Behind the Menu | At Harrison West brewpub, little menu flourishes add up

Gary Seman Jr.
Special to The Columbus Dispatch
Crisp on the outside and moist on the inside wings at Saucy Brew Works.

Saucy Brew Works is giving its customers beer-friendly vittles in the Harrison West neighborhood just north of Downtown.

“The inside is somewhat industrial — exposed piping and ventilation,” general manager Jamie Young said. “You could also describe us as a grown-up playground with our swing-set seating that features multicolored ball-pit lighting above.”

The Cleveland-based brewpub offers a number of shareable items, such as the “saucy balls” ($10) — homemade meatballs covered in tomato sauce served in a skillet and showered with pecorino Romano cheese that’s bubbled up in the oven.

They’re served with braided, house-made bread.

“The bread’s delicious in and of itself but it’s kind of a vehicle for that sauce,” Young said. The meatballs also are available in sub form ($11), which comes with a choice of broccoli slaw, salad or house-made chips, as are all sandwiches.

The buffalo-roasted cauliflower ($10) gets a hint of spice from hot sauce, texture from breadcrumbs and saltiness from the pecorino Romano. The cauliflower itself is a cross between soft and crunchy. Customers can also choose from a variety of other homemade sauces.

“They’re not chewy in any way,” Young said. “They’re almost crisp.”

The Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese ($10) isn’t like other versions, Young said. Sure, the pretzels are thick but the beer cheese is spreadable in the European style, not soupy, and has the added touch of anchovies.

“I tell them if they didn’t know it’s there, they wouldn’t know,” she said of customers. “It adds a salty, briny flavor to it. It gives it an extra flair.”

Saucy Brew Works, which also has locations in Cleveland, Orange (Cleveland area), and Detroit, has taken over the former Caffe Apropos spot in Harrison West.

The pulled pork sub ($11) offers tender, oven-baked pork, sweet-and-tangy Carolina barbecue sauce and earthy broccoli slaw, which adds “a little something,” she said.

The caprese ($11) has all the right layers — juicy tomatoes, basil and a balsamic glaze.

“It’s lighter,” Young said. “The cheese we get in is some of the best mozzarella. It’s so fresh. You get that hint of basil in your nose. You come away feeling light and can carry on with the rest of your day.”

Young said the New Haven, Connecticut-style pizza is unique to Columbus.

The "bees knees" at Saucy Brew Works

“It’s all in the crust,” she said. “We proof the dough for a day beforehand and that gives it texture. And the next day we work it really hard and set it up before it's cooked to order” at 650 degrees to 700 degrees.

The sauce is a little sweeter and the crust develops a nice char, she said.

One of the most popular options is the “bees knees” (small, $13; medium, $17, and large, $24) — tomato sauce, mozzarella, honey, spicy capicola and red pepper flake.

“It really contrasts the sweet and spicy,” she said.

Cauliflower crust is available, along with a build-your-own-pizza options.

The chicken-and-waffle pie ($13, $17 and $24) riffs on a popular combination by featuring crispy chicken, three kinds of cheese, Sriracha, maple syrup, candied pecans and a dash of fresh parsley.

“That one has a lot of interesting texture to it,” she said.

Wings ($9 for a half-pound, $14 for a full pound) are baked, not fried, as there are no deep-fryers in the place, so the result is a light crisp on the outside and moist inside, Young said.

Customers can choose from a variety of house-made blends, including hot (a Nashville-style spicy sauce), a milder dry rub and Chinese kung pao, considered the least spicy of all.

Saucy Brew Pub is open for breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. daily and brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, when dishes as the “loaded tator” ($7) — a hash brown, smoked cheese and bacon on a croissant or bagel are available.

At a glance

Where: Saucy Brew Works

Location: 443 W. 3rd Ave.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 7 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays

Contact: 614-696-5100, www.saucybrewworks.com/columbus-brewpub/