Wednesday 13th of April 2011 08:53:11 PM link
We stopped in on a Wednesday around noon for a light lunch and some beers. They have six beers plus two seasonals on tap. Unfortunately they donâ€™t provide samplers during the Tulip Festival (all month long in April); they donâ€™t have room for all the sampler glasses. We ordered a couple pints and they gave us a couple other taster glasses. Beers are also available in bottles and growlers. We had a light lunch consisting of a wood-fired pizza and some soups. The beers and the food were excellent though I thought the beer was served too cold. This small brewpub is family owned and has artwork from local artists hanging on the wall, all for sale. They have half a dozen or so bar stools and 8-10 tables. The gas fireplace came in handy on this cold afternoon. They have a small patio for warmer weather. There is free parking on the street and we didnâ€™t have a problem finding a spot.
Selection: 3.75 |
Atmosphere: 3.75 |
Service: 4.25 |
Monday 20th of September 2010 11:49:36 AM link
The trip my wife and I took to LaConner brewing was not a pleasant one.
The brewpub looks to be aiming for a rural/artsy chic look with lots of local artwork on the wall and rough cut timber furniture. We had been to a couple other breweries on the day we visited, so we just ordered the basic sampler with an appetizer.
There appeared to be 7 or 8 beers on tap at the time (it was hard to tell from where I was sitting), but the sampler contains only 5 of the beers in 4-5 oz mini-mugs. We tried the Wheat, the IPA, the Pilsner, the seasonal (Dunkelweizen), and the Brown. The Brown was notable for a highly roasted and dry flavor, like a light Porter and the IPA was very floral and drinkable, sort of like Elysian's Jasmine IPA.
Other than that the beer was mediocre to poor. The wheat was as thin as a light beer and just as clear. The Pilsner was syrupy, sticky and cloying with no clear grain definition at all. The seasonal was actually unpleasant with a similar cloying stickiness and poorly defined flavor profile. I had to work to finish the last two. And, a glutton for punishment, I asked our server (who looked positively annoyed to be helping us) for a sample of the Porter. Rather than bring me another mini-mug, she brought me a shot glass (mostly foam) of a porter that tasted somewhat medicinal yet sticky...like a poorly developed brown ale. It tasted nothing like porter.
Our food was worse. We ordered the artichoke cheese dip to go with the beer to help soften the alcohol blow. (So I could safely drive us home after a three brewpub tour.) It was cheaply made and VERY salty with cheap, overly salted tortilla chips rather than pita bread and clumpy cheese with no flavor beyond the added salt and occasional red pepper chunk.
As I mentioned above, the help was the worst part of our visit. It was 5 pm on a Saturday and the place was half empty with three (or four...it was hard to gauge how many servers were working on the other side of the room) servers working the whole floor, no bartender or bussers. Even though it was pretty slow for a Saturday, when we sat down to order our sampler and appetizer it's like our server didn't have the patience to deal with us any longer and virtually ignored us for the rest of our visit. We asked for water to go with the chips (did I mention all the salt??) and she succeeded in helping every one of her other tables, made a trip out to the beer garden, cleaned up behind the bar, came back out to check her tables mentioning to us that "I'll get that water right up for you," as she passed, went back to clean behind the bar, checked her orders, and then, only then, did she pour water for us. When she delivered it and asked for a porter sample I thought she was going to sigh and roll her eyes. I've never had a server look so unwilling to help me at a restaurant before. I immediately asked for the check so we could go as quickly as possible. Naturally it took another five minutes for her to clean up behind the bar.
Perhaps some of this can be chalked up to management/owners who don't have enough help on the floor for a weekend evening, but that's still no excuse for rudeness.
In sum, LaConner brewing provides mediocre beer, poor food (what little I tried didn't entice me to have any more...but the pizzas might be good), and worse service. I'll never go back as there are perfectly decent places closer to home. I would echo "BNArmyEB's" comments about lack of pride and excellence as well. I was very disappointed.
Selection: 1.5 |
Atmosphere: 2 |
Service: 1 |
Friday 20th of August 2010 12:22:38 AM link
I am a fan of the IPA so I have not tried their other brews. I find the IPA to be very balanced with a distinct, pleasing flavor.
The outdoor eating area is a big plus for those of us who occasionally travel with our dog. Waitstaff has always been very accommodating.
I've been here numerous times, usually in mid-afternoon hours and have found the service and food to be consistently excellent. Great pizzas at reasonable prices. I've never been there in evenings so have not had to deal with the crowds and waits other reviewers mentioned.
Selection: 3.75 |
Atmosphere: 4 |
Service: 4.75 |
Tuesday 18th of August 2009 06:55:31 PM link
In all the breweries that I have ever been to, which I believe to be pushing around 30 or so, I have never seen such a lack of pride in the beer being brewed. I tried every single beer on tap, and all of them were plagued with many different kinds of off flavors, many of which are very easily prevented and avoided. Several examples reaked of diacetyl, a buttery smelling/foul tasting chemical that is released by the yeast during fermentation (though can often happen from poor sanitation). Avoiding this in the final product is something beginning homebrewers know how to do, and it's a shame that a brewer wouldn't take enough pride in his work to take the steps to keep it out of the customer's glass. And any respectable brewer would dump a batch of beer if it was truly infected, and couldn't get the flavor out.
Other beers were very phenolic (medicinal taste), and fruity smelling/tasting. Not from actual fruits, but most likely from fermenting at too warm a temperature for that yeast strain. If I order an ESB, I don't want it to smell and taste like a belgian ale. Again, letting something like that pass quality control is unacceptable in my book. It's a shame I couldn't even taste what the beers were supposed to even taste like because of all the off flavors. The only beer I could stomach was the IPA, and that's because the extra hops masked the flaws.
I was very turned off by the fact that the staff knew nothing about the beer, or about their brewing process or system. I asked basic questions about their beers and brewing process, and got a blank stare. When I asked about their brewing equipment, the response was "um, we have some of these tanks that are like... this much taller than me!" A good brewpub has a staff that knows the product, and is ready to educate the customer. And for our lunch of 1 (very) small sandwich, 1 salad, 1 beer, and 6 tasters, it cost $42. No bueno
I love breweries. I especially love small, privately owned, hand craft establishments that love what they do, and take pride in their work. I got no such impression here. If you're in the area, and want a quality brewpub experience, Skagit River Brewing in Mt. Vernon is lightyears ahead of this place.
I never wanted to write a truly bad brewery review... and I almost skipped this... but I couldn't let it go. That's $42 I want back.
Selection: 1 |
Atmosphere: 2 |
Service: 1.5 |
Wednesday 21st of January 2009 04:34:19 PM link
La Conner Brewing is in a dark brown wood building in the heart of La Connerâ€™s tourist shopping district (antiques, gifts, etc.). The building has an angle in front as the street has a bend right at that point. There are nice windows all along the front and towards the back that look out onto an outdoor courtyard (outdoor seating in summer). As you enter, the dining section is on the left, and the bar and open kitchen behind it are on the right. The bar has a warm feeling from the light colored wood and tall chairs. Throughout the floors are wood and so is the ceiling which is made of beautiful lighter wooden planks - pine?
The beer is quite well made here with a full range of ales, a pilsner, and a seasonal special. On our last visit, the choices were: IPA, ESB, Stout, Tannenbaum (molasses), Pilsner, Wheat, Pale, and Brown.
We havenâ€™t eaten here enough to comment on the food, but there is a wood-fired pizza oven.
The dining atmosphere can have mall-like overtones and it can get quite crowded, but overall this is a great place.
Selection: 4.5 |
Atmosphere: 4.5 |
Service: 4.5 |
Tuesday 20th of January 2009 02:05:51 PM link
Arrived here my 3rd stop of 6 for the day and this place was packed. Parking was tight and the wait was about 30 minutes to get a table to I sat in the bar which was packed also. They had 5 taps going and I had one pint as the crowd was just too much. A brew pub feel and look this was a nice clean place. I was in the mood for a porter so I had that and it was a tasty treat. The beer had great malt and hops characters. The chocolate and coffee flavors where wonderful. Food is available and looked like a good pub faire. The only down side I saw was parking is very tight in the area. So you will have to hoof it to get tot the place. I will be back to check it out during the tulip festival time and show the family. They are family friendly so kids are welcome.
Selection: 4 |
Atmosphere: 4 |
Service: 3.5 |
Thursday 10th of January 2008 02:47:21 PM link
LaConner, Washington is one of those artistic communities that attracts thousands of people in Spring and Summer. The town is 50 miles east of Seattle on the Swinomish Canal at the north end of Puget Sound smack in the middle of farmland and they come for the spectacular tulip fields. From there, they wander into town for lunch, to roam the streets, peer into windows at the varied displays of sculpture, paintings and jewelry art but rarely buy anything and soak up the sun.
LaConner also boasts its own brewery which is also always crowded and therein lies the problem.
Like most businesses in an artistic town, owners have learned to cater to their tourist clientele so, although the "burg" is more than 150 years old, all the buildings have been refurbished to look "newly old" with a somewhat nautical theme.
The LaConner Brewery is a modern, impersonal place with blah beer.
When wife Persimmon and I visited, there was a 45-minute wait for a table so we sat at the bar, which we prefer then waited another 15 minutes to be presented a menu, 10 minutes more before our order for a beer sampler -- yet another 10 before it was delivered...and, when completed, 13 more before a bill was brought. Conversation was impossible due to the crowd noise. This was a classic example of an owner skimping on cost by not hiring enough wait statff to deal with customers. Bad business.
Folks at the bar were friendlier than the waitresses and had no problem with our moving a vase full of star-gazer lillies (Persimmon is allergic) although the waitress was clearly dis-pleased.
"Hi! Watcha doin?" somone called out and tapped Persimmon on the shoulder. A business acquaintance, I assumed, since wife works for a very public company but, no. She had see our sampling beer, told us her mother only drank Olympia but had just recently discovered brown ales. Now that was all she drank and Robin wondered where they might get a good example.
We sent her down the road into Seattle because, sadly we could not and can not recommend any of the brews here. They have a standard variety from Hefeweizen to ESB, Brown, IPA and a Seasonal. However none stood out. Lackluster in taste, painfully bland these beers, I believe, are brewed to offend no one - meaning, avoid unique tastes. They have succeeded beyond their wildest imaginations. The food too lacks any personality or character. Add to this the prices. (Remember - tourist town!) and this batter is out on three strikes.
The blooming tulips are a site to see in the Skagit Valley...LaConner is a great little town for walking and, on a summer's day, enjoying an ice cream as you stroll around seeing the many different displays of art.
But hold off buying a beer here. Just down the road is the Skagit River Brewery where...
Well, just hold off.
Selection: 2.25 |
Atmosphere: 1 |
Service: 0.5 |