Great Baraboo-boos

We were heading out to a show with our friends (and big shout out to fellow food and brew aficionados) Ray and Denise Jasion. As the place we were heading to (that shall remain nameless) has very expensive food and beer we opted to dine nearby at the Great Baraboo Brewing Company in Clinton Township. They have a nice patio, large menu, large beer selection and close by our destination, so seemed like a perfect place.

Now, this is not our first visit here. Omar and I have always had decent food and a decent experience.  Good, not great, but on a 80+ beautiful summer night we needed to be outside.  Our visit however, was indeed a boo-boo from the start.

First, we convinced Ray to join us in ordering a flight a beers. Great Baraboo has their own brews and well as a number of “guest” taps form around the area. Great Baraboo is going through some changes, so their beers are being cut back while they revamp their brewing process (at least that’s what the waitress told us). They had a good number of interesting guest taps so we decided on the sampler.  We thought and scrutinized our selections to get the right 6 beers, only to be told after we turned them in that “guest taps” were not allowed on the flights, sorry.  We then got to pick from the mere 6 beers they have, very IPA heavy, so we decided against that.  You may want to mention that in the menu!!

Omar ordered a guest tap – North Coast Brewing Company, Old Rasputin Nitro.  It was heavy, with a whopping 9.0 abv, and served in a tulip glass.  We expected raspberry overtones, but didn’t really get too strong a fruit vibe on this one.

I ordered a “Juniper” Ale whose name is escaping me. Also served in  tulip glass, aged in gin barrels, it was smooth and strong!

Ray ordered an Erik the Red, and the lady at the next table was ordering a simple pilsner, and our waitress kept mixing them up.  A red beer and a pilsner are not hard to tell apart. Our waitress however, was not the brightest star in the sky.

I decided to order the prime rib special. I know, its crazy to order prime rib at a place that isn’t known for that (like don’t order a burger at a Chinese restaurant, it will not be good).  But they had me at “garlic horseradish mashed potatoes”.  The food was served, sans Omar’s, who was waiting patiently for a while until the waitress said “did you hear they dropped your burger on the floor” like it was funny.

My prime rib, ordered medium rare did not have even the slightest hint of pink.  I usually never do it, but I sent it back.  Medium, ok I could have lived with, but well done? Geeze.  The second Prime rib was slightly better, maybe a medium well, but I was hungry and we had to leave.  The prime rib was still flavorful, the au jus tasty and the mashed potatoes did not disappoint. Hand smashed, skin on, with garlic and horseradish (not too much) and seasoned perfect.  Just fill my belly with these, really.

Omar finally got his burger.  Not so much as an apology from the manager for our overcooked and dropped food, or the mix ups of the beers.  C’est La Vie.  It is what it is.

Our adventures at our show I will keep to myself as I has free tickets and do not want to be petty. 🙂

Thanks to Paul and Val Leo for meeting us, and paying for our beers event though you shouldn’t have!!

Yeah the food was ok. Beer was cold, weather was great, show was mediocre, show pizza was an abomination, but it was nice to see friends we don’t see often. A good excuse for an evening out.

Bob’s Your Uncle

Recently attended a Human Resource Conference in Grand Rapids. Our entertainment for the evening was dinner and drinks at a place called the B.O.B. (Big Old Building). This place is really cool and very eclectic. It is a remodeled old warehouse, with floor after floor of restaurants, comedy clubs, and bars. Our evenings entertainment put us on the third floor with a live band (who were pretty good) and the fourth floor for Dr. Grins comedy club. As this was a sponsored event, it is difficult to review the menu as we had a pre-chosen buffet. Rather three buffets. One area had a variety of cold salads, BBQ smoked chicken sliders, which were spicier than I expected, and a beef station with carved filet, baked beans and cornbread. The filet was the star of the show, cooked as a whole tenderloin, medium rare, and smoked perfectly. The beans were cooked with onions and BBQ sauce and were really tasty. The cornbread is not even worth mentioning, however.
Station #2 was a pseudo Mexican gala with pulled pork tacos and chicken nachos. I did not try the tacos, but the chicken on the nachos were very dry.
Station #3 was pasta, Caesar salad and pizza. I had a bit of the Caesar salad, which was well, Caesar salad. Not impressive, but good. The one pasta I tried seemed like a bacon infused mac and cheese. Pretty good. The second pasta looked good, a tortellini spinach pasta, but loaded with mushrooms so I opted out. The pizza looked underwhelming, so I opted against.
The BOB has its own brewery – who knew? I really have to go back to Grand Rapids and enjoy the craft beer culture that has over taken the city. With Founders Brewery, The Bob and numerous restaurants catering to a more refined beer drinking college crowd, such as Hopcat, it really is a beer lovers destination.
My beer of choice for the evening was SpaceBoy Stout, an oatmeal stout, light and creamy and easy to drink. 6% abv, it is similar to my other love, Rochester Mills Milkshake Stout.
A fun evening, and I have discovered a fun new beer, and a fun new place to visit when in Grand Rapids. I recommend both!

Big Beaver Tavern, get off at exit 69!

My beautiful hottie aka Jen and I were in the mood for bar food in a casual relaxed atmosphere. We found such a place, Big Beaver Tavern.  Its a place where anyone can feel welcome, families, couples, older folks as well as guys who want to watch the big game on any of there multiple televisions.  The menu has classic bar fare as well as a few upscale specials such as Mahi Mahi.  Our goal was that American classic burger, brews and some type of fries.

Our server came over very quickly and presented us with menus as well as a beer list.  You have to like any place where the first beer on tap mentioned is Atwater Vanilla Java Porter.  That’s all we needed to see, because that happens to be one of our favorites, so we ordered two.  The server was very knowledgeable, because when Jen asked  if the fries were battered, she replied yes they are. We said we’re glad you told us because we don’t like battered fries.   Finally, someone who understood what those are! I told her I would have the 4 alarm burger with onion rings and she replied,”You do know are onion rings are battered don’t you”? Love the sass, made me chuckle.   Jen ordered potato skins and a patty melt.

The skins came out first. Nothing fancy just potato, cheese and bacon with sour cream. Jens patty melt was big and looked like it was cooked to order. I tried it and I thought it was good.  Now my burger and onion rings came out with Jens entree.  The onion rings were good and crispy.  Now my 4 alarm burger, had pepper jack cheese, habanero sauce and sliced jalapenos. Sounds hot, but I wanted hotter.  I made Jen try it and she said it was too hot for her, but either way, it was a good burger.

In conclusion, Big Beaver Tavern isn’t a fancy eatery nor is it a corner dive.  It is exactly what it’s trying to be, a nice causal place for a simple meal and a good beer.  I don’t think you will be blown away by the food, but you certainly will not leave there disappointed either.  Jen and I will be back.

I dabbled in the occult and lost

No not really. I purchased what I thought was a Mexican beer called Oculto. Oculto is Spanish for hidden and each bottle had a hidden message and a cool looking skull on it.  And that my friends is where the fun ends.  The messages on the bottles are dumb and the pseudo tequila infusion is slight at best.  Now I like beer and I like Tequila and maybe this Mexican micro beer made with Blue Agave would be good.  Nope guess again.  The beer has an almost chemical taste to me and isn’t a Mexican beer at all, it’s made by Anhueser-Busch!  I feel like a dumb ass cuz I let myself be duped by cool packaging and an interesting name.  For all you craft beer lovers stay away, far away, from this debacle.  Or you can be like me and try one beer, then pour the rest down the drain.