opened its doors last weekend, adding another craft oasis to the downtown drinkscape. We stopped in to take a look and are happy to say that, despite the bummer luck of bad weather, Roadmap augurs great things for the next wave of River City brewers.
Roadmap’s taproom is a welcoming space, built out with polished concrete, stained wood, and two walls of — and, mercifully, no flat screens. The at-capacity crowd was rife with craft beer shirts, hats, and beards; well-behaved children dominated the cornhole court. Two queues led up to the bar, where Hannah Bakery and her staff gracefully managed the demand for the nine (!) brews on offer.
I started with two 10-ouncers of some lesser-seen styles — an English pub ale named Craven Cottage and Ballyseede, an Irish red ale. The pub ale was exactly that: a bready, mildly bitter quaffer with a slow-burner hop presence. Ballyseede was similarly mellow, mild, and well-suited to the gregarious conversation all around us.
Cheered by this solid start, I lined up again to grip my more standard fare. The Lil’ Rhody New England IPA was a winner. Cloudy, full-bodied, and well appointed in its hops, its citrus characteristics ensured some sunshine in the haze.
It was with its stouts, though, that Roadmap really distinguished itself. The Ja-Lop-Ah-No stout’s heat index was closer to a hatch than a jalapeño, but it foregrounded the char and vegetal juiciness of a fresh-grilled pepper, besting other hot beers that just aim for the heat.
The Wake Up Call Stout shared the Ja-Lop-Ah-No’s sturdy stout base, but traded in spice for sweet. Layering chocolate, coffee, and lactose into the mix, Wake Up Call spanked the Vietnamese coffee stout game without even trying.
All told, it was a strong first showing for Roadmap. Be sure to set your Waze for a stop on your next beer-seeking adventure.
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