I was recently asked to meet with someone to talk over some exciting opportunities coming along in the near future. We were going over places to grab a drink and Jarod (the guy I was meeting) suggested Lynnhaven Pub in Virginia Beach. Great idea!
Lynnhaven Pub has been around since the 60s or 70s and is tucked away off the old West Great Neck Rd. It would be easy to pass by the place and not notice it tacked on the end of a non-descript building, but inside you’ll find one of the better selections of beer in the city. Owner, Rob McGraw, has established the pub as a go-to destination for local beer lovers. He keeps a eclectic rotation of beer on tap and has much more in bottles in the case next to the bar. Old timers who haven’t been to the bar in the past several years might not recognize the selection and they’re going to miss their $1 domestic drafts. Rob has created an outdoor area where patrons can hang-out year round. There is also a bar, grill, and a smoker.
Speaking of food, in addition to great beer, they offer creative and delicious food. When we decided to go to Lynnhaven Pub, I messaged Rob that we’d be stopping by for a drink. He said he was looking forward to it and had a couple things he wanted me to try. Cool, I figured he had some new beers he wanted to share. I showed up at the pub and saw Jarod sitting in the back working on his laptop. I walked the length of the wooden bar, passing occupied stools; I saw that a few Victory brews were on tap and Founder’s Breakfast Stout.
After I settled in Rob came out and said he made some beer can chicken using Stillwater Classique beer he wanted me to try. He also had oak barreled smoked brisket coming out. He actually brings the barrels down from Blue Mountain Barrel House brewery nestled between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Virginia. These are barrels that were previously used to age whiskey and bourbon, then used by Blue Mountain Brewery. The smoke produced by these barrels is recognizable and adds a rich flavor to the food cooked in it.
Mike Rowland, who I watched earlier, cooking in a small oven behind the bar, master-minded the following dishes he brought out: Beer Can Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Burnt Ends Tacos with Bacon, Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwiches with bacon and huge Chicken Salad Sandwiches. I wasn’t expecting this! I had enough to share with Jarod and we dug in.
I tried the Lettuce Wraps first, sweet and simple, the smoked chicken was tucked into Belgian endive and I shoved the whole thing in my mouth. You could taste that the beer had permeated through the chicken and there was a nice smoke flavor on top of that. It all blended well and I knocked out another one quickly. Mike said he wanted to showcase the chicken in the wraps so there wasn’t a sauce or anything on top of the chicken. Perfect.
Next I tried the Burnt Ends Tacos, if you all didn’t know it, I love BBQ. I really love Burnt Ends. Rob was telling me he would usually eat these when they made brisket in the pub but Mike told him they should sell them instead and Rob reluctantly agreed to part with them. I know this would be a hard decision for me too. Good on you Rob! The tacos were delicious and had a thick strip of bacon in there for good measure. The burnt ends were flaky with great smoke flavor. I swear I could even make out the alcohol from the oak barrels he uses. The arugula was a nice added touch. You can’t beat it.
I moved onto the Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich, moist and the brisket fell apart in my mouth. The brisket was thickly stacked between two pieces of toasted, dressed bread and the platter had a healthy serving of cracked pepper potato chips (which were hard to not to eat.) I ate about half of my sandwich and moved on to the Chicken Salad.
The Chicken Salad was piled high with some lettuce resting on top. The chicken salad was great, with grapes, almonds, paprika and bright red onion in the mix. The chicken was fresh and shredded perfectly. It was hard not to eat the whole thing but I was so full and had a beer I needed to finish up. I boxed up the rest and brought it home for lunch the next day.
I’m going to Lynnhaven Pub again to write more about the beer and how Rob runs the place, but I really wanted to let everyone know about the food. Like I said earlier I thought he was going to have me try some brews but I got a few plates of great food instead. Get by Lynnhaven Pub and grab a couple of good beers and make sure you get something to eat. You’ll not be disappointed!