Due to recent unwarranted coverage in the Illinois Times, my wife was pleased to suggest we go out to dinner to further my bloggish aspirations. Tonight's choice was a little outside my usual mantra of 'Eat Local!' Honestly, why go to an Olive Garden when you have a Mariahs or Palermos or any other gaggle of good local Italian restaurants but this ain't a food blog so on to what is important: Beer.
My beer rating for Buffalo Wild Wings: Excellent
I really hate that a chain restaurant is as freaking awesome for beer as BWW is. Buffalo Wild wings does something most other Springfield restaurants do not. They manage to have excellent range across their draft and bottled beers. Dark to light with wheats tossed in they have it all or at least as close as we can get in a Springfield dining establishment.
Drafts tend towards some of the more commonly seen around Springfield but they are carrying them consistently which is a huge plus:
Schlafly seasonal (curently Oktoberfest)
New Belgium Fat Tire (<= yeah it is really on draft. you don't have to settle for a 22oz bottle)
Boulevard Wheat (I love the inroads Boulevard has in town)
Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber (Flying Dog has always been a reliable choice for me)
Erdinger Oktoberfest Weizen (Nice beerdrinking choice, beerdrinkers!)
Out of the drafts, the choice to have either a Flying Dog or the Erdinger seasonal really impresses me. Someone at BWW has to love Flying Dog since they have had one of their beers on tap since I have been going there. The Erdinger seasonal wheat really offers a rare sample to try an import which has only recently become available in the United States market. If you enjoy a Blue Moon or Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, give the Erdinger or Boulevard wheat choices a try. They come from smaller and more independent breweries which lack as much muscle as Coors or Miller.
BWW's bottle choices are where they really round out their offerings. The drafts are a little light on dark beers or highly hopped ales but they more than make up for it in their bottle selections:
Spoetzel's Shiner Bock (a dark lager)
Avery New World Porter (a dark ale)
New Holland Mad Hatter (their India Pale Ale which I do enjoy)
New Holland Full Circle (a Koelsch which is ideal to transition your BMC friends. It is lighter in body.)
New Holland Ichabod (their seasonal autumn ale with pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg)
Lagunitas 'Censored' Rich Copper Ale (big hops taste. good if you like that sort of thing.)
Rogue St. Rogue Red (this is a dry hopped red ale. quite tasty.)
Original Sin Hard Cider (from the east coast. it is drier than a woodchuck amber but quite nice.)
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (I was remiss in forgetting the mighty SNPA)
There you go. Dark brews are covered at one end and hopped ales at the other. They manage to cover a seasonal pumpkin taste as well as keeping any cider drinkers happy with the Original Sin. Now if they could only get that on tap. Buffalo Wild Wings only failings beyond not having every specific beer I like is that their wait staff and some extent their bar staff are not well versed in the beers that they carry. They can't offer any consistent recommendations based on other beers one might like and often are not aware they carry something you have just requested. The onus is on the drinker to know what they will like and ensure its availability. They also need to know that a glass will be required with a bottle order since most will not bring you one automatically.
Buffalo Wild Wings really sets a high bar for restaurants in Springfield. Perhaps their corporate backing has something to do with that. As long as they manage to consistently present some excellent choices in draft and bottled beer, I will keep coming back even if it breaks my non-chain eating habit. Curse their siren song. It makes me a hypocrite.
Buffalo Wild Wings: Excellent