Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wop's Hops Brewing

Don't let the "brewing" in the name fool you, because a few months back, Wop's Hops Brewing expanded into the space next door and now server some gourmet Italian bar food--and more. Wop's Hops Brewing is Sanford's first (and as of this writing, only) local micro brewery. Wop's Hops Brewing crafts English-style ales and does not use fillers, HFCS, GMOs, or other additives--the brew real beer and that is where they got their start. A popular local place, when the next door restaurant closed, Wop's Hops Brewing took the chance and moved into that space and started serving pub food, but good pub food, along with the beer. We recently gave them a try and did not leave disappointed.

After selecting a beer, I ordered the Chicken Pesto Flatbread. I'd been by before during an outdoor event and saw a few of their flatbreads flying out the door. They looked so good and seemed so popular that I already knew I wanted a flatbread--and I was not disappointed. I was surprised, first of all, by the abundance of chicken, and a nice tender chicken here. Usually flatbreads are a bit lean in the meat department, but this was really loaded. I'd say for my taste, perhaps a bit high on the garlic in the pesto, but it was a great and filling dish--I even had some to take home to enjoy another day. I'd get this again, though there are a few other items on the menu I want to try next time--and I know for certain there will be a next time, soon!

Tommy chose the Meatball Sub, served with a pasta side. The pasta side, first of all, was very good, nice and tasty. He also got a side of "gravy" (tomato sauce) for the sub. Overall the sub was good--the meatballs nice and tender and tasty. I thought it would have been better had some of the sauce been served on the sub itself, but that's a personal preference. There was one misstep here, and that's what I consider a procedural step in the kitchen--the bun was slightly burned when they toasted it. Not terribly, horribly burned, but definitely charred a bit too much, I imagine the cheese burned, so that was just a bit off-putting. Not enough to ruin it or send it back, but it showed a bit of lack of attention to detail--if I were chef, I'd have redone it. Perhaps it was because the chef appeared to have friends in the dining room and spent time with them. But it was a bit of a misstep.

Nonetheless and overall, we enjoyed our meal, and both took some portions home, the food was a healthy, full serving. And of course the beer and cider was also very good. Greg and his staff do a great job, and we felt very well taken care of. We'll be back, for sure. And, by the way, I spied someone having nachos. Not Italian, maybe, but definitely bar food, and they looked way good, too. I'll be back for them sooner rather than later.

Oh, and about being Sanford's first and only micro-brewery so far--well, Sanford Brewing Company is getting set up about a block away and will be opening within a month or two with a full kitchen as well, and a smaller place, Inner Compass Brewing Company, will open sometime in the near future a few blocks away. Along with the downtown Sanford Homebrew Shop which supplies all sorts of brewing needs for beer, wine, cider, cheese, etc., and nearby Celery City Craft which has 51 craft beers and ciders on tap plus hundreds more in bottles and cans (and Celery City is set to expand later this year into a much larger space), Sanford is now truly a craft beer lovers destination. But the granddaddy of them all is Wop's Hops Brewing, they really started it all for those who truly treasure the experience of drinking craft beers and ciders. Come for the beer, stay for the food and fun, you won't be disappointed. They have a great outdoor patio which is fun in the cooler months and evenings, and often have live entertainment as well. You will not be disappointed, I guarantee it!


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