14 January 2012

Pecan Street Brewing, Johnson City, Texas

On Saturday December 31, I finally made my way over to Pecan Street Brewing on the square in Johnson City, Texas.

Since it was a holiday, I expected Johnson City to be packed with tourists, but no! At 2 pm, there were only four cars on the square and I found a parking spot next to the steps up to the sidewalk, right in front of the brewery.

I looked around the square. It was quiet and deserted. If the brew pub's neon OPEN sign hadn't been on, I would have been convinced the town had been abandoned in advance of a zombie holocaust.

The restaurant has a nice casual feel to it--with mileage signs to famous beer cities on several posts--and wraps around the brew house, which you can see through a large window behind the bar. (The Department of Homeland Security requires all new brew pubs to put the brew house behind solid barriers because terrorists are planning an attack America's beer supply.)

I sat at the bar and perused the chalkboard menu.  And perused it.  And perused it. And perused it. I wondered if the bar tender was blind in her left eye, because it took her almost ten minutes to ask if I wanted anything. I ordered the sampler. She returned a few moments later bearing a paddle with five beers: a blonde ale that tasted very pilsner-like, a crisp wheat beer, a surprisingly drinkable amber (and I hate ambers!), a chocolately stout and a holiday ale brewed with pumpkin and spices, and dutifully recorded my thoughts on Untappd.

As I finished the last sample, I decided the stout was pint worthy.  And so for five minutes I tried to catch the bartender's attention.  I make a small waving motion with my hand when she turned in my direction.  I would clear my throat as she came back from the kitchen. Shortly before resorting to blowing my referee whistle she came over and took my order, which included jalapeno poppers.  And after bringing me a second stout, she brought out my jalapeno poppers, which were very good.

While I was focused on how a liberal application of bacon and cheese makes everything taste better--especially a deep fried mild jalapeno--a Napoleon Dynamite look-a-like took over the bar, and made sure I was well taken care of for the rest of my visit.

To be fair, it was obvious they were prepping for the night's New Years Eve festivities. I could see determined food prep going on in the kitchen, and a waitress stacking several dozen champagne flutes on a shelf. But still, service could have been a bit faster.

I overheard the end of a conversation which resulted in the customer being put on the "Please Make An IPA" list. Pecan Street Brewing's beers are solid examples of the styles, but just don't seem very bold or adventurous.  That may be the result of the local clientele, as it is in Eola. They may have to educate their core customers before they start their barrel aging or program sour beer experiments. This cautious approach applies to their menu which is standard pub grub: oven fired pizzas and burgers. I certainly enjoyed my poppers, so I assume the rest of the menu is as good. Not complaining, for I took a growler of the stout home with me, and drank it all the next afternoon.

Overall, I had a good time at Pecan Street Brewing, and plan to go back. Good beer, good food, gold folks, and a nice small town atmosphere.

Pecan Street Brewing is at 106 East Pecan on Johnson City's historic town square. It's only a few blocks from the Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park - Boyhood Home.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:18

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