Monday, November 23, 2009

STONE RUINATION @ FRITZ


A trip to Bremerton, Washington never feels complete to me anymore unless I am able to stop by Fritz European Fry House for some Belgian fries and an ale to accompany them. Recently, I did just that.

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Fritz is a wonderful hole-in-the-wall restaurant that is reminiscent of Belgian fry houses (or so I am told). Indoor seating is on bar stools at a counter that wraps around half of the space. The counter has holes to hold your cone of fries and provides more than adequate space for a basket and a pint.

Four rotating tap handles allow for a variety of interesting lagers and ales, one of which is usually a Belgian ale of some sort. Bottled beers are also available.

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Stone Ruination IPA, an Imperial IPA by Stone Brewing Company.

Served on tap in a Stella Artois chalice.

This ale arrives a lightly hazy orange-yellow, topped with a thin white head that leave behind bands of intricate lacing.

The nose is exciting, rich and citrusy. There are whiffs of orange, orange peel, apple, and freshly mown summer grass.

The flavor engages the entire mouth. The first salvo is an orange-and-grapefruit bitterness. The second set of flavors are biscuity malts and buttery yeast. A faint pine resin lurks in the background and peeks through as the grapefruit finish lingers and lasts. This is heavenly stuff.

Along with Rogue's Yellow Snow IPA, this has to be one of my favorite Imperial India Pale Ales. Having it on tap makes it that much better.

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The fish and chips at Fritz were a perfect complement to this beer. The battered cod and fresh-cut fries, along with their dipping sauces made the meal spectacular.

The real joy of Fritz for me, other than being able to have some fried food with a great beer, is their dipping sauces. With each basket, you get two sauces. I usually have the child with me, so that means two baskets and four sauces. I always head toward the spicy—Sweet Chili and Spicy Curry Ketchup. The child plays it safer—Tartar Sauce and Honey Mustard. I tend to poach sauces from the child, trying to experience many different flavors (and flavor combinations when the ale is factored in).

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Fritz European Fry House: highly recommended.

Stone Ruination IPA: highly recommended.

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