Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Pearl of Buffalo

When I first learned that I would be going to Buffalo for my daughters' dance competition (they rocked, by the way), I thought, oh yeah: beer and wings, baby! 

I mean, we've go to eat, don't we?

Lori and I searched the Buffalo tourist office almost immediately and found a brew pub that was also famous for its chicken wings. And the tourist video made that pub seem like a fun and lively place that even the kids would enjoy.

That place was the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery.

Pearl Street is located in the heart of Buffalo, tucked among some great architecture. The pub is in an old building, built in 1841, in what was once known as the most evil square mile in America. The four-story building now houses a grill house, pub, brewery, and restaurant. And with the giant beer tap hanging on the corner, there's no mistaking it.

When we arrived, late Friday afternoon, Lori and I thought so little time; so many beers to choose from. So, to make it easy, we ordered the Teaser—10 two-ounce glasses that held all of the brewery's offerings. We would share in the tastings and then choose our favourite. When I had my favourite, I would write my review.

And maybe bring some home.

To summarize the Teaser, I took sips and then decided yes, if I liked it, or no, if I didn't. Here's the lineup:

  1. Lighthouse Light Blonde: no. Too light; not enough flavour.
  2. Wild Ox German Wheat: no. Nothing wrong with it; just not to my taste.
  3. Trainwreck Smooth Amber: no. It was okay. Only okay.
  4. Lake Effect Hoppy American Pale Ale: yes. Great flavour; tons of hops.
  5. Street Brawler Oatmeal Stout: yes. Bold, dry, with rich coffee flavours.
  6. Saber's Edge Double IPA: yes. Massive flavours; rich hops. A keeper.
  7. Blue-Eyed Blonde Blueberry Blonde Ale: no. I'm not really into fruity beer.
  8. Don Cherry Cherry Wheat Ale: no. To me, it tasted like cough syrup.
  9. Raspberry Stout: no. Lori liked it, but to me, the raspberry was overpowering.
  10. Chocolate Stout: yes. Made with real chocolate, the stout flavours only complemented the chocolate. Amazing stuff.
Only four of the 10 samples really grabbed me, made me stand up and take notice. And the Trainwreck wasn't that bad, so I'd say that I would actually drink half of the beer samples again.

So which beer did I settle on? It was a toss-up. I loved the Chocolate Stout, but I went for...

Saber's Edge Double IPA.

Deep copper in colour, this IPA had a luscious creamy head that lingered through most of my drinking. The nose was full of hops without overpowering. And in the mouth, I tasted an incredibly bitter grapefruit.

And this double IPA had a kick. According to the staff, this beer weighs in at 9 percent alcohol, yet the alcohol isn't prominent. I was surprised to learn the potency after finishing most of my glass. I neither tasted nor felt the alcohol.

But I didn't drive back to the hotel, just to be sure.

Pearl Street can be proud of their Saber's Edge, as well as the other offerings that I enjoyed. What did I walk out with? A growler of the Chocolate Stout. It's dessert in a glass.

And because Buffalo is only about five hours away, I can see myself visiting again in the near future.

And the kids did like the place. Even our pickiest eater loved the Buffalo wings. That's almost unheard of!


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