It’s been a long year, but it feels like we’re finally getting back to a little bit of normal.
And that normal includes new restaurants opening!
It’s no secret that I’m a big craft beer fan, so when Roseville’s new brewery, High Pines, hired Matt Faulkner, who was a small-batch brewer at Stone Brewing in Napa, Calif., I was excited.
And when they announced that their brewery, in a spacious former Joe’s Crab Shack, would partner with Tipsy Steer, known for providing above-average bar food at Invictus Brewing in Blaine, I was over the moon. I love a brewery that serves food, probably because I’m a middle-aged person who doesn’t often go out just to drink.
Anyway, we checked out the spot on a recent Friday night and were very pleasantly surprised at how good the beer and food were.
It was quite busy, but we waited only about 20 minutes for a (properly socially distanced) table of four.
Let’s start with the beer. We tried most of the menu, and it was all really good. Standouts include the Ghost Duck pale, a juicy, flavorful yet low-alcohol crusher that I can see drinking all year round; a sour with raspberry and chili peppers that was perfectly tart but maybe could have used a little chili boost for this spice lover; and Hop North, an India Pale Lager that was equal parts crisp, bitter and malty.
As for the food, my husband and I, eastern Wisconsin natives who are fans of a good lake-fish fish fry, loved the sunfish version here: Small pan fish, lightly breaded and fried until perfectly crisp, served simply with fries, tartar and a lemon wedge. Our neighbor and dining companion, whom we have converted to believing that the Wisconsin way is best, ate half of my plate.
It’s a close second in town for me to Urban Growler’s perch version, and that’s saying a lot.
Tipsy Steer also serves those crispy little sunfish on a po-boy, which we also ordered. Fish, squishy bun, peppery arugula and a lemony aioli all add up to a sandwich we will definitely return for.
We started with some bacon lollipops, which are basically really thick slices of bacon, glazed with a sticky-sweet, slightly spicy raspberry chipotle glaze. They were super tasty, filling and more than enough to feed four of us as an appetizer.
A raspberry-brie chicken melt was really good, too, glazing the chicken with that same raspberry-chipotle sauce.
The only disappointment of the night was a shrimp Creole flatbread, which was a bit on the bland side and lacked any real Creole flavor.
The menu is sizable — we didn’t even touch the pizza, burger and taco portions of it — so we are all eager to get back to explore more of it.
In all, High Pines/Tipsy Steer is a lovely addition to this northern burb, which is becoming more of a food destination in recent years.
Small Bites are first glances — not intended as definitive reviews — of new or changed restaurants.
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