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Rock Bottom. Love it? Hate it?

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citabria

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I had been to two of the Rock Bottom Breweries in Denver on several occasions. They were okay. I never thought much of their beer. Then, several months ago a new Rock Bottom opened up in our neck of the woods, north of Denver in Loveland. The beer at this location was noticeably good. Excellent staff and good food as well. A few weeks ago I was at private tasting and learned from the brew master that, allegedly, the Rock Bottom chain lets the brewers brew whatever they want. There is no set recipe list and the beers and quality vary immensely from location to location.

Tonight I am going to my second free tasting. I am a little ashamed that a chain restaurant is becoming my favorite local brewpub but what can I say... the beer is great and it's close to home! What's the Rock Bottom beer like in your location? Do you like it or hate it?
 

Donasay

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The rock bottom makes some good beers occasionally, Their staples like their light lager are piss poor examples of what beer should be, but for some reason they sell well. They do have a few staples that I have seen at both locations near me, "the lumpy dog lager" and the "lone star" (irish red) and a couple others that I would consider staples in that they are at both locations and always in stock. When you get one of their one off brews that the brewmaster makes they are usually hit or miss, more often a hit than a miss, but I had a milk stout that made me want to gag once.

I am not a big fan of their food, they have 1 or 2 good dishes and the rest of the menu is bland inedible crap, I didn't think it was possible to mess up a hamburger, but rock bottom in Boston can come very close to doing that. I don't know if it is the same by you, but the service isn't that good in either of the locations near me, and the waiters and waitresses know nothing about the beer or the beer making process.
 

PsiWulf7

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Donasay said:
I am not a big fan of their food, they have 1 or 2 good dishes and the rest of the menu is bland inedible crap, I didn't think it was possible to mess up a hamburger, but rock bottom in Boston can come very close to doing that. I don't know if it is the same by you, but the service isn't that good in either of the locations near me, and the waiters and waitresses know nothing about the beer or the beer making process.
The food at Rock Bottom Chicago is unmitigated arse. The beer is so-so; their staples are boring but they've had one or two pretty good seasonals.
 

Parker36

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In Boulder we have the Walnut Brewery that is kind of the original in the chain (all the Rock Bottoms were almost called Walnut Breweries) and the place is awesome. Great food, great atmosphere, lots of good beer.
 

jvh261

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I've only ever been to the downtown Chicago location and it was nothing spectacular. The IPA I had was not very hoppy at all. It was barely above a Pale. The Brown Ale I had tasted watered down. I think I had a few sips of a blueberry wheat that I didn't care for. I don't remember what else I tried. We only ordered appetizers and shared but it was normal average bar food fare.

Given all the great choices for good beer/good food in Chicago, Rock Bottom is not a destination.
 

Bobby_M

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The one in Minneapolis is actually good. The brewer seems to push the franchise boundaries on extra brews/seasonals. I had a good time there.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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The one in Warrenville, out here in the burbs of Chicago gets a thumbs down from me.

One bartender alone made my multiple visits sufficiently miserable that I will never go back. Funny thing is, I mentioned it to a few other bartenders on a couple of occasions and they basically said, "Yeah, well, she's cute so the managers give her the run of the place. You aren't the first person to complain about her lack of service and I'm sure you won't be the last..."

With a total of 4 people at the bar, I waited in excess of 10 minutes to be served my first beer. My second one took longer. I didn't wait around for a third. And that happened on more than one occasion. And yes, I did attempt to flag her down and wave to get her attention... to no avail. She was too busy cleaning glasses and chatting up somebody at the end of the bar.

As for the food, what I had was good. As for the beer, it is above average beer, though a bit below average for a brew pub.
 

Rhoobarb

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Went to the one in Orland Park, near Chicago. The beer was okay and the food was not bad - a 6 on a scale of 1-10. But the hostess service was abismal. Said hostess told us that it would be a 15 min wait. After 30 mins. I checked with said hostes who claimed she told me "50 mins.", not 15. About 90 mins. passed at the bar and we noticed people coming and then getting paged for their tables, yet we still had no table. My fiancee finally got a bartender to get the manager. We were offered big apologies and got comped on the entrees.

Overall, there are too many better places for good beer and food in the area. We haven't been back.
 

BWRIGHT

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I've been to the one in donwtown Indianapolis. It was a long time ago. I remember being fairly impressed with the beers. The bartender had a very good grip on the beers there. I do rememeber getting half popped just sampling beers before I ever paid for one. I think the bartender was just happy to share his knowledge with someone who could actually have an intelligent conversaion with him. The place was noisy and packed and every body was drinking BMC. Overall, I would definitely go back. The food was excellent also.
 

Bearcat Brewmeister

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+1 on Minneapolis. I haven't been to the Cincinnati on since they got their new brewmaster. The one in Bethesda, MD is outstanding, or at least was a few years back. They have consistently won awards with their beers in competition. I had a good brown ale and stout there.
 

ScubaSteve

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It's not a bad franchise IMHO...I guess it's left to chance what wait staff you end up with, and how busy the place is. The beers are pretty cookie-cutter most of the time, but IIRC, I went there on my birthday 3 months ago and they were serving real-ales (a vanilla oak porter....good....but WAY too much vanilla) and barleywines. I imagine it's all about the brewmaster and what kind of leash they keep him on. I do like the atmosphere though...as long as it's not packed:)
 

david_42

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One visit, three weak beers, including the absolute worst example of a cask-conditioned beer I've ever tasted. A little like sour-dough sponge. One of three craft beers I've dumped after tasting. Drank the other two, only because it was snowing hard & there wasn't any other place withing walking distance.
 

lackofstyl

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I like the one in charlotte. The head brewer made an excellent porter a couple of months ago. Since I was running low on my own stock, he filled one of my cornies for $40. Not a bad price for 5 gallons of a beer I knew would not last long at home.
 

Skins_Brew

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The Rock Bottom in Bethesda, MD. is OK IMHO. The beer was OK I guess and the food was was above average. They have VERY good ribs. The Rock Creek Pale Ale was pretty good. SWMBO and I took my parents there and they were so impressed that they are going to have our Rehearsal Dinner there. Not a bad place for a Rehearsal Dinner, minus the fact that i cannot get destroyed since I am getting married the next day! Damn!
 

Shaggy

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Rhoobarb said:
Went to the one in Orland Park, near Chicago.
I was at this one myself maybe last Nov. for the first time...
Shop was very crowded on that Sat. evening and there was approx. +/-45 minute wait for our table. But we shimmied up to the bar and had a few while waiting. I was pretty impressed with the amount of beer that was being poured and that the service was pretty good toboot.
I enjoyed the "powerhouse ale"...and brought a growler home of it.
Also the "lumpy dog" was alright and my g/f also tried a seasonal that had nice hints of banana.
Anyway...the apps were good but I had some steak entree that really was not worth the money.
I'll be going back there again to re-assess....will probably be at the Milwaukee location next month as we'll be staying at a hotel right near it for the Ratdog show!
Beer and Bobby Weir...good times...
:)
 

DuPuma

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citabria said:
I had been to two of the Rock Bottom Breweries in Denver on several occasions. They were okay. I never thought much of their beer. Then, several months ago a new Rock Bottom opened up in our neck of the woods, north of Denver in Loveland. The beer at this location was noticeably good. Excellent staff and good food as well. A few weeks ago I was at private tasting and learned from the brew master that, allegedly, the Rock Bottom chain lets the brewers brew whatever they want. There is no set recipe list and the beers and quality vary immensely from location to location.

Tonight I am going to my second free tasting. I am a little ashamed that a chain restaurant is becoming my favorite local brewpub but what can I say... the beer is great and it's close to home! What's the Rock Bottom beer like in your location? Do you like it or hate it?
The on on the northside of Indy is actually pretty good. They usually have 7-8 of their beers (about 4 of which are interesting or good), but they always have something on a nitro, and TWO cask ales. They had an English IPA on the cask once, and I really liked it a lot. Very different from the hoppity hopped american IPAs we all love so much.
 

Cauldron7

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I have only been to the King of Prussia Mall Location (near Philly). Its OK, enjoyed a few beers, but i certainly wasn't blown away by any. It gets lost in all of the other good spots in the area.
 

Alamo_Beer

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How about the one in San Diego? Anyone been to it/care to comment?

Sorry to bump a kinda old thread but my fiance and I are headed out to CA for spring break and being an AHA member I wanted to take advantage of it.

Thanks in advance!
:mug:
 

Ooompa Loompa

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We have one here in Colorado Springs and I love going there. Every once in a while I'll get the beer sampler just to try all of the beers they are currently offering. As far as the lighter beers go they are kind of hit and miss, some are pretty bad, some are pretty good, but none of them really stand out. But the darker beers (which are what I normally order) I have nothing but great comments about. I've been there 15 times (I think) in the last 3 years, and have always been happy. The food is good, but a little over priced. But always freindly staff, good service, good food and good beer. As a matter of fact I spent new years eve there with my girfriend.
 

heinz57

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Haven't been to the one in San Diego, but if you make it up around LA the one in Long Beach is decent. I enjoyed their Brown Ale, but that was the only beer I had that night (driving).

The food wasn't anything spectacular, but affordable and the environment is nice.
 

srm775

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Was just at the one in Warrenville and it wasn't too bad. We usually just get appitizers and have cocktails. The food is ok (the pretzels is good which we usually get) and the beer was fairly decent. I had a dubble that was really enjoyable (though served in the wrong glass) and one of their other seasonals that was good.

However, the wait there is always terrible (not really their fault though).
 

Jared311

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I hate them for the fact that they had like 10 tables at the Great American Beer Festival. I asked them why they could have so many tables while Dogfish Head and other great breweries only got one. They said because they serve different varieties of beers at each location. That's complete bull****! However I have had one or two beers of theirs that I really enjoyed. I think one of them was a nitrogen oatmeal stout.
 

Shaggy

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Yeah, I was looking at their individual shop menus and they do seem to brew different per location.
Still no need to take up 10 tables though lol!
In a couple weeks I'll be trying the Milwaukee shop since were staying right next to it practically. We'll see how that goes...
 

Shaggy

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Took my brother to the Orland shop this past Sat. night for his birthday.
We enjoyed ourselves and especially the Hop Bomb lol.
Look forward to checking out the Milwaukee location next Sat. while were staying next to it...
 

Milhouse

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I really Like Rock Bottom. The Class V Amber is very tasty. I appreciate thier effort to support craft beers and pairing food with them.
 

pickles

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i had a flight of their beers at chicago rockbottom and all tasted like arse, however I had pint of their rotating stout ( coffe stout actually) that was not in the flight and it was great
 

TxBuck

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Jared311 said:
I hate them for the fact that they had like 10 tables at the Great American Beer Festival. I asked them why they could have so many tables while Dogfish Head and other great breweries only got one. They said because they serve different varieties of beers at each location. That's complete bull****! However I have had one or two beers of theirs that I really enjoyed. I think one of them was a nitrogen oatmeal stout.
It's another chain that I always give a shot when I'm in different cities because you never know when you find that one great brew. I've come across more poor to average Rock Bottom sites than good but you never know because each hires a head brewer who has the freedom to independently brew whatever. I've enjoyed RBs in Seattle, Denver, and Phoenix but can't really recommend them because I don't know if the same brewer is there now as when I tried out.

I agree with Jared, RB's should limit their tables to their best efforts. RB's extra show with average beer's aren't good advertisement, they just diminish the rest.
 

budbo

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Went to the one in Colorado Springs with Oompa Loompa.. it was decent food (appetizer sampler), the beer was OK. I liked the Wheat here (tad too much ginger easily overcome by an orange slice). I went back today, tried a dinner it was pretty good, the bartender was a homebrewer and after talking HB he hooked me up with a free sampler of all the beer.. It was average, nothing to write home about, but they had a few decent beers.
 

paulvp

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+1 for MPLS location. Pretty decent beer, not as good as the other chain around here, Granite City, but pretty good stuff.
 

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Their location in Campbell (the pruneyard) leaves something to be desired. Just...meh.
 

tdavisii

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I dont remember their food and only tried one of their beers. It was an IPA that was exceptional. If i remember they dont always have ipa and it was the brewers special recipe or some crap like that. It was in indianapolis.
 

kbrewer1

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The one in in the Arlington, VA area wasn't bad the times I have went. My girlfriend and I both enjoyed the food and I liked most of the beers, at least in comparison to the other brewpubs in the area, and certainly more than the "craft restaurant beers" that are sold in some places.

Since I have to commute into the area for grad school, it will be a definite place for me to go and study/relax while I'm there.
 

Rick500

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I ate at one in an airport... somewhere... don't remember the city. I was on a layover on my way to London.

I don't remember the beers, so I guess they weren't great. I had fish & chips, though, and they were nothing short of awesome. Breaded, fried salmon.

I'm almost sorry to say, but it was better than any fish & chips I had in the UK while I was there (and I had some good fish on that trip).
 
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