Carrie and I went to visit her parents in the Quad Cities this past weekend. (They actually live in Hampton, IL – just outside the Quad Cities.) If you haven’t ever been there, there’s more to do than you might think. Particularly, if you’re a beer nut, there’s a few brew pubs in the area. My favorites are Front Street, Bent River and Blue Cat. There are others in the area, but those are the ones I recommend.
Despite their really poorly designed website, Blue Cat is (in my opinion) the best one in the area. Not only are the beers good, but they have a great menu (and the food is really good, too). If you’re looking to go out for a decent meal, it’s definitely the one I recommend. We went there for dinner Saturday and couldn’t have been happier. I had the Big Bad Dog Old English Ale with dinner (the 1/2 slab of BBQ Ribs, which was tender and delicious) and the Arkham Stout. My only complaint with Blue Cat is that the choice of beers is limited to six – three regular brews and three that rotate on and off the menu. I realize that they’re probably limited in what they’re capable of offering at any given time, so I’m not going to hold it against them.
For lunch on Sunday, Carrie’s step dad, Joe, and I went to Front Street. The menu’s not as expansive as Blue Cat, offering typical “bar fare”, but the beer’s good. Again they’re limited to only six beers on the menu at a time, and I believe only one is a rotating “special”, with the others being always offered. I had the special, which was a Brown Ale, and samples of four of the other beers. I brought home a growler of the Bucktown Stout – which in and of itself is worth going there for.
We didn’t go to Bent River this time around. They have a wider selection of beer than the others, with some interesting selections alongside the more traditional beers. This place has more of a local bar feel to it, the kind of place where the regulars hang out, and they have live music on the weekends. If you’re planning a tour of the area’s brew pubs, don’t skip this one.