We have been on a beer kick lately, so we booked a tour of the brewing facility at the Farnam House Brewing Company.
Wooden tables and chairs fill the restaurant. There is limited seating at the bar. Comfortable and nice.
As the 4 of us were there to visit and gather the information needed to write this blog, we were quite surprised when the hostess told us that there was to be a speaker tonight discussing “Hipster Racism” She asked if we wanted a table towards the back or the front. We sure don’t look the part of a group of Hipsters, so were seated towards the back; which gave us an interesting view of the large open dining room. Anyway- hipsters and racism Hipsters aren’t a race. Oh well. The restaurant/brewery quickly filled with “Hipsters” who were interested, attentive and filled in the front of the speaker and every available seat in the house. The owner did tell us that this was the first time they had tried a guest lecturer, and from appearances, this will definitely draw a crowd of persons drinking and eating.
We informed our waitress that we had scheduled to be part of the craft beer tour. She took our drink orders so we could imbibe while learning about their craft beer making process. The tour was quite interesting. We discovered that the building was originally a furrier building. Now, what is a furrier building? Animal furs were hung and dried! Tony, one of the Brew masters (the other is Phil) gathered us when he was ready to start the tour and took the group of us into the basement where they “do their magic”. Tony is very knowledgeable about beer making and showed us their set-up, answering questions. It is easy to see that Tony loves making craft beers and from the flavors we tried, he does a great job. Their space is small but they rotate brewing 14 different varieties of beer. Definitely worth a try! This is an up and coming craft beer establishment. They conduct tours on Tuesday evening, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Reservations for the beer tour are required and numbers are limited.
The beer drinkers in our group tried the Doppelganger lager (rich dark German style of beer with a malt influence, “tasty”, not hoppy with 8.5% alcohol content) and the Berliner Weisse (easy drinking, with a slightly sour and citrusy, fruity taste with 5.0% alcohol). Beer lovers could easily do tastings and find their favorite among the 15 home craft beers listed.
Jeff Collins is the executive chef and is credited with expanding the menu to provide food/beer pairings. The appetizer menu listed a variety of cured meat and cheese offerings, fries, hummus, wings, chips and dips and house made spent grain pretzels, ranging in prices from $5 to $14 depending on option and size. We went right to our meals.
Sarah tried the Coq a la Bier’e de Garde ($16) served with mushrooms, pearl onions, and roasted root vegetables. The chicken was tender, delicious with liberal use of cracked pepper on the meat. The roasted beets and mushrooms were perfect and very tasty. The big chunks or parsnips and sweet potatoes were still pretty crunchy and would have benefited by being cut smaller so their roasting time would be the same as the mushrooms and beets. Overall, a good choice.
Rick tried the grilled flatbread pizza ($10) with his choice of ground beef and mozzarella cheese. Rick thought the flatbread needed to be cooked on a hot pizza stone to have a crispier crust, as his crust was soggy and the meat/cheese topping was greasy. Obviously they use full fat mozzarella cheese on this, and being married to a dietitian who has weaned him off full fat cheese, it was greasier than his preference. Maybe not his favorite choice. Others might like it.
Jim tried the Farnam House burger ($11) made from grass-fed beef, Havarti cheese, house made ketchup and mustard served with house Fries. Jim thought that the beef was crumbly and fell apart easily, a sign that the patty wasn’t overly handled (a good thing in the food world). Also a sign of grass fed beef. Not a lover of grass fed beef. He took exception with the degree of doneness. He ordered a medium burger and the middle was still medium rare. The flavor was good, if you like grass fed beef. The fries were good and most likely homemade. Jim thought that the taste of the homemade ketchup and mustard while good was nothing special and didn’t feel that it made a big difference in his enjoyment of the burger or fries.
Jim and Patty both tried a cup of the beer cheese soup ($4) made with Keller German Lager and Havarti cheese. Both thought that chef Jeff has done a fantastic job of getting the right blend of cheese. The texture is rather thin instead of chowder like, but the flavor is delicious. Both said that the soup was the best part of their dinner. They would have preferred to be offered extra croutons or crackers as the soup was on the thin rather than hearty side. Another couple on the tour told us they come frequently just for the soup and a beer.
Patty tried the Grilled Cheese ($9) sandwich made with Muenster, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Havarti on sourdough bread. She said the grilled cheese was well prepared and presented nicely, but it was nothing remarkable.
Was good, but not overly attentive. Probably due to the large, unexpected crowd.
We would have known about the speaker beforehand,. He, and the normal noise of a packed restaurant kept us from being able to talk to each other. Plus it diminished the service.
While Tony and Phil are having a great time following their passion of beer making and getting great results in their beers, the overall vote on our food choices was just average. Chef Jeff may need to step up his game to keep people from having a cup of soup and a beer then moving on somewhere else for dinner.