We like beer, but we unfortunately don’t have that many places in Arkansas that make the stuff. The selection of out-of-state craft beers has been steadily getting better over the past few years, but our local brewers still face an uphill struggle when it comes to getting folks to put down their Budweiser and branch out. But we do have a few brave souls making beer in Little Rock, and one of them is Boscos Restaurant, a Tennessee-based mini-chain of restaurants that brews some tasty beers right in the heart of the River Market. We recently went for a sample of what they’ve got on tap, and we’re sure that no matter what kind of beer you like to drink, Boscos has something you’ll like.
This is Boscos’ signature beer, and we’re big fans of this light, slightly sweet blonde ale. The characteristic caramel flavor of this beer is from – you guessed it – hot stones being lowered into the beer during brewing. It’s a malty, lightly hopped beer, and while it isn’t challenging in the least, it’s well-rounded.
Hardcore hopheads will be dismissive of this IPA – it’s rather on the tame side compared to others we’ve tried. Still, once we let it warm just a bit, the hop flavors opened up into a clean, slightly floral beer that wasn’t heavy on the tongue. A good beer to introduce somebody to the style with, but overall not flavorful enough to stand out.
Scottish-style ales are one of my favorite styles of beer, and while Boscos’ version wasn’t as tasty as their cross-town competitor Vino’s, I enjoyed this rich, full-flavored beer. The beer itself has a flavor of chocolate and toasted malt, and goes perfectly with some of the fish dishes on the menu – although I found myself wanting a true fish n’ chips with lots of malt vinegar while drinking this one. Probably one of the best beers we tried all day.
For a lighter beer with some surprising flavor, the Cooper Hoop can’t be beat. The hops are spicy with just a touch of tartness, and the dry bitterness on the back end was very crisp. A good beer to drink with a steak.
Another good solid brown ale from Boscos, I enjoyed the rich but mild flavor of this one. Most folks think of a beer like Newcastle when they think of a brown ale, but this beer lacked any of the skunked flavor and harsh bite of Newcastle. Perhaps it’s my like of the style, but this was my second favorite beer I tried.
A great thing about Boscos is that they are constantly putting out new beers every season, so there’s usually something new to try whenever you’re around. They also serve their beer to go in half gallon growlers, so even if you don’t have time to stop in and have a drink, you can still sample some of the best hand-crafted beer in Arkansas. Boscos is located at 500 President Clinton Avenue in the River Market, and they’re open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday and for brunch on Sunday. Enjoy!