Black Dog Smoke & Ale House
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Taps: 6 / Bottles: 50
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 10 | Reviews: 9 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by champ103:
3.5/5 rDev -18.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
The building is awesome. Right in downtown Urbana. A long wood bar with booths along the perimeter. Tiled floors, and a great worn in pub feel. The service is friendly and they know the menu. Food and beer come out relatively quickly. Not a lot of beer knowledge, but the servers are enthusiastic. Though I was rushed out with my bill as soon as I finished my meal. I was planning to stay and drink a little more, but whatever.
I really wanted to love the BBQ. Though it did not hit the mark for me. The meats are very good, and you have to respect a place that does burnt ends and oxtail. The ribs are very good. I did enjoy them, but not great. I do not like the BBQ sauce at all. it is like a tomato paste, almost marinara like. The sides are crap though. Mac and cheese seemed like it was sitting out forever. Similar to old mac and cheese that has been sitting out and hardened for hours after Christmas diner. The slaw seemed almost rancid. I could not eat it. Luckily I did not get a sandwich that would have been covered in it.
On to the beer. There are about 7-8 taps that rotate. A cask as well. Also plenty of bottles. Some Southern Tier, Stone, Schlafly, and St. Bernardus X-mas on tap. Summit Oatmeal Stout on cask. Bottles rang from Belgians like Rockeforts to Lost Abby, and lots of Midwest breweries. A very nice selection.
Overall, I really wanted to love this place. The meat is very good though not great, and got to love the beer selection. I will continue to support these guys, but not up to the hype I had been expecting.
12-28-2012 05:44:56 | More by champ103
More User Reviews:
4.4/5 rDev +2.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 5 | $$
This is my favorite restaurant in Urbana and has made the top 10 lists as one of the best smokehouses in the USA. They have a small but frequently rotated list of craft beers and often serve cask ale as well. The place is tiny and they do not take reservations, so there always a big line outside waiting...but it is so worth that wait! While lurking outside awaiting our turn and smelling the heavenly aroma of smoked meats waft from the doorway, my friend brought us out a beer sampler tray shaped like a dog bone. We were able to try a bunch of cool beers that are not all available in Minnesota, including the Schlafly pumpkin ale. When finally seated, we all dug into our plethora of smoked meats and gorged ourselves until disgustingly full. A great place to visit for food and beer.
10-23-2013 16:27:15 | More by Jackofallbrews
4.55/5 rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
This place is a must if you like BBQ & beer. It's got a neighborhood bar & grill feel with friendly staff and a nice atmosphere. My wife and I went at noon on a Monday, and it was busy but didn't feel crowded.
The food is tremendous! I had a burnt ends sandwich and my wife had a pulled pork. Both were excellent, so much smoked flavor in the meat, and the tangy sauce coupled with the cole slaw topper made it an awesome sandwich. The fries (I had sweet potato) were good too.
The beer selection was very good. Here's what I remember being on tap:
Enjoy By 12/21/12
A couple others I forgot
The bottle list was good for a small BBQ joint like this I thought. It had a nice variety and was organized by style. A few highlights from memory: FBS, Racer 5, Rochefort 10, Stone IPA, and several other high quality offerings.
I'm already looking forward to my next visit.
12-04-2012 03:31:27 | More by woodna
4.45/5 rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Stopped in with a coworked on a layover en route to Decatur (where there does not appear to be any good beer or food so we stayed in Churbana).
Picked due to 95% approval with 714 votes on Urbanspoon - world class.
Small, narrow place very crowded on a Sunday around 7pm. Had a guy managing the 20 minute wait - taking names, cleaning tables, and seating people.
Sat at the bar/counter (this is a BBQ joint first and great beer bar second). Two TV's and lots of "retired" taps to take in.
Lost Coast IPA
Southern Tier Choklat
Old Rasputin RIS
Anchor Breckle's Brown Ale
Flossmor Station Cas Condiiton No Show ESB
Southern Tier Back Burner BarkelyWine (Imperial?)
Stone Smoked Porter
A tight collection of excellent bottles in modern True coolers.
The bad news? I had downed 1800 MG of Ibuprofen during the day and didn't want to kill my liver by mixing it with alcohol. No beer this time. Next time I'll over do it.
The food was excellent as well as the service. Tiny kitchen at the end of the bar where you can watch all the action. I had jambalaya and the sampler with burnt ends, smoked brisket, slaw, and baked beans. The two sides were ok. All else was great.
Excellent service and well worth the visit for a meal and brews.
02-27-2012 04:17:12 | More by Yetiman420
4.58/5 rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Beers were a fabulous mix of dark, hoppy, and rare national, international, and regional brews: selected thoughtfully and paired meaningfully. Tasting flight--four or five ounces of each beer on tap for 12 bucks--was a great way to avoid having to choose among the incredible offerings. On tap: Southern Tier Gemini, Great Divide Yeti, Chimay Blanche Tripel, Arcadia's Big Dick's Olde Ale, Schlafly Heffeweizen, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence. All at once! I've since seen Sculpin, Mongo, and other top-tier IPAs, and other listings that almost made me get in the car and drive 100 miles for lunch.
Had smoked pork belly that was amazing. The tortilla soup with smoked chicken was amazing. But the ribs; oh, the ribs! That's the reason to go. They smoke their own fish and meat, and often smoke almonds and other ingredients and use in their recipes. Illinois basketball game was on, and it was crowded but we were seated after less than 15 minutes. Get there early.
03-26-2011 15:29:33 | More by salvo
4.55/5 rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
Cute little joint. It's the size of one of the 10,000 or so little grill joints around chicago; you can see the whole place as soon as you walk in. This made it seem packed, but after we'd been there for 15 minutes a few people left and, bam, it was empty. It was an old, woody building, like everywhere else in Urbana, and while the vibe was masculine--what with the barbecue, and the sports on the HDs--it wasn't douchey in the least.
There were 6 taps and a bunch of bottles and absolutely none of the beer was bad. And according to the menu and bartender, they make a special point of seeking out beers that are super hard to find, which is why they had a *cask* of Lee's Harvest on tap. Wow, huh? In the midwest, it's exceedingly rare to find cask beer that comes from another state, let alone another continent.
The barbecue was exquisite. I don't eat red meat, but they had chicken and fish and sweet potato fries. I lack the knowledge and critical vocabulary to say anything else about the food, really, aside from that it's really good.
11-22-2010 02:18:32 | More by mynie
4.13/5 rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$
We went here for lunch on 7/7/10. You can smell the smoked meat from down the block. Inside, it's a little dark and small. There are two big screen TV's above the bar, a few booths on the opposite wall, and table seating near the windows. Outdoor seating was limited to one picnic table. It was pretty empty when we arrived shortly after 11 am, but it started to fill up closer to noon. I can imagine it packs up quickly during peak lunch and dinner hours.
This place is primarily a restaurant rather than a bar. As a pesco-vegetarian, my choices were limited to grilled cheese, smoked catfish, and a portabella mushroom sandwich. I opted for a catfish sandwich. It was still juicy even after smoking and the toasted bun soaked up the spicy vinegar BBQ sauce well. My boyfriend got a beef brisket sandwich with a chipotle sauce. It was gone in about five minutes, so it must have been good. With one side each, both meals cost around $6.00 which I thought was a good price.
There are only six taps and one was reserved for a cask-conditioned beer. All were American craft beers. The bottle selection was pretty impressive for a place this small. They crammed all the BMC beers onto one line to save space to list the American craft and imports, so that gives you an idea of their priorities. Bottles of Eisphyre were still available, so I guess most patrons stick to draft. It might be worth checking here if you missed a limited release. Beer prices were comparable to the Pigs.
As for non-alcoholic drinks, they had a limited assortment of eclectic sodas in bottles and they make their own iced tea, sweet tea, and lemonade. We tried the lemonade and it was on the tart side, which is how I like it.
The service was pretty decent and we didn't have to wait long for our drinks or food. It was pretty empty though. Overall, I was impressed by the Black Dog and I don't even eat meat.
07-08-2010 18:03:47 | More by EchoCharlieEcho
4.4/5 rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$
Alright: I love this place.
The food is so, so good. My favorite barbecue. Have you read the other guy's review? "I could have eaten the bones," he said. GO TRY IT. If you like bbq, this is a mecca in Champaign. I have introduced many people to it. I reccomend the pulled pork sandwich, ribs, or burger with pulled pork ON IT. They also have very tasty fries, and the food is piping hot and fresh when it reaches you. I love their standard house bbq sauce, their "Carolina Red". It has a definite kick to it. Those who do not like spice at all should try the sweet Georgia Peach sauce instead.
Beer is not an afterthought. This place was put together by someone who liked both craft beer and great bbq. There are not many taps, but they are quality. Probably six taps. They do a sampler if you would like to try them all. It's not a place like blind pig that you would go to spend your night drinking, although they do have a large and reasonably priced bottle selection. It's a place that you can go for great food and ALSO get good beer while eating! Imagine that!
The bar was started by one of the former owners/managers of Esquire in Champaign, and it has the same sort of atmosphere.
11-28-2009 18:22:35 | More by redjameskidd
3.6/5 rDev -16.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 5 | $
Saw this place listed in Beerfly but with no reviews, was looking for a place for dinner and found out this place specializes in South Carolina Barbecue (my favorite).
Piece of advice, get here early, especially if you are coming on a Friday or Saturday. This place is small and fills up rather quickly.
In a way this place is a bit of an anomaly, a smallish sort of bar area, smaller than the blind pig, but this place serves food where the blind pig does not so it gets very crowded at dinner time and for good reason. To be honest this is more of a food place than a beer place, but DAMN is this some good food. Had a half slab of spare ribs that was smoked for 4.5 hours, it was fucking fantastic, I swear I could have eaten the bones if I felt like it, just amazing amazing food. Beer is not half bad and it seems like the stuff they have on tap they try and base off the season/how well it might pair with the food. Only six beers on tap, but a decent bottle selection picks up some of the slack. But again, I must clarify, that this place is more of a food destination rather than a beer destination, but don't assume that the beer is an afterthought here, I believe it is thoughtfully chosen and pairs quite nicely with the excellent food here. Also, for the quality and tastiness of the food this place is surprisingly cheap. A great place for lunch or dinner with a well paired beer. Fantastic! The one bad thing was that the service, while very friendly, was a bit slow for my tastes. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on a Saturday night.
09-20-2009 02:02:05 | More by bluemoonswoon
Black Dog Smoke & Ale House in Urbana, IL
93 out of 100 based on 10 ratings.