Two Sergeants Brewing (11817 105 Avenue), situated behind the Brewery District, had been on my radar for a little while. But, it wasn’t until Yelp’s “Pursuit of Hoppiness” event, right at the end of April, that I finally visited. Kirk and I decided to attend this gathering as a push to get out to this venue (as well as out of the house), and it ended up being a lot of fun.
You won’t find them smashing pinatas on the regular here, but you will find a very open space with large communal tables, and plenty of colourfully painted chairs. It’s perfect for large groups to hang out over more than decent pub-style grub and a beer or two.
A flight of four quarter pints of any of Two Sergeants Brewing beers is just $8 regularly, and, if you head over there on a Thursday, you’ll get the same for just $5. The four glasses are presented in an adorable miniature picnic table server. Personally, I didn’t mind their Chinook Oatmeal Stout; however, my fave from the sampling we received was the Passion d’Ale Belgian Wit for it’s crisp, clean, smooth drinking citrus flavour without the lingering bitterness. Kirk preferred the 17 Pounder IPA, ordering a full pint to go with dinner. It has a lower IBU, but it was still too strong of a finish for my liking.
To eat, we both opted to try their Homestyle Chicken Sandwich — recently increased to $14 — with hand cut fries (or house salad). The locally sourced chicken is soaked in buttermilk and fried to order, so it comes out fresh and crispy. Either available as classic or spicy, it’s then stacked with double smoked cheddar, coleslaw, and house made pickles on a sourdough bun. Both of us chose the spicy version, enjoying the mild heat from the chicken.
What took the sandwich over the top was the house made pickles. Now, I asked for mine to be made without them because I’m not a fan of standard pickles. Yet, they still gave them to me, just laid on the side of my plate. The server explained that they were pickled jalapenos, so they thought I might still want to try them. Honestly, I did. I love jalapeno peppers, so I went to town putting those back into my sandwich. For the most part, all was well. I handled the spice from the chicken and the peppers like a champ…at least until I found a slice of jalapeno that still held more of the pith and rib of the pepper. My face lit up like a beet, probably, and I needed a few sips of Kirk’s beer to tone it down. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t get too far on Hot Ones.
The fries were quite good. Appearing in a small frying basket, the portion size was okay. They seemed to have been blanched to get that perfectly cooked center and that crisp golden brown exterior. Overall, they were a nice finish to the meal.
The owners of Two Sergeants Brewing have definitely put a lot of love into this place. The thought and detail that went into this location when they decided to move from Fort Saskatchewan to Edmonton is apparent. Hopefully, it’s the right thing for them in the long run. I know that it’s a great addition to the Westmount, Oliver and Queen Mary Park areas. More and more businesses are choosing to be present there and it’s community like that that is so important in this city. We’re definitely looking forward to returning this summer for good brews and food.
UPDATE August 3, 2019:
Last weekend, Kirk and I met with friends at Two Sergeants Brewing for a proper dinner. Since our dining companions were able to find a babysitter for earlier in the evening, we met at around 5:30pm to catch up. I did make a reservation ahead of time using the OpenTable app, but there were still a number of spots available, giving us plenty of choices on where to sit. We snagged seats towards the far side of the restaurant next to the cordoned off private room.
The server came over with some food menus and pointed out that the beer selection was listed on the screen. It seemed like they had less of their own brews on tap than previously, but they had a handful of others from different local breweries, too. There was a good mix to appease any preferences. I was able to find a sour from Blindman, while everyone else stuck to the hoppier beers created by Two Sergeants ($8 to $9 per pint).
This time, we had the full menu at our disposal (previously, we were there for a special event and the options were limited). Kirk and I shared the Fries and Gravy ($7), Bison Carpaccio ($13), and Corn Fritters ($8). Our friends ordered the Wings ($12) with their choice of Beer BBQ Sauce.
I was really surprised at how good the Fries and Gravy were. We’re pretty sure their house cut fries are blanched and then fried to give the potato fingers a nicely cooked middle and crunchy exterior. They were then doused in a beef and mushroom gravy and sprinkled with green onions. Where it excelled and set itself apart from anything like it was the gravy. I’ve never had something like that on fries before, and it was so delicious. It reminded me of a rich mushroom soup and it totally worked. Even with the soggier potatoes at the bottom of the basket and no utensils, I made sure not to leave a fry behind.
The Bison Carpaccio was described on the menu as seared with fennel, garnished with house pickled red onion, mushrooms, double smoked cheddar, malted barley, and arugula, and then dressed with strawberry white balsamic vinaigrette. Admittedly, I didn’t find that the smokiness came through with the grated cheese, and I couldn’t really taste the vinaigrette as noted. But, the arugula is always a good balance of bitter against the acidity from the pickled red onions and the earthy mushrooms. The malted barley provided added texture to the dish, while the black licorice flavour from the fennel crust was the first to hit the tongue. The thinly sliced bison was beautifully red and so tender, too. Usually, I do place the carpaccio onto the supplied pieces of crostini; however, although toasted, the bread that came with the meat was really thick, and honestly, the carpaccio stood on its own.
Having recently been somewhat disappointed by a corn fritter I had elsewhere, I took a chance on them at Two Sergeants. I think there were four or five in the basket and they were hefty in size. It would have been great if they had been slightly more moist, but at least they weren’t doughy on the inside. They definitely had the corn bread texture that I expected and there were full corn kernels to be found when pulled apart. With super crispy outer shells and two delicious dips (I asked for both) — a beer berry coulis and savoury cheese sauce — that were good separately or paired together, these were a real treat.
I didn’t personally try the wings, but they looked fantastic. Truly full wings (with the drumette and flat still attached), they looked to be perfectly fried. They had three choices for dips with theirs being the Beer BBQ Sauce. Yet, Frank’s Red Hot or a dill buttermilk ranch were available as well.
Because Kirk is a creature of habit, he stuck to the same thing as our first visit, going with the Homestyle Chicken Sandwich ($15). In fact, our two friends followed suit. Everyone enjoyed their meals, although Kirk told me later that he thought it wasn’t as good as before. He found his chicken to be a little too dry, which could have just been the particular cut of meat he got. If it was thinner than in the other sandwiches, it would be easy to overcook it. The sandwiches that our friends got looked as though they had pretty thick pieces of breaded and fried chicken in them.
I really wanted to try something new on this occasion, so I went for the Pulled Pork Pappardelle ($18). You could tell that the house made pasta was fresh. It did sort of clump together a bit and I had some trouble pulling it apart without breaking the strands, but I liked the al dente texture, which was soft with a little bite to it. It was hearty in flavour while still sort of light as a dish. The slow roasted pork shoulder was succulent and, at times, crisp where it had charred. The sweet tangy BBQ sauce was certainly a change when it came to pasta sauce. Married with tomatoes, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and baby spinach, I was a happy camper both that night and when I finished my leftovers the next day.
Overall, I’m quite impressed with the Two Sergeants kitchen. They’re making somewhat standard pub fare, but with more adventurous flavours, tweaks, and twists. If they keep it up, I know that this is going to be a favourite for a long time.