Blue Cat Brew Pub

Blue Cat Brew PubBlue Cat Brew Pub

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

113 18th St
Rock Island, Illinois, 61201-8708
United States

(309) 788-8247 | map

Monday - Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00am
Sunday: CLOSED

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Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 35
Photo of KurtE
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

OK I admit, this was a favorite college hang of mine so I am biast. But it gets points from me since it has been a brew pub around since at least 1993 when I first darkened the door. I have always liked it, good beer, good food, great college bar.

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Photo of morimech
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3

On a Monday evening it was pretty dead. Just a few other patrons when my group arrived. Blue Cat does try and incorporate some local diversity and artwork into the space. The merchandise looks cheap though. The waitress was efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly and probably the best part of the experience. The food menu and beer choices have enough variety to interest just about everyone. But the quality of each was a let down. The kalamari that looked like and tasted like mozzella sticks, and the BBQ ribs that had no flavor besides the sauce, to a pork chop with an apricot sauce that did not really work, to beers that were not up to the quality of other breweries in the area, it was all a disappointment. To me it tasted like the Old Ale used a Belgian yeast and the hops did not really burst through in the pale ales. Prices were good. I think it is time to refreshen the beers and menu.

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Photo of BirdmanJohn
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.25

Pretty good little spot. Very friendly and inclusive staff. I had a few different variety here but since I was there back in March 2013 only one seems to stand out now Befuddled Brewers Abbey something. I loved it wish I had taken notes so I could give everyone more information. I will update this if I get back to Rock Island.

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Photo of Grinky
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.25

The beer is very reasonably priced ($3.25 a pint?) and they have some seasonal stuff that we seek out. The food is ambitious - duck drummies are great! - but sometimes the menu's reach exceeds the kitchen's grasp. Don't miss Tuck's Tenacious Tripel and give the anniversary beers a try. Count Magnus is Tuck's big brother and also worth the trip.

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Photo of BLUESequalsLIFE
1.45/5  rDev -60.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 1

Our first visit was fine, about a year and a half ago. Went there in December after Christmas to have a nice evening with about 15 friends who were all back visiting the Quad Cities for the holidays.

Worst. Service. Ever.

Told the waitress that we weren't going to have dinner, but would be there enjoying the beers for the rest of the night. We were "allowed" to sit at a table, but told that she was "too busy" to help us, and we would have to walk over to the bar to get our drinks and whatever. So that was Bad Service Item 1.

Bad Service Item 2. The bartender. Surly. Never smiled. Never checked on us. Had to go to him, as we couldn't get his attention for love nor money. One table of friends ended up going upstairs where the good service was (I guess) because of the bartender's attitude. (Oh, and of the 15 of us, 8 of us are bar or restaurant professionals, so we KNOW what good service is supposed to be. We ain't just bloviating, here!)

Bad Service Item 3. Ordered some cheese fries. They never came. Couldn't get the bartender's attention, so finally flagged down a guy who might have been the manager, and he brought them right out. Cold, of course. They must have been sitting out for 15 minutes. No apologies. Just cold, and never saw him again, either.

Bad Service Item 4. Could it get worse? Apparently, yes. Called for my bill. Our "friendly" barkeep tried to ring it up, and then came over to the tables, and asked, in a surly voice, if he could see my I.D. I asked why, and he held a receipt up three inches from my face. "What's that?" I asked. In a loud voice, he announced to the whole group that my card had been denied three times, and that he needed my ID. I told him we would go over to the bar to straighten it out (as it was a debit card with 3 grand in the account) and there discovered that the problem was that he was trying to use someone else's card. Oooops. Not how this situation should ever be handled.

And that brings us to Bad Service Item Number 5. For the next 4 weeks, I tried once or twice a week to get in touch with the owners of the bar. I left my phone number. I told what happened. I explained I would like to speak with them regarding the issue. Might as well have been shouting down a hole. I know they can't fix an issue without knowing about it. It seems the reason they have issues like this, is because they just don't give a damn. The last time I called, I told the guy who answered the phone, (whom I had talked to before) that if the owners weren't interested in talking to me, I would regrettably have to put a bad review online. "It seems like the owners' don't care about this issue," I said.

"Whatever," he said, and hung up on me.

So the bottom line is: the beer is average, the food is so-so, and the service is the worst. And apparently, that's how the owners' like it, so just find somewhere else to go. We will.

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Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

First of all this place gets points for Marley's Blackstrap Stout alone. For a 5.6 ABV beer it was probably the most flavorful I've ever had, and even enjoyed it better than they bigger beers (which I also liked). I tried to reflect on other beers I had with molasses, but decided this was now something I would have to look into more. The place itself was ok, although it had a peculiar immediate neighborhood vibe to it. The selection I was also pleased with, although I didn't try any food. If I am in the area again, I am very likely to stop here again and hope I'm lucky enough to have Marley's Black Strap again.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Stopped in a week ago and enjoyed one of their high abv Beglian Strong Ales. My co-workers and I had anticipated dining butg due to the weather all the establishement was offering were cold sandwiches. I suppose its better than nothing. Either way I went back again tonight for dinner and a few brews. The service was nothing short of alright. The waitress was friendly and she did her job but didn't go out of her way to make me and my co-workers feel welcome. The steak I had was great, as was the pizza soup I enjoyed before-hand. The beers I sampled were all good. I had the Old English, the Stout and the Belgian Strong. The price is certainly right at this place. You really can't go wrong when it comes to the cost. Three Belgian Strongs (10% abv) cost $11.25. They could have easily charged $5-$6 per pour fpr that brew. Overall, I recomend you hit this place up. It's worth the time.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited on a Wednesday around noon. Dining area doing a brisk business lunch. I sat at the bar which only had one person.

On tap: wheat, pale, old English ale, stout, Scottish, and a hefe.

I had the pale and old English ale. The pale had a crystal malt sweetness which I found myself enjoying. Virtually no hop aroma which was a negative. The old English ale was very good. For 6.5% alcohol is was very drinkable. Nice malt profile and creamy carbonation. Also had the stout which came in at 6.1% which a complex and roasty malt profile. The English and stout were both very well done.

Had the wings, galic and inferno, which were pretty good although the inferno (or hotest level they had) were really not that hot. Real chunks of blue cheese in the side of blue cheese dressing was a plus.

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Photo of greenfeet
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

We stopped here after a brewpub on the Iowa side the previous day. The difference was amazing. Located just off the river where the casino boat used to dock, they now have the feel of a favorite locals pubs with a loyal regulars crowd. We were seated at the bar and both the bartender and the other patrons were very friendly and knowledgeable.

The beers were interesting and displayed a wide range of styles well done, including a super smokey stout and rich-tasting abbey. The food here was terrific with the pork tenderloin sandwich the tradition twice-the-bun in size but grilled with mushrooms instead of breaded and fried. It was fabulous.

There are other businesses in the area, so it feels safe and there is parking, but it's probably not as busy as it was when the casino was right there too. I'd gladly go back again.

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Photo of Threegoofs
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Stopped in here while traveling in the Quad Cities on business.
Was by myself - ate at the bar.

First beer - Old English Ale. EXCELLENT beer. Very complex, great aroma, hopped well.

Thought I'd get the sampler and some of the sirloin chili in a sourdough bowl.

Ugh. The chili was OK, the sourdough bowl tasted like a pita. Yuk. No spice, and no tabasco around either. Was hoping for little grilled bits of steak.. not much taste.

Sampler turned up some decent beers. Abbey was very good, coriander/orange also good. The pale ale and wheat were very bland... great training beers at best. Mocha stout tasted more like Coffee than beer. A LOT more.

Overall? I'd get an English Ale and a burger next time.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

My wife and I recently visited the Blue Cat Brewpub with our kids while we were in the Quad Cities for the Marathon. It is a fine place to get a meal and have some beer. For the Quad Cities it is at or near the top, but on a nationwide basis compared to other brewpubs it is simply one of many. The food was good, the beer was good, the atmosphere was okay. The place feels a little bit rundown or perhaps just "bar-like." The kids menu was impromptu, or perhaps there just weren't any printed up. I would say the quality of the food was passable and the quality of the beer was a slight nudge over average. I enjoyed the scottish terrier, it was a tasty beer. Really the only thing that was a little awkward was that they were out of the appetizer we ordered and when we simply "passed" on an appetizer I felt like the server turned into a salesman trying to get us to buy something. Other than that the experience was enjoyable. The service was attentive for the most part, though the ketchup didn't make it to the table until I was finished with my burger. With kids in tow, you can't afford to wait. I feel almost like I should give "higher grades" but compared to other establishments I have visited that would just be unfair.

I do want to reiterate that for this area it is a fine choice for the beer lover who is looking to try something new and get a meal.

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

A solid place on the banks of the Mississippi River. Visiting friends out in the Quad Cities and stopped in here for dinner. Old looking diner kind of place that you wouldn't think would house a brewery until you see the tank room behind the bar. Seated on the upper level with a decent view of the river. Beer was okay, a bit thin, the DIPA tasted like gummi worms but the Old English Ale I had was pretty good. Prices are CHEAP compared to Chicago or any other larger city, but I suppose this is to be expected way out here, still it I had a bit of sticker shock when I ordered my meal for $6 (?!?!?) bucks. That won't even get you one beer in most bars in Chicago let alone an entire entree. I had the catfish which was spicy and delicious, the fries were very good and countered the spice of the catfish nicely. Beer could be better but the Old English Ale was promising. Also I got a really kick ass looking growler there. Has a nice gasket cap instead of the twist off caps and looks like something out of a metal music video. It did cost $35 bucks for the growler and the fill which was a bit of a surprise to me when this bill came as it was more than all the food and drinks I ordered combined, but such is the price of a really cool looking growler. If I was in the area again I would probably hit this place up again. Good but not great, a nice find for the area and a nice little location as well.

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Photo of mightyatom
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

ok.. sometimes when rating places, you have to take into consideration your surroundings... The quad cities offer very little in terms of quality beer bars (unless you like 10 cent progressive drafts?!?) So, what would usually be a slightly above average brewpub becomes a beacon of hope for what might be.

To start, i chatted with the owner's from time to time, and they take a good deal of pride in their menu. They support a lot of local produce (means fresher/healthier food) and prepare everything in house. Soups are usually good, sometime great. Sandwiches and entree's are all adequate, but really good for the quad cities, where a 'good' meal might mean olive garden... ugh.

Beers are adequate. The old dog is tasty, a good fallback, and random seasonals are usually decent. Triple is good for getting the job done. I would stay away from the light beers, although my mom really liked their wheat (hint, she doesn't really like beer).

Overall, not a bad hangout, and one of only a few options when in the quad cities. Would probably be a B/B- in another area though...

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I first went to Blue Cat with my fiancee about 4 years ago when she started school in the Quad Cities and it's always had a place in my heart ever since. It's a super laid-back venue with old, worn booths and a rustic exposed brick interior; yet an upscale Scotch and spirits selection, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and really good food and beer make it a quality brewpub without the pretension you sometimes get at like establishments.

Their food ranges from decent to really phenomenal for the price. We went there a few months ago for lunch on a Saturday and their special was "just something the chef threw together today and wanted to try out." It was a flaky, buttery crust stuffed with Italian cheeses, herbs, and smoked salmon. It was delicious, and was the inspiration for an appetizer I've made several times now. PS, I recommend the Pub Fries with Bacon and Cheddar if you're out for a coupla beers and get the's a Quad City favorite.

Anyway, their beer is all over the board; of their four "regular" beers, I really like the Big Bad Dog Olde English Ale (sort of an introduction to British Old Ales) and their stouts/porters are usually quite good. The Off the Rail Pale Ale is kind of funky and their Wigged Pig Wheat is a bit sterilized and boring, though it would be a PERFECT introductory beer for those just getting into craft-brewing from the macro world. The success of their speciality/seasonal beers varies too; they do a couple of absolutely fantastic Belgian-style ales, an above average tart cranberry ale, a good (rarely seen) French-style Saison, a bourbon raspberry ale, and some more mediocre stuff as well.

The beer (usually good, outstanding at times) is complimented by a friendly and attentive service staff who know the products, know the food pairings, etc, and if they're not too busy are willing to sit down and talk with you about brewing. During the day, the atmosphere is laid-back, quiet, and casual; at night, they open the upstairs, the college crowd comes in, and there's music, pool, etc. You kind of just have to figure out which time of the day the atmosphere suits you best.

All in all, it's not without a few flaws, but Blue Cat is a rock solid brewpub, one of the better ones in Illinois.

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Photo of shivtim
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

This was pretty much the only establishment open in downtown Rock Island at 1PM on a Saturday. We walked in and grabbed a corner booth. The inside is bright blue, kind-of maritime, and bright and sunny thanks to all of the huge windows. The food was ok/good. I had the Brunswick stew. One of my friends had a steak and ale pot-pie special and really liked it. Another friend siad the croutons on her salad were "excellent." Quite cheap for lunch. The beer was also just ok, and they had 6 on tap. Service was good though, very friendly and efficient. I think it may have been the manager or owner who was waiting on us, and the bartender was nice too; he gave us directions to the nearest Whitey's Ice Cream. Overall this place is a decent option, but nothing special. Certainly an ok stop if you're in the Quad Cities.

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Photo of Mdog
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Tried this brewpub on a trip home for the holidays. I hadn't been here in years so it was pretty much new to me.

Stopped in for lunch and sat in the downstairs area. Blue walls, generic 80's tables and booths. I had the Old Ale and the Arkham stout, both were decent but nothing too special. They had their three main beers and three seasonal/special beers on tap.

I had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich and fries, it was very good. The food selection was quite varied and reasonably priced. My waiter was attentive enough.

There is a larger bar area upstairs that is used at night, but I visited during the day.

Overall, I think the food is pretty good here but the beer selection didn't really have anything that jumped out at me.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
3.34/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Older buidling down by the river and across the street from a riverboat casino. The place is refurbished to urban chic--painted ceiling, exposed duct work, stone tile bar, etc. Nice atmosphere but a little sterile. Good crowd after lunch, and the menu looked good, some veggie options, and upscale pub fare.

The brewhouse is enclosed behind glass on the other side of the bar. A brewer--Bernard--was working and gave me some background on their beers. Looks like they good with the standard five plus a seasonal which was a peat smoked scotch ale that is brewed and aged for the local highland games every year.

Overall the beers were a bit thin and not to my liking. The Coriander and Orange is obviously going for the spice of a wit but the mouthfeel was too light in an American wheat beer Others suffered similar problems. The Mississippi Mocha Stout was good and a passable coffee stout. The Scotch Terrier was good, but you really gotta love smoke and peat for this one--a bit much for me.

Blue Cat has some solid beers and a decent place to hang out. Not exceptional but a good local pub. If in town though, I wouldn't go out of my way--might stop at Bent River, but probably not here. But, if there for other reasons, a perfectably ok place to drink.

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Photo of mynie
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

From what I gather, Rock Island is nothing but a series of 3 downtown districts. So, when I say this is in Rock Island's touristy downtown that's really not saying much. Umm... it was by one of the casinos, if that helps.

Stopped in a little after 8 on a Tuesday and the place was pretty much dead. This was nice, actually. Nice and quiet. No one getting rowdy or anything.

The waitress was a peach. You could tell that she liked drinking the beer there and wasn't afraid to tell you what she thought of each one--good or bad.

The food was very tasty. The menu was fairly wide and varied and even included some more adventrous fair. We really enjoyed what we ate, and it didn't cost very much.

The ber was very hit or miss. Diactyl abounded, but in the beers that had enough hops or other flavors to cover it up, you didn't notice it. This meant that the light ones were pretty crappy, though.

What was nice is that the beer selection went above what you'd normally see. There was a light, a stout, a weizen, and a pale, but there was also an ESB, an English Old ale, and a second, very strong APA.

A very nice place to stop by, I'd say. When you add to it the fact that the best beer bar in the area is right down the block you got yourself an evening.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Put on your thinking caps, geography buffs! I felt as if I had gotten here by taking the long way around, almost a circle route. I had been in CHI earlier on this trip and now, I was on the western side of Illinois by way of Iowa. Who says you can’t get there from here? Actually, who else would want to take my route?

Speaking of routes, the bus from Davenport, IA’s central station dropped me off almost out front, only a block from the riverfront. They had a slightly inclined vestibule that opened at a left angle onto the maitre d’ station to the immediate right. The whole place was angular and so the bar was just forward of the top of the entryway, but behind a short wall, navigated past the m.d.s., but not easily described. The wood and dark marble bar was also a zigzag shape, mostly to the right side of the overall space. To the extreme right of the bar were blue vinyl booths that ran down the wall and along the front windows. Also, to the bar’s extreme right, were a set of steps leading up to a non-smoking section, also with blue vinyl booths plus tables and chairs. Up there, I was able to easily see into the brewhouse, which was also visible behind the back bar, but not as clearly.

Returning to the first floor, off to the left, past the m.d.s., headed straight back, left of the brewhouse, and up a set of stairs, was the kitchen. Beyond that was another dining area with a set of steps up to the second floor. Up there, they had a couple of electronic darts; a few video games; a separate, equally angular bar; four (4) pool tables; and a great view of the game room. There was also a back stairwell that descended onto the dining area that I mentioned earlier, overlooking the brewhouse.
It suddenly dawned on me – the layout was a life-sized version of the game of Clue! I took the Secret Passage from the Billiards Room back to the Bar, only to discover Miss Scarlet stirring my drink with a candlestick. Ha! By the way, just for the record, “Cat” in the name is short for “catfish”.

Their beers were really good, especially with Granite City’s beers still lingering in my recent memory. The offerings included Wigged Pig Wheat (5.0%); Off the Rail Pale Ale (5.7%); Big Bad Dog Old English Ale (6.5%); River Back Jack IPA (6.0%); Tuck’s Tenacious Trippel (9.6); and Arkham Stout (5.6%). My, my.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

My wife and I stopped in here on our way back from a recent trip to Michigan. It was lunchtime on a Monday and we were one of the first few in the brewpub. We had a short, pleasant conversation with the brewer who was reading the paper at the bar. A man who I later learned was the owner, sat down at the bar and chatted a bit with the brewer also. The place had somewhat of a trendy atmosphere, but not overly so. The crowd at the time seemed to be local business professionals stopping in for lunch. However, it was comfortable and somewhat laid back.

There were three standard beers on tap, one of which was an Olde Ale style, which surprised me as being a standard (being a somewhat 'esoteric' style. There were two seasonal ales and a stout, judging by the ABV, a dry stout.

We only ordered a few appetizers for a light lunch, but the food was decent.

The service was prompt and attentive, but not annoying.

We will return in the future, but I cannot say exactly when. While the beer was good and food was decent, the variety wasn't as good as one of the other local brewpubs, which we have visited previously. However, overall, I recommend stopping at least once if you live somewhat locally and give the place a try.

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Photo of hoffman
2.95/5  rDev -20.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I was in town on a business trip...working for John Deere the Quad Cities is like mecca. When asked where would you like to go for dinner, I responded, "I would like a some good food and a good beer". We entered the blue cat and I was not overly impressed the bar was nice but nothing extravagant, you walk in to see the brew kettle to your right and seating to your left. We were seated quickly. The service was ok at best we sat for a long while before even getting served a beer. I had the trippel on their sheet of 7 beers it was adequate a nice entry but not an earthquake from my standpoint. Overall the food was good and inexpensive (even though I did not pay). Apparently this place is "it" in the quad cities which is not a good thing.

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Photo of bashiba
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The Blue Cat Brewpub is a great little Micro Brew in the Illinois Quad City area. The atmosphere is enjoyable with some light music and good sports on during the lunch hour with a pleasant patrons inside to a happening night spot on the weekends with heavier music and a packed upstairs.
The quality of the food and Beer is very good with only the occansional blemish. And the service is usually also excellent, although can be a little lacking on packed weekends, but its nice to go in during the day and the staff is all very knowledgeable and well informed. The Selection is very good with 3 regular Brews and 3 Beers that rotate in and out. This leads to almost something different every time I make it down. Food is also very good, and enjoyable place it eat even if you are with someone who isn't there for the beer like the rest of us. Also has a very good High end bar selection.
Highly endorse this establisment.

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Blue Cat Brew Pub in Rock Island, IL
3.58 out of 5 based on 124 ratings.
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