QUAD CITY AREA, ILLINOIS / IOWA
Named after native Mississippi River catfish, rustic blue-bricked BLUE CAT BREW PUB (opened in 1993) sits along the casino-laden waterfront of busy Illinois port town, Rock Island. A big corner sign with pub’s insignia leads guzzlers to spacious tavern. Center downstairs bar surrounded by dining area while upstairs bar offered billiards, exposed ductwork, and brew tanks.
Brewer Bernie Moore kept company with my pals, Jeff and Doug, as I swigged six samples during August ’06 Summerfest. Reggae music wafted in the outside air and filled the ‘Cat as locals celebrated heartily and visitors filled the bar area.
Gentle wheat-chaffed fizzy-hopped lemon-wedged pilsner-like Wigged Pig Wheat Ale, lightly creamy red-fruited Off The Rail Pale Ale, and apple-orange-peach-teased Red Toad Amber Ale were soothingly congenial.
Preferable were mild mandarin orange-spiced, blueberry-sweet, coriander-spiced, dewy-smooth Coriander & Orange and sweet tea-like, brown chocolate-y, chicory coffee-backed Big Bad Dog Olde English Ale. Mild hop-roasted, black chocolate-powdered, mocha-clipped, vanilla bean-dipped Arkham Stout proved dramatic. A few dozen untried specialty beers rounded out miscellaneous seasonal offerings.