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Reviews on PubCrawler from mark stacy
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Reviews By
mark stacy

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31
Beer Reviews from mark stacy
   

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

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

Establishment: Morgantown Brewing Company, Morgantown, WV

The new owners/managers really upgraded the place. The bar area where the kettles are is basically unchanged but the dining area is vastly improved, done over with booths in warm wood, and the second bar has been extended and is finally being utilized again.

The food is pretty consistently good. Our most recent stop there was Valentine's Day evening and the restaurant was busy, and that combined with the special menu may have slowed service a bit (we were just having soup and some wings and this took maybe a half hour to arrive), but it's the first time service has been anything but excellent. I had beef stout chili, very meaty and nicely spicy, and a half dozen barbecue wings, which were a reasonable size, meaty and sweet. My wife had French onion soup, which she said was "OK." I'd venture to say we haven't had anything that was disappointing yet.

The only disappointment on this night was that the Spicy Blonde had run out for the year. Lots of flavor to the winter beer, and they serve it with a crust of sugar/nutmeg/cinnamon around the rim of the glass. Nice touch.

In its place we had an amber ale and the Two Weeks Lager, both fine. (I'm a fan of the IPA but that was off the menu too.) There's a Cherry Bombshell now, but the server advised that it should be more flavorful in a couple weeks, so we'll hold out. Brewmaster Brian Anderson is showing a very creative side and it will be fun to see what seasonals he works up through the year (MBC has been open about three months).

I should also mention that the drafts are $4, a very reasonable price given the quality, and that the menu seems reasonably priced too.

West Virginia Brewing Co. (the former brewpub in the same location) had slipped considerably in every area except the beer in the year before it closed. I went there occasionally but it was not a place to show off for friends or family.

MBC is that kind of place, and I couldn't be happier.

(02/16/2010)

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

Establishment: West Virginia Brewing Company, Independence, WV

WVBC was evicted from the premises a couple weeks ago. There's a sign on the door now that says "West Virginia Brewing Company will re-open soon." We'll see how soon, and what emerges. Hopefully Ned Strauser will be involved somehow, he's a wonderful brewer, especially under West Virginia's legal limitations. However, I saw trouble coming for the business side of his ownership some time ago.

First off, the place has never had a Web site, which is ridiculous. How are out-of-towners supposed to know about you? Second, the food was just so-so, OK pub grub but nowhere near what the many adventurous brewpubs are doing with their menus. Third, prices went up (though they were still reasonable at $4 a pint). Fourth, beer specials disappeared, or became very hit and miss. How can you not have a happy hour? Fifth, they pretty much stopped booking bands. When Ned took over, he talked about holding tastings and meet-the-brewer nights, which pretty much never happened, as far as I know.

In short, they did just about everything they could to drive away the 21-25 age demographic in a town with 28,000 college students.

Ideally, someone with business and restaurant savvy would help run those aspects of the place and free Ned to just worry about the beer. This could be a great brewpub again. Keep your fingers crossed.

(12/25/2008)

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

Establishment: City Steam Brasserie Brewery Cafe, Hartford, CT

73.9 seems a little low for this place, which is a beautiful bar in a great-looking old building with some pretty good beers. I had a sampler (five 3-ounce beers for $5) and a pint of black silk stout. Most were very tasty. Didn't have time to eat, but we'll be back in town in October.

(09/02/2008)

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

Establishment: Four Peaks Brewing Company, Tempe, AZ

Bless you, PubCrawler. Through you I noticed that Four Peaks was less than a mile from our hotel while we were visiting ASU. It's on a strange semiresidential street where nothing else seemed to be going on on a very pleasant Saturday afternoon as we walked to the bar. Then we got to Four Peaks and the place was hoppin'. Wonderful weathered-brick building with high ceilings inside, the bar upfront and a deep space behind, where the tanks are. The doors were open and the place was airy and the atmosphere was very pleasant and welcoming.

I got all excited when I looked at the beer chalk board and saw "barley wine 2/1." Thought that meant a two-for-one price special, but no it meant "coming Feb. 1." :-( Oh well, settled for the sampler, which included all eight beers on tap in 4-ounce glasses for $9. I concur with the general consensus here on Kiltlifter, and was pleasantly surprised by a peach, which actually tasted like peaches. Even my daughter, who does not drink beer at all, tried it at my insistence, and then took a second and third sip. All the beers were between at least fair and great.

We split a small pizza loaded with artichokes and spinach and tomatoes and feta cheese and stuff. It was delicious, a little on the salty side maybe, but I attribute that to the feta. We got stoutamisu fo dessert and the waitress warned us it was big. Hey, we're sharing, we said. How big can it be?

Too big to finish.

The best surprise, though, came with the bill. Something must have been half-price (I'm thinking the dessert) because the tally was around $24. Cool. So I told the waitress I wanted a T-shirt and would she add it to the bill? I asked for one I thought I'd seen online for $14 but when the re-tally came it showed up as $10.

To recap: Eight-beer sampler Gut-stuffing pizza Dessert too big to finish T-shirt $34 You kidding me? Great place.

(01/27/2008)

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

Establishment: Appalachian Brewing Company, Harrisburg, PA

We had a somewhat schizophrenic time here, as the ratings might indicate.

First of all, I like the building, with high ceilings and wood beams and flags adorning the interior. There was a big crowd in on a Wednesday night, though -- maybe 30-35 guys just at one long table -- and the space echoes the noise, making it a little hard to make conversation at a normal level.

We ordered the beer sampler, which is fairly generous -- eight 5-ounce glasses for $10 -- but they came out of order from what was listed on the placemat. The server explained this, and gave me the order they were in, but he was wrong about a couple of them. You apparently also don't get any options, you take the eight beers they give you. The six regular beers were the usual lineup -- wheat, IPA, red etc. -- with a couple seasonals. They were fair to good, nothing that really stands out in my memory except for a decent Belgian.

I started dinner with a nothing-special salad. Then the server brought the main course, forgetting the chili (me) and soup (wife) we'd ordered. Wife decided to skip the soup, but I did get the chili. It was hearty and meaty, if maybe a little too spicy for me, and I like it spicy.

For a main course, I got Chesapeake chicken, and this has to be one of the best dishes I've ever had. It's chicken diced and chunked and spcied and formed into disks like crab cakes. With mashed red potatoes on the side, this was fantastic.

Wife had a portobello and steak salad, and described it as "OK."

The server manned up to his earlier mistake and left the chili off the bill, so the whole thing came to a very reasonable price.

I'd certainly eat here again, but I don't know that I'd be a regular drinker of ABC beers if I lived in the area. Not wiht Troegs in the same town.

(08/13/2007)

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

Establishment: Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery, Glens Falls, NY

This is a standout establishment, one of the best brewpubs I've visited. We came on a weekday evening, with the weather cool enough for most folks to dine on the patio, as we chose to do. And from the moment we showed up we were treated extremely well by the staff. While we waited inside for a table, we shared a pint of Dacker. This is a fine ale, if I lived here I'd drink gallons of this.

Then we moved out to the patio, where a fellow was playing guitar for the diners. It's a good thing they have it (the patio), because the brewpub dining area is rather small, don't know what they do during ski season, but it's a neat-looking bar, lots of wood.

Anyway, next up we ordered a sampler. Our server, Kailyn, presented us a card with the 10 beer options, and you check off the six you want at 5 ounces each for $8.95, which works out roughly equivalent to their $4.50 pint price. We'd already had Dacker, so I chose the wheat ale, Irish red ale, IPA, oatmeal stout, Scotch ale and brewer's choice (which I forget what it was, sorry). Oddly enough, the beers I liked most -- the wheat, stout and Scotch -- were of the types I tend to like least. But these were very good for their type, I especially enjoyed the mellow Scotch (mellow in taste only, it has an 8%ABV kick). The stout had just a hint of sweetness. The others were OK, but enough were really tasty that I rounded the beers up to "great."

Having the sampler qualified us to get a growler and a fill-up for half price, around $9, our server told us. Basically, the sampler would have been free. Sadly, we were going to be traveling a long distance the next day and I was concerned the beer would spoil in the heat and in the car, so I had to pass on this. But it's a excellent promotion.

Dinner started with a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Mmmm, fresh basil. My wife had cheddar stout soup. She liked it, and gave me a taste. I'm very attuned to saltiness and it was a bit too salty for me. But I guess a cheesy soup would be.

From there, on to the main course. I had Autumn Harvest crab cake, which included sweet potato as an ingredient, and it was a real treat, a little pumpkin pie spicy but not overpowering, just very nice. This came atop a spinach salad and had a cranberry dressing. Really good, would go great with a pumpkin ale if the Davidsons chose to brew one. I like and appreciate it when brewpubs take chances with adventurous menu options like this.

My wife had steak tips, and enjoyed them very much. I took a taste and agreed with her. Tender and tasty.

We topped off this feed with a real treat: vanilla mousse with Bailey's drizzled on it. Very nice.

Staff were attentive and alert at all times and very pleasant to deal with. Rick Davidson himself, who clearly enjoys schmoozing customers and has his patter down smooth, visited our table twice and was funny and charming. I made a pointg to shake his hand as we left and compliment him on his staff's efforts.

I had been looking forward to visiting here for quite some time and Davidson Brothers more than met my expectations. This place really is a gem. Even their t-shirts look great. My only regret is living so far away and having no real reason to be in the neighborhood again.

(08/11/2007)

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

Establishment: West Virginia Brewing Company, Independence, WV

The comment by Greg Myles that follows this one is not accurate. WVBC is fully open (tho I DO wish they'd get a real Web site up) and was pouring six beers -- three regulars and three seasonals -- as of 2/28/07. I go every Wednesday, it's $2 pints after 10 p.m. Come on back!

(03/05/2007)

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

Establishment: Barley Creek Brewing Company, Tannersville, PA

Barley Creek got back to me finally and offered to replace the case. So I'm adding this to upgrade the rating I gave their service. Fair's fair.

(12/18/2006)

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

Establishment: Barley Creek Brewing Company, Tannersville, PA

I'm here to note that I recently bought a Barley Creek sampler case that I returned to my distributor because the beers had gone sour (sounds similar to what some others here have experienced at the brewpub). I've tried lots of sampler cases and hundreds of beers and never had this happen before. I rated the service "lousy" also because I e-mailed Barley Creek twice about this and never got a reply. Fortunately, my distributor gave me full credit on the return, even though I'd choked down five bottles trying to find something in the case that was drinkable. For a couple dollars extra I upgraded to a Heavy Seas sampler.

My 2 cents.

(12/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Piper's Pub, Pittsburgh, PA

East End was on tap when I went for lunch yesterday. I had never been in Piper's before. It looks kinda dark and smoky through the window, but it's neat and tidy and bright inside. There are maybe 20-25 taps; I had EEBC's Big Hop and an enormous chicken shepherd pie that left me too full for a second beer; I am still not hungry this a.m. as I type this. My daughter had artichoke/red pepper dip in a bread bowl and ended up taking some of it home (she drank an iced tea -- she was driving). This feast ran us $23. I was hugely pleased.

A few tables over a man was eating a sandwich that appeared to be made with an entire loaf of bread and either a pile of fried fish or a couple chicken breasts on it, I couldn't tell which. It may be the biggest sandwich I've ever seen in person.

The service was first-rate and efficient. But then, there are so many eating/drinking options on the South Side that I can't imagine a place that provided lousy service would last for more than a few weeks. Piper's tries to distinguish itself by being more of a British/Irish pub, which works on the menu (several dishes with bangers and the like) better than in overall atmosphere, tho I've never been to England or Ireland, so what do I know?

(11/22/2006)

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

Establishment: West Virginia Brewing Company, Independence, WV

Friends, it's been a scary summer here, what with the rumors of bankruptcy and a short and then a long hiatus (the latter while awaiting a license transfer), but WVBC is open again, just in time for the Return of the Students, with brewmaster Ned Strauser at the helm. I stopped by Saturday night to see what was on tap and what the place looked like.

Six beers were on tap -- four the usual (Ned's Pale Ale, Cheat Mountain Gold, Blackwater Stout etc.) plus a raspbery wheat and the wonderfully named Lovelace Lager. I can only guess it's called that because it goes down real easy. Had to try that, of course, and the first impression was Wow! That's really sweet! That impression faded about halfway down the pint but the beer still remained very flavorful -- I've noted before, Ned doesn't brew beer for sissies.

The brewpub itself is still a little scruffy looking, thought it's CLEANER scruffy since they did a paint job and tidied up the restrooms just a bit.

Story in the newspaper says Ned plans to revamp the menu plus hold some tastings and do other things to promote the place -- stuff that's been long overdue. Another thing WVBC desperately needs is a real Web site. Hope they'll figure that out soon. Ned's beers are very good, and WVBC needs as many outlets to make that known as it can get.

(08/12/2006)

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

Establishment: Point Brugge Cafe, Pittsburgh , PA

Dear Enemy,

One update to your otherwise excellent analysis. You probably haven't been in D's since it remodeled. The beer coolers are along the back wall now; what used to be the cave is an office. They expanded into the storefront to the left to provide more dining space and put the new cave (actually more of a regular room now) behind that. Still carrying 900 or so beers.

We were there the day of the World Cup final and they had a pretty good crowd watching the game on Sunday afternoon.

(07/23/2006)

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

Establishment: North Country Brewing Company, Slippery Rock, PA

We stopped in on Saturday afternoon and the place was busy. It's a cool-looking building, to start with. I like it when people take old houses and upgrade them for modern uses. Since it was a pleasant day there weren't any of the hot/cold issues some other folks have mentioned. Place seemed cozy without being snug.

Matt was our server. It took awhile to get our drinks after we ordered, but he explained that the bar was pretty busy and it would take a few minutes. I appreciate when a server does that, and doesn't leave you wondering if your order got forgotten. Our food orders arrived in good time after we placed them.

Something like 11 pub beers were available (they were out of alt). We got the big sampler -- nine 5-oz. glasses for $9, which seems pretty reasonable. Tried Northern Lite, Slippery Rock Dew, Amber Waves, a rye, a red, Belgian Nightmare, a blueberry, Stinky Hippie IPA and a porter. My only quibble with the service was I had asked for the nut brown and not the porter, but I cut lots of slack because 1) I juggled my order some and may have confused the server; 2) he seemed REALLY busy, though he never made us feel rushed; and 3) while I don't usually like porters, I did like this one. So no harm, no foul, and I tipped well.

We also liked the Belgian, nice and potent, reminded me some of Weyerbacher's Merry Monks. I drank them more or less in reverse order of flavor and strength, so I can't fairly speak to the quality of the lighter beers. But I had no problem finishing them all.

Wife had a glass of a red raspberry wine. I took a sip and ZOW was it raspberry! Better than Lindeman's Framboise. Think this came from nearby Volant.

Food gets a "great." We teed up with lobster bisque and tortilla soup, both very good.

I never met a lima bean I liked until now, but these were the veggie of the day apparently and they were done well short of mushy (I hate mushy) and with basil. Pretty good that way. This came with my Sunshine Chicken, a half-chicken -- though not as much as it sounds like, must have been a young chicken -- grilled in orange marmalade. It didn't taste much like orange, but was nicely grilled and flavorful nonetheless. Redskin potatoes accompanied this all and were quite good.

Wife had a really tasty steak (she gave me a bite) with a baked potato and the lima beans. The steak kicked the meal up a notch from "good."

I was going to buy a shirt at the bar but every barstool was taken and the barkeep looked like he had his hands full, so I'll see if I can get one online or go back again or something. I should point out that the busy-ness did not seem due to understaffing -- there was plenty of help on hand. I think they just drew a crowd. I can understand why. This HAS to be the best place, maybe the only place, to eat and drink well in the wasteland between Pittsburgh and Erie.

(06/24/2006)

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

Establishment: North Country Brewing Company, Slippery Rock, PA

I haven't been here but I'll be passing by this summer and plan to stop in. I just wanted to address Mr. Wood's review: The anonymous Pittsburgh writer's review may have seemed unfair to you, but I don't know that it's an occasion for calling anyone a "jerk." I really appreciate the detail in his/her review (and yours as well), and I know enough to take a bad experience/review with a grain of salt -- even the best place is going to have SOMEBODY who didn't like the food, or the service, or the beer. No place with more than two or three reviews has a 100 rating, right?

Besides, I wish all PubCrawler reviewers would take the time to go into such detail. Few things are as annoying as wading through a slew of reviews that say "the food was great" with no mention of what the reviewers ate, for instance. So could we maybe lighten up a bit? We're all in the beer community here. Thank you.

(05/17/2006)

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

Establishment: West Virginia Brewing Company, Independence, WV

The good news is, Ned's Pale Ale is back on, along with the stout and the Appalachian ale.

The bad news is, the new management has

1. raised the price of a pint, from $2.50 to $3. (The place seemed to be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy or a sheriff's sale for awhile there, so this was probably inevitable.)

2. Eliminated all specials on WVBC beer (at least for now, the bartender said they're working on new ones -- believe it or not, the only special available last night was $3.50 for a 24-ounce Heineken minikeg). The Tuesday night $1 pint bartender's choice was one of the best beer deals on the planet -- it was even worth putting up with open mic. I hope it survives somehow, but now I doubt it.

And

3. My favorite bartender is gone.

(Ironically, it seemed a little busier in there than on a typical Tuesday night, even with the students gone.)

So this presents a dilemma. I'm not sure I like the direction the place is taking, but it may be that this is the direction the place has to take to stay open. The new owner(s) had the good sense to keep Ned on board -- Ned's beers are some of the best -- so they have an idea what the core mission of a brewpub ought to be. And I'm hooked on Ned's beers, so I suppose I have no option but to go along with whatever they decide to do. I guess the price of a great pint is at least worth the same as the price of a gallon of gas, eh? :-)

OK, I'll give 'em a chance, see what happens.

(05/17/2006)

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

Establishment: East End Brewing Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Finally got to meet Scott in person, after a length of e-mail communication, at a Thursday growler session. This is not the easiest place to find, a side street off a side street -- the only indication we had that we were at the right place was by spotting a keg propping open a door.

That's OK, it was worth the trip. Scott is very generous with his product. (When I'd asked in advance if he allowed buyers to sample the wares, he wrote back, "No. I insist on it.")

He was out of Big Hop IPA, which was OK because I'd had one out of the cask earlier in the day, at Market Street Ale House. He did have a special bitters, a witte, a pale ale and the marvelous Black Strap stout, served right out of the fermenter. Man, nothing tastes better than fresh beer.

EEBC had a steady stream of customers while we were there, which speaks as well for Scott's service and product as I ever could.

My wife suggested I get something she could try too. She prefers lighter beers, so I took home the witte, with nice hints of orange and coriander. We'll see how that goes over.

And now that I have a growler, of course, once it's empty I'll have to go back.

Good luck, Scott, keep up the excellent work.

(05/11/2006)

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

Establishment: Mountain State Brewing Company, Thomas, WV

Cheryl,

That's not B.O., that's pine. Makes me wonder what you REALLY smelled in the parking lot. :-)

Second, you claim on your BBC review that you read the MSB reviews before you went there. Then you should have known about the sawhorses and the very limited menu. (Sorry if the person who rated the food "awesome" confused you.) As I recall, they have some comfy couches if you don't like the barstools. And if they now have cold sandwiches, cool, they've upgraded the menu over the "microwavable roll."

But if you read the reviews you should have known all this before you went, so I don't understand what you expected.

Then you write that the beers were "OK, nothing to brag about," but you rate them "lousy." Not even "so-so." What's up with that?

Finally, I'm happy you enjoyed yourself at BBC (and thanks for mentioning what it was you ate theer -- nothing annoys me as much as people who rave about food but don't say what they had), but the place to rave about BBC is on the BBC thread, which I see you've done.

This kind of stuff, plus the recent string of rave reviews for BBC, makes me suspicious that there's some kind of no-so-stealthy campaign going on here to discredit MSB. I really hope I'm wrong about that.

I give Brian and Willie's beers another boost here because I drink them in Morgantown. The amber ale is terrific and the stout is pretty good. Going to Gene's tonight to have a cold one.

Best wishes.

(04/22/2006)

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

Establishment: Market Street Ale House, Pittsburgh , PA

Had lunch here before the Pirates' home opener. I'd heard about the place on PubCrawler and was hunting for it as we walked around downtown. We had made up our minds that if we got to the Oyster House first we'd go there instead. Turns out this is right next door to the Oyster House, on the second floor.

We appeared to be the first of the lunch crowd and thus were escorted to a great table, in a corner with lots of glass and two-direction views of Market Square on a nice sunny day. Very nice.

The beer menu is fairly extensive but concentrates on imports -- pages and pages of them. There was just one page of micros but it contained many good ones -- several Dogfishes, four Victories and Weyerbacher's Merry Monks, among the ones I can recall. I had Dogfish Aprihop and Merry Monks. Counted about six taps from where I was sitting, largely imports.

Had the Ahi tuna wrap for lunch, which was reasonably good. Pile of standard fries and some OK veggies came with it. The waitress was attentive without being intrusive, always the best combination.

Place filled up pretty well during lunch. Bodes well for the future of the establishment.

(04/12/2006)

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

Establishment: Six Penn Kitchen, Pittsburgh , PA

Stopped in here after the Pirates home opener just to get a beer while the crowd headed for the T thinned out. This used to be the symphony store, kitty-corner from Heinz Hall, and as the previous reviewer mentioned, they've done a nice job remodeling the space. My understanding is this is Eat 'n Park's experimental version of an upscale restaurant. We didn't dine but I detected some enticing aromas and saw a load of what I'm guessing were onion rings get carted into the elevator.

Only five taps by my count but two of them were Dogfish 60 Minute IPA and Arrogant Bastard (didn't see East End, which I'd have ordered if they'd had it; sorry, Scott), so what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality.

Very convenient to Cultural District and ballgame crowds. That should give the place a decent chance for success.

(04/12/2006)

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

Establishment: Blackwater Brewing Company, Davis, WV

Speaking of credible critics, how do you justify rating your own establishment? I'm glad you're open to suggestions. Here's one: Try using fresh vegetables instead of waving them out of a can. Here's another: Get your crab bruschetta onto French bread, or English muffins, or something, ANYthing but Texas toast.

Once again, I see people rating your food as "awesome" with no mention of what it was they ate. This is not especially helpful, but as INcredible as I find the "awesome" rating, at least customers' ratings are more CREDIBLE than those of people who work at Blackwater.

I'm tempted to reproduce the ratings I gave your place in my review below, so as to rebalance the scales, but that wouldn't show much class, would it?

There. Or do I mean "their"?

(02/28/2006)

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

Establishment: Blackwater Brewing Company, Davis, WV

Angie,

Tried to warn you (see below).

(01/24/2006)

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

Establishment: Fat Head's South Shore Saloon, Pittsburgh , PA

Kurt O.,

There are three microbreweries (at least) in Pittsburgh. I assume the two you meant were Penn and the Church. You left out the wonderful East End Brewing, which almost certainly occupies a tap or two at Fat Head's (which I'll agree is an awesome place for beer lovers).

Yours in Better Beer

(01/13/2006)

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

Establishment: Mountain State Brewing Company, Thomas, WV

When I was here in early December, Brian and Willie were still more or less getting settled in. They had four very good beers on tap (Cold Trail Ale and Forest Fest are two names I can remember) and a stout in the tank that hadn't been carbonated yet (Brian gave me a sample and it should be good too). I tried them all, and I would happily drink all of them again. The bar is cozy and smells great -- lots of pine wood, with a stone and copper bar. A couple of their beers are also on tap at the Purple Fiddle, down the road a half-mile in downtown Thomas, and Brian and Willie have plans to distribute to other area bars and places -- I'm hopeful they'll get them into Morgantown, because they're on a level with WVBC as far as flavor. Mountain State is in the middle of ski/whitewater country, so vacationing outdoors enthusiasts should make a point of stopping by and supporting their work -- the area has lost more brewpubs than it's gained in the past year, and we need to reverse that trend.

(12/29/2005)

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

Establishment: West Virginia Brewing Company, Independence, WV

J. Ackinson,

Sorry you had a disappointing experience.

I'm "coming from" having been there dozens of times. When I travel to other brewpubs, WVBC beers are what I use as a measuring stick, and usually others' beers don't have near the flavor.

I'm curious what you ordered to eat that was "lousy." The times I've eaten there, the food has generally been pretty good. I agree with you the place is slightly on the seedy side -- I think I mentioned it could use a coat of paint -- but I'll admit I have a high tolerance for seed if the beer's worth it. They did make an effort to clean up a bit not long ago but the restroom still could use some work.

Hey, given your proximity to Thomas, wondered if you've visited the Mountain State Brewing operation there yet. If the weather holds I'll be sampling their beers at the Purple Fiddle tomorrow night, hope to file a report.

Yours in better beer.

(12/03/2005)

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

Establishment: West Virginia Brewing Company, Independence, WV

It's long past time I give props to my hometown brewpub. I've been to more than a few and with the exception of Dogfish this is hands-down the best place I've been for good, everyday beer. It's never going to be as creative as Dogfish -- who is? -- and W.Va. law limits the potency. But Ned doesn't make beer for sissies -- that's why the college crowd jams into Bent Willey's and leaves WVBC largely to the locals. These beers are loaded with taste. The four regulars -- the pale ale, the stout, the gold, the ale -- are all, IMHO, wonderful. And it's rare I've had a seasonal I didn't care for either -- they made a porter once that I didn't like, but I'm not a fan of porters anyway.

It's a tiny thing to note, but sometimes the four everyday beers are the only ones they have on tap. This is not a problem for me -- I'm happy to drink any of them -- but if you come for a sampler you might be a little disappointed in availability. But please don't let that stop you from enjoying these excellent beers.

And the prices are very reasonable. I think a pint is still about $2.50, and there are a couple really good specials during the week. Since I'll drink anything they make, I usually frequent Tuesdays, when draft pints are $1 bartender's choice. It's the best beer deal in town, maybe the best anywhere. You might have to endure open mic, though :-)

I don't eat here very often, but when I do the grub is usually good to very good, solid pub food.

Since I'm recognized here, I generally get great service.

I think someone below said something about WVBC being kinda smelly. I can't say I've ever noticed; when I'm there, I'm focused on the beer. It's true the place could probably use a paint job -- this ain't The Church -- but I think it's a very comfortable atmosphere, with pub games to play (pub quiz Sunday nights) and a deck to sit on and TVs to watch and usually someone playing music. All that and terrific beers. What ELSE could you want?

(11/08/2005)


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