Man, that holds a lot of memories for me. I have been going ot the barrelhead for almost 25 years now. It all started with hearing about the restaurant from my father who would attend dinner meetings planning out the yearly fishing trip to Canada with his buddies. Then our family started eating there. It was love at first bite.
In high school, I remember eating there probably twice a week. Once would be with the family for our typical dinner one night a week there and the second would be convincing my friends to chow on the weekend. I managed to rotate between the bacon cheeseburger, patty melt, turkey club and pizza. Like some of the rest of you, I even remember getting scolded for moving a chair on my twenty-first birthday, in which I was guided on a trip of mixed drinks since I hated beer with a passion.
The wife and I still talk about going there the first week after the transfer of ownership from Kitty and Ed to the mayors brother and watching the new owner fondle (in a naughty way) some married female friend in full view of his customers. I felt that crushing weight of knowing I had let my wife talk me out of eating there right before the tornado hit and thinking I might never get the chance again. Seemed ridiculous anyway since we boycotted the restaurant during the Springfield-only smoking ban.
The Barrelhead: Excellent
The Barrelhead's beer selection is fairly unrivalled in Springfield in any restaurant and most bars. They advertise around fifty (iirc) beers on tap and have quite a bottle selection to boot. They provide the consumer with a beer list which is mostly up to date at any given time so it might be wise to saunter up to the bar for a look or ask the wait staff for any updates.
While The Barrelhead still caters largely to the BMC crowd, they have made some pretty hefty strides in balancing that with a broad selection of both imports and craft brewers. The imports are pretty much al InBev and the crafts are mostly regional which i consider a plus.
I am paring down their massive list to what I consider some of the beers that will appeal to a more discriminating taste. They have all the big boys and the 'craft subsidiaries' like Leinenkugels and Blue Moon. The imports may mostly be InBev products but they are worth a shot since they can be quite tasty.
Strongbow (Yeah, a cider!)
Spaten (Light Lager)
Spaten Optimator (Doppelbock <=Dark Lager mit kick)
Spaten Oktoberfest (I had this and felt it was quite good.)
Koestritzer Schwarzbier (ein anderes dark lager aus Deutschland)
Hoegaarden (Belgian wheat)
Koenig Ludwig Weiss (German wheat)
Sam Adams Boston Lager
Sam Adams Octoberfest
Schlafly Pale Ale (Nice to see considering the dominance of InBev/A-B products)
Goose Island Honkers Ale
Goose Island India Pale Ale
Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale
Boulevard Pale Ale
Boulevard Bob's 47 (Maerzen/Oktoberfest style)
New Belgium's Fat Tire
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Spoetzel's Shiner Bock
Woodchuck (Yeah, another cider!)
Possible: It is easy to see at the bar they distinctive bottles of Boulevard's Smokestack series and, while not having ordered it while at The Barrelhead, I do hope they maintain stocking choices like those.
I would hope that the range presented here is enough to cover most drinker's tastes and, while there really isn't anything all that uncommon, I do feel they have done a pretty good job at catering to the beer drinking crowd. Pair that with their quality pub food and I think most consumers can go away happy.
One thought I do have is that someone there must either love wheat beers or believe that they will pull in non-beer drinking consumers. There are a total of at least 9 wheat choices including the BMC products. That is quite the choice for wheat drinkers. I wonder if they have invested in orange orchards.
The Barrelhead: Excellent