Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Big Rock Brewery visit #2

We've been to Big Rock Brewery (Big Rock Chophouse) before and it didn't go well. First off, valet only at a brewery? Outrageous. Of course, this is Buuuurmingham. The bar was riddled with probable east siders in their finest Somerset attire dying to impress,... it didn't work on us. Hardly anyone was drinking the house beer. I usually don't leave a brewery thinking "god I wish I hadn't left my Hummer at home,..." but that was the case here - just know this is not just your casual beer hall.

On the other hand, a high-end restaurant and dance club (popular with cougars) that is also a brewery results in a unique combination. We were so put off by the ambiance during the first visit, that it took tasting their beer at a third party location to think twice about Big Rock. At a recent IPA Style Night beer tasting with Rex Halfpenny at John Cowley's in downtown Farmington, Tim suddenly realized that Big Rock Brewery had his favorite IPA (beating out Mad Hatter of New Holland Brewery).

So one rainy night when we had nothing else to do besides visit local breweries, we hit up Copper Canyon and then went back to Big Rock so Tim could have his Raggedy Ass IPA. I should have ordered a sample first, and I regretted my order as soon as I tasted it, the Strawberry Blonde.

Norm's Raggedy Ass Ale (apparently they don't call it an IPA according to the website)
A] 80 international bittering units? Not going to work for me.
T] All the hops you can reasonable enjoy - 9/10

Strawberry Blonde
A] Too perfumey, I knew I shouldn't have ordered this and probably should have asked for a replacement. - 3/10

I've never eaten here, much to my dismay, as the menu looks excellent and wonderfully gourmet. The bar is a long oval and looks very classy, and there are several small booths around the bar area that would make for a perfect first date or romantic night out, and many people were taking advantage of them that night.

The decor is somewhat unusual, it's high-class "great outdoors" or "woodsy" with pine tree, bear, and mountain silhouettes here and there... A high-end luxury mountain lodge (but not a log cabin). So park a street or two down the road, skip the valet, and cross your fingers that the cougars aren't out - there are surely some tasty beers to be had here. The brewmaster, Dan Brown, certainly takes pride in his craft.

I must find out when they have the hefe on tap so I can go to Big Rock again to taste their Hefeweizen,.. from reading their website, I may have tried it at a separate beer tasting once and it might actually be my "dream Michigan beer" with the whiensthephan yeast, which causes the banana-clove flavors I love. That would just be killer to have that on tap somewhere. I guess I'll have to put on my Somerset best at least once more!

245 South Eton Street
Birmingham, MI 48009

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