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Railroadware shares a brew with Jules Verne & Nicola Tesla

Railroadware lights up each table and ceilings at this unusual brew pub. 
Brick Anchor Brew-House Granby Street. Norfolk VA
Designer, Rebecca Larys, IIDA
Read Local Virginia Pilot Article

Steampunk is no doubt the theme for the Brick Anchor Brew-House on Granby Street.

Clock wheels and gears are above the bar. Stuffed animals wear brass caps like something out of Flash Gordon. There’s even supposed to be a picture of a cat wearing a fancy dress and holding a saber.

“There’s a cat photo around here somewhere and I want to see it,” said James Roach, one of my two dinner partners and a huge cat fan.

We never did find the framed picture. That could be because we were too caught up in the rest of the decor and the food.

The restaurant includes two floors and a mezzanine. The second floor has a lounge area with display cases of vintage-looking items, along with leather couches and chairs. The mezzanine has overflow seating with a view of the rest of the restaurant, showing off mesh-covered chandeliers and the bar, which has 60 beers on tap, according to the menu. Up the stairs to the left of the bar entrance is another dining area, closed the night we showed up, overlooking Granby Street.

We made it out on steal-the-pint night. James bought a Legend Brown Ale and was happy to have another glass for his collection. Our waitress offered to wash the glass before he took it home. (If you’re interested, the next steal-pint-night is Oct. 18.)

We noticed an “Edison 3 Course Tasting” on the menu. For $30, you get a starter, main dish and dessert – each paired with a beer. Under the cheese and charcuterie section, we found we could order a platter of all the artisan cheeses and charcuterie for $26. However, we weren’t that hungry.

We ordered the Humboldt Fog Cheese plate with California goat’s milk cheese, apricot sauternes and spiced almonds. The menu offered beer suggestions for each plate. The suggested beer for our particular plate: Saison.

We could have ordered steak medallions, short ribs or a crispy chicken pillared — all priced between $16 and $20, but James settled on the Big Texas burger with grass-fed beef, house bacon, short ribs and Wisconsin cheddar served on a bun.

The Big Texas came in two sizes. James ordered the larger of the two, the 10-ounce for $13. Both are served with hand-cut fries seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper. James had a hard time chomping into the thick pieces of bacon, but he had no complaints about the flavor of the bacon or the entire burger. As big as it was, he devoured it. The suggested beer: amber ale.

I asked for the asparagus and four mushroom risotto, a $14 vegetarian plate. It featured villa nano rice, roasted garlic basil, tomatoes, fennel, chervil and manchego cheese. There was plenty of risotto on the plate and I filled up quickly. Suggested beer: Helles.

Mandy Miller, the third person in our party, showed up just in time for dessert. She ordered the chocolate stout mousse cake, $7. She said it was good, not too rich, and claimed she could order more, but wouldn’t. (Diets always ruin the fun.) Suggested beer: English strong ale.

Next time we go we’re inviting more friends to indulge in the full cheese and charcuterie platter — and lots of beer.