The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Georgie Kulczyk
The Courier 

Busted Knuckle Brewery

Tasters' Trio Restaurant Review


Georgie Kulczyk / The Courier

A flight of specialty beers served on a pair of license plates invites sampling at Busted Knuckle Brewery.

I had the pleasure of reviewing the Busted Knuckle Brewery with two of my good friends, Tanja Fransen and Megan Haddix.

We met at the BKB just after 5 p.m. on a Thursday. One thing we didn't have to worry about was choosing a place to sit – the establishment was nearly full and there was only one table available. The place was hoppin' (pun intended).

Although the exterior of the building is pretty unassuming, the interior is welcoming and comfortable. There are two separate areas inside. In one area, patrons can sit in close proximity to the brew kettle and other apparatus, which creates a unique atmosphere and provides a good conversation starter. The other area is enhanced by natural light and a seating area for a small circle of friends. Scattered around the establishment are clever automotive references in the form of art, décor, and menu items.

Overall the setting is open and easy to navigate, yet intimate.

As for the product, I'm no zymologist, but I'll try to do the microbrews justice. I chose to review the Black Nail Stout and the Radiator Dip Pale Ale – partly because they are so different.

Although I enjoyed the flavor of the stout, it wasn't my favorite. My initial impression was bitterness and it was difficult for me to get beyond that and actually taste the beer. A second sample of the brew allowed me to recognize the rich flavor and the hint of coffee flavoring.

The pale ale I sampled was significantly lighter – in color and flavor. Although the IBU (International Bitterness Unit) of the pale ale is higher than the stout, the body of the beer was smoother and had less bite. Beginner microbrew enthusiasts may enjoy testing the lighter brews first.

The BKB officially opened for business June 18. In just three months, owners Ben and Connie Boreson have built a loyal customer base, expanded their product to local businesses, and increased the number of microbrew fans in Valley County.

- GK

I don't drink beer so I was was a little hesitant when asked to be a part of the "Tasters' Trio" at the Busted Knuckle Brewery. However, for the pure fun of it, I decided to set aside any apprehensions about my inexperience and take a tour down the wonderful world of microbreweries.

We were served a sample of eight different beers. Overall, my favorite was the Fender Bender Blackberry Ale. I liked it for its mild sweet flavor and aromatic blackberry essence.  I learned that the higher the IBU the more hoppy the beer - in other words "bitter." I didn't get any hints of bitterness. Something to consider if you're like me and new to tasting beer is to start with the less hoppy, lower IBU ales.

On the other end of the spectrum, my least favorite beer was the Backfire IPA - made with New Zealand hops. An IPA can be strong, bitter, and not for everyone. I couldn't get past the strong bite.  I'm convinced that my dislike is only because I have not yet acquired a mature taste for good beer. If you are the type who enjoys a higher IBU, I recommend the Backfire IPA.

I had a great time sampling the variety of beer at the BKB and pleasantly surprised to discover that there are a few I really like.  The staff are super friendly, attentive and quick to answer questions. The BKB is a cool spot to hang out, play cards, drink and enjoy a comfortable atmosphere.

- Megan Haddix

When you get an invitation to go and review beer at the new brewery in town, that's an easy "yes."  Even if you don't drink alcohol, the BKB still has options for you. My husband and I first tried the BKB in July, and my only complaint is it keeps sidetracking me from my diet. For this article, we tried a flight, samples of the 7 beers and the root beer, served in a tray of old license plates. When we first started coming here, Ben was eager to answer our questions and educate us on the art of brewing. He explained what an IBU was, and the differences in the hops and wheat varieties, showing us what they look and smell like. I was born in Germany, and lived there for nine years. Germany has a brewery in nearly every town. The majority are made by monks, and delivered to your door weekly. Ben has the same sparkle in his eyes as those monks do when it comes to talking about the crafting beer. So, it didn't take me long to offer to review the Dull Sickle Hefeweizen. This traditional German wheat beer has a rich golden color and deep flavor without the bitterness that comes from an IPA. It actually has one of the lowest IBU numbers of all the beers served there. While traditionally served with a lemon slice, the BKB serves it with a slice of orange to bring a sweet vs tangy hint of citrus to it. My recommendation is to ask for two slices!

The next beer was the deep red toned Rusted Nut Amber Ale. To review the amber, I really needed to try them all, as I had always assumed the flavor was a middle ground between the dark Black Nail Stout and the light colored Radiator Dip Pale Ale. It turns out that was a good assumption to make. The amber was a great midway point between the multiple deep flavors of the stout and the lighter less complex tasting pale ale. It's a great middle of the road beer for the majority of beer drinkers, and according to Ben, it is one of the favorite beers they sell.

There is a pumpkin spice ale planned for just before Thanksgiving, and I look forward to sampling that one! While our assignment was to review the beer, the fun, low key atmosphere makes having a beer here enjoyable. We are starting to recognize the other regulars and becoming friends with those who were just acquaintances in the past. You can take your favorite beer(s) home in a growler and share it with friends. The one thing we really hoped for was food. Eugene's and the BKB solved that problem by allowing you to order pizza to be delivered and eat while enjoying your favorite beer (or two). The automotive theme is well designed, the historic Glasgow photos are great and the staff always has a smile to share with you. The BKB may have to consider some expansion plans in the future to hold us all.

- Tanja Fransen


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