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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
Great Good N/A Good Good

Establishment: Mighty Oaks Pub, Oakland, MD

We visited the downstairs lounge. Pilsner was sweetish, but with a sharp hop bite that melted into a long bitter finish. Bark IPA had a slammingly solid pine/citric hop presence, an assertive IPA. The Furry Shark Stout was sporting an odd touch of what sure seemed like peat smoke, weird but interesting. My fave was the nitro-driven 1420 Ale, reminiscent of a Tetley's or Wexford nitro-can. Mouthsful of the stuff gave malt and yeast notes in heaping quantities, very smooth. Not bad at all.

(04/27/2004)

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

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

Got a chance to try the seasonal Maibock at Fat Head's over the weekend: excellent beer, smooth as silk and rich with malt. Very nice. Also heard that the Kaiser Pils may finally be bottled: can't happen soon enough for me!

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Uncle Tucker's Woodfired Pizza and Brew Haus, Cumberland, MD

I was here over the weekend as well, on Saturday around noon, and sampled everything...and found most of it pretty good. The Scottish? Dryly malty, with perhaps just a tinge of sourness, but just on the edge. The pale ale was quite good: "fruity, hoppy, busy, even frisky" say my notes, a beer I would have been happy to have a pint of. My traveling companion, a very experienced pro brewer at a well-known PA brewery, did get a pint of the pale, and enjoyed it. The barleywine was big, sweet, and fruity, and had some definite sherry notes from oxidation, and some boozy overtones from alcohol, both of which were fine in this context.

This is not the first time I've disagreed with people about the beers at Uncle Tucker's. But for the most part, I like them. They may be on the sweet side for my tastes, but not much. The brewhouse was immaculate and well-maintained, always a good sign. I'd be happy to stop in again.

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Blue and Gray Brewing Company, Fredericksburg, VA

Well, actually, Blue & Gray ain't much to look at: a brewhouse and the business end of an old Hershey's ice cream truck up on blocks in a big industrial park bay. But they are some of the funniest, friendliest people I've ever met in over 20 years of hanging around the beer biz, and the beer's just excellent. Get out to the brewery for a tour (call ahead, it's kinda loose) or just grab some of their beer in the local area. You'll be happy you did.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Cogan's Pizza, Norfolk, VA

VERY cool Golden Age Sci-Fi illos accentuate the gorilla-as-friendly-monster semi-theme of Cogan's...but that doesn't do it justice. How about the Space Age Draft Dispense System? That's a curved stainless back bar with an arc of taps that have Christmas lights on them and a semi-naked alien babe exhorting you to try them (actually, I guess she's all nekkid, but the green-skinned naughty bits are obscured). If this sounds crazy, it is, but if you've ever been to the Northeast Taproom in Reading, PA, or Lynn's Paradise Cafe, in Louisville, KY, you'll know exactly what kind of place Cogan's is. I'd have loved to close the place, but we had to go after only one. Great selection, BTW, including Aventinus on draft IN the proper Aventinus glass!

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Zippy's Ba Ba, Richmond, VA

Zippy's Ba Ba (far as I can tell, it's called "Ba Ba" because the there's a big red "BA BA'S" in the back of the dining room/bar/everywhere room) is a refreshing departure from what everyone else seems to think a restaurant should look like. Zippy's looks like a garage where someone backed a restaurant into it and left it running; some of which has to do with Zippy's motorcycles sitting around the place. Ignore that, concentrate on your mouth and gut. Zippy's beer is top-notch: great drafts, great bottles, great attitude. These guys have beer in their Greek restaurant (that also has killer burgers, I'm told) because they really, really dig beer. I'm way behind that kind of guy. Just once, leave the excellent Legend and Richbrau behind, walk away from Richmond's smattering of beer bars, and drive out to Zippy's (just not on a Saturday; that's when Zippy's racing his motorcycles, and the place is closed). Get some difference in ya.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Legend Brewing Company, Richmond, VA

How about I just say that I was in Richmond for four days and went to Legend three times? Nah, I can't leave it at that. The food was great (had to get the chili for old times' sake, and I even got to sit in my old seat downstairs), the beer was great (10th Anniversary Ale rocked!), the service was excellent (and good-looking, too!), movie night was a blast, and the deck is outstanding. One hell of a brewpub, and the beer tastes great all over town.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Sweetwater Tavern, Merrifield, VA

I can't really rate things here, as the brewer is an old friend. But Nick's beer really is quite good; for God's sake, just look at the awards he's won in multiple national competitions. I just visited all three Sweetwaters with him and sampled the beer at all three. I had no bad beers. Even the Light was flavorful for the style, and the imperial stout was exquisitely classic; Nick said Courage was his model, and it showed in the restrained but solid bitterness and the faint tarry character of the staunchly massive beer. This beer alone would mark Sweetwater as a serious brewpub. How many people realize that every bit of bread is also baked by Sweetwater, some of it at a central facility, some at the individual sites (that would be the hot sweet rolls). And the beer is right on the front of the menu. They're proud of it, and they certainly had plenty of opportunities in 8 years to dump it if they didn't really care about it. We don't live near Sweetwater, but more often than not, when we're passing by, we stop in for a meal.

No, it's not cheap, but what the heck is in this area? Yes, it's a chain...of three. I'm down on chains (just visit my website and you'll see), but downchecking Sweetwater because it's a chain is silly. They are not building a bunch of other Sweetwaters further out because they don't want to lose control of the places and ship food a long way and so on. That's not chain thinking.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Shenandoah Brewing Company, Alexandria, VA

I had to rate the selection "Awesome;" what else can you say about a place that offers a sahti-based barleywine and a strawberry-flavored chicha, along with 20 other of their own beers on tap, cask, and bottle? The cask pale ale was excellent, the Stony Man Stout was good enough to take home a growler, the barleywine was, well, interesting and arresting, and the strawberry chicha was surprisingly good, light and refreshing. Some of the beers were not as good as the others, true, but some were pretty darned good. I just went to taste, not brew, but that looked like fun. And it's extremely family-friendly, which is good to see.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Taphouse at Ghent, Norfolk, VA

Determinedly plain, the Taphouse makes a virtue of simplicity. There's nothing to get in the way of hanging out and drinking. And drink you can, with the excellent tap selection. We sat out on the sidewalk and sipped Spaten Maibock, served up by our smart and saucy waitress, and dirt-cheap during happy hour. A fine place, truth. And not bad for parking, either.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Capital Ale House, Richmond, VA

Only reasons I didn't give Capital "Awesome" across the board were because I didn't have the food and I didn't really give my bartender a chance to excel. She was perfectly competent, though, and great on execution. Capital does it right; great beers, great display, and makes you feel like you're in a place where beer matters to them as much as it matters to you. Problems are minor and few (and probably my own idiosyncratic ideas): the bar's too far from the coolers and taphandles, it's hard to see what's there and I never trust a list. Maybe too much focus on wowser beers, although that's probably just playing to the geeks. And the ice rail seems silly in cool weather. But my lord, those are the nittiest of picks! This place is great, and Richmond should be proud. The west end Capital opens shortly, with even more room, even more taps, and plentiful outdoor seating. It is gonna rock.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Commercial Tap House and Grill, Richmond, VA

Commercial Tap House has a determinedly downscale feel; you almost get the feeling that they smack anyone who tries to "spruce up" the place. It's very basic in decor, but the beer and service and vibe are anything but. There was a slump here a few years ago, and I was bumming, but it sure seems like the Tap is back, stronger than ever. The tap selection recently was quite strong.

If Legend is too focused for you, or Capital Ale House is too pretty for you, or if you don't know about Zippy's, Commercial Tap is the ticket. Maybe you'll get lucky like we did, and walk in during a cross-dressing murder mystery!

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Richbrau Brewing Company and Restaurant, Richmond, VA

Been a while since I stopped in at Richbrau, and the improvement in the beer was nothing short of spectacular. The Griffin Golden Ale and the Barleywine in particular were great. I had the Italian Panini in the Taphouse, and I've been dreaming about its luscious blend of cheese, meat, and portabella. Very good experience that I mean to repeat, and soon.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Bottoms Up Pizza, Richmond, VA

Beer was good, although the selection on draft was pretty limited; bottles actually had some surprises, like Bear Republic Racer 5. The pizza was excellent, as billed. Service, on the other hand, frankly sucked. It took us just short of an hour to get our pizza, and we were lied to and ignored in the process. Nothing is more upsetting than having a waiter tell you three times that your dinner will be "RIGHT OUT!"

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Sine Irish Pub and Restaurant, Richmond, VA

Not your typical Irish pub, and that's good and bad. Good because you don't have to put up with all the damned paddywhackery, there's some real 'celtic' influence here, and there's more than just Guinness and Harp; bad, because it's not nearly as cozy as a more Irish establishment. It's built for taking on huge crowds of swilling 20-somethings. And my Murphy's was sour. Even though it was cheerfully and quickly exchanged for a Guinness (with a shamrock on the foam, how quaint), it was still sour, wasn't it?

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: The Brickhouse Run, Petersburg, VA

This is a fantastic little place in Petersburg that only misses "Awesome" in selection as well as everything else because they only have five taps and a handpump (and a Blackthorn cider tap)...but the quality of the beers on those taps is superb. We drank St. George IPA off the cask all night, it was in excellent condition. I can't praise this place enough, it's just fantastic.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Hops Restaurant and Brewery, Richmond, VA

I'd never been to a Hops before, but had heard a lot of bad things about them. Glad I didn't listen. The beer was all clean as a whistle, and even the Clearwater Light had a surprising amount of flavor, definitely more than in a standard light beer. The Alligator Ale was actually pretty good, a light porter. The seasonal, Flying Squirrel brown ale, however, was not that good, kind of husky and astringent; didn't like it much. But the service was on the dot (place was pretty much deserted at 3 in the afternoon, so it better would have been!) and the pot sticker appetizer I got was quite good. I would have been a lot more pleased if the place hadn't looked quite so cookie-cutter, but...overall, a good experience.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Main Street Beer Company, Richmond, VA

Main Street is definitely no longer a brewpub; I was there three days ago and saw the "dance hall" where the brewing equipment used to be. None of "their" beers were on, it was a sad, quiet place. Too bad, it had a lot of promise.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Fox and Hounds British Pub, Richmond, VA

Worn and comfortable, better than average selection of ales, mostly British and all well-kept, and yes, dark and cool. Good place to disappear to, hole up while the world gets hot and stupid outside.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Harpoon Larry's Oyster Bar, Hampton, VA

The seafood is the reason to come to Larry's, but they've got 20 taps in the main bar as well, with some pretty decent beers in 'em. The food is simply outstanding, knock-you-on-your-butt stuff. I had a broiled rockfish sammich that was one of the best pieces of fish I've ever et, and the 7 middlenecks I had before that were great ("I'm gonna give you seven," said the very food-passionate woman shucking them, "this one's a little small."). The hushpuppies were real hand-made stuff, and the key lime pie was delicious and garnished with bits of real zest. Harpoon Larry's don't look like much from outside, but neither does your belly. Both will be much happier when you're in Larry's and that great fish is in you.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Blacksburg Brewing Company, Christiansburg, VA

Look, you don't want to visit. This is a small, start-up brewery, there's not really a lot to see, and it's hard to find, to be honest. Do yourself a favor: instead, go to The Cellar or Rivermill Map Co. in Blacksburg, and DRINK the beer. John Bryce is brewing some excellent beers in his little brewery, and I hope he continues to do so, and succeed with it. I'd recommend one or another, but he tends to make what he feels like making, so...who know what might be on tap! The Dragontooth RyePA I had was outstanding.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Glory Hole Pub and Eatery, Corning, NY

No complaints, other than the selection could have been a bit better; basically down to a few decent regionals (Saranac's everywhere upstate), Rogue, or Hoegaarden the time I was there. Place is VERY comfortable, though, and has a friendly vibe. Be sure to check out the "glass blower's misconceptions" in the mens' room; maybe "Glory Hole" will make more sense after you do!

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: London Underground, Blacksburg, VA

Very much above-ground, but dark and comfortable. Mostly A-B/Redhook beers, but a cheap 20 oz. nitro-pour of Blackhook Porter ain't all bad, either. Beware the chili: it varies in heat every day. Burgers were excellent. Plenty of dartboards. Hmmm...oh, yeah, pretty cool indy/hippie staff. Good place to mellow out.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Rivermill Map Company, Blacksburg, VA

Huge and awesome chili dogs, massive 20 oz. pints of some spectacular beers (New River Pale, Tupper's Pils, and Blacksburg Brewing beers), cool weathered atmosphere...what more could you ask? How about college town prices, like $2.25 for a 20 oz. New River Pale! Maybe you wouldn't take your mom here, but damn, a great place to go hard on your liver and easy on your wallet.

(04/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Cellar Restaurant, Blacksburg, VA

A Blacksburg must-stop. Don't be fooled by the little bar in the back of the pizza place; it's cool, there's some decent beer, and the pizza looks good, but...the real Cellar is downstairs, with the espresso-stained concrete bar, the Mannekin Pis tap-stand, and the excellent selection of well-kept beers. Check it out when you're in the Valley.

(04/23/2004)


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