After reporting to Jessica on the relative unsmokiness of Riverstone last Friday, she suggested we give it another try this week. She’s still not drinking, on account of she’s still not not-pregnant, but she’s a damn good sport.
When we get in at 730p, we notice two things. First, the bar is ridiculously busy, yet not smoky at all. Second, the guy behind the bar looks familiar. Turns out it’s Jay, owner of Daily Grind on Willey St. Jay hands us a beer list, and we see that the new guy behind the bar is part of a larger change: Riverstone is now Jay’s Hideaway. He tells us the change was made last Sunday, so my visit last week was likely Riverstone’s last hurrah.
The changes seem positive. There’s a lot of Friends of Jay to be seen, and halfway along a woman starts up a chant praising Jay for making the place smoke-free; applause ensues. This is kind of a shock – I don’t believe there is a single smoke-free bar in Morgantown. If this first-weekend crowd is any indicator, maybe there’s a crowd in town that’s been waiting for one (and most of them don’t even look pregnant).
There are some other changes, including a new limited food selection (didn’t get a chance to try the BBQ pork sliders) and the elimination of the board games (boo!). It’s also dark as hell, which isn’t a problem but it made shooting with my iPhone pretty pointless (but I did it anyway).
I don’t remember the entire draft selection from last week, but the Miner’s Daughter is gone. One newcomer is a Saranac Pomagranate Wheat (4.7% ABV), which I try. It’s light and a little tart. I don’t know if I can pick out the pomegranate specifically, but I assume it’s whence the tartness comes. It’s typical of Saranac’s fruit beers, in my experience, for the fruit to be fairly understated (Jess is a big fan of their pumpkin ale, and it’s the same story there). Saranac describes it as “picnic fare,” and I’d agree: Not remarkable, but light and refreshing.
One thing that Jay has thankfully retained is the healthy selection of Rogue bottles. Every time I’ve been here, I’ve looked at the Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale, an India Red Ale, but I’ve always gone with something else. Today was the day. It’s a dark red fella with a floral scent. The drink is pretty bitter, especially around the edges of the tongue, and it sticks with you. It’s a bracing taste, more assertive than I’d expected. It surprised me to see that Rogue describes it as having a “malty backbone” because as a first-time taster I didn’t get much in the way of maltiness. Nothing unpleasant, but not my favorite Rogue.
I was a Riverstone fan, but I like what Jay’s done with the place. Still no liquor available at Jay’s Hideaway, but there’s a few wines. Morgantown’s got a number of good beer options, but it’s great to add to its options for nonsmokers. Now you can buy beer from Jay in the evening and sober up with his coffee the next day – he’s a full-service kinda guy.