I'm going to try out Granite City Food & Brewery, again, and give it another shot. Granite City is a chain restaurant/brewpub that (from its web site), appears to be more interested in opening new locations and the price of their stock, rather than brewing decent beer. Here's what I found the last time I visited:
On the way back from the airport in November 2005, we decided to try the new Granite City Brewpub in North Kansas City at Zona Rosa Shopping Center. The food and service were decent, and the food portions were huge. The place had a sterile, suburban atmosphere, though. If you love Applebees' atmosphere, then you will think Granite City is "just divine."
I tried the IPA, and it had some problems, but it was drinkable. It was more of an American Pale Ale style, than an IPA, though. The stout had a thin mouthfeel, and was more of a porter style.
The staff that I talked to appeared to know nothing about the beer. I asked our waiter and another waitress what the "specialty brew" tap handle was, and the only answer I could get was, "all of our beers are special." So I went to the bartender and got the SAME ANSWER! I pointed at the "Specialty Beer" taphandle and asked, "WHAT IS THE BEER IN THIS PARTICULAR TAP?" She said that she finally understood, and said they had no specialty beer on tap, at present. Finally, an answer!
Then I asked for a sample of the Maibock. She poured half of a shot glass of Maibock, and the other half with light lager. I said, "what the heck are you doing?" She said, "I'm giving you a double-pull." She explained that they give double pulls on many of their beers that are "more powerful or complex" because the general American public can't take the extreme nature of the tastes involved. (You can actually order all of their beers that way)!
Cross this operation off of my list of SERIOUS brewpubs. I will be back, though, (to each of the 3 KC locations), to check out the beers from time to time. I want to give it a fair shot, anyway. Maybe they were just having training issues, but I'm real skeptical. I won't even list them in my list of Kansas City brewpubs, unless they get their shit together. (I don't list Rivermarket Brewing and a few others for the same reason...their beers suck, and I can't in good conscience, recommend them).