Brewpubs are currently enjoying a great deal of popularity and success in the US, as more and more people opt for tasty craft beer paired with comfort foods . River City Brewery, located in the heart of Old Town on Mosley street, was one of the first restaurants to open as part of the revitalization of Old Town that took place in the early 90s.
The interior of River City is a nod to the age of the building that houses it. Wooden floors and exposed brick make it feel like you have stepped back into Wichita’s cowtown days, that is of course until your eyes fix upon one of the several TVs or
the stainless steel brewing apparatus. The menu at River City offers no surprises, it features salads, sandwiches, pizza, steak, mac’n'cheese, and burgers. The main attraction here are the several varieties of craft beer made in-house. There are 5 standard brews available year round as well as special brews and a Firkin Thursday event that offers unique and sometimes disturbing beer flavors.
On our visit, we both started off with the Harvester Wheat beer. It was a good American wheat that was comparable to some of the better wheat beers on the market. I also tried the Rock Island Red, which is River City’s take on the American amber ale. It was a decent tasting amber, although I preferred the Harvester Wheat over it .
For dinner I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Pizza. This pie panders to those who cannot get enough of the iconic Buffalo wings and must have them in pizza form as well. It comes with chicken tender pieces, the classic Buffalo sauce, mozzarella, and blu cheese. The only thing missing would be some celery sprinkled on top. Steph ordered a bowl of the broccoli mac’n'cheese. Despite a fairly crowded dining room, our food was delivered before I had a chance to finish my first beer. The pizza was served just as advertised, with generous toppings and a tangy Buffalo sauce with just the right amount of kick to it. The crust was crispy and tasted fresh. With a lot of stiff pizza competition in Wichita I would say this particular pie was about average. The pizza was good sized and I struggled to finish it all by myself. We were less impressed with the broccoli mac’n'cheese. The sauce was runny and not very cheesy and there was nothing done to jazz
up the dish. It tasted fine, but was lacking anything to make it stand out from mac’n'cheese you could make at home.
We were lucky enough to have some live entertainment on the Friday night we visited in the form of two gentlemen and their acoustic guitars. The set started out with some promise, but after a medley of America songs and a valiant, yet unsuccessful attempt at Gimmie Shelter, I was rather eager for out check to arrive.
River City is a good place to sample some solid craft beers and enjoy a televised sporting event, but don’t go expecting to be blown away by the food.