Rock Bottom Brewery 
This summer, Short Pump Town Center’s Food Court acquired a badly-needed anchor eatery. (No offense, Chik fil A and Generic Panda-Named Chinese Place!). New to Richmond (and Adam) is the Denver-based Rock Bottom Brewery, a bar-and-grill chain that takes their beermaking seriously, brewing their beers on premises in vats you can see from everywhere in the restaurant. On this early October day, 52L enjoyed what would be our last outside meal of 2014. The weather was perfect and the patio will eventually afford some great people watching. This day it was just construction worker watching while SPTC was performing some updates. But the potential is there.
Long time followers know that Adam and I work together and since we don’t work in advertising in the 1960’s, lunchtime drinks are not the norm. But Rock Bottom is a brewery as much as an eatery; we can’t imagine someone going to RBB to not have beer, so we each paired our meals with a beverage.
Adam ordered the Brewer’s Club and approved. Stacked high with plenty of fresh veggies and loads of ham. The bacon was crisp and gave a much needed texture variance. Big taste and portion that left him satisfied. As a side, he had the Mashed potatoes which weren’t as great. Too consistent a texture and needed more flavor. Not bad, just unremarkable. Adam paired this meal with a RB IPA which was a solid example of an IPA… medium on the hops and malt, a hint of a fruity sweet flavor, but not overwhelming. He said he’d order it again.
For my meal, I ordered the Laredo Burger, a Southwestern-styled burger. The patty itself was fine… big and firm and cooked as ordered. The hamburger bun was springy enough to contain what ended up being a very messy sandwich. The made-from-scratch guacamole was soupier than I would have liked, making the aforementioned mess. I can’t complain too much, though: I ate the whole thing and my only regret was how full I was afterwards.
The Fries actually were not just fries. The potatoes were your standard modern restaurant fries, but they were herbed and sea salted perfectly and very good. The portion was also enough to feed a single human, not a family, and that was appreciated. Because I have no self control. To go with, I ordered a Black Seal Stout, a nice nitro stout, heavy enough to feel like a stout but not so heavy that it was a bad lunchtime choice. RB even served it in stemware of which our Irishman friend would approve. I would order this again as well.
Overall, we were quite pleased. We have to lament Rock Bottom’s timing a bit. Allison and I were frequenting Rock Bottom in Bethesda ten years ago. If Rock Bottom had come to Richmond even three years ago it would have been gangbusters. Always a tough restaurant market, the on-site beermaking would have been a huge draw. In 2014, craft brewing has taken Richmond by storm and with Stone on its way, Rock Bottom might have a narrow window in which to capture our hearts. We think it has a shot. The food was good and the beer was quite good. Sorry Generic Panda Place, I have a
new place to eat at Short Pump.