Are you looking for good times, good people, great food, and lots of local, craft beer on tap? Are you in the mood to just kick back on a beautiful, family-friendly and dog-friendly patio, sip beer, and enjoy a great burger, or other "pub grub?" Do you love a fun, comfortable "pub-like" sports bar, where you can relax with friends and watch sports? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you'll absolutely LOVE University of Beer, located in Rocklin, CA.
As with all restaurant reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's 1230 in the afternoon on Friday, June 28, 2019, and I've arrived at University of Beer in Rocklin, to enjoy a great lunch, along with a couple of locally brewed, craft beers. Since the temperature is in the mid 70's, it looks like dining on the patio will be the plan.
The Rocklin location of University of Beer is one link of a small chain of four restaurants, with other Sacramento valley locations in Davis, Sacramento and Vacaville. The Davis location is only a bar, as it doesn't offer food.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you're greeted with a menu, and an order station. The restaurant works on what I call the "taqueria" format, in that you choose your selection from the menu, place, and pay for your order at the counter, and in return, you'll receive a number, and then you choose your seat, as the restaurant is "open seating."
One interesting difference from the "taqueria" format is that if you care to order beer with your meal - who doesn't? - the counter will enter your order on the in-house computer, which will let the bartender know you're going to order beer. As you order your beer, you give the bartender your credit card, which starts a "bar tab" that not only covers the bar, but also covers your meal. This is merely a "formality," as you don't have to pay by credit card. At the end of the meal, you can leave your meal and beer(s) on your card, or you can pay by cash. The system is good, and it works very well.
Photo: Looking at the main dining room, from the entrance to the restaurant. The bar is in the background, and the door to the patio is in the rear center of the photo.
Photo: Another view of the main dining room, looking towards the order counter, and the entrance to the restaurant. The dining room is very comfortable, "squeaky" clean, and each table is set with a basket of forks, napkins, mustard, ketchup, and a menu advertising bar specials.
Photo: One page of the menu features burgers, which is what I was looking for. If you're not in the mood for a burger, there are many other options, ranging from all-vegan salads to fish and chips, and everything in between. After looking over the menu for perhaps 20 seconds, my eyes fell upon the "Frat House Burger" and never left.
Photo: After placing your order at the order counter, the next stop is the bar, if you're interested in one of the 30+ craft beers on tap. The bar already has your order, so you give them your credit card, open up a "tab," and the friendly bartender will pour your beer. The credit card is simply a formality and, for the restaurant a safeguard, as if you prefer to pay by cash, the "tab" will be removed from your credit card. If you're lazy, like I am, I just left the "tab" on my credit card.
Naturally, there are television monitors everywhere, which are tuned to sports events in progress. You could describe University of Beer as a "sports bar." Today's sporting event was soccer, as there was a different soccer game being broadcast on every monitor.
It's interesting to note the two gentlemen at the left of the photo asked me the age-old question, as I took the photo, "Why are you taking photos?" I gave them one of my business cards, explained to them the "mission" of this web site, and the fact that I'm a dedicated "foodie," and I like to post on Yelp as well. They agreed that what I'm doing is a lot of fun, since these guys love good beer and great food.
Photo: Meet my friendly bartender, Josh, as he pours a New Helvetia beer from one of the taps. New Helvetia beer is a regional craft beer, as it's brewed in nearby Sacramento. I definitely have a fondness for this fine beer...
Photo: I'm holding a pint of New Helvetia beer, and I'm ready to enjoy my meal on the patio.
Photo: University of Beer features an open kitchen, so you can watch the staff at work, preparing your meal. I'm a sucker for open kitchens, as kitchen operations always fascinate me.
Photo: As the temperature today was in the mid 70's, it was a perfect day to enjoy my lunch outside on the beautiful patio. The patio is inviting, as it's shaded, "squeaky" clean, beautifully landscaped, and shielded from busy Lonetree Blvd. When you're dining on the patio, you're treated to the same fast and efficient service the inside diners enjoy.
The patio features mostly tables, but at each end, there are a couple couches arranged together, with small tables, such as the diners in the rear of the photo are enjoying.
Photo: If you're dining on the patio, bring your dog with you, as well-mannered dogs are welcome on the dog-friendly patio. The staff will even bring a bowl of water to quench Fido's thirst, as you quench yours with one of the many craft beers on tap.
Note this group of diners is enjoying lunch on one of the groups of couches, situated at each end of the patio. Talk about comfort!
Photo: Brandon, one of the friendly servers, brings an order of fish and chips, along with a bottle of malt vinegar to the party seated at the end of the patio. During the course of my dining, I had the opportunity to chat with these folks, and found out they're really nice people, and Roseville locals!
Photo: Meet Brandon, my super-friendly server, who brings my "Frat House Burger" with a smile, on a "double stack" plate, which makes for a breath-taking presentation. It's interesting to note the other diners on the patio "ooooooohhh'd and aweeeed" over my burger, and asked "What is that??" and "Are you going to eat all that???"
If you're looking to start a conversation, just order a "Frat House Burger," and the burger will get your conversation started.
Photo: Thanks Brandon, for taking my photo, as I smile with my "stack" of a "Frat House Burger," and a full order of beer-battered fries. The beer is a New Helvetia craft beer, which is brewed in nearby Sacramento, and definitely makes a fine addition to the Rocklin craft beer scene.
Photo: After looking over the menu, and considering many options, I went with the "Frat House Burger," which includes a full order of beer-battered fries, with a New Helvetia craft beer on the side. Since the burger is mostly deep fried, and contains TWO half pound Harris Ranch beef patties, how could I even consider ordering anything else? Especially since a burger of any kind is one of my favorite foods... If you're not familiar with the local craft beer scene, New Helvetia beer is brewed in nearby Sacramento, and is one of my favorite locally-brewed craft beers.
Don't you love the "stacked," two-tier approach presentation of the "Frat House Burger?" The burger needs two plates, as it's a MONSTER, and the full stack of beer-battered fries alone would make a meal for most hungry people. The menu describes the "Frat House Burger" as, "Two Harris Ranch 1/2-pound burger patties, deep-fried in Firestone 805 beer batter, pulled pork, Applewood smoked bacon, BBQ sauce, secret sauce, topped with waffle fries and spicy ranch. Served with a full order of beer-battered fries." At $24.95, it isn't cheap, but after reading the description, I was hooked, and I absolutely HAD to eat this burger! As an added bonus, if you finish your burger and fries within 20 minutes, you're awarded a free "U.O.B. tee shirt," but since I was paying a quarter of a c-note for this burger, I wanted to take my time, and enjoy it.
So... the burger begins with TWO half-pound patties of Harris Ranch beef, battered in a beer batter that features Firestone 805 beer, and then the patties are deep-fried. What would the "health police" say about this? Top all of this goodness off with pulled pork, smoked Applewood bacon, cheese - "cheese" is not on the menu, but my burger had at least two slices of Cheddar cheese - ranch, special sauce, and stack it all on a HUGE, fresh bun, and you have a "Frat House Burger," which would make any burger lover, and any fraternity member smile, as they bite into this amazing, juicy burger.
The beer-battered meat patties definitely added a new dimension to this HUGE, multi-talented burger. The beef patties were thick, fresh, beer battered, and deep fried to a golden, crispy brown. Between the burger patties, where was a layer of gooey, Cheddar cheese and ranch dressing... oh my! The bacon was sitting on top of the beef patties, then more cheese and ranch dressing and then... pulled pork! All of the decatent goodness was placed on a fresh, toasted brioche bun, and the result was simply amazing. After my first bite, I thought I'd died and gone to burger heaven, to share eternity with fellow burger lover "Wimpy..."
You bite into this burger, and you taste the rich, smoky taste of the bacon, and the gooey goodness of the cheese, the ranch dressing, and finally the beer-battered beef patties. It's a symphony of taste that will nearly overwhelm your taste buds, and your senses with goodness. This burger is GREAT!!!
Your "Frat House Burger" doesn't come with any mustard, mayonnaise or ketchup, as it really doesn't need anything, as it's already over-the-top, and enhanced! However, if you prefer to add something else, bottles of ketchup and mustard are on each table. Trust me, this burger doesn't need "enhancement!"
The side of beer-battered fries was absolutely wonderful, and it complimented the fine burger. Before today, I'd never enjoyed beer battered fries before, and I have to admit after enjoying these fries, I'm now a convert and a true believer of beer battered fries. The mountain of fries would make a meal for most people, but when you combine it with the "Frat House Burger," you have a lunch that could feed a linebacker or two, or maybe even Paul Bunyan.
How did I eat such a tall burger? The burger arrived with a knife stuck in the bun, so that should offer a clue as how you can actually eat this monster of a burger. In my case, I cut the burger in half, placed one half of the burger, and half the fries in a box that my server, on my request, had brought to the table. The "half burger" that remained, I cut in half, and into little pieces, and ate each piece with a fork. I could have enjoyed the burger "cave man style," but I wanted to slowly savor the goodness of each bite, since I wasn't in a hurry, and the burger and beer made for an intoxicating and enjoyable combination.
My true confession is that I took half of the burger, and about two-thirds of the fries home in a box. The plan was to enjoy them for dinner, but when dinner came around, I was still full, and instead, opted for a small bowl of vegetable soup. In all probability, I COULD HAVE eaten the whole meal in one sitting - but not 20 minutes to win a tee shirt - but the truth be told that I would have been hurting for many hours, and in this stage of my life, the "glory" just isn't worth the pain that follows. Guess what I'll be eating for dinner tomorrow?
Today was my first foray into a beer-battered, deep-fried Harris Ranch burger patty, along with beer-battered fries, and I confess that today's fine dining experience made a believer out of me, and left me "burger breathless," along with a very full stomach.
Photo: I cut my "Frat House Burger" in two, and separated both halves, so all the world could see what this amazing burger looks like. Note the deep-fried Harris Ranch beef patties, the melted cheese, the bacon, the dressing, the toasted brioche bun, and the sheer "goodness" of this awesome burger.
Isn't this just sheer "burger beauty?" The burger tasted even better than it looks in the photo. You just have to love the "Frat House Burger" if you love a great burger.
My meal wasn't cheap, as after I added a 17% gratuity to thank the staff for the fine service I received, the exit-price was just under $50.00. Perhaps that's a tad extravagant for a one-person lunch, but the beer was amazing, the atmosphere was wonderful, and the burger was delicious. Not to mention that I will be enjoying leftovers for tomorrow night's diner. Yes, I'd definitely recommend a visit to University of Beer!
I absolutely adored my "Frat House Burger," and I loved dining on the clean, comfortable patio. University of Beer is simply a fun, friendly restaurant to visit, when you're in the mood for delicious food, friendly staff, friendly diners, and good times. For a great burger, craft beer and good times, visit University of Beer, located in Rocklin, CA.
University of Beer
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