Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series: Beer Barrel Pizza & Grill
This week we wandered to the new Beer Barrel location in Plain City/Dublin to peep their spicy wares.
With a menu boasting over 100 items, we were a little concerned going in. Based off of every restaurant rescue show we’ve watched, the goal is to minimize the different types of food you’re preparing so you can do several things really well instead of a lot of things semi well. It’s a bit funny because Beer Barrel previously only had 6 items on the menu. Upon further review, the menu is a lot of different items, but all very similar. Sandwiches, pizza, burgers, pastas and salads, but don’t forget about those wiiiiiings. There is a bit of choice paralysis seeing all the items though, so have a game plan going in.
The lady of the farm got a meatball salad, yes, that’s apparently a thing. It’s essentially several meatballs, a garlic knot and a side salad. The garlic knot was nice and doughy, and true to it’s name, garlicky (how’s this description?).
The parents of the farm went with a deep dish pizza, which was a nice thickness, but not overly thick like Giordano’s. As a warning, every deep dish pizza comes with basil and plum tomatoes, so if you’re not a fan make sure you get those removed.
Along with the main dishes, we got a basket of dawgs.
I am a corn dog lover. Mini corn dogs, full-sized, oversized, on a stick, not on a stick, doesn’t matter, they’re one of the best foods out there. This basket came with some thicc homemade beer cheese and stone-ground mustard. I did my best to let other folks share in the dawgs (their spelling), but at the end of the day, don’t stand in between me and lil’ corn dogs.
The primary reason we headed to Beer Barrel was for their wings. Well, myself and the father of the farm at least. Beer Barrel boasts 10 sauces to choose from: Mild Buffalo, Medium Buffalo, Hot Buffalo, Nuclear Hot Sauce, Sweet BBQ, Spicy BBQ, Carolina Gold BBQ, Sweet & Zesty Thai, Spicy Garlic Parmesan, and Mango Habanero. For these sauces you can get their bone-in Big Wings, correctly named Boneless Chicken Breast Chunks or Grilled Chicken Breast Skewers.
I opted for 10 of the bone-in Big Wings, bare (breaded is an option) because I’m not a monster and wings should stay unbreaded, with the Nuclear Hot Sauce.
The sauce is bright red, with a hefty amount of visible seeds. Not only were they tossed in this sauce, but they then slathered some extra over top. The visual of the wings had me nervous, but all the nostrils at the table said otherwise. There was an almost sweet smell to them, but no spicy waft. I handed off one of the 10 to the father of the farm as is customary and we got started.
The wings themselves are insanely easy to get off the bone and were nice and juicy (potentially the last item ready to go before being brought out). The flats tend to be the best indicator of a good cook and they were easily picked clean. Sauce-wise, there’s definitely a heaviness to this sauce and a good spice mix, but we didn’t pick up on much heat. We were unable to get verification, but it seemed like the Nuclear sauce had a cayenne base or a lower level pepper, definitely undeserving of the Nuclear status. After finishing his wing, the father of the farm scoffed and said “nothing, I got nothing” which I nodded along with in agreement. Five wings in there was still extremely low heat, but my nose was starting to loosen up anything inside. Full basket down, there was no linger, no watery eyes, no puddles of sweat. This nuclear bomb was a dud. Tasty? Yes. Spicy? Not to most. I raked the remaining corn dogs through the leftover sauce attempting to find some of the heat, but it didn’t happen, but man do I love corn dogs.
All things considered, this is probably the lowest wing sauce on our list to date. Previously it was the Nu-Killer wings from Roosters, so either I need to reset my expectations for Nuclear wings, or folks need to reconsider their naming conventions. We’re plopping the Beer Barrel Pizza & Grill Nuclear wings just below the Spicy Hop: Szechuan Minced Chicken and above Firdous Express: Tunisian Chicken.
One callout, we’d heard complaints of slow service, but in the middle of an OSU game with a packed place, our service was nice and timely. No complaints on that front. Lots of specials throughout the week and wings are apparently half off from 9:00pm – 11:00pm, at least at the Hilliard location.
You can find Beer Barrel Pizza & Grill in several locations across Ohio, including Easton, Dublin and Hilliard.
Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!
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