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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! Good N/A Great Great

Establishment: Sullivan's Pub and Eatery, Erie, PA

Sullivan's is not a trendy "Irish pub," it's been Irish since 1905, and the tile mosaic floor and pressed-tin ceiling and walls prove it. But they've proven to be adaptable, with 16 taps and a good selection of beers (and 5 Irish whiskies, four more than most places). I ran into Erie Brewing Co. brewmaster Bob Shaffer here, so you know it's gotta be good! I hear the pizza is great, and the Irish food is good, but I was stuffed from a meal at Oscar's.

(10/04/1999)

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

Establishment: Red Star Brewery and Grille, Greensburg, PA

The location of the brewpub, in a restored working train station, is a huge plus to an already excellent operation. The gleaming copper-clad JV Northwest brewhouse behind the bar (close enough to hear the brewer curse!) only makes it better. Real good beers from brewer Mike Escourt: Golden Light is clean, with no off flavors, the Pale Ale is on a nitro tap but don't let the creamy head fool you -- there's snow on the roof but there's a fire in the furnace! English Brown Ale pleases with solid malt character and just a bit of fruit at the end, and the Ironhorse Stout is a nitro-pumped classic Irish Dry stout with some coffee, bitter chocolate, and nut touches, a beer that is hard to find flaws with. Some of the cleanest brewpub beer I've had. Well worth a stop!

(10/04/1999)

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

Establishment: Straub Brewery, Saint Mary's, PA

I love this place, and you should DEFINITELY visit if you find yourself within 50 miles of the place. It is the country's smallest surviving pre-Prohibition brewery, and they only make Straub (in brown and green bottles) and Straub Light. Dan Straub thinks deeply about where his brewery fits in a changing industry, and has managed to keep his local market strong. Straub is one of the few regional breweries that is running at or near capacity; Yuengling is the only other one I'm aware of. The brewery tour is magnificently simple, and you can sometimes taste a beer right off the line, pre-pasteurization. It just doesn't get fresher than that. You can also get a free beer from the Eternal Tap, a tap in the wall inside the brewery where you can have a beer, as long as you wash your own glass afterwards. This self-service tap is, to my knowledge, unique in America. Straub beer? It's clean, it's refreshing, it's one of my favorite mainstream American lagers.

(10/04/1999)

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

Establishment: Oscar's Pub and Restaurant, Erie, PA

I had an excellent "Georgia Reuben" (smoked turkey and coleslaw instead of corned beef and sauerkraut, real good!), my uncle had a big fat platter of good Cajun-type seafood and chicken, both for reasonable prices. There was an excellent selection of beer, but the Spaten Ofest we got had either been on tap too long or the line wasn't clean. We then tried the Paulaner Fest, which was cleaner, and stuck to that. I would advise you to drink at the bar and ask for samples, which were cheerfully provided.

(10/04/1999)

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

Establishment: Valhalla Microbrewery and Restaurant, Pittsburgh , PA

I feel obligated to do a Valhalla review after reporting that the waitress at VT Flatbread (also in the Strip) dissed their pilsner! I went to Valhalla specifically to talk to brewer Sean McIntyre and sample beers, so I did not get a read on the service, though everyone I saw in action seemed very professional and Sean even pitched in a few times. The food looks tremendous, and if I hadn't been still stuffed from lunch, I'd have dug in. But: the beer. I thought the Pillage Pils was a solid classic pilsner. The Eric the Red was a Vienna with a good body, just a bit chewy, but not overly exciting. The Black Forest Dunkel was good stuff, with a nice roasty/husky edge to it. Sean's Schwarzbier was real good, thoroughly dark and malty, but not sweet, and a real-man body on it, better than you get on the German Kostritzer. His dunkelweizen was very clean, clovey and bubble-gum aromas, with some faint phenolic smoke. (He also tapped off some not quite ready weizenbock: clean and sinful, with that spicy character Germans call 'wuerzig.') Sean's had a rough time getting this place back into shape after the past two brewers -- no comment from me on them. But the beers I had were good. Unfortunately, many geeks just don't get lagers. Their loss. Do go to Valhalla, but don't take kids; this is an adult place. We need them, too.

(10/04/1999)

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

Establishment: Boomerang BBQ was Vermont Flatbread, Pittsburgh , PA

I was prepared to really like this place: good selection of magazines out front, great location, cool name and concept, and definitely NOT the usual multi-tap. The food looked REALLY good, but we'd just had an awesome lunch at Gene's Last Chance and only had time for a quick beer here. We asked the waitress for the tap selections, she rattled them off and ended with "Village Pilsner." Who's that, I asked. "I think they get it from Valhalla," she said, and leaned in to say softly "It isn't very good." Hmmm, I thought, and ordered a Lancaster Spring Bock, hoping it was a keg of this malt nectar they'd hidden in a far corner of the cooler for just such a pleasant Fall day. It wasn't, it tasted like it had been on since April, headed towards outright sour. If a bar is going to have a good selection of beer, they have to take care of it, and taste it, and pull it when it goes bad. Otherwise, don't even try.

(10/04/1999)

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

Establishment: Mount Nittany Brewing Company, Philipsburg, PA

I made "Beer Selection" N/A because Mark Bloom's only making one beer so far, Jed's Red. It's a real good one, though. I've seen some bad (uninformed)comments about this beer elsewhere, and I have to say: THERE IS MORE TO BEER THAN HOPS SLAPPING YOU IN THE FACE! Jed's Red is a malt-balanced beer, and a damned good one. People who just don't get that should stick to sucking down IPAs, beers that don't challenge what they already know or try to expand their taste spectrum. Only, wasn't what microbrewing was all about? Sheesh... Mark Bloom is running a one-man brewery with dairy tank-fermenters and a stepladder for a brewing platform. This is real 'good old days' brewing, people, and he's doing a great job at it. Get to a bar in central PA and support him so we can find out what OTHER good beers he can brew!

(10/04/1999)

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

Establishment: Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA

"The corner bar in the middle of the block." The G-Lodge is almost unique. Cheap-drinking retirees during the day, beer-geek and Bud-lovers at night, and a constant traffic of 40 drinkers walking in and out with their paper bags. Last time I was in was August 13, Friday the Firkinteenth: five casks of real ale on the bar, Hanssen's Kriek from the cooler, Dogfish Head Aprihop on push tap -- and the 40 trade. Mushroom-swiss wraps, tomato pie, Wednesday night Quizzo, the ceramic graffiti in the men's room, Duzer... What a place, what a great place. Come on a Friday, you will be back.

(08/29/1999)

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

Establishment: Ludwig's Garten, Philadelphia, PA

I don't rate too many places "Awesome" on Beer Selection, but Ludwig's deserves it because of their growing and changing selection of German, Austrian, and Czech beer. This place is fabulous, particularly in a city that fawns over Irish and Belgian bars. I like the Irish and Belgian places too (well, a few of the Irish places), but we needed this.

(08/29/1999)

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

Establishment: Schnitzel's Tavern, Bellefonte, PA

Schnitzel's was recommended to us by another beer writer, John Hall: good call! We drove up from State College through pretty country and found the place easily. The outside cafe area right on the creek was very nice, but just a bit too hot that afternoon, so we went inside. Service was a bit bollixed due to a missing waitress, but it got straightened out after a bit. Schnitzel's is (duh!) a German place, and I got no further on beer selection than the draft Kostritzer Schwarzbier: excellent! So was our smoked trout appetizer with whipped cream horseradish sauce, and our entrees: I had weisswurst with German potato salad that was deliciously light, my wife had sauerbraten (the only down point, it was a bit tough, as if it had not been marinated long enough) and the best spaetzel I've ever had in 20 years of loving German food. Wish we'd had time for dessert!

(08/23/1999)

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

Establishment: Kutztown Tavern / Golden Avalanche Brewing Company, Kutztown, PA

SO good to find a brewpub that serves lagers and doesn't try to cover boring beer by throwing in tons of hops. Excellent weiss beer, and the Alt was a great glass too. These guys did things right all the way, there was a LOT of thought (and sweat) put into this place, and it shows in the look and the quality of the beer. It didn't hurt that I was served by one of the best brewpub bartenders it has ever been my distinct pleasure to encounter!

(08/19/1999)

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

Establishment: Jack's Mountain Restaurant and Brewery, Lewistown, PA

I liked the Black Jack Oatmeal Stout so much I took a growler with me, and the wheat is one of the best American-style wheat ales I've had. We had smoked brisket and mango-glazed salmon, both expertly prepared. And to the fellow who complained that it was 4 miles out of town... I liked the setting and the view across the valley.

(08/19/1999)

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

Establishment: Dock Street Brewing Company, Bala Cynwyd, PA

This was the address of the contract-brewing company that did Dock Street. The bottled brands were sold to Poor Henry's (Ortlieb's); the Dock Street brewpub at 18th and Cherry is still open and doing fine. So this 'brewery' is essentially closed.

(08/19/1999)

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

Establishment: Nick's 1014 Cafe, Harrisburg, PA

Nick's is the best beer bar in Harrisburg. Period. They have a small but very well-selected set of taps, including a hand-pump that usually serves Troegs or Victory beers, a nice selection of whiskey, and a good range of bottled beer. Clean, comfortable, welcoming: when I go to Harrisburg, it's to Appalachian Brewing or Nick's (after I drop in at Troegs to say hi!).

(08/19/1999)

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

Establishment: Hoppers Brewpub, Erie, PA

Hoppers should have re-opened by now. They were transferring brewing ops to their new microbrewery downtown. Brewer Bob Shaffer is VERY happy with the quality of beer coming out of the new brewery, says its very consistent and better than before. Erie Brewing Co. is now shipping beer to Pittsburgh!

(05/23/1999)

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

Establishment: Harpoon Brewery, Windsor, VT

My two faves are the Oatmeal Stout and X Anniversary IPA--both rippingly good beers from a brewery that I feel is usually unfairly stuck with 'so-so' ratings because of their solid yet not flashy Amber. Hey, people! You gotta drink something during the week! The Porter is also good, and has remained so since first popping eyes back in the late 80s.

(05/06/1999)

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

Establishment: Selin's Grove Brewing, Selinsgrove, PA

"Too small to play darts" is one of the things I love about this place. The other? GREAT beer. There are usually 10 beers on tap; on any given night 8 of them will be outstanding. Time travel back 15 years to what a brewpub used to be like when this was still fresh and exciting. The best non-packaging brewpub in Pennsylvania, IMO.

(04/04/1999)


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