So as promised from our last post, this week we rolled out a new adventure for the WTGW crew: Flashback Fridays. Basically, after 4.5 months of this crazy little experiment and no end to the list of new places we have yet to try, we realized that we kind of wanted to revisit some of the places that we discovered to be really good. Because really, finding these great places and never going back is like buying a Porsche and only walking into the garage to occasionally stare at it. So once a month we’ll take a poll, draw a name or spin a wheel (hey, we have to have a little fun with it, right?) and pick a place to make our triumphant return … and only hope that it wasn’t alcohol clouding our impression the first time around.
I have to say our second visit to the Hoppin Frog brewery in Akron once again did not disappoint. Although, note to self, I really need to start composing these posts the day after we visit places that serve beers in excess of 8% alcohol, because a lot of the details of our evening there are getting a little fuzzy in my mind. And we did this on a Wednesday the first time around? I’m not sure how we all made it to work the next day.
This place is still one of those little gems that you kind of feel like you need a secret password to enter. The first time Shane and I tried to find the place (over the summer), we must’ve driven past the access road about five times while swearing at Google Maps that it where it wanted us to turn didn’t actually exist. And the building itself was probably a self-storage unit or one of those weird suburban office complexes housing companies that need easy access to dock doors. Not exactly where you’d imagine stumbling upon a place that serves high caliber beer and a small but intriguing menu.
It’s definitely not a huge space – in fact, truth be told, we weren’t sure we would even get a table on a Friday night, since we remembered it being relatively busy on the Wednesday trip we’d made back in August. But as it happened we were able to score four seats at the bar, and were only there long enough to order and take a few sips out of our first 8oz glasses of beer (which, side note – are deceptively small looking) before we moved over to our actual table. And I never noticed a huge backup at the door, despite the place staying busy the entire time we were there. Which was, of course, until closing … because that’s how we roll on Friday nights! And, well, closing was only 11PM.
The menu had changed since the last time we were there, but still included a variety of sandwiches and small plates, as well as the side dish “quinoa salad” – which I’m still not exactly sure what that is, despite someone in our group ordering it both times we’ve been there. I think we made the waiter pronounce “quinoa” about 17 times, and yet I don’t think I could do it correctly now. And we made Ted be the guinea pig and actually order it. He ate all of it and is still alive, so I guess that says something.
But enough about that – let’s move on to the best thing ever that we discovered on this trip to Hoppin Frog …
What in the holy hell.
I’m not sure who came up with this idea, but they’re a friggin genius. And I want them to guest bartend at our tailgates. Seriously – 8 oz of beer and 2 scoops of ice cream, all blended together into a glass of deliciousness. Yes, please.
Apparently these change by season, so of course we tried both the chocolate version (made with D.O.R.I.S. beer and chocolate ice cream) and the Christmas Ale version (made with Christmas Ale and pecan ice cream). The latter was the clear winner, as evidenced by this picture.
And probably also the reason this post has been a little difficult to compose, because I kind of forget what happened after we started drinking these. But I do remember we had a great time, and all agreed that we would go back. On a weekend. With a driver/car service.
Drink Menu: Excellent. Just be forewarned they only serve their own craft beers, so if you’re totally devoted to Miller Lite this may not be the place for you.
Food options: The menu is small but mighty. Stick to the sandwiches and you won’t be disappointed. And make someone order the quinoa salad … just because.
Service: Nice, knowledgeable and plenty of servers on hand for the crowd.
Overall: Two thumbs up. Definitely a keeper.