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What you like/dislike about brewpubs.

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gruntingfrog

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I find that a lot of brewpubs that I've been to are far too similar in menu, atmosphere, beer selection, etc., so I have a couple questions I'd like to throw out.

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What do you like about a brewpub (other than the obvious, beer :D )?

What do you dislike?

Have you ever been to a brewpub you really didn't like/never went back to for reasons other than bad beer?

Have you ever been to a brewpub that was "different"? If so, what made it stand out?

Was it "too different"? Would you go back?

On a Saturday night, would you prefer to go to a brewpub and sit at the bar, or go to a bar with a lot of different beers you can get "anywhere"?

How about a Tuesday night?
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Thanks a lot.
 

the_bird

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I love going to brewpubs because they tend to have pretty good food, they're casual, tend to be family-friendly, and I love having fresh, local beer. No pretension. Staff's usually pretty laid back. Comfort food.

The one that I go to the most has sometimes had pretty mediocre beer on tap, but they've also had some great things, and they even made a rauchbier :rockin:. I also love when a pub's got something on cask.

When I've been disappointed, it's been because they ran out of a lot of beer, and only had a handful of selections left (all of which were pretty similar; like, an APA and an IPA). But, that was just a pretty rare f*ck-up on their part.
 

Rick_R

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Must be nice to have the option of discussing likes/dislikes of brewpubs. With none within an hour's drive, were one to move in locally I'd be slow to find any fault in it.
:)

Rick
 

McKBrew

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My biggest issue with brew-pubs is the price they charge for beer. I understand the business aspect and all, but it's funny when the beer off the tap cost more than a larger size bottle or growler they sell by the front door.
 

brewt00l

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What do you like about a brewpub (other than the obvious, beer :D )?
in order of importance: food, atmosphere, beer

What do you dislike?
failures or shortcomings in the food/beer/atmosphere

Have you ever been to a brewpub you really didn't like/never went back to for reasons other than bad beer? yes, see above

Have you ever been to a brewpub that was "different"? If so, what made it stand out? yes

Was it "too different"? Would you go back?
nope, have gone back a few times

On a Saturday night, would you prefer to go to a brewpub and sit at the bar, or go to a bar with a lot of different beers you can get "anywhere"?
I don't really follow

How about a Tuesday night?
Again, I don't follow
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Thanks a lot.
:)
 
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gruntingfrog

gruntingfrog

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McKBrew said:
My biggest issue with brew-pubs is the price they charge for beer. I understand the business aspect and all, but it's funny when the beer off the tap cost more than a larger size bottle or growler they sell by the front door.
That's a great point. There was one that I went to that charged $3 to fill a growler (if you brought it yourself), but $4.50 for a pint.

brewt00l said:
On a Saturday night, would you prefer to go to a brewpub and sit at the bar, or go to a bar with a lot of different beers you can get "anywhere"?
I don't really follow
What I mean is when going out with your friends on a weekend night (you're not planning on eating, just drinking a 3-4 beers), would you go to a brewpub or to a "normal" bar with a decent selection of beer.

brewt00l said:
How about a Tuesday night?
Again, I don't follow
Here, I'm assuming that you have to be at work Wednesday morning so you're not going to drink much, but you and your buddies want to grab 1-2 beers.
 

david_42

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My favorite place's biggest problem is price. I can actually get a pint of their beer cheaper at a local bar than I can at the brewpub! The food ranges from pricey to ridiculous. I rarely buy anything other than an appetizer and those run $10-12. For $25, I can get two pints and a snack or walk out with a case. Go figure.
 

brewt00l

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gruntingfrog said:
What I mean is when going out with your friends on a weekend night (you're not planning on eating, just drinking a 3-4 beers), would you go to a brewpub or to a "normal" bar with a decent selection of beer.

Here, I'm assuming that you have to be at work Wednesday morning so you're not going to drink much, but you and your buddies want to grab 1-2 beers.
In both cases, the beer selection would be a secondary factor, a plus at best....unless the group of friends is a group of BAs. I don't really have a day of the week difference since I need my license every day of the week ;)

The successful brewpubs around here seem to work under the premise that they offer good food and atmosphere first with good beer as a bonus.
 

andypantz13

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My favorite local brewpub has couches. Now this may not sound like that big of a deal on the surface, but I gotta say. Its pretty sweet when you just want to go in there and chill with some friends for a while. Its really pretty hard to beat sitting on a couch at a pub.

As for what I like in a brewpub, aside from couches, munchies are important. Maybe I don't feel like having a full meal or something, but being able to get some good fries for under $5 is a really big draw.

I dislike what I dislike in any restaurant, bad food, service, atmosphere, etc.

Never been to a place I wouldn't go back to.

First time I was in Triumph I was different. Here was a brewpub that had $25-$30 entrees that could rival most restaurants, I'd never seen that before.

Honestly, on either a Saturday or a Tuesday night I wouldn't really have a preference. Maybe if I knew one place had something I really wanted on tap, but that would be about it.
 

NWernBrewer

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Stumbling distance from my house there is a brewpub in downtown Burien - the food selection is pretty standard but reasonably priced and while their beer really doesn't stand out none is really bad. What I like is that they have two hand engines that feature cask conditioned ales from around the Puget Sound. I can sit down and enjoy a cask conditioned, dry-hopped DIPA from Maritime one day and enjoy something completely different later in the week. The casks go while they are still fresh and they keep their beer lines clean.:rockin:
 

shafferpilot

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My main grype with most brewpubs is lack of selection. It's as if they are the only ones making beer. Why not offer some of the thousands of craft brews and some of the local stuff from the other breweries in town? Then there's the one that has special "Beer of the Month"s..... but they always run out of it after a week or two. Second problem is rediculous pricing. I know making beer isn't cheap, but the pubs around here are a little rediculous. Lastly is location. All the brewpubs want to be downtown or in the "party" districts. I think this just makes their overhead higher causing really high prices. I'd love to see a brewpub in the suburbs so that I could afford the time and money to go there regularly.
 
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shafferpilot said:
My main grype with most brewpubs is lack of selection. It's as if they are the only ones making beer. Why not offer some of the thousands of craft brews and some of the local stuff from the other breweries in town?
There's a reason for that. It involves a different license (costly) and for sure it would involve having to use a distributor.

Plus they would make far less margins on those other beers.
 

PseudoChef

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My main gripe here in TN is that they can't brew anything over 6%, so that definitely limits the styles offered. I'm also a 1 big beer kinda guy rather than 4 small beers, so I'm most likely in the minority on this one.
 

Uncle Argyle

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I've found that the local brewpubs are always crowded even though they have OK beer and OK food. I'd love to be able to go, relax and maybe have a discussion about beer with the bartender or another patron. But they are way too busy and I don't enjoy the hectic atmosphere.

There are a couple of nice pubs that have a decent selection of beers where you can talk to people without yelling. I also find that a lot of the people at the these bars appreciate good beers.

So, for me, atmosphere trumps 'beer made on premise'.
 

rdwj

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There are only a handful of brewpubs near me. It seems to me that they all tend to play it safe with most of their beers; which is fine as long as there are one or two "out there" selections. They are all about the same as far as food goes - decent quality - not great.

My biggest problem with most brew pubs is that there isn't anything to do in most of them. Some have TVs and that's fine; but how about some pool tables, dart boards, shuffle board and other bar games? There never seems to anything like that at ones I've been to. Having something to do besides beer would bring me back more often - that's for sure.

If I were to open a beer pub, I'd have a smaller bar area with stools, a dining area, a sitting area with comfortable couches / chairs, a decent game area and a beer garden for summer. Beer garden would have horse shoes and bags. I'd stick to bacis foods - burgers, pizza, wings. I'd probably add steaks in there too.
 

Rhoobarb

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What do you like about a brewpub
Beer still wins, but food is second. "Atmosphere" is a very low 3rd.
What do you dislike?
When the beer is mediocre or just plain bad. Maybe I'm lucky b/c there are a lot of decent brewpubs near me. But I've been to at least a couple BPs that had so-so beeer and one that was bad.

Have you ever been to a brewpub you really didn't like/never went back to for reasons other than bad beer?
Nope. I can overlook most anything as long as the beer is good.

Have you ever been to a brewpub that was "different"? If so, what made it stand out?
Yes, Lunar Brewing in Villa Park, Illinois. It's an old corner/townie/old-man bar. Dark with lots of wood on the inside and a couple of small TVs in the corner. It looks like the place has been there nearly 100 years. It's so non-descript that you drive by it a couple of times before you even notice there is a bar on the corner. But the beer is excellent with a capital E! Food selection? Ha! Anything you want, as long as it's bags of chips, cheese balls, pretzels or frozen pizza.

Was it "too different"? Would you go back?
No. I have been back and will go back again soon.

On a Saturday night, would you prefer to go to a brewpub and sit at the bar, or go to a bar with a lot of different beers you can get "anywhere"?
Brewpub

How about a Tuesday night?
I stay home most Tuesday nights, but on the nights when I might be talked into going out - brewpub.
 
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I love going to new brewpubs to try the beer especially when I travel. I prefer the one's that only serve their beer actually.

On the home front I go to a particular pub that is about a mile away from home and have been for 10 years. I'll pop into others around town but always go back to my place. The food is ok (standard pub rating IMO) and there are some good brews and some just ok.

I know almost all the employees. Owner, bartenders, servers, cooks. Some of which have been working there since it opened in '97. I socialize with many outside of their work as well.

I probably get 1/2 of my beers and sometimes food comp'd. They get a big old tip and I still pay less. They'll do that while I'm sitting next to the owner. He knows I spend $ there and probably in the realm of $1000+ a year.

I love my bar and you can call me Norm.
 

Kevin Dean

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My answers are all serious, as silly as they may sound.

What do you like about a brewpub (other than the obvious, beer )?

Redheads. I can drink good beer cheaply every day of the week. I can only get drunk and flirt with the redheads at the brewpub. SWMBO is cool with it, I come home to her EVERY time, after all. :)

What do you dislike?

I have two brew pubs so this answer is only applicable to one but...

Kids. Since Maryland passed a "no smoking" civil right's restriction, dumb parents have INSISTED that "no smoking" means "family restaurant". I'd rather sumo wrestlers took craps on my table twice during the meal than have kids in the building. I'm SERIOUSLY looking for eateries that have strict "no children" policies that do NOT have strippers.

Have you ever been to a brewpub you really didn't like/never went back to for reasons other than bad beer?

Barley and Hops in Frederick is the one I'm referring to above. Their beer is below-average for brew pubs, but I went back because they had KILLER soup. Couple that with a better than BMC beer and they got my patronage twice a week (DINK with no time to cook and money to spend not doing it). Prior to passing the Maryland Anti-Smoking laws, Barley and Hops implimented no smoking policy (I'm not a smoker). I stopped going there that day and stopped going to Red Lobster that same night, since they TOO did the same.

Have you ever been to a brewpub that was "different"? If so, what made it stand out?


Barley and Hops allows children at the bar. This was different. I haven't gone back.

Was it "too different"? Would you go back?


It eliminated what makes me go to brew pubs as opposed to Denny's. No, I'd not go back.

On a Saturday night, would you prefer to go to a brewpub and sit at the bar, or go to a bar with a lot of different beers you can get "anywhere"?

I don't go out on Friday, Saturday or Sunday because it's always too crowded. That crowding tends to mean more noise and no happy hour.

How about a Tuesday night?

My local brew pub, Brewer's Alley, offers killer specials every non-weekend day. They've got decent beer, low prices, nice atmosphere (minus smoking now... My living room tends to get my business more now that Brewer's Alley) and a limited selection of original on-site brews. Across the street is Bushwallers, a place that usually has a few dozen beers on tap. My craving for either "something different" or "better food" decides and it's frequently a 50/50 chance.
 

TexLaw

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I like brewpubs because they tend to have fresher beer on hand, and they often play around a little. I also like to get to know the brewers (if I don't already) and talk about the beers and brewing process.

I don't like brewpubs when they are set up more like a Chili's with an attitude ("Hey, we brew our own beer, so kiss our butt and buy a $9 hamburger). I also do not like it when they have bad beer. I appreciate that they are in the business of making money, and I have no problem at all if they want to have beers that do not scare away the mass market, but do them well and have a couple or a few more selections that make me want to show up.

Yes, I have been to brewpubs I do not like. One was the Chili's with an attitude. Another had contaminated beer or dirty lines and tried to convince me and a couple other long-time brewers that was the way the beer was supposed to taste and that we did not know about "real beer" because we did not realize that. Another had good beer and reasonable prices but uppity owners that give me attitude and kept their brewer stuck in the back all the time. None of those places are around anymore.

One brewpub that was somewhat different and that I liked very much was The Bank Draft, another one that no longer is around. They were different in that they did not bother to mess around with food and that they had lots of other beer on tap. They would have 2-4 of their own beers on, priced fairly cheaply for the Houston market at the time, and then they also had a tap wall of other breweries' beers. If you wanted food, they kept delivery menus around, or you could bring in whatever you wanted. I spent a lot of time in that place while it was around.

Whether I would go to a place on a weekend or a weekday depends entirely upon the character of the place.


TL
 

Danny013

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Unfortunately, I have not really experienced any brewpubs other than Hops. There aren't many brewpubs here in FL and I havn't had the chance to visit any of them yet...

That said, I like Hops. Good beer - 4 styles and a seasonal - clean lines, good food and a nice atmosphere. They've got all their brewing equipment i nthe eating area so you can watch the bbrewer while he's working. The price for a beer is cheap too - I believe it's $2.75 and 2 for 1 during happy hour.

My least favorite part is only being able to have 2 or 3 because I have to drive home sometimes, lol. :D
 

EvilTOJ

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One thing I like about brewpubs vs a regular bar; NO music. I like being able to go to a brewpub, order something off one of the many beers they have on tap, talk to a lovely lady or three (and someday I may actually talk to them instead of stare from the corner of the room :p ) without having to shout over the 95 db music they have playing. I guess that's one reason I've never really gone to bars is because it's so frickin loud I can't talk to anyone and I get hoarse from shouting.
 

EdWort

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TexLaw said:
Another had contaminated beer or dirty lines and tried to convince me and a couple other long-time brewers that was the way the beer was supposed to taste and that we did not know about "real beer" because we did not realize that.
LOL, what A-holes. Idiots trying to convince BJCP judges what beer is SUPPOSED to taste like. ROFLOL.
 

EdWort

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What I hate is bad service, unfriendly service, & bad beer. I was at Wasatch Brewery in Park City and they had a bar tender that was a total A-hole. Not friendly at all. Poured the beers and walked away to the other end of the bar. I was the only guy at the bar. Wouldn't talk beer & could care less if I lived or died.

I did not go back.
 

Great_Neck_Brewer

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We don't have brew pubs in NYC however we do have a place that serves craft beer. It's got a nice feel to it but the prices are sky high. $9.00 for a porter. Seems a bit much.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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Terrible Service at Rock Bottom Brewery in Warrenville, IL or somewhere around there. I don't go back because there are other options. If I want to drive, I go to Goose Island. If I don't, I go to Payton's Roundhouse.

Goose's beer is always amazing. Payton's is always alright, though I think they use local water and it really seems to show. Then again, given that we've grown up drinking local water, I wonder if we all have a preference for beer brewed with local water. I don't know.

Anyway, what keeps me coming back? Primary Numero Uno Reason to come back is great service and friendly staff. Seriously, if I've been there 10 times and you still don't know my name, or at least recognize me as a good patron, then there's a problem.

Next, as a regular, I can handle occasional slip-ups when it comes to service. I encourage the bartenders to get to the new faces first, so they can make a good impression. However, there are two expectations that come with this. The first expectation is that service will be top notch for ME, regardless of how busy you are, if I am with guests. Secondly, I expect to get comped a bit from time to time, or get a couple of samples. Yes, as a beer connoisseur, I do expect you to be excited enough about your product that you actually want me to sample it, even if you know I'm going to wind up buying something else. I once had someone give me a funny look when I asked for a sample, then an even funnier, hesitant look, when I asked for a sample of a different beer. The story was, it was my first time there and I really wanted to get a beer I liked. Trust me, nobody is coming to your brew pub to get drunk off of free samples. Give them freely. In fact, offer them up to anyone who orders anything besides one of your beers.

Third, a good selection of hard liquor is nice. If you are serving beer connoisseurs, you can expect an occasional Whisky connoisseur or wine connoisseur to walk through the door. Though I don't require it, I do like it when I see 20 or 30 bottles of whisky on the shelf. On the other hand, in some states, the brewpub license doesn't allow this. That's cool, I understand.

Fourth, GOOD FOOD. It can be $50 steaks, or $5 french fries, but it's got to be good. Lots of flavors and spices and options. No bland boring food. I think a brewpub could do just fine selling garlic bread (with a pre-prepared spread on top and some pre-grated cheese); gourmet grilled cheese (8 different cheeses to choose from) (do you have any idea how easy grilled cheese is to make?), local/fresh sausages (pick them up from a deli, even have them made to your specification if you want), home made spicy fries or pub chips, a ho-made soup of the day (make it before you open the doors, it can sit on a pot all night), and fresh-baked bread (delivered daily) with a few dipping sauces (garlic, oil and lemon, maybe a tomato-based one). I'm talking about a simple menu, but food crafted with great care and attention to detail. I guess you'd need to offer a salad too.

And regardless of your prices, there MUST be something to nibble on for less than $10. I really hate when the appetizers start at $12 or $14. That's a big turn off. I mean, I understand you want to serve fancy food, but there should be a way to get something in my belly for less. Goose Island makes their own pub chips. They charge $2 for a basket and they absolutely rock!!! They are salty/spicy/sweet, I couldn't fill up on them, but dang are they nice to nibble on!

If you only have expensive food, I will go there twice a year to eat, and the rest of the time, if I go, I will eat somewhere else before hand. The thing is, I used to live in Chicago. I can go down a few blocks and get world class pizza, tacos, gyros, etc for less than $10. If you're charging $25-$50 for a meal, it'd better be at least twice as good as those pizzas, gyros, tacos, etc... So you're better off offering some low-cost options, then at least I'll buy some food from you. I'm not cheap though... I will buy that $30 steak once or twice a year. I just can't afford it all the time...

Fifth, Cute girls. You must have cute girls.
 

TexLaw

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EdWort said:
LOL, what A-holes. Idiots trying to convince BJCP judges what beer is SUPPOSED to taste like. ROFLOL.
Yeah, it was intereting. The two other guys I was with actually are National judges and, at the time, had both been brewing for about 20 years or so, I believe.


TL
 

blacklab

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Brewpubs are like pizza and sex for me - they'd have to try pretty hard to f%#kup the experience. Although around there they are all pretty good.

And, as in both of the above, Tuesday night is usually the best!
 
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EvilTOJ said:
One thing I like about brewpubs vs a regular bar; NO music. I like being able to go to a brewpub, order something off one of the many beers they have on tap, talk to a lovely lady or three (and someday I may actually talk to them instead of stare from the corner of the room :p ) without having to shout over the 95 db music they have playing. I guess that's one reason I've never really gone to bars is because it's so frickin loud I can't talk to anyone and I get hoarse from shouting.
I never thought of this but you are spot on! The one I go to has music but really low. I friggen hate loud arse'd bars unless it's a bunch of people noise.
 
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