Thursday 7th of January 2010 10:45:19 AM link
I am always looking for new beer places in my area. I was happy to see that The Lucky Monk had taken over the Brass building. (I hated Brass.)
We stopped in for "brunch" early on a Sunday. The decor was typical upscale suburban with lots of TVs. (not a good thing in my opinion) We sat at the bar so we could be closer to the beer.
The bartender, Lauren, was attentive and helpful. There weren't many people at the time, but she took good care of us throughout the day even as the lunch crowd came in.
The Lucky Monk has six house beers on tap and another half dozen others. They also have a nice selection of unusual beers in bottles. The only macro brew that I saw was Miller Lite and it was in a bottle only. Good thing they didn't waste a tap on it.
The prices on the beer were on the high side, but that was not surprising for the area. They did have a sampler of the six beers for $8. The bartender was also willing to give away small tastes if you asked.
The beer was served VERY cold, but at least the glass was not chilled. I just let each pour warm up to my preferred temperature.
My opinion of the house brews:
Pal's Porter: A good, drinkable beer, but not a great example of the style. Not as big on flavor as I would have liked.
Pale Belgian Style Ale: a surprisingly good beer; balanced bitterness with a bit of that Belgian yeast flavor. A little too subdued for me though.
Holiday Bock: tastes practically the same as the Pal's Porter to me.
Gr'ale (Belgian Style Amber): one of my favorite beers at this place. Light and crisp with enough punch to the flavor to keep my tongue interested.
Tritica: a fairly bland example of a wheat beer. Not necessarily bad, but I prefer ones with those exotic flavors like bananas and cloves. It was still very drinkable.
I didn't waste my time on the lager that they have because I typically don't like them enough to be fair.
I also had the Three Floyd's Alpha King and Half Acre Over Ale that they have on tap.
In between all that beer, we had "Lunch with the Monk". For $14 you get a 12" pizza, two cups of soup OR a single salad and four little, warm cookies. The crust on the pizza was slightly puffy, just the way I like it, but overall the Margherita pizza was bland. The cookies came with a little cup of chocolate syrup for dipping in case you need more calories.
I saw several people order hamburgers that were HUGE, but I did not try them so I don't know how good they were.
Overall, I had a good time with the Monk. The beers were good, but not exceptional. The atmosphere was a little sterile, but still enjoyable. Many of the people we talked to at the bar were either coming or going to the nearby AMC theater. I will be coming back to The Lucky Monk in the future.
I have been back a few times since my initial review. The beers are still good, but not great. Today, I had a good porter and the Gr'Ale was tasty as usual. I also discovered a Russian Imperial stout called Big Eddy by Leinies.
On a food note, I really hate those stupid platforms that they put the burgers on to make them look bigger. It is ridiculous.
Selection: 3.75 |
Atmosphere: 4.25 |
Service: 4.5 |
Monday 21st of December 2009 10:02:44 AM link
First impression of this new brewpub was positive... Stopped in last night to try the lineup of beers. The building was freestanding near a large movie theater complex, so it was easy to find and near the expressway.
Inside the revolving door was a maรฎtre dโ stand, and some faux barrel heads on the wall with "Kriek" and "Lambic" emblazoned on them. There was a small cooler in the front with bottles-to-go also (only the basic three). The bar was rectangular shaped with a couple of identical tap towers, each one held 10-12 taps. There was a cluster of little glowing lamps identifying the taps, which was unique. There were a few flatscreens above the bar, and good (non-muzak) music playing (Flaming Lips, YYY). Sectioned off from the bar and seating area was a pool room, and foosball table. The decor was dark wood and low, warm lighting from assorted small hanging lamps. The bar was lit below, with a silver rail that had an interesting turned pattern to it. It had an upscale vibe in general, with some stonework accents in the dining area. The brewing equipment was visible through paned glass opposite the bar.
Selection was nice, and there was a nice representation of styles. I noticed Hennepin, Rodenbach, JP Calabaza Blanca, Storm King, and a few other solid bottle options. There were 6 house beers on draft, also Alpha King, Cane & Ebel, and Half Acre Over Ale. Standout house beers were the Porter, Holiday Bock, and Belgian Pale. We shared the pretzel plate and liked the mustard dip best. Bar service was really great, the bartender engaged us several times and got our opinions of the beer. For now they only have the basic 3 beers to go in bombers. Growlers may be in the works sometime in the future after things are up and running for awhile. We plan to go back for dinner sometime and try more of the seasonals.
Selection: 4.25 |
Atmosphere: 4 |
Service: 4.5 |
Wednesday 16th of December 2009 07:25:43 PM link
This person needs 3 or more reviews on the site for their scores to start counting.
The old BRASS location in the AMC 30 parking lot now offering "Belgian inspired" pizza burgers and beer.
Stopped in during their first or second full week of operation. Six house beers, each with better quality and freshness than I remember at Brass. Solid pilsner, "belgian" amber and holiday bock. Sampler is not on the menu but has six 5-oz pours for $7.95. Nothing too hoppy, but they had fresh Alpha King, Cane and Ebel and Over Ale on tap to make up for it. Hopefully they can keep up the freshness. Burgers were juicy and flavorful, available in 6 or 10 oz sizes (a nice touch depending on how hungry/appetizery you are), and they have truffle Parmesan fries that were very well done. Soft pretzels were not on the lunch menu but we asked and they made some for us. $10 for pretzels is a little steep but you get three and the sauces were solid. One was pretty much chopped butter with coarse mustard. The cheese sauce could have been sharper but did the job. Didn't try the pizza. Another nice touch that most bar-going folks probably wouldn't appreciate is the music. I recognized nearly every song as an indie-rock 'hit'. I doubt anything with an album rated below 8.0 on Pitchfork was played. I figured it was just a good XM station but the manager said they actually have a 'music guy' who puts together the mixes. It seems like this place really is paying attention to detail and will be rivaling Durty Nellies for best beer/food spot in the NW burbs.
EDIT: Returned for a work function (4/10) and was not as impressed. Pizza had a good new haven-style crust but toppings were sparse and pedestrian. Beer didn't taste as fresh, and paying cash at the bar makes you realize how expensive it actually is. Over $7 for a low-filled shaker 'pint' of Alpha King including tip after they add tax. Freshly tapped house IPA was nothing special.
EDIT 2 (07/10): More and more of the details that made this place special seem to be disappearing. Hip, smart indie music has been replaced by Fergie and Miley. Guest taps are now 312, Oberon and Hoegaarden. Burger was overcooked and 'bourbon stout onions' were not stouty at all. Still a tasty burger but it does seem corners are being cut. Previously delicious truffle fries seemed lacking in truffle-ness like before. Water used to be house-filtered and served in carafes. Now the water has a metallic tinge to it. Could be a kink that is easily worked out, but combined with the others makes me think someone is looking at the bottom line and ignoring the details that made the place unique when it opened.
Selection: 3.75 |
Atmosphere: 3.5 |
Service: 4 |