Usually singing and dancing children provide cause to vomit. They weren't kidding when they said Youth was wasted on the Young -- in fact, they couldn't have been more dead-on. Childhood optimism is a vicious disease, only cured by countless hung-over mornings, mixed vigorously with years of good ol' post pubescent angst. That being said, you'd expect that a joyous, bubbly tot bouncing around a microbrewery would inspire nothing short of a riot. Wrong. Contrary to all morals and beliefs, I wanted to hug the little bastard. Maybe it was the beer. Maybe it was the shrimp and jalapenos. Whatever it was, the Nodding Head Brewery did it, and did it right.

Before heading up the narrow staircase to Nodding Head, make sure to check your pretensions along with your Burberry trench at the door. The brewery inspires an eclectic group of patrons, ranging from college kids, to yuppies, to aging hipsters. And while they may argue over their 401(k)s and Dubya's subpar intelligence, this mixed clientele is in search of one thing: a relaxed, attitude-free good time. Take a moment to soak up the decor, and you're bound to feel welcome at Nodding Head. The place is covered in dark wood and old-school paintings, creating a warm feeling that helps you forget about that bitch that wouldn't seat you at Morimoto. The bar is expansive, each tap being equipped with one of those asinine (but so fun) nodding head dolls. Look above the bar and you'll further understand the brewery's name: a high shelf has more dolls than a home-schooled 12-year old from Topeka. But be careful. These dolls nod, they don't bobble. We made that mistake once. Once.

The food at Nodding Head is by no means horrible -- which is more than you can say for the fried rodents normally served at most pubs. Normal bar fare such as chicken wings ($5.95) and ribs ($8.95) dominate the menu, but there are a few standouts, such as Jambalaya ($14.95) and vegan Polenta Puttanesca ($9.95). Honestly though, this is a microbrewery. Who are we kidding, you're here to drink. The freshly made beers on tap change periodically, giving you license to go back. Again and again and again. Currently, Nodding Head is serving up local concoctions like the 700 Level Ale ("remember the Vet") and its award winning Nodding Head Grog. Whatever you select, it'll be a nice departure from that piss you had from the keg on Saturday night.


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