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Reviews on PubCrawler from steve alvin
Other Reviews by this User
December 18, 2014 @ 01:46 AM EDT
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Reviews By
steve alvin

Beer Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Beer Reviews from steve alvin

Review Page: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ ALL ]
Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Kona Brewing Company, Honolulu, HI

First, this is not technically a brewpub, but is better described as a "tied house". The beer is brewed on the "Big Island" and sent to the pub on Oahu.

For the most part the beer is very good and true to style. I really like the IPA, which had a lovely hop aroma and just enough, but not overpowering bitterness. I also like the Fire Rock Pale Ale, which was very refreshing, and the seasonal Wailua Wheat Ale that would be a perfect lawn mowing beer if I could get it in Illinois! I did not like the coffee porter, but that is just me, as it is not a style I like--if you want a porter with overpowering coffee overtones, this is the beer for you. I much preferred their regular porter.

The venue is very nice. Since I was alone I sat at the bar, but there are seats on on patio overlooking a marina that looked like a nice way to while away an evening.

I was very impressed with the knowledge of the bartenders--they were able to answer all my questions about the beer (I should have asked which was the coffee porter, so I could have avoided it, but, alas, I didn't.)

The food was good. I had a mixed grill that featured their own barbaque sauce that was very tastee.

I rated this place awesome, and would rate it awesome plus if I could. Why? Because, unless you are already living there, you a drinking good craft beer in HAWAII! What can be more awesome than that?


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Pennsylvania Brewing Company aka Penn Brewery, Pittsburgh , PA

Update to the status of Penn Brewery. On 11/23/09, Tom Pastorius, the original founder of the brewery, and a team of investors reacquired a controlling interest in Penn Brewery. Brewing resumed at the Vinial Street Brewery in December. A new kegging line was installed in February, and starting in March, the restaurant is open on fridays, serving beer only. The grand re-opening of the restaurant is scheduled for May and they will be hosting the Pennsylvania Micro Brewer's 2010 Fest on June 5th.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great Great

Establishment: America's Brewpub, Aurora, IL

As others have mentioned, the Roundhouse complex itself is worth seeing. They have done an incredible job in reusing a piece of railroad history.

We visited on a tuesday afternoon. The service was quick and our waiter had a good understanding of the beer and a good sense of humor.

We all had sandwiches or burgers and they were all very good. The desserts were awesome, at least according to my wife and friends--I had a stout for dessert.

I have had their beer at a number of festivals and have always been impressed with all but one (ok, I really don't like Pizza Beer). They had nine beers on tap, including such exotics as "Dirty Summer Blonde Chocolate Beer" and a blueberry. I stuck with the more traditional brews--a very nice dry hopped amber ale, a kolsch, and the stout. All were very nice to drink.

I'll go back when I get the chance.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: BrickStone Restaurant and Brewery, Bourbonnais, IL

Actually, this is the same BrickStone Brewpub listed under Bradley, Illinois. Bradley is a suburb of Bourbonnais. So, if you want to see reviews go here:


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Bowling Green Brewing Company, Bowling Green, KY

Unfortunately, they are closed.

And now I have to write more stuff to reach the required minimum length for a review.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Brickstone Restaurant and Brewery, Bradley, IL

A brand new 10 barrel system was installed in November, 2008. It is supported by four fermenters and seven serving tanks. The beer is fresh and very, very good. Tom, the brewmaster/general manager/ jack of all trades, is doing a great job.

Between us, my friends and I had all the beers they offered, and no one had any complaints. My favorites were the Pale Ale, brewed with Amarillo hops and had a great aroma and taste. Also very good were their two IPA's. The Golden Promise was very good and had a good balance for an IPA. The, other, Harvey Ale was a little harsher, but also very good. They just tapped a Blonde, which Tom called a "scaled down" version of their Pale Ale. It too, was very good and would be a perfect beer for after mowing the lawn on a hot day. The beer prices were very reasonable, ranging from $3.50 to $4.75 for 23 ounces.

The food was very good. I had a combo platter of ribs with a bourbon based sauce and a sirloin. The steak was good, but next time I visit I'll get a full slab of the ribs. The meat fell off the bone. Very tasty.

I can't end this review without commenting on the service. Our waitress was about perfect -- effiecent, friendly, and knowledgeable.

I heartly recommend Brick Stone, visit it if you get a chance!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: J.T. Whitney's Brewpub and Eatery, Madison, WI

Closed 9 March, but supposedly opening "soon" under new management.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Govnor's Public House, Lake in theHills, IL

Closed, December, 2008


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great Good Awesome! Great

Establishment: Hog Haus Brewing Company, Fayetteville, AR

Steve Mazylewski, the former brewer at the Onion in Chicagoland, has brought his first rate skills to Fayetteville. The beers at the Hog Haus were all first rate--true to style and taste. The English style IPA was especially good. I sat at the bar and the bartender introduced himself, knew his beers, and was attentive.

The only down side of the evening was the food. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great, either.

All in all, I'd go back in a heartbeat.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good N/A Great So So

Establishment: Papa's Pub and Pizzaria, Fort Smith, AR

First, the pizza ain't deep dish. :-) I did not have any, but it looked good.

Based on the earlier review (admittedly six years old), I was a little disappointed. There was a nice beer selection, but it was all very "safe". No really interesting beers and except for the Fat Tire on draft, there was nothing I could not find in dozens of bars back home.

Thank goodness they had a beer garden. Arkansas seems to be a bit behind the rest of the country in that they did not have a no-smoking section. The smoke in the bar was thick and irritating. If it had been raining, I wouldn't have stayed.

Also be warned that they have a dress code--a guy in a sleeveless T-shirt was told to either leave or buy a $10 T-shirt to stay.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Granny's Attic, Tahlequah, OK

My awesome ratings are based on the fact that Oklahoma does not seem to be a particularly fertile area for beer lovers.

That being said, Granny's Attic is a great place. Although it has been an institution (since 1971) for college students, it has only re-opened recently after a six year total renovation. I don't know what the old Granny's Attic looked like, but this is one beautiful bar--the owners used high quality woodworkers. It has an Irish theme that fits well with the owner's interest in Celtic music.

They have a surprisingly large selection of beer from all over the world. This includes a few Belgiums and German beers I rarely see at other beer establishments. Only the most cynical beer drinker won't find at least one treat.

The bartender was well versed in the beers and could give advice to just about anyone.

If you like harder stuff, they have a very fine selection of Scotch and Irish whiskeys.

When I was there (June 30th) they had only been open for two weeks and it is summer break for the nearby college (very nearby--this is the closest bar to campus). What it will be like crowdwise come September is anyone's guess.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good N/A So So Great

Establishment: Gruhlke Microbrewery ( of Bias Vineyards), Berger, MO

Sometimes the sum of the whole is greater than the parts. As others have mentioned, this a primarily a winery. But, it is in a beautiful setting in the hills of Missouri's wine country. They had six beers on tap, and I sampled four: wheat, stout, dopplebock, and dortmunder. The two I did not try were a pilsner and a Mexican style beer. The beers were competent, not outstanding, but not bad either. I think the dortmunder was the best.

They do not serve food per se, although you can get a paper plate of cheese and summer sausage for $5.

My wife and I each had a beer sitting out in the garden overlooking the acres of grapevines--it was a very enjoyable time.

Yes, it is a bit out of the way, but I followed the signs and had no problem finding the place.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Great Good Awesome!

Establishment: Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, Sydney,

I wrote a review about a year ago, but it seems to having vanished into cyberspace, so I'm trying to reconstruction this based on memories and a few notes.

I must say, though, that I have very fond memories of the Lord Nelson. What a wonderful brewpub (the only one in Sydney). It is a converted old 1830's stone building that has a brewpub on the first floor, a more fancy restaurant on the second floor, and it is also an hotel. I can only comment on the first floor.

The atmosphere alone is worth a visit--it reminds one of a British pub, but with an Aussie flair. The same can be said for the beer. The styles are very English, but the Aussies add their own twist to the style. One thing one will notice right away is that all are served much colder than you would find in a British pub.

My favorite beer was their APA--Australian Pale Ale, which had a very nice hop balance. Other beers I like a lot were the ESB, the Bitter, and the Porter. I didn't care much for the Old Ale, but then again, it is more the style I don't care for than the beer that they brewed.

I had a beef pie special for dinner and it was very good.

If you are fortunate enough to visit Sydney, you MUST put the Lord Nelson on the list of places to visit!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great Awesome!

Establishment: Augusta Brewing Company, Augusta, MO

This is the only Brewpub I've been to that is, for all practical purposes, entirely outside. Tonight, on a cool evening, it was great. But, I can't imagine what it would be like on a 95% afternoon!

Don't get me wrong, the beer garden is wonderful and right off the Katy trail. The view of the surrounding area is superb.

My wife and I had dinner there. She ordered a sampler, 4 six ounce servings, while I had three pints over the course of the evening. So, taking sips of my wife's beer, I had a good sample of what the serve.

The beer itself was well done. I especially liked the IPA, the Kolsch, and the APA. My wife really liked the Maibock and the Wit (I liked the former, was not as impressed with the latter) and the hefe, we both agreed, was rather pedestrian.

The food was very good. My only complaint was that they didn't serve a rack of ribs, or a half rack, but a third rack! Still, with the beer, an appetizer, and dessert, it was filling.

On a pleasant afternoon or evening I would most certainly go back again!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A Great Awesome!

Establishment: Fat Jack's, Bloomington, IL

As the previous reviewer wrote, this is a great beer bar, with a large selection of micros and imports on tap, including many that are not common in central Illinois.

Of special interest is every third friday of the month, they have a cask ale on tap.

A much better choice than the Illinois Brewing Company!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Elmwood Brewing Company, Elmwood, IL

They are actually under new ownership. As part of the transition the new owners wanted to get the food up and running before they started brewing again. When they do start in the fall, it will be with a smaller system, as the old system has moved to a new brewpub in Bloomington.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good N/A Awesome! Great

Establishment: Third Base Sports Bar and Brewery, Cedar Rapids, IA

Up until a month ago, this was Cedar Brewing. It has now re-opened with new ownership and managment. I was told that they are using the same brewmaster as before. I think it is important to start a new listing, as the experience I had was not at all like some of those written about under Cedar Brewing.

It was my first visit to Cedar Rapids and I visited Third Base twice. Both time I was made to feel at home by the bartender, the real regulars sitting next to me at the bar, and the waitresses. by the end of my second visit, I felt like I, too, was a regular.

The beer was ok. Definately drinkable, but not outstanding (but much better than the beer served at the Granite City located a couple blocks away). The best was a Honey Bock, followed by a stout and a red. They also had a pale ale, lite clone and a wheat on tap. Yes, they are brewing for the masses, but if that is what allows them to make a profit, more power to them.

They had a full menu, but I did not have any food.

Finally, they are in a strip mall--but so what? I've been to some very good brewpubs, like The Oaken Barrel in Indianapolis, that are in strip malls and had some very bad beer in brewpubs located in reinovated buildings.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good N/A Great Good

Establishment: Millstream Brewing Company, Amana, IA

Readers need to keep in mind that Millstream is not a brewpub--it is a microbrewery. They have a small tap room/gift shop in front. They will allow you to sample the beer and you can buy 14 ounce servings (in plastic cups), growlers, and six packs. There is no place to sit inside, but there is seating out front. If it is too cold or rainy, several of the local restraunts, including the Ok Yoke, serve their beers.

I should say up front that I do perfer English style ales and, appropriately for being located in the Amana Colonies, Millstream brews in the German tradition.

I enjoyed the Maibock and the Wit. Both were, it seems to me, true to style and very tasty. The stout was also good. The reason I did not rate the beer as "awesome" was the Schild Brau Amber, which I thought was rather pedestrian.

The Amana Colonies is a neat place to visit--and Millstream is a neat place!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good N/A Awesome! Great

Establishment: Third Base Sports Bar and Brewery, Cedar Rapids, IA

This used to be the Cedar Brewing Company. It is under new management, but they are employing the same brewmaster.

I've been to a lot of brewpubs around the county and I must say that very few made me feel as comfortable as the 3b Staff.

The beer ranges from very good indeed to drinkable. The best were a Scotish Ale and a Honey Bock, Both were very drinkable. The ot.her beers, including a Irish, a Pala, and a Stout were not bad, bur not great.

The only other brewpubs in Cedar Rapids are a pair of Granite City "breweries". Ignore them and go to 3b--the beer is much better!

They have food, but I did not have any, so I can;t comment on it


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Cedar Brewing Company, Cedar Rapids, IA

Closed and re-opened in April under new managment as "Third Base Sports Bar and Brewery."


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great So So Great Lousy Good

Establishment: Old Capitol Brew Works and Public House, Iowa City, IA

First, a warning--there is very little parking near the pub. On a thursday night I had to cruise around for 15 minutes before I found a place to park (and even then I wasn't sure if I was legally parked--but I didn't get a ticket!)

The beer selection was limited, but the beers they did have on tap were pretty good. My favorite was the Pale Ale which had a noce hoppy aroma. But if you are a hop-head you may be disappointed--at ~45 IBU's it was the hoppiest beer they served. The Irish Red was very drinkable, but not really noteworth. I sampled a stout, which had a strong coffee flavor and was pretty good.

I notice a couple of reviews commented on the food. They do have a new menu. I had a burger and it was very good, but on the other hand, the fries that came with it were ice cold.

The service was pretty bad. I went to the bar and was basically ignored until I raised my voice. When I moved to a table in the main room, I was basically ignored despite a bevy of waitresses going by my table.

The pub is in a nicely restored building and is very comfortable. All in all, I had a nice experience and would go back again.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A Great Awesome!

Establishment: Capital Ale House, Richmond, VA

I can't add much to what the others have written. This is a truely awesome beer bar! If you are visiting Richmond and staying at the downtown Crowne Plaza, it is only a five minute walk away.

I didn't eat, so I can't rank the food.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Richbrau Brewing Company and Restaurant, Richmond, VA

Ok, I should have said their Kolsch was good... See what happens to ones spelling when they are tired!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good N/A Awesome! Great

Establishment: Richbrau Brewing Company and Restaurant, Richmond, VA

Unlike the last reviewer, I had a very pleasant experience. I sat at the bar and the bartender was quick with service, even though it was a busy friday night. When he had some down time he answered my questions about the beer and their brewing process. He seemed to be a nice guy.

I was a bit tuckered after a long two days, so I only had two beers. The seasonal Kolish (4.7 abv) was good, but a little weak. The IPA (6.2), otoh, was great! You could smell the amarillo hops a mile away. I was worried that all the hops would make the beer harsh, but I was pleasantly surprised as it was nicely balanced.

I was surprised that in the middle of a hot and humid July they did not have any wheat beers on while I was there. They also serve cask beer, but they had just run out, I got about a tenth of a glass.

I had already had dinner, so I did not eat, so I can not comment on the food.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great N/A Great Great

Establishment: The Scottish Arms, Saint Louis , MO

Located in a late 19th century building, the Scottish Arms gives one the feel of an old and comfortable Scottish pub. This is a very effective illusion as the place has been open for just one year!

The Arms has a nice selection of beers on tap, most from the British Isles. They include from Scotland--Belhaven's Wee Heavy and Twisted Thistle (one of my favorites and the first time I've had it on draft), McEwans and Tennents; Fullers London Pride and London Porter from England; and Beamish Stout, Smithwick Ale, and Guiness from Ireland. Their house brew is a 70/ brewed by Schafley.

If you want something a bit stronger than beer, the Arms has by far the largest stock of single malt scotch whiskies I've seen. You can participate in a whisky tour to sample several at one sitting. Empty containers weave their way around the place to give you an idea of the wide variety they have served.

There is a full menu, with an emphasis on Scotish cuisine. Unfortunately, we had already eaten when we visited, so I can not comment on the quality of hte food. I will definately go back for a meal.

Finally, yes, the waiters do wear kilts!


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