Whips of cold air blasted in from the doors to Brewforia's new Eagle location sending a rolling wave of chills down the backs of nearby bar patrons. These gusts would've been less noticeable had they been less frequent, but the specialty beer market and restaurant had already reached capacity at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday evening. And the bundled families and couples continued to pour in.
Brewforia Eagle, which took over the old Baan Thai space, is obviously doing something right. The open, dark-wood room is decorated mostly with beer: Rows of coolers teeming with rare and specialty suds line one wall, while cubbies of more craft brews adorn another. Though there's only one TV in the main dining room and three smaller ones in the high table bar area, the spot still feels like something of a sports pub. But that has more to do with the menu.
Like its flagship Meridian location, Brewforia Eagle offers an assortment of bar grub--like chicken wings and craftbread-style pizzas with innovative sauces and toppings--and almost everything is $8.99 or less.
Nursing a Salmon River Buzz Buzz coffee porter ($3.69) and a Beer Valley Pigskin pale ale ($3.19) from the selection of rotating taps, my date and I awaited the arrival of an 11-inch Foothills craftbread ($7.99). The thin-crust pizza was topped with a refreshingly modest blend of goat cheese, asiago and mozzarella, along with red onion slivers, beer-braised whole crimini mushrooms (not the oyster listed on the menu but nice nonetheless) and a sweet balsamic drizzle. But things went south with the absurd amount of whole roasted garlic burrowed into the cheese--an average of six cloves per small slice.
My main entree--the soft shell crab po-boy ($8.99)--took excess up a notch. The sandwich landed on the table with a thud. Two whole soft shell crabs covered in a crisp batter extended their angled legs off the lightly toasted baguette, and a pile of smoked tomato slices and capers teetered on top. The batter was seasoned well and had a fantastic crunch, but the doughy bread and ample remoulade dripping out the sides made eating it a savagely messy, but delicious, undertaking.
My date's Bay of Pigs sandwich ($7.99) was a more modest affair, with smoked pork, mustard and Emmentaler cheese pressed down to a biteable size. Both were served with tortilla chips and a so-so fire-roasted salsa.
Though there were a few misses in our meal, Brewforia's appeal wasn't lost on us. It's a relaxed, family friendly joint with a menu that tweaks tried-and-true pub classics in some interesting, if not always spot-on ways. Oh, and the beer selection ain't too bad, either.