Get crafty with Heavy Metal Brewing

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Dining out review: Heavy Metal Brewing Co.

Hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Monday; 2 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Telephone: 360-258-1691.

Where: 809 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver. theheavymetalbrewingco.com

Health score: Heavy Metal Brewing received a score of 47 on Dec. 30, 2015. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.

Why: Heavy Metal Brewing Co. believes in “craft beer, craft food, and craft music.” The establishment is celebrating two years at its Vancouver Heights neighborhood location. With 25 top quality beers on tap and more than 200 different bottles to pair with gourmet pizza, sandwiches and some top-notch bar appetizers, there is something for everyone. Heavy Metal does not serve hard liquor in keeping with its family friendly commitment, and live music is on the weekly calendar.

What I tried: My dining companion and I tried the Southern Fried BBQ pizza made with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, breaded chicken breast, pineapple, red onions and a five-cheese blend. The pizza was constructed in a rectangular shape and cut into squares. The combination of ingredients was tasty, though a bit more BBQ sauce would have been ideal. I was impressed with the chicken, which was clearly freshly fried and not the pre-cooked, reheated variety that can be found on pizzas far and wide. The meat was tender with a light coating of golden-fried breading, and the pineapple was chunks of a canned type.

We also tried the Stromboli-style pizza, which is stuffed with marinara and a three-cheese blend. We settled on pepperoni and sausage for our two add-ins of choice. The pizza is also topped with garlic butter and served with a side of marinara. The pizza was not overstuffed but contained an appetizing balance between the two layers of thin crust, which were baked to a firm and slightly crisp finish on the top. The marinara was tomatoey, rich and good for dunking to add some extra zing to each bite.

The pie crusts were more toward the thin end of the spectrum, and I appreciated their slight yeasty flavor.

We also shared the Rick Reuben, made with a custom dark rye bread stacked with corned beef slow-cooked in a house IPA and kraut cured in a delicious cider. Swiss cheese and house dressing are also added to the sandwich. The bread had a mild rye flavor and was toasted just enough to hold together, but not so much as to cause injury. It was obvious this sandwich was no ordinary Reuben, with the extra care in meat and kraut preparation.

We paired our meal with a couple of the beers on tap. I tried the Mango Madness, which is a mango ale brewed with two-row and caramel malts with fuggle hops and a kick of mango. It was refreshing and summery, and I liked the hint of mango. My dining companion goes for super hoppy brews. He opted for the cloudy IPA and found it full of flavor and very much to his liking.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The Mediterranean Hummus pizza is made with a house-made hummus base topped with olives, cherry tomatoes, onions and feta. The Meltdown is Heavy Metal’s spicy pizza, which begins with their spicy house sauce and is topped with a three-cheese blend, buffalo chicken, jalapenos and roasted red peppers. Among the other pizza options is a veggie pizza, and you may also build your own from the list of seventeen toppings. The Snaggle Tooth Lemmy sandwich contains Black Forest ham, Canadian bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise and tomato. This sandwich is available on either fresh Grandma’s bread or a Belgium waffle with maple butter. Among the other sandwich choices are an Italian, a club and a build-your-own. A burger basket, a beer-cheese nacho basket, a BBQ chicken nacho basket, loaded tater tots and the soup of the day are included in other food options. Salad choices are the Italian, the house and the chicken club. For kids, there is a mini pie, a mini sub sandwich and a chicken strip basket. Some of the present beers on tap are listed on the website.

Atmosphere: The strip-mall location is easy to spot, with neon signs in the large windows along the front. Inside, banks of coolers line half of the back wall of the dining area and hold bottled beer. The bar stretches across the other half of the back wall, where diners can find beers on tap and place their orders. Seating is available at the bar, and the open concrete floor has stained picnic tables and tall bistro tables. A moderate but adequately sized stage occupies the corner right of the entry. Outdoor seating is provided in a smartly designed space walled in with a fence. A few large-screen TVs and heavy metal memorabilia decorates the walls.

Cost: Pizzas come in 7-inch and 14-inch sizes and range from $7.99 to $22.99. Sandwiches are $11.99 to $13.99. Salads cost $5.99 and $9.99. Other items start at $4.99 and top out at $12.99. Kids menu options cost $6.99 and $7.99.