Although the menu gives no indication, BC’s happy hour runs every day from 3 to 6 p.m. and includes $2 off cocktails and wine, $1 off all beers and five "Start Here" menu items. The kitchen also offers a rad 12-ounce beer-and-burger deal for ten bucks.
My partner and I elected to order everything on the happy hour menu except the chips + dip, leaving us with rosemary fries ($6), Buffalo cauliflower ($10), crispy Brussels sprouts ($8) and the double cheeseburger.
Our extroverted server happily allowed us to taste several beers before we made a decision. My companion puckered as he swallowed a barrel-aged beer — a stout that we thought, after nine months in whiskey barrels, would have been less sour and more round. Did the brewery's various other sour beers infect this batch, we wondered? Ultimately, he settled on Forty Pound, a relatively light-tasting 7 percent American IPA. I opted for a dark beer called Bramble, a 9 percent blackberry stout with a rich hue and a balanced fruit-to-malt palate. However, I was devastated that Briar Common decided for some reason (possibly fear of alienating customers) to describe its Sour Seoul beer as a “sour chile” ale rather than the “sour kimchi” ale I later noticed on the brewpub's website. The change in a single word made me skim right past it, but I'll have to go back and try it now that I know.
The Buffalo cauliflower arrived battered and bright on a long plate. These were par-cooked but firm and with only a thin, crisp shell barely clinging to the cauliflower’s ample crevices. Aside from that, the flavor was equivalent to all Buffalo-sauced appetizers: tangy and weird, yet completely normal for lovers of all things Buffaloed. After a few toothsome cauliflower pieces, I was ready to move on. Just in time, the crispy Brussels sprouts and burger arrived, filling up our small table. The sprouts appeared perfectly cooked, with paper-thin outer leaves like crunchy petals buried beneath a hefty garnish of diced scallions. We dove in, and as the pile disappeared, the veggies became glossier and glossier, until the black sesame and white soy vinaigrette fully saturated the last few at the bottom of the bowl.
After the sprouts, we turned our attention toward the burger: two greasy patties on a generic bun, with (what looked like) housemade pickles, red onions and deliciously droopy yellow cheese beckoning us forth. After one bite, it was immediately clear that this was the true happy hour score. I sank my teeth in, but soon realized I was full and would be taking the rest home. Briar Common’s ample portions are impressive, but when it comes to price versus flavor, this gastro-brewery might be better suited for dinner; I'm already craving a taste of fried chicken and other colorful full dinner options — as well as that kimchi beer.
Briar Common Brewery + Eatery is located at 2298 Clay Street. Call 720-512-3894 or visit briarcommon.com for more details.