Sunday, August 23, 2015

51 North, August 22, 2015

Since summer is waning and our time to eat outdoors is growing short, I decided to treat my sweetie to dinner alfresco. So, when she got home from work yesterday, I asked which patio she would enjoy---or whether she'd like me to make dinner to eat on our own patio. She immediately suggested 51 North, a brewery in Lake Orion that has a lovely patio, complete with planting boxes filled with herbs and a couple of hops-covered pergolas. We've not eaten there yet this summer and it's always wonderful to sit there.

I honestly am not a huge fan of most of the food there, although the salads always look good. It's not that the food is bad. It's just not amazing and there aren't many category options---mostly burgers and pita pizzas. We do love the steak bites, served with little toasts and blue cheese dressing, and the potstickers are good, as well, although we usually ask for soy sauce instead of either of the sauces that come with them. Neither of us is a big fan of ginger in savory dishes, so the pineapple ginger sauce isn't our thing, although I suspect a lot of people really love it. The Asian sauce is fiery and, again, not for us, but probably terrific if you like hot.

The beers here are quite creative and they offer generous flights. I can't recall all the beers Jeannene had in her flight last night, but I know one was peppery and hot, another was coffee-based, one was quite smoky, and another was very tangerine-y. The servers are incredibly knowledgable about the different beers and it's fun to talk with them about brewing techniques, different experiments they're doing with flavors, and so forth.

If you just want drinks and appetizers in a great atmosphere, this is a stellar place in the summer. It's in a former filling station and feels cold, cramped, and loud in the winter, so we tend only to go in summer. There is live music sometimes, as well, and when you're on the patio, the garage doors are open and you can hear the music, too. Last night's band was quite good, mellow and warm.

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