Blackback Pub & Flyshop
Taps: 9 / Bottles: 10
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 127 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by slander:
4.45/5 rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Let’s see. Drove a few hundred miles on up, and then started with growler fills and bottles well out, and worked my way back in for necessary Heady procurement. That’ll see you to mid to late afternoon with no foreseeable plan. So then you Waterbury, ‘cause you’re there, and that’s what you do. Start by parking the corner. ‘The’ corner...
I parked just out front, shocker. Step down step down step down! If you didn’t step down, you fell down. If you fell down, then get up; seriously, you’re embarrassing yourself. Small room with a wide plank laminated topped ‘L’ shaped bar with a ‘step on it’ break, dark wide wood plank base, and brass foot rail; seating for a half dozen +. Shiny brass copper bar tower on the bar holds 8 taps (half of them on nondescript handles), a handpump on the end, unused, and a vintage cash register in between.
The outer wall is stone & brick, not surprisingly for this ground floor, and swirly, a shade of green painted pieces in white trim; the sills of which hold empty bottles of beer, bourbon, & wine. More green painted inners with a single flat on the back barback wall, over a shelf of bourbon and sinkage. The décor of plates, trays, fish prints, & mounted pieces. Worn plank floors and creeky rafter ceilings holding a pair of glassware racks full of Hill Farm stemware, and whiskey boxes & tubes, license plates, and keg collars on the beams above. Bottles clustered on both ends of the bar and riddled about. Some track spots, and good light through the panel door & windows over Main Street. Drafts printed on corner black board pieces.
And through to the side room with some more bar space; a ‘U’ seating nearly a dozen, mostly on hightop wooden chairs, but some on squared stools. The bar top here is old bowling lane action, I do dig it. Another tower of 8 back there and a pair of threesies. Plank back wall and blackboard end wall; the taps listed in alt colored chalk with pricing. Coasters plastered to the ceiling back there, and a gaggle of Cantillon bottles (hey, you want to hear a crazy story?) Another flat back here for the looking at, and seating on church pew bench and stadium seating attached.
Looks like space for 22 taps in all, but a few are off, only a dozen and a half up just now; nearly ½ are Vermont offerings (Lost Nation Gose, Hill Farmstead Edward & What Is Enlightenment?, Jacks Abby/Lawson’s Smoked Maple Lager, Lawson’s Spring Fever Session IPA & Paradise Pale Ale, Zero Gravity R. Prime IPA & Conehead), and the remainder a mix of craft beyond borders (Stoudts Kolsch, Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo Especial, Bear Republic Racer 5, Ten Barrel Apocalypse IPA), imports (Djaevlebryg Gudelos, Mikkeller Black Hole Stout, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Hofbrau Hefe), and a pair of ciders (Citizen Cider Unified Press & Witness). I drank the Lawson’s Spring Fever Session IPA (comes in at 3.8%, was really goddamn nice), Lawson’s Paradise Pale Ale (the goods), and Zero Gravity Conehead (solid wheat IPA). And as Mad Tacos happen here, I went with a pair of the Carnitas (onion, cilantro, dealt with mole sauce sided, tasty, with a bit of heat), they were mad excellent.
Revisited a few months later with Dev & Adisa on the heels of a day like every other one I do in Vermont. Started with the Lawson’s Big Hoppy Black IPA (awesomesauce), and followed up with Hill Farmstead Life Without Principle (a 2 hop blend with hibiscus, Did. Not. Suck). And there will be tacos, yo. I split my pair between the Chile Colorado (avocado, onion, & cilantro in a mole sauce), and the Al Pastor (onion & cilantro in a verdi sauce). Both very good but the latter of the two was champion, true. Adisa disrespected our local Brooklyn taco joint by stating that these were the best tacos he’s ever had. I have suggested doing more tacos here and bagging the work dinner, but there’ll surely be trouble for it.
They do have a small bottle list, notables including Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze Golden Blend, Rodenbach Vintage Oak Aged Ale 2009, Mikkeller It’s Alive). Tunes have been excellent (Stones, Pink Floyd, Kinks, Pearl Jam, Santana, Van Morrison, Talking Heads, Beatles); soundtrack of my life. Servicewise, both times out the Mattender started on and passed things off to Lauren, all good. A fine group of locals, here. We’re talking mead and Weihenstephaner, and all sorts of stuff. Great rotating tap list Vermont local goods heavy and mad, mad tacos.
12-25-2013 17:14:00 | More by slander
More User Reviews:
3.61/5 rDev -18.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.25 | $$$
A-Visited on a Sunday afternoon for beers and a sandwich...place was fairly dead with a few people at the bar.
Q-beers were served in proper glassware
S-took a while to pour the beers as it seemed the bartender didn't have the taps set right. One beer that was served took at least 5 minutes to arrive from the time it was ordered. Beer was foaming into glass and bartender poured into another glass and finally serve an $8 dollar beer that was half beer and half foam. As she served it she said, "that's the best I could do"...she still charged full price despite recognizing the inferior pour. This was the first beer ordered and set the tone for the visit.
S-Beer selection was clearly written on a big chalkboard on the wall. Great selection of beers including Lawsons, Heady, and Hillstead.
F-ordered the Cuban sandwich tasted good but a bit slim. Not much meat in the sammy ...one slice of pork and one slice of ham
V-considering the service, the poor pours, and the size of the sandwich, there are better places nearby...that offer the same beers
07-31-2014 20:33:58 | More by beerbully
4.63/5 rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
It's always a good sign when you drink at a bar where locals come to drink. It's even better when that bar carries some of Vermont's best, and through that proxy, some of the world's best beers on a regular basis.
The only minus that I arguably see going against Blackback is their pub fare -- they recently changed from Mad Taco to Maggie's Kitchen, and no offense to Maggie because her food is absolutely delightful and delectable, they don't quite have the kinks all resolved yet. The first time I went in, I ordered her sliders which took over half an hour to arrive in front me; the second time I ordered their poblano chili and the Green Mountain Salad, which took slightly less time, but still took a lot longer for what should be relatively simple pub food. (I wasn't the only person that night that noticed this the nights I went -- there was a local group of five people that decided to have conversations about how long they'd been waiting from around minute 27 of not having food in front of them at the bar)
That being said, the food itself was great -- every bit of the slider was like a perfectly crafted masterpiece, the fluffy french brioche-esque buns mixes splendidly with the veggie/meat/chili patty, and the serving size was just enough to leave me full for the rest of the day's activities. The Poblano chili came highly recommended by the new owner of the pub and for good reason; every hearty bite was as satisfying as the next; there wasn't that much of heat to the dish, but all the ingredients tasted fresh and well-blended together. The Green Mountain salad was as fresh and delicious as you would expect out of any restaurant serving food prepared with fresh, local ingredients.
Overall, great draft/bottle selections, great food and prices, but they could probably benefit greatly from working out some glaring logistics issues in the kitchen.
07-15-2014 13:52:15 | More by amano_h
Blackback Pub & Flyshop in Waterbury, VT
98 out of 100 based on 127 ratings.