435 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs, CO
Look, the term “brewery” inevitably evokes images of bad soup, fish & chips, chicken wings, and broccoli/parmesan dip in a boule. Most brewpubs are like that: overpriced, unimaginative food of mediocre quality.
This ain’t that place.
This place takes “brewery and grill” to the level such a moniker ought to mean, and what it will mean after the parousia.
First, the beer. The site-brewed IPA does not have the fruit and the aroma we have come to expect from first-rate IPAs. Too much roasted malt and consequently too astringent, with no lingering richness or mouthfeel from crystal malt. More like a copper ale than an IPA.
The pale ale is OK, but not remarkable. I did not have occasion to try the other offerings, of which there were about six or eight.
The wine list is above average for brewpubs, best I could tell, with some higher-end Sonoma reds for surprisingly reasonable prices by the glass.
But it’s the food here that’s the star. Mom had the roasted poblano soup: the fire was highly suggestive and immediately coated the entire mouth with the joys of capsicum. Rich flavor, scalding hot, topped with finely shredded Monterey Jack. Nicely done.
Dad’s salad consisted of mixed young greens, pecan halves, gorgonzola, and dried cranberries with what appeared to be a champagne vinaigrette. Cold and refreshing.
Tapas ($1 during happy hour) were intriguing. Pulled pork soft (corn) tacos with baby greens, mango and Brie in phyllo pastry cups: imaginative and well executed.
In his quest for the perfect raw tuna, qb ordered the tuna ceviche. This, friends, was a symphony: small chunks of ice-cold, red-chile-ginger marinated tuna in citrus, with diced avocado, Mandarin oranges, chopped cilantro, and a hit-and-run strike of wasabi, served with home-fried wonton crisps.
And an humble side salad of chilled greens with cucumber, tomato slices, shredded carrot, and just the most delectable gorgonzola dressing – no chunks, and thinner than most, but with an assertive and high-fidelity gorgonzola presence.
Look, you can please qb if your salads are cold and your soups are hot. I’m not that hard-nosed a critic. But this was a great experience all around, and the prices are not nearly as high as one might have expected given the quality of the food and the attentiveness of the service.
Now if they’ll just do some work on those ale recipes, they’ll really have something!