La Conner Brewing 3.5

I know, I know.  This is supposed to be a blog that reviews pubs in the greater Seattle area.  Obviously La Conner falls outside of that description.  But, being that my wife and I were recently up in “God’s Country” (aka, Burlington), a trip out to La Conner Brewing Co. was definitely in order.  And even though it means breaking with tradition just a little bit I thought I’d offer up a review of our pleasant experience that night.

La Conner BeersBeer     3.5

I was impressed with the genres this brewery offers.  There aren’t a large number of offerings (I believe there were 7 to choose from the night we visited), but La Conner Brewing Co. certainly covers a lot of ground with what they do offer.

I found each beer to be a relatively mild tasting take on each of their respective genres.  And though some avid beer fans may find that to be a bit off-putting I found most of them to be highly drinkable (meaning I could drink a lot of each beer at a relatively quick clip) because of their mild nature.  Whether that is a plus or minus I leave to you to decide.  I was pleasantly surprised that night though.

We started by ordering a beer sampler which included 5 of their beers each served in its own 4 oz mini-mugs.

Brown Ale – I found this to be a typically malty/smoky flavored take that fans of the genre are likely to enjoy.  Not on the top of my list though.

Imperial Stout (Seasonal) – I was really impressed to see this on the menu.  Imperial stouts don’t generally have as many fans as the other genres they brew here.  Being that I’m a fan of imperial stouts it was a very pleasant surprise to see this on the beer list of a relatively small brewery.  La Conner takes a relatively mild flavored approach, but still nails the most important aspects – sweet, coffee, caramel and chocolate notes run throughout.  A great winter beer.

Pilsner – German style in nature, this one starts out pretty clean and finishes with an expectedly strong hop flavor.

IPA – This is a good IPA and a welcome departure from the typical local northwest skunky hop flavored IPA options I typically come across.  Instead they’ve stuck to a much cleaner variety of hops.    Finishes with what I thought was a very subtle clove undertone.

Wheat – Another German style beer.  As is typical you get strong banana and clove notes throughout.  It’s served with a lemon.

ESB – My wife was a big fan of this one as would fans of that typical northwest skunky hop flavor.  It Starts off malty and gets skunky really quickly.  I wish I had better words to describe the taste, but as you can probably tell I’m not a fan of this flavor combination.  Many people appreciate this flavor though so I can’t hold it against La Conner for offering it.

Other than the sampler, beers are served in pints.

Food     4

For an out of the way small town brewery, La Conner Brewing Co. brings a pretty solid cooking game.  The food here is good.  Really good.

We started out with an order of the wood-fired coconut chipotle cream clams, and let me tell you…  these things are amazing.  This Thai inspired dish combines a pound of manila clams with cream, chipotle, garlic, coconut milk, cilantro, lime juice, and red onions.  Then the concoction is roasted in their wood-fire oven before being served up with a couple slices of focaccia bread.  It’s a fantastic take on traditional steamed clams.  Ask for extra slices of the bread ’cause you are gonna’ want to soak up all of the sauce after you finish the clams.

Next came a dinner salad that was simple, but right on.  Mixed greens, olives and blue cheese dressing.  Nothing out of the ordinary, but all good things just the same.

We finished things off by splitting their delicious wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, which is topped with pepperoni, sausage, tomato, basil and a house 4 cheese blend.  This thing was great.  The delicious smoky crust is topped with just the right amount of toppings so that none of their flavors are overbearing.  Each distinct flavor from the sauce and the perfectly spicy meats to the 4 cheese blend, baked tomatoes and basil came though fully and very balanced.  Very nice work.

Portions aren’t large, but we felt perfectly satisfied at the end of our meal despite sharing each of the 3 dishes.

Service     3

Our server appeared to be 1 of too few working that night.  I had the impression that they were understaffed that night, which ultimately resulted in a less than stand out service experience.  Charm was on short supply.  There was no small talk and smiles were rare.  She didn’t have much in the way of recommendations either, giving me the impression that I ought to just hurry up and pick something.  Fortunately our food and drinks arrived in a timely manner, which is the most I can ever really hope for anyway.

Ambiance     3.5

La Conner Brewing Co. is a small place, which isn’t surprising considering La Conner is a small town… and apparently quite sleepy as well.  We drove through the main thoroughfare at 6pm on Saturday night to find almost all other stores closed for the night.  Just about the only lights on in the town came from street lamps and those on inside La Conner Brewing Co.  But I digress.  The limited space inside the pub turned out to be plenty of space for their Saturday night rush.  You probably won’t have too much trouble getting a table here.

This is a family friendly place.  There were several family get-togethers with kids of all ages.  Several of them were playing pub supplied games.

Quirky, but fun calypso/island themed art covers a good portion of the wall space.  All of it for sale.  This art and the warmly lit, mellow, family friendly environment makes for a comfortable feel on an otherwise uncomfortable wet and cold winter night.

Cost

Pints are 4.25, and the Sampler, 8 bucks.  You’re allotted a total of 20 oz of beer with the sampler making the price a little on the high side considering a 16oz pint is about half as much.

The clams and the pizza were 12 bucks a piece and delicious.  Very worth the price.  And a 5 dollar salad will never raise either of my eyebrows.

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~ by Chris on February 8, 2010.

 
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