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August 23, 2014 @ 08:46 AM EDT
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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
Awesome! Awesome! Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA

One of the top beer bars in the country. Period. Standard Tap serves only draft, local beer presented by a former brewer and draft maniac. The food is only short of phenomenal because of the relatively short menu; everything presented is presented well. I have very few complaints about this place, one of the major ones being that it's 40 minutes away. Otherwise... a must. When beer writers visit Philly, the two places they want to go are Monk's and Standard Tap.

(08/11/2001)

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

Establishment: Tun Tavern Brewing Company, Atlantic City, NJ

I haven't made it down to Tun Tavern, but had some of their beer at the recent NJ Craft Brewers Guild fest in Trenton. Damned good beer, and I must admit I'm surprised after all the not-so-hot comments I've heard. Good job, Ted, and glad to see you staying relatively close to home.

(08/09/2001)

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

Establishment: Bridgeport Brewing Company and Public House, Portland, OR

Finally got to BridgePort, after years of longing... Worth the wait! I was there with a bunch of beerlovers, and we sat out on the dock drinking pitcher after pitcher of beer. We homed in on the Stout and the cask IPA. The Stout was delicious, smooth and tasty, but the IPA was star-quality, the best IPA I've had in the PNW. The hopping is great, leaving plenty of flavor and aroma, but it also has a malt body and firmness to it that can't be beat, and the condition was dead-on. I didn't eat, but the garlic and goat cheese pie my friends had looked good. If you're wondering why I rated everything "Great" and the place itself "Awesome," well, there's not a rating for Atmosphere, History, Location (although the occasional whiffs from the fishmeal plant were nasty...), and Intangible Enjoyment, so I had to make do. BridgePort is definitely on the "Don't Miss" short-list for Portland.

(08/09/2001)

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

Establishment: Rock Bottom Brewery, Portland, OR

Went here in the midst of the Oregon Brewers Festival, and let me tell you, after many attempts to hop-rock my world by other brewers, to find an excellent, spicy and just a bit sweet saison on tap at Rock Bottom was just what I needed. The brewer at RB Portland is Van Helfig, one of the chain's best, and he shows it in a superb array of beers. Food, as always at RB, is innovative and well-executed, the service was attentive and quick even though the place was mobbed. I didn't find it overly 'yupped', but then, I was pretty wrapped-up in my saison. No reason why every brewpub should be a bastion of populism and hoo-hah, after all: RB's perhaps trendy elegance is nice too. I'd go back.

(08/02/2001)

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

Establishment: Rogue Ales Public House, Portland, OR

Well-done place, though they over-do the anti-yuppie thing a bit. Beer's flawless Rogue, just what you'd expect, though it suffers a bit from the "hops, hops, and more hops" syndrome. The food was the weakest link, and even it's not bad. Had a lot of fun here, loud and friendly.

(08/02/2001)

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

Establishment: Mount Hood Brewing Company, Government Camp, OR

Nothing like having lunch on the side of a volcano... Mt. Hood Brewing is quite notable for having taken an incredible placement on the side of a PNW icon and improved it with a cozy lodge atmosphere, excellent food and service, and outstanding beer. The Old Battle Axe barleywine was fiercely huge and hoppy, and the Oatmeal Stout was massively soothing and smooth. Smoked Porter was not overdone (thanks!), and there was a very interesting 100% wheat IPA (yes, really, 100% all-wheat beer), the kind of experimentation I love to see at a brewpub. I'd tell you to go just for the scenery and the drive to get there, but there's a real pot of brewer's gold at the end of the rainbow, too.

(08/02/2001)

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

Establishment: Great Waters Brewing Company, Saint Paul, MN

I heartily applaud Great Waters' policy of putting four beers on cask at all times. I'd like them to be better beers, though. The beers were all -- ALL -- good, but the cask beers just didn't have the perky liveliness I've had with good cask-conditioned beer. I don't know if it's choice of yeast or cellarmanship, but something needs to improve, in my opinion. In their favor, the beers were all clean as can be, and service was great. Beautiful place, excellent downtown setting, recommended.

(07/11/2001)

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

Establishment: Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN

After a great afternoon beerhunting in the Twin Cities, my bro-in-law and I stopped in to Town Hall for a last glass before heading home (his home, in Apple Valley). We had the co2-push stout and the cask stout, and found both to be excellent: flavorful, smooth, without flaw. Neat place, cool servers and clientele who were at least a little excited about beer, I'd recommend the place.

(07/11/2001)

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

Establishment: James Page Brewing Company, Minneapolis, MN

Stopped in last week, my, what good, good beer! James Page is obviously unafraid to brew beer that is good without tons of hops; the Amber Lager is deliciously malty. We also got a taste off the still-lagering Ofest: WOW, what a nice beer, one of the best American Festbiers I've tasted.

(07/10/2001)

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

Establishment: Granite City Food and Brewery, Saint Cloud, MN

Visited with my family and my brother-in-law's. Got an eight-beer sampler for $2.50; certainly can't complain about the price! The light beer was not good, even for what it was; chalky, grainy flavors made it nasty. Victory Lager was okay, pilsner was pretty good. Raz ale and hard lemonade were sweet and cloying, not to my liking nohow (raz had a distinct note of chocolate even my 9 year old picked up). Maibock was a big disappointment, quite watery. IPA was good, could have used a bit more body; Stout was quite good. The food was plentiful and delicious, though actual bleu cheese on my bleu peppercorn burger would have been better than blue cheese dressing, eh? The onion straws and bacon on the burger were beyond reproach, and the meat was great. Service was friendly and attentive, except for one flaw: my BiL and I were not asked if we wanted full beers until we had finished our samplers. I was ready for a full beer after about five sips! I'd go back.

(07/02/2001)

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

Establishment: Hereford and Hops, Escanaba, MI

We were traveling through the area and stayed in Escanaba overnight; took the family to Hereford & Hops. We got steaks, which were excellent; we got beer, which was not. My Mild Summer Porter was a bit on the sour side, and my Vienna Lager had a distinct raspberry flavor to it. I suspected, and confirmed with the bartender, that the beer had been run through a line that had once poured raspberry beer. Surprisingly, they had a raspberry ale on another draft line: ruin one line at a time, guys! I was quite underwhelmed by the beer, though the food, service, and ambiance were great. I hate to be quite so blunt, but if this place had a better brewer (or maybe it's management that doesn't support the brewer), it would be one hell of a lot better.

(07/01/2001)

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

Establishment: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

Went to Victory for Father's Day yesterday, on the tail end of a long weekend trip to Canada (long story). Good as the beer is at Victory, yesterday was superb. I had a crushingly hoppy glass of HopDevil that just made me laugh at all the people I've heard say lately that Victory has 'toned down' this beer; puh-leeeze. Before that I had a glass of fantastic Festbier, one of the best batches I've ever had from Victory, and the best American festbier I've ever had (CLOSELY followed by Penn's, then Stoudt's special Märzen, then no one else is even in the race). Before THAT, I had a glass of the special single-hopped Hallertauer Pils: a beautiful, unfiltered, robust beer that has a hop character like a glass filleting knife, sharp, long, and delicately honed. Hat's off, Victory: superlative performance.

(06/18/2001)

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

Establishment: New Road Brewhouse, Collegeville, PA

Just heard from a very reliable source that New Road has stopped brewing beer as of last Tuesday. I hope it's not true, but I suspect it is all too true. This place never did deserve ace brewer Brian O'Reilly, and I doubt it will survive without him.

(06/18/2001)

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

Establishment: Woolwich Arms, Guelph, ON

That American beer writer would be me, though what I actually said was that it was one of my favorite pubs in North America, probably in my top 10, maybe top 5. This is a great place, a 'great good place.' What's so great about the Wooly? It's years between visits for me, living in Philadelphia, but every time I go in I feel like I go there often. The service is quick (but not rushed), accurate (but not aggressive), friendly (but not fake), and informative (but not overwhelming). I don't give out "Awesome" ratings on service often, but the Wooly's staff is incredible; I swear there's a mind-reader in the back. My father and my son and I visited the Wooly last Saturday for dinner. I had two cask ales from the local Wellington County brewery (an OUTSTANDING brewery), one was a bit past peak but the County Ale was dead-on and marvelous. I also got a 'roll-your-own' four beer sampler of three great local beers and a local cider. We had pasta with a light cream-sun-dried tomato sauce with smoked salmon and asparagus, which my dad said was one of the best meals he'd had in quite a few years. I'd have gone "Awesome" on the food as well, but my son's burger was quite a bit overdone; he didn't mind, but I noticed. A trifling point. With its great snug bar, and cozy dining rooms, and comfortable porch seating, the Wooly's an excellent place to refresh body and soul. Go, my friends, go.

(06/18/2001)

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

Establishment: Augusta's Winking Judge, Hamilton, ON

Stopped here last Friday with my father and 9-year-old son. The evening crowd was in, and they took care of us, parking suggestions, beer suggestions (even offered to buy me a beer--but I'd already had a pint of what he wanted me to sample!), great simple food (porter stew with lots of carrots, mushrooms, and big chunks of beef on mashed spuds), and excellent beer, including three cask ales and a lot of local beers. HIGHLY recommended for both beer and pubtalk: we had two hour's worth of excellent conversation on U.S. politics (of the 1940s and 50s!), legal drinking age issues, and, of course, beer. Excellent place, tucked away on a side street in Hamilton. The father and my son both enjoyed it as well, and that's not easy (though we did it again the next night in Guelph, see my review of the Woolwich Arms).

(06/18/2001)

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

Establishment: Barker Brew Company, Fredonia, NY

Stopped in recently when I found myself in Erie with time to kill: the run up Rt. 5 took about 45 minutes, beautiful trip. Pub's in the center of town, only had three beers on, a surprisingly good American wheat, an okay 90 shilling, and a really, really good porter. Brewer Joe Rogers does a great job explaining his system, uses top-notch ingredients, and doesn't mince words: he told me he was disappointed with the 90 shilling before I even brought it up, said it's not as good as it usually is. Nothing like a perfectionist brewer! This would be a great place to lose an afternoon.

(06/07/2001)

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

Establishment: Baltimore Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD

I was in Bawlmer doing a story on Wharf Rat and Sisson's, and stopped at BBC on the way out of town because I had to have some Rauchbock. Man, God, is that stuff ever great! DeGroen's beers are beautifully pure and clean, and the R-bock is just massively malty, smoky, and rich. Love the Lagers!

(05/21/2001)

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

Establishment: Porterhouse Restaurant and Brew Pub , Lahaska, PA

Buckingham Mountain's been for sale for about a year now, and I just heard last night that they closed about two weeks ago. Friend of mine had scheduled a big dinner there (80+), called back to set some details, and was told they were shut down. Happily, I also talked with someone who's very interested in buying it and getting a name brewer in to make it a high-end beer, destination-type brewpub with guest beers and top-shelf bottle sales. Can't wait for that to happen.

(05/17/2001)

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

Establishment: Wellington Brewery, Guelph, ON

Love this place, love the beer, beautiful town, can't wait to get back to Guelph!

(04/24/2001)

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

Establishment: Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Heh. Finally, a rep! I just wanted to note that there are TWO Friday the 13ths this year... and one's coming up in April. I'll be there, to get my share of up to TEN casks of real ale, pouring on gravity taps, on the bar, at... The Grey Lodge Pub.

(02/16/2001)

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

Establishment: Red Bell Pub at the Airport, Philadelphia, PA

Dock Street has taken over this and is running it. Not a brewpub, just a bar.

(02/08/2001)

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

Establishment: Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, Manayunk, PA

Hey, George, lighten up! Someone disagrees with you and they must be on the take? That's some ego you're carrying around. Here's a tip: tastes differ. Mine is not yours, and vice versa. As for 'trying' Yards and Victory, pal, I had beer from both of them before they even opened. I'm competely wired on the brewery scene and I've been drinking non-mainstream beer since 1981. I've had Jim Brennan's beers at Manayunk and at other places around town (Grey Lodge Pub and Standard Tap, to name two), and have yet to have one I'd call "swill." But... that doesn't mean you're wrong and I'm right. Just means we don't agree. Me, I'm heading for Manayunk, first chance I get to try some of Jim's new beers. I'll post, okay?

(02/08/2001)

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

Establishment: Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA

The best new bar in Philly, period. William Reed serves local draft beer, on 15 or so regular taps, two handpumps, and a classic old white fridge with a keg of Yuengling Lord Chesterfield. The beer is perfect; Reed is a draft fanatic and inveterate tinkerer. The breweries represented include Yards, Victory, New Road, Neversink (for now), Flying Fish, Dogfish Head, Manayunk, Heavyweight, and Stoudt's, mainly. There is a good selection of spirits, a small selection of wines, and a fabulous short menu that got the Standard a place in PhillyMag's 50 Best Restaurants in Philadelphia in 2001. But all that is matched in impact by the look of this incredibly comfortable bar. This is a joint, a bona fide tavern, and everyone is comfortable here. Last year during the American Beer Month kickoff in Philly every notable beer writer in the country (including M. Jackson) wound up here to drink, feet up on the rail and a cool one in hand. Families eat here, my wife's taking me here for my birthday. I can't say enough about this completely cool bar. Drinking is what I do for a living; I write about beer and spirits. I can't recall how many bars I've been in over the past 20 years. Standard Tap, a year old, is top 10 material, maybe top 5. Yowza.

(02/08/2001)

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

Establishment: Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA

Excellent, style-conscious beer brewed by an excellent, style-conscious brewer. Nodding Head has very little truck with American-style mucking about with traditional beer styles, and that's great; every city should have a brewpub like that to keep the others honest. Food's quite good, and Brendan tends the bar with verve and ... well, with a hell of a lot of verve! Worth the hassle with parking to visit.

(02/01/2001)

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

Establishment: Mystic Brew Pub and Restaurant, Temple, PA

You must get to this place, which looks a lot like someone's house by the side of the road. Terry Fies brews on two 1/2-bbl. RIMS systems in the garage, kegs in 5-gallon soda canisters, and serves the beer in the bar, he's moving all the time. And my good Lord, is it good beer! The Wizard's Wonder Porter is my favorite, I just can't stop drinking it: smooth and nicely bitter, with a big backflavor of baker's chocolate and the nicest frothy head you'd want to find anywhere. Food's supposed to be pretty good, I haven't had the chance to try it... the beer gets me everytime. Go find this one!

(02/01/2001)


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