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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
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Establishment: Valhalla Microbrewery and Restaurant, Pittsburgh , PA

Definitely closed. 9/27/03. RIP.

(10/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Closed and re-opened (again): Fancy Pants lost their brewer, Joe Beddia, back in May, and never found another. They have folded, and the brewery space is now occupied by Legacy Brewing, the same guys who were once Pretzel City Brewing across town. They will be brewing Steamhorse Lager and Duke of Ale.

(09/22/2003)

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

Establishment: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

The beer's a given; what I really wanted to mention was the service. Last two times I've been in to Victory, service has been noticeably better, the last time the bartenders were actually enthusiastic. What a breath of fresh air! Keep it up, Victory!

(09/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Empire Brewing Company, Rochester, NY

Just read in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle today that Empire in Rochester is closing. Don't know why, but they quoted the owner, so...

(09/02/2003)

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

Establishment: Ithaca Beer Company, Ithaca, NY

Herr Sadowy...It's not a bar, it's a production brewery. Most of them DO shut down at 5:00 on Friday. Go into Ithaca to have their beer, or come out to visit when they're open!

(09/02/2003)

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

Establishment: Big Tree Inn, Geneseo, NY

I'm cursing myself for not visiting the Big Tree earlier and including it in my New York Breweries book: this place is GREAT. Excellent, well-kept draft selection, informed and well-tempered bartender, beautiful place, good spirits selection, and an extremely picturesque setting (if it's not wintertime...): what more could you ask? Outstanding bar.

(08/23/2003)

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

Establishment: Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, NY

Very impressive start-up. IPA is a whack in the head, Mild is a beauty of a session beer, porter is a good reach for a dark session with some roast notes. Go to it, guys.

(08/14/2003)

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

Establishment: Barnstormers, Henrietta, NY

I had two excellent pints of Rohrbach Porter here last night, my bro-in-law had nice pints of Southern Tier Mild. I wish I had ignored the reviews here and visited Barnstormers myself: I would have included them in my NY Breweries book. Sorry, guys: second edition!

(08/14/2003)

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

Establishment: King Arthur's Steak House and Brew Pub, Oswego, NY

Hate to do this, but...I made my first visit to King Arthur's two days ago. It's in a great location, right by the river and the lake, in a nice section of town, in a cool old historic building. The place itself is very nice, good-looking bar, a lot of thought went into the decor. There were six house beers on tap, a good number. But the beer itself--in 20 years of drinking non-mainstream beer, I've only said a beer was "undrinkable" twice. The Wheat ale and the Oatmeal Stout at King Arthur's both fell into that class. I'm guessing, but I was told that the brewer, Steve, had left a few months ago, and the new brewer, Mark (sorry about the lack of last names, but the bartender couldn't recall them), had just started a couple days earlier, so I'm guessing that these beers have been on forever and have gone bad. But guys, come on! You have to know these beers are bad, they're totally soured. The Harborfest beer was actually pretty good, as was the Porter. Why not take off the soured ones and save your good name and reputation? It's worth a lot more than half a tank of skanked beer. Dump the bad beers, and let the new guy get to work. Looking forward to trying the new stuff sometime soon.

(08/14/2003)

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

Establishment: Red Lion Brewing Company, Watertown, NY

Stopped in at Red Lion two days ago when I was in upstate. Mike Bauer has left, evidently for true personal reasons, and gone home to Pittsburgh. I hope he gets the brewing job he wants there, the man has talent. Meanwhile, owner Mike Martini has taken over the brewing, and he's doing okay. The Velvelt Elvis Stout was perhaps not quite as rich as I remembered, but is still a real smooth jar of black. The Northern Lights golden ale was surprisingly flavorful, and the Mojo ESB was good, if a bit understrength. The only beer I had problems with was the Belgian Devil, which suffered from an overabundance of phenols (maybe a cooler fermentation next time?). Food was surprising, but good: I had a quesadilla that reminded me more of a pirogi, in a really good way--delicious stuff. The deck is killer, with a cool overlook of the rocking rapids on the Black River. I'll be back.

(08/14/2003)

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

Establishment: Kobors Brewing and Distributing Company, Schuylerville, NY

Dead as a doornail. Contract brewery. Cooperstown made beer for them, but they went under, sometime in 1998, 1999.

(07/23/2003)

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

Establishment: Gentleman Jim's Restaurant and Pub, Poughkeepsie, NY

The brewing equipment has been taken out of Gentleman Jim's as of May, 2003. Brewer John Calen is now at Ramapo Valley.

(07/23/2003)

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

Establishment: Parker's Grille and Tap House, Newark, NY

I've been coming to Newark to visit family for years, and the recent appearance of Parker's is going to make those trips a lot more beer-friendly. Parker's (owned by the same people who own Parker's in Geneva) is open, high-ceilinged, and done in light wood, so the place does NOT look dingy at all. It's not packed cheek-by-jowl, either, there's space between tables, and there's a nice sidewalk area as well. Best of all, we were in around 11 on a Saturday night, and it was pretty well lit and the music was not so loud that you had to shout to be heard. The tap selection included two Wagner Valley beers (including an excellent new IPA that was like a hop-hammerblow right between the eyes), three Ithacas, a couple Sam Adams, a couple tame imports (Guinness, Blue, Newcastle), and the usual swill; I'm hoping that improves a bit. I did see a LOT of people drinking Michelob Ultra: why? Water's cheaper. But I don't hold that against Parker's. If they can hold out long enough to get Newark up to speed, this is going to be a great place, maybe even good enough to be a destination. VERY enjoyable bar, even if the beer selection isn't quite up to places like the Blue Tusk or MacGregor's.

(06/30/2003)

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

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

Mr. Tomey, I couldn't let your comment go by. Rest assured, Tom Pastorius is NOT a jerk. Tom Pastorius is one of the true gentlemen in the craft brewing industry, a well-spoken, educated man who runs a clean business. His annual beer festival in June is one of the most popular fests with the brewers because of how well they are treated. This is the very first negative comment I've ever heard about Tom. He is one of my favorite people in the Pennsylvania brewing industry, in a group of great people. His beer's damned good, too. No slam on you, just letting you know my opinion, based on about 8 years of interviewing Tom for stories I've done.

(04/20/2003)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Fair enough, Rich. E-mail me, and tell me me why you're not at Fancy Pants anymore. No one wants to explain that to me.

(01/09/2003)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Heh. Thanks for the defense, Beth. I just want to be treated like any other Pubcrawler. I give Brian's beers good reviews and jump to his defense for one reason only: he's a damned good brewer, and his beers (for the most part) blow me away. William Reed feels the same way: Standard Tap has pretty much dedicated a tap to Sly Fox beers, as has the Grey Lodge Pub. I like the guys at Victory, too, but I've hammered them for service at the brewpub. I never will lie about something being good at a brewery: never. I will, I admit, not always mention something bad. I usually take back channels on that, talk to the owners/brewers, and find out what they're doing to improve the situation. I just had a chat with the owners at Capital Ale House in Richmond about a very specific service problem. I can understand why people are critical of my reviews: it's something that happens when you publish. You hang it out there, and part of that is becoming a target. That's okay, I kind of signed on for that. But don't be surprised if the target shoots back!

Oh, and Beth...Ed Fitz Porter is GREAT, no doubt. But you should get up to Fredonia and try the porter at Barker Brewing. Weow!

(01/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Hey, whoa, slow down! I didn't mean to stomp you, just disagree with you. I don't consider myself the foremost expert on beer, either; especially not here. I just like to say whatever I want to say here, without worrying about editors. But porter is one of my hot buttons, and I have a pretty contrarian view of the style, because there's a LOT of misinformation about it floating around. The porter you got at Sly Fox may have been on the tap too long, but that color is not necessarily a bad thing for a porter. I mainly commented on it because I'd happened to have some in the same time frame. For what it's worth, I don't "get treated like El Dorado" at the Sly Fox (Jack Curtin does, but that's another story), and I've clashed with Brian on a number of brewing issues. But we're still friends, and when I have a problem with his beer, I tell him, and I'll put it in my writing, too. I think his stout's too dry. My opinion, and he disagrees. That's life! I do try to stay objective, I try really hard. It's my living, after all. You going to the Bobby Burns dinner at Sly Fox on the 17th? If you see me there (I'll be the one covered in gold with the Aztec headdress...), say hi, and I'll buy you a pint of porter.

(01/06/2003)

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

Establishment: Middle Ages Brewing Company, Syracuse, NY

Stopped in last week with some friends, we had a great time sampling the full line of Middle Ages beers. Took home growlers of porter, British triple, and Imperial stout. No excuses, beervolk: if you're in the area, STOP IN SYRACUSE.

(01/05/2003)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Had a pint of Mudskipper Porter at the Grey Lodge today: excellent, rich beer. Joe, you're doing it right, now get out there and SELL it! Best of luck in the new year.

(01/05/2003)

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

Establishment: Capital Ale House, Richmond, VA

New place, and it hit the ground running. Capital Ale House has set a high mark for beer bars anywhere, let alone Richmond. This high-end place has excellent taps (they claim to have a policy of seeking out unusual draft beers, and they're doing fairly well so far), a very deep bottle selection, and a classy atmosphere for enjoying good beer. The food was delicious: I had beer-steamed mussels for an appetizer and a fried oyster po' boy, both excellent. Big downcheck on service, though. Our waiter was an odd mix of competent and clueless. Given one chance to screw up a beer order, he did it, mixing my wife's Snow Goose with her brother's Bear Republic Red Rocket (an impressive draft for Richmond, admittedly). We had to bus our own empty dishes to an adjacent empty table to get room for our entrees, and I was out of beer for ten minutes before he came by again. He was pleasant, and knew the menu and the beerlist, but...I want a waiter who gets the beer right, who gets the crap out of my way (especially given the relatively narrow tables at Capital), and who is there when I'm dry. I've also heard that my experience was not unique, or even rare. However, the food and the beer were so exceptional, that I still give Capital a GREAT overall. Get the service up to speed, and this place will be awesome.

(01/02/2003)

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

Establishment: Country Inn, Krumville, NY

Sad news: Larry has sold the Country Inn. His last day behind the stick will be this Saturday, Dec. 28. I'll be there, hope to see some Pubcrawlers there to say farewell to this grand pioneer of the good beer movement. Thanks for a great time, Larry, and here's hoping your successors can hold high the torch.

(12/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Media, PA

Went to the Brewer's Reserve last Friday as the guest of Iron Hill partner Mark Edelson. Dinner was excellent; apps were dynamite (juicy duck spring rolls, cheese and artichoke dip with excellent Le Bus-made beer bread), and my steak was as rare as I wanted for a change, though it was a bit overly fatty. The beer was outstanding, from the crisp helles to the roaring "imperial IPA" Holiday Ale to the majestic Russian Imperial Stout (a first for Iron Hill, and quite impressive; kudos to brewer Bob Barrar) to the always delicious Triple. Also had some excellent draft Anchor OSA and a nip of Old Potrero, courtesy of Brewer's Reserve guest brewery Anchor and rep Andy Musser. This is a beautiful brewpub, the most elegant of Iron Hill's three, and it was hopping on a Friday night. That was the reason for the lower mark on service: our waitress was competent, but it took forever to get service at the bar. I was standing there with a twenty in my hand, and the bartender just kept walking past me and smiling. "Just a minute" would have been nice. It took almost ten minutes to get served; busy's busy, but... Once she did take my order, I got it quickly.

(12/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Dear Mr. Santini:

Your plea for black porter is strange;

black is not in that beer's color range.

So please take a look

at your old homebrew book;

your comments you should rearrange.

Seriously, porter historically was brewed with brown malt, not the cheaper black patent malt that was developed in the early 1800s. Brian O'Reilly, the brewer at Sly Fox, has obviously chosen to take a more historical tack on his porter. I just had some of his porter at the Grey Lodge Pub yesterday, and it tasted fine to me. It may not be in your range of experience with porter, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. In fact, as the Brits say, it's quite a bit of all right.

(12/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, Manayunk, PA

Finally got to meet Larry Horwitz this week, and it was an excellent experience. Sampled his ruby mild and porter, loved both, wish I'd have tried some lagers, but ran out of time. He's moved into the Philly beer scene with gusto, meeting the brewers and the alpha geeks, and it looks like his negotiating skills are up to getting more of what he wants at Manayunk. Good news, and good beers. Stop in, try these new beers.

(12/19/2002)

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

Establishment: Malt River Brewing Company, Latham, NY

I don't know what all the negative comments are about. I was in the area for three days and went here twice; beer was good, some of it quite good (the cask was great, IPA was clean and piney, porter was nicely understated). The service was good and very fast, even though the place was over half-full. We enjoyed our meal, except my dad: my tuna was very good, his was a bit rubbery. The "aled pub cheese" was delicious. Hell, I liked this place.

(12/11/2002)


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