From Peanuts to Edamame – Shogun Japanese Steakhouse

Susan says…shogun-beer

The vacant Lonestar building in Barboursville beside the Cracker Barrel on Route 60 is vacant no more.  All the peanut shells are gone and have been replaced with a shiny coat of polish over the hard wood floors.  Other changes were made to the interior decor to turn a Texas steakhouse into the Japanese version.  The restaurant is filled with hibachi grills surrounded by chairs in the main dining room and an adjacent room.  The main dining room also boasts a small sushi bar and a larger drink bar.  Tables are positioned around both bars.  One of the tables near the sushi bar was our home base to experience Shogun on just their second evening of dinner service.

Lucky for us, our server appeared to be an owner.  A pretty Chinese woman, she owns other restaurants and property throughout West Virginia.  Ironic that she owns a couple Japanese steakhouses – this one and a Shogun in Clarksburg.  She provided great service while remaining personable and friendly.  I noticed a much higher percentage of caucasian waitstaff than I expected.  Not that it really matters, it’s just unusual based on my experience.  At an ethnic restaurant, if the employees aren’t of that culture, do you feel your food may not be authentic?  Is it really authentic anyway? 

The menu consists of Hibachi meals, sushi, a few soups, and a few starters.  I was greatly disappointed that I was not permitted to order a Bento box for dinner – lunch only.  Another item off-limits at the dinner hour: noodle bowls.  I hope management will reconsider that decision.  The Bento box is like a sampler plate and if you don’t want to sit at the Hibachi grill with a bunch of strangers and have food hurled at you, it is a great option for a hot meal.  I chose to sit in the bar area because I do not find the idea of catching flying shrimp in my mouth appealing whatsoever.  It’s sort of like Disney for me – one time and I never need to go back again.

Ron and I took the order & share approach.  We started with a couple beers.  Beer lovin’ readers will be glad to know Ron did NOT get Bud Light!  He chose Tsingtao, the best-selling Chinese beer.  I decided to utilize the “When in Rome” approach.  In this case it was “When in Japan”…so I enjoyed a Sapporo.  Each beer was $3.25.  The tall silver Sapporo can is more, of course.

The food we ordered began coming out in a steady flow, one after another.  The timing was great.  First, we received the salad and soup that comes with the hibachi meal.  Even though we weren’t seated at a grill, we were still able to order a hibachi meal.  I liked that.  We had a choice of house dressing or ginger dressing.  I should have asked what house dressing was because I thought it would be the ginger.  The salad was small.  It consisted of iceberg lettuce, 2 half moons of cucumber, a few carrot threads (fancy-looking thin strands of carrot – I want to know what tool I need to make them at home), and watery ginger dressing.  The dressing had a good flavor, but the texture was just too watery.  The cup of soup had a nice flavor with a floating mushroom slice and a few bits of scallion as the only decoration to the broth.

Folks, don’t make the same mistake I did at another hibachi place, Taste of Asia II.  Ron and I ordered a hibachi for two meal and Hannah was going to just eat off our plates since she doesn’t really care for that type of food.  I misunderstood the server when she asked for Hannah’s order and I said we were sharing.  She thought that meant we wanted the salad-soup-rice for Hannah which cost me about six bucks.  The itsy bitsy teeney weeney salad and soup along with a bowl of rice is not worth an extra $6.  Especially if you are sharing with a young ‘un.  Same deal here: $5.95 to get an extra salad-soup-rice.  I wouldn’t do it if I were you.


Back to the meal at hand.  After the soup and salad, the spicy tuna roll ($4.95) was delivered.  My first impression of the sushi: a little messy.  By that, I don’t mean ingredients were strewn all over the plate.  As you can see from the photo, they look fine.  I mean the roll wasn’t as tight, presentation not as clean, attention to detail not at the same level of sushi I’ve received at other restaurants.  The taste was fine, but I did not get “spicy” from it at all.  The plate was garnished with strands of white carrot.  We were not given any chopsticks so I used my fingers, which is a perfectly acceptable method of eating sushi.

As we popped the last piece of sushi into our mouths, the tempura arrived.  The plate displayed three shrimp, 2 large carrot slices and a broccoli floret.  The tempura was coated in batter and panko before frying which resulted in a very crispy product.  I greatly enjoyed the tempura and the price of only $5.95 made me like it even more.

The entree was presented on a large ceramic plate with a bowl of rice sitting on the plate.  Ron ordered Hibachi chicken and squid.  Upon review of the plate, Ron and I didn’t see any squid. I did, however, spot a shrimp which I quickly gobbled up before Ron noticed and tried to claim it.  Turns out there was a second one which he did see.  I was looking for rings of squid. That was my error.  When Ron questioned our server, she pointed out the pieces that looked like onions.  Oh….yeah….there’s the squid!  Ok, so we looked like a couple of hilljack idiots, but our server made a joke with us and we felt better.  Besides, Ron is used to it.


The meal had the expected teriyaki type flavor.  Problem was: it was cold.  We could have sent it back, but chose not to.  It was pretty late in the evening and I wanted to get back home and crawl under a pile of blankets.  The rice, which was actually hot, was spiced with black pepper.  A surprise to me, I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not.  Upon further reflection, I am going to say “not”.  Veggies included zucchini, carrot, mushroom and onion.  The chicken was tender.  For $17.55, I thought it was a bit overpriced, but the clanking knives and hurling shrimp are a show you pay for in the price of the meal whether you enjoy it or not.

Overall, the food tasted good, prices were reasonable and our service prompt and friendly.  You would have never known it was only their second night.  Unfortunately on one of the coldest nights of the year, their heater was on the fritz so I ate my meal while wearing my coat.  I drew the line with my gloves and powered through with bare hands.  If you are in the area and feel like some Japanese fare, consider this THREE FORK newcomer.


Ron says…

THREE FORKS ….. BUT…………………………..



 is that enough periods for you?  …. there’s a few more for *hits and giggles

I say “But” because there’s always a “But”, and I’m starting to think that every patron that frequents a Japanese Steakhouse is the “Butt” of all Japanese jokes.

First let me explain my “Three Fork” rating, not that I need to but because I want to.  After all it’s a NEW AMERICA, and I’m trying to “CHANGE”.   Just kidding, I’m not.  But, I give Shogun Three Forks because it was just their second day of being open.  I thought the place was clean.  I thought my food was average (for a Japanese Steakhouse), and the service was so so.  The damn heater didn’t work, so we both had to wear our North Face and Carhartt gear to have a comfortable meal.

But all in all it was average so I give it Three Forks, and it gets it because Shogun is new.  If this was any other establishment, heck from now on this is where the bar is set for all Japanese Steakhouses, but from now on…. this is a TWO or a ONE.

I say this is the new benchmark, well the bar is set very low or high depending on your sport ( limbo or hi-Jump respectively). 

We did not sit at the Hibachi grill, however we were able to order off the Hibachi menu.  But I want to know where does one learn the skills to chop meat like these places do?  Where does one learn to catch an egg in their chef’s hat?  I know how to cause a flame up with water and grease, that’s no problem. I routinely do that on the grill here at the house all the time, but that is like the encore that no one chants for more. But where do these guys learn the routine?  It’s the same routine I watched when I was a kid.  It’s like going to the circus and seeing the same damn tricks performed on the same old elephant.  I want the Cirque Du Soleil of Hibachi the next place I eat.  I want the egg to be flaming when it is caught in the hat, and then I want that to flame up, too.  Where is that Hibachi restaurant, as it sure as hell isn’t in WV.

Seriously, I doubt the meat is Grade A Kobe Beef, or else it wouldn’t be as cheap as it is, besides if it was who the hell would fry it?  Come on that’s what you’re getting, fried steak, squeeze it in a waffle iron and slap it on there and it’s called Country Fried Steak, add some gravy and you have Salisbury Steak.  It’s all cheap and easy… but I’m supposed to believe that this is quality? I know it’s not, you know it’s not.    But Why?

So our meal starts out with Soup and Salad.

Salad – two pieces of lettuce, chopped and tore into ten pieces.  The carrots that Susan so needs a tool for were shredded carrots about five, not five shredded carrots but five pieces of shredded carrots – the actual “shred”.  These “shreds” were then cut in half and then cut in half again.   Supposedly I had cucumbers, but I swear I held mine up to the light and I could see through it.  Makes me wonder if it was even there. The dressing tasted like thousand island.   I’m not picking on Shogun, because all of these places are like this.

Soup – Is chicken broth considered a Soup?  I didn’t think so.  What about if I add a slice of mushroom, keep in mind just one slice, is it soup then?  What about if I add a few chops – few being three chops – of green onion, thus bringing my total to Chicken Broth + One Slice of Mushroom + 3 chops of green onion.  Does that equal soup?  All you supposed Chefs out there, when does soup become soup?  Well my equation equals soup at Shogun, plus most other Japanese Steakhouses.  As far as I’m concerned, by their example I have soup every morning when a grain of coffee makes its way into my morning cup.  Mocha Soup,  Java Jambalaya…..BULLSHIT.  It’s called “jacking me up”.

Sushi was about the best thing on our menu that I had.   Susan’s Tempoora (intentional spelling) was pretty good batter wise.

My entree – Chicken and Squid and chopped veggies.  It was filling- that’s about it.   The innertube tasting thing was the squid.  It had no taste whatsoever.  NONE.  Like chewing on Wrigley’s after the flavor was gone.  I even mentioned that to our little Geisha Girl, as I had to ask her what was what.   The chicken was ok.  Nothing spectacular.  The worst part was that my food was cold, or cool.  The rice was hot, so I covered everything up with it for a little thermo reaction.   Me and Susan suspect this temperature unevenness was caused because at Hibachi you do not get your food all at once, and because we ordered off the Hibachi menu, it all sat back there waiting to be cooked.

Everything was priced good and to be honest it was what I expected.  All my complaining is caused by my own questioning of my being and / or sanity.  What is it humanity sees in these places?  I don’t know either.

These places stink, and I recommend that if you don’t go with a group of drunks or a bunch of kids that like to have food thrown at them and participate in the circus acts, well then don’t waste your time. 

I want to add one more thing, so you can get back to work.  Taste Of Asia’s new Hibachi place has much the same issues.  The difference is the level of professionalism,  I actually feel that the ingredients may be a little better, and that they do an overall job of trying to sell what they have instead of simply going through the motions that most of these Hibachis do.

Three Forks for now… read the review I think you can guess how I really feel.

Shogun Japanese Steakhouse
3420 US Route 60 E
Barboursville, WV  25504
Shogun Japanese Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

48 responses to “From Peanuts to Edamame – Shogun Japanese Steakhouse

  1. white carrot looks like daikon radish.
    chicken dish looks like something from a chinese buffet.
    Squid would tend to be tasteless and rubbery to an unsophistocated palate, or it was tasteless and rubbery. Sometimes after being frozen and stored a long time it gets that way.
    Yes, the sushi roll looks sloppy, but that isn’t uncommon in restaurants where sushi is a side item. I’d have asked for chop sticks.
    “our little geisha girl?!” What the hell, this is a WV based blog, might as well throw in a little racist stereotyping here and there.
    But it certainly would make one question another’s credentials for reviewing a Japanese restaurant.

  2. demosthenes.or.locke

    I would guess that the squid was tasteless and rubbery, since it was probably frozen then overcooked since it takes far less time to cook squid than it does chicken. You can occasionally get decent squid dishes at ichiban and if you catch them on the right night, they cook it properly.

    This sounds like a very typical hibachi place. The tempura looks good. I will resist the urge to rip on Ron for his cirque du sogay reference since it looks like Sag is going to rip him for the Geisha comment. Piling on is no fair. How was the tsingtao? I have never had one.

    If you are in Morgantown, get the bento box at Yama’s downtown. Best authentic Japanese food in WV.

  3. I would like to respond to Mr. Hillbilly’s comments.

    1) I thought it was daikon as well, but didn’t taste like it so I asked our server who told me it was white carrot.

    2) The chicken dish was indeed unimaginative, but that has been my experience with Hibachis in WV.

    3) We were definitely dealing with unspohisticated palates, neither of us has any history with squid beyond fried calamari. I didn’t think it was terribly rubbery and the only discernable taste from it was the teriyaki sauce they squirted on it during its time on the grill top.

    4) Sushi was a main item at Shogun – they offer many varieties and have a sushi bar. The menu is primarily sushi and hibachi. That’s it. Credentials of the sushi chef(s)? Who knows. I was too hungry to wait for chopsticks. Besides, Trevor Corson, author of “The Story of Sushi”, states that most connoisseurs pick up sushi with their fingers. I am not really a connoisseur, but I knew it was acceptable to do so. I also knew Ron wasn’t supposed to pack the ginger on top of each bite, but he said he likes it that way. Oh well!

    5) I thought about asking Ron to edit the Geisha girl comment, but I had already asked him to change a couple other things and I censored one of his words to read “*hit” so I let it go. And I don’t think that’s the only thing he’s said to make someone question his credentials.

    But that’s what I like so much about Fork You – we don’t pretend to be anything we aren’t. We are just regular people with regular incomes trying to get a few good meals in regular West Virginia.

  4. Demo-

    Maybe Ron will do a Beer of the Week post about Tsingtao on his solo blog at http://bottleofpills/
    He gets to say whatever he wants, cuss like a sailor and be even more offensive on that blog than on Fork You. Also, it has a lot more typos.

    Shogun was typical hibachi fare – I agree with Ron that Taste of Asia is a slight bit better than the others but no hibachi place gets me excited.

    Thanks for the tip about Yama’s in Morgantown. Maybe I can get there during football season next year.

  5. demosthenes.or.locke

    Yama’s is cheap, just off of high street, and very traditional.

    Ignore Sag. Rubbery tasteless squid tastes the same to people who rarely eat it as it does someone who eats it frequently. The “sophisticated palate” is a piece of elitist fiction.

  6. Tsingtao – or as my friend Jon calls it, “The Party Chairman of Beers” – is a step down from Bud Light. Seriously. Generic adjunct (rice, mostly) macro lager that has the added burdens of 1) green bottles that allow light to destroy what little hop presence the beer has and 2) being shipped from the other side of the world, which is great for shipping conglomerates but not that great, environmentally speaking. But if you like it, you like it.

    Sapporo? Same adjunct lager with better packaging. But again, if you liked it, fine.

    Sorry to unload but my inner beer snob is still reeling from this weekend’s experience at a locally owned establishment that served me a Dortmunder Gold that had expired BEFORE LAST YEAR’S PRIMARY ELECTION, 05-10-08 to be exact. And then gave me crap about taking it back. I contend that if the drinking public in WV was more discriminating and conscientious we’d start to get better beer. And The Party Chairman ain’t it.

    Beer snob out.

  7. de.o.l, Elitist? Moi? Heaven forbid. I’m just a poor dumb WV dirt farmer. . . with a very sophisticated palate.
    Elitist. . . why I never. . .

  8. Beer snob-

    I was excited about Ron getting the Tsingtao not because I thought it was a great beer, but because he ALWAYS gets Bud Light. It was a pleasant change to see him hold a different bottle.

    I would have no idea whatsoever about what beers are better than others. I like Michelob Ultra probably because it doesn’t taste much like beer. I think that indicates I plain don’t like beer and I should stick to wine.

    Keep putting your two cents’ worth in! Maybe it will generate more discussion about the subject.

  9. what the hells racist about Giesha girl?????

    I’m guessing your one that prefers the term “reteach” as opposed to “detention”.

    “Everyone Get’s A Trophy” generation.

    jeez o peets.

    and a rubber band tastes like a rubber band no matter what palate you have.

  10. Not to further stir the pot but, it would not be racist to refer to a woman as a “geisha” if she is in fact one. Calling a woman a “geisha girl” only because she is japanese would seem to be racist stereotyping, perhaps lacking malicious intent but still….

    As for the rest of the hillbilly’s posting, it shouldn’t be a shock that someone who uses “sagacious” self-referentially and apparently unironically has self-esteem issues.

  11. Calling your server a “Geisha Girl” is the same as calling her a whore.

    A Geisha is a non-sexual Japanese entertainer. She sings and performs traditional dance.

    I your server was a ho then you were using the correct terminology.

    I will see if Susan can get her Milton boy some culture.

  12. I forgot about the beer –

    Until WV changes its archaic beer laws we will continue to get a limited selection.

    I like beer with flavor. The more hops the better, but I’ll drink a Peroni with my spaghetti and Tsingtao with my chicken and garlic sauce.

    Is it great beer? How many mass marketed beers are truly great. Their flavor profiles are aimed at the center.

    Not every beer can be an Anchor Steam Porter!

  13. LMAO. Really. Pop psychology, clueless racism and all.

    I used to drink beer. I remember having Tsingtao and thinking it had sort of a chemical/cleaning fluid taste to it. It just didn’t have that full bodied natural flavor at all. There was also a German beer that used to be popular with beer groupies that tasted the same way to me but I can’t think of the name.

  14. was it Warsteiner, maybe? I have a friend that loves it.

  15. Danielle – anyone that’s seen Memoirs of a Geisha knows what it means.

    But I take offense at you saying that all Escorts are “whores” how low can you go?

    You’re just like some man trying to keep women down. It’s the worlds oldest profession, man common, get real.

    There’s many hard working ladies of the night out there.

  16. I don’t see where I said all escorts are prostitutes. I am glad that your information on Japanese culture comes from Hollywood.

  17. demosthenes.or.locke

    Hops is overrated in beer. Hops provides a background flavor, not a primary one. Don’t be hypnotized by that guy in the Sam Adams commercial, beer is not all about the hops. Hops are to beer what oak barrels are to red wines. Anyone that tells you hops are to beer what grapes are to wine doesn’t know what he/she is talking about.

  18. Some may overrate hops, but you are understimating them.

    First, the hops contribution varies widely from stlye to style. Styles such as India Pale ale or especially Double IPAs are often dominated by hops. These styles have become very popular with American craft breers. some of them are so unbalanced in the hops direction you can taste little else even if the recipes involve large amounts of high quality malts.

    Now, I am of the opinion that many American brewers have a heavy hand and appeal to the type of thnking that if a stronger hop character than found in mass market lagers is a good thing then even more hops is always better.

    There is a logical fallacy involved there because, for example, just because I like spicy food and rare meat better than bland overcooked meat doesn’t mean I assume that a meal of ten habaneros and raw meat would be even better.

    It’s trie that the hops/ grape anaology doesn’t work because the malted barley (and often other grains) contain the ferementable sugard that would be analogous to grapes in wine, but hops have far more to do with both the taste and aroma of many beers than do wine barrels and that analogy is as weak as the hops/grapes one.

  19. I wonder if Beer Snob is going to weigh back in on this hops discussion. Where are you Tom?

  20. I am not a beer expert, but I do know what I like. That being pale ales, IPA, Martzens and Pilzners.

    I like to taste my beer.

    I like Sam Adam’s Octoberfest, but really only drink it in a pinch. That is usually when I ask the serve what kind of dark beer they have and they say “Heineken and Sam Adams.”

  21. IPA – stinks, or SUCKS. depends on your stance.

    some of the best beers I’ve had are from Great Lakes Brewing…. Edmond Fitzgerald or Elliot Ness.. two favorites.

    IPA is shit compared to those, and I’m not concerned about hops or barley content. it’s how it tastes.

    Now who can tell me what the only true American Style Beer is. From my research there is only one beer that actually has a distinctive American trait to it’s brewing process.

    Let’s hear it.

  22. OH.. I almost forgot…

    Daniel this is from your post above:

    “Calling your server a “Geisha Girl” is the same as calling her a whore.”

    yeah that to me does imply that all Escorts are whores.

    sorry dude… read your mail.

  23. this is just a post so I can see my beautiful bald mug three times in a row.

  24. Ok I’m bored…sorry

  25. poor mans Twitter

  26. I assume you are referring to “steam” beer as in Anchor Steam.

    Essentially, it’s a simply a beer brewed using bottom fermenting lager yeast at ale temperature levels because refrigeration was unavailable and the warm California climate did not provide the cool cellars for the aging (lagering) process which lagers brewed in cooler climes used.

    However, I don’t know if one can draw such clear lines and say that is the only distinctively american beer style. Some would suggest that certain American ales are “distinctively American” even though the “process” is basically the same as English ale brewing because the use of American grown barley and hops imparts a distinctive character.

    Just as the variety of grape and the climate and soil conditions where they are grown produces different tasting wines even though the “process of winemaking is the same, using different strains (or even the same strains grown in different places) of barley and hops can produce different tasting beer.

    Then you factor in that in beer making you have the ability to take the same raw barley and through variations in malting and then roasting create different flavor profiles and you begin to see the many variations possible. The same hops can be utilized differently as well to provide different bittering levels dependent upon the time they are in the boil and the use of aroma hops at the end of the boil can further add “distinctive” characteristics.

    Sierra Nevada (or GLB’s Burning River Pale Ale which is excellent too) and other American pale ales are made in the same manner as English bitters, special bitters and ESBs, but the American ales do often taste significantly different because the of the ingredients.

    There are many other American ales even further divergent from their British cousins than SN and GLB brews despite the fact the “process” is pretty much the same for all of them.

  27. demosthenes.or.locke

    Edmund Fitzgerald porter from Great Lakes Brewing is one of the best affordable available in a bottle in Charleston. Who’da thunk it, Ron has good taste in something other than women!

    It has a rich coffee and malt flavor- hops are certainly present but they are an afterthought in EF, not the main thing.

  28. Heh heh heh, stirred up some poop, did I?

    Okay, first, the pedantic prick in me points out “Not every beer can be an Anchor Steam Porter” is true because NO beer is an Anchor Steam Porter. Anchor Brewing – long may Fritz Maytag reign – indeed makes a wonderfully sublime porter, one of the best in the U. S. I feel. And it’s flagship is indeed Anchor Steam, a “california common” beer made with lager yeast (bottom fermenting, among other characteristics) brewed at ale temperatures, i.e. warmer. Thanks for the recap above, Phil. Good color, full body. Great beer. Ned (Strausser) brewed a CA Common a few yeas ago called Olde Engine ’86 or something like that. It may have been the best beer WV Brewing ever made. But to my original point, you’re conflating the two. It’d be interesting if Anchor actually brewed that, mind you. Hell, I’m kind of interested in trying to do a Common-Porter combo myself now. But so far, this doesn’t exist but in my dreams.

    Second, the whole Hops is to beer as grapes are to wine thing is a poor analogy and everyone who knows beer knows this. It’s Jim Koch trying to sell his beer to a public that thinks of Heineken as a “premium” beer. He’s trying to edumacate us, or at least steer us into something with actual flavor. Jim is number two in the American craft brew pantheon as far as I’m concerned, even though Sam Adams is something I usually settle on instead of seek out. 20 years ago however, Sam Adams was The Shit. And it’s still good today. But there’s so much better out there.

    Now, the whole hops thing in general. Me, I love beer. And I love beer with Flavor especially. And hops bring the flavor and the aroma. My generally favorite style is the American Double IPA closely followed by the Imperial Stout and American Barleywine-style Ale. All tend to be highly hopped, some with IBU (International Bittering Units, think of them as the Scoville units of bitterness) counts over 100. All are products of the American craft brewing movement’s attempts to separate crafts from the BMC adjunct macro lager we’ve been trained to accept as beer. Do some brewers go too far? Enh, I dunno. Probably. Personally, I’ve never had a beer too hoppy for me. Unbalanced? Yes. Hoppy enough to make my head spin? Yes. (My first Stone Brewing Ruination IPA had me speechless for hours – an accomplishment. Now it’s a weak sister compared to a Bell’s Hopslam or Southern Tier Unearthly). But I recognize that these “extreme” beers aren’t for everyone, even in the beer geek/snob/advocate/aficionado movement.

    Oh, for the permanent record, GL Edmund Fitzgerald is the best – hands down – porter in America. It’s also one of only two beers in the Beer Advocate 100 that’s available in WV.

    Which brings me to the state of beer in the State – and Charleston in particular. It sucks. No other way to put it. The 6% cap and feudal distribution system combine to give us poor selection. Combine this with whatever quality West Virginians have that makes them flock to chain restaurants and shun anything not advertised to the hilt (If it’s on the teevee it’s good; if’n it ain’t on the teevee it ain’t) and we have an abysmal beer scene in WV. Even the local restaurateurs don’t get it (I’m looking at you, Vandalia Grille owner whose name I’ve forgotten, you bastard.) I’ll steer away from this topic afore I get belligerent but will stick around long enough to say Contact Your Legislator AND TELL THEM YOU WANT THE CRAFT BEER BILL PASSED THIS YEAR. Help WV join the 21st century, beer-wise. Don’t let a backwards-ass state like Alabama beat us to popping the cap. Don’t leave us in the same company as Mississippi (!Mississippi, for Gods’ sake!). Get them to pass the damn bill and raise the damn cap. Damn it.

    Now I’m all worked up. I can talk/write about these issues all night. Anyone interested in having a beer tasting (with stuff imported – i.e. bootlegged – in from other states? Anyone want to join the Pop the Cap fight? Anyone care? Anyone.

    Back to you, Susan, Ron, Demo. Phil, everyone.

  29. You’re exactly right about our beer laws , but knowing that the distributors hold the position of Lords on our feudal syatem I see no chance that the monopoly distributor system will be changed. The distributors pay good money to keep the legislators from allowing their domains to be challenged and there is no countervailing source of largesse to the pols.

    So, I’ll settle for something the distributors should want– the elimination of the 6% law. Why wouldn’t Folio and Barber, et al want the ability to sell additional (expensive) products without competition?

    I do anticipate thought that their will be a significant retraction in the craft beer industry. this may not be a wholly bad thing, though. Too many craft beers are overpriced mediocrities more reliant on cutesy names and snob appeal ( form of marketing superficiality not really much different than Bud Light commercials when you think about it) than genuine quality.

    Some breweries make very good beer (even ones I find overhopped) but far more simply simply rely on fistfuls of hops (and in other cases high alcohol content) to mask the pedestrian (or worse) quality of the brews.

    Seeing some of the gimmick breweries fail could strengthen better craft brwereries that have to compete with the dreck and put more actually good beer on the shelves (in states where law and demand permit any way.)

  30. Curious to hear which breweries you people like, dislike, or find to be “overpriced mediocrities.” As a former denizen of Pittsburgh and frequent fixture at Fatheads (where I made the Frequent Flyer wall three times in 15 months) I had literally hundreds of different beers from dozens of breweries and can name names myself. But even the most annoying breweries still managed to come up with a gem or two every now and then.

    Example 1, Flying Dog: Rich and I had a back and forth over on Beers to You months ago about these guys. The Steadman art on the bottles is neato but the annoying names – In Heat Wheat, e.g. – and average taste leaves me unexcited about the general product line. But, the Gonzo Imperial Porter, really a Baltic Porter, is superb and the Double Dog is solid.

    Example 2, Magic Hat: Stupid names, cutesy website, dumb psuedo-ironic quotes under the cap…what’s to like? The Hocus Pocus is a decent Kolsch; Roxy Rolles a pretty good hoppy amber. Beyond that, there’s not much else there. To stick with the magic analogy, it’s all smoke and mirrors with them.

    Number 3, Boulder Brewing: Two very good beers with Killer Penguin barelywine and Mojo Risin’ DIPA. The rest of the line is a pantheon of mediocrity hiding behind a bunch of nudge-nudge, wink-wink, aren;t we so clever for getting pot references into our names. Hazed N’ Infused, indeed.

    Four, He’Brew (“The Chosen Beer”): Okay, you’re Jewish. We get it. Learn to brew.

    Some others I’ve heard people bitch about for being long on cleverness and short on brewing include Lagunitas and, oddly enough, Great Lakes. Now personally I think Lagunitas is great. Even the admittedly gimmicky one off brews like Freak Out! and Kill Ugly Radio are good (Lag. has a deal with the Zappa Estate to use Frank’s I.P. for their brews). As for the Great Lakes complainers: You’re dead wrong, Period. GLBC is one of America’s finest brewers. The product names that people gripe most about – Elliot Ness, Edmund Fitzgerald, Commodore Perry – are all Cleveland related (okay, Holy Moses is kinda cheesy) and the beer cant. be. beat.

    So Phil, what do you consider gimmicky and what do you consider good? Enquiring minds want to know.

  31. The list of what I consider gimmicky, overpriced beers would be a long one.

    I agree that GLB is one of America’s best. I especially like the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and Burning River Pale Ale. I also like Three Floyds, Stone, Bell’s , Bear Republic, Russian River, Alesmith, Rogue and, yes, Sierra Nevada which I think has been a victim of its own success in beer snob circles sort of like a rock band that the original fans abandon as unhip once it has hit record.

    Of breweries I think are more anout image, marketing and snob appeal Dogfish Head would have to be at the top of the list. The 90 minute is a decent if highly overrated DIPA; everything else I have ever had from Dogfish is a good example of my earlier complaint about people thinking extremity for extremity’s sake equals quality.

  32. It is a shame that all this good discussion will lost under a review of a mediocre Japanese Restaurant.

  33. By the way guys there is a beer review on this blog that you guys can tear apart if you wish.

    I am open to a tasting and would love to document it on this blog.

  34. Daniel, I’d read the Mountaineer tasting review. Mountaineer is solid – I particularly like the stout. As for this thread getting lost – move it. You guys have a ton of wordpress tools at your service to keep this conversation going somewhere else. And if you wanna get the ball rolling on some kind of tasting, email me sometime.

    Phil: Every brewery you listed is good to great. Stone’s probably my favorite on the list. No PA breweries listed though. So, have you had any Troegs, Victory, Yards, Weyerbacher, East End, Voodoo and if so, what did you think?

    Interesting you put DFH in there as the one brewery you’d call out for Extreme for Extreme’s sake. While Sam C. certainly doesn’t shy away from the spotlight and yes, some of the product can lean on the “hey, look at me!” factor, most of it’s very good. I thought the 90 Minute was a revelation when I first found it and it still holds up well today (makes a great black and tan with the E.Fitz, too). 60 Minute is a great, go-to standard IPA, and the 120 remains a fine example of what Extreme can be. Also: Aprihop, Festina Peche, and Black & Blue.

    C’mon, give us more of your long list. This is fun, man.

  35. So, have you had any Troegs, Victory, Yards, Weyerbacher, East End, Voodoo and if so, what did you think?

    I’ve had Prima Pils, hop Devil and Storm King from Victory, all of which I like a lot.

    I had the Sunshine ale from Troegs a while back and don’t have much beyond a recollection it was pretty good but not an all-time favorite.

    I don’t think I’ve had anything from the others, but i’m not some uber-geek who keeps a journal or anyhting.

  36. I like the Mountaineer Stout too and the Red Ale is well crafted in my opinion.

    Has anyone been to WV Brewing company since the ownership change? I was never a big fan of anything but the Ned’s but have heard the quality and consistency has improved.

  37. OMG !!!!

    this thread has gone crazy. It will take me 37 Natural Lights to digest all this information.

  38. Pingback: IPAs, Barley and Hops, Oh My! « Fork You…

  39. OH and yes Phil, I was refering to Anchor Steam.. or at least the process by which they do it.

    From my outdated copy of The Beer Encylcopedia, they said that was the one true American style of brewing.

    I’m sure there’s an exception, but you got the answer I was looking for.

    Here’s your prize … ( )

  40. This is a great discussion. I am the type of guy that tries get something different and try new things at every opportunity. I generally never order the same beer two times in a row and I like to work myself around a menu. Unless it is the Turkey and Dressing at Bob Evan’s (I said I don’t review chains. I never said Ididn’t eat at them).

    So I would love someone to make a list of 25 +must try beers. A beer bucket list if you will. Then I can try to check them off during my travels.

    By the way I am a fan of just about all Rouge River Brewery’s beers.

  41. Well, here are a few I’ve had you can’t get (or at least I’ve never seen) here.

    in no particular order:

    Dreadnaught IPA
    Pliny the younger IPA
    Expedition stout
    Two Hearted Ale
    Dark Lord Imperial Stout Mönchshof Schwarzbier
    Prima Pils
    Stone IPA
    Alpha King Pale Ale
    Tuppers’ Hop Pocket Pils
    Anvil Ale ESB
    Hop Rod Rye
    Fuller’s ESB
    Hopslam ale
    Stoudt’s pils

  42. Phil, none of those are available in WV.

    As for my PA list, dear god in Heaven above have I had all of those breweries. And all are well above the craft beer average except for, potentially, Yards, which is merely good.

    Troegs has a seasonal called Nugget Nectar – the ’09 is just out – that is, and I’m not overstating this, THE BEST BEER IN AMERICA. The Beer Advocate community wets itself over this brew. Beats the Bells Hopslam like a redheaded stepchild.

    Now, I’m taking the rest of my comments to the new thread. Top 25 list and all.

  43. Rob –

    A redheaded stepchild????? Dude. And I thought we could be friends if you could overlook my retarded beer preference.

    I’ll try to forgive you.

  44. Hey, it’s years of listening to Mike Lang call the Pens. Sorry.

    How about, beaten like a rented mule?

  45. I made my first trip to this place just a few days ago. I have a shellfish allergy and was apprehensive about going, mainly due to bad experiences at other restaurants who don’t have much empathy for those with food allergies. I soon found that this place took it very serious. They even wrote down on our guest ticket that I had a food allergy. They prepared my food first, chicken and steak, and then the others. They experience was great, tasty, lots of fun, and reasonably priced. I will go back. Oh…our server was the bomb!

  46. “A pretty Chinese woman, she owns other restaurants and property throughout West Virginia. Ironic that she owns a couple Japanese steakhouses…”

    Not at all unusual! In fact, VERY COMMON across North America. I believe the hibachi place on south ridge is run by Chinese as well as the Japanese fast food place in Charleston Town Center. I’ve noticed this as well with more traditional Japanese fare. This may account for the mediocre quality you encounter in these types of restaurants.

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