I don’t do reviews … often. This is only the second one I’ve ever done. Technically, I cheated on the first one because I hid it in the middle of another post. So this will actually be the first review on its own… Well, not exactly on its own as I was inspired by a podcast.
The Beer Research Institute, B.R.I. as it is more commonly known, is located in an odd area located south of the U.S. 60 on Stapley Road. What makes this area out of the ordinary is that not many ventures survive more than a year, despite convenient access, great parking and familiar neighbors. I can remember at least three tenants in the current space that B.R.I. occupies. In fact they will soon, depending on when you read this, be celebrating their three year anniversary. That in itself is an achievement, let alone thriving in an area where even chain restaurants struggle to survive. Now that they are a staple in the area they are continuing to stay focused on the place they call home with plans to expand their current space in the future. My secret hope is an annoying chain to experience a casualty, courtesy of B.R.I.!
Walking into The Beer Research Institute immediately feels like walking into a California board shop. A lot of the merchandise pays homage to the skater counterculture. The vibe could also be described as 80’s punk blended with 90’s gangster rap. The beer is impressive, feisty, bold yet easily drinkable as it is skillfully crafted. I could talk about it for hours so let me know if you want to chat over a pint – – – I don’t do beer reviews.
One aspect of B.R.I. that keeps bringing me back is the people that work there. In my opinion a brewery’s staff rarely gets proper credit. Most patrons take good service for granted and we live in a world where it takes great service to get any kind of acknowledgement. The crew at B.R.I. is beyond good or great. I can’t ever think of a time when I wasn’t greeted as soon as I opened the door – no matter how busy they are. They are excited to talk about the beer and often times when they tell you the food special it’s because they are excited to try it themselves. There are lots of breweries with good or great crews but it feels like each person at B.R.I. was hand picked. As if they were crafted to pair perfectly with the beer, food and each other.
When I go to a new brewery I never know what I want so I usually settle on a flight or ask for one of the flagship beers. After a few visits I get a feel for the beers, I know what styles that brewery excels at, what I genuinely prefer or I always at least know which beers I want to try again. This isn’t the case at B.R.I. – every time I go I never know what to choose! It is one of the only places that I still stumble and stutter when it comes to picking a beer. Don’t get the wrong impression, they’re not constantly changing beers and they don’t have a massive tap list. Their selection is stable and consistent. I can’t decide what I want because I want them all! The only disappointment I ever feel is when a beer isn’t available for growler fills.
The food is daring, fun and audacious – a complete scratch kitchen delivering truly unique pub “standards” and “favorites.” The gigantic flavors of the food hold their own against the significant flavors of the beer. Consider yourself warned – you will need to eat because the beers pack some serious ABV. The selection is varied but the menu isn’t overwhelming. Honestly, if the menu doesn’t reel you in you just might be brain dead! If you need a little proof before venturing for a taste, just check out their Facebook page for the daily special. Better yet, just trust me, do yourself a favor and get down there on a Sunday for a breakfast burrito.
The Beer Research institute is a top tier Brew Pub and the more I learn about the beer and the people the more my infatuation with this place grows. If only there was a way to get college credit for drinking beer… I’d have my Masters by now. Until that day I’ll settle for studying at the Beer Research Institute.
If you need a refresher on my rating system – check out Highly Overrated. Snatch yourself a growler and have some Morning Sex…settle down that’s just the name of the beer; I won’t judge do what ever you want with it when you get home. If you’re a dad have someone pick up a Father’s Day four-pack or buy it for yourself from someone else. It’s a good way to get a rare beer like the Peach Lolli before anyone else. Hell, even if you are not a dad get the four-pack! The staff at B.R.I. won’t check your credentials. In fact a move like that is completely in line with their “We do what makes us happy” attitude.
For a better explanation strait from the source of what B.R.I. is about check out the Hoppy Craftsmen Podcast with one of the founders Matt… oh yeah I’m on it too. I was a last minute substitution so I was a little nervous and unprepared — business as usual. Maybe I’ll do better next time.