For the past several months, we've been rather disappointed with 75th Street Brewery. Well, maybe not "disappointed" but on the bored side of unimpressed. Half their beers all tasted the same (I could barely tell their Golden Ale and IPA apart), the entree salads were small enough to be considered starting courses, and they didn't have many new releases for a very long time.
Everything has changed.
We hopped over to the brewery today for lunch, just to see what was on tap and get a bite to eat. While the standard 75th Street offerings are available (raspberry wheat, Irish Red, IPA, etc), there are some new brews as well. Their oatmeal porter is delicious and definitely worth trying. They're out of their Coconut Red, but KC Hop Head had some at their anniversary bash and highly recommends it. If it reappears, buy a glass.
We both ordered a "Dirty Miguel" - a hatch chile beer - which impressed me quite a bit. I've had a few chile beers (Rogue Chipotle Ale, Flat Branch Green Chile, and at least one more I'm forgetting, and no it isn't Dave's Cave Creek) and I generally like the style. The one at Flat Branch tasted awesome (good) but stuck with me for a couple of hours (bad). 75th's was better. Clean, fresh, and vibrant with green chile flavor with just a tinge of heat. There was just enough citrusy hops present to bitter the beer, but not so much that it competed with the chile flavor. This beer was just begging to be consumed with their 7-hour roasted pork.
I wasn't that hungry, though, so I had a salad from their completely revised menu. Gone are the multi-paged vinyl-covered menus, having been replaced by double-sided tabloid-sized pieces of card paper that must have over a dozen new food items. Lump crab cakes, mussels, and new salads, sandwiches, and pizzas are now the latest offerings; I can't wait to try the fig & prosciutto pizza. If you've had anything from the other KC Hopps places, you'll recognize a few of the items new to 75th Street: Napa chopped salad, Grill-pressed hunt club, salmon BLT, etc.
While seated at the bar, John caught parts of another customer's conversation that 75th Street will be expanding. We talked to our bartender and confirmed it - 75th Street is expanding to the old Kennedy's space, removing the roof, and constructing a beer garden. Finally! I have been wishing for a beer garden there (or at Waldo Pizza) ever since we moved here in 2007. They better not serve my beer in plastic cups.
With The Well and its giant rooftop patio now open, the changes at 75th Street, Waldo Pizza's continued beer greatness, Lew's, Swagger, two annual Waldo Crawldos, and various other places and goings-on, things are looking up for the Waldo beer scene. Sweet.