Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Little Rock, big beer

I just flew home from a week out of town on business, and boy are my arms tired... (cue the snare drum...) No but seriously folks, I really did just get back from Little Rock Arkansas. While I was out there, after my long tedious days in training were over, I took a little time to enjoy the beer culture the area had to offer.

I didn't really take copious notes, do any formal beer reviews, or even take any photos on my little excursions, but here's what I can remember of my time in Little Rock...

Flying Saucer in the River Market area of Little Rock is a great if you're looking for a nice place with an awesome beer selection. It's located right on President Clinton Ave, and you gotta wonder if Slick Willie himself ever had a pint there... The place has a ton of space, and a wall of taps, not to mention a huge selection of bottled beers as well. I started the evening with a Chimay Grand Reserve and an outstanding club sandwich...

Chimay Grand Reserve - Deep amber brown with a full creamy head. Malty with citrus undertones, a nice well balanced beer. A tasty brew to say the least, but the young lady in the catholic school girl's outfit that served me warned me not to steal the Chimay glass it came in... After all, what would the monk's think?

We were there on a Monday night, which means the beers on tap were all $2.75 (all day and night) what a deal!

While I did not get the chance to visit Diamond Bear Brewery, I did get an ample opportunity to taste a few of their beers at various locations in the area, the hotel lobby not the least of them.

Their Honey Weiss was OK... A little light for me, but perhaps something suitable for cooling down on a hot summer afternoon. Their Pale Ale was an all around solid beer, but I think I've been hitting the IPAs a little too much as of late. I really needed something with a more robust flavor, and their Presidential IPA fit the bill nicely.

This was the last beer I had in Little Rock. I grabbed a pint on a whim at the air port last night while I waited for my flight home. That hoppy kick in the pants I was looking for was found in this full bodied, but well balanced beer, packed with flavor.

They really do have a thing for Bill Clinton down there... If I had the time, I would have elected to have another off the tap. FOUR MORE BEERS! FOUR MORE BEERS! (Just kidding, I liked the beer much better than the man... But I digress, it's all about the beer not the politics, right? Lighten up!)

I also enjoyed a tasty Bombay IPA and a Downtown Brown at Boscos, also in the River Market area of Little Rock. Both were very tasty and went down easy in the baking sun and humidity on the back deck overlooking the river front. Some of my co-workers decided to get the sampler, and luckily for me, a couple of them proved that they were not real beer lovers. More free samples for me... Pretty good beer overall, but the food was a little expensive. I think they're going for the more upscale thing with the food, hence the prices, but they do a nice job of pairing the food with the beer... Cool stuff...

Also during the week, I devoured a medium meatball, mushroom and Canadian bacon pizza over a few IPAs brewed and served at Vino's. This is a very unique place, think artsy college coffee shop vibe (complete with local art work for sale on the walls) mixed with a combination of a big city pizza dive and a small local brew pub.

The place was small and crowded, yet finding a table was not an issue. We sat next to the glassed in brewery section. And we were lucky enough to get there before the long line out the door formed up. You go straight to the counter when you walk in and order a slice, or a pizza and what ever beers you want. They do eventually send out a waiter to check if you need refills, and we were more than happy to take them up on that offer.

Their Pinnacle IPA was pretty good, but there Fire House Pale Ale was a little under carbonated for my taste. It may have been an issue with the keg they were serving from. But from what the locals were telling me, the IPA is such a big seller, that they can not keep up the production level required to meet the need. The pizza was OK, with a home made feel to it, but not great. Then again, I live in the North East, pizza mecca of sorts. I may have set the bar a little high for pizza...

And that pretty much sums it up... I encourage you to check out the local beer culture where ever you find yourself on your next business trip. It's fun and makes for a much less boring week... But please, bring a buddy and use the hotel shuttle, it's safer and will make for a more enjoyable evening...


  1. I currently live in Little Rock and I must say you summed it all up quite nicely. I've had out of town friends come in before and they basically figured there wasn't a lot of beer culture to be had here only to leave very content with what's available. Drop me a comment on my blog next time you're in the Rock and I'll show you some "off the beaten path" type places plus take you to Diamond Bear and get you a quick tour. Cheers!

    P.S.... there's a great home brewing store not far from the downtown area called Fermentables: http://www.fermentables.com/

  2. Hey there Cracker, I read about the homebrew shop, even had a friendly local (who was celebrating his 50th birthday at Vino's) tell me all about it. Didn't get the chance to stop in but will next time.

    It's great to get confirmation from a local. Glad to know I captured the essence of the local beer scene!

  3. Well, as a LR native I think you summed it up pretty well. I'm 23 and haven't been to all the places around here, but I really like the couple of times I've been to Vino's and the one time I've been to boscos. Diamond bear's honey weiss is a good choice, but when you get to the end it's watered down, which I don't care for. The true winner for db is their pale ale. It's real hard to beat- and I've been to a lot of places in the us which fails to come close to any other I've had. They're currently expanding the db brewery so try can double their production. I do hope you thoroughly enjoyed your trip, and hope you come back soon. We've got a small beer culture down here, but the culture we do have can compete with the best of them. At the ballpark in NLR we have our own brews, so I suggest you hit that up next time. If you find yourself in Fayetteville for business or a college football game (they suck) try one of their local beers.

    I hope you enjoyed your stay and hope you come back for vacation sometime. Plenty of southern hospitality and culture. And weather. As I'm typing this it's hard to hit the right keys on my iPhone because it's so humid. But that's the south for you.

    This is a very nice blog that I bookmarked.

    What did you think of LR? I kinda want an outsiders take on our city. It's the smallest big city in the nation, LOL.

    Btw, I've live here all my life an I know a lot of people who don't like Bill Clinton, and cannot stand Hillary. Some even say "welcome home, Hillary" when shes here. Of course not all Arkansans are the brightest bulbs in the hardware store.

  4. Thanks for the feedback... My purpose for being down you way was not so fun, but my off duty time was. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had in the area.

    Thanks for bookmarking my site!

  5. I enjoyed reading about your touring Little Rocks beer cultural avenues. If you managed to get to Vinos, Flying Saucer, Diamond Bear Brewery and Boscos, you pretty much covered what you needed to do Beer Cultural wise.

    A tip about my favorite place Vinos though: Their speciality is the Calzones not the pizza.


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