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Herb Roasted Wood Grilled Chicken Herb Roasted Wood Grilled Chicken

Urban Swank Does...Local Pour

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Tucked away behind Cafe Ginger in the iconic black and white River Oaks shopping center sits Local Pour, a barely one month old bar that prides itself on serving local beers but doesn't stop there -- it goes on to incorporate those local beers into its moderately priced, much-better-than-average bar food menu.

Though it is owned by the same group that owns Sherlock's Baker St. Pub & Grill, and is actually situated in the same spot that was formerly Baker St., you won't find any Britain-inspired decor, loud music, or clouds of smoke in Local Pour. Quite the contrary -- you'll find a sophisticated setting with industrial-chic décor that makes the spot nice enough to fit in with its neighbors yet more approachable than the other kids on the block. This quality, precisely, was the first thing I liked about Local Pour.

My interest and liking increased as I learned about the tap beer handles -- their more than 30 beers on tap -- ranging from pilsners to red ales to lambics to stouts, and everything in between-- are identified not only by their names, written on the chalkboard directly behind the tap handles, but by the tap handles themselves, too. Regular, conventional branded tap handles indicate local beers, as in brewed here in Houston. Plain, short white tap handles signals that the beer it is serving is brewed in the state of Texas. Finally, short red tap handles are for the handful of beers not made in Texas. The 48 taps will be rotating frequently.

A chat with Jamie, the passionate, beer-savvy bar manager, revealed that he and Local Pour are ultra-serious about carrying local beer, and will take pretty much any measures to obtain it. Jamie explained how he has convinced a couple of Austin and Dallas breweries that don't distribute anywhere in their cities to allow Local Pour to serve their beer. The catch? Every time these kegs are needed, someone from Local Pour must drive to Austin or Dallas and back, coming back with keg in tow. What better proof of commendable commitment could you ask for?

Adding to Local Pour's like-able streak is its food menu, which includes many "shareable" dishes (highlights include shrimp and crab nachos, calamari fries, and scotch quail eggs); salads; burgers and sandwiches; entrees (Sirloin Beef Kabobs, Southern Star Beef Short Ribs, Shrimp and Grits, to name a few); and desserts.

I recently had the good fortune of being invited to try four of their generously-portioned edibles, each one paired with a beer. My experience began with the Strawberry Fields salad, composed of leafy baby spinach and spring mix, accompanied by fresh strawberries, yellow bell pepper, and mango, along with toasted almonds and homemade croutons. The salad was delightfully enhanced by Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale honey mustard vinaigrette - a light, house made vinaigrette incorporating beer of the same name. I sipped on the Tank 7 while eating the salad and quite enjoyed the pairing -- the slightly sweet saison had some grapefruit flavors that complemented the dish nicely. It made a nice vinaigrette component, too.

{jb_left45}Every time these kegs are needed, someone from Local Pour must drive to Austin or Dallas and back, coming back with keg in tow.{/jb_left45}

Buckethead I.P.A., hailing from Austin Texas out of Thirsty Planet brewery, paired with the Scotch Quail eggs, made up the second course. The three hard boiled eggs were wrapped in Italian sausage, coated with bread crumbs and fried, then sliced in half and served atop tiny mounds of mashed potatoes. While the twang of the I.P.A. went well with the twang of the Italian Sausage, I found the dish to be a very dry one; The mashed potatoes, which had very little flavor, did not help the case. I feel that some kind of runny sauce would have made the dish more enjoyable.

Following the Scotch Quail Eggs was Local Pour's Herb Roasted Wood Grilled Chicken -- a tender roasted half chicken with strong flavors of fresh herbs and garlic, served with mashed potatoes and tasty Angry Orchard apple cider glazed brussel sprouts speckled with bits of bacon. The glaze on the brussel sprouts was slightly sweet, counter-acting the more bitter flavors of the brussel sprout. Yellow Armadillo, a wheat beer also brewed by Thirsty Planet, was a great accompaniment that was by no means trying to steal the show, but did. It was super light, clean, and creamy, had a light wheat flavor to it. In a nutshell, it was just all too easy to drink. I loved the Yellow Armadillo and the chicken together, as both had a pleasantly mellow flavor to them.

My experience ended on a really, really sweet note -- both figuratively and literally. A gargantuan slice of Lawler's Chocolate Eruption - rich chocolate cake that incorporated chocolate cream, nuts, chocolate chips, turtle cheesecake, and caramel was plate-licking good. 512 Pecan Porter made it even better, as the nutty flavor of the beer brought out the nutty flavors in the beautiful, chunky mess of the sinfully rich and delicious cake.

I love the fact that Local Pour takes the "local" concept to the max -- with the concept being reflected not only inside the glasses, but in the plates, as well. I can't wait to go back to the upscale, local, neighborhood joint to see what good things they are pouring out. It seems like they'll have no problem maintaining a positive flow.

 

- Carla Soriano, Urban Swank

Local Pour
1952 West Gray St
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 521-1881

Local Pour on Urbanspoon

 

Urban Swank did receive a complimentary tasting, but the opinions expressed are our own.

Written by Carla Soriano
Carla Soriano

Carla Soriano

Carla Soriano is a freelance food writer based in The Woodlands, TX. Carla writes for Urban Swank, the Houston Press’ Eating Our Words blog, and has a food blog of her own: www.currentlysavvy.com. When she’s not eating, writing, or drinking beer, she manages marketing communications and events for a local chain of three restaurants. You can find Carla on Twitter @currentlysavvy. Carla is a contributor and member of the street team. She focuses on food and events.


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