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User Tagline: Somewhere in the world it's beer o'clock; who's buying?
Favorite Beer: Right now...Stegmaier Summer Stock
Located In: Mid-Atlantic
My Website: www.lewbryson.com
467
Beer Reviews from
   

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Average Rating
Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great
Great Great Great Great

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

Establishment: Blue Dog Pub, Lansdale, PA

Taps were good, above-average, but the bottle selection was absolutely eye-popping; tons of big-bottle specialties and one-offs. The Blue Dog is nothing to look at: a strip-mall storefront, and not much more than that inside. I'm usually more of a fan of atmosphere. But the bottle selection just blew me away. Food was good, serviceable, maybe a notch above bar food. Service was disinterested; the barmaid spent most of the half hour I was at the bar talking on her cell (I wanted to hit it with a hammer), but she did get me my beer and lunch when I needed it. Definitely a return visit kind of place.

(09/21/2006)

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

Establishment: Brendee's Cafe, Lancaster, PA

First time in last month. Not a great beer selection, but the Troegs Sunshine Pils I got was in perfect condition, enjoyed it very much and didn't pay much for it. Yes, it is pretty smokey, but it's a corner bar, and a beautiful example. Classic bar and stools, little signs up behind the bar, juke and neon...great place to hang for an hour or two.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA

I am shocked to see that no one has reviewed Isaac's in two years. Well, fear not: if you're wondering whether they're still up to snuff, they most definitely are. Beer selection continues to be quite excellent, it's served well, kept well, and the bartenders actually know what it is. The only problem with Isaac's is that it's busy, and that's not a bad problem to have. Stop in on a cool summer evening and enjoy the outside drinking area.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Brick Hotel, Newtown, PA

The Brick's beer selection has come up over the years. They don't have a lot, but they have a few good ones: recently stopped in and had a real nice glass of Prima Pils. Service has improved immensely as well; it used to be famously lackadaisical, but the two bartenders who were on in early August were not just good, they were subtly entertaining as well. Not a big bar, but a sophisticated one. We'll be back.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: The Old Corner Grill and Bottle Shop, Lock Haven, PA

Just visited for the first time back in July. Nice little corner bar, friendly folks and nice decor, good food, and a surprising tap of Red Mo Ale from Otto's in State College. That was pretty great, and there were some seriously good beers in the bottle shop too. Not in the league of Franco's Lounge, up the road in Williamsport, but not bad at all. Worth a stop off Rt. 220.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Abbey Wright Brewing at the Valley Inn, Duboistown, PA

I don't have a lot to add to the other review. The beer's on a great path, but what I tasted on tap was only Good (tank sample of porter had a LOT of potential). Nothing wrong with it, but all first or second batches, not dialed in yet; I'm confident it will improve. The food I sampled was excellent, and the place is very cool. The Valley Inn is solidly a bar, a real, working-folks bar, and the Wrights decided to put a brewery in the back. Why can't there be more brewpubs like this? I'm gonna be stopping in here every time I get up this way (and the Bullfrog, and Franco's, and the Gennetti...).

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Laughing Dog Brewing Company, Ponderay, ID

Had the IPA on cask at Capone's in Coeur d'Alene: fantastic. In great condition, great malt solidity, real ale character that sang right through the hops. Very nice beer, wish I could have tried some of their other beers.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company, Coeur D'Alene, ID

Adequate. I was hoping that things would be better here, but we made a "round-of-samplers" stop and moved on. The beers were all clean, and it was nice to have something other than the unrelenting onslaught of massive IPAs you find everywhere in this part of the country, but nothing was really inspiring, including the place, which looked a bit run-down. I could hang here and people-watch with a pint of porter, but there are better places in town.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Capone's Pub and Grill, Coeur d'Alene, ID

What a difference 9 years makes. The last time I was in Coeur d'Alene, there were no beer bars worth mentioning, and we stayed at the hotel and drank our own. This time we walked up to Capone's and WOW, what a great place. Character, good service, good regular locals, and what a great selection of PacNW beers. We plowed through the IPAs, including a really good cask from a brewery in Sandpoint. All the beers were in great condition. We went to Capone's three times in two days, and were sorry to say good-bye.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Sprague Farm and Brew Works, Venango, PA

Went to the opening on Friday (saw James there, too: hey, fella!), and this little off-the-beaten-path place is absolutely awesome in concept and presentation. It's a brewery in an old dairy barn, the taps for growler sales come out of the front of an old pump organ, the silo is made into a huge beer mug, Brian Sprague's chainsaw sculptures are scattered around, and, well, it's just cool as hell. The beer -- I said 'good' mainly because there's room for improvement on the serving. We were there for the opening, and the beers were pretty much on tap for the first time at the brewery. They forgot to insulate the lines to the organ, so the beer was pretty foamy, the porter was keg conditioned and had a bit too much yeast and sediment in it. But the beers WERE good, and the Ale Mary Wheat (a wit-like beer with additions of coriander, orange peel, juniper and peppercorns) was damned good. Give these guys two months -- no, a month, and they'll have it zeroed in. Only 40 minutes from Four Sons in Titusville, and only 15 minutes from the upcoming Voodoo Brewery in Meadville (Matt Allyn's creation; Matt was a big assist at Sprague). Sprague is already worth getting off the interstate, and once Voodoo opens, this area is going to be a great part of a western PA beer trail. Plan now.

(07/16/2006)

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

Establishment: Sprague Farm and Brew Works, Venango, PA

Opening July 22.

(07/10/2006)

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

Establishment: Legends at the Genetti Hotel, Williamsport, PA

We stayed at the Genetti Hotel last night, and ate in the Legends Restaurant. The Legends Lounge is just a bar at the end of the restaurant, barely separated from the dining area. The waitress we had didn't have any idea what beers she had, though she was a real pip otherwise and DID know that there were 18 taps. I went and looked: wow. FOUR Tröegs taps, two Victory, an Appalachian, Murphy's stout, SNPA, Stella (unlike other geeks, I don't turn up my nose at draft Stella: a decent pils is a decent pils), and a couple more. I had a Tröegs Sunshine Pils with dinner, then came back later and had a Murphy's at the bar. There's not a lot of atmosphere here, which is why the Overall score is middle-of-the-road. But if you're staying at the Genetti (and it's the place to stay in Williamsport: reasonable and very nice), and it was cold or rainy...you could do a WHOLE lot worse than slipping downstairs for a couple pretty good pints. I was very happy to find them at dinnertime.

(05/21/2006)

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

Establishment: Franco's Lounge, Williamsport, PA

We visited Franco's on the recommendation of Curt Decker, owner of Nodding Head in Philly: he did NOT steer us wrong. Franco's was a great experience that was more than the sum of its excellent parts. The beer -- Paulaner Hefe, SNPA, Lindemans Framboise, a cask Troegs Hopback Amber, and a VERY rare Troegs "Naked Elf" tap. The food -- we'd already eaten, but the menu was impressive, the food looked fantastic, and the smell was drool-inducing. The look: classic neat-as-a-pin neighborhood tavern. The service: personal, fun, quick. But the overall, the vibe, the energy in the place was simply phenomenal. With Franco's at one end of 4th Street and the Bullfrog at the other (and Genetti's Hotel in the middle), Williamsport is a very real beer destination for such a small upstate town.

(05/21/2006)

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

Establishment: Bullfrog Brewery, Williamsport, PA

Finally made the Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Bullfrog, and certainly enjoyed it. Good jazz trio (I think it was a trio; I had my back to them through the whole meal, thanks to my family!), excellent food (two minor complaints: the bread for the bruschetta, though tasty, was too fresh and too narrow, and the potato pancakes were way too heavy; everything else was simply outstanding), on-the-dot service, and delicious beer. I only had two, the red and the Old Toad barleywine. The red was a great eating beer, the Old Toad was spectacularly good, and not an excuse to dump the hop bale in the kettle, either. Surprise bonus: the Old Toad was an exquisitely apt match for the white chocolate/orange layer cake we got. Great time, we'll be back...again!

(05/21/2006)

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

Establishment: South Philadelphia Taproom, Philadelphia, PA

First time here, though a buddy of mine has been urging me to go for months. SPTR is tucked off Broad Street a couple blocks; not the easiest place to drive to, but quite easy by SEPTA. The bar was everything it had been hyped as: comfortable corner tap atmosphere, impressive beer selection, knowledgeable staff, reasonable prices. We had an O'Reilly's Stout and a draft Hennepin (nice!), and my wife got the dessert (there was apparently only one on offer), a kind of apple spring roll that was delicious without being over the top. Highly recommended.

(05/08/2006)

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

Establishment: Tria Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

FINALLY made it to Tria this past Friday evening. My wife and I were on our way to a beer and cheese tasting at DiBruno's, and parked in the garage across the street from Tria, so it was an easy call. Tria shares one thing with Monk's Cafe: not enough space for all the people who'd like to be there! We were greeted courteously and shown to seats on the sidebar; the only two seats I saw open in the place (there was a six-party waitlist for tables). The beerlist was not overly long, but very well-chosen: ample and firm, as a colleague used to put it. We got a Ramstein Maibock (quite nice) and a Troegs Dreamweaver (excellent), and sipped our way through them. They weren't cheap, but we weren't exactly in the cheap part of town, either. Service was attentive and on the mark; the waitress actually checked back to make sure our beers were to our liking, something you don't encounter that often. I was very impressed, and it's on our "stop in any time" list.

(05/08/2006)

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

Establishment: City Tavern, Philadelphia, PA

City Tavern always has had great house beers; they are now brewed by Yards and are quite distinctive. The food is outstanding (Walter Staib's charcuterie is matchless in the area), the service impeccable, the atmosphere delightful. Philly is enriched by this establishment; thank God the Interior Department recognized Staib's genius. If you haven't been, go.

(04/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Quick stop on the way home from Center City: had a Legacy Nor'Easter (excellent), and samples of Flying Fish BigFish 2003 and 2006 (the 2006 was astounding, one of the fruitiest beers I've ever had, downright tropical: Go Casey!). Excellent service, excellent beer, great bar.

(04/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Philadelphia, PA

Hey, another visit to Eulogy, and a much better impression. I actually stopped in twice, before and after a beer dinner at City Tavern (sucks to be me, don't it?), had a Girardin gueuze and a Victory St. Boisterous. The beer was brilliant, the bottle selection second only to absolute first-tier beer bars, and the service was right on the money. And I saw someone get much better looking frites than I had on my first visit. Thanks, Eulogy, for a look at your good side. A very enjoyable visit.

(04/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery Restaurant -- North Wales, North Wales, PA

You just cannot go wrong here. My wife and I were in the area and stopped in for a light lunch. I had the Caesar salad with wood-grilled shrimp (excellent, shrimp were perfect, salad was crisp and flawless), my wife had the portabella sandwich (delicious grilled vegetables, not a trace of the sliminess you get in sammiches like this sometimes, and great spices and "grilled" flavor). I had a pint of cask-conditioned Anvil Ale that was a bit flat in its hop character (the only thing that kept the beer quality from an "Awesome"; I like the hops in Anvil, but this one wasn't showing them at their best) but otherwise very nice, and we shared a small glass of "Dougilicious," a Belgian strong-type that was sweet, full, and wonderful. Service was right on the money, informed and polite, as it always is at Iron Hill. I'll be stopping in again soon.

(04/23/2006)

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

Establishment: G.G. Brewers, Glenside, PA

Interesting location and venue; this tiny place is almost directly across from the Keswick Theater, a great local concert space. They made a claim to be the world's second-smallest brewery, and they may have it: there were only ten seats at the bar, and not many others in the small room. It was non-smoking, and thank God for that in the tiny room. The decor was plain to the point of severity, and there were only three beers offered; a light red ale, a porter, and a brown ale. We got pints of porter...it was disappointing. Flabby, sweet, under-attenuated, though a good chocolate flavor and a lack of nasty infection-type notes argued for better potential in the future. But this pint was not one I'd go back for. They've been open only a couple weeks, so I'll be back for another try...assuming they stay open. Small place and so-so beer is not a formula for raging success.

(04/10/2006)

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

Establishment: McKenzie Brew House II, Malvern, PA

Just opened last week, and it looks (and tastes) like they hit the ground running. Beer's up to McKenzie's high standards right away: tasted the Abbey 6 and Irish Red, had a delicious pint of Stout. The look and layout are much like the original McKenzie Brew House (although the bar/dining room are reversed in this one). The brewhouse is out of the old Empire/Brü brewpub in Rochester, NY, and The Dude's putting it to good use. Definitely a good stop if you're out this way (which is within 15 minutes of both Victory and Sly Fox, BTW).

(04/10/2006)

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

Establishment: Granite Brewery, Toronto, ON

Re-visited the Granite recently for the first time in years, and by God, it was as great as I remembered. Welcoming bar and staff, very comfortable and well-kept. I got a pint of cask-conditioned IPA, and it was so wonderfully good I downed it rather quickly and had another. The beer was in perfect condition, and clear as a bell, quiveringly fresh and estery, with buoyant clouds of English hop aroma. Just one beautiful beer, the best glass of cask I've had in a while. Bravo, Granite!

(03/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Just Sports Bar and Grill, Bristol, PA

Formerly O'Flaherty's, and on my first visit, months after the change, I have to admit to being impressed. The place is spiffed up, the food and service are both good, and the beer is almost as good as before...not quite, but damned respectable for a sports bar. Definitely worth a stop, even though I feel like a traitor saying it!

(03/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Fado Irish Pub, Philadelphia, PA

First time, finally, in any Fado. This is the pub that set off The Great Guinness Boycott in Philadelphia, which still goes on at McGillin's and the Irish Pub: they were mad at Guinness for backing and assisting Fado in setting up in Philly. From what I saw of business at Fado when I was in and business at McGillin's an hour later, the concern was overdone. As for Fado itself, my jar of Guinness was absolutely top-notch, a beautiful pour. The bar was a bit high (or the stool a bit low) for comfort. Service was quick and friendly, but not pushy. I'm just put off by the whole look and feel of the place. It says "old established bar" but you know damned well it isn't, and that jars more than a bit. At least for me, though I realize that most people wouldn't think twice about it. If you're one of those people, and you like the Irish ambience, Fado will probably suit you quite well -- no judgment involved on my part, just offering advice.

(03/26/2006)


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