Rock Bottom Brewing Company
Visited on July 9, 2008
Counting airport locations for brewpubs is a slippery slope. On one hand, a lot of brewpubs don’t actually brew on their premises. On the other, some restaurants contract out their own recipes for a single beer to be brewed for their establishment. I still wouldn’t call those brewpubs, though.
So perhaps the defining characteristic is sharing the name of the parent brewery. I’ll go with that for now, mostly because it allows me to count the Rock Bottom in the airport of Minneapolis.
In short, it isn’t good. I mean, why would it be? It’s an airport. The location actually isn’t that bad; it could pass for just about any small sports bar across the country. But they only have two of their own Rock Bottom brews on tap. That’s a major deduction. And their smoked salmon fish and chips tasted like shit.
Obviously another major deduction.
So does a microbrewery location in an airport still count on my brewpub tour? Since I’ve included other satellite locations, such as the various locations of Coeur d’Alene Brewing in Spokane and Moscow, I tend to argue that it does. After all, the beer is made by a mother location nearby. But the food is another question. The kitchen can’t be well equipped. Anyways, the Rock Bottom in the Minneapolis airport could pass as any other Rock Bottom location, but a quarter of the size, and they carry domestics. It’s decorated the same, has numerous flat panel televisions, and even more suitcases laying around.
I’m actually writing about the beer as I’m tasting it, which is new for me, since I now carry a laptop when I travel. The first beer is the Rock Bottom Wheat, a Belgian Wit, and I was skeptical, but its actually quite good. Much better than some other Belgian imitations I’ve tried. It has a strong candy/yeast taste traditional to Belgians, but no depth or complexity to speak of. The Eric the Red is a German-styled amber lager that, while nicely spicy, is the least impressive of the group.
Since I don’t know how to rate food at an airport restaurant (the kitchen can’t be well equipped) I decided to order a dish I’ve had at the Indianapolis Rock Bottom location, which I know I love, and compare the two. A decent idea, I thought.
The fish was terrible, the fries were decent, and the blandness of the coleslaw was saved by the addition of granny smith apples. First of all, the salmon in Indy was smoked and delicious. I order salmon a lot, and I’ve never had salmon that tasted fishy. This fish tasted fishy. Maybe it’s just not a good idea to order fish at airports period, unless you’re in Seattle or Hawaii or something.
The service was average. Not great. Not terrible. It’s an airport. Come on.