By Dr. Ink
Mastiff Sausage Company could not have chosen a better space to plant a kitchen than in the rear section of North Park Beer Company.
The spacious brewery, which spans 8,900 square feet, offers ample seating, a large bar and mezzanine amid towering beer tanks used for producing 14 beers.
Food, however, was the missing link when the brewery first opened last summer, although a few months later Mastiff came to the rescue through a win-win partnership that allows customers to nosh on some serious eats while swigging the suds.
Happy hour affords price reductions on the house beers and certain foods.
All of the brews produced in-house are $1 off their regular prices when ordered in full pints while various appetizers and assorted sausages drop down to $5.
Customers fetch their own drinks and grub, which means jumping into two separate order lines, one at the bar and the other at Mastiff’s illuminated kitchen window.
In my last visit, there was little-to-no wait time at either.
Although during peak hours, the quest for beer can take a while as the bartenders dispense beer from the taps a little at a time as to avoid serving you monstrous foam heads. For that, it’s worth the wait.
The Covington Cream Ale I ordered wasn’t nearly as lethal as the “Mocha Massage” oatmeal stout I tried in the past. That exceeds 9 percent in alcohol.
Though luscious with its discernible mocha notes — and tailored not for designated drivers — the cream ale is only 5.3 percent alcohol and drinks more like a clean, crisp lager.
From the $5 food menu, I skipped over the Louisiana hot wings, grilled broccolini and pork nugs (deep-fried pork belly) in lieu of Mastiff’s true pride and joy, which are the sausages they’ve been slinging for several years from a food truck — and still do.
The smoked vegan-potato sausage piqued my curiosity and I was pleased when eating it. With hints of sage, the texture was more passable as meat compared to the soy sausages I’ve tried from grocery stores.
I augmented it with a second link, the jalapeno-cheddar wurst made of pork and served also with robust stone-ground mustard.
Both sausages paired to the cream ale like Oreos do to milk, which further proves a culinary law of the universe that tasty sausages like these should never be deprived the love and affection that craft beer gives them once they meet.
There are 14 beers brewed onsite, ranging from a crisp Covington Cream Ale and smooth Belgian-style wit, to a couple of IPAs and the high-octane Mocha Massage Imperial Oatmeal Stout.
An assortment of full-size sausage links are discounted during happy hour, including spicy Italian, classic bratwurst, an herby vegan with potato, and a very tasty cheddar-jalapeno made with pork.
The regular prices on full pint glasses are $6 or $7. They’re $1 less during happy hour. Food prices drop down a notch as well to $5.
In the absence of full wait service, customers line up at the bar for beer, which is dispensed in careful stages from the taps by one or two bartenders, depending on the crowd. Food is ordered separately at a back window, and then delivered to the tables.
Spanning nearly 9,000 square feet, the airy interior incorporates both industrial and Craftsman-style touches in the presence of several steely beer tanks.
North Park Beer Company
3038 University Ave. (North Park)
Happy hour: 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day Sunday