The first thing I noticed when walking into Beer Market Co., the new craft beer spot on Studemont from the guys that brought us Crisp, is that it looks nothing like Texadelphia, the former inhabitant of its space. This is a good thing.
Gone is the sullen, dark interior, replaced instead by a dark-in-a-good way dining room filled with comfy booths, high bar tables, a light up BEER sign, aback patio, and even a small stage for live music. Also filling the room? Noise and laughter. This is especially exciting if you saw how empty and sad Texadelphia was at its end, where the only other person in the room was the bartender/server/sole employee.
My group was greeted with a smile as we grabbed a high table and jumped right in to discussing future Sunday plans for our fantasy football league. We couldn't not discuss it, given the abundance of plasma screens plastered along the walls and in each crevice of the room.
I'm not sure what sports fans will love more: the TV setup or the selection of beer. Beer Market Co.'s vault has are over 365 exciting varietals, including 24 on tap, that they "rotate on a regular basis so you won't get bored." Thanks, guys.
The food menu consists of appetizers (think mac' and cheese balls and beer-battered pickles), tacos, a "green market" (think healthier options like couscous chicken salad and chickpea sandwiches), burgers and sandwiches, and big plates (think grilled chicken and short ribs).
We started with a round of drafts (ranging around $5 to $7), the Brew Pretzels ($8.50) and the Beer Market Wings ($10). The pretzel plate came with four hot, fat and fluffy soft pretzels alongside a velvety "Hans Pils" and roasted garlic cheese dip. Perfectly salted and buttery as all hell, the sticks were great as is. But alas, I couldn't resist dipping every other bite into the excellent beer and cheese queso (relax I didn't double dip, I poured some on my plate). The wings, served in a traditional hot sauce with a nice heat, were crisp and meaty at the same time. They came alongside the usual suspects; blue cheese or ranch (we got both), carrots, and celery.
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Happy with out first round, our group ordered some Mac 'N Cheese Burgers ($12.50), splitting two because though we really wanted to try them, we just couldn't let ourselves eat that much cheese (embarrassing side note: I did keep the "Hans Pils" dip on the table in case we wanted to dip our fries in it, which turned out to be a really good move).
Big points for the burger. The chubby half-pound patty was juicy and tender, cooked to just the right medium rare. Even the bun, a lightly toasted brioche affair, was solid. As was the griddled bacon and that heaping mound of mac & cheese. Yes, the macaroni is probably unnecessary, but what is the fun in a plain cheeseburger? It added the same smooth texture to the burger that an avocado or a nice plump tomato would, albeit in an utterly-less-healthy way.
The plates came with a Mickey-D's-like "special sauce." I wasn't sure if it was meant for the shoestring fries or the burger, so I put it on both, obviously. Once again, this turned out to be a really good move.
In the end, I left excited to return, perhaps for a little less cheese next time, but who am I kidding I'm totally getting those pretzels again.