Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse

Not Rated.
Big Buck Brewery & SteakhouseBig Buck Brewery & Steakhouse
BEER AVG
3.53/5
Based on:
17 Beers
92 Ratings
Place Score: 84
Ratings: 34
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: n/a
Taps: 10
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

550 S Wisconsin Ave
Gaylord, Michigan, 49735
United States
phone: (517) 732-5781

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 34 | Reviews: 17
Reviews by Mitchster:
Photo of Mitchster
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Have been coming here for years since it opened. Talked with the brewmaster at the time of opening, Scott, and he was very friendly and took the time to yap about beer. He has probably since been replaced, but the quality of the beers has remained consistent. The service is usually poor when I stop in...I usually try to get a growler filled on tuesdays or wednesdays when they are 4$, and it always seems to take a long time as there is only a solitary bartender trying to take care of too many people plus the waitresses. The food is excellent with a great selection but way overpriced. The beers are consistently good and above average in quality...the stout is silky smooth on nitro-tap. The decor is interesting with hunting themes, and there are lots o' big-screen TV's making the place noisier than I prefer. I can always find a place away from somebody's cigarette smoke, thank heavens. Always a nice place to drop by for a pint or two.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Eric1Mess
4/5  rDev +11.1%

Absolutely beautiful on the inside, but poor food service and management has slowed it down. Holds one of my all time favorite beers Citron though on tap!

Photo of Caesar1pup
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Second stop on a 10 brewpub in 10 days visit to Michigan!

Visited Big Buck on the way to the UP and had some lunch and beer. The place was huge and like a hunting lodge...ahh the name finally makes sense. Sat at the bar which had some funky seats with wood carvings that would have inhibited easy food and beer ingestion. Perusing the beer menu one notices that they had a couple of beers with 16% abv plus. Really? Also, they had two separate beer menus. One with their standard beers and another with their "gourmet" beers which were served in smaller glasses and were more expensive. You could tell that even the bartender thought this was strange.

I opted for the non-gourmet beer which I can only assume they consider swill? It was actually pretty good! Had a sandwich on a pretzel roll which was really good too. I liked this place but I did not care for their "gourmet" beer menu. Are not all of their beers gourmet?

Photo of Mothergoose03
4/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I stop here 4-5 times per year, and have always liked most of their beers, all of them being average or better in my judgement. I especially like Doc's ESB, which I think tends more toward a sweet, malty bock-like taste rather than like an ESB. For my visit last week I chose the Red Ale, which I think has been tweaked since the last time I had it, and I liked it better.

The food here is always good, and this being a steakhouse, they have nice-sounding entrees in that category, but I typically only want a sandwich for my meal. Everything I've had has always been good. Some items seem a bit higher in price when compared to similar offerings at other brewpubs, but maybe their servings are larger, etc.

Like the previous reviewer mentioned, I also discovered that they have a line of beers that they call "Gourmet Brew Collection" that consists of beers that are all high-gravity brews. They are a bit pricey for a pint, ranging from $6.75 to $11 (not all of them are offered in a pint), but all of them are offered in a 4 oz pour (a couple are available in 8-oz).

The ABV on these beers ranges from 11.7% for the Classic Porter to 17.7% for Campfire Joe (a coffee stout). In between there are: Belgian White (14.8%); Banana Bourbon Barrel which is a summer ale (16.3%); Cascade, listed as a pale ale (14.5%); Triple Rye IPA (15.3%); Auburn Ale, listed as a red ale (13.7%); and an Imperial Stout (15.6%). I decided 4-oz of three of them would be enough alcohol for one sitting, and I was right. I tried Banana Bourbon, Classic Porter, and Campfire Joe and I enjoyed them all.

There is not a hint of the high alcohol in the taste of these beers, and only when I went to get up did I feel the effects. So these beers are sneaky - use caution. But it was an enjoyable experience to try a selection of these high-gravity beers without overdoing the budget and the alcohol limit on the ol' body.

Photo of wingedeel
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Stopped by at Big Buck Brewing for about the fourth time on my way to the UP.

They have recently added some new, more cutting edge beers.They had a Triple Rye IPA, and a Belgian Wit and a couple others now to go along with their regular lineup of true session beers (4 at under 4% ABV).Both the rye IPA and the wit were surprisingly good, but the prices were really out of control.The wit was $6.75 a pint,and the rye IPA a whopping $11.00 a pint (8.5 ABV).For laughs I asked if they filled growlers of the IPA, and was told they did for $66.00 !! Wow. In their defense some of their staple beers were only $3.75 a pint.They probably had 10-12 different beers on tap.

Food is higher end bar food,and not bad.Food prices were reasonable.

We sat at the bar and had great service.

There could be real potential for this place, but some of those prices need to come down.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.13/5  rDev -13.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Reviewed on 6/30/2010.

This was an odd place off of the highway. It is really more of a restaurant that happens to brew their own beer. When I visited, there were 5-6 taps, all your most basic styles (stout, pale ale, IPA, a lager I think, etc). The food was ok, but pretty much just what you'd expect at an Applebees or something like that. I also found it a little weird that all ~5 of the TVs were showing the same odd airshow. A very touristy place as there is tons of decorations to make the place look like an old lodge with lots of antlers and animal heads. They also have a large giftshop. If you are passing by and want a quick drink or meal, this would be an ok place. But it isn't a place I would actively seek out.

Photo of buschbeer
3.6/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5

I stopped in on my way to my grandfather's place for a growler fill. It is the second visit for me. The place couldn't be easier to find. It sits right off I-75. It looks like a big hunting lodge that should be sitting out west in the mountains. The ceilings are huge and it has the lodge feel inside as well. The bar wasn't comfortable because there were animals carved into the bar that protruded up. My brother had a duck right in his face.

I asked the bartender for a sampler. He set out the three beers that they had on tap, an amber, a raspberry wheat, and a light lager. I noticed that a stout and an ipa were listed on the board and inquired. The bartender told me that they were out and that they hadn't had a brewer in a while, but the liquor guy (they distill too) was taking over brewing.

I had an appetizer. The food is pretty good. I would recommend this place more as a steakhouse than as a brewpub. I hope they get a full time brewer and bring the beer up to par with the food. I did not sample the spirits, so they may be worth a try.

Photo of bozebus17
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I've been going to Gaylord my entire life, but this is the first time I decided to stop by Big Buck.

Walking in, the atmosphere is great. As one would expect from the name, it has a rustic theme with animals mounted throughout the building. When our waiter brought us the beer menu I was impressed with the selection. I went with their pale ale called Cascade. It was an excellent brew, and I felt $3.75 was a very good price for a pint. Some of the higher ABV beers were priced higher.

Other than the beer, the food was pretty good. I felt that the food was a bit over priced. I settled on a chicken dish. It was good, but I was disappointed. The portions just weren't enough, especially for the price. I had a very small piece of chicken and maybe about 1/3 cup of mashed potatoes. I believe our waiter must have noticed, because he brought me a cup of soup on the house after I cleared my plate.

One plus was the service. Our waiter was very friendly, and obviously went out of his way to please us since he brought be extra food.

Overall Big Buck was a good experience. As I said, the beer I had was fantastic, and the service was good. I would advise that if you are eating dinner to order an appetizer or salad with your meal.

Photo of Chugmonkey
4/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Great food. Beers are good. Not cheap, but for the quality of the food I've had, it is reasonable. Busy, busy, place, but that's a good sign - Great food & good beer will keep a place hopping.

I'm a hunter/fisherman and I loved the atmosphere - game animal mounts galore. Big steak and big mug of fresh beer surrounded by dead critters is right up my alley.

Clean & classy, but not upscale with ultra-modern design & overpriced food. A definite step up from a Sports Bar & Grill atmosphere. If you like good food and beer and want a decent meal check this joint out.

Photo of gotweid
4.3/5  rDev +19.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Big Buck is a favorite of mine. It combines fantastic food, excellent service, and outdoor/woodsy theme and great beer. The place is massive and has the hunting lodge feel and look throughout. But that does not mean low quality. They have a wide selection of food that is exceptional. Large portions too. Their own brews are all fantastic...I recommend them all. The service has always been outstanding. It's a tad pricey for a family...but the price is not out of range for what you are getting...great food and beer in an excellent atmosphere. The price is right in line when you look at it that way. Stop in, you will like it.

Photo of n0315
4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Easy to find, looks like a big log cabin with a huge buck protuding from the front. Easy access from the freeway. Wide varity of food and plenty of their own beer to go along with the food. Had a few offerings and must say I was not let down by any. The IPA was personally my fav, with the black river stout being pretty decent I thought, most beers I felt were a strong verson of most of the type. Staff seemed to be friendly as they always are. A very nice stop on the way to the bridge and the UP. A common place that I stop and eat while camping in the gaylord area or on my way to the bridge.

Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This place is huge...easy to find off of Route 75, tons of parking, brewery area cool to check out in the rear, behind the bar, music sucked when I visited, ABBA, disco, c'mon that can easily be improved. Over the top hunting/deer theme...they had 11 of their own brews flowing on tap, and available to go in growlers, the IPA was quite tasty and washed down a nice cod filet sandwedge and fries in a BA worthy style...food was balanced towards the steak and meatier type grub...decent place to go for a few pints or for a group or family dinner, definitly worked for a mid day lunch while driving thru Michigan...worth a visit if you are in the area

Photo of giblet
4.18/5  rDev +16.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

i will start with my favorite area...the bottom...

value - some would call this expensive. i call it cheap. good quality can rarely be found so inexpensively. if this place were on the east or left coast it should be worth twice the price...it is excellent.

food - i very very rarely order steaks when i go out to eat cuz i have all choice and prime at home. the steak and meal were very good.

selection on food and more importantly the beer were great.

service - only been there 3 times. first time the hostess was a bitch. the rest of the stay was good. the next two times were very good. she must have been having a bad day. i would too if i had to work there (i would be surrounded by great beer that i could not drink - OH THE HUMANITY!)

quality - excellent

atmosphere - very good

suckem up and movem out!

giblet

Photo of Dogbrick
4/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Big Buck is right off I-75 in Gaylord, and is impossible to miss thanks to the 2-story beer bottle outside (not sure if that is a year-round attraction). There is plenty of parking in front of the establishment.

Inside the atmosphere is like a hunting lodge. Lots of rustic decorations and game animal themes. The chairs even look like they are hand made. The brewing equipment is fully visible in the rear.

The beer selection is solid. There are 11 offerings from a Light to Stout. A couple ecclectic seasonals are available too like a Honey Rye and even a Grand Cru. All in all the beers are well-made, and samples are available for $1 each.

Our service here was pretty good on a Sunday afternoon. Our waiter was attentive and took care to explain all the different beers.

As for the food, it is pretty good. I had the Cajun Chicken Salad and it was large and tasted good. My wife's beer cheese soup was particularly good too.

All in all this place probably leans toward the Steakhouse side of things a little more than the Brewery, but the variety and quality of the beers (all were at least average) makes it a worthwhile stop on the interstate in Michigan.

Photo of frazbri
3.6/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

My most recent trip to the Big Buck Brewery was a Friday in late October. We got there at 9:00 and the place was busy, but we were seated quickly. This place has a hunting lodge theme going on. A cover band played light classic rock on one side of the bar, but it was at background volume.

Our server was friendly, quick, and knew the beer well enough. Food was the usual brewpub fare. (not a negative) Steaks were the feature menu item, (it is a steakhouse) but many fish and chicken options were available. Don't expect any bargain prices, but you will get alot of food.

The beer list is pretty basic. Stout, pale, 2 reds, lager, and light lager. I went with the oatmeal stout. It was a nitro poured, pleasing beverage and a good compliment to the N.Y. strip.

Big Buck is a worthwhile and easy stop off for those headed to or returning from the u. p.

Photo of Frozensoul327
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I love hitting this place when I'm on my way up to the Alma Mater Lake Superior State University. This place is consistant with the other one located in Auburn Hills, very similar overall. Atmosphere is like you are up north on a hunting trip (odds are, you may very well be). The quality of the food is far superior to anything else you will most likely get in the area. The service is excellent, with the staff keeping well versed in the seasonal beer offerings and specials of the day. The food and beer selection is damn good, considering you are boardering on being in the middle of nowhere. The food quality is great, and as in my other reviews, I highly recommend the beer cheese soup. Overall, a great experience. If you're on I-75 going to the U.P., be sure to stop. Highly recommended.

Photo of nortmand
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Nice place to stop on your way to Michigan's north. Large buiding with big steel beer bottle next to it. Inside lots of cabin deecorations, including, but not limited to deer antlers, deer heads, deer hooves and at least one deer ass.
The beer is generally OK, nothing special, but better than some. Pretty much just approachable, but not mindblowing for a seasoned BA. It took awhile to get a waitress, but after that service was good enough. For being a small time brewpub, they had an amazing beer selection. I think at least 10 beers, all with gravity, alcohol and IBU's listed.
Food is very good, but a little expensive. I had the fish and chips, which ended up being about two pounds of food.
Nice place to stop every once in awhile, if you're up north, stop in.

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Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse in Gaylord, MI
84 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.