Everything's better with craft beer. Everything.
Chances are you fall into one of two camps. You either love the Terminal BrewHouse or you haven’t been there yet. It’s really that simple. Matt Lewis, along with partners Ryan Chilcoat and Geoff Tarr, practically grew up in the Chattanooga restaurant business. So they pretty much know what ‘Noogans like when they go out for a meal and a drink.
The trio found a very unique building next to the Chattanooga Choo Choo back in 2008. The building was on the verge of being condemned, but with nine months of hard work and imagination, they transformed the dump into a diamond. Occupying three floors, the Terminal BrewHouse has seating for couples as well as for large parties. The second floor has patio seating outside and the third floor, while usually reserved for large private parties, is often pressed into use as overflow seating for the wildly popular eatery.
The menu is as unique as the building. The offerings display a wicked sense of humor with items like Twisted Hummmmmmmmmus, described as a garbonzo mixture tweaked out with black bean and roasted pepper goodness. And there’s the BrewHouse Pot Roast Nachos that were brought back “by popular (and angry) demand” after being dropped from the menu.
Matt Lewis admits that was a mistake he’s not likely to make again, although some variations of the menu do occasionally take place, but diner feedback is definitely taken into consideration.
You’ll find a wide range of entrees, including pub-food staples like pizza, sandwiches and burgers (all with a Chattanooga twist) but also steak, meatloaf and salmon. Oh, the salmon. Once again, the Terminal’s sense of humor comes out to play. Yosemite Salmon Cakes features cilantro, jalapeno, onion and BBQ aioli. Or how about Salmon Elliott, fresh salmon in their White Shadow Belgian Wit with fresh dill, lemon, and a touch of butter.
Other main dishes include Pepper Smashed Steak and Veggie Lasagna. Even something as normally mundane as meatloaf is not safe in the hands of the kitchen staff. Called Buffaloaf, it’s made with super lean bison meat, loaded with potatoes, mushrooms, peppers house spices, and topped with a balsamic glaze instead of ketchup.
The food is awesome, but it is the Terminal BrewHouse. So as you might expect, there is a good variety of craft beers available. “For us, it’s about ‘casual’,” says Matt Lewis, “a neighborhood-style restaurant that also brews great beer in house.” To that end, the partners built a micro-brewery in the “basement.”
Lewis says his establishment is an “ale house,” and that they rarely brew lagers. Some of the offerings include The White Shadow, a Belgian Witbier, Southsidenstein, an oatmeal stout and one of their most popular brews, Rock Out with your Bock Out maibock.
Out of six taps, four pretty much stay the same all year. The other two tend to have seasonal brews for the adventurous palate. And if you’re really adventurous, you can come by on Weird Wednesdays, when they pull out the “Randall,” a device that infuses tap beer with additional flavors. This week, they were adding cranberries and oranges to the mix. Feeling frisky?