When it comes to beer, Original Gravity Public House means business. A row of 25 colorful taps adorns the back of the bar, and a flat-screen TV displays a dizzying menu of craft beers. You can almost count on finding one you'll enjoy.
You can count on the food, too.
Original Gravity, which opened last summer in downtown San Jose, keeps it simple with a menu of sausages, grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries. But the variety of sausages is staggering, with nearly 20 meaty (or meatless) options. There are the usual suspects -- bratwurst, Italian, andouille -- but others feature intriguing fillings like eggplant, pineapple, lemon and white wine.
All sausages are served on the same sturdy bun, a thick torpedo roll that is delivered daily by Le Boulanger. It is lightly toasted and faintly sweet. If you like, top your link with sauerkraut, grilled onions, candied jalapeños or grilled bell peppers (two toppings are included in the price). The presentation is humble, with sausages served atop wax paper in a green plastic basket.
One of my favorites is the Sweet Apricot ($6.75). This plump pork sausage is filled with bright chunks of apricot, which mingle with crushed red chili peppers for a sweet-hot punch. I recommend topping with grilled bell peppers and a squirt of Dijon mustard.
If you're craving something with a kick, try the Louisiana Hot ($6). A classic hot link, this baby comes out angry-red, bursting with meaty juices and just begging for a handful of napkins. (And likely a swig of cold beer.)
I also enjoyed the Garlichoke ($6.75), a pork sausage that was reminiscent of a snappy kielbasa. It wasn't too garlicky and contained small shreds of artichoke. Not feeling adventurous? The Beerwurst ($6.75) is another good choice, mild but flavorful and smoky.
There are three meatless options, and I sampled the vegan Smoked Apple Sage ($6), which features bits of apple and Yukon Gold potatoes. It was a bit on the dry side, and its somewhat crumbly texture did not improve as time passed. It didn't lack flavor, though, thanks to a dose of hickory smoke.
During a recent visit I found myself munching french fries long after my stomach was full, and I wondered aloud why they are so addictive. My husband raised an eyebrow and said, "Uh, because it's duck fat." That's right! The fries -- a standard cut, skin-on variety, $3.75-$5.25 -- are indeed cooked in duck fat. Yet they are surprisingly ungreasy and not surprisingly hard to put down.
They get even better when matched with one of seven tempting dipping sauces. Garlic aioli is addictive (and potent -- the garlic sticks with you long after the meal ends). And I speak from experience when I suggest not letting your toddler get confused between regular ketchup and Sriracha ketchup, which is straight-up hot.
But there is yet another level to these amazing spuds -- the Poutine ($6.50). This bowl of fries is drenched in a light, savory gravy that is prepared fresh daily. It's a chicken-based sauce seasoned with thyme and green peppercorns, which pair perfectly with squeaky cubes of cheese curd. As you dig down to the gravy-soaked fries at the bottom, each bite is better than the last.
Indoor seating is somewhat limited, although Original Gravity co-owner Dan Phan says the bar and eating area will soon be expanded. If it's crowded, just head down the long hallway and into the outdoor patio. There's plenty of room at the long picnic tables, plus climbing vines, flower boxes and plenty of shade.
As summer heats up, I can't think of a better place to cool off and recharge with a beer and a sausage.
66 S. First St., San Jose
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight
Types of food: Sausages, grilled cheese and fries
Average price: $7
Good choices: Sweet Apricot sausage and Duck Fat Fries, especially the Poutine.
Vegetarian options: There are three varieties of vegan sausage ($6) -- though I'm partial to the golden-brown, gooey grilled cheese stuffed with havarti, sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack ($4.75).
Drinks: Lots and lots and lots of beer. And also soda.
Eat in car: Could get messy.
Next-day edibility: Let's not try it.
Who goes there: Beer aficionados, college students, downtown employees, families.
Amenities: Patio is dog-friendly; validation available for city parking lots.
Attitude: Brisk, businesslike and serious about beer.
Credit cards: Accepted
Parking: A private lot on Second Street just behind the pub is convenient. Metered parking and other paid lots are nearby.
Restaurant reviews are conducted anonymously. The Mercury News pays for all meals.