Buffalo Wild Wings is the kind of chain that could only have been thought up by college students with money to burn.
I stepped into one today for two beers and a dozen wings and was immediately swallowed up by the excess. There were more square feet of screen in this one restaurant (315 Union St., Waterbury, Conn.) than in five Circuit Cities. It was just a vast cavern of color and motion. If this was supposed to work up my appetite, it was having the opposite effect.
Alone, I sat at the bar. A very nice waittress noticed that I was counting the tap handles and commented on what a large selection they had. I agreed, and asked if she had anything local.
“We have Thomas Hooker and City Steam,” she said. So far, so decent.
“And we have Red Hook. That’s another Connecticut one,” she added.
“Huh? Wait, do you mean the one that distributes from New Hampshire? The Washington State beer?”
She checked, and apologized. It was not, as it turned out, a Connecticut beer. It wasn’t her fault… she actually looked disappointed when she realized it wasn’t from Connecticut.
Quanity did not equal quality, but once you took away the pedestrian beers (Bud, Bud Lite, Coors; Shocktop, Blue Moon, Amstel Light), there were still a few left to enjoy. Brooklyn Lager on tap is always nice. Harpoon IPA is delightful.
The barmaid brought me my Thomas Hooker Octoberfest quickly and with a smile, although my snob censors went berserk when she announced proudly that the beer was “ice cold.” Yes, it was in a glass from the fridge… foul!
I realize that I speak for about .015 percent of this restaurant’s customers, but speak I must.
I paired the Hooker Octoberfest (a rather thin Marzen with a sweet backbone) with honey barbecue wings. It was not a wonderful pairing. The wings, which were average, clawed over the beer… not anyone’s fault but mine. I polished off the wings and was able to salvage the experience with a pint of Harpoon IPA, which compared to the Octoberfest was a citrus garden of delight.
So, beware the blasts of light and sound. Excess can yield diminishing returns.