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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
Good So So N/A Good So So

Establishment: Pauly's Hotel, Albany, NY

Albany's oldest continually operating bar, and worth a visit for that. But the beer selection is largely mainstream (lots of taps, but almost all doubles -- FIVE Miller High Life taps!), it's full of drunks and college students, and there's holes in the floor. Gotta be honest: not a place I could drink real comfortably at my age. Years ago, maybe.

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: Lionheart Blues Cafe, Albany, NY

I was actually quite impressed by the selection at Lionheart. The draft selection was okay (Guinness, Beamish, Franziskaner, Tetley's nitro, #9, Dinkel Acker Dark, and HopDevil), and what I had was in good condition, but the bottle selection had some impressive out-of-the-ordinary finds: Coniston Bluebird, Koff Porter, Fuller's Porter, La Fin du Monde, and Aventinus. It's not a huge selection, but a well-chosen one, IMO. I'd actually like to see fewer taps and better ones in most bars. I had a very nice time here, chatting with patrons (arguing with one, but I understand that's how Kathleen is) and watching the action out on the street. The stairs are a bit tough to negotiate when you've had a few...

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: McKenzie Brew House, Glen Mills, PA

I always stop at a brewpub/beer bar for lunch on the day I finish my taxes, as a little reward for all the skullsweat. This year I was running late on the day, so I decided to bag lunch and just drink! I was out in the western burbs of Philly to drop off my SEP payment at Vanguard, so dropped down to see Scott Morrison at McKenzie. Excellent beer! Donald, you need to get back, because the Alt was probably the least impressive of the beers on. There was a great Oatmeal Stout and a very nice Pale Ale, along with a work-in-progress Biere de Gard that Scott's tweaking as he brews. Best news for me was that he's planning on brewing a batch of barleywine in May to the New Haven Brewing Belle Dock recipe, which he helped formulate. This was one of my fave beers ever (still have four bottles stashed of the 1994 batch) and I've had my fingers crossed since Scott started brewing at McKenzie in December. Payoff! Anyway, the place is quite nice-looking, and easy to get to: it sits right in the median of Rt. 202, 2 miles north of the DE border. Stop in and check out the beers (very nice, informative brew-board in the barroom).

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Not sure what beers you had, Bart, Amber, but the pale ale and helles I had last week were great. There are tanks of leftover beer from the previous brewer that are being emptied (I'm not nuts about this idea, just because of the age of it, but business is business), but the pale ale and helles I thought were pretty darned good. If you have a chance, come by on April 21st for the Bockfest, when they'll have at least four different bocks on, including a double eisbock that will lay you flat. Brian O'Reilly definitely knows what he's doing, give him another try!

(04/03/2002)

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

Establishment: Yards Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PA

Yards has moved to Kensington, into the old Weisbrod & Hess brewery building on Amber Street. Solid building, and they just started brewing last week. Yards ESA should start moving back into the beer pipeline within three weeks. Things are going to be great at this new place once it's more completely spiffed up; watch for a banquet hall and real tasting room.

(03/20/2002)

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

Establishment: Lake Placid Craft Brewery, Plattsburgh, NY

Lake Placid Pub & Brewery owner Chris Ericson has pushed ahead with a plan to increase production and distribution of LPP&B's Ubu Ale and 46'er IPA by buying the former AAA Brewery. When I stopped in last week, I was stunned by this place. AAA planned to brew only weissbier, a kristall and a dunkelweizen, and sell them largely in Boston. They bought a 21 bbl. brewhouse, a huge bottling line (that evidently never worked well), a mountain of bottles, and 700 kegs. They went under swiftly, and for three years the place sat empty. Now Ericson has bought it, cleaned it, brought in a more reasonable bottling line, spiffed up a tasting room, and, once ATF registration comes through, will be brewing Ubu and 46'er here, probably later in March of 2002. Good luck to him!

(03/12/2002)

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

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

I really liked Davidson Bros. as soon as I walked in the door. I'm a sucker for these old places; real old brick walls, rough-joist rafters, exposed pipes, wood floors. Davidson Bros. looks old without looking either shabby or 'tarted-up' with silly 'old-fashioned' stuff. ELEVEN beers on tap, and NONE of them overdone with what out-of-touch geeks would have you believe is "inescapable Ringwood character." We had pub-grub food (cheddar stout soup that was fantastic adults-only food, crisply done calamari, a delicious (real) turkey, cheddar, and apple sandwich, and a burger that was simply magnificent) that was excellent. Service was excellent, but I don't rate it because they knew from the get-go that I was a beer pro; but I did see other people treated very well. Beer: clean, but some were a bit old and tired, should have been cleared out with sale prices. IPA was quite nice, not overbalanced in any direction ("overhopped?" Eh?), the Cohan's Porter was fantastic, medium-bodied and quite drinkable, and the oatmeal stout opened strong and sweet but managed to finish clean and dry. The Scotch Ale was a big beer that just kind of hung out all over, yeasty, malty, fruity and delicious. The Imperial Stout may have been a bit over-the-top, but... isn't that what the style's about? Definitely worth a stop if you're in the North Country.

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Coopers Cave Ale Company Limited, Glens Falls, NY

Cooper's Cave falls short of Awesome on their Beer Selection only due to their focus: they make British-style ales. They make a lot of them, though, which puts them in Great territory. They only fall just short of Awesome in Quality of Beer because I like to see a really big beer in a line-up to see how a brewer handles that assignment. HOWEVER!! They definitely rank Awesome Overall because the beers they make are delicious, the place is just way too cool, and the Bethel family does things right, the way they like them. Plus they sell Whalen's horseradish, which utterly rocked my world. (Patty, you were right about the horseradish pickles!) If you have time for only one beer at CCAC, make it Pathfinder's Porter, one of the two richest, blackest, most delicious porters I've had, comparable only to Mystic's Wizard's Wonder. Wow, what a great beer. And don't miss their delicious sodas (I got a growler of orange cream for my kids), hard ice cream, and ... all the other great stuff! Cool place: find it, fall in love.

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Lake Placid, NY

Excellent brewpub experience. I'm SOOOO tired of hearing the conventional wisdom from people who think they're so damned smart saying it: "You know, a brewpub is really a restaurant that happens to make beer." Not here. LPP&B is about the beer first, the pub atmosphere first, the people first. The food comes second, although it doesn't get slighted in the process. Let me explain. Owner Chris Ericson knows that there are excellent restaurants in Lake Placid (he's right, too, you could get REALLY fat in this town), so he figures trying to beat them or even emulate them is a tough row. Instead, he offers the pub atmosphere and pub menu that many people are looking for, and succeeds in spades. The result is a brewpub that will bring a smile to your face. And that beer is great. From the smooth, strong, malty Ubu to the Britly bitter 46'er IPA and the viciously hoppy seasonal Frostbite pale ale that was on when I visited last week, this is stuff any brewer would be pleased with. And with the big brewery coming online up in Plattsburgh this month, lots more people will get a chance to try it. Good news!

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid, NY

Rob Davis Makes Good Beer. Trademark it, guys. I tried them last Friday, and the least of them was pretty good, the best were outstanding. Rob and Kyle brew up the beers in a garage out back of the restaurant. The whole gist of the grist, as it were, is revealed in the first taste of Rob's lightest beer, the Haystack Blonde: it is brewed with a big helping of rye and Saaz hops, and it is one of the tastiest blonde/golden ales I've had in a while, light yet spicy, a really crisp and interesting beer. The John Brown PA is clean and bitter, yet shows a half-ton of hop flavor and aroma. The Smoked Porter (Rob smokes the malts himself, this batch over pecan, wild cherry and maple woods) had a fantastic smoky smell, coupled with a mild but firm smoky flavor in what would be a really good porter even without the smoke. Food, even though all I had was a roast beef club, was great: it was the VERY BEST roast beef sandwich I've ever had, and the steak strips on my wife's bistro salad...well, many restaurants skimp on the steak for salad. Not here, this was prime stuff. Service was right on top of things but not overly intrusive. A great place, right on the main drag in Lake Placid, and (with Lake Placid Pub & Brewery) really one of only two places worth going to in town just for the beer.

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Red Lion Brewing Company, Watertown, NY

First, Red Lion's not easy to find. There's only one sign, and no one in town seems to know where Newell Street is. Call for directions, it's actually pretty simple off I-81. Second, from the outside, this is probably the ugliest brewpub I've ever seen: a dingy old brick building with an aggressively unattractive cinderblock fire escape tower. Sorry, but it's just butt-ugly. However! Get inside, and things change. Red Lion is very nice inside, and the beauty is all in the back, where big windows look out on the roaring Black River (a deck will be added this summer). Actually, there's some beauty in the glass, too: Mike Bauer's making some pretty good beer here. He's got some fine-tuning to do, but his Velvet Elvis Stout is ready for prime-time now: a nice graham cracker nose, with a roasty, chocolatey mouthfull to follow, a very easy-drinking flavorful stout. Surprisingly, the other regular that impressed me was the Northern Light golden ale, a crisp, Saaz-hopped beer that was wonderfully clean and dry. The Red Lion Lager needed a bit of work to get into real German Marzen territory, and had a disconcerting tart edge to it. Seasonals were a mixed bag: the Empire Strikes Bock was real good, rich and malty, the Iron Horse altbier didn't have any real hop flavor (Mike did say, without prompting, that he wasn't pleased with the hops he'd used to brew it), and the Ye Old Frothingslosh spiced winter beer was a fairly decent vanilla/hazelnut/cinnamon mix, not overspiced. We didn't try the food, but what we saw looked and smelled real good. Red Lion professes allegiance to the Slow Food idea, and uses local ingredients (like Morgia's Pasta) as much as possible. Why only "Good" for an overall rating? Room for improvement: clean up the rest of the beers, spiff up the outside, get that deck on. Do all that (and they will, I'm sure, they've got all the right intentions), and this place may well put Watertown on the map. Outstanding potential, and worth a trip up from Syracuse.

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, Manayunk, PA

Just a one-beer review, really: saw Jim at the Main Line Beer Fest with his Moon Dahg Imperial stout, and had to try some. Very impressive beer, one of the better impies I've had. Anyone who thinks this guy can only brew Schuylkill Punch needs to visit more often. Jim Can Brew!

(03/04/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Another new brewer at Sly Fox, and this one's another star: Brian O'Reilly, late of the ill-starred New Road (feh. Curse their name). New Road's loss is Sly Fox's gain, and Brian's already produced one of the liveliest Pale Ales I've had in quite a while. Wait till the big boys start coming out to play...

(03/04/2002)

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

Establishment: Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA

Dropped in LBC for the first time in too long last Friday night. I kind of worked my way backwards, with rounds of Spring Bock (whip-sharp bockbier, dryly malty), Lancastrator Doublebock (HUGE, clean, delicious, masterful), Milk Stout (perfect), Pilsner (on the heavy side, a real good mouthful), and cask Helles (really, a cask lager, and it was great). Good to be there, great beer. Bottle line arrives tomorrow, can't come too soon!

(03/04/2002)

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

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

Fancy Pants showed up at the Main Line beer festival at the Desmond Hotel, in Malvern, PA. They had the IPO, which has changed and needs some tuning -- kind of blandly okay -- but the Mudskipper Porter was a big fat knockout beer, excellent stuff. They have a new brewer, but it looks like a tough row for them. Look for the beer when you're in southeast PA, give it a try.

(03/04/2002)

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

Establishment: Pelham's Upstate Tuna Company, Corning, NY

Definitely worth a stop, but then, with the Glory Hole (get your mind out of the gutter, it's a glass-blowing term), Boomers', and Wet Goods, just walking along Market Street in Corning and stopping in for beers at all the places is one hell of a good time! The Tuna Company DOES have the best selection of beer in town, no doubt, and the most impressive bar. Nice place.

(02/27/2002)

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

Establishment: Red Bell Brewery and Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Jim Bell is gone, and his brewery finally has a chance. This brewpub in the FUCenter was the butt of jokes for years, but now there is competent staff actually working the Newlands brewhouse and producing beer, including the long-dormant Ahopalypse Now and Black Cherry Stout. If they can manage to renegotiate a lot of their debt and get enough cash flow going here to get the Manayunk brewpub open, Red Bell may have a chance. Good luck to them! Oh, and the roast beef sandwiches are great, get the horseradish if you think you can handle it: I scarf wasabi, but this stuff brought tears to my eyes.

(02/20/2002)

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

Establishment: Stetson's, Washington, DC

I used to love going to Stetson's when I worked in DC, and even after when I visited. Their Tex-Mex food was great, fantastic, even though the best beers they ever had were Rolling Rock and Shiner Bock. It was an excellent place, just a long bar with some tables down the side, but welcoming and friendly. I was just back after four or five years, and stood outside in the cold wind for ten minutes waiting for opening: I was anticipating the chicken chalupas and drooling. Imagine my disappointment when I got in, sat down at the bar, grabbed a menu and found wings, nachos, and burgers. New people bought Stetson's last year, and deep-sixed the Tex-Mex. I was devastated. But you know? The beer's MUCH better (I had a solidly clean and delish pint of Old Dominion Pale, they had Heurich's Foggy Ale, a house tap of Amber (probably OD's), Yuengling Lager and B&T, Bass, and Blue Moon White), the burger I had was an excellent burger, and the bar is still a really good bar. So... I'll probably go back and hang. Worth a visit, if you're into bars as well as beers.

(02/13/2002)

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

Establishment: Bridgid's, Philadelphia, PA

Stopped in at Bridgid's last Saturday on my birthday pub crawl with my wife. Great time. Had a bottle of Chimay Cinq Cents (Da Beeg Bottle!), which was superb, and had a fun conversation with the people at the bar. You can almost always find someone to talk to here, that's the kind of place it is. I agree with Mark: small number of taps is a good thing, and as the Farmhouse in Emmaus used to demonstrate, you can do amazing things with a small number of taps. Wish parking didn't suck quite so much.

(02/12/2002)

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

Establishment: McMenamin's Tavern, Philadelphia , PA

McMenamin's is becoming one of my favorite bars anywhere. Add it all up: good prices on beer and food; an eclectic selection of draft and bottled beer; CLEAN draft lines (I've realized that I've never had a sour, skanky beer here); consistently excellent cask-conditioned ales; fast, knowledgeable, and personable service; a clientele that runs the gamut from beer and food geeks to chili/wing/Yuengling sucking locals, all of whom get along tremendously; and fantastic food that ranges from Philly's Best Wings (Philadelphia Magazine, 2001, and they ARE GOOD!) to awesome stuff like I had the other night, a seafood risotto full of littlenecks, mussels, oysters, shrimp, and lobster tail. A neighborhood tavern that got great beer and great food and never forgot what it was, McMenamin's is a model for taverns everywhere. I wish there were more like this place, a lot more.

(02/12/2002)

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

Establishment: General Lafayette Inn and Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA

My wife takes me on a pub crawl through Greater Philadelphia every year for my birthday. This year we went to the General L. to start the evening, and I'm glad we did. Chris Leonard's beers have just been impressing me more and more (and more and more!), and tonight was no exception: the cask Best Bitter was fantastic, great condition, excellent yeast character, and the Pacific Pale Ale my wife had was well-named, a crisp, hoppy (but not over-the-top) American pale without flaw. The food was the same spinach/artichoke dip you get anywhere, and really the only thing that annoyed me about the visit: it was served with some piping-hot triangles of grilled flatbread, which was fine, but there was way too much dip for the flatbread. I asked for more, and it was delivered -- again, hot, delicious -- but we were charged a buck for the extra bread. Cheap. Niggling. Annoying. Why not serve more to begin with? I did notice that service was a bit lackadaisical, even though it was still early on a Saturday night. But the place itself is beautiful and quite atmospheric (we stayed out of the main bar, which gets very smoky (thanks so much to the waitress who insisted on smoking on our side so we wouldn't miss that)), and damnation, what great beer! Fix the service, and just get rid of the live music.

(02/12/2002)

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

Establishment: Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Washington, DC

GBDC is in an old Riggs Bank building, a beautiful place with a sharp-looking Specific Mechanical brewing system. The beers are about normal price for DC (particularly when you consider you're getting 0.5 liter beers instead of the usual 13 oz. "pint"), which makes them a deal: these are good quality lagers. I sampled five: Golden Export (delicious, fresh, and dryly malty), Märzen (a bit thin for the style, IMO, but good), Dunkles (the main reason I went "Great" rather than awesome on "Quality"--this one was just a little bit sour, which ruined an otherwise good beer for me), Winterbock (outstanding 7% dark bock beer), and a tank sample of the unfiltered Czech Lager (deliciously soft and laden with hop aroma (Hallertauer), this one's a must-drink). Didn't have food, but the smell of a plate of fish'n'chips going by was quite drool-inducing.

And...I don't know where Ed from Michigan was drinking, but he should pay more attention: Gordon Biersch does German style beers only, all lagers except for their weizen beers. No stouts.

(02/12/2002)

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

Establishment: Eddie's Brewery and Grille, Orchard Park, NY

Eddie's Brewery is an extract-only system, but they do pretty well with it. When I visited, they had seven beers on, and they were all clean. Not overly exciting, but clean, which is GOOD for a system like that, in my experience. The Ed's Light was actually quite good, tasted very fresh. I'd go here rather than to just another mainstream beer-only bar, and there's not really anything else around. The bowling alley's fun, too!

(02/01/2002)

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

Establishment: Buffalo Tap Room and Grill, Tonawanda, NY

Tucked away on the butt-end of a shopping plaza (it's almost a 1/4 mile OFF Niagara Falls Blvd.!), but worth the search. Nice, well-lit, great service, and a line of 10 Custom Brew Crafters beers that were pretty danged good (plus 2 Flying Bison beers, Ithaca Brewing's Nut Brown, and the usual lite shite). There was a real good vibe at this place, and I felt good being there.

(01/27/2002)

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

Establishment: Papa Jake's Saloon, Buffalo, NY

Jake's is not strictly a beer bar, though it sports an excellent selection of taps and a decent array of bottles. But you'd short yourself if you didn't hog into some of their delicious food, like the grilled meatloaf on french bread, a slab of robust meatloaf the size of a Steven King paperback with fried onions and melted probolone, or the justly celebrated fresh-cut fries, or the snappy, tangy barbecue wings. Great, friendly place, one of Buffalo's best taverns. Go. Now.

(01/27/2002)


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