For those who follow us on Facebook, you probably noticed we had a bit of a loopy little weekend. Brandon turns 30 today (Monday), so in advance there were many shenanigans. For me, personally, the highlight was the old-school “drinking in the parking lot” moment that mixed with our now high standards for beer (yup, we were sharing a bottle of Uinta’s Labyrinth Quadruple Black Ale … so good). Of course, after the viking costumes were put away, the majority of the Crew (minus only Shilling, who had to work) took Brandon over to The Stumbling Steer for his birthday dinner.
It was ridiculously good. No, really, just amazingly awesome.
Yes, we were treated like semi-royalty by the great staff. From general manager Sonny Jensen to Chef T to the wait staff and bartenders, the Crew got a VIP experience that pretty much answers the question “why do you guys do this website if you don’t make any money off it?”
Now, I could sit around and brag all day about this and come off like a pretentious D-bag, but instead I would like to further add to our highlighting of this wonderful new west side establishment as a follow-up to what Franz Solo and Porter Pounder wrote last week (they were back again this time).
The food selection is ridiculous. They rolled out multiple appetizer trays for us to sample, but if we all had to pick one for the future, it would be the scrumptious pork bites. Those were addictive. And to work them off I went for a 30-minute run today (for someone as lazy as I am, that’s impressive, FYI). From there we each got a different main course. The mac ‘n cheese, which has more types of cheese in it than we could count, was the best of the good side dishes. E-Rock wolfed down a green chile cheeseburger, while I went for the steak ‘n fries, Porter Pounder had the Korean ribs, Franz Solo consumed the braised pork belly, Mrs. Solo enjoyed the beer can chicken, and the birthday boy devoured the Shepherd’s steak. All of the food was expertly prepared and presented to us.
Even though we were stuffed to the brim, they brought us dessert as well, including the most unique thing we had all night, the salt and vinegar ice cream. Yup, imagine if they turned your favorite potato chips into ice cream. The flavors should not go together, but dear lord, they just worked.
OK, now for the beer. In addition to the house beers, the Steer carries plenty of rare and unique styles from elsewhere in the good ol’ USA and beyond. We all got to sample Stone’s Matt’s Burning Rosides, their saison that Franz Solo recently reviewed for us. I’m not a saison guy, but I could actually drink this beer just fine. The other out-there beer was the Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge, a red sour from Belgium. I’m definitely not a sour guy, but E-Rock wolfed down the sample with no trouble.
As for the house beers, Franz noted last week they are not yet brewing on site at the Steer beyond a few small-batch beers, many of which are going fast (John, our bartender and a friend of Porter Pounder, said some of the recent small batches have gone so fast even the staff has not had time to try them). The Steer is hoping to have its brewhouse up and running in the next two months or so. One beer we truly enjoyed was the new Imperial Stout filtered through a Randall (click here for an explanation of what a Randall is). This beer was filtered with cold-press coffee, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, and Star Anise. The coffee hits you first, the anise last. It makes for a powerful, multi-flavored beer.
The other beers on tap included the Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Red, Brown, and the regular Imperial Stout. We also got small samples of an IPA filtered through extra Citra hops and an IPA on cask, which as usual broke down the various flavors of the IPA for a better palate analysis. The Blonde is close to a pilsner, with a little dryness and crisp factor at the outset, though it mellows out more quickly than a pilsner. Give this to your friend who only drinks Bud Light and he/she will be happy. The PA and regular IPA are lighter on the hops than most of their genre, but that can be OK and it works here. The Red is devilishly smooth, lying somewhere between the sweeter Irish reds and the hoppier reds like Marble makes. The Brown has a strong nutty flavor, but it’s also pretty easy-drinking. The Imperial Stout does not taste like an imperial at all. There’s a strong chocolate presence, though the mouthfeel is a little light. We have a feeling that once the Steer’s system is up and running, this beer will get a lot bigger and bolder.
Overall, we just want to thank Sonny, Chef T, and the entire Steer staff for giving us one of our most memorable nights as the Crew. We highly recommend you trek out to the west side (just take Alameda to Ellison, then turn left and you can’t miss it) to try the Steer soon. The Crew will be back out there many times in the future. We will keep you all updated on the progress of the brewhouse and when it will begin producing some excellent beers for us all.
p.s. We also officially named Mrs. Solo the seventh member of the Brew Crew. She’s more than earned it. Now all she has to do is write her first story, though we’ll let her wait till this summer; she’s working full-time and being a full-time student, don’t want to fry her brain and all. But the biggest thing we need for her is a nickname! If anyone out there can think of a good one, we’ll pass it along to her and she can consider it.