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Reviews on PubCrawler from brian kelly
Other Reviews by this User
December 19, 2014 @ 03:48 AM EDT
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Reviews By
brian kelly

Beer Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Beer Reviews from brian kelly

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

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

Establishment: Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens, Sorrento Mesa, CA

Of the several brewpubs I visited in San Diego, this was the most disappointing.

Their beer is simply not interesting, and not particularly good examples of its respective styles. The IPA was particularly disappointing after having so many good IPAs at other brewpubs in the area. I generally order a sampler and then pick one (or two) to follow up with a pint, but none were worth ordering.

The food I tried was average--the "Fuego"? burger was good, but the fries were not.

The garden atmosphere is nice.

The service was actually very good, considering that they were slammed but I still received good service at the bar.

In general, if you have a short time in the area, give this place a pass and work your way up to Stone Brewing, which has better beer and food.


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

Establishment: Callahan's Pub and Brewery, San Diego, CA

My first impression of Callahan's was that it was a little bit rundown (sort of reminded me of a Big Boy's or something), but being in a thirsty mood, I gave it a try, and am glad I decided to overlook this and give it a try.

The beer selection was quite good, and featured beers from a number of other local breweries/brewpubs. I noticed this trend throughout my visit to San Diego, and I applaud all of them for doing so.

The bartenders provided prompt, friendly service, and offered suggestions for other places I might enjoy visiting during my stay.

Overall, very pleased.


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

Establishment: Faultline Brewing Company, Sunnyvale, CA

I was very happy to discover Fault Line during a business trip to the South Bay Area. I was treated to a sampler of 12 beers. I was particularly fond of the IPA and Belgian Tripel. The Abbey Ale was decent, and the cask-conditioned ale was quite good. The stout needed a little more flavor, but was still palatable. I was quite happy with the food (seabass with tempura vegetables for less than $20) and the service was attentive at the bar. In general, I recommend a visit.


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

Establishment: Barley John's Brew Pub, New Brighton, MN

This very small venue has some very solid beers. I particularly recommend the IPA. The current seasonal, a Belgian style ale dubbed their grand reserve, was a very good example of the style. The porter was also quite good. All-in-all, worth the trip. If you are visiting the area, be aware that all the on-line mapping services think this place is about a mile and a half north of where it really is. You will actually find it at Old Highway 8 and County Road D.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
So So So So So So So So So So

Establishment: McKenzie Brew House, Glen Mills, PA

How does this place stay in business when the John Harvard's two miles down the road couldn't draw a crowd? Everything about this place is mediocre. What is the point of a brewpub that brews the same thing you can buy mass produced? Very disappointing.


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

Establishment: Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN

Generally very good beer, especially the IPA. The bartender was excellent--knowledgeable about the beer, ready to discuss other local beers, and available promptly when a glass approached empty.


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

Establishment: Sharp Edge Beer Emporium, Pittsburgh , PA

Make no bones about it, the beer here is excellent. You will need a trip to Brussels to find a better selection of Belgian beers, and you wouldn't find this many on tap if you hit every bar on the Grand'Place.

The food was all right--the soup and provolone wedge appetizers were actually quite good. The disappointing item was the "Frittes". I should have known when they spelled "Frites" incorrectly that they would not be in the true Belgian style (why can no one in this country make frites?).

The service was great--had the whole extended family there for lunch, including the three kids under five, and the beers and soda refills kept coming when needed. The kitchen even proactively replaced an overcooked burger before they brought it to the table.

The one downside is the atmosphere. The bar is a dive. There is a non-smoking back dining room, but the overwhelming number of smokers from the main bar ensure you will leave smelling like an ashtray. The reviewer who said the decor looks like a Big Boy had it pegged--plastic tablecloths are the order of the day.

The beer selection and quality, reasonably good food, and good service more than make the trip worth while.


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

Establishment: John Harvard's Brew House, Wilkins Township, PA

John Harvard's is the only chain I know of that makes great beer. Each location has its own brewer, and chooses some "corporate" recipes as well as his/her own. Both are great.

As of 12/17/2004, the Scottish Ale was probably the best, with the IPA a close second.

The service was very solid--our party of 9 included an infant and two toddlers, and they did not slow down the server down one bit.

The food was very good, as well--fresh ingredients and well prepared. The lunch menu is mostly sandwiches and salads. All those tried at the table were popular--I personally recommend the roast beef wrap.

If you are in Pittsburgh, by all means make an effort to visit.


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

Establishment: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

This place was a kind of Mecca for me, having only had their beers "smuggled" across the Georgia border by kind friends and relatives for the last several years. While in a nearby town on business, I noticed the proximity and could not resist a trip over. I was pleasantly surprised to find not only the Golden Monkey and Hop Devil (with which I was familiar) on top, but a wide variety of other great beers. My only disappointment was the lack of interest in much of anything by the bartender. Regardless, the variety and quality of Victory's beers is unparalleled, and well worth a medium-sized detour from one's plans to try them in all their glory.


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

Establishment: John Harvard's Brew House, Wilmington, DE

While I cannot vouch for the service the previous reviewer received, I was at the same place two hours later and can only agree with the assessment of the beer--it is very good. Otherwise, I had a very different experience. The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable; the service was prompt without being intrusive; the food was excellent (have the Louisiana Fried Chicken covered in shrimp, Cajun cream sauce, and artichoke hearts). Calling this place a dump is a staggering mischaracterization unless perhaps you are used to dining at Five Star restaurants. I would gladly dine and drink here on a regular basis if I lived in the area.


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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Newark, DE

All the beers were solid, but none leaped out as a particularly great example of any style. Most of the ales are on the hoppy side (which is a good thing). The food was quite good--try the corn-mail/andouille-stuffed chicken. The bartender was very knowledgeable, personable, available, and friendly. Overall, worth another visit if I am in the area again.


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

Establishment: Hofbrauhaus Newport, Newport, KY

Apparently one of the few real Hofbrauhaus locations outside of Munich.

It reminds me of the conversation in the movie Multiplicity, in which a copy is not quite as good as the original.

The food is pretty standard German fare, but not quite as good as the real thing. The band doesn't play with the same level of excitement, and the service isn't quite right.

However, the beer is authentic and true to style, even though the selection is less than a typical quality American brewpub offers. I'd stick to the weiss and the dunkel and skip the straight lager.

Overall, though, the place is fun and worth a visit if you're in the neighborhood.


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

Establishment: Watson Brothers Bistro and Brewery, Blue Ash, OH

There is nothing particularly outstanding about this place. They have a Pale Ale that is very drinkable, but the rest is average. The wheat was very bland. None of the others inspire specific memories.

I have also eaten here several times, but only because it is located across from the hotel I stay in for business reasons. The food is all right, but nothing great--it is certainly not worth what they are charging, and I probably would not have gone back for a meal if not on expenses.

Service is also average--maybe even a little on the slow side. Wait staff was not particularly knowledgeable about their beers; bartenders were slightly better.

They also have a pub in the Cinci/N. Kentucky airport, which has the same beers and a limited menu. Unlike the restaurant, which does not jump out compared to other restaurants, the airport site is definitely better than anything else you are going to find in the airport.

If you're here on business or live nearby, swing by and try it; if not, don't go too far out of your way.


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

Establishment: Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company, Asheville, NC

Disagree with the earlier rave reviews on the beer--it was good, but not nearly as varied or flavorful as many other brewpubs. The pizza was very good ("kind of grows on you", as my wife put it). The decor is nothing short of bizarre, but along with the pizza is one of the things that makes the place worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood. Service was very friendly and helpful, but visits from the server were a somewhat distantly spaced. Summary: Average


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

Establishment: Blue Ridge Brewing Company, Greenville, SC

First off: solid beers; five on tap for my visit--one of the two pale ales was the best available the days I visited(unfortunately, cannot recall the name of which, so you'll have to try them both). Service was spotty--the bar was very good, but the booth was weak. Food choices were limited (weekday lunch), but quality was good. Overall, worth a stop if you are in the neighborhood (or, say, driving through it--good halfway point for Atlanta/Charlotte or Asheville).


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

Establishment: Lafayette Brewing Company, Lafayette, IN

This was an unexpected find during an overnight trip to Purdue. Stopped by for lunch and was very satisfied all around. The beer selection was very good--seven varieties. Many of the styles were heavily hopped, which is right up my alley--as mentioned in other reviews, the "85" (apparently named after its bitterness units) was the most spectacular. The service was attentive and provided good information regarding the beers. The Rueben was excellent, but cannot vouch for anything else on the menu. All-in-all, a great brewpub--if you're in the area, do not miss.


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

Establishment: Buckhead Brewery and Grill, Alpharetta, GA

Found the staff to be quite friendly and service was great--very prompt, able to discuss beers. Had an extensive list of beers (20+), but only five on at a time (somewhat disappointing). The current mix included an American Light that was more crisp and refreshing than the mass-produced equivalents; an American Wheat, the weakest of the lot, was very bland, with very little actual wheat flavor; a Red that was average for a Red; a Pale Ale that was very hoppy and crisp (my favorite of the group); and a very decent stout. When ordering, make sure that you ask for a room temperature glass--they seem to think beer should be served with little ice chunks in it--although I only had to ask the first time. All-in-all, this is a welcome addition to the Atlanta beer scene.


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

Establishment: Dunwoody Tavern, Dunwoody, GA

Was just browsing my own neighborhood's listings and noticed this one. The name is incorrect... This is now "The Dunwoody Tavern" (and has been for five years :-) The beer selection does earn this a spot at this site--there are about 15 taps: Guinness, Harp, Boddington's, Sierra Nevada, Gordon Biersch, Bass, some other British ales that escape me at the moment, and a completely out-of-place Mic-Light. Expect large crowds most days and a packed house on weekends.


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

Establishment: Seven Bridges Grill and Brewery, Jacksonville, FL

Ate two meals here while around the corner on business--lunch was a very good blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich, which was amongst the best I've ever had. Dinner was a drunken ribeye that was quite tastily marinated the decent stout. As for the beers--with the exception of the IPA, which I found very crisp and clean--there was no beer to write home about. All-in-all, if you are in the area, it is worth stopping in for a quick sampler and a great meal.


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

Establishment: Ragtime Tavern, Atlantic Beach, FL

The beers were, overall, good, but not great. The Light Lager tasted remarkably like a certain light beer from Holland; Brown (seasonal) was very heavy on the malt; another seasonal, the Pale Ale, was very solid--by far the best of the beers; the Irish Red was not bad--I'm not a red fan, but this did not have the lingering aftertaste of many reds; Red Brick Ale was as bland as ever; and the Stout was very pleasing--very creamy and smooth. Food was quite good--the portions were fairly massive--more than I could eat. Service at the bar was prompt and attentive.


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

Establishment: Goose Island Beer Company - Clybourn, Chicago, IL

During an overnight business trip to Chicago, made my way down to Goose Island--it's a little hard to find from its address from a non-native like myself (the front of the pub does not open onto the road matching its address). Glad I was persistent, however, as the end result was well worth my effort. Sat at the bar and ordered a sampler for starters—only downside here was the silly need to select three beers to make up the sampler. I have always been of the opinion that a sampler should equal a taste of each beer currently on tap. However, I managed to work my way through each over the course of a few hours, while I also tried a very nice Steak Frites. After having tried one of each brew, I have to recommend the darker items on the list—I lean that direction in any case, but I think that the brewer must as well, as the lighter beers lacked anything to distinguish them from their peers elsewhere. I was particularly happy to get a sample of a re-fermented bock left over from last year’s winter brew—reminded me of a Sam Triple—could have used a little more carbonation, but was otherwise an excellent beer with which to finish off the evening. Next time I am in Chicago, I am fairly certain I will make my way back to Goose Island to sample the fine selection once again.


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

Establishment: Monte Carlo Pub and Brewery, Las Vegas, NV

Stopped in over New Year's weekend this year. As far as I could tell, there was a line so they could look busy, as there were a plethora of empty tables. After waiting a while, we managed to convince the staff to let us sit in the bar and just have a few beers. Tried a sampler, and was thoroughly unimpressed. Apparently Vegas is not attempting to promote locally brewed beer over the other distractions.


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

Establishment: Founders' Restaurant and Brewing Company, Alexandria, VA

Virginia Beverage Company's best asset is its wide selection. There is probably something there for every beer drinker. However, nothing really jumps out as a spectacular beer--if forced to pick one, I guess the Scotch Ale would do. The food was nothing exciting, and even on "steak special night", the steak I had was slightly overcooked and very overpriced. I also experienced the service issues mentioned by others--the bar holds five people, and the bar tender cannot keep up--apparently, he was also pouring for the restaurant, but it just wasn't all that crowded. I found this strange: when ordering a Sampler, you have to tell the bartender what four beers you want in it--here's a tip to all you brewpub owners out there: if I knew which of your beers I liked best, I would not need to order a Sampler. Make sure you have a Sampler that includes everything, or break it into a few Samplers if you have more than 8 beers, and your customers will be happy.


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

Establishment: Old Dominion Brewing Company, Dover, DE

Beer selection was excellent--there were 13 varieties on the day I visited. They ranged from an excellent Oak Barrel Stout down to a poor Aviator (some sort of light lager???). There were a number of excellent Stouts, and a special Millenium which was very good, although ensured I was done for the day. The Tuppers Hop Pocket is probably their best known beer, but frankly falls squarely in the middle of the pack by my count. I sat at the bar, where the service actually started very slowly, but picked up as I discussed the beers with the bartender and my neighbors. The real problem with this place was the post-work crowd, who seemed to feel this was a local sports bar--yelling for beers and demanding to be served after last call.


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

Establishment: Magnolia Pub and Brewery, San Francisco, CA

Visited over Memorial Day weekend--The beer selection was high; tried a sampler of six: The Weather Report Wheat (not recommended; I'm sure there was some wheat involved in the brewing process, but did not have the distinctive wheat taste), the Ruby Mild (also not to my taste, but this style of beer never is), then moved on to a very good pair of Pales--The Proving Ground and the Prescription. I preferred the Prescription, as it was very sharp and hoppy. The Big Cypress Brown was a little of a disappointment after that, but it was still a very good brown. The final sample item was the tasty Cole Porter. I then ordered a full glass of their seasonal Belgian Trippel. This was not bad, but was a little sweeter than I would have liked. I think it will probably age well, however, if they have the capacity to keep some around in a barrel for a while. The service was good, but not great; a little bit on the slow side. The servers were all quite busy, however, so I think they need to consider staffing up. The food was not impressive--I ordered my standard lunch time cheeseburger, and it was cooked closer to well done than the medium rare I ordered: this is always a deal breaker for me. Overall, I liked the place, however, and would go back for the beers next time I am in San Francisco.


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