Much more than beer and pizza — but those are really good, too


Your brewery has a mug club, but how about a crochet club? Sure, you’ve got the game on, but before kickoff, when is the local artist’s reception? How about a Thursday night bingo game that’s so crowded it’s standing room only?

Since starting out in 2012 with basics like great beer and pizza, EagleMonk Pub and Brewery has won the affection — and the social media following — of thousands of locals. This quirky bar isn’t divey, but it’s got a casual atmosphere where people linger at the counter to query staff about the brews, and the owners are always nearby, ready to answer a question or offer a friendly smile.

I love this bar because, as I’ve written before, I’m a bit bored with the popular brewery aesthetic that assumes huge wooden slabs for the bar, high-top tables and chairs and bright, shining HVAC systems crisscrossing the ceiling. Thankfully, the ambiance of EagleMonk is not that — it’s more reminiscent of cozy taverns in big, old cities or working-class pubs from another era (or, in a pinch, the restaurant at Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall). EagleMonk’s low tables, low ceilings, tiny bar and normal-sized televisions are simply a pretext for the great company that always seems to be dining in, and co-owner and brewer Dan Buonodono keeps the imbibing interesting with 12 beers, two wines and two ciders on tap and two more beers on cask.

The pub hosts a variety of events throughout the year, and when I stopped by a networking event last summer, I tried a special cider-rita of sorts. The small-batch sour slushie helped keep the heat off then, but I opted for a classic combo this time around, and the experience left me feeling both impressed and sated.

To start with, EagleMonk’s kitchen staff knows how to cook a gluten-free pizza. It’s not a simple task to perfectly brown the edges of a thin-crust pizza so each slice can be lifted by a perfectly crisp handle of bread. At many establishments, the pizza crust cooking technique plays it safe to avoid blackened dough, but a thin crust without a sufficient crisp is bound to disintegrate or, much worse, require a fork. I found my crust crisp, and I’ll leave it at that.

Furthermore (I was never going to leave it at that), gluten-free crust doesn’t need the same amount of cheese as regular pizza crust. It needs — and, at EagleMonk, gets — a delicious house-made sauce, a liberal application of pepperoni and just enough cheese to hold it all together. Heavily dashed with oregano, the resulting ‘za is chewy, zesty, greasy and delightful. Because the crust is just cauliflower, I happily ate the entire pizza in one sitting and didn’t fear a stomachache.

Dedicated readers of The Dish will know that I’ve tried a house-made root beer once before. As a result, I now boldly consider myself a connoisseur, if not an authority. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to carry out a howler, or a mini growler, holding 32 ounces of EagleMonk’s very own root beer. For those who love pop, EagleMonk also makes orange and cream soda, as well as diet root beer. While the homemade root beer at Williamston’s Old Nation Brewing Co. could be described as ‘spicy’ for the way it sparkles with sarsaparilla, EagleMonk’s root beer is sweet, mild and tastes subtly of vanilla. The aftertaste reminds me of cream soda and those old root beer candies. Overall, a delicious dish was had by me, washed down with a sweet treat for dessert.


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