Monday, June 13, 2011

Great Waters Brewing Company - St. Paul, MN

D.Rough and I were driving through downtown at an odd hour of the day, trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. We were both hungry for burgers but wanted something new. She suggested Great Waters and after checking out the menu posted on the window of the place, we went inside. … and then we went out to the patio since it was beautiful outside and we wanted to people-watch.

It’s a fairly standard micro-brew pub with lots of in-house-crafted beers and decent sounding upscale bar food. It didn’t take long for us to go through the menu and figure out what we wanted. I went with the Bacon Cheeseburger a half pound of ground sirloin topped with bacon or Canadian bacon with your choice of Cheddar, provolone, Swiss, mozzarella, Pepper Jack, smoked Gouda or bleu cheese. The whole thing is served with lettuce, tomato and onion. I went with the regular bacon and pepper jack cheese. I also got onion rings, since I was in the mood. D.Rough decided on the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich - buffalo sauce drizzled over a grilled chicken breast and topped with bleu cheese. She added some potato salad to hers instead of fries. We also needed a couple of ciders, so we got the Fox Barrel Cider (since that was all they had).

We checked out the local color while waiting for dinner. People were tearing down from an artwalk, so there was a lot of activity and people running around doing things. It was the perfect afternoon to check things out and we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere – that’s a nice feeling.

The food arrived and looked pretty good. We cut both of our sandwiches in half to share and dove in. I started with the onion rings – which were really quite good. Thick batter and none of those random underdone spots that are dough-y. Really, these get better and better the more I think about them. The bacon cheese burger was good. I had really high hopes for it, based no how it looked, but it wasn’t awesome. Just a decent burger. D.Rough agreed with me, especially after she had a few bites of hers.The buffalo chicken sandwich was much better than the burger. And it helped that she had ordered a side of buffalo sauce to dip it all in. The blue cheese flavor was really good and countered the spicy buffalo sauce better than many sandwiches I’ve had. She totally won on this little foray. I didn’t try the potato salad since it isn’t my thing, but she said it was alright. Just a little mustard-y from the comments she made.

The cider is just ok. It is really sweet and after doing some reading, I found out it is a pear cider made by Crispin – not my favorite cider manufacturer. It was, however, a good balance to have with the spicy buffalo sauce and sweet enough for a hot summer day. I just always wish Crispin Ciders had more flavor. I feel like Crispin is like Gatorade compared Kool-aid: just a little bit too watered down flavor for me. Strongbow or Hornsby’s or even Woodchuck have a more solid flavor and mouth-feel to me. I’m no fancy connoisseur or anything, but I do have opinions on things. It didn’t stop me from having two of them, though. Sorry if I’ve offended Crispin people. I still like Crispin Glover – does that count for anything?

Top 5 things about Great Waters Brewing Company
1. Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
2. Onion Rings
3. Good menu selection
4. Great patio with people watching capabilities
5. Good portion sizes – no complaints on being full

Bottom 5 things
1. The bacon cheese burger was a let down
2. We missed happy hour, which is always a bummer
3. I heard a couple of people near us not thrilled with their food – but ours was alright!
4. Crispin’s Fox Barrel Cider – I know it isn’t Great Water’s problem, but it did affect my meal
5. D.Rough totally dumped cider in my lap…. (she’s going to hit me for putting that in the bottom 5 list…. Hahahahahaha)


Garrison Killer said...

The beer is excellent there - the food is...well, I don't go there for the food. I tend to stay away from Crispin as well, though I do like their honeycrisp cider.

There is an amazing pear cider that comes from Ireland that's shown up recently. I'll point you at it sometime soon.

Chao said...

I'm looking forward to your pear cider recommendation, Garrison. If I'm feeling particularly adventurous, I'll check out Crispin's Honeycrisp, as well.

Kris said...

As a GW mug club member I've spent plenty of time there. My burgers have usually been good (the St Paul burger being my favorite), but you're right, the buffalo chicken sandwich is great. If you're into hummus, get their Black and Brew Pate. It's on their appetizer menu but I challenge anyone not to call it easily a filling meal for one (possibly with leftovers). One of their newer apps is the bac-n-beer nuts and they rock.

Chao said...

Thanks for the tip, Kris. I was eyeing that before deciding on the burger. Now I will know for next time!