Fresh off our debut as the region’s foremost experts on craft beer, we were more-than-willing to accept our next Funcoast assignment.
This week we ventured out to a local establishment known by many on the North Coast for great food, friendly service, and an extensive craft beer selection.
For the second installment of Bill and Alan’s Excellent Beer Adventure, we were sent to Mekong Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine, located at 4318 Milan Road, Sandusky.
This was not the first time we have visited Mekong. We actually frequent it quite often with family and friends. We can not remember if we were drawn to this restaurant initially for the food or the beer as both are exceptional.
What makes Mekong special is the wide-range of styles and brands of craft beers. Well-known micro-breweries, such as Three Floyds, The Bruery, and St. Bernardus can be found mixed in with regional favorites from Founders, Bells, Southern Tier, Fatheads, and Columbus Brewing Company. With over 100 bottles to choose from and draft selections that change often, every beer lover is sure to find something that will please their palate.
Chuong “Chuckie” Bui, owner/operator of Mekong, had a variety of styles on tap when we visited.
Southern Tier’s Old Man (Winter Ale), Three Floyds’ Alpha King (American Pale Ale), Tröegs’ DreamWeaver (Hefeweizen), Lazy Magnolia’s Southern Pecan (English Brown Ale), Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale (Old Ale), Ace Pear Cider (Fruit Cider), Bell’s Oberon (American Pale Wheat Ale), Stone’s Ruination (American Double IPA), and Columbus Brewing Company’s Bodhi (Double IPA) were all available for $4 a glass.
Bui explained the reasoning behind the selections. “Most people like to drink seasonal beers.
During the winter we carry a lot of stouts and porters, but during the spring and summer people want to drink wheat and hefeweizen style beers.”
One style of beer you can find throughout the year at Mekong is IPA, one that Bui says people like to drink year round.
We encourage our readers to drive out to Mekong and give them a try if you haven’t already. You’ll be greeted with a smile from the friendly staff who are willing to answer any food or beer-related questions you might have.
Now for this week’s tastings:
Wheat Ale fermented with Bell’s Signature House Ale Yeast
ABV - 5.8%
This seasonal selection, available mid-March through Labor Day, is a popular beer from our neighbors up north. This warm-weather brew has a fruity aroma and smooth mouth feel. It’s a great beer for both veteran craft beer lovers and those looking for something to break out of the macro-brewery mold. It pairs well with dishes at Mekong that include asparagus and/or eggplant.
Columbus Brewing Company
ABV - 8.5% IBU - 93
This year-round selection has been voted Ohio’s best beer and is available on tap at Mekong. While its golden straw color and aroma of tropical fruit make this beer inviting, it’s the taste that makes it enjoyable. Noticeable are the flavors of the fruits (orange, pineapple, and grapefruit come to mind). Not noticeable is a strong alcoholic taste despite the higher ABV. This medium-body beer with a smooth mouthfeel is best enjoyed with fried calamari or another fried item as the sweetness of the fruits in the beer is balanced out by the saltiness of the dish.
Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn
Kelheim, Bavaria, Germany
ABV - 8.2%
This selection came from Mekong’s bottled beer inventory. While this beer was heavier than the others we tasted, it was still very drinkable. It pours a dark ruby color and has a creamy head despite being brewed in 2006. It invigorates your tongue as the carbonation and flavor warm your palate with flavors of raisins, bananas, and plums. This beer, with its rich mouth feel, will tone down the spiciness of the Beef Pho.
Until next time,
Bill and Alan