Something good brewing
Casino’s in-house pub worth the drive
Walking into the Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co., one is immediately alerted to the fact that beer is made here. And while the food is quite good, the wonderful craft beers are the main attraction. The bar, which takes up a decent portion of the large restaurant, wraps around the business end of the brewing operations, and huge windows offer views of the pristine-looking kettles.
During a recent visit, my husband, Josh, and I took a seat at a bar table and were quickly approached by a bubbly and polite waitress. I’d been impressed by the Feather Falls beer I tried at the Keep Chico Weird Talent Show in February, so I had a feeling I was going to like what I tasted. Josh opted for the Soaring Eagle pilsner and I, the apricot wheat Thunder Ale. Both were exceptional, tasty and smooth, and mine indeed carried a slight fruit flavor.
The menu at the Brewing Co. is fairly extensive and includes a nice mixture of traditional pub fare, fine-dining dishes and a rather large list of sushi offerings. I had a difficult time deciding between the “famous” fish ’n’ chips and the panko-crusted chicken. Ultimately I opted for the latter ($14.95), which is served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Josh decided on a pizza, choosing three toppings: pepperoni, sausage and bacon ($10.95 for a 12-inch pie, plus $1 per topping). We also had to try the Indian taco ($8.95), which we ordered as a starter.
I loved the Indian taco. The fry bread was crispy, the meat superbly seasoned and ground finely, creating a smooth texture. We did order it sans lettuce or tomatoes, so that might explain the overwhelming amount of cheese on top. No matter, we just pushed some off to the side. Josh was a little more critical. Having grown up going to pow wows, visiting his mom’s reservation in Alaska during summers and attending a Native American school, he has tried more than his fair share of Indian tacos. The fry bread, by his standards (I should note here he’s also a baker), was too dense and not quite greasy enough. For me, though, it still gets an “A.”
After beers and sharing the generously sized taco, I was pretty full by the time the entrees came. My chicken was cooked expertly, crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside. I just wish the chardonnay sauce had a bit more flavor. Josh also enjoyed his pizza, especially the crust, though again there was a tad too much cheese.
A second visit, on an early Sunday afternoon, had us dining in the main room with about a dozen members of our extended family. This time I opted for the Naughty Native IPA, which was full of hops flavor, and, hooked on the pilsner, Josh opted once again for the Soaring Eagle. This time around, I went for the fish ’n’ chips ($10.95), Alaskan cod battered with the brewery’s Wild Warrior American pale ale. Josh ordered the blackened bleu bacon burger ($9.50).
We were seated smack in the middle of the dining room, which doubles as a venue for live music, with a big stage and a balcony with seating overlooking it all. The only real downsides are the ding-ding-dinging of casino games in the background (unless that’s what you came for) and the tables, which feature a golden metallic pattern, so bright they were distracting.
Service was slower on Sunday, but we were in no rush. My fish ’n’ chips were delicious, the cod perfectly coated and fried, the fries fresh and tasty. Josh raved about his burger, too, cooked to order and supremely satisfying. I’ll note, too, that the rest of the family offered mostly positive reviews of their food. I snagged one of my sister-in-law’s onion rings—“awesome” about sums them up.
For good food and even better beer (we left both times with a growler full of Soaring Eagle, just $16.50—only $10 if you already have a growler), Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co. might be a little out of the way, but it’s well worth a visit.