DuClaw Brewing Company is a local Baltimore purveyor of micro-brew beers and unique pub grub. They have locations in Bel-Air, Arundel Mills, Bowie Town center and BWI Airport. In most of the reviews I have read on DuClaw, the beer draws rave reviews while the food seems to get mixed opinions. On Saturday, my wife and I drove down to the Bel-Air location to meet out son, Frank and his wife, Jen. It took us about 90 minutes to make the drive down I-95 and the restaurant was not very busy at the early 5:00 P.M. reservation time. Frank and Jen had their two young daughters, Samantha, age 4 and Maddie, age 19 months.
Choosing a beer amongst their many choices is no easy chore and they were nice enough to provide me with three “samplers” to assist me in making up my mind. I was given the Misfit Red,an amber ale, the very dark and Guinness-like, Celtic Fairy and the Euphoria, a toffee nut-brown ale. All of them were tasty but I settled on the Misfit Red. My wife, and daughter-in-law chose the Bare-Ass Blonde Ale, DuClaw’s most popular offering.
We split an order of Loaded Nachos at $8.29 which came with the usual suspects of toppings but somehow lacked any cohesion to make the dish memorable. Others had the Wine and Garlic Mussels which were passable without drawing any glowing praise.
Their were crayons and coloring sheets for the kids to keep their attention as our entrees were being prepared. Frank went with the Arizona Burger, dusted with “Arizona seasonings (what are they??), lettuce, tomato, apple-wood smoked bacon and gouda cheese, served with a side of chipotle aioli.” An order of fries completed his dish. The burger looked appealing and he seemed to enjoy his choice. Kathy must be in her “I want ribs” phase because for the second night in a row she chose the half-rack of baby backed ribs. This one came with cole slaw and potato salad. She didn’t eat a whole lot and gave most of her portion to Frank and Jen to take home. I don’t think she was disappointed with the ribs; it seemed more that she just didn’t have much of an appetite. Jen had the Huli Huli Salmon, topped with a roasted pineapple ring and huli huli sauce. It looked good and was a nice size portion. I found the menu offered a wide variety of interesting possibilities and finally settled on the Pepperjack Penne Pasta, tossed in pepperjack cream sauce, julienne peppers, onions, and topped with diced tomatoes and blackened chicken and served with an asiago toast point. I would be lying if I didn’t say this concoction was excellent. I finished as much as I could of the tangy pasta and took enough home that I had a nice helping for dinner last night and found it just as good as a leftover.
The children split a Brownie Sundae for dessert and Frank, the biggest child of all, had a helping of their Peanut Butter Pie. It looked delicious on his plate and it didn’t last long, either. I’d say that DuClaws is a good choice for some unique pub food with a great selection of beers that you won’t find anywhere else. The only REAL problem is that the DuClaw Brewing Company is ONLY located in the Baltimore area so don’t look for any in Philly or South Jersey.