Taproom review: Wolf's Ridge Brewing is a distinctly fun suds saloon
Like others I’ve been to, the newish tap room at Wolf Ridge Brewing hits a sweet spot: in-between the hubbub of an exploding trend and a little off the beaten path. I like that — especially the “off the path” part.
You can reach WRB’s tap room through an alleyway entrance. Frankly, I prefer the dramatic stroll through the long restaurant — past the kitchen, past beer fermenters, past storerooms. When you come to an end-of-the-road door, you’re there.
Sporting a warehouse-y look, a mini Franklin stove and rare views onto semi-hidden old buildings, the brick-walled spot is an invitingly secluded and low-key space. There are a few simple tables — think picnic-type seating but mod and sleek. There’s also a bar with 20 taps of WRB’s brews, only about half of which are available in its eatery. WRB also sells excellent tap room-only housemade snacks.
If you time it right (4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday), you’ll benefit from a happy hour — $2 off selected beers and specially priced flights. Since there’s no table service, you’ll be ordering at the bar.
When I visited, WRB’s St. Francis Belgian quadrupel was discounted from $7 to $5. The dangerous ale offers lots of dark fruit and lots of goes-down-way-too-smooth alcohol (11% ABV).
I also sampled a four-glass flight special ($7) that used WRB’s hoppy Howlin Moon IPA as its baseline flavor. This was grouped with three Howlin Moon variations changed and named by their respective dry-hoppings: citra, galaxy and mosaic. Fun!
The tap room’s snacks are terrific matches for its suds. They’re pretty classic drinking buddies, but given little artisanal enhancements.
For instance, the Olive Jar ($7) holds green and black olives cured so they’re herby, a tad smoky and not salt-bombs. Peppadew peppers and sun dried tomato strips add contrasting sweetness.
The earthy sweetness of Beets ($5/jar) is offset by a perky vinaigrette with a brisk finish of mild chili heat. This treatment might convert haters of this oft-maligned vegetable.
Crispy food-junkies (like me) will love WRB’s Pork Rinds ($5). They’re a heaping helping of spice-dusted pig chips with sweet and salty accents and a crunch so pronounced that when I chewed on one, the tap room’s soundtrack (it could’ve been curated by Jeff Tweedy) was temporarily drowned out.
Wolf's Ridge Brewing
215 N. Fourth St., Downtown