Friday, June 27, 2008


I figured a business trip to Little Rock, Arkansas this past week might net me a couple of new beer discoveries, as I ticked this state from my list of seven states I’ve never set foot in (now down to a mere six: both Dakotas, Montana, Alaska, Wisconsin and Maine). Sure, my pre-trip research on BEER ADVOCATE netted me my agenda for the trip, as it so often does – and as it turned out, I pretty much conquered the top picks of the people. I’ll take you through my learnings over the next couple of posts, because you never know when life might drop you in the middle of Little Rock, Arkansas, a town I knew for a mere two things: our former President Clinton, and Central High School & the “Little Rock 9”. Now I can safely add two breweries and a local beer to the list.

We begin our adventures at “the restaurant for beer lovers”, BOSCO’S, in downtown Little Rock. Bosco’s, like BJ’s, Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch, is a chain restaurant centered around beer, though Bosco’s appears to be confined to only a select few cities in the American South. I learned about them through their ubiquitous advertising in ALL ABOUT BEER magazine, whose most recent issue I read on the plane out here. They brew their own beer on premises, and tend to put a slightly more upscale spin on “beer food” then your typical sports bar/pub. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy a heaping pile of fried artichoke hearts with some high-calorie ranch dip – I mean, I was in the South. One must do as the people do. That was, I’m sad to report, the best part of the menu. Stay away from the duck spring rolls and especially from the gulf shrimp pasta in cream sauce – kinda gross. Edible, but just that.

Beer-wise, these guys are a much happier story. I immediately went for the ISLE OF SKYE SCOTTISH ALE, a very pleasing, malty, amber-colored beer that I daydreamed drinking by the bucketful while yelling “Soooo-ey!” at Arkansas Razorbacks football games. It has a nice slight bite to set it apart from other pedestrian ales of the Scottish/Scotch variety, though said bite was of unknown origin, and I am too pedestrian myself to figure it out. Great beer style, fast becoming a favorite of mine. HBJ says 7/10 for this one. Not too far of a step down for the BOMBAY IPA, either, though it was slightly more run of the mill. This IPA was mild in its hopping, and it’s the sort of IPA that you don’t really see all that often on the west coast, where everyone’s engaged in an effort to one-up the next guy with the most tongue-destroying use of hops (a trend, by the way, that I’m very happy with). No, this orange IPA was all right by me, but if I find my way back to Bosco’s ever again I’m going to go for other beers on the menu instead. 6/10.

I learned after the fact that this brewery had a bunch of other taps & bottles from Southern breweries besides their own “house” beers, but that’s not anything our server told us about it. Perhaps it is for the best, as I might have ordered the abysmal IPA from DIAMOND BEAR BREWING, but…..shhh…..that’s a drinking tale for another day. Stay tuned!


Bryon said...

Nice post! I just went to Little Rock too...

Anonymous said...

I just happened to find your blog through the Inhuman Eating Machine. I am kind of shocked that Bosco's had other beers avaiable other than the ones they brew. I have been drinking in their establishments (now establishment) in Memphis for almost 12 years now and I have never heard of this. Interesting. Next time you are in try find out what seasonals or limited run beers they have on tap. You may enjoy them more. Good post.