Trouble brewing

The double IPA braised short ribs at The Brewer’s Cabinet, at the corner of California and Arlington Avenues.

The double IPA braised short ribs at The Brewer’s Cabinet, at the corner of California and Arlington Avenues.

Photo By allison young

The Brewer’s Cabinet is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The Brewer’s Cabinet, which opened about six months ago, took over the former space of the Chocolate Bar at the corner of Arlington and California Avenues. They must love wood here, because not only is the outside paneled in distressed wood but the look continues inside as well. It reminded me of being in a fancy miner’s cabin, complete with lanterns from the ceiling. I met my friends Casey and Kira, and we were seated at a wooden booth that seemed a little tight but to be fair, I’m a little fat. Each table had its own outlet so you could plug your phone in. With all the wood, it gets a little loud as the noise seems to bounce off the wood walls.

The Brewer’s Cabinet has a higher end selection of beer and even brews a couple themselves, so I was excited to try some. Casey and I went with Lagunitas Brown Shugga ($8) which arrived with a foamy head that looked like whipped cream. The Brown Shugga has a high alcohol content (9.99 percent) and based on how delicious it was, it would be really easy to have one too many. Kira went with the Festival Saison ($6) which they brew themselves. The Saison had a fruity ginger taste that I found too sweet but that she enjoyed.

We started with some crab cakes ($10.50) and some dry rub wings ($6.95 for six). The two large crab cakes arrived lukewarm, with some corn kernels on top, which I guess was supposed to be the corn relish. The crab cakes were a little mushy and could have benefited from a longer cooking time. The wings were cooked well but needed way more rub as they hardly had any flavor at all. I wasn’t impressed by the appetizers so I held out hope that our entrées would be better.

Casey went with the sliders which came with ground beef, maple bacon and blue cheese all served on a pretzel bun. I loved the pretzel bun and bacon combo, and the meat was tender. Kira went with the pressed vegetable sandwich ($9.95) which came with pesto, zucchini, red onions, eggplant and mozzarella cheese.

Unfortunately, the pesto was so greasy, it soaked through the bread, and the sandwich was so salty, it was almost inedible. Kira added a cup of beer and cheese soup ($2.50) which was like having a cup of nacho cheese, and I mean that in a good way. I went with a bowl of the roasted corn and Pablano bisque ($6.95). The soup was wonderful with a light spice rounding off the creamy corn taste. It was served with some stale slices of pretzel loaf that were rock hard.

To finish off, we decided to try the crispy funnel cake ($4.95) and ordered it a la mode ($.99). The plate arrived with huge dough chunks that didn’t melt in my mouth enough as the drops of fried dough seemed to be too large. The ice cream and strawberries on top were very good though.

Service throughout was hit and miss. Sometimes it would take too long to get a beer or for the waitress to come by. However, they were fairly busy, and when our waitress did come by, she was very friendly. I noticed that they plan to collaborate on some future brews with Deschutes and Silver Peak, which I think is exciting, but between the uneven food and service, I don’t know if I’ll be coming back to try them out.