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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! Great N/A N/A Awesome!

Establishment: Heavyweight Brewing Company, Ocean Township, NJ

Is this a great idea, or what? A little one-man brewery that only makes big beer. Let the bigger micros worry about "we have to make something for Suzie to drink", Tom Baker is making beer with big hairy... er, I mean, with real guts. Is it a niche? No, it's a market left unexplored by brewers who are still shackled to conventional wisdom. Maybe it is a niche in that it would be tough to make money if too many brewers tried to serve it, but... I doubt many of them would do such a great job as Heavyweight. All huge, all the time! Try these beers, try anything you see from Heavyweight, because Tom might make anything. Good to see the positive reviews on Perkuno's Hammer, I helped formulate that one, named it, too. Baltic porter rules!

(02/01/2001)

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

Establishment: Rock Art Brewery, Johnson, VT

Matt Nadeau makes great beer. I stopped by the house-brewery in August of 2000. He was brewing at the time and we checked out the shed. He's got a pretty rudimentary set up for actual brewing ops; direct fire kettle, portable malt mill, dairy tanks. But my respect for him went way up when we went into the basement ferment area: VERY high-tech for the size, glycol jackets, computerized temp probes, and an impressive Matt-designed four-keg washer. And the beer, wow. My favorite was the new Ridge Runner, big, hoppy, flavorful, but easy to drink. Seeing brewers like this making great beer and selling it well makes the heart swell. Highly recommended, and I wish I could get it in PA.

(02/01/2001)

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

Establishment: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

Just a quick comment on my last two trips to Victory. I found the service much improved, a VERY pleasant thing. The food, on t'other hand, had slipped a bit; my "rare" burger was not at all red in the middle, though it was cool, a sign that the beef used was not of the freshest. I'd like a brewpub that's obviously concerned about fresh beer to be more concerned about fresh food. The mushroom mix on my pizza was diminished on the other visit; only one variety of mushrooms instead of the usual three or four. BUT the beer was tremendous, particularly the "All Malt Dark Lager" (didja HAVE to rename the Munich Dunkles just because of morons?) I drank and bought two growlers of my last visit. GREAT beer, the malt character of a d-bock on an Export-sized frame. Thanks, and please keep in mind that all criticism is made in a loving manner!

(01/15/2001)

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

Establishment: Berkshire Brewing Company, South Deerfield, MA

Duh. Sorry, Gary, I was writing faster than my brain could keep up. I of course meant that I had interviewed Chris Lalli and GARY Bogoff. Getting old sucks, kids: DON'T let it happen to YOU!

(01/15/2001)

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

Establishment: Berkshire Brewing Company, South Deerfield, MA

I've been a huge fan of Berkshire Brewing for years, ever since I happened to pick up a bottle of Steel Rail Extra Pale in a Connecticut package store. Since then I've had almost all their beers, interviewed Paul and Chris a number of times, and visited the brewery. The brewery has the same kind of hustling, dedicated, "we're doing it!" vibe I felt when I visited Sierra Nevada in 1986. Beautiful setting, outstanding beer, hard-working people. And yeah, in response to Carl Woodbury, sometimes the crew at Berkshire can be a bit brusque. In this case, though, I feel that the beer excuses a LOT! My hat's off to this still largely unknown and often underrated brewery.

(01/15/2001)

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

Establishment: New Road Brewhouse, Collegeville, PA

I was stunned by how GOOD these beers were only 6 weeks after opening when I visited in early December. The Procrastinator in particular blew me away: this is a weizendoppelbock that bows only to Aventinus, it is the equal of Victory's Moonglow. All the beers were clean and skillfully brewed. I've talked to three area brewers since then who were all similarly impressed. New Road has hit the ground running. Within a year, this will be a destination brewpub, one that people will make a special trip to visit. And... I have to say it. Guys, there is MORE TO BEER THAN HOPS!!! Any moron can throw another half bale of hops in a brewkettle or maturation tank. It takes real skill to brew excellent beers that don't rely on tons of hops for their flavor. New Road brewer Brian O'Reilly clearly has that skill. Embrace it, enjoy it, learn from it. Don't ever stop learning new things about beer!

(01/12/2000)

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

Establishment: Freedom Brewing, York, PA

My calls to Freedom have gone unanswered for two months. I was talking to another brewer on 12/15 who told me he had been over to York: the brewery was not in operation, although the building was still leased and the phone is still connected. If anyone knows more, please e-mail me!

(12/17/1999)

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

Establishment: Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, Manayunk, PA

Just wanted to note after George's review: Manayunk was inundated by Hurrican Floyd, and the brewery was wrecked. They re-opened in 2 weeks, selling guest beers, the brewery was repaired (by herculean efforts of brewers Jim Brennan and Rich Wagner) in five weeks, and they got beer online in 7 weeks. The beer has NOT been aged long enough to suit Jim Brennan's opinion (and I agree with him), but exigencies of business being what they are, the beers HAD to go on tap. It's worth noting that they immediately outsold the guest beers, and Jim is having a hard time getting ahead. But he will. Give Manayunk a month or so, and go back and try it. Dawson Street's GREAT, don't get me wrong, but Manayunk deserves another chance. And the food has always been excellent.

(11/30/1999)

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

Establishment: Lion Brewery, Wilkes-Barre, PA

CONGRATULATIONS to The Lion and brewmaster Leo Orlandini: named medium-sized brewer of the year by this year's Great American Beer Festival! Not to mention they also won two gold medals for their Pocono Lager and excellent Liebotschaner Cream Ale! Now that The Lion has a full QC lab, you cannot find a better value than their Brewery Hill Pale Ale: crisp, hoppy, clean and refreshing, for a price you won't believe. The Lion fights on, and I can only hope the locals will someday give them the support they deserve.

(11/27/1999)

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

Establishment: Yuengling, Pottsville, PA

One of the very best brewery tours in the U.S. I just took my 26th Yuengling tour, and it was great: got down to the old lagering caves (hey, you gotta know someone!), saw the canning machine running, got the long version of everything from Dave of the gift shop/museum, and refreshed ourselves with a keg of porter freshly brought up from the kegging line--delicious. Now that the Tampa brewery is up and running, Yuengling will probably hit 800,000 bbls. this year, and they are moving into new territory this month. I want to taste some Tampa Yueng to do my own quality control tests (I gotta KNOW!), but things are still ongoing at the new Pottsville brewery too. Three breweries by the end of 2000: can Yuengling keep things moving? Don't count them out, NO ONE survives like the country's oldest brewery!

(11/27/1999)

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

Establishment: Yuengling, Pottsville, PA

(11/27/1999)

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

Establishment: Whitetail Brewing, Carlisle, PA

Wade's back! Whitetail beer has returned to central PA, and is being well-received. No reason why not: Wade Keech knows what he's doing in a brewhouse. The Raspberry Porter (a man's fruit beer) is on top of form, and Wade's plans for the future sound great; surprises are coming. Watch for BIG niche beers showing up at the best area beer bars.

(11/16/1999)

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

Establishment: Mystic Brew Pub and Restaurant, Temple, PA

The Mystic just opened in September, but Terry has 11 years homebrewing experience. It shows in what he can do with his little half-barrel RIMS brewhouse. The Porter is stunning; a huge head caps a rich glass of bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors that just tastes like more, more, MORE. Find this PLACE!

(11/16/1999)

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

Establishment: Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, Ellicott City, MD

Just dropped in last night for a quick beer on our way back to Philly after a whiskey tasting in DC. Grabbed a glass of Dunkel... Mighty nice. The wife was impressed with the place (rightly so), and thinks we should have our annual Sibs Weekend (w/her three brothers and their wives) in Ellicott City. Gee, with Ellicott Mills, Bare Bones, Clipper City, Brewer's Art, DeGroen's, Wharf Rat, and crabs? LET IT HAPPEN!

(11/16/1999)

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

Establishment: Valhalla Microbrewery and Restaurant, Pittsburgh , PA

HA! Take that, VT Flatbread Pillage Pils-dissing waitress: Valhalla Pillage Pils, 1999 GABF Bronze medal, Bohemian Pilsner category! YES! CONGRATULATIONS to Valhalla and Sean McIntyre!

(10/13/1999)

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

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

First off, CONGRATULATIONS on Penn's latest GABF medals: a pair of Bronzes for Penn Gold and Penn Dark! This brings Penn's total to six. Penn's beers are great examples of their styles, clean as a whistle, and just the thing for quaffing (unless, of course, you're tying into some of the Bock or Weizenbock, in which case use a little caution: Big Beer Ahead). I love going to this place, tucked into the old Eberhardt and Ober brewery building, and having a good cold lager beer.

(10/13/1999)

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

Establishment: Clipper City Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD

Possibly Maryland's most underrated brewery. Hugh Sisson thinks a lot about his beer and the brewing industry, and he is a great guy to talk to about it; very knowledgeable, wryly witty, and willing to tell you whatever you want to know. His beers are great, from the flagship Chesapeake Gold (just had this at an O's game, delish stuff) to the whip-cracking hoplash of the Winter Reserve Ale. And I want ALL of you to apologize for not buying enough of CC's great Maibock!

(10/05/1999)

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

Establishment: Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, Ellicott City, MD

Sounds to me like some would-be beer geeks need to learn a few things about lagers -- but that's par for the course. The lagers at Ellicott Mills are of classic styles, and for the most part they pull it off smashingly. "No specialty beers", does that mean no fruit'n'wheat ale? Thanks, I'll stick to these deliciously balanced beers. Keep up the good work, Martin!

(10/05/1999)

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

Establishment: Old Lehigh Brewing Company, Allentown, PA

My opinion of Olde Lehigh is based mainly on their Cream Ale, which has unfortunately been reduced to a seasonal status. I think it is the finest cream ale around, period.

(10/05/1999)

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

Establishment: Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA

About the service: my servers at LMB over the past three years have been, without much exception, unenthusiastic at best. I like to pay as I go because I get up and walk around a lot, and that seems to be a problem with them. I dunno. But the good news is the beer. I've never had a bad beer at LMB, and I've had a number of excellent ones. I think Christian Heim is hands-down one of the best brewers on the East Coast, and he gets bloody little recognition for it. ("Beer Island," that Double Bock was a knockout, more like one of the huge Polish 'porters' than a doublebock, I loved it!) As a friend of Mike Oehrlein's, I'm sorry to see him go. As a fan of LMB, I hope whatever arrangements ARE made, work out.

(10/05/1999)

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

Establishment: Erie Brewing Company, Erie, PA

Erie Brewing Co. is all the important components of the no-longer-brewing Hoppers (now re-named Porter's, evidently): the recipes and Bob Shaffer, and thank God, he's still making the mind-bending Railbender. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Oatmeal Stout: GOOD beer!

(10/05/1999)

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

Establishment: Foundry Ale Works, Pittsburgh , PA

I visited the Foundry recently as brewer Aran Madden was taking over from the insanely innovative Jon Zangwil. Most of the beers still on were Jon's; a rye beer with hefe yeast (though filtered--rye Kristall?), a Duvel tribute, a strongly spiced Wit, a very rich Abbey-style Dubbel, and a tart cherry brown ale that I got a growler of to take with. However, Aran had a Scotch Ale made with a touch of peated malt that was roaringly good and rich. The Foundry has a well-earned rep for balls-out beer, and as noted below, it got carried away some times. I think Aran will probably pull back just a little from that... and that's probably a good thing. Wait and see. Meanwhile, great setting, beautiful building, gorgeous women working there. Well, I'm not made of stone, ya know...

(10/05/1999)

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

Establishment: The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh , PA

I don't understand the recent negative beer comments, unless they're coming from disappointed hopheads. I found the beers much improved over my first visit two years ago. Pious Monk is a smooth, malty classic dunkel lager. The Brown Ale is nicely hoppy (my notes: "The Tettnang hops give a very bright flavor, spicy, almost minty, quite a bit of very nice hop flavor"). The Toasted Oat Stout on push and handpump was a very impressive beer with plenty of roasted malt character (on cask it was quite lively and much richer). The Special Bitter had a huge hop nose, like walking through a hopyard at harvest time, with a biscuity malt mouthful as a reward. Like brewmaster Bryan Pearson told me: "Anyone can make an overhopped beer." The Church makes beers for people who like good beer, not people who are doing the equivalent of beer bungie-jumping. That's fine in its place, and I like extreme beers too, but the extremes pale after a while.

(10/05/1999)

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

Establishment: Pittsburgh Brewing Company, Pittsburgh , PA

Like Nancy said, most Pittsburghers know Pittsburgh Brewing as Iron City, and that's the truth. Second truth: I drink beer for a living, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and Iron City is no better or worse than any of the national brands of mainstream beer; IC Light is actually better than most. Third truth: if Pittsburgh doesn't get off its Coors Light-swilling butt, they aren't going to have a local brewery. PBC realizes this, and is totally revamping their image with a smart new retro campaign that concentrates on the 'City' instead of the 'Iron,' just like Pittsburgh is doing. "This is City Living," their trucks proclaim. Hey, you guys outside the area, make all the Iron City slams you want, who needs you? Iron City has always made their payroll in Pittsburgh, and that's where it's going to happen or not this time. Meanwhile, yuinz in Da Burgh: stop buying advertising instead of beer. Support your local brewery and the men and women who work there. The labor trouble is OVER, and management's got their heads on straight. Give the beer a shot.

(10/04/1999)

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

Establishment: Frank and Jerry's Bier Haus, Pittsburgh , PA

Okay. If you don't want macrobrew, your choices are essentially limited to Iron City (drink local, ya jerk) and Penn Pilsner (which is REAL local, like a block away). It's a small corner tappy, and the men's room is down a dimly lit stairway with a low overhead. But there's a tremendous display of breweriana here (cans, cone-tops, trays, mini-kegs, tap knobs), some of it fairly rare, and the people are friendly, so stop by and ogle the beer history, have a beer, and relax. The Bierhaus has become a regular Pittsburgh stop for this beer traveller.

(10/04/1999)


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