends outside in the beer garden where we could still hear the band and enjoy the evening outside. The next day I came by and took a picture of the front of the building and the 'keg garden' out back!
2020 note: Winthrop Brewing was sold in 2008. It has been renamed Old Schoolhouse Brewing. it still has the same address and telephone number. The business continues today with new beers and food menu. The name is appropriate as it does look like an old schoolhouse. Looking at their page on Beer Advocate they have made many different beers and lots of IPA's. The website says "We are all about the beer", my kind of place. Website: OldSchoolhouseBrewery.com
Great Northern Brewing Company - Whitefish, MT.
The main reason for our visit to Whitefish was to go to Great Northern Brewing to see their operation, and try their beers. As we approached town I realized I didn't have the address of the brewery. I had only seen it on the Internet and had never bothered to write down directions. Whitefish is a small town and I knew what the place looked like, so we drove around and I saw the three story glass tower almost immediately. We parked and went in. As we entered we could see some brewing equipment and smelled yeast. There are official tours given each day; earlier than we were there. However, the tasting room was open and ready for business. It is on the second floor and looks out over part of the town. There is no charge for the beer; they gave us cards with names of each beer on them, and they punch each as you try it. We knew that the tasting room had a live web cam and we wanted to appear on it. The barman told us it updates about every 20 minutes and that we could try to get in the picture then. Meanwhile, they have a computer in the corner that anyone can use for what ever they want; just don't change it's settings. This was the only time on the trip that we had access to one and we each used it to check e-mail and send "postcards". The postcards were of the pictures of us at the bar which were on their web site live while we were there. You call up the site, go to the cam page and look at the tasting room cam. When we saw our picture we could then make them into an e-postcard. You can then send it to anyone you like and they will get a notice, then go to the site's" post office" and retrieve the card. I sent to anyone's e-mail address I could remember. (Not many, unfortunately) Last time I checked, my cards were still there (Dec. '99). The site is at www.blackstarbeer.com - check it out. We stay until they closed about 6 o'clock.
2020 note: The above was actually written in a trip log I made a web-page for back in 1999. The log was supposed to have all of the trip in it; only Montana was completed. It's a bit long but does convey interesting things like the card for beer or that the computer at GNBC was the only Internet access we had for the entire three week trip! Imagine that now. GNBC's brewery building was purpose built in 1994 and it did stand out in Whitefish. In 2020 I can't tell exactly what happened to GNBC and the related Blackstar Lagers. In 2010 Blackstar celebrated it's 15th year of brewing. Sometime after that the beer was contracted out to different breweries. The Blackstar website says Milwaukee and I also see San Francisco at the bottom of that same page. I visited San Francisco, with this same group, in 2012 and found Blackstar Lager in 24 ox cans. It still was good. Great Northern continued to brew right into 2020. The current website shows 'modern' canned beers with great local names. I would love to try a Good Med Montana Red an Imperial Red that I look for these days. Today, as I write, I checked their Facebook page and got the bad news. The Great Northern Beer Company served it's last beer on February 17.2020. This was before the current virus pandemic; and I fear we will see more of this.
Iron Horse Brewpub - Missoula, MT
We arrived at the Iron Horse, parked and went in. It was a big, loud, college bar. As we came in I saw several people leave the bar, so we took their seats. We were probably lucky to get seats; it was Friday night in a small college town bar. We asked about their beers and the guy said they actually didn't make them there; they were contract brews. It really wasn't a brewpub; technically they aren't legal in Montana, but their beer was good. We had a good time there; it was a college crowd similar to places I went to in college. All of the people were friendly, and it seemed, mostly pretty college aged girls. While we were there several funny things happened. Since we were at the bar and it was crowded, occasionally, someone would want to order something next to us or between us. One girl ordered a pitcher of beer and paid for it with a check. That wouldn't have worked even when I was in college! We saw many of this type of transaction;( all paid for by check. I guess small town Montana still hasn't been hit by student's bad checks, and still accepts them everywhere. We had appetizers and enjoyed them. We really enjoyed the place, even though we were 15 or 20 years older than most of the people. We were just another 3 guys drinking beer on a Friday night. We had wanted to order dinner but, we missed the deadline of 11:00. The bartender said he didn't know we wanted dinner or he would have let us know about the deadline. Very few were ordering dinner, and the place was very busy, so we understood. He did tell us about a place about 3 blocks away that served until midnight. We paid up and got ready to leave; our seats were grabbed immediately.
2020 note: The above was written in 1999 in a trip log. The Iron Horse now goes by the name of Iron Horse Bar and Grill. They don't have in house beers anymore but do have a good selection of local craft beers. It has grown and there are now different areas of seating. Their history page shows that they have been at this location since 1997 . "We are thankful to be able to say that we have been socializing with Missoula for over 28 years." The name change happened after 2013 and it looks a bit more upscale now. Website: IronHorseBrewpub.com
Big Sky Brewing Co - Missoula, MT.
We arrived at Big Sky, a long blue metal warehouse - like building. It looked quiet, but we knew it was open, having checked earlier. The brewing areas were closed but the tasting room was open. I have not seen a place like this in all my brewpub travels It was basically a small gift shop with a big wooden bar on one side. The bar probably was fifty years old and was stand - up only. Our "brewers" were two local girls; Cathy and Katie. Saturdays are only half days and each week the employees change on Saturday. Cathy was the bartender, friendly and informative about the local area, and Katie was there packing up a bunch of boxes of the company's shirts and other stuff for shipping. They probably make more on their souvenir sales than beer sales. The place really was a cool place to hang out for a while and just see who came in. They fill growlers there and it was a September Saturday and all types of characters came by. A couple of guys came by and got several growlers, more than usual as they had friends in town and the place closed at five. Another guy heard that we were going to Yellowstone and showed us a great scenic way to go. When a local says the interstate is straight and boring and tries to show a better way, he's probably right. All kinds of characters came in. Most were known by someone else (it's a small town) and were friendly cool people. I can just imagine going to college and having a place like this to go stock up on beer for the weekend. Good beer at that. We had to get going, so we took one last drive through Missoula and hit the interstate for Bozeman.
2020 note: As with all the Montana venues here, the copy was written in 1999 shortly after returning home. Hanging out in the taproom, with no seating, made for a fun start to our afternoon that day. Two of the beers that were our favorites that day were Scapegoat Ale and Moose Drool Brown Ale. Both are still brewed today. In 1999 Big Sky was a draft only brewery. In 2003 they moved to a larger space so they could package their own beer. I really like that story behind this brewery and the folks working there. Truly a great part of #beerhistory. With many of these older reviews being done 20 years later, there are loose ends. Breakups, buyouts and consolidations litter the craft beer landscape. Big Sky has a great history and excellent beer to go with it. I look forward to enjoying their beer and visiting the new brewery soon. Finally, a brewery review with a happy ending, here in 2020! Website: BigSkyBrew.com
Spanish Peaks Brewing Company - Bozeman, MT
We had a great dinner and good beers at Spanish Peaks Brewing. Spanish Peaks contract brews in several locations in the country, so they can distribute all over. We wondered if they made any beer locally. They brew at this location for local consumption only; they make a very tasty Nut Brown Ale and a solid Porter. Neither brew is bottled; too bad, as both were excellent. It was a big restaurant & bar, very busy, but we found a good spot at the bar. Dinner was excellent and we enjoyed the place, and would return anytime.
2020 note: This was the final entry for my Montana trip log. Short and sweet; it was a long day starting at Big Sky and ending here. Spanish Peaks closed this location shortly after my visit in 1999; shifting production to California. Ten year Head Brewer Todd opened Bozeman Brewing Company in 2001, using the old Spanish Peaks equipment. His brews became local favorites. The Bozeman Brewing Co's Beer Advocate page shows many well liked beers up to the present. Spanish Peaks is nowhere to be found; apparently they moved production around and the last traces I see are in 2015. Bozeman Brewing website: BozemanBrewing.com
Otto Brothers Brewing Company - Wilson, WY
Otto Brothers Brewing is Wyoming's first micro brewery. Opened in 1992, the brewpub is a small log cabin looking building serving beer and pizza. Recently (1998) they finished a production brewery over the state line in Victor, Idaho. It was a good afternoon stop after some adventures in the area. I was early but the bar tender served me anyway. There were five brews available and after sampling them I decided on the Teton Ale a tasty copper hued amber (red) ale. When he opened I ordered a Edelweiss pizza which was made fresh.The pizza was outstanding, giving me energy to continue the adventure. This is the complete menu and beer list. Of note is the Moose Juice Stout which I have seen in a few places on this trip. It is a smooth drinking Irish dry stout and it is available in 22 oz bomber bottles in the Wyoming, Montana and Utah.
2020 note: In 2000 Otto Brothers was renamed Grand Teton Brewing to reflect a more regional approach. Production increased as did distribution. I was able to get some Moose Juice Stout through a beer of the month club several years later. GTBC did have almost national reach as I remember finding it in North Carolina at some point. The brewery in Idaho is still brewing what looks like some greet beers. Another re branding has occurred with logo design and canning of the brews. It looks like GTBC will continue on and their Facebook page shows some Idaho Craft Beer Month fun. I look forward to trying GTBC again. Website: GrandTetonBrewing.com Otto Brothers also made a signifigent contribution to #beerhistory: Growlers. Originaly form Europe a 'growler' was a pail to transport beer home or back to the job site. In 1989, Otto Brothers introduced the modern half gallon glass jugs that now are ubiquitous at most breweries.
Snake River Brewing Company - Jackson Hole, WY.
After checking in at The Virginian, I was ready to hit Snake River Brewing for happy hour. I visited back in 1997 and throughly enjoyed both the beer and food. SRB, opened in 1994 in a re-purposed soda distributors' building. They have done a great job making it a comfortable brewpub. The open industrial design with big windows and exposed beams really make the place. The Pale Ale was my choice along with Zonker Stout, which I remember form my last visit. The chili is to kill for and other appetizers were enjoyed. SRB is one of the better brewpubs I have visited and I will return.
2020 note: On one of my visits the peaking lot was closed as the huge tank you now see outside was being installed. I could see that SRB was having success and was growing. It looks like that success continues today. In 2008 the original owners retired and another local family took over. Everything I see indicates that it remains popular with locals and tourists. Looking at their Beer Advocate page I see a wide variety of brews and good ratings. In 2016 head brewer Cory moved on to open his own place in Kentucky. Rudy, there 16 years, took over and the mission remains "The world doesn't need another beer but better beer". I couldn't agree more. Website: SnakeRiverBrewing.com
Twin Falls Brewing Company / Muggers Brewpub - Twin Falls ID.
After a fun day of adventures around Idaho, it was time for beer and dinner. Twin Falls beaconed and a local brewpub was found. The Twin Falls Brewing Company is the brewer for Muggers Brewpub. No doubt there is some arcane Idaho law responsible for this confusion. Muggers Brewpub is located in an old flour warehouse; renovated into a classy comfortable pub. There is lots of dark wood and exposed brick walls. It wasn't busy and a sampler was ordered. The brews were good; I don't have the names or styles. the food was really good pub food. I spoke with the brewer and he remarked that they don't get too many folks from Florida there. Once he heard they the group was into microbrews he said he had something we would probably like to try. He disappeared downstairs, where the brewery was, and poured us a pitcher of a new batch of beer. This was my introduction to Barleywine - Style ale. It had a distinctive taste that I have tasted in many a Barleywine since. So, I learned about a new (to me) style of beer that night and have enjoyed Barleywine - Style Ale since. Unfortunately, I don't have much from this visit except that important memory. That night a band, Lynx played, and we saw the first set. I also got one of my first glass pints here as well. Truly a part of my beer education and #beerhistory.
2020 note: Somewhere in the mid 'oughts; Twin Falls / Muggers was closed and a new brewpub, Trail Creek Brewing opened. After almost 5 years of trying they too closed up shop. The brewing equipment was sold and moved to the new owners location in 2010. By 2012 the building was sold at foreclosure. It was a good place and welcome when I visited. My takeaway was new knowledge about Barleywine ale and a nice evening. As for that pint glass; it was the start of my collection of pint glasses from many breweries visited in the last 25 years. It was in the first 20 bought for a collection that now has over 200 pints in two states! Website? I don't believe there ever was one.
Full Sail Brewing Company - Hood River, OR
Driving along the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River was coming up. According to my beer guides there was one brewery in town; Full Sail Brewing Company. Full Sail is located toward the Columbia River side of town, housed in an old fruit cannery building. They have been open for over 10 years and the beers are known throughout the northwest. The tasting room was a simple place, with a great view, beer samplers and 'light meals' available. It was a Saturday and the place was very busy. After tasting a few good brews; the Amber Ale got my vote. I then met a local who mentioned that there was a brewpub nearby. The tasting room was at 'Full Sail' and had no seating available. So, my group decided to try the brewpub. (Reviewed below.) Website: FullSailBrewing.com
2020 note: Full Sail continues to 'sail'. They are no longer independent; they sold to an equity group ion 2015. FSB was employee owned so many employees probably did well with the sale. At that time they were in 28 states; I have seen them in Florida for years. Looking at the current website; FSB has a full fledged brewpub with outside patio seating with that great view. The label designs and logo have been updated. Today there are 12 breweries in the Hood River area. There is a local organization; Breweries in the Gorge that promotes the local breweries and the area. It really is "one of the most beautiful places on earth"....and they have great beer!
Big Horse Brewing Company - Hood River, OR
The Big Horse Brewpub, formally Horse Feathers Pub, is up the hill from Full Sail. It is a multi story building that has many different levels so all can enjoy the view. From here the view of the Columbia River Gorge is unobstructed. My group was able to get great seats with a perfect view on this clear day. Horsefeathers was a fine dining establishment and the owners, in 1994, decided to start brewing their own beer and go with casual pub fare. ("Real food for real people"). I think the change was a good one; the beers were good and the food is much better that ordinary pub food. The Pale Rider India Pale Ale was my choice and the others sampled were tasty as well. Macstallions Scotch Ale stands out with a smooth almost smoky malt taste. All of the beers are listed on the drinks menu. It was a great lunch with some good beers but now it was time to head west along the Columbia River Gorge. Website: BigHorseBrewpub.com
2020 note: Big Horse is still there and looks practically the same as it did in 1999. I was able to visit again in 2018. The facility is unchanged and some of the original beers are still being brewed. This time another brewpub was visited first so it was almost dark when visited. No views but the same friendly service and good beer and food prevailed. Competition must be heating up; in the 2018 review I made reference to Breweries in the Gorge, the local group that promotes local breweries. At that time there were 13 breweries listed; today they only list 12. Here is that 2018 guide. Ferment Brewing Company isn't listed now but appears to still be brewing. Glad to see that; it looks like a cool place.
McMenamins Edgefield - Troutdale, OR.
McMenamins Edgefield is part of the McMenamins group of brewpubs, restaurants and restored properties throughout Oregon and Washington. Edgefield was the county poor farm, built in 1911, until McMenamins carefully restored the 38 acre property into a historic bed and breakfast. After driving the Columbia Gorge from Hood River, I was ready for a top quality dinner with great beers. Edgefield provided that and more. The group met a local couple for drinks / dinner at the Black Rabbit Restaurant in the main lodge. McMenamins is known for their beers, usually brewed on premises. The Edgefield Brewery is the largest in the breweries. They have been brewing here since 1991. Some of the beers are: Hammerhead Pale Ale, Ruby (raspberry) Ale, India Pale Ale, Black Rabbit Porter and Terminator Stout. I liked the pale ales, the others really liked the Terminator Stout. The menu blends Northwest cuisine with traditional dishes and left everyone well satisfied and feeling good. After dinner we walked around some of the hotel areas and found cool 'whimsical' artwork designs painted everywhere. These are on walls, stairs,pipes and doors. This was a great evening and it was time to go all too soon. Edgefield offers a self guided tour of the grounds. There is a brochure that describes everything available at Edgefield.
2020 note: McMenamins still has it's great beer and restaurants in the northwest. Edgefield has grown to 74 acres and now features organically grown seasonal ingredients grown on site. Locally sourced ingredients are used whenever possible. It still sounds like a great place and the beers are more varied and updated. This would be a great place to stay a few days and just relax or take in beautiful local scenery and have a home base from which to operate. In 2018 I visited another McMenamins in Roseburg and found that everything is still good at McMenamins. Website: for Edgefield.
Elysian Brewing Company - Seattle, WA
Elysian is a 'must visit' when is Seattle. Having missed it at the start of my trip, I got to go at the end. Elysian is right up the hill from Pike Place. Open since 1996, their reputation for great beer was known. The brewery is in a large space with an open industrial design. It was crowed which made me think I was in the right place for good beer. There was no table service so I opened a tab at the bar and the group ordered and picked up beers as needed. They have a good selection of house brewed beers and a few guests. I had a pale ale and liked the new IPA. They also had a Dortmunder, and another lager. dark beers were a Porter and a Strong Ale. I was not familiar with some of these and tried a few but stayed with the pale ale. Food was available; the Mediterranean based menu was not memorable. However the beer did live up to expectations. I printed out a page form The Northwest Brew Page. I skipped the Black Label cans!
2020 note: Elysian has grown and been through many changes over these last 20 years. In 2006 they open a second location down by the football and baseball stadiums. They also were pioneers in beer festivals. The Great Pumpkin Festival still lives serving many different pumpkin beers. In 2015 they entered a 'partnership' with ABI (Budweiser). Today, all the beer still comes from the now 5 Seattle locations. Some of their brews are now nationwide including Space Dust IPA which I have seen and enjoyed here in Florida. I doubt that I would ever see Seattle beers here unless they had that partnership. The current beer selection doesn't show Mens Room Red which I was able to appreciate waiting on a flight back from Seattle in 2018. it may be local only; too bad it's a good Red ale. Website: ElysianBrewing.com
Odds and Ends from 1999
Wrapping up loose ends from 1999. I am writing this in 2020 from memory, receipts and historical items. Everything is accurate as possible written just over 20 years later. At the end of my NW Trip there were several printouts and nothing else from these places. We got two 'bonus days' in Seattle so there was no planning. Cameras were put away and collection of mementos ceased. We visited Whidbey Island, north of Seattle, ands found good beer. There was a foray south the next day. I have vague memories of these places. All I have in my 1999 files is printouts of web pages about these places. They are below and conclude my beer travels for the millennium. This is my vacation display of breweriana from that trip.
Diamond Knot Brewing - Mukilteo, WA. Open, since 1994, DKB is run out of back of a bar, Cheers Too! This is right by the ferry dock in Clinton, WA. I was able to sample the IPA and get one for the ferry ride. The beer was good; there were only two available. They are still brewing today, now with three locations and many more beers. For a while their brews were in Florida. Here's a printout of the 1999 Beer Travelers page. Website: DiamondKnot.com
Whidbey Island Brewing Company - Oak Harbor, WA. The ferry got to Whidbey and we visited several parks we wanted to see. Whidbey Brewing was a late lunch. I don't remember much but the beer list looks good. This was the smallest micro brewery in the state of Washington. Looking at the list I'm sure I found several brews to enjoy with lunch. We then went north to Deception pass and drove back to Seattle. The address I have for WBC is still in operation as Flyers Restaurant and Brewery. It looks good based on the website.
Tides Tavern - Gig Harbor WA. The following day a drive to the south of Puget Sound was made to visit a navel museum. Afterwards, Tides Tavern was found for lunch. Tides is a cool place right on the water and has a great history. The building goes back to 1910 and the current owner opened in 1973. It has been open for 26 years in a great location. Tides is right on the harbor and a comfortable place to enjoy anything on the menu. Tides has 3 beers brewed by Harmon Pub and Brewery of Tacoma. I tried them but don't remember much about them. Both Tides Tavern and Harmon Pub survive today. (2020) Tides is now almost 50 years old still owned by the original family. Harmon, started in 1997, also is still brewing. Website: TidesTavern.com