Bricktown Brewery & Blackwater Grill

Liked Their Beers
0 w/ 0 ratings

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

299 Main St
Dubuque, Iowa, 52001-6930
United States

(563) 582-0608

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Ratings: 11 |  Reviews: 11
Reviews by nsmartell:
Photo of nsmartell
2.53/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Decided to check this place out while staying 35 minutes away in Galena. Drove in just for lunch and beers.

Atmosphere: Very cool brick exterior/interior. I always dig the exposed ductwork and visible brewing tanks. Crowd was diverse in age and sex only.

Quality: There is something wrong with these beers. None of us could figure it out, but they all had the same bad aftertaste. The reviews were even mixed on the root beer for our party of 6.

Service: You kind of expect "beginner" service in a small college town. I have to give our lady her due as we all got the right food and it was served promptly. However, she tried taking my order twice; 1st from my left and again as soon as I turned to the right. Then when I asked for more information about the "Japanese style" beer I was given as part of my sampler that was not on the website I checked out before going, nor on the menu, she just pointed to the beer and said, "It's that one." I asked again in case she didn't hear my right, but she again pointed to it and said to just try it. I knew where this was going and decided to cut my losses. Then she didn't clear any of our plates away.

Selection: Good variety as my reasonably priced sampler tray of beers came with 7 varieties and the house root beer. Unfortunately, they did not have anything printed up so I could remember all that I was given. I still have not been able to find anything on the aforementioned "Japanese" beer and a few of the beers on the pre-printed menu were not available.

Food: Just about everybody in our party liked what they ordered and the selection was decent.

Value: I found it to be reasonably priced and was expecting higher prices based on prior reviews.

A couple of good things I can say for these beers is that they are consistent (as in the aftertaste) and they are trying to bring some beer culture to Dubuque. I just hope this doesn't turn macro drinkers away from micro.

As I was heading back to our table after checking the place out, I saw another group that ordered the beer sampler and they had the same look on their faces after trying a beer that we had: "What is that aftertaste?" Pretty funny stuff.

If you are in the area, it is worth checking out in the hopes that the beers improve, as I don't think they can get any worse.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of pmcadamis
2.25/5  rDev -18.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 1 | service: 3.5 | selection: 1.5 | food: 3

My fiance and I drove over to Dubuque for the singular purpose of visiting this microbrewery. We were spending the weekend at the cabin in Galena and Dubuque is only a fifteen minute drive...I would drive hours to try a new beer.

The atmosphere is upscale microbrewery chic akin to Rockbottom or any other large "micro" brewery. There are some really cool copper brewery apparatus in a glass encased room in the middle of the restaurant seating, and the whole joint is decked out in dark wood tones with low lighting. It's nice.

The wait staff were cheery and helpful even on a very dull and quiet night like last night. My waitress was very helpful in explaining what beers were available and was very accommodating to this beer geek that can be somewhat picky and finicky about his beer.

The food was really good, but a bit pricey. The beer is fairly priced but be prepared to shell out some dough for the food. My cheap ass got the least expensive thing on the menu and I think my burger was about $10.

The beer is the worst part about this place. The vanilla beers taste like chemically fake vanilla extract used in baking, and at least two of the beers taste really, really rotten bad. The 1516 and The Mexican were decently drinkable, but very average and almost boring beers. I walked away from Bricktown basically pissed off that the beer was so bad. I really think that something is very wrong with their keg system or something. The beer is bad.

I hate to say it, but I would not recommend this place at all. As a restaurant, it's okay, but as a brewery it sucks a big one.

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Photo of jim102864
2.85/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3.5

No reason to expect much from a pub in a town like Dubuque. Yeah, it's got a certain degree of character for a midwestern town, but it's a farming and manufacturing community which has simply no interest in quality beer. Bricktown Brewery is located at the center of this old town on Main Street. The building itself is large and inviting. The brewpub has large windows that enable passers-by to see the interior, including the large brew tanks in the center of the dining room. The interior is typical brew pub what with all the brick and suspended "factory" style hanging lamps, dark wood and high ceilings. Nice long bar. All very attractive, but all having absolutely no impact on the quality of the beer that's being served. I went right for a staple brew in any brewpub. I have to say this was simply one of the thinnest pale ale's I've ever tasted. Where is the hop bitterness in aroma and finish? The mouthfeel was as slippery and meaningless as a Bud Light. No malt flavor. Bland and "off" either from the metallic aftertaste or lack of quality ingrediants or both. This place is simply a typical bar in a brewpub's clothing. Now, the rib eye I ordered was fine and the service acceptable. But if you're a beer hunter looking for something of quality in Dubuque, you won't find it here. I did try a place called 180 Main Street that actually served McChouffe in a bottle along with a few Fat Tire products, so all was not totally lost in the beer wasteland that is Dubuque. Bricktown itself is fine for dinner but not for the beer.

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Photo of MikeFromMarsPA
3.5/5  rDev +26.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

After a long hot day on the road, Bricktown Brewery was a welcome stop in a small town. We got there at around 8pm on a Monday night, so there was no crowd. We took seats at the bar and had beer samples in front of us very quickly.

First off, the good things: service was fast, attentive and friendly, and the food was excellent. We had the Mac & Cheese (with fried chicken chunks and mushrooms- awesome!) and a Cajun pasta. We were both quite happy with those and brought leftovers.

It was the beer selection and quality that was average at best in my mind. The menu suggested that there were five different varieties, but only three were on tap that day: the Laughing Ass Lager, the Get Fuggled Ale, and the Black Eye Stout. The bartender also gave us samples of the Lager and Stout with squirts of vanilla flavoring in them. The extra flavor didn't help. The lager was a lager... nuff said. The stout was great through the first half of the pint but got old quick. The Get Fuggled Ale was the best of the bunch... we were camping nearby so we filled one of our growlers to sip by the campfire. It was pretty obvious that our bartender didn't know a whole lot about beer, but for an Iowa boy, he knew plenty about Pittsburgh sports teams, so we forgave him.

If my travels ever take me through Dubuque again, I'll certainly stop in. Nothing spectacular or creative to write home to Mom about, but generally competent. Give it a shot.

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Photo of dlloyd4114
2.25/5  rDev -18.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 1 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Let me start out by saying it isn't easy being so down on a place. The experience started off bad and never improved. The place was busy when we walked in and I almost always take that as a good sign. We found out later they probably can't move people through very fast because of sub standard service. We went in and grabbed a seat at the bar and should have figured out since we had a wait; the bar should be busy; it wasn't. I asked the bartender to tell me about their beer. He said try the Mexican and I asked what it was, he replied it's our most popular beer. No info was forthcoming as to it style or anything else. He brought me a sample and I gave it a try. And another. It didn't help; no flavor or sense of beer style came through. I said maybe something a little darker was more to my liking. He served up two more samples but did not tell me what they were or anything else. The more medium colored one was the worst beer I had ever tasted. I don't know the name of the beer or what it was supposed to be. It tasted very much like some sort of cleaning solvent. The darker beer was OK but I still don't know what kind of beer it was. There wasn't anything thing from the flavor that I could use to determine it's style. it could as easily have been Miller Light with food coloring.
Let's move on now to when we were seated. Our server came by and said she would be right with us.Five minutes later a different server came by and started the agonizing process of getting food. We placed our orders, there were 4 of us, and we didn't order anything complicated. A couple of sandwiches and two single serving pizzas. A half hour later our server reappeared and said the kitchen had made a mistake and put the toppings for the two pizzas on to one pizza and they needed to start over. 15 minutes later here comes the food. The pizzas were nice and hot and reasonably good. The sandwiches were evidently ready when the server first told us of the kitchen error. The sandwiches were cold and the fries were worse. We asked them to at least bring some fresh fries and they did bring one order to replace the two cold orders. To the restaurant and the servers credit, when she brought the check, she only charged for two of the meals. I know that things happen and they did make it right with out any complaint on our part.
But remember this; the beer was terrible!

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.5/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 1.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Selection: 7 beers and house made root beer. Beers appear to rotate regularly. Variety is good. This past weekend they offered: Stout, Vienna Lager, Doppelbock, Honey Ale, Nutbrown, Scottish Ale, and a Vanilla beer. They had an on deck list featuring a couple of fruit beers that were due to hit the taps at the end of the month.

Quality: Varies a bit but mostly on the negative side. I was impressed by the Vienna Lager dubbed simply “Mexican.” I found their Doppelbock to be completely off for the style and yet absolutely dazzling. It smelled and tasted like Drei Fontaine Oude (This is a very bad thing for most people but I love a little battery acid and donkey dung with my beer). The other beers I tasted ranged from mediocre to terrible mostly because they were under hopped/malted, generally just bland, and completely not fitting with style requirements. All beers were insanely carbonated.

Food: Try the Tortilla Soup. It’s thick and creamy almost like Chile con Queso with smoked chicken added. Served with a side of colored tortilla chips, a cup is a meal to itself. I was pleased with the burgers and sandwiches but didn’t try the heavier entrées, which included ribs, steaks, and some sea food.

Service: It wasn’t really existent. I felt like I was in the South where people don’t tip and it’s hot so wait staff just don’t really work. It took about 10 minutes after we were sat to make a drink order and another 10 to get our first beers. The place was not even remotely busy. Staff just didn’t seem to be in the mood to hustle. Staff were not around to take orders for more beers either. Otherwise the staff were very friendly and knew the beers. They were just lazy/poorly motivated. Pricing was a touch on the high side for the area. Growlers are available for $9 including the fill and bottle.

Atmosphere: A winning point. Bricktown is housed in a 19th Century Wagon Factory. Its beautiful brick walls are decorated with wagon parts and tools befitting of its history. The place is very spacious with a glass walled room housing the brewing equipment located between the bar and restaurant. Numerous booths lined the windows in the front, large tables sat adjacent, and the bar area had plenty of standing space for weekend nights. Ample parking is available to the side of the building and Bricktown is easily accessible from the HWY 151 bridge, just follow the signs to Main St. The parking lot is at the corner of Main and 3rd.

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Photo of circuitmonkey
3.03/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5

I'm not going to repeat whats already been said about the building and ill just stick to my experience there.

I had dinner there with 7 other people around 8:00, was about a 20 min wait just to be seated in the bar area.

Beer menu had over a 15 beers, however only about a third were on tap, and sadly the ones I was the least interested in (most of their beers are "seasonal"). I had the scottish ale and vanilla ale. Scottish ale was ok, and the vanilla ale was rather dissapointing. Food came out in a decent time, and was very tasty. The beer menu itself didnt offer much to tell you much about each individual beer, about two lines of description if that.

I would definitly be willing to return there for the food, but wouldnt be setting my hopes too high for whatever their next round of seasonal beer is.

One other note; good luck finding parking; which is shared between bricktown, and the pizzaria that is in the same building. Best bet is to find a spot on the street, or another lot that doesnt threaten towing.

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Photo of edbeered
2.6/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 1 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

Dubuque is a lovely town, just chock full of beautiful historic buildings. Bricktown Brewery is housed in one such building. Beautiful brickwork on the outside, high ceilings and a lovely atmosphere on the inside-until you taste the beer.

Either the brewer doesn't know to rinse the kettles after cleaning them, or he likes the taste of detergent in his beers. Bricktown offers a variety of styles(stout, an English pale ale with the delightful name of "Get Fuggled", a Scotch ale, and two lagers). All of them taste terrible. It's no accident that their best-seller is an offering that goes by the name of Mexican Lager. They put a lime in it, which makes it seem palatable. I noticed a lot of customers trying the beer samplers and not finishing them. It's really quite a shame. Dubuque deserves better. The food is quite good. I wish I could say the same for the beer.

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Photo of mynie
2.3/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 1 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 4

Dubuque's downtown district is nice, I guess, but far too touristy for me. Lots of brick storefronts that sell potpurri and expensive Teddy Bears.

Bricktown is housed in a beautiful old brick building that takes up half of a city block. The ceilings are high and the windows are big--everything is made of wood and has a Pier One feel to it. It's completely inoffensive and sometimes a little pretty.

The prices were good, especially considering that the building is surrounded by business that survive only because they are so damn expensive. The waiter was friendly and there was a nice beer menu at every booth.

But the beer sucked and sucked hard. Underbrewed chemical bullshit, the lot of it.

If you want a nice place to eat a tasty meal for cheap, come to Bricktown. If you're looking for good beer, go somewhere else.

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Photo of ironstein
3.13/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5

Bricktown has its ups and downs. The atmosphere is excellent. It is located in a century old building that was originally a wagon factory at the turn of the 1900's. The main floor is the restaurant that offers a great menu. Unfortunately the service is incredibly slow. Do not go if you are in a hurry.

The beer is nothing to call home about. Their selection can be spotty at times and most of them taste as if someone is brewing it with a copy of "Brewpubs for Dummies" in their hand. Not much for having a signature taste or any uniqueness. The downstairs is split into two bars, the Underground and the Stonewall Lounge.

The Underground is a dance club. On a busy night you can wait forever to get a drink. Plus Dubuquers have this unexplained need to congregate in large huddles directly in front of bars, obstructing anyone from being able to go up and order a drink. Its rather annoying. The Stonewall Lounge is a little more relaxed than the Underground. This is where you can find the microbrews. Its almost a time-warp walking between the two. The Underground is loaded with college-age people in their 20's while the Stonewall will have more people in their 30's and 40's.

All in all its not worth it for drinking purposes. The food is good and if you can tolerate the slow service I recommend eating there. If you want to drink in Dubuque you'll find a better time in the 100's of other little bars peppered through the town. Personal favorites of mine are The Bier Stube, The Lounge, Murph's South End Tap, and The Busted Lift, unfortunately the Busted Lift recently had a fire and is closed indefinitely until they can rebuild.

2005 Edit:
Since writing this I've frequented Bricktown a few more times. Service definitely got better after the first few months of its opening. The micros still aren't all they could be. Definite place to check out if you're in Dubuque. In fact the area it is located in(The Old Main District), has seen some nice revitalization as there are also a handful of other bars and restaurants that have popped up in the last year or so as well as a great wine store just down the block on Main St.

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Photo of ryanocerus
3.8/5  rDev +37.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

I just cannot stay away from brewpubs. This one was pretty new when I sampled, so some allowances were made. The place sits in the historic district of Dubuque, so it is situated amongst older buildings. It fits in nicely with the surroundings. Once inside, the design is a refinished older building. The old limestone brick walls were left exposed to complement the new decor. The brewey tanks in the middle of the restaurant (per the usual brewpub style) look nice. The selection of in-house brewed beers is good, but the availability is spotty. The bar service can take longer than expected, but the food is excellent IMHO. Upstairs is a hall for parties (I almost had my wedding reception there). Downstairs is a traditional bar for people to get louder. I enjoyed the food and beer alot.

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Bricktown Brewery & Blackwater Grill in Dubuque, IA
Brewery rating: - out of 100 with 0 ratings
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