Bricktowne’s back with new menu, deals
Since reopening in October, Bricktowne Brewing Company has steadily courted customers back to its downtown Medford location with new dishes, special deals and live entertainment.
The business founded more than a decade ago by Craig McPheeters has new owners and a renewed outlook since pandemic woes precipitated its closure for several months last year. Rolling out a new menu this spring, Bricktowne entices diners with a different promotion for nearly every day of the week.
Mondays boast all-day “happy hour,” Tuesdays discount pasta bowls and Wednesdays cut pizza prices. Thursdays combine comedy, trivia and $5 kids meals while Sundays are for soup and salad specials. Saturdays even bring live music to the corner of Central Avenue and Eighth Street.
A sandwich board on the street corner caught my eye enough times that I decided to invite a couple of co-workers for lunch at Bricktowne. The spot is both an easy walk from downtown offices and entertainment venues, conveniently across the street from the Craterian. Adding to the critical mass of breweries and taverns within several blocks, Bricktowne’s an obvious choice for a Medford pub crawl.
That plan would have to wait for a weekend. For our weekday visit, my friends and I requested one of the umbrella-topped tables situated along Bricktowne’s Central Avenue frontage. The single server was busy with several other tables inside but thoughtfully brought us a pitcher of water for the warm day.
My friends each ordered an ice tea and a soda while I requested a half pint of Bricktowne’s Workin’ Gal Brown. About 10 house-brewed beers, from Blue Collar Blonde Ale to Whiskey Canyon Porter, are available for $7 per pint.
Guest taps host Applegate’s Apple Outlaw cider and brews from Portland’s Breakside and Ecliptic. Keg wines include sauvignon blanc, cabernet and pinot noir. There are even three selections from Medford’s Steamworks Meadery that I vowed to try next time. A cocktail menu details 20 specialty drinks from $8 to $13.
For evening pub crawls, snacks and shareable appetizers are my preferred pairings with beer. But I could hardly conscience chicken wings, pulled pork nachos or cheesy bacon tots to suit just myself.
And we needed a much larger group for Bricktowne’s “party pretzel,” tipping the scales at one and a half pounds for $25. So my friends and I compromised on an order of pretzel “bites” ($8) with housemade cheese sauce.
From the sandwich menu, I was surprisingly drawn to the “dirty bird” ($16), comprising a crisp-fried chicken breast, bacon, Swiss, garlic aioli and housemade honey-mustard sauce. Bacon also constituted part of my friend’s burger — just not for her consumption. Requesting Bricktowne’s housemade vegetarian patty on her “volcano burger” ($16), Julia specified bacon on the side to take home for her dog. Restaurants never charge less than a burger’s base price to omit the bacon, she explained.
Our burgers included a choice of side dishes, among which sweet potato fries most appealed over pub fries and tots. Nick selected the side house salad to accompany his barbecue pulled pork sandwich ($13). Upgrading to Caesar salad costs an additional $2.
We hoped the pretzel bites, listed under the menu’s appetizer heading, indeed would come out first. I craved a nibble while sipping my brown ale. But the fried orbs of dough arrived on the heels of our main dishes, ferried from the kitchen by a staffer other than our server.
While the party pretzel suggested house-made origins, the pretzel “bites” were dead-ringers for packaged pretzel bites that have become fairly widespread at grocers and Costco. Beer-laced cheese sauce, with its purposeful flavor and pleasant texture, enlivened an appetizer that needed pairing with at least another pint of beer to earn my affection.
The house-made, battered sweet potato fries went better with the cheese sauce on my palate, although I also enjoyed the accompanying ranch dressing and fry sauce. Not too heavily sauced, my chicken sandwich held up under the weight of a thicker piece of chicken than I needed and well-done bacon. My sandwich’s richness almost made we wish I’d ordered the “volcano burger” for its grilled pineapple, jalapeno, pepper jack cheese and pineapple-habanero sauce.
The burger pleased Julia, who also praised the meatless patty — better than many others she’d tried. Along with the salad of chopped Romaine, tomatoes and red onions, coleslaw and pickled onions freshened up Nick’s pulled pork sandwich.
Salad lovers also can choose from antipasti salad ($12) — chock full of salami, pepperoni, black olives, red onion and pepperoncini — and Buffalo chicken salad ($13), its key ingredients echoed in the crispy Buffalo chicken sandwich ($16), which I would have ordered if the kitchen hadn’t run out of Gorgonzola crumbles.
Yet another iteration of Buffalo chicken headlines Bricktowne’s section of pasta bowls, numbering five and incorporating flavors from Cajun to Mediterranean for $13 to $18. Five pizza recipes complement a build-your-own option from $18 to $20.
Located at 44 S. Central Ave., Bricktowne Brewing Company is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 541-973-2377, see bricktownebrewing.com and check facebook.com/solocalbrews for updates.
Reach features editor Sarah Lemon at 541-776-4494 or email@example.com