26 February 2010

Kloby's Smokehouse, Scaggsville

I was able to combine a visit with a business client with a beer-scouting expedition, and hit Kloby's Smokehouse in Scaggsville, in the Montpelier shopping center just off US 29 at Johns Hopkins Road and practically next to JHU's Applied Physics Lab (which has a couple beer geeks working there, as I know personally).

Kloby's used to be located up in Woodlawn, but moved to Howard County about two years ago.  They installed the bar a few months ago, and have since been listening to advice from the geeks that inhabit JHUAPL and elsewhere in the area.  As a result, the draft and bottle line-up is much better than average.

In addition, the glassware used is Ball pint and half-pint jars--a rather transparent answer to the issue of just how much the glass holds, unless someone finds that Ball is cranking out special undersized/thick glass jars for bar use.  (I last drank from a jar in the Crown King Saloon in Crown King, Arizona, a "ghost town" twenty-five miles from the nearest pavement, several years ago.)

Barbecue is a tough cuisine to pair up effectively with food.  Smoked beers are a typical recommendation, but that's often overkill, and besides subtly smoked beers (not like, say, the "bacon beer" experience of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier) are hard to come by.  Depending on the specific meat or 'cue in question, a better answer tends to be either a relatively clean and light beer to wash the palate, or a sweeter, roastier beer to stand up to the meat and spices, although nearby Frisco Grille has done much to promote the concept of hoppy IPA's to go with spicy foods.  The beer selection ranges from the predictable and pedestrian--Miller Lite, Stella, Blue Moon, Guinness--to exotics like Great Divide Titan IPA, Sierra Nevada Glissade, and Flying Dog Raging B*tch, and the bottle selection parallels, with several Mexican/Central American beers, Rolling Rock, Yuengling, etc. sharing the cooler with Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Lancaster, Evolution, Stone, and others.

And the 'cue?  I'm more used to either the sweet heaviness of Memphis-style or the saucy tartness of Carolina-style; Kloby's takes a comparatively subdued, middle-of-the-road, neutral concept (at least in the samples of chili, sirloin beef, BBQ beans, and collard greens I tried), allowing the consumer to adjust the heat accordingly and letting more of the meat character to show.  It's definitely a different BBQ experience from other BBQ places like Baltimore's HarborQue, Andy Nelson's in Cockeysville, or Red Hot & Blue at various locations, but it's one that's much more likely to complement a chosen craft beer than the others.

My recommendation, in the beer department?  At the moment, Evolution Lucky 7 Porter goes really well with the sandwich I had.  But above all, go for the luxurious and utterly freakin' decadent bread pudding.  You won't need a barleywine or dessert beer to go with that treat--nothing I've ever had would come even close, and would only detract from the pudding!

Another article on the place here;  their own website is here.

1 comment:

The Oriole Way said...

There is nothing better than heading somewhere for lunch or dinner and being pleasantly surprised by the beer selection. And, of course, the corollary also holds. I'm amazed at the number of very good restaurants that do not carry craft beer, but will be sure to serve you a Miller Lite.