Looking for a place to get award-winning craft beer, along with amazing, made-from-scratch craft food? Look no further than Crooked Letter Brewery & Restaurant in Ocean Springs. Housed in a craftsman-style cottage located on the newly revitalized Porter Avenue, Crooked Letter offers unique food, beer, wine, and cocktail options that will have you coming back for more.
Having made a name for brewing great tasting beer in Ocean Springs since 2012, owner Paul Blacksmith relaunched as a brew pub brewery after an eleven month reorganization in December 2017. His business now provides patrons a full bar and food options, along with plans to be back in the distribution business later this year.
For fans of the four original Crooked Letter staples, Mystery Romp, a mocha colored ale, infused with chocolate and coffee, Crooked Heffy, a German style Hefeweizen, Stabello, a European style pale larger, and their Gipsy IPA, you are currently able to get these fine brews in growlers to take home. You can also purchase many experimental one-off beers that are brewed on site daily, using the same system they started with.
"The beauty of this environment is when you’re brewing small-scale, if you come in here once or twice a week and your into trying new stuff, is that you’ll always see something new on the board,” Blacksmith said of his every-changing beer menu. "Our craft beer board changes literally every day.”
The one-off beers, some of which he calls SMASH beers – single malt and single hop so you know exactly what you are tasting, eventually become regulars. He also provides guest taps to highlight unique, often local offerings. Wanting to get his brews to as many people as possible, they also have plans to break ground later this year to build an approximately 1800 square foot facility to brew and distribute their offerings.
Beer isn’t the only beverage on the menu. Blacksmith told me that they are the only brew pub in the area that has a full bar, so you can also get wine, whiskey, bourbon, and other handmade cocktails.
"Bloody Mary’s every day, all day long,” Blacksmith said of having more than just beer options. "We’re a brewery that has margaritas! But it works. Crooked Letter has always been a little weird and quirky.”
This quirkiness comes across with Crooked Letter’s craft food menu as well, with both traditional and chef-inspired creations.
"We take a lot of pride in our food,” Blacksmith said of standard they have to uphold. "When we reorganized an opened as a brew pub, we knew we had great beer since 2012, the food had to follow that.”
You will want to start with an appetizer or two, and you will find more than just standard bar food options. While you can get traditional items such as fried pickles, fried mushrooms, and chicken strips, you can also Southwest egg rolls, hummus with pita bread, spicy fried green beans, or even fried avocados. They also have their most popular appetizer, Chicken Crack, which is hot out-of-the-fryer tender meaty chicken and crispy skin pieces similar in texture to pork rinds. Blacksmith says his customers crave them. "There’s a reason we call it Chicken Crack.”
For those looking for something a little healthier, Crooked Letter offers salads as well, with offerings such as grilled chicken, Caesar, or grilled Portobello. You can also get a Portobello sandwich with sautéed bell peppers and onions, or a veggie burger.
Speaking of burgers, people are raving about Crooked Letter’s handmade options that they call Romp Burgers, which along with many other menu items, are made with beer.
"There is a little bit of Mystery Romp added to all the patties, and this is why some say they are the best kept secret on the Coast,” Blacksmith said. "They all have this smoky, sort of roasted flavor to them. Not just because they are on the grill, but because there is literally some of our porter in the meat itself. We just do it because it tastes good.”
On my visit I had the Hot Pig with Bacon burger, which is a delicious blend of ground beef and Patton’s Hot Beef Sausage. I had it topped with candied jalapeño bacon, also called "cowboy candy.” This add-on is made by cooking the bacon and jalapeños in brown sugar, creating a sweet & spicy melt-in-your-mouth goodness that went perfectly with meal.
While there is live music just about every weekend, they also hold special events throughout the year. Every few months or so they have World Dinner Theater, offering a four course themed meal such as Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, or Chinese food, with three acts of world fusion dance. Vegan and glutton free options are available.
They also host a Whiskey & Sticks Night where they partnered with Coast Cigar Company to highlight a different whiskey each month. For only $20 or $25, you get beer and whiskey samples, along with a fine cigar.
Crooked Letter Brewery & Restaurant is a family friendly environment open seven days a week starting at noon. Sunday through Thursday they close at 10pm, Friday and Saturday at Midnight. Be sure to inquire if you have an upcoming event, as their dining area and outdoor deck with fireplace can be reserved without a fee for birthdays, weddings, or virtually any other occasion.
Crooked Letter Brewery & Restaurant
503 Porter Ave
Ocean Springs, MS