Rohrbach Brewing Company
3859 Buffalo Road
Rochester, New York
Visited on April 9, 2008
Hmmmm. It’s been quite some time since I visited Rohrback Brewing. I was travelling to Rochester for a job interview and just had to check out the one and only local brewery, especially since it served German food. It’s a bit outside of town – making for a bit of an expensive cab ride – but it’s well worth the trip. I remember a large, wooden establishment that served up a great plate of German food. I think the sausages were particularly nice. I don’t remember the beer now at all, showing that it wasn’t excellent or terrible. On to the original review.
This brewpub is a good 10 or 15 minute drive out from downtown Rochester. It’s sort of out in the middle of nowhere, so maybe it’s only fitting that it looks like a lodge. The exterior looks like a log cabin and the interior has high ceilings complete with rafters and woodwork. I suppose it’s supposed to resemble an old German beer hall. The décor features German maps and flags, some beer paraphernalia, and a few televisions to top it all off. All in all, a charming little place out of the way, and a decent setting to enjoy a few brews.
I had high hopes for the food because they feature several German plates, and I absolutely love German food when it’s done right. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I went with the German sampler plate, which featured a couple sausages, sauerkraut, German cold potato salad, and schnitzel. The sausages were the best things on the plate, but I felt I could probably get them about anywhere. The potato salad and sauerkraut weren’t bad, but they were heavily acidic, probably flavored with a lot of mustard, and it was a little too much. The schnitzel didn’t look like any “authentic” schnitzel I’ve ever had, and I’ve had plenty. The mild, weak flavor was completely overshadowed by the rest of the plate. It didn’t even seem to be breaded—just spiced and pan fried. There may be nothing more disappointing to me than mediocre German food, or maybe I just expect too much after the Hofbrau House and the Penn Brewery.
The beer was by far the strongest part of the establishment. They provided three beers that would be palatable to just about anybody—an amber, a blueberry and an American lager. The amber was actually probably the most common of the two, since the American was actually sweet, flavorful, and was probably what the common American-style lager should taste like, but doesn’t. The blueberry was a bit strong on the fruit for my tastes, but would be good for someone who doesn’t like beer. The porter was a little thicker than I’m used to for a porter, and a little bland, which I would think would put-off both dark beer haters and dark beer lovers. The Pale Ale was extremely hoppy, a little much for my tastes, but probably perfect for others. My two favorites were by far the Irish Ale (seasonal) and the Scotch Ale (regular). Both were very, very good, and in fact, both were available at the barbecue place I ate at the next day downtown, and for good reason. I would actually drink the Irish over a Smithwicks or Murphys.