Dinner at City Beer Hall with our out of town friends was great, even though my dinner personally wasn't what I'd asked for. We had the wild boar schnitzel, short rib shepherds pie, and two burgers (one stuffed with foie gras). The only issue we had was that our burgers didn't come out right. Both were ordered medium (specified as pink center) but one was med-rare and one was on well-done side (totally cooked through). Still tasted great, just not what we asked for or ideally wanted. We had a side of Brussels and the charcuterie; I preferred the sprouts. Obviously the stars were the beer (I split a flight with F and had a big girl beer of my own) and the patio (which is where we sat for a long while).
Brunch was a shining star all around. The fried chicken was really moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and the portion was great with the waffle. I had eggs on the kale/farro/gorgonzola salad, and it was perrrrrfect. No, it doesn't come like that, but I got a side of eggs and popped them atop. The servings are really generous - I recently had the beet salad (with fennel, pistachios, and gorgonzola) and it was HUGE. It made an awesome lunch, especially because....ALL BRUNCH ENTREES COME WITH A BEER (or mimosa or other brunch-y drink). So for $9.99 before tax I got a beer with my salad, and that's ANY beer they have.
Ice Cream Sandwich. That's apple cider doughnut ice cream from Bowman Orchards. With oatmeal raisin cookies from All Good Bakers. That's an easy to bite into, cinnamon-y, perfect ice cream sandwich if I ever knew one. Not sure what J would think about the lack of chocolate.
Here is a list of the things I love about City Beer Hall:
- The beer list is superb. Lots of local, seasonal, delicious things that I love, including Unibroue Blanche de Chambly and Joe Mama's Milk Stout. And there's always an Ommegang.
- The patio is off the hook. It's bigger than the inside. On a nice day, why be anywhere else?
- It's never ridiculously crowded. I don't have people breathing down my neck at brunch to take our table. You CAN linger, and it's not the worst thing ever.
- I want to eat everything on the menu
- BEER COMES WITH YOUR BRUNCH. Or another drink, if you're one of those.
- Don't stress about parking - they have a free lot. It's further up Howard Street--pass the entrance to City Beer Hall if you are going away from the Hudson River (Northwest) you'll see an easel-like sign for it, turn left at the sign and it'll lead you to their little lot.
- They use at least some local ingredients. Kilcoyne beef for one.
- Interesting events! Including the Wild Game dinners this past summer. We were lucky enough to win tickets from All Over Albany for that dinner, and even though I was completely delinquent about blogging it, we had a great time and learned that we like Sixpoint Brewery.
And yes, if you only go for drinks and not food, you'll get food anyway, because every beer gets you a ticket for a free little "pizza." It's as thin as a tortilla, with melted cheese and a little sauce. It is totally edible, and if you go with friends and end up eating 3 or 4, it's totally fine. Although my boss said eating the pizzas made her more hungry for dinner when she got home.
City Beer Hall
42 Howard Street