Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nice Taps

Last night, inspired by information from Eric that a great, new tap line up was in place, the McG’s and McD’s headed out to check out Cherokee Tavern in West St. Paul. Arriving around 5:30 pm, the place was pretty quiet and we bellied up to the bar for the first round. We found that the staff’s knowledge of the beers was limited but our bartender was friendly and happy to offer samples of anything they had on tap. And isn’t this a beautiful tap selection?

As a bonus, it was still happy hour (3-6 pm). $3 for a pint of one of these tasty treats? Sign me up!

I started off with one of my new favorites, Tyranena’s Rocky’s Revenge, and we soon moved over to a table, being seated by owner/manager Jim Casper. He was happy to chat about the new tap lines and seemed at least willing to consider my plug to update a few of the taps at their Eagan location. I’m not betting on it, but it’s nice to dream that there could be a bar within blocks of our place in the suburbs that served good beer. Ok, head out of the clouds, back to the evening at hand.

Our server was friendly and made sure to get our appetizer order and round of drinks in before the end of happy hour (apps being ½ off). That being said, the arrival of both our drinks (for the entire time we were seated at the table) and our food was incredibly slow. I don’t recall exactly how long it took for the liquid portion to arrive but it took at least ½ hour for the food to arrive. In our server’s defense, she appeared to also have tables in both rooms of the dining room and it’s conceivable that the kitchen was short staffed as the dining room did fill up much more than I would have anticipated for a Monday night.

The buffalo wings were the best of the bunch (accompanied by ample blue cheese), with the onion rings being lightly battered but in desperate need of salt, the pepperoni flatbread lacking the crispness flatbreads generally boast and the 5-step parmesan fries being your run of the mill fries with the addition of some parmesan on the top of the pile. But, hey, we were there for the beer, not the food. So once the food was gone, we vacated the table and made our way back to the bar for additional pints, including Furthermore’s Knot Stock that had the most pronounced pepper flavor I’ve ever gotten out of it. Yum!

Overall, it was a hit. It’s relatively close to home, the tap selection is darn good for this neck of the woods and their happy hour pricing is a big plus. While appetizers don’t appear to be their strong suit, they had some pretty tasty looking sammiches on the menu that I’ll have to investigate further on the next visit.

P.S. For any of you detail folks, the taps from left to right are: Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Fulton Sweet Child of Vine, Founders Breakfast Stout, Cherokee Tavern Amber (brewed by Schell), Furthermore Knot Stock, Schell Pils, Schell Light, Bell’s Lager (I’m pretty sure), Flat Earth Cygnus X-1 Porter, Summit EPA, Goose Island Matilda, Summit 90 Schilling, Tyranena Rocky’s Revenge, Goose Island 312, MGD Light (the only stinker of the bunch) and Lagunitas Brown Shugga.

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