Midtown Sacramento just got a new addition to the dining scene. The River Rock Tap House at 2326 J Street has been open for less than a week and is showing a lot of promise. This beverage driven restaurant held its “soft opening” on July 9th and is open everyday from 11am to midnight.

The River Rock opened planned to open with 40 craft brews on tap and eventually expand the selection to 70! Things didn’t work out as planned and the tap layout was uneven, so they opened with 41 different selections, (doubt anyone is complaining). Ownership plans to dedicate 80% of the taps to California and Oregon craft brews.

With limited information about the menu and a couple of 4-star Yelp! reviews, I went last night mainly for the beer with food as an after thought. We arrived at the corner of 24th and J to find an outdoor seating area with couches/chairs on one side and table for eating on the other side. I was disappointed that every seat outside was taken, but inside there was another couch/chair lounge area, high pub style tables, a wall of booths and two separate bar areas.

Our server gave us the extensive beer list and the “soft opening” menu, with apologies that they were still working on the food menu. The food we ordered was excellent! My wife and I split a grilled chicken sandwich ($8) and a plate of brewery fries ($7). The sandwich arrived with a pile of accompanying fries as well. All the fries in the place were waffle cut fries and the Brewery Fries are piled with cheese, bacon and scallions, served with sour cream “potato sinks” style. We were completely impressed by the food and if it’s still a work in progress I can’t wait to see the entire menu.

The beer menu is an exhaustive list of $5 pints, and if you are the type who has issues with making decisions you will be overwhelmed. The staff will happily bring you a taste of any beer on the list to help you make a decision. The hop-head in me zeroed in immediately on the IPA section of the menu and found one of my favorites, Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg, no taster needed. I of course ordered a pint to affirm to the ownership that this one needs to stay on the menu. I followed this with the Green Flash Brewery’s West Coast IPA . Neither of these IPA’s will disappoint you west coast hop-heads. My wife ordered the Red Barn Ale from Lost Abbey in San Marcos. Lost Abbey did a great job of recreating some of the fine red ales I drank in Belgium.

Bottom line this place has great food, great beer and a great atmosphere. Just add some great friends and you are sure to have a great time.