Feels like going home—northwest Iowa in farm country—small town bar except brew tanks and fermenters are crammed behind the bar. Coming in the back door, I walk right into the brewery. Overall feel of the place is a bit run down, or not completely refurbished from an older place—like I said, homey. Good lunch crowd, many seemed to know each other and all seemed very loyal to BR. At Great Taste a week later, I saw a lot of BR t-shirts sported, so a good following.
Bartender was very friendly and helpful—offered to switch samples out for the four at a time I wanted. Fourteen on tap with a full range of styles. Brewer Rick ended giving me several additional samples as well and doing a very good job of selling his product.
All of the beers were solid for the most part. I didn't like the Replica Ale, but that's not a regular brew but a part of the state organization group brew, so that doesn't matter much. The Pale Ale is regular and dry hopped version were both good, though I preferred the standards—cleaner and better balanced. The UnCommon Stout was voted best beer in the Quad Cities and the guy beside me was a very enthusiastic supporter of it and at least two other people came in and got growlers while I had lunch—though I wasn't crazy about it myself. Adequate but not great.
Veggie burger was on the menu of general pub fare, but I wasn't in the mood so got the cheese quesadilla—did the job but not mind blowing.
Overall a fine local and I'm curious what the evening atmosphere is like. Seems like Bent River is working hard to do a good job, and generally is; it's a brewpub with serious potential that will continue to improve because of their attitude.