Many pleasures to experience at Derive Brewing Company
Clintonville Brewery charms trump some occasional serving hiccups
The third time, it was a charm when it came to dining at the Derive Brewing Company. So were the fourth and fifth times.
That’s not to say that my previous visits to Derive Brewing were charmless. When I had walked into the hip Clintonville brewery just for fun – and its excellent Baltic porter (bafflingly called “Cowboy Cologne”; $ 4 for a half-pour) and crispy wings brightened up by tangy “Carolina Gold” with Derive mustard ” barbecue sauce ($ 14) – things turned out well.
But a few meals were hampered by service issues causing grimaces. The fact that I continued to frequent the place thereafter is a testament to my optimism about Derive.
Go to the problems of months ago. On one occasion my table endured a painful wait for a pizza after our pie was delivered to the wrong table. On our next meal there, when we were almost done with the entrees, we were presented with celery and blue cheese for a wing appetizer that never arrived. The involuntary visual gag that accompanied this blunder was almost funny.
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However, the positives easily outweighed the negatives. First of all, Derive correctly fixed these errors with a sincere apology and compiled menu items. Second (third, fourth and fifth), from pleasant surroundings to impressive house beers to crowd-pleasing dishes to recent examples of efficient service, everything else about Derive points to a good neighborhood hangout.
The owners of Derive have wisely preserved much of what made Sip Local, the former craft brewery that occupied the site, a popular spot. This includes the largely untouched decor, which celebrates art, nature, and irony in a way that Clintonville (or likes) a Homage designed T-shirt.
Such furnishings help create an entertaining space where patrons – more than a few sports bike helmets – settle into wooden tables amid forest-like green accents, oversized pine cone-shaped lampshades. and a huge metal tree. The cheeky room also features decorative hatchet, whimsical signage, signature merchandise, concrete flooring, exposed ductwork, and plenty of muted TVs (once tuned to reruns of “Seinfeld,” ESPN, and Cooking Channel).
If a snack catches the eye, the aforementioned chicken wings or the cauliflower wings also recommended by Derive ($ 9) – soft florets under a flaky, cracked crust – can be inflamed by the spicy garlic sauce. well titled.
More heat has arrived with the Hot Sriracha Marinated Chicken Sandwich ($ 12). While its layered slices of deliciously extra-crisp juicy meat (albeit covered in a dark brown crust) make it somewhat unwieldy, this messy blend with a shiny bun, pickles and a rich coleslaw salad with jalapenos was fun to eat.
Ditto for the crushed burger ($ 12), whose crunchy, textured patty had also benefited from cooking at high heat. Lettuce, a Big Mac-style “Smack” sauce and a pickle garnish complete the irresistible package.
Both sandwiches pair well with Derive’s targeted fries (large, crispy, golden) and the wedge salad ($ 6). The latter – a hearty dish with crispy bits of bacon, tomato, red onion, chunks of blue cheese, and a good blue cheese vinaigrette – is among Derive’s best values.
Wallet-watchers (arms raised) and undecided guys will be happy that four dollars buy a six-ounce sample of most beers produced on-site. Whether it’s a low-fat rice lager, a New England IPA, or an imperial stout, beers tend to have long titles, multi-paragraph menu descriptions and agents. flavorings that, frankly, belies their targeted flavors and accessibility.
Tip: Ordering demi-verses makes it easier to afford a dining game of matching the right beer with the right pizza ($ 13 to $ 15). Also making this game easy: Derive offers some nice, hand-tossed and sliced pies with thin crusts that were crispy on the edge and soft in the center best eaten with a fork.
Toppings include the remarkable ‘Organic Mushroom Mix’, the esteemed Ezzo Pepperoni and the Zesty Italian Sausage with Fennel Seeds. All three come on Luke’s Trio, a highly recommended pizza that glistens with pepperoni grease and tastes even better when the pie arrives on time.
Derive Brewing Company
2808 N. High St., Clintonville