Archive for December, 2007

The Beer Engine (No Comments)

About a month ago, a friend of mine came to visit and we went to the Buckeye Beer Engine for drinks after eating at the Thai Kitchen. I was immediately wowed by their 27 taps filled with an amazing selection of microbrews. Although their selection has an overabundance of Belgian beer and high gravity ales, with so many options there are multiple somethings for everyone and the atmoshpere and service were relaxed and not at all pretentious.

I mention all of this because we decided to go back for dinner last night, and I can honestly say that we won’t be eating there again. Their menu looks wonderful enough, and clicking the Menu button on the web page takes you right to the burger listing, so how could dinner be bad?

We started the night with a Bells Two Hearted Ale, a Koningshoeven Quadruple, an order of boneless hot wings with Korean Chili Garlic sauce, and a bowl of Beer Cheese soup. The beers were excellent. The boneless hot wings were actually breaded and deep fried chunks of chicken breast, and they were tasty. The Beer Cheese soup was a little hammy, but still hit the spot. For dinner, I ordered a Butter Burger and Cindy ordered a Brat on a Pretzel Bun. Both came with a pickle and fresh made chips (not fries).

I had been craving a burger all week and the thought of a juicy, buttery burger made my mouth water, but reality is a bitch. I ordered it medium rare, and it was pink in the middle, but the texture was all wrong. The outside was burnt and rubbery and the general texture was more like bad meatloaf than hamburger. Perhaps they had used bread crumbs and eggs to hold it together? The flavor wasn’t good either; partly because the herbs in the herbed butter did not accompany the meat very well and mostly because there wasn’t any of the beefy, meaty flavor that one would expect. Heck, most freezer section hockey puck burgers taste better when burnt to a crisp by your backyard grill jockey than this thing did. It didn’t help that the bun was cheap and way more than ‘lightly’ toasted. I choked it down for fear that if I set it back into the basket (no plate) I would not have the will to finish it off.

After my burger I was longing for just a taste of Cindy’s bratwurst. A taste that she was all too willing to give me. It too was rubbery and had an off taste. No pop of the skin and no juices, just dry and bland a funny tasting. Even the beer mustard and kraut couldn’t help the flavor enough for us to finish it off. Well, at least we had chips, right? They were a little overcooked, undersalted, and oily, but I could forgive that. Unforunately, I just couldn’t get past the dirty oil flavor. Because they were overcooked, they had absorbed some of the fry oil, and unfortunately it have the flavor and odor of oil that was either really old, heated past the smoke point, or used to fry a lot of fish. It’s hard to tell which, but it was certainly not a welcome flavor. To top it all off, this place doesn’t serve any dessert. None. Admittedly, I know that before we got there, but I didn’t think dinner would leave me so hungry.

To accompany our dinners, we ordered the Ommegang Ommegeddon and the Heavy Seas Red Sky so that we could compare two Belgian Saison beers. The Ommegeddon was excellent and embodied the style better. It was lighter and more balanced with hints of citrus and fruit. This would be truly refreshing at the end of a long summer day. The Red Sky was also good, but not quite a balanced. The alcohol flavor, bitterness and citrus were all much more pronounced, even a bit sharp or harsh. Certainly not unpleasant, but one was enough. I will certainly be trying to make a Saison or Farmhouse Ale this summer.

– Chris