Closed for a mere eight days for the transition, minor aesthetic changes have been made to the original design of the large interior, a set up that maximizes the space while distinguishing three seating areas: bar seating, the table seating in the bar area and the booth-dominated seating that is more conducive to families or larger groups. Another component that appears to have been tweaked rather than overhauled is the staff. Even though we were not Fat Head's regulars we saw plenty of familiar faces on staff from our visits, something that speaks not only to the quality of the staff but also to the ownership's ability to understand the value of good employees.
The beer and food offerings, not surprisingly, reflect the deepest changes. About half of the full line up of beers was available during the soft opening, which was still more than sufficient. Remaining IPA-heavy as had been the case with Fat Head's, fans of The Commons Brewery will feel the influence brewer Sean Burke has brought with him in Silent Acidity, a Lacto and Sacchro beer, and the Saison/farmhouse ale, Flat Nose Shovel. We loved the complexity and mouthfeel of the rye IPA (Road With No End), the tropical flavors in Spot Buy IPA and found the Pilsner and Kolsch to be well-crafted German-style beers.
The food menu offers familiar brewpub categories - appetizers, salads, pizzas, wings, sandwiches and burgers - with two noticeable changes. The first is that those delicious pierogies are no longer available. The second is the addition of three charcuterie and cheese boards, each featuring three cheeses, three cured meats and accompaniments. Cheese is one of our favorite foods, especially when it is served along with beer, and this take on it is something that would feed two people for a light meal or could be shared by many more for a starter. In fact all of the food we tried and saw delivered to nearby tables appeared to be Fat Head's sized. Instead of worrying about going hungry, the greater danger is you'll find your table laden with enough food to feed twice the number in your party. We call that a good problem to have.
We're excited for Sean and the whole Von Ebert Crew and are looking forward to returning!
Von Ebert Brewing
131 NW 13th Avenue
Open daily at 11:30 am