Moonrise Channels A Gastropub Vibe

With the explosion of craft beer makers over the last 25 years there has been a certain amount of spillover effect in regard to food also. The proliferation of microbreweries led to the development of more sophisticated food to pair with the many differently flavored brews that were being created.
What resulted was the emergence of “gastropubs,” pub-style places that were focused on the beer but also provided more upscale food to go along with the beers that was a step above the usual pub fare that had been on menus forever. Think bangers and mash or fish and chips.
Moonrise Brewing, in European Village, has a bit of a purist approach to its beer menu, serving only microbrews, both its own quaffs as well as guest brews from other microbreweries in the general vicinity, all of which are only on tap. You won’t find a can or bottle anywhere.
So to go along with these lovingly crafted beers, Moonrise offers a small menu of carefully prepared dishes that display a sense of creativity along with great flavors. And all of this is done in a scratch kitchen — they make everything themselves from scratch.
Most of the menu items are starters, salads and sandwiches. There are also a couple of burgers, four entrees and a dessert. That’s it but there’s quite a lot here to enjoy nevertheless as we found out over the course of three visits.
We tried items on the regular menu and also some of the specials which are not on the regular menu such as the Cajun chicken pasta (below) and the maple-glazed salmon salad (right). Blackened shrimp with cheesy grits was another special and we also had a cheeseburger (left), the braised beef short ribs and the pulled pork mac and cheese from the list of entrees.
The spicy shrimp dip starter was also something we sampled and it, like everything else on the menu, was well made and just plain tasty, which we must admit is not a technical food reviewing term but it accurately describes the dish — it just tastes good.
And that brings us to the beer since the beer just tastes good too. And actually, fresh beer, which as we mentioned is all that is served here, just tastes better than other forms of beer, especially canned and bottled beers which usually require some form of preserving agents as they make their way to consumers.
Not so here. The brewing vessels for the beers are mere feet away from you in the indoor dining space (there’s one outdoors too). The smell in here on some days is yeasty and somewhat intoxicating on its own as the smell of the fresh beer permeates the premises and reminds you of exactly what they’re doing here — creating fresh food and drink.
And, Moonrise offers specials almost every day with Taco Tuesdays, Burger And Beer Wednesday, a Happy Hour Every Friday, Steak Night on Saturday and a Sunday Brunch we haven’t experienced yet but plan on doing soon.
Whether Moonrise Brewing is a gastro pub or not depends on your definition but one thing is certain: the food and drinks here are worth your time to seek out and enjoy.
Moonrise Brewing, European Village, 386-627-8614.