Perhaps the ultimate sign that we are now a craft beer nation is that the perennials, the restaurants those born and raised in Western New York recall being dragged to as wee ones, are now craft crazy.
Case in point: The Eagle House on Main Street in Williamsville. I have fond memories of family dinners there, as well as not-so-fond ones of seemingly endless grown-up coffee ordering while my 8-year-old self just wanted to go home and play.
In my mid-30s, I fully understand the appeal of endless coffee ordering, but more than that, the appeal of craft beer. And while the hardcore beer fanatic is likely to end up one block away at the Moor Pat [read a Bar Tab on Moor Pat] more often than not, it’s nice to know that the Eagle House has fully embraced the craft beer revolution.
That does not mean, however, that everyone is on board. The bar was crowded upon our arrival, but most of the assembled were opting for mixed drinks or wine before dinner.
And as my wife and I sat at the bar, an older chap studied the “What’s on Tap” board on the wall with interest. “What’s IPA stand for?” he asked the bartender. The answer caused his eyebrow to raise – and he opted for a Blue Light.
I heard more than one Blue Light ordered that evening, and that’s fine. For the comfortable, homey, decidedly old-fashioned bar feels like the kind of place that encourages ordering whatever you want, with no judgment. (One woman at the L-shaped bar was doing a crossword puzzle.)
For me, that meant starting with the “beer of the month,” Anchor IPA. At $4 a pint, I was not going to pass that up. This is one of many craft specials offered at the Eagle House, the best option being “Craft Draft Tuesdays,” with 20 oz. drafts available for $5 all day.
The list during our visit included Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Abita Purple Haze, Ellicottville Hot Chocolate Stout, Goose Island The Muddy, Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale, Molson and Blue Light.
The beers I ordered were around $6 each, but a better deal – noticed too late by me – is a beer flight, with four 4 oz. drafts available for $7.
In addition, the menu offered some bottle options – among them, Flying Bison’s Buffalo Lager and Aviator Red — and an “offering by the can,” Brooklyn Brewery IPA.
I love that the Eagle House, an establishment that has been serving patrons since 1827, has chosen not to simply stick to Manhattans and chardonnay. Yes, it is an “older” crowd and a different vibe than the Moor Pat, the Irishman or some of the other taverns on Main Street. But with a strong craft beer list and some good deals, the Eagle House has found a way to stay reasonably current. Perhaps next time, Mr. “What’s IPA stand for?” will dive in, too.
Where: 5578 Main St., Williamsville (632-7669)
Scene: Comfortable, homey and decidedly old-fashioned.
On tap: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Abita Purple Haze, Ellicottville Hot Chocolate Stout, Goose Island The Muddy, Anchor IPA, Flying Bison Blizzard Bock, Harp, Guinness, Southern Tier 2Xmas, Ithaca Flower Power, Sam Adams Boston Lager and Rebel IPA, Founders Breakfast Stout, Ommegang Collaboration, Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale, Molson and Blue Light.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.