Annapolis On The Cheap is a series of posts where we, Nathan and Casey, attempt to have an evening of food and craft beer in Annapolis for less than $30. Our goal is to find the best happy hour deals across Naptown so that you don’t have to!
Now Stan & Joe’s is a place that touts itself as an American Saloon, and you get exactly what you expect from a bar that makes that claim. The whole place is dark wood with a mix of beer signs and memorabilia from sports teams, cops, firefighters, and every branch of the armed forces. Those not packing the bar are throwing darts or grabbing a bite at a table. The portions are big, the price is more than reasonable, and happy hour is packed with locals.
Stan & Joe’s is one of those places that does good beer (and really awesome events) but is still teetering on the line between being a true craft beer bar and just serving the same thing as everyone else. I love the Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA, and Dale’s Pale Ale, but almost all of their usual beers fail to get me excited. There will almost always be an excellent Flying Dog seasonal, and every once in a while something interesting will end up on tap, but most of the time Stan & Joe’s is pouring pretty much what everyone else is pouring.
Luckily, we ended up trying out Stan & Joe’s on a day that they had a wider craft beer selection than normal. Their happy hour is a great deal with all drafts and all appetizers 1/2 off from 3-7pm. Our bartender, Michelle, was also doing an incredible job of making sure a glass never ran dry even though the bar was completely packed.
I started with a $3 Flying Dog Single Hopped Imperial India Pale Ale (IPA) using only El Dorado hops. For those a little new to beer, IPAs usually have a variety of hops that contribute a layer of aromas and flavors that can range from floral, to citrus, to pine, to berries, to you name it. The hops are also used to bitter the beer and keep it from being too sweet, but its the hop flavors that tend to draw people in to the IPA style.
What’s different about this beer from many other IPAs is that it focuses on a single hop, El Dorado, allowing this hop to shine through without mixing its aroma and flavors with other varieties. The El Dorado hop really does take center stage in this beer. There is a spicy pine flavor, along with an almost pineapple-like tropical fruit flavor, and a hint of something like watermelon candy. There is also a really strong alcohol heat which makes me think this beer could mellow out with some aging, but then it may lose its hoppy characteristics. Overall I enjoyed it, but I didn’t order another because damn, that’s a lot of alcohol and we haven’t ordered food yet.
Casey went with the old stand by, Raging Bitch, which is an excellent IPA from Flying Dog and only $3 for happy hour. It’s touted as a Belgian IPA because it uses a Belgian yeast that contributes some unique flavors. The hops give it plenty of orange and lemon rind, while the yeast provides flavors like bubblegum and banana. It’s an interesting beer, and like I wrote before, an old standby.
When it came to food we grabbed the potstickers ($5.50), along with the chicken tender basket ($5). The potstickers were delicious but left me craving more while the chicken tenders with their basket of fries ended up filling the both of us.
We finally finished everything off with pints of Troeg’s Hopback Amber ($3 each), which is the little brother to the deliciously hoppy Nugget Nectar Imperial Amber Ale.
The total damage ended up being $24.15 after taxes but before the tip. We were well under our $30 limit, and I’m still thinking that maybe we should have put the limit closer to $25 to make it more of a challenge.
You can’t knock this happy hour deal; it’s one of the better ones in town. We had some good beers, had more than enough food, and stayed well under budget. The only complaint is that you’re going to have to hit up Stan & Joe’s on a day that they have some really good beers on tap if you want a great deal with a good beer selection. Most of the time you’re going to be happy with the selection you find.