If a running list of breweries by ranking is more of your style, here’s a nice breakdown for you. Every pub is ranked on a scale of 0-100, with 20 points coming from each of five categories: location, food, beer, service and overall feel. Here’s what I’m looking for in each.
- Location – Some brewpubs are situated within restored historic brick buildings with the table tops coming from the original beams holding the roof on. Others are in strip malls. As you might imagine, I prefer the former. But you can still score well in a contemporary setting. Sports bars with plenty of televisions and lots of bar space can score well, as can high-end establishments that give the white tablecloths while managing to not be pretentious or annoying. Places decked out like Applebee’s will fail miserably.
- Food – Like the location, a place doesn’t have to have local bison burgers on homemade focaccia with oven roasted red peppers and chipotle mayo to get on my radar. A simple burger or pizza will do the trick. And while I’m predisposed to dislike high prices, if the food really delivers on the promise then the scores will come. I’m basically looking for a place that knows what it wants to serve and serves it well.
- Beer – There’s no hiding in this category. The beer must be well above average to score well here. I’m looking for depth of flavor, interesting takes on traditional styles, and at least six varieties on tap. And if you want to score among the best, there’d better be at least one beer that I’d call exceptional, meaning I absolutely have to have a growler to take home.
- Service – If I’m in a place all alone and the wait staff isn’t busy, I expect a little bit of conversation. If it’s busy, perhaps a couple of jokes cracked. But most of all, I’m looking for knowledge of the beer and menu. If I ask for a recommendation, you’d better have one, and five reasons to back it up.
- Overall – This category is a bit more emotional. What’s my gut reaction to the place? Do I leave wanting to come back, or do I vow to never set foot within the walls again? More than anything, this serves as a way to rate the entire experience.