Cheri and I had passed by this place on our search for the Lower Osslington Theater, a few months ago. We enjoyed our musical and left promising ourselves to come back to this lively, up-and-coming area soon.
with a unique label (using one of the latest graphic trends)
A large open patio, beige fence, laughter and lots of people, it is a hard spot not to feel the energy from nor envy those lucky to be sitting. Today, through the fence blades, creatively carved watermelon heads were stabbed, for no good reason. The front is really a concrete slab with random chairs, just as random tables and a few BBQ benches. Their small logo is easy to miss - a circular screen hanging over the edge - just a red bell, no explanation.
an impressive combination of red fruit and
On the side is a cleared out narrow area for those in line and at the end a symbolic white door, completely useless in the summer, as both ends are open. It has their word-mark in shinny gold adhesive on the glass as well as their bold hours of operation. The main room is full of frames and chalk-boards. All the way in the back, the large beer kettles behind glass really add to the feel. For those fascinated to enjoy their view, there is a secluded bar area on the second floor, overlooking them - quite charming.
We put our names down and were told its about a 20min wait. In the meantime we went to the upstairs bar and explored the set up. Their beer menu chalk-board hung from the main room, facing the patio. Above was a stalked white material, I believe they pull over the patio's wooden frame in case of rain.
opinionated notes of pepper and anise
We were sat on one of their BBQ benches just before we started getting eager. Its neat how they use them as social tables, the couple next us was totally on a first /second date (probably not too fun for them). As we waited for our friends, we were handed small wooden clip-board menus. I loved the idea, with the paper cropped rough and close on one side. The menu consists of 2/3 beer and some food near the end.
We had previously read in a Neighborhood's publication that they have about 10 house-made crafts, but their Russian Imperial Stout sounded above worthwhile. It turns out its a winter seasonal beer. Too bad, my russian would've killed to have some of it. Instead he got a Pub Cider. I started off with their Grizzly Beer and a side of their popular fries.
an initial overload of aromas, not well balanced, but overall lack in nuances to define character
Our beers arrived in no-time. All beers, except for the simple cider, come in tulip goblets which nicely compliment their bold bell logo, stamped right in the middle. My Grizzly brown ale was hoppy and bitter with strong floral, pine nut, fruit aroma.. I couldn't pick out any chocolate notes as the menu promised, but it was a mouthful. Strong and opinionated, it was begging for a creamy brie to help it go smoothly down. Turned out the Cider was not home-made but from Spirit Tree. It had a bit of spice, but overall Cheri was not impressed (to be honest, I think it kind of turned him off ciders for some time). Our friends arrived and we were all quick to order.
They were not too impressed by the lack of dishes. Either way, they asked for their board of meat, and we were close to asking for their cheese one but after seeing the tiny amount other tables receive, we were discouraged. Cheri and I asked for their fries and for their Wild Salmon dish.
The meat board arrived, again, not as much as our friends had hoped for. Their fries were definitely their main inexpensive sensation. They came covered with graded toscano cheese and sent of rosemary and thyme. Even the couple next to us commented. The fries were gone in no-time and we ordered a few more. Next, we tried their Roman Candle IPA, even-though we probably should've gone for the balanced Witchshark IPA. The Roman Candle was bitter and slightly resinous, indeed. The strong senses overtook the full nose of pine and tropical citrus. Again, it was really a lot of handle in a sip.
Our Salmon took some time. It came in a very gourmet arrangement and dish, very unlike this casual miss-matched pub-brew, I think. Uncut rapine, buttered spring radish, rhubarb made a nest of flowers and plants for the small filet. The best part was the ginger hollandaise sauce. To be honest, I was not impressed. The salmon filet was raw on the inside and the grassy vegetables were hard to chew. I appreciate the presentation but there should be a balance between form and function.
an energizing aftertaste, a bit bitter
We'll probably be back for some of their winter seasonal beers, but this time we'll just stick to appetizer-snacks. As much as we appreciate their quick, short menu they should invest more time and energy into the food section.
Overall.. a blend of mainly Zinfandel and some Syrah (from a New World Californian winery)