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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: Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Lake Placid, NY

But wait, THAT'S NOT ALL!!! Lake Placid won the two overall awards on Saturday at TAP NY, but on the next day of the fest, in separate judging, they also won three awards in the competition for best individual beers in the Hudson Valley and State of New York. I was judging on the State Best of Show panel, and these beers deserved the win, believe me. Congratulations to Chris and the Crew!

(05/01/2005)

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

Establishment: Skytop Steakhouse and Brewing Company, Kingston, NY

Preliminary report: brewing has not officially started yet due to ATTTB paperwork, it's expected to start this week. Great view, as advertised; pretty damned good steak, as advertised. The place looks real good inside, they put some money into it. Only complaint I had was that the bar is right in the one dining room, which can be very distracting when you're eating. A small thing, but there you are. This is owned by the same people who own Hyde Park Brewing, and John Eccles will be doing the brewing. I expect good things.

(04/24/2005)

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

Establishment: Delilah's, Chicago, IL

Delilah's is best known for the selection of spirits here; over 100 bourbons, for example. But in addition to a pretty decent tap selection, there is also a solid array of high-end Belgian ales and lambics in the cooler: Rochefort, Westmalle, Girardin, Boon, and so on. I love the balls-out attitude of the place, and the completely unconventional approach to good drinks: last night I was lucky enough to get a shot out of the 5,000th bottle of Maker's Mark poured at Delilah's, an event celebrated by having Maker's master distiller Dave Pickerell open the bottle and pour the shots...while two barely-clad women danced on the bar. Not your dad's bourbon bar!

(04/13/2005)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewery, Royersford, PA

Went to Sly Fox's Cajun beer dinner last night with my wife. We started with a Pikeland Pils (crisp and hoppy) at the bar, then went to dinner. Standout beers were the Hellesbock and the Instigator doublebock: beautiful malt and focused purity, excellent lager beers. The food was good...I guess I just don't like okra, though. It was easily balanced by the delicious (HUGE) bread pudding dessert and the fantastic spinach salad. An excellent 4-course meal, great beers, all for 40 bucks? No-brainer, folks. The only complaint would be the still somewhat plain look to the place, but it looks better every time I visit. Great new addition to the Philly area beer scene, and the big brewery out back is starting to pump this excellent beer out to area bars.

(04/01/2005)

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

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

The Bierhaus is going to be upgrading their beer to include one of East End's new beers, but the main reason I'm reviewing is to let you know about the breweriana museum upstairs. If you like old taphandles, trays, neons, posters, and all that, you gotta stop in here, Jerry's got some VERY cool stuff up on the walls! Ask about it at the bar.

(03/25/2005)

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

Establishment: Tasca Navarre, Pittsburgh , PA

Tasca Navarre is a fairly new place in the Strip District, and is not a bar, per se, it's more like a restaurant, but it's a tavern... okay, I understand "tasca" means "dive bar" in Spanish, so maybe it is a bar. Mostly what it is, is a tapas place. Regardless, they've got enough good taps -- HopDevil, SNPA, Hoegaarden -- to make it good enough to hang in, and they're kept in good condition. The food was quite good -- I had the traditional paella, and loved it -- the service was attentive and personable, the prices were reasonable. The place has good atmosphere, comfortable bar seats, and a good booze selection. Definitely worth a stop the next time you're headed down to Kaya or Roland's.

(03/25/2005)

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

Establishment: Brownie's Pub, Philadelphia, PA

I'd heard a bunch of so-so comments about Brownie's, that the beer selection had gone downhill, that it was full of idiots, that it was a dump. Naturally, I had to go. All lies. The taps were competely acceptable, if not stellar, with Stone IPA, Hacker-Pschorr Weiss, Rogue Dead Guy, Lindemans Framboise, Yards George Washington Porter, Hennepin, and the required Guinness, Smithwick's, Sierra Nevada, Stella, and Yuengling. The Stone IPA was in fine shape, the bartender was slick and on the button, and we even had a little geekly conversation about just what Hennepin really was, beer-wise. Good time, good place; I'd go back for sure.

(03/20/2005)

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

Establishment: Society Hill Hotel Restaurant and Bar, Philadelphia, PA

I was just walking back to Center City after visiting Eulogy when I saw the neon: "Hotel Bar." My curiosity was piqued, and I looked in through the glass...holy crap! They've got a Nodding Head tap! Easy decision, I went on in, and am I ever glad I did. The Society Hill Hotel Bar & Restaurant is a keeper. A bar that's not even on the geek radar for Philly, but with a tap list that practically defines "small but firm": Brooklyn Brown, Yards ESA, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, the standard Guinness and Yuengling, beer-of-the-moment Smithwick's (that might actually make it: good session ale), and that Nodding Head tap, which was pouring Grog. I got the Grog, and kept looking around. The back bar's tall and classy (the whole room is high-ceilinged, a nice feel), and what the heck, a bottle of Old Grand-Dad Bottled in Bond? Wow. Add to that an nice wide bar, some cozy nooks with tables for two, relaxed music on the system, and excellent and knowledgeable service from behind the bar, and you've got one hell of a nice little place. I can't wait to bring my wife here for a night out; the menu looks tremendous and non-conventional, and the smells coming from the kitchen were mouth-watering. I wanted to stay all night. A definite plus for Old City (the place just re-opened in December '04 with new owners and a new look/menu/everything).

(03/20/2005)

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

Establishment: Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Philadelphia, PA

Finally got to Eulogy, something I've been wanting to do since it opened (been twice when it turned out to be closed, so I was trying!). I stopped in Friday night, and they were pretty busy downstairs, no seats at the bar. I went to the upstairs bar and got a bottle of Ommegang, and paid for it. The beer was in a single cooler at the end of the bar, there were six or seven taps (quite a few more downstairs). I drank, and decided to have some frietjes - fries - to get something in my gut before drinking my next beer, a bottled Prima Pils. They came, piping hot and a lot, more than I could eat, but of uneven quality: some crisp, some limp, some underdone. I wrote that off to a busy night, no big deal. But it evidently wasn't busy enough: the bartender got wrapped up in the Duke game, and it got harder to get his attention. Then when I decided to head back to Center City and asked for the check, it came with the Ommegang on it again. He took it off without any argument, but I haven't been double-charged like that in longer than I can remember; didn't do a lot for my first impression. Overall, though, Eulogy is a place I would definitely go with friends to hang out, and like I said a bit further down the review chain here; it's GREAT to have four Belgian-type bars in Philly!

(03/20/2005)

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

Establishment: Yards Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PA

Should have done this months ago. The beers at Yards have improved by leaps and bounds. The big Trubbel is a knockout, solid and sweet and Belgian-twisted. IPA is firmly hopped and authoritatively strong, ESA is as good as it's ever been, and the newly tweaked Philly Pale absolutely rocks: light, crisply hopped, very tasty. The brewery itself: very cool place to visit, neighborhood's improved, tasting room's a unique blend of early 20th C. industrial and bachelor apartment. Find out what Philly's big beer secret is.

(03/14/2005)

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

Establishment: Independence Brew Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Enjoyed a beer dinner here with the Golden Age of Philly Beer tour on 3/12. The service was friendly yet efficient, especially considering that the waitress had to deal with a few people on the tour who'd had a bit too much to imbibe, unfortunately. The food was a bit uneven: the salad was quite nice, dessert was excellent, but my NY strip steak was pretty much non-descript, a disappointing piece of beef. The beer, on the other hand, was excellent, particularly the exceptional brown ale, a really ballsy version of the style. Only beer complaint was that the oatmeal stout was served way too cold, almost frigid: it deserves better. Overall, quite impressive.

(03/14/2005)

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

Establishment: Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

Rudy, I'm pleased you were still even-handed, given your opinion of the service at Monk's. It's important to keep that separation. Just want to point out (because I've seen it many times) that it does say right on the beer menu at Monk's that they do not take returns on beers that are not defective. "Consider it part of the cost of your beer education," I believe is what it says. I DID get a return last night at Monk's, because my glass of Duvel was clearly corked. I mentioned it, the owner sniffed the beer, made a face, apologized, and promptly replaced it with a pour from a different bottle, which was excellent. So if there was something wrong with your beers, yes, they absolutely should have been replaced. If there was not, well...the beers at Monk's are often expensive to stock and sometimes quite rare as well. The policy seems fair to me.

(03/14/2005)

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

Establishment: Grace Tavern, Philadelphia, PA

Restored neighborhood bar, owned by the owners of Monk's Cafe. Food is supposed to be simple but good; I just went for a beer. Beer they had: about ten good taps (I got a Sierra Nevada IPA) and a classic old Bevador cooler with a really interesting bottle assortment, including some very high-end lambics. Loved the tin wall/tin ceiling decor, pretty cool place overall. Service got a downcheck because the bartender argued with me over my beer choice. What? Leave me alone, you madman.

(03/12/2005)

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

Establishment: Aspen, Philadelphia, PA

Another stop in my ongoing campaign to hit all the good bars in Pennsylvania...I walked down to Aspen in the company of two local brewers who were familiar with the place and told me it was great, a must-stop. They were right, too. Aspen is a beautiful little corner bar in this tight little neighborhood. The interior brick arches and soft lighting make for a soothing atmosphere that's equally good for easy conversation or romance. The beer selection is good: not great, but definitely good enough that a geek won't have to resort to cocktails: La Fin Du Monde, Paulaner Hefe, a couple local micros, and so on. The bottle list is where the real good ones lurk. But the bartender was right on the money with the pour and the presentation, the food was quick and delicious, as well as innovative and nicely presented. Only problem is...with Bridgid's right around the corner, London Grill and Jack's Firehouse and Rembrandt's a short hike...where to go? Sounds like a pub and munching crawl waiting to happen.

(03/06/2005)

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

Establishment: Tavern On Green, Philadelphia, PA

Tavern on Green is an excellent corner neighborhood bar; better than most because of the decent number of good beers. It has a comfortable and attractive look, both inside and out, the bartender's competent, the beer's fresh. Works for me. I'm getting to like this area of Philly more and more lately, and places like this are a big part of the reason.

(03/06/2005)

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

Establishment: Ortino's Northside, Zieglerville, PA

Ortino's Northside is quite a surprise out here in the hills above the Perkiomen Creek. It's not much to look at from the outside, but don't let that fool you: there's a great little restaurant and bar inside. Well-kept taps (and no fear about what to put on them), attentive service, and good food make this a likely repeat stop. If you're out in this area and think you have to go closer to Philly for a good beer, well...between Ortino's, Sly Fox, and the Spinnerstown Hotel, you don't need to go anywhere else.

(03/01/2005)

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

Establishment: Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA

The Grey Lodge has added a second floor bar with a kitchen. Stopped in Tuesday night for one of the new rib-eye cheesesteak: great stuff. A new twist on a Philly classic, but MUCH more seriously rooted in the traditions than most other cheesesteaks that garner that description: Thick-cut meat (relatively: about 1/8"), chewy roll, (could have had a tougher outer crust, but that's me), and delicious fried onions. Then Pat forced a sampler of Thai curried mussels on me: wow. I still say the best mussels I've ever had were in Ireland, December 1989...but these came in a solid second, blowing away every mussel I've ever had since then. Sweet, clean mussels, delicious sauce with just the right heat, and a big chunk of garlic bread to sop it up with. Plus the G-Lodge beer selection? Come on! I had a Lake Placid Frostbite Pale Ale, and it was dead on. Can't beat that.

(02/24/2005)

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

Establishment: Boxer's Cafe, Huntingdon, PA

Near as I can tell, this is my 400th review. It pleases me that it falls to a place as nice as Boxer's Cafe. I'd be hard-pressed to say which surprised me more, Boxer's or Huntingdon. I'd never been to Huntingdon before, it's one of the corners of the state that's not well served by roads because of PA's ridge-and-valley topography, but I was surprised by how nice the little downtown was, with shops and cafes and government buildings. Boxer's is a former pharmacy, with a gorgeous marble backbar with milky stained glass accents. There is a definite emphasis on the alternative here: beer, food, and music, and I liked it. Beer selection wasn't huge; there are only four taps (Molson, Sierra Nevada PA, Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB, and H-P Dunkel-Weiss). I had the H-P, which went very well with my cheeseburger sub. There are a number of interesting vegetarian menu items, a lot of out-of-the-ordinary non-alcoholic beverages. Boxer's is simple, genuine, and touched with an elusive character that marks and makes a good bar.

400 reviews. Come on, the rest of you, let's get cracking! Add some new places!

(02/21/2005)

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

Establishment: Marzoni's Brick Oven and Brewing Company, Duncansville, PA

Stopped in just long enough to have a short Pale Ale -- nicely done, not overly-hopped -- and a taste of the Weizenbock -- much better than the Weizen, and sneakily high in ABV. Two nice beers.

(02/21/2005)

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

Establishment: Ironwood Grill, Indiana, PA

I can't believe I went miles out of my way to check out this place on the basis of a strong recommendation. The only redeeming feature of the Ironwood is the pretty decent beer store/bottleshop area on the first floor, they have an okay selection there. The bar is an enclosed upper deck that smelled like a swimming pool and swayed in the wind. I ordered a Yueng Lager and it tasted like raspberry beer had been through the line beforehand. Then my bartender put the beer down, wouldn't take my money ("You have to run a tab, it's the rules"), and walked off. I was sitting there with an empty glass for ten minutes...and all I wanted was to leave. If you are driving by on Rt. 422...keep driving. If you live in Indiana, PA, pick up a sixer and take it home, you'll have a better time.

(02/21/2005)

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

Establishment: Marysville Tavern, Marysville, PA

Marysville Tavern is on the river side of Rts.11/15 in Marysville, which puts it right on the bank of the broad Susquehanna; great view, especially from the deck out back. The view inside, well, that's a bit lacking. See, Marysville had some great taps, including a surprise Troegs Mad Elf tap, and the beers I had were in excellent shape; I've heard the food's good. But the interior was pretty generic, the service was competent but not exceptional. I might go back again if I'm in the area, but I probably won't go out of my way (although my way is often pretty darned close to there; Marysville is only a couple minutes from the I-81/11-15 intersection north of Carlisle). Good taps could be great; good place could be Awesome, but it needs something more.

(02/21/2005)

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

Establishment: Chestnut Street Cafe, Sharon, PA

What a shocker. Sharon is mostly known -- beerwise -- as the home of Quaker Steak & Lube, a cool place for beer and barfood, but hardly a center of craftbrew excellence. Then there's this place, which looks like a new sign on an abandoned building. But walk in the two doors, and you're in a gorgeous high-ceilinged bar-room with a long bar fronting on some great taps (I went Awesome on that selection because some of the stuff was totally un-looked-for in Sharon, PA: La Fin du Monde, for instance). It would be really easy to spend a whole day here. Customers were a bit yahooish, but that might have been the day. Liked this place a lot, hope to get back one of these days.

(02/21/2005)

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

Establishment: North Country Brewing Company, Slippery Rock, PA

I was at North Country's pre-opening party last night; they open officially on Wednesday the 23rd. It's worth the wait. This place is marvelous; attention to detail, great food and varied menu, service pretty damned good first night out, and the place is just remarkable to look at with all the carved wood.

Oh, the beer? Needs a bit of tweaking here and there, but very good right out of the box. The Stone House Stout and Paleo IPA were favorites, but everything was pretty strong. Go see this place, and enjoy the surroundings and the food and the BEER. Off to a great start, in a truly unique place. I expect those ratings to climb on return trips.

(02/21/2005)

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

Establishment: Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, NY

I didn't really see any other way to rate this place. The only complaint I had was that the service could have been a bit quicker, but...while I was there, I really liked the pace, it fit so well. Spuyten Duyvil has an absolutely fantastic selection of Belgian beers, and a pretty good selection of out-of-the-ordinary beers of other types -- IN BOTTLES. There are only six drafts, as has been noted, but they are always six truly exceptional drafts: Cantillon Lou Pepe and Heavyweight Chuck, for instance. An atmosphere all to its own, with curios everywhere and a completely spotless back bar; the bartenders keep it just so. I met a friend there who smiled as he pointed out that he lived a ten minute walk from both Spuyten and Barcade. What a beautiful living arrangement. Highly recommended.

(02/18/2005)

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

Establishment: Barcade, Brooklyn, NY

Barcade awes with their "not like every other damned bar" tap selection, sporting several taps I haven't seen ANYwhere else, let alone anywhere in New York. And the thing I liked the BEST about those taps is that with the exception of Guinness, they all came from breweries within 200 miles of NYC. Too many bars do the import/west coast micro thing...it has its place, but as the bartender partner said when I mentioned it, "You don't find east coast beers on tap in California, so screw 'em." Well, he didn't quite put it that way, but that's the way I heard it. Anyway, Barcade is in an old machine shop, fairly roughcut but clean, and there are about 25 classic vidgames lining the walls: Moon Patrol, Galaga, Asteroids, 1943...all playable. Could become a new favorite stop, with Spuyten Duyvil only a ten minute walk away.

(02/18/2005)


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