Crooked Fence Brewing Co. Barrelhouse

Okay, so I know my last review was of a brewpub as well.  Sue me.  The roommate and I hit two pretty much back-to-back.  Crooked Fence Brewing Co.'s Barrelhouse is a little closer to home and with plenty of parking, so that made it a little easier for us to make it to.

The Barrelhouse is located across Glenwood from the Fairgrounds in Garden City, which is an area that's just a little undervalued as a dining destination in my somewhat less than humble opinion.  The first thing I noted when walking through the door is that decidedly more effort was put into the atmosphere at the Barrelhouse than has been at most of their contemporaries.

It was a little more crowded, too.

The seating wasn't much more comfortable (what is it with brew pubs and hard wood?), but the environment was definitely more inviting and fun.  We sat down and perused the beer menu.  I'm usually into lighter beers like lagers and pilsners, but occasionally I do like to indulge in a good stout, and I just couldn't resist one with a name like Sins of our Fathers.  Full disclosure here, I'm a little behind on my reviews, and I simply don't remember exactly what the roommate had, but as best as I recall it was the Aviator Raspberry Blonde.  She likes blondes (being one herself, she may be a little biased), so it's a fairly safe bet.

Sins of Our Fathers Imperial Stout and Aviator Raspberry Blonde.  Probably.

The thing that's convincing me that I remember her beer order is because I was a little distressed at the idea of a fruity beer, but after trying a sip I was surprised how well-balanced it was.  I was even more impressed with my own selection though, right down to the glass it was served in.  I'm dorky enough to be swayed by a little extra effort in presentation, yes.  As for the beer itself, the next time I'm craving a stout and come across this one at the store, I will purchase it.  It was rich, with an almost creamy texture, chocolaty, smooth and just a little bitter with a nice, toasted aftertaste.  Definitely not the kind of beer you gulp, and though I ended up wishing I had ordered a second I instead made that one last by savoring it slowly throughout the duration of our visit.

On the food front, the roommate ordered the Prime Rib Dip (we're both big French Dip fanatics) with hand-cut Idaho potato fries.  I chose the Hungarian Turkey Burger, because it sounded like one of those things that was weird enough that it might just be amazing.

Prime Rib Dip with fries

The Prime Rib Dip consists of prime rib (natch), sauteed onion, and melted Swiss cheese served on baguette.  The filling was tasty enough, but my own love of French-style baguette sometimes makes me forget that their are other varieties.  This was not French-style, and I was a little disappointed with it.  It was pale, soft and chewy, and I look for a little more crunch in the crust of a dipping sandwich.  The fries I could take or leave.  But the thing that really put me off about this item was the au jus.  I just know I'm going to sound like an ass saying this about food served by a brewery, but there was BEER in it.  The roommate didn't seem to mind much, but I would think the menu could have made mention of it.

Hungarian Turkey Burger with 3 Picket Porter Chili

The Hungarian Turkey Burger.  Pretty much everyone who wrote about this place prior to its opening and in the early reviews mentioned it, and it was the item on the menu I was the most interested in by far.  The thing is, nobody ever tried it and wrote about it after that I could find, which just made me more curious.  I adore turkey burgers, and this one was seasoned with smoked paprika and dill, then topped with green onion, cucumber, radish and a roasted red pepper spread.  Separately, I love all of these things.  Together, I hated them like poison.

Inside the Hungarian Turkey Burger

I just didn't feel the flavors melded well together, but the biggest sin was that the burger patty itself was dry.  I mean just-this-side-of-sawdust dry.  More of the roasted red pepper spread might have helped, but I doubt it.  The bread was better than what my roommate got though.

The saving grace of the entire meal though, other than the beer, was that chili.  There was beer in that too, but at least I knew it going in (it was in the name, after all).  In addition to the beer, the chili contains ground turkey, beans, tomatoes and spices, and is topped with green onions and melted cheese.  It was rich, slightly spicy, and very flavorful.  I would consider returning just for a bowl of that.  And another glass of stout, of course.

The roommate made me take this picture.

In almost a reversal of my experience at 10 Barrel, the environment and the drinks were great and the food was lacking.  Still, it's always nice to know which dish to order at a place, in case people you're with insist on going there.  Plus, a look at the current menu seems to indicate that the Hungarian Turkey Burger has been dumped and a few new things added (like I said, I'm a little behind), so hope springs eternal.

Food:  Dry burger, pale bread, forgettable fries.  Tasty chili though.  C-
Value:  Seems to vary depending on the item.  B-
Service:  Very sweet and attentive.  A
Atmosphere:  Light and boisterous, if not exactly comfy.  B
Final Grade: C+

Crooked Fence Barrelhouse on Urbanspoon

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