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The Beer Circle » Bars, Breweries, IPA, Reviews, Robust Porter, Timber Creek Tap and Table » Opening Day: Timber Creek Tap and Table – Meadville, PA

Opening Day: Timber Creek Tap and Table – Meadville, PA

Northwestern Pennsylvania – a land of lakes, small towns, and enough wooded areas to make Smokey the Bear pretty nervous. Whenever the bustle of Washington gets to be a bit much, I take comfort in knowing that I’m still able to retreat back to this area I call home for an extended weekend. Formerly largely devoid of good sources of craft beer, this has begun to change in recent years, right in tune with the craft beer/microbrewery explosion that’s been sweeping the country.  I’ve taken a look at another tiny brewpub in the area (Sprague Farm) previously, but on my most recent trip to PA, I learned of a new establishment just set to open – and I was determined to be there on opening day.

A new brewpub, Timber Creek Tap and Table (Warning: the website is still pretty rough), opened its doors in Meadville, PA on Wednesday, May 23.  I was fortunate enough to be in the area for this event, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to enjoy some of the first beers poured here.  I arrived shortly before 5pm, armed with a camera and plenty of family in tow.

The Building's Exterior

The Building's Exterior

Friendship Sign

I think most people in the beer community tend to feel this way.

The exterior of the building is simple and unassuming, but its rustic appearance gives one an idea of what to expect on the inside.  As I made my way to the door, the first thing I noticed was the presence of a rather unique sign as one walks in.  “All lasting business is built on friendship,” it reads.  Based on what I’ve experienced so far, this seems to be particularly true in craft beer circles.  Greeted by a friendly hostess after entering, we were then taken to our seats.

Interior of Timber Creek

Interior of Timber Creek

The interior of the place is warm and inviting, and conjures up thoughts of a warm ski lodge or hunting cabin – very appropriate for the area.  The crowd was less than I had anticipated for an opening day, but this gave me plenty of opportunity to move about the place, explore a bit, and take some photos.  I was able to meet owner/general manager Dustin Kelly, who took a break from running about and went out of his way to introduce himself.  Remarkable and sincerely appreciated – particularly since opening day tends to be a busy one for these individuals.

No Macros to be Found Here

No Macros to be Found Here

While a number of beer establishments carry one or two macro selections in addition to their house beers, there is no such thing to be found here.  It’s all Timber Creek – and I’m completely okay with that.  I was excited to see seven taps all ready to go, set to broaden the horizons of this region awash in adjunct lagers.

Colors of Beer

Beer comes in colors other than yellow.

The establishment is actually divided into two segments: one is a restaurant area with both food service and its own bar, the other part of the building is strictly a bar/tap room.  Food service is only available in the restaurant section, but it’s worth your time to check out the tap room – even if just to poke your head in.  That’s primarily because of this:

Glass Floor

Watch your step.

One unique feature of the bar/tap room is the glass floor, which provides a clear view to the brewing operations below.  I was able to meet the head brewmaster, Jake, who was working in the tap room at the time.  Jake was happy to show me around the place, and even took me to the brewery below.  I must say, it was fun to look at the bar patrons above from down there.

The Brewery

The Brewery

Fresh Grain for Brewing

Fresh Grain Aplenty

The actual brewery looks much like any other, but beer here isn’t kegged before serving.  It’s fed right from the serving tanks to the taps above, at both bars on either side of the brewpub.  Jake also opened up the grain room for me, where all the fresh grain for brewing is stored.  He’s even got his own mill (barely visible to the left) for milling his own grain. It was very cool to see this in addition to the tank room. Actually seeing the stuff gives a great sense of authenticity to the operation.

Black Bear Robust Porter

Timber Creek Black Bear Robust Porter

By the time I returned  to my table, a Black Bear Robust Porter was the first brew that awaited me.  An almost-black dark brown pour, it came with no head, no discernible lacing on the way down, and checked in at 6% ABV.  Dark, roasty and malty, almost reminiscent of a Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, its medium body and clean finish made this tasty robust porter an excellent example of the style.  I’d definitely grab another.

Fresh Squeezed IPA

Timber Creek Fresh Squeezed IPA

The next selection I ordered was a Fresh Squeezed IPA.  7.5% ABV, poured a golden color with finger-thick head, the head laced significantly as I drank it.  Brewed with 6 varieties of hops and using all of them aggressively, this is a big, bold IPA – just how I like them.

Lobster Mac

Lobster Mac

For a meal, I opted to try the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese for $18.  I was curious to see how the kitchen would perform for an opening night, and I wasn’t disappointed.  I’m a huge fan of seafood, but there’s not a whole lot you can do to lobster other than to prepare it correctly.  That said, this dish was well-constructed, and complimented my beverages nicely.  I’d particularly like to thank Jen, our server, who was fantastic, proactive, and very helpful, even amidst the confusion of an opening night.

Timber Creek Tap & Table

Timber Creek Tap & Table

Simply put, I think Timber Creek Tap & Table is an excellent up-and-coming brewpub in an area that desperately needs them.  Their solid variety of brews available right from launch, combined with good food and excellent service made for a great experience. I hope this quality of experience continues – and wish them the best of luck.  I’ll be returning for sure.

 

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Written by Garrett Miller

Garrett brings a somewhat different perspective on beer to the table. While always thrilled to try any new, exotic brew that finds itself his way, Garrett finds that he's often quite satisfied with reliable, common craft choices. As such, Garrett is a fan of trying and reviewing these (admittedly less expensive) beers, and using them to introduce the exciting, flavorful world of craft beer to those not-yet-acquainted. Garrett’s favorite styles are IPAs and bourbon stouts, but won’t turn his nose up at anything. Find Garrett Miller on Google Plus

Filed under: Bars, Breweries, IPA, Reviews, Robust Porter, Timber Creek Tap and Table · Tags: , , ,

6 Responses to "Opening Day: Timber Creek Tap and Table – Meadville, PA"

  1. scarll says:

    We are looking forward to our first visit to TC tonight.  We were able to enjoy three of their brews at the Brewerie Brewfest, where all three finished in the top ten, and are very excited about this new addition to the community. 

    1. RC says:

      Easy to finish in top 10 when you post on your Facebook page for people who are on it to vote and aren’t even there. Voting for best beer at that fest is really flawed.

  2. Susan says:

    Visited Saturday with a party of 14, we were celebrating a 59th birthday for someone. We  were waiting for someone to meet us and when he showed up we all greeted him, a little louder than we should have.  We were rudely told by management to keep it down because,that was too loud, plus other comments.  I agree it may have been louder then we intended but the manner in which we were told was RUDE. I don’t think anyone in our party of 14 will ever return here again for a second visit.  We has all bought multiple samplers and ended up not even finishing them.  Our group consisted of adult from 26 to 59 years of age and all respectable people but thought we were treated like a bunch of thugs.

    1. BD says:

      A lot of people I have talked to have complained about the food and the manager. Both leave you wanting more and not in a good way. Feel bad for Jake who started off as a good home brewer to be stuck there.

  3. […] on June 30, 2012. While we weren’t able to be there for the grand opening this time (unlike Timber Creek, also in Meadville), we were able to get there roughly a week later with family in tow. Admittedly, we were probably […]

  4. Guest says:

    ps, they do serve macro beers there, they’re just in bottles.

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