Finally, it’s my turn to go to Hopworks! Kathy reported that it was full to the gills when she drove by at 9:30 on Tuesday, opening night, including bikes locked to every lockable surface she could see. Come Thursday at 6:30 and it’s not quite so insane on the outside, but it’s a total zoo inside. I did have to lock my bike to the hand rails that lead up from the parking lot, so my first comment is: ADD MORE BIKE PARKING. Seriously. Don’t claim to be sustainable and bike-friendly with parking for only 10 bikes.
Entering the building, it’s total chaos. To the right is dining room seating, to the left is the bar. And let me tell you, avoid the bar for a good month or two. Madness! I got my name on the list, spent 10 minutes trying to get a beer at the bar, then fled to the deck outside of the dining room to wait for my name to be called. There’s an upstairs area I couldn’t even access because there were too many people blocking the route to the stairs. Thank goodness for the deck! Quiet, spacious, I could hang out here and not feel like I was going to be crushed to death by other beer geeks. And once the hail started, we had the deck to ourselves!
We got seated after an hour or so, with very friendly service and pretty good attention to our needs. I had the chicken tenders appetizer, which reminded me of Krusty’s Ribwich in all the best possible ways: tasty sauce, breaded exterior, seemed to contain chicken breast meat. The home style fries are good, too.
Oh right, and the beer! My first was the Survival Stout. Grainy, coffee notes, slightly bitter amaranth finish. Pretty good. The second beer I tried was the Abominable Winter Ale. Amber color, honey tones in the flavor, fruity nose, slightly hoppy finish that kept the beer from being too sweet. The last beer was their doppelbock, which was pretty tasty and drinkable, but nothing special to my taste. I’ll have to try it again and see if I like it better.
Next time I’m there, I’d like to try their El Diablo, which Ben reports is like a strong tripel. I did have their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Olde Ale at the Holiday Ale Festival, and while it was tasty, it’s just too sweet for more than 4oz of beer.
We did get to flip through their construction picture book, and they did an amazing job of rehabbing the old Sunset Heating & Fuel building. You just can’t go wrong in supporting an organic and sustainable brewery and brew pub! Since Hopworks is a 5 minute bike ride or a 15 minute walk from my house, I’ll surely be back! Especially in the summer when it’s nice out on that back deck.
Now if they’d just add some more bike parking…