The beautiful American bistro-style exterior and a dark (but not too dark) interior of comfy burgundy cushions and lustrously dark wood booths are easy to feel relaxed in. A expansive bar with glasses hanging high and gas-lit lanterns adorn the walls, further adding to the casual yet classy ambiance. The clear glass walls of both the kitchen and the several silvery floor-to-ceiling brewing servers are a shining reminder that you are not at your run-of-the-mill grill. Welcome to Big Bear Brewing Company.

The atmosphere is already set from the moment you walk in and by the efficient and courteous staff. And everything here is BIG! Water or whatever beverage you order is served in large glasses with the exception of the lemonade – which is quaintly served in large mason jars. And there is range of award-winning beers and ales to choose from that are also big on taste.

Even the most undeveloped palate can follow the Asian and European influences of the menu. We started with the Volcano shrimp, a lightly battered and fried appetizer tossed with a Thai sweet garlic chili sauce on a bed of Asian coleslaw. It comes plated with a pair of chopsticks to eat the plump seafood or to share with others if you must.

House favorite is the “The Bear” burger. This 100% Angus beef sandwich lives up to its name both in size and deliciousness. It is topped with crisp applewood bacon, Vermont cheddar, mayo and a fried egg on a brioche bun. An unusual combination, but do not hesitate to take a bite out of this meaty meal with the words “Big Bear” seared into the bread. It definitely called to my inner velociraptor.

For those with a slightly more complicated palate, Big Bear does not disappoint. The chicken madeira is a tender dish of poultry drizzled with mozzarella and fontina cheeses and a rich mushroom madeira sauce provides well-paired layers of taste that are something more than your average chicken and potatoes. Served with a soul-satisfying heap of roasted garlic smashed potatoes, this simple meal takes it up a level for the more discriminating diners.

All the desserts are housemade, so it is not an after-thought here. We tried the Sampler Trio to get a little bite of the best. The brew house 5-Nut Brownie was a good balance of chocolaty taste topped with Häagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream. The Crème Brûlée is yet another rich taste of caramelized top and fresh berries folded within. And last, but not least, is Chef Lance’s cheesecake. Each day brings a new creation. We had the pleasure of sampling his cookies-n-cream with caramel cheesecake that will gift you a taste of culinary heaven.

The warm atmosphere and soothing setting makes this an ideal location to eat with friends and family. The simple yet sophisticated menu makes for a great establishment for business lunches or an evening to impress a date. Do not take our word for it though, stop by and let the big tastes of Big Bear Brewing Company do the talking.