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Archive for the ‘Favorite Bars’

A visit to Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery in Nashville

August 03, 2011 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Favorite Bars, Travelin'


On a recent trip to Nashville, my main beer objectives were to tour Yazoo Brewing Company and check out the city’s newest brewery, Jackalope Brewing Company.

The tour of Yazoo was a success; the visit to Jackalope was not. When I arrived to find Jackalope closed, I left to find more Nashville beer.

The destination? Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery. While not on the original itinerary, my visit to this restaurant and brew pub at 1918 West End Avenue was a real treat.

Since I had never been to Blackstone, I decided to order the sampler, which allowed me to try six beers on the menu, including the two Brewmaster’s Specials. The beers on the sampler list included:

• Chaser Pale, a light-bodied Kolsch. (OG-1.046; IBUs-18)

• Nut Brown Ale, a classic British nut brown. This beer was quite tasty. (OG-1.050; IBUs-23)

• Maibock, a German beer fermented with an authentic Bavarian lager yeast strain. This was one of the Brewmaster’s Specials on the menu. (OG-1.068; IBUs-30)

• Pilsner, a golden lager spiced with Saaz hops. This was the other Brewmaster’s Special. (OG-1.052; IBUs-33)

• American Pale Ale, the hoppiest beer on the menu brewed with Cascade and Centennial hops. (OG-1.054; IBUs-36)

• St. Charles Porter, a chocolatey, British-style porter. This was my favorite beer on the list. (OG-1.054; IBUs-36)

All of the beers on the list were solid. I didn’t eat dinner at Blackstone, but I had a plate of pretzels, which were quite tasty.

Blackstone - Licensed to brewThe front door at Blackstone. This place is licensed to brew.

Blackstone - patioA view of the patio.

Blackstone-breweryBrewing equipment at the brewpub.

Blackstone-barThe bar at Blackstone.

Blackstone-dining areaOne of several dining areas at Blackstone.

blackstone-full-glassesThe sampler. Take note of the full glasses…

Blackstone-empty-glassesAnd now they’re empty.

blackstone-empty-paperWater spots.

Blackstone-kegsTake some beer home!

Flying Saucer in Downtown Memphis going smoke-free on July 1

June 11, 2011 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Favorite Bars, Memphis

In case you missed it, the Flying Saucer in Downtown Memphis — where you can grab a pint of 200  or so different beers — is banning smoking on July 1.

The news was delivered via Twitter at the beginning of June.

Flying Saucer tweet

Here’s some insight from Flying Saucer regular and Downtown blogger Paul Ryburn, who says the “whole enchilada” will be smoke-free, including the garden area:

There’s been a lot of discussion among regulars about this. I personally think this is an EXCELLENT move. There are a lot of people who don’t come to the Saucer because they don’t want their hair and clothes and tube tops to smell like smoke. Now they can come back. Also, the Saucer is a beer bar. The whole point is to find new beers you like and learn about them. You’ll be able to do that much better without cigarette smoke affecting your senses of smell and taste. [source]

Think you guys will go to the Saucer more when it goes smoke-free? Leave a comment below.

UPDATE: The Cordova location of the Flying Saucer is also going smoke-free on July 1. Thanks to Kenny for pointing that out in the comments.

Bay Area beer tour, part 5: Vesuvio Café

May 18, 2011 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Favorite Bars, Travelin'

Vesuvio - exterior

Open every day of the year from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., the historic Vesuvio Café is one of the hippest places to grab a beer in San Francisco.

The cozy, North Beach bar was founded in 1948 by Henri Lenoir, who wanted to create “a bohemian meeting place for artists to come to life.”

The bar, which is just across an alley from the famed City Lights Bookstore, was once frequented by Beat Generation writers, including Jack Kerouac. In fact the alley was renamed “Jack Kerouac Alley” in 1988.

Vesuvio offers some nice regional brews on tap and in bottles.

I tried a pint of the Lagunitas IPA, which is brewed 40 miles north of San Francisco in Petaluma at Lagunitas Brewing Company. The IPA was really well-balanced, with moderate bitterness and hop flavor.

I also tried a Prohibition Ale from San Francisco’s Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. This American-style amber ale really surprised me. It was an aggressively hopped ale with a considerable amount of caramel maltiness. Great aroma and taste. The Prohibition Ale was “on special” but would soon be added to the regular beer list, our waitress said.

I grabbed a prime seat at Vesuvio upstairs, where you can enjoy an intimate conversation, check out the patrons at the downstairs bar below or look through the large windows at the people in Jack Kerouac Alley or walking along Columbus.

It’s the perfect place for people watching, sipping good beer and channeling the Beat Generation.

Vesuvio - signThis sign hangs outside from the second story of Vesuvio.

Vesuvio - barThe bar at Vesuvio.

Vesuvio - bar (long view)Another view of the bar.

Vesuvio - tableThe tables are way cool.

Vesuvio - upstairsUpstairs at Vesuvio, good conversation can be had.

Vesuvio - second floorLooking down from the balcony.

Vesuvio - end of the barCorner of the bar, from above.

Vesuvio - guest bottlesSome good beers on special at Vesuvio.

Vesuvio - neon signAnother version of the sign in the front window, neon-style.

Read other posts from the Bay Area beer tour series:

Part 1: Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse || Part 2: Jupiter brew pub || Part 3: Toronado || Part 4: Suppenküche

Next in the Bay Area beer tour: It’s Anchors away…

Bay Area beer tour, Part 4: Suppenküche

May 13, 2011 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Favorite Bars, Travelin'

Suppenküche - outside

In Germany, a Wirtshäuser is a rustic tavern with a simple menu and great beer, often the central place for people to meet and talk about their day.

The traditional Wirtshäuser is the inspiration behind San Francisco’s Suppenküche, located at the corner of Hayes and Laguna in Hayes Valley.

On my visit to Suppenküche, I stuck with the basics — a plate full of Bratwurst (grilled pork sausage) and Cheese Spätzle (egg noodles known as German comfort food.)

I washed it all down with cold Radeberger Pilsner, made by a brewery in Germany that dates back to 1872 and ranks as the 9th best-selling brewery in that country. Radeberger was light and drinkable and really helped balance the heavy German food on my plate.

Suppenküche, which translates to “Soup Kitchen,” is a lively, intimate place, where you may just end up seated at the same candlelit table with strangers. But, hey, there’s plenty of great German beer to get past the awkwardness.

Suppenküche - insideInside Suppenküche.

Suppenküche - kitchenThe kitchen.

Suppenküche - tapsBeer taps at the bar.

Suppenküche - beerA Radeberger Pilsner.

Suppenküche - napkins in a Spaten mugNapkins in a Spaten mug.

Suppenküche - peeing baby beer signA beer sign featuring a boy peeing. It is, appropriately, in the bathroom.

Suppenküche - Spaten signA Spaten beer sign.

Suppenküche - beer signA sign for Weihenstephan Beer.

Read other posts from the Bay Area beer tour series:

Part 1: Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse || Part 2: Jupiter brew pub || Part 3: Toronado

Next in the Bay Area beer tour: If it’s good enough for Jack Kerouac…