Can I walk to the Blue Cat over on Rock Island?
Why would you want to do that?
Or so went the exchange between me and a bartender at the hotel I’m staying at in Davenport, Iowa.
Immediately I became suspicious about the quality of the restaurant, the food or maybe even the beer.
But the bartender was referring to the physical act of walking.
Of course I could walk, it’s a 30-minute jaunt across the mighty Mississippi River to “The District,” as the locals call it, and on a night when the wind died down and the clouds cleared out, it was perfect. I’m glad I didn’t follow her advice, which involved a taxi cab and $30 for the roundtrip. That’s a lot of beer money.
Blue Cat’s got your favorites, a hefeweizen, a pale ale, a stout, and they’ve got a really good old English-style ale.
But I was hungry from a day’s worth of meetings, so I checked out the menu while slaking my thirst with a pale ale. The Blue Cat tends to serve their beer just a little warmer than most, but it lends itself to the Brit-pub atmosphere they were trying to cultivate.
This far inland, I was loath to try seafood, but the Greenland, green-lipped mussels looked so inviting I had to them with a good beer. After a few thoughts toward a hefweweizen or another go round with the pale ale, I decided on the Big Bad Dog Old English Ale.
The hefty beer with just enough IBUs (26) to cut through some of the butter sauce and enough alcohol to wash it down clean, goes great with seafood. A hint of sweetness lends itself to the salty taste of the mussels, while the rounded finish isn’t overbearing.
All in all, Blue Cat was a great experience, one worth trying if you’re going to be in the Quad Cities anytime soon.
Try googling craft breweries in Davenport, Iowa or Moline, Illinois. You’ll find them, but they seem few and far between.
On a work-related trip to America’s heartland, to the only spot where the Mississippi River flows East to West, to the Quad Cities, I found one to start with, knowing full-well others must surely follow. There is a craft brewing revolution happening after all folks.
Front Street Brewing Co. in Davenport, Iowa is as unpretentious as they come. My first beer was an IPA, which actually was a season special. No matter, it was well balanced and very drinkable after two plane rides and a landing with crosswinds that almost put us into those famed cornfields.
My second beer was a Raging River Pale Ale, which I enjoyed with baked salmon, roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. The beer was dark like the river from whence it gets its name. Raging, foaming and frothing at the edges, the Mississippi in spring is like a pissed-off lover. Don’t cross her or she’ll make you pay. The beer suited the mood of the day very well.
Front Street Brewery has great food, a super-friendly waiter and a relaxed, pub-like atmosphere with really good beer thrown in. I didn’t think I’d find these kinds of IBUs in Iowa or anywhere in the midwest, but they brew ‘em great here.