Growler’s (Big Daddy’s Brewing Company)
2229 Colonial Avenue Southwest
Visited on October 6, 2012
Growler’s is your pretty typical American bar that happens to brew its own beer. Located just south of downtown Roanoke in a strip mall close to the hospital, not much stands out about the place. The store front is your average corner strip mall façade. The interior is split between a dining room and a bar with a door in-between, probably a remnant left over from smoking and non-smoking distinctions. The dining room is not much more than a few rows of booths and tables. The bar has an impressive array of televisions, a number of high-top tables and a decent-looking stage. I’m guessing the live music is a pretty good draw.
The food is your average to above-average bar fare. The Cajun onion rings were obviously hand-dipped and fried. Similarly, the mashed potatoes seemed real and the country fried steak seemed fresh. My fiancé ordered shrimp and grits, which was fairly tasty. In all, everything seems like it is freshly prepared in the back, it’s just that the menu isn’t creative and the execution leaves something to be desired.
The cheesecake was pretty damned good, though.
They featured seven of their own beers when I visited. A sampler platter revealed pretty mediocre results. The oatmeal cookie stout seasonal was interesting enough to raise my eyebrows and the IPA was a nice, dry English version that was pretty well-done. The rest were easily forgettable. I was especially disappointed in the porter, which despite its high alcohol content (above eight percent), somehow lacked any sort of flavor profile.
The service was certainly passable. Didn’t have to wait long for any of our orders and our glasses never went dry.
All in all, I’d say this place is solidly mediocre. However, I did appreciate that it wasn’t trying to be anything it isn’t. There weren’t any fancy decorations or attempts to make it seem more than what it is – a solid, cheap American bar.