Barley John's: New Brighton, MN
This non-smoking brewpub now carries eight beers crafted by the owner Barley John. Four are outstanding.
1. An Octoberfest, which reminds me of Spaten Optimator.
2. A Belgian Porter.
3. A roasty Old Eight Porter, named after Old Highway Eight which runs by the brewpub.
4. And for dessert, a Dark Knight Ale, highly alcoholic and served in a small glass.
I've ordered their beer brats and burgers, and they've blended well with the beers. Growler jugs are available for home consumption.
I'm surprised that chowhounders have rarely mentioned this place; on the other hand, it is in a forlorn corner of our metro region- at 37th Ave. and Old Highway Eight near where New Brighton, Roseville and St. Anthony Village all converge.
I took a beer snob buddy there a few days back after reading about the place in a local food rag. We have been disappointed by brew pubs in the past as the brews usually are too thin, too sweet or one dimensional. I would say Barley John's is above average for a brew pub, though after sampling tastes of all but the lightest of their beers the only really drinkable one was the IPA. The food, however, was very good. We have the vegie pizza with a thin cracker type crust, decent waffle fries and a portabello on greens that was tasty. The rest of the menu looked very good as well.
It's in an old A & W so it's small. The barkeep was very nice.
My wife and I have gone to Barley John's many times - too many to count and we've had just about everything on the menu. Overall, I'd say it's pretty good, if you stay simple. Here are some thoughts.
- The bar is great, but small. You and a couple of friends could just about fill it up. But, the beer is good, the bartenders are really friendly and they have cribbage boards - built into the tables even.
- The menu consists of gourmet bar food - leaning towards organic and vegetarian. Salads, pizza, burgers, fish. All of the stuff on the main menu is pretty good and I can highly recommend the chicken sandwich and cobb salad. Both are great and our overall favorites. The chipotle pizza is really good too.
- They have half-priced wine nights on Wed. night and a pretty good selection of wine by the bottle or glass. The wine prices are pretty good and on Wed., the are great!
- They have Scotch flights. Mmmm...
- They have nightly specials - fancy sounding stuff, that sounds great; Fish, Steak, pasta... It usually isn't great. For some reason, they can't pull off the specials and we've been disappointed more often then not.
- They ocasionally have live music. It's great when you are outside on the patio. The patio itself is kind of fun, and in the fall, they have a fire pit you can sit around and tip back a couple.
I'd say go; try out the beers, go for wine on wed., eat the sandwiches and pizza. You'll be happy.
Barley John's has a great menu that is underpriced for the quality of ingredient used. Lots of vegetarian options also available and daily specials. Their soups are all home made (as is everything else served there) by the head chef. He is a vegetarian so he never actually tastes the non-vegetarian soups and relies only on smell to make some great and interesting offerings. The beers are amazing. They are currently in the process of doubling the number of fermenting and aging tanks so they have more guest beers on tap then usual but they usually have 4-6 regular brewed beers and 1-4 seasonal offerings. Seasonal beers change monthly (or whenever they are finished off by the beer loving patrons). If you enjoy the beers, the Barley Brew Society card is great for saving on every beer you purchase (you also get your first glass of every seasonal free which means it pays for your membership alone). The restaurant is small, holding only about 2 dozen people inside but has a very nice outdoor patio (both covered and uncovered seating available) that more then doubles the room found for indoor seating. A camp fire is always burning on the outside patio for everyone to enjoy (great on a cool summer night). Barley John's is a great secret in the suburbs.
For those of us in the near north metro, and who despise chains, Barley John's is awesome. Hear this potential restaurant owners.... We need you!!!
Back to Barley John's. Whether or nor not you go for dinner or just an after dinner drink, make it a point to go to Barley John's if you're in the area just north of Roseville/North Minneapolis.
My food recommendation is the J Pizza. It is like eating fondue. The cheese is OH-SO-DELECTABLE!
As for the beers, try them yourself, everyones taste is so different. But don't be afraid to ask the server or bartender what your getting. I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered one of their seasonals, but don't just stick to what you think you'll like. Go for it!!
Thursdays is live music, and we haven't made it for that yet. Maybe soon.