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Bull and Bones Brewhaus and Grill
1470 South Main Street #120
Blacksburg, Virginia
(540) 953-2855
Visited on December 22, 2011

While first impressions are always important, I also believe it is important to give second chances, when possible. So when I found myself in Blacksburg, Virginia for an extended period of time, I figured I’d go ahead and give Bull and Bones a second chance, because they certainly didn’t impress me the first time around.

And they didn’t the second time either.

Upon further reflection, the space is pretty nice. It’s a little “corporate” and “chainy”, but it’s pretty and clean as well. That being said, only retarded bars worried about image put a strip of snow/ice on their bar to “keep the drinks cold.” I promise that it does less than nothing.

As for the beer, it’s pretty bad for a brewpub. Only their IPA goes over 5.3 percent ABV, and even then not by much. It tastes more like a good pale than anything approaching a true IPA. Their stout also has some flavor, and is actually a pretty good example of a dry Irish stout. Everything else is pretty bland.

Let me be clear for a second. Every brewpub doesn’t have to have several high gravity options or cask conditioned ales to be excellent. But a little bit of imagination would be welcomed at Bull and Bones. Only two dark beers, and the only “experimentation” came in the form of a hint of lemongrass to their seasonal wheat. Otherwise, there’s a lager, wheat, amber, pale, IPA, brown and stout. Not only are all of them typical, they’re all poorly done. They need to invest in some more malts and more hops to actually give their beers some flavor.

I didn’t have food the second time around, but I doubt it has improved, either. So let’s check in on the original review for that.

Original Review

Whoopie! Look at me! I’m a brewery and I used the German spelling of house in order to make myself seem cool! Hmmm…. what other cookie-cutter chain gimmicks can I use to get people to come eat and drink here? I know! All of them!

This place is more corporate than the corporate places I’ve been. I don’t think it’s owned by one of the big boys, but it sure seems like it. The décor and style of this place reminds me of a bad imitation of a Roadhouse, Outback, Hooligans or something else equally depressing found throughout Middle America. And yes, everything here is mediocre.

The food is certainly nothing to bring you back again and again. The “real southern barbecue” tasted like – well, nothing – until you put one of their barbecue sauces on it, which were about the only tasty things I found here. With my barbecue I ordered onion rings and baked beans. The onion rings may as well have been made in my onion out of a freezer bag. The baked beans were alright, but again, lacked any distinguishing characteristic.

Which is exactly how I felt about the beers. None of them tasted bad, per se, but none of them left any kind of impression on me whatsoever. Hopefully there are places around town to get some really good beer. The lineup was heavy on light lager or wheat beers to appeal to the masses, while the pales and IPAs were under-hopped and under-complex. The darks made up for this a bit. If I had to come back, I’d stick with the stout. (Still agree six months later.)

Service was quick and efficient at least, but still done by a college kid without much of a clue about beer. Oh well.

Location: 17
Food: 13
Beer: 12
Service: 14
Overall: 12
Total: 68

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