Why: Double Barrel Taphouse opened in 2017 on Highway 99 in Hazel Dell. The taphouse has 30 rotating taps to showcase some of the best brews of the Pacific Northwest. An extensive whiskey selection and a menu that offers some classic American staples make it a little more than what one expects from a taphouse.
What I tried: I tried the steak street tacos and the Ragin Bull fry bowl. My dining companion had the Whiskey Chicken sandwich with salad.
I opted for corn tortillas for the street tacos, which consisted of thin-sliced steak pieces, fresh-chopped onion and cilantro. The steak in the tacos was lean and the tacos were satisfying, though they lacked moisture, which could have been remedied with some salsa.
The Ragin Bull fry bowl consists of a portion of french fries topped with garlic aioli and nacho cheese sauce — both of which have the same consistency — as well as serrano peppers and chopped pastrami. I enjoyed the combination of ingredients, but the fries quickly became soggy and there was not enough pastrami to go around. I liked the spicy heat that the peppers brought to the dish, and the aioli and cheese sauce complimented the rest of the ingredients.
The chicken sandwich is made on a fresh, toasted bun. The chicken is glazed in an Irish whiskey and joined by french-fried, crispy onions, pickles, a hefty slice of cheddar cheese and mayonnaise. My dining companion thought the cheddar was an uncommon cheese choice for chicken, but found that it worked with the other ingredients. He described it as shy of gourmet but worth a try. The salad portion is approximately a heaping cup sized portion made with mixed greens, carrots, tomatoes and red onions. (Since my visit, Double Barrel has replaced the Whisky Chicken with the Dirty Bird sandwich, which has fried chicken, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.)
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Snacks include a chicken quesadilla, wings, and macaroni and cheese. Burgers and Snake River wagyu hot dogs come with several options. Among the sandwiches are a Reuben, a BLT, a clubhouse and a cheesesteak. Scrambles, pancakes and a breakfast burrito are also available.
Atmosphere: The taphouse does not really stand out from the rest of the Highway 99 businesses. It is, however, distinguished by a semi-round, large-windowed storefront where the entryway door is located. There are two main seating areas on two elevations that will accommodate a goodly sized crowd. A pool table and large-screen TVs provide entertainment. A beer-themed lighting feature supports the taphouse decor with flair.
Other observations: Specials are Wing Monday, Taco Tuesday, Whiskey Wednesday, Thursday is Her Day, and there also is Football Sunday. Details can be found on the website and Facebook. The staff is friendly and the atmosphere nicer than the exterior suggests. The menu has recently undergone some changes, mostly adding some new items with favorites remaining.
Cost: Snacks cost $5 to $13.50. Hot dogs are $8 to $9.75. Sandwiches start at $12.50 and top out at $14.50. Nacho and fry bowls are available in single or shareable portions for $7 to $13. Burgers are $14.50 to $15.50. Salads cost $11.50 and $14.50. Brunch menu items are $7 to $13. Happy hour menu items are $4.50 to $8.50.