Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Brew Kettle Taproom and Smokehouse

Last week my fiancee and I decided to join some friends for dinner at The Brew Kettle in Strongsville.   I've tried, and enjoyed many of the beers brewed at The Brew Kettle and was curious to see if they had to food to match the brews!

The menu at The Brew Kettle is full of BBQ options, so many in fact that we decided to get the sampler platter so we could have a little taste of everything.  My fiancee also ordered a simple house salad to start.  The salad was basic romaine lettuce with with provolone cheese, grape tomatoes, red onion rings, sunflower seeds and croutons.  Everything on the plate was fresh and tasted good, so this salad was a good start.

The platter we ordered came with 1/4 Slab of St. Louis BBQ ribs, BBQ pulled pork, and Smokehouse Wings  It was served with a side of skin-on-fries and coleslaw.  The flavor of the BBQ sauce on the ribs was tangy, sweet, with just a touch of heat in the end.  It added some moisture to the ribs, but it couldn't overcome the moisture level of the meat itself.  The meat on the ribs was dry and overcooked.  The wings were much better in terms of the meat being moist.  The wings had a crispy skin to go with the soft meat, and the smoky flavor was a nice change from the BBQ sauce of the ribs.  Finally, the pulled pork also suffered from being somewhat dry.    When dipped into the BBQ sauce that came on the side it helped, but not enough to overcome the fact that this pork was overcooked too.  The fries could have been a little crispier and could have used a little more salt.
We both hoped that the platter would have been the way for the Brew Kettle to express just how well they do BBQ.  With two out of the three items on the plate being dry and overcooked we were disappointed with the quality of the entree.  Based on others recommendations this might have just been an off night, but at 6:30pm on a Saturday night we would have hoped to have seen their best.  Food wise this experience gets a 2/5.

Brew Kettle has a fantastic 30 tap draft beer system that features not only 6-8 of their beers, but also a wide variety of other excellent craft beer options from across the country.  This is definitely a destination for Clevelanders looking for a place south of Cleveland that offers a great selection of beer!
My choice for the evening was to get the sampler.  You are free to choose any beer on the menu and the 5oz samples are all individually priced. I went with (from left to right) Avery Maharaja $2.50, Brew Kettle White Rajah $1.25, Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA $2.00, Brew Kettle Rauchtoberfest $1.25, and Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Black IPA $2.50.  The five samples ended up costing $9.50 total which I thought was a very fair price considering we could create our own sampler.  My favorites were the Avery, Brew Kettle's White Rajah and the Stone Black IPA.  The least favorite was the Rauchtoberfest which was filled with so much smokey flavor it was like drinking a cigarette. The selection, quality and price of the craft beer at the Brew Kettle is hard to beat and for that reason I give them a 5/5.

Atmosphere and Service
The Brew Kettle environment is clean, not overly noisy and made for a nice dinning experience with our group of 6.
What brought our experience down was our service.  Our waitress was simply not very friendly and really wasn't around to check on us or to take our in orders.   We were lucky that another server jumped in to help with the drinks and he managed to bring our drink orders for us very quickly.  He was even kind enough to offer me another sample since he saw I was not drinking the Rauchtoberfest.  He also took the time to talk to our table about The Brew Kettle and about craft beer. Once our food came out our waitress did not check with our table once to see how our food was.  Everyone agreed that our service outside of the gentleman who jumped in to help was sub-par.

Will I be going back to Brew Kettle, you bet I will.  They do make some of the best beer around and I hope next time the food and service can be as good as the brews being made!
Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse on Urbanspoon


Ben said...

It does sound like you hit a bad night in terms of food and service. I've been there for lunch a few times (and dinner a number of years ago) and have always enjoyed the food and received good service. I've never gotten the ribs, just the pulled pork, which has not been super-moist but was definitely not dry and also had a really nice smoke flavor. The buffalo chicken dip was also good (although they had cheese in it before, which doesn't seem to be the case now).

I couldn't agree with you more about the quality of the beer list.

Brad said...

Ben, I have heard good things about Brew Kettle too which is why our table of 6 was kind of shocked by our experience. We will try a few other menu items next time and hopefully the service is much improved!


Anonymous said...

I've been to the Brew Kettle a few times and the food is usually pretty good but the service there is always poor. So your's wasn't an exception. If their beer wasn't so good, I wouldn't ever go back.

Easy1 said...

I've ate there a couple of times in the last few weeks and have enjoyed the wings and black bean cakes, which were spectacular. It's pretty tough to find some of the beers on tap that they have. The Dark Horse Brewery is one example.

As for the Rauchtoberfest, I'll let my friend know that you hated it and it'll crush his soul. He was the homebrew contest winner ;-)

Brad said...

Easy....I hate saying something that negative about anything, but everyone at the table said the same thing about it. I like a smoked beer, but that was a little too much. Maybe something went wrong with that batch or the lines that caused this taste.

Dave said...

I've had the same complaints about the BBQ the couple times I've eaten there. Check out Lagerheads in Medina. The beers not as good but the food is much better, in my experience.


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