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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rohrbach, Railroad Street

Rohrbach Brewing Company is best known as the granddaddy of Rochester's craft brewers, dating back to its original location in the German House, but their food is not to be overlooked. Their brewpub on Buffalo Road offers a full menu highlighted by beer-friendly German specialties, and it's also one of the few places in the Rochester area where you can get a decent beef on weck.
This past spring, Rohrbach opened its new Railroad Street Beer Hall at its primary production facility near the Rochester Public Market. The food menu at the Beer Hall is different from (and for now, at least, considerably shorter than) the brewpub's menu, but it does offer one thing you won't find at the brewpub:  wood-fired pizza.
I recently joined a friend there for dinner, and we each got a pizza. Our choices were:  the Rohrbach Classic, with red sauce, a three-cheese blend, and pepperoni; Sausage & Pepper (red sauce, sausage, pepper, red onion, and shredded mozzarella); Caprese (basil pesto sauce, fresh mozzarella, and sliced tomato); Jalapeno Bacon (garlic-Parmesan sauce, sliced jalapeno, bacon, and shredded mozzarella); and that evening's special, which had an Asian-sounding theme involving Sriracha and oranges. It sounded like it might be good, but I was looking for something a little more traditional, so I ordered the Sausage & Pepper, while my companion got the Classic.
Our dinner-plate-size pizzas had a very thin crust.  Mine was a little puffier around the edge. The undersides were browned in spots, but not charred, and the surface was uniformly smooth, with little sign of any bubbling in the dough.
The dough didn't seem to have risen much, and the crust, while not bad, was not terribly interesting either. It was on the chewy side, not particularly crisp, nor breadlike. It also lacked the toasty, smoky notes that I look for in a wood-fired crust. Just a guess, but I suspect that the oven wasn't quite as hot as it could've been. The pies were considerably browner along the edge than underneath, which further suggests that the oven deck wasn't terribly hot.
On the plus side, my Sausage and Pepper pie had good flavor overall, with a slightly sweet red sauce accented by small chunks of mild Italian sausage and peperoncini slices. The mozzarella cheese was browned but still appropriately gooey.
I tried a slice of my companion's pie, and it was indeed a classic pepperoni pizza, with a uniform blanket of cheese and crisp, spicy cup & char pepperoni slices. I liked my pizza well enough, but I actually preferred the Classic, which was a basic but tasty "bar" pie.
The food menu at the Beer Hall comprises four pizzas, three salads, warm pretzels, and wood-fired cookies (which sounds intriguing), as well as nightly specials. Aside from their extensive lineup of craft beer, Rohrbach also offers house-brewed root beer and orange cream soda, and Pepsi products. The space is attractive, with high ceilings, brick walls, and long communal tables; think German bierstube, but with an industrial-chic look.
Getting back to the pizza, I found a lot to like about these, but I wasn't crazy about the crust. It served well enough as a base for the toppings, which were quite good, and in general I enjoyed the pizza. With a little work on that crust, these could be truly outstanding pizzas. These, I'll give a B, on the strength of their overall flavor.

Rohrbach Railroad Street Beer Hall

97 Railroad St, Rochester

(585) 546-8020

Wed. & Thu. 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Fri. 2 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Closed Sun. - Tue.

Brewery tours on Saturdays hourly from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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