Tag Archives: COLUMBIA MD


   American Push Brewing Company at Frisco Taphouse


In the light industrial section of Columbia (blocks from Pub Dog Pizza & Drafthouse and ten miles south of Baltimore), FRISCO TAP & BREWHOUSE rules the roost with its awesome fifty rotating taps, four on-site homemade beers by PUSH AMERICAN BREWING and amazing pub fare. 

A pristine sportsbar atmosphere, conducive to a cocktail lounge, makes Frisco a fine choice for any high-minded beer-drinkin’ jock. At the prominent U-shaped oak bar (where eight TV’s and a blackboard beer list are located) my wife and I grab stools for a lunchtime visit, April ’13.

Along the tan and maroon walls of the high ceiling interior are several canvassed banners representing top-notch craft brewers such as Stone, Troegs, Lagunitas and Southern Tier. Local offerings by Dogfish Head, DuClaw, Evolution, Flying Dog, Old Dominion and Union Craft crowd the current tapped selection while many more fine chocies are available on both tap and in refrigerated bottles.

Before getting to the appealing house beers, we’re struck by the solid food menu. Manhattan Clam Chowder, goat-cheesed Arugula Salad and olive-oiled Hummus (with pine nuts and parsley) are outstanding. Pizza, sandwiches, burritos, fajitas and meat-fish entrees all look appetizing.

As for Push American Brewing, although their beers get hidden beside the fertile selection of local, national and international fare, each one deserves a chance. Weirdly beige-hazed Push 72 & Sunny Spring Wheat brought dry champagne grapes, lemon-candied spritz and clove-coriander spicing to a lime-salted white wheat finish (recalling a German Berliner Weiss).

Sessionable Push Gate Drop Pale Ale layered citric rind bittering atop herbal perfumed hops. A bit bitterer,  Push Hebrew Knievel Red I2PA brightened its red and pink grapefruit juicing with spiced peach-pear-apple illusions.

Before completing my meal, I get a pint of Push/ Heavy Seas collaboration, Thick As Thieves Porter. Its roasted dark chocolate entry and soy-milked coffee bittering allowed ancillary cola nut, toffee, molasses, vanilla, blackberry and cookie dough illusions to prosper.       



Pub Dog Pizza & Drafthouse - Columbia | Columbia, Maryland  Order Online! Pub Dog Pizza & Drafthouse - Columbia | Paytronix


Since the original PUB DOG PIZZA & DRAFTHOUSE in Baltimore’s historic Federal Hill section didn’t open ‘til 5 PM as of this March 2012 sojourn through Maryland-Virginia, my wife and I headed a few miles southwest to the industrial-bound Columbia-based franchise an hour earlier on the Sunday trip back to Jersey.

Situated at the right corner of the white-topped, red brick-bottomed Lakeside Retail Mall in quaint suburbia, Pub Dog may be considered a pizza joint by foremost designation, but one step inside proves it more closely resembles a commodious public house. Hundreds of Grand Marnier bottles decorate the walls alongside maps and charts of dogs, verifying the assumption.

Opened in September ’07, six years after the initial Baltimore location began operations (but didn’t sell ‘house’ beers until ’07), Pub Dog’s clean black interior leads directly to the right side sportsbar, where three TV’s show different basketball games and a shuffleboard table keeps kids entertained. A small outside deck allows dogs to roam while their owners ironically quaff a few canine-designated ales.

Sitting at one of the twelve booths in the elevated left side dining area watching hockey and downing suds, I chomped on the Big Dog Salad, a red-peppered romaine lettuce with grilled chicken, smoked gouda and gorgonzola vinaigrette. My wife enjoyed Mr. Green Jean’s Pizza (with olive-oiled mozzerella, feta, spinach, tomato, mushroom and basil) while downing Peach Dog, a tart peach ale with washed-out stone fruiting, astringent hop bittering and tannic grape souring.

I countered with Blueberry Dog, an easygoing lacquered blueberry tonic with subsidiary cranberry, mulberry and quince hints over white wheat. More interesting was Belgian Blue Corn, a one-off hybrid tripel gathering lemony banana-clove tartness above sweet corn malts.

Before escaping, velvety Irish Stout, Black Dog, hit the spot (along with a courtesy shot of Grand Marnier). The soft-toned dark ale brought mellow coffee-roasted bittering to espresso-milked dark chocolate and toasted walnut.

Reviews of the bottled versions of Raspberry Dog, Brown Dog and Hoppy Dog are listed in the Beer Index.





Rocky Run Tap & Grill | Flickr

In a freestanding tan building with red-green trim inside Dobbin Square Mall five miles south of Ellicott City, Columbia’s ROCKY RUN TAP & GRILL had outside deck, rear dining, and glass door-separated sportsbar (with multiple NFL games on several TV’s, wall-strewn brewer’s posters-insignias, and extremely cool tap handles).

Visited November ’06, left side glass-encased brew tanks served menial fare to go with pub grub. Pale malt-softened cereal-oats-deferred mild-hopped Bar Wench Brew Golden Ale, tartly acidic citric-candied sorghum-neutered Maple Leaf Lemon Wheat, diacetyl cornmeal-biscuit-y Big Gut Pale Ale, and oily prune-fig-grape-fronted ice coffee-barren Brewhouse Barrel Stout were run of the mill. Try instead, honeyed caramel malt-y tranquility Mountie Red.