Last night we were driving around in an unfamiliar neighborhood, wondering where to go for dinner. Chain restaurants all around, nothing was really enticing us to eat. It was getting later and later, so heading towards home we finally saw the sign. Specifically, we saw the bright white and red sign for The Old Mill Brewery & Grill in downtown Littleton. Like moths to a flame, we headed towards the light and decided to try this place we’d never visited before.
First impressions of The Old Mill is that this place is definitely a small-town bar first, brewery second, and probably restaurant third. As you enter you see the brewing equipment to your left. It’s a lot bigger than I thought, with 4 tanks to make a variety of beers. We took a seat in the bar and were excited to hear the beer list. Several Yelp reviews told me that the IPA is their best, but sadly it was out (along with a few other taps). Our waitress told us they had some basics on tap – a Red, a Brown, a Pilsner and a Lager – along with some special brews. The specials included Passion Fruit or Raspberry Lagers, Strawberry Wheat, and an Apricot Pilsner. She also told us that since we arrived at 9pm, we were just in time for late-night happy hour, so the beers were just $1. Score! Also on happy hour were loads of shot specials. Seriously, a lot of shots were on special for as low as $3. I told you this was a bar first, definitely catering to some serious partying. We decided to stick with the beer.
Jeff had the Riverside Red Ale first. Maybe it was disappointment over not having the IPA, but this wasn’t a big hit. It was good, but a little cloudier than expected, almost wheaty, and had a bit of a tart finish. For $1 it was good enough to finish, but next round he ordered the Downtown Littleton Brown. This was a much better balanced beer with a very rich, nutty flavor.
My first beer was the Strawberry Wheat, and boy was it good. It had a silky head that didn’t disperse quickly, and with an orange wedge it looked like a fried egg sitting atop my beer! It had a very good and strong strawberry flavor, and I could tell this was going to be my favorite for the night before I even tried my next beer. Still, for $1 it was worth exploring the menu, so my second beer was the Passion Fruit Lager. Maybe the Strawberry Wheat had ruined me for other beers, because the Passion Fruit wasn’t as good. It was fruity with a finish a little too sour for my taste. It was good, but just not my style. I’ll stick with the Strawberry next time.
Our dinner was pretty standard bar food. Jeff had a beef and bean burrito, while I stuck to the (cheap) happy hour menu and had the sliders. We also shared some $1 happy hour nachos. Everything was pretty decent. The sliders were hand-made, not some tiny frozen patties, which is always a big plus. The nachos were surprisingly big for $1, and covered with cheese and what tasted a lot like Hormel Chili. The burrito was pretty decent, though the green chili wasn’t nearly as spicy as Jeff had hoped. Overall, The Old Mill has pretty okay food. Next time I’ll get a burger, since they were flying out of the kitchen to other tables and all looked delicious. We’ll be splitting that one though, since they were also pretty huge. Also huge is the menu, with a dizzying assortment of choices including burgers, steak, seafood, pasta, greek and lots of greasy bar food options. I’m sure there are some gems in there somewhere.
Overall, this was a nice surprise. Next time we’re lost in downtown Littleton and looking for some late nite brews and grub, we’ll be back. Do us a favor and save us some IPA.