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Familiar Brews 

The Steam Plant's new approach features welcome additions and greatest hits.

click to enlarge While the Steam Plant has seen many changes as of late, the beer remains a constant. - JOE KONEK
  • Joe Konek
  • While the Steam Plant has seen many changes as of late, the beer remains a constant.

Few downtown restaurants have the Steam Plant Grill’s staying power. The newly christened Stacks Restaurant and its lowerlevel companion, the Steam Plant Brewing Company and Pub, have retained the best of the Steam Plant Grill and added some savory new additions. Bartender Erik Botchek, a Steam Plant employee for nearly 10 years (the establishment has been open for about 11 years), explained the new menu by saying, “It’s the greatest hits throughout the years — expect the delicious.”

The happy hour menu features half-priced appetizers, including the familiar kalbi steak skewers ($12; $6 during happy hour), Steam Plant calamari ($9; $4.50/happy hour). The lightly breaded and fried calamari is served alongside fresh coleslaw seasoned with cumin and dill. This light, fresh dish pairs well with the Steam Plant’s own Blonde Ale, which, like all the company’s beers, is brewed on-site. Other beers brewed at the Steam Plant Brewery are the classic Double Stack Stout as well as Pipefitter Porter and hoppy Firebox IPA. There are nine beers in all, plus additional rotating cask-conditioned ales and the Brewer’s Whim. The Taster Tray ($17.00) allows you to try them all.

Not shy with their brews, the Steam Plant chefs also use beer in their recipes. The kalbi steak skewers are marinated in Whitman’s Wheat Ale — seared on the outside, tender in the middle and served with kalbi sauce.

The newest item on the menu is the smoked steelhead ($13; $6.50/happy hour). A large fillet portion is placed alongside rye toast rounds. At the plate’s lower edge are capers, cream cheese, diced onion and lemon. Each condiment is separate from the others and presented in circular mounds that mimic the rye toast. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

The steelhead is smoked onsite. The result is a fresh flavor and a flaky, slightly moist interior. The full smoky tones complement the steelhead, and there was practically no need to make use of the capers, cream cheese or fresh onion.

Happy hour is from 3 pm until 6 pm, but the place begins filling up rapidly around 4. Bolchek says they never have a slow night, so get there early. n

Steam Plant Brewing Company and Pub • 159 S. Lincoln St. • Sun–Thu 3 pm-10 pm; Fri-Sat 3 pm–11 pm • Happy Hour Mon–Sat 3 pm–6 pm; Sunday all day • (777-3900)


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