Loosey’s: Not Just Good Beer

I’m not going to lie to you. The Man and I practically live at Loosey’s the random chances we get time to go downtown for a drink. So it’s kind of hard to write up the food. (And I hope the kitchen guys will NOT “alter” our food at all the next time we go there to eat if they don’t like what I’m saying here.)

For a long while there wasn’t much for us veggies to eat because Loosey’s was focusing on their American craft beer lineup. That’s entirely forgivable because they have a great selection. But recently the good folks who put up with us vegetarians decided to upgrade the menu and graced The Man and I with a few interesting options. They refrain from calling themselves a gastropub (too trendy), but do serve elevated pub food for a real foodie to enjoy.

First of all, this girl couldn’t have been happier to see the Veggie Egg Rolls back on the menu. In the far distant past, they were on the menu and then cruelly taken away. And now back. The crunchy, crispy rolls are served with teriyaki sauce and Loosey’s ass kickin’ sauce (which brings tears to this wimpy girl’s eyes). As you can tell from the above picture, my priority was reuniting my face with these rolls rather taking a picture for you, dear readers.

The Man has been talking about trying the BBQ Tofu Sandwich since he laid eyes on the new menu. I am not kidding. So he barely hesitated when I suggested forgoing The Top and heading to Loosey’s for an early dinner. I think he was salivating by the time we walked in the door. But he generally gets excited when we enter the presence of so much good beer.

Not many people know what to do with tofu, so offering it on the same menu with a burger is rare. The tofu sandwich is grilled and served with mustard and vinegar BBQ sauce, a Carolina style of sauce that came from Germans that settled the midlands areas. It’s topped with citrus ginger slaw that adds crunch to the tofu and soft bread, so you get this mouth full of textures.

The picture you see here was the only one without hands in it because everyone pounced on the truffle fries, a simple and tasty upgrade. (REAL French fries from actual potatoes! And then you get truffle oil, parmesan, and parsley on them… my gahd!) The only think I would do to improve this sandwich is a marinade on the tofu, because let’s face it, tofu has almost zero flavor of its own.

Our non-veggie friends got burgers and were so happy, they were doing the happy belly dance in their seats. Loosey’s is kind of known for their burgers these days. So feel free to drag your carnivore friends to eat here. For the veggie people like us, there’s the egg rolls, a pasta dish, several salads, chips & salsa, onion rings, and a big plate of the cheesy truffle fries. The Man is a pescetarian and has a few more seafood options to go with.

Of course you can see the whole menu is intended to be enjoyed with a beer or three. It’s not the frozen and flat usual pub food, so be prepared for actual flavors. I know, right? But really, beer is good with this stuff, so when you’re done ordering, ask the bartender what would go best with your meal. These folks know beer like you know your pillow. Intimately and passionately.

Our dinner:
Veggie Egg Rolls – $6.50
BBQ Tofu Sandwich – $7.50
+truffle fries upgrade – $1.50
Victory Summer Love Ale
Sasion du Buff 2012

Loosey’s
120 SW 1st Avenue
Gainesville, Fl 32601
352.672.6465

Looseys.com
Menu
On Facebook

[Girl21]

P.S. I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve sat on the patio and heard someone say ‘Market Street Pub’ as they walked by. MSP was an icon for the Downtown area, but it closed. Loosey’s took over the spot and completely cleaned it up. Like refinishing the bar, taking the sticky whatever layer off the floor, and removing the lingering odor of vomit. They redid the tap lines, brought in a happy selection of American craft beers, and offer live music and regular events at night. So… old Market Street Pub is gone. Shiny happy new Loosey’s is here. And bring your dog. The dog-friendly patio is just something you can expect from people who named their bar after their dog 🙂

Snakebite

Snakebite, Loosey's Pub

Brass monkey! That funky monkey!

If you remember when that song came out, you’re my kind of people. (Beastie Boys, License to Ill, 1986.) I only bring that up because I was looking up the history of one of my favorite drinks, and this fun little fact was flung at me like an unwelcomed booger.

A Brass Monkey is a shandy, which is a drink that mixes beer with some kind of soda or juice, depending on where you are and where your bartender is from. A Brass Monkey is a mix of orange juice and beer. And the version the Beastie Boys were familiar with was where a hard-partying rock and roll youth would drink off the first 1/4 of a 40 of malt liquor or beer, and top off the can or bottle with OJ.

No, that’s not my favorite drink at all. I feel like I just threw up thinking about that. I like a Snakebite, which is a specific type of shandy. It’s a combination of half beer and half cider. Many bartenders will just mix the two willy nilly and hand it over like a dead rat in a glass. But the classy folks will pour the cider first, then float the beer on top. I generally see this done well with a nice dry cider like Strongbow paired with a dark beer like Guinness for the maximum effect and flavor.

At Loosey’s (pictured), you get Donnybrook instead of Guinness, which goes much nicer with the cider because it lacks that slightly burnt after flavor. But I may have to try the version a friend was drooling over which was raspberry cider with Choklat Stout by Southern Tier. Probably best for dessert.

But watch out. Lore states that Snakebites get you drunk faster than the individual drinks that make them. I haven’t seen any supporting evidence, but there’s a long argument at several sites about this. I can only guess the reason for the myth is that originally a Snakebite had a shot of vodka in it in some regions. Which of course would sneak up on you and bite you in the ass.

[Girl21]

Donnybrook & The Beer Monogamy Myth

Victory, Donnybrook Stout

Before I bring down the wrath of thousands of Guinness lovers upon my head for what I’m about to say, I will preface this with the emphasis that there’s nothing like a Guinness beer. But…. No, wait! Just listen for a minute while you sip your beer.

If you’ve not had a lot of Guinness, and not developed a deep, abiding love for the beer, then this whole post might be lost on you. Guinness appears dark and brooding, as beer goes. It has a head on it that looks like you have to chop a hole in it with an ice fishing saw. Yet it is creamy. Almost milky. And underneath that is the bright, soulful, yeasty, hoppy stout beer. There are a good many people that are devout Guinness drinkers.

The Man is a diehard Guinness lover, through and through. The glassware in our home is a seemingly endless supply of Guinness pint glasses. (Not my ideal stylish home entertaining statement to make. Dorothy Draper would have to go lie down if she saw this.) He will give any sketchy, sh!thole bar a chance if they claim to offer Guinness on draft.

So you can imagine the evening we were at our home-away-from-home bar for a relaxing drink on the patio, and we were casually told of plans to switch the place over to carrying only American craft beers. It took a moment for The Man to realize this meant Guinness was included in that sweeping gesture, as it’s from Ireland. There was a brief twitch of his bottom lip and a wild look of panic in his eye as he imagined having to go elsewhere for his favorite draft beer.

But lo, the angels played their harps and flower petals fell from the sky. Hope was offered in the form of a new beer that was similar to Guinness yet made in the U S of A. Victory Brewing Co. is gaining support for its Donnybrook Stout as a beer similar to, or even better than (gasp!), Guinness. The Man clung to this mad hope like Bob Barker clung to his career as host of The Price is Right.

It took some doing, a few false starts, but eventually the Donnybrook arrived on site and was ready to pour. It wasn’t quite as tarry brown as Guinness but it had a lovely creamy head on it. The Man had a ceremonious sniff, then a sip. He made me sip it, and then nearby friends had to try it. There was shrugging of shoulders and shaking of heads. More tasting. More grunting among the men at the bar. Then with very little fanfare and a remarkable lack of earth shattering chaos, Donnybrook was declared a perfectly good swap for Guinness. I was expecting a hoard of irate Irishmen frothing at the mouth and brandishing shillelaghs to appear through a crack in the floorboards.

It was actually a few weeks later that the true impact of this arrival was revealed. After quite a few delicious Donnybrooks, a Guinness connoisseur can have a Guinness and realize what the Donnybrook is missing. Guinness has always had this lactic mouth feel and a tangy aftertaste as an entertaining contrast. So does the Donnybrook. But the Donny lacks Guiness’ burnt caramel undertones that actually muddle the flavors quite a bit. So with the Donny you can taste the hops, yeast, roasted barley, and the full clean cresting flavor curve better.

That’s not to knock Guinness. It’s still a tasty beer that is much lighter and flavorful than the dark color would suggest. In fact, there’s the rumor of the bloke that tried the Guinness diet–only Guinness beer, a little milk for calcium, and a vitamin C supplement for a week, and you’ll be fine. As far as we’re concerned, it remains a rumor since the guy’s blog has disappeared (aliens?!). But that won’t stop college guys across the country from trying their own Guinness diets, I’m sure.

If you like Guinness and want to send us all kinds of hate mail for suggesting Donnybrook is at least as good as your favorite, I invite you to have a Donny first. We don’t believe in this one-or-the-other TV show contest thinking. We’ll have a Donny and a Guinness at the same time if it is an option. There’s no such thing as beer-monogamy. I checked.

Have a Guinness to calm your nerves if you have to, and then try a Donnybrook Stout. If you still need to rail at us for having an opinion, sit on your shillelagh.

Victory Brewing Co.
Donnybrook Stout
Victorybeer.com
420 Acorn Lane
Downingtown, PA 19335
[Brewery & Restaurant!]

• On tap at Loosey’s
Downtown Gainesville

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Diageo
Guinness Stout
[Dublin location offers museum and bar!]

• Found on tap at a variety of local establishments such as The Top, Durty Nelly’s, and Gator City.

[Girl21]