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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 Awesome! Good So So Great

Establishment: Blue Dog Pub, Lansdale, PA

Taps were good, above-average, but the bottle selection was absolutely eye-popping; tons of big-bottle specialties and one-offs. The Blue Dog is nothing to look at: a strip-mall storefront, and not much more than that inside. I'm usually more of a fan of atmosphere. But the bottle selection just blew me away. Food was good, serviceable, maybe a notch above bar food. Service was disinterested; the barmaid spent most of the half hour I was at the bar talking on her cell (I wanted to hit it with a hammer), but she did get me my beer and lunch when I needed it. Definitely a return visit kind of place.

(09/21/2006)

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

Establishment: Brendee's Cafe, Lancaster, PA

First time in last month. Not a great beer selection, but the Troegs Sunshine Pils I got was in perfect condition, enjoyed it very much and didn't pay much for it. Yes, it is pretty smokey, but it's a corner bar, and a beautiful example. Classic bar and stools, little signs up behind the bar, juke and neon...great place to hang for an hour or two.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA

I am shocked to see that no one has reviewed Isaac's in two years. Well, fear not: if you're wondering whether they're still up to snuff, they most definitely are. Beer selection continues to be quite excellent, it's served well, kept well, and the bartenders actually know what it is. The only problem with Isaac's is that it's busy, and that's not a bad problem to have. Stop in on a cool summer evening and enjoy the outside drinking area.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Brick Hotel, Newtown, PA

The Brick's beer selection has come up over the years. They don't have a lot, but they have a few good ones: recently stopped in and had a real nice glass of Prima Pils. Service has improved immensely as well; it used to be famously lackadaisical, but the two bartenders who were on in early August were not just good, they were subtly entertaining as well. Not a big bar, but a sophisticated one. We'll be back.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: The Old Corner Grill and Bottle Shop, Lock Haven, PA

Just visited for the first time back in July. Nice little corner bar, friendly folks and nice decor, good food, and a surprising tap of Red Mo Ale from Otto's in State College. That was pretty great, and there were some seriously good beers in the bottle shop too. Not in the league of Franco's Lounge, up the road in Williamsport, but not bad at all. Worth a stop off Rt. 220.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Abbey Wright Brewing at the Valley Inn, Duboistown, PA

I don't have a lot to add to the other review. The beer's on a great path, but what I tasted on tap was only Good (tank sample of porter had a LOT of potential). Nothing wrong with it, but all first or second batches, not dialed in yet; I'm confident it will improve. The food I sampled was excellent, and the place is very cool. The Valley Inn is solidly a bar, a real, working-folks bar, and the Wrights decided to put a brewery in the back. Why can't there be more brewpubs like this? I'm gonna be stopping in here every time I get up this way (and the Bullfrog, and Franco's, and the Gennetti...).

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Laughing Dog Brewing Company, Ponderay, ID

Had the IPA on cask at Capone's in Coeur d'Alene: fantastic. In great condition, great malt solidity, real ale character that sang right through the hops. Very nice beer, wish I could have tried some of their other beers.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company, Coeur D'Alene, ID

Adequate. I was hoping that things would be better here, but we made a "round-of-samplers" stop and moved on. The beers were all clean, and it was nice to have something other than the unrelenting onslaught of massive IPAs you find everywhere in this part of the country, but nothing was really inspiring, including the place, which looked a bit run-down. I could hang here and people-watch with a pint of porter, but there are better places in town.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Capone's Pub and Grill, Coeur d'Alene, ID

What a difference 9 years makes. The last time I was in Coeur d'Alene, there were no beer bars worth mentioning, and we stayed at the hotel and drank our own. This time we walked up to Capone's and WOW, what a great place. Character, good service, good regular locals, and what a great selection of PacNW beers. We plowed through the IPAs, including a really good cask from a brewery in Sandpoint. All the beers were in great condition. We went to Capone's three times in two days, and were sorry to say good-bye.

(08/17/2006)

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

Establishment: Sprague Farm and Brew Works, Venango, PA

Went to the opening on Friday (saw James there, too: hey, fella!), and this little off-the-beaten-path place is absolutely awesome in concept and presentation. It's a brewery in an old dairy barn, the taps for growler sales come out of the front of an old pump organ, the silo is made into a huge beer mug, Brian Sprague's chainsaw sculptures are scattered around, and, well, it's just cool as hell. The beer -- I said 'good' mainly because there's room for improvement on the serving. We were there for the opening, and the beers were pretty much on tap for the first time at the brewery. They forgot to insulate the lines to the organ, so the beer was pretty foamy, the porter was keg conditioned and had a bit too much yeast and sediment in it. But the beers WERE good, and the Ale Mary Wheat (a wit-like beer with additions of coriander, orange peel, juniper and peppercorns) was damned good. Give these guys two months -- no, a month, and they'll have it zeroed in. Only 40 minutes from Four Sons in Titusville, and only 15 minutes from the upcoming Voodoo Brewery in Meadville (Matt Allyn's creation; Matt was a big assist at Sprague). Sprague is already worth getting off the interstate, and once Voodoo opens, this area is going to be a great part of a western PA beer trail. Plan now.

(07/16/2006)

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

Establishment: Sprague Farm and Brew Works, Venango, PA

Opening July 22.

(07/10/2006)

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

Establishment: Legends at the Genetti Hotel, Williamsport, PA

We stayed at the Genetti Hotel last night, and ate in the Legends Restaurant. The Legends Lounge is just a bar at the end of the restaurant, barely separated from the dining area. The waitress we had didn't have any idea what beers she had, though she was a real pip otherwise and DID know that there were 18 taps. I went and looked: wow. FOUR Tröegs taps, two Victory, an Appalachian, Murphy's stout, SNPA, Stella (unlike other geeks, I don't turn up my nose at draft Stella: a decent pils is a decent pils), and a couple more. I had a Tröegs Sunshine Pils with dinner, then came back later and had a Murphy's at the bar. There's not a lot of atmosphere here, which is why the Overall score is middle-of-the-road. But if you're staying at the Genetti (and it's the place to stay in Williamsport: reasonable and very nice), and it was cold or rainy...you could do a WHOLE lot worse than slipping downstairs for a couple pretty good pints. I was very happy to find them at dinnertime.

(05/21/2006)

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

Establishment: Franco's Lounge, Williamsport, PA

We visited Franco's on the recommendation of Curt Decker, owner of Nodding Head in Philly: he did NOT steer us wrong. Franco's was a great experience that was more than the sum of its excellent parts. The beer -- Paulaner Hefe, SNPA, Lindemans Framboise, a cask Troegs Hopback Amber, and a VERY rare Troegs "Naked Elf" tap. The food -- we'd already eaten, but the menu was impressive, the food looked fantastic, and the smell was drool-inducing. The look: classic neat-as-a-pin neighborhood tavern. The service: personal, fun, quick. But the overall, the vibe, the energy in the place was simply phenomenal. With Franco's at one end of 4th Street and the Bullfrog at the other (and Genetti's Hotel in the middle), Williamsport is a very real beer destination for such a small upstate town.

(05/21/2006)

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

Establishment: Bullfrog Brewery, Williamsport, PA

Finally made the Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Bullfrog, and certainly enjoyed it. Good jazz trio (I think it was a trio; I had my back to them through the whole meal, thanks to my family!), excellent food (two minor complaints: the bread for the bruschetta, though tasty, was too fresh and too narrow, and the potato pancakes were way too heavy; everything else was simply outstanding), on-the-dot service, and delicious beer. I only had two, the red and the Old Toad barleywine. The red was a great eating beer, the Old Toad was spectacularly good, and not an excuse to dump the hop bale in the kettle, either. Surprise bonus: the Old Toad was an exquisitely apt match for the white chocolate/orange layer cake we got. Great time, we'll be back...again!

(05/21/2006)

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

Establishment: South Philadelphia Taproom, Philadelphia, PA

First time here, though a buddy of mine has been urging me to go for months. SPTR is tucked off Broad Street a couple blocks; not the easiest place to drive to, but quite easy by SEPTA. The bar was everything it had been hyped as: comfortable corner tap atmosphere, impressive beer selection, knowledgeable staff, reasonable prices. We had an O'Reilly's Stout and a draft Hennepin (nice!), and my wife got the dessert (there was apparently only one on offer), a kind of apple spring roll that was delicious without being over the top. Highly recommended.

(05/08/2006)

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

Establishment: Tria Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

FINALLY made it to Tria this past Friday evening. My wife and I were on our way to a beer and cheese tasting at DiBruno's, and parked in the garage across the street from Tria, so it was an easy call. Tria shares one thing with Monk's Cafe: not enough space for all the people who'd like to be there! We were greeted courteously and shown to seats on the sidebar; the only two seats I saw open in the place (there was a six-party waitlist for tables). The beerlist was not overly long, but very well-chosen: ample and firm, as a colleague used to put it. We got a Ramstein Maibock (quite nice) and a Troegs Dreamweaver (excellent), and sipped our way through them. They weren't cheap, but we weren't exactly in the cheap part of town, either. Service was attentive and on the mark; the waitress actually checked back to make sure our beers were to our liking, something you don't encounter that often. I was very impressed, and it's on our "stop in any time" list.

(05/08/2006)

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

Establishment: City Tavern, Philadelphia, PA

City Tavern always has had great house beers; they are now brewed by Yards and are quite distinctive. The food is outstanding (Walter Staib's charcuterie is matchless in the area), the service impeccable, the atmosphere delightful. Philly is enriched by this establishment; thank God the Interior Department recognized Staib's genius. If you haven't been, go.

(04/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Quick stop on the way home from Center City: had a Legacy Nor'Easter (excellent), and samples of Flying Fish BigFish 2003 and 2006 (the 2006 was astounding, one of the fruitiest beers I've ever had, downright tropical: Go Casey!). Excellent service, excellent beer, great bar.

(04/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Philadelphia, PA

Hey, another visit to Eulogy, and a much better impression. I actually stopped in twice, before and after a beer dinner at City Tavern (sucks to be me, don't it?), had a Girardin gueuze and a Victory St. Boisterous. The beer was brilliant, the bottle selection second only to absolute first-tier beer bars, and the service was right on the money. And I saw someone get much better looking frites than I had on my first visit. Thanks, Eulogy, for a look at your good side. A very enjoyable visit.

(04/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery Restaurant -- North Wales, North Wales, PA

You just cannot go wrong here. My wife and I were in the area and stopped in for a light lunch. I had the Caesar salad with wood-grilled shrimp (excellent, shrimp were perfect, salad was crisp and flawless), my wife had the portabella sandwich (delicious grilled vegetables, not a trace of the sliminess you get in sammiches like this sometimes, and great spices and "grilled" flavor). I had a pint of cask-conditioned Anvil Ale that was a bit flat in its hop character (the only thing that kept the beer quality from an "Awesome"; I like the hops in Anvil, but this one wasn't showing them at their best) but otherwise very nice, and we shared a small glass of "Dougilicious," a Belgian strong-type that was sweet, full, and wonderful. Service was right on the money, informed and polite, as it always is at Iron Hill. I'll be stopping in again soon.

(04/23/2006)

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

Establishment: G.G. Brewers, Glenside, PA

Interesting location and venue; this tiny place is almost directly across from the Keswick Theater, a great local concert space. They made a claim to be the world's second-smallest brewery, and they may have it: there were only ten seats at the bar, and not many others in the small room. It was non-smoking, and thank God for that in the tiny room. The decor was plain to the point of severity, and there were only three beers offered; a light red ale, a porter, and a brown ale. We got pints of porter...it was disappointing. Flabby, sweet, under-attenuated, though a good chocolate flavor and a lack of nasty infection-type notes argued for better potential in the future. But this pint was not one I'd go back for. They've been open only a couple weeks, so I'll be back for another try...assuming they stay open. Small place and so-so beer is not a formula for raging success.

(04/10/2006)

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

Establishment: McKenzie Brew House II, Malvern, PA

Just opened last week, and it looks (and tastes) like they hit the ground running. Beer's up to McKenzie's high standards right away: tasted the Abbey 6 and Irish Red, had a delicious pint of Stout. The look and layout are much like the original McKenzie Brew House (although the bar/dining room are reversed in this one). The brewhouse is out of the old Empire/Brü brewpub in Rochester, NY, and The Dude's putting it to good use. Definitely a good stop if you're out this way (which is within 15 minutes of both Victory and Sly Fox, BTW).

(04/10/2006)

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

Establishment: Granite Brewery, Toronto, ON

Re-visited the Granite recently for the first time in years, and by God, it was as great as I remembered. Welcoming bar and staff, very comfortable and well-kept. I got a pint of cask-conditioned IPA, and it was so wonderfully good I downed it rather quickly and had another. The beer was in perfect condition, and clear as a bell, quiveringly fresh and estery, with buoyant clouds of English hop aroma. Just one beautiful beer, the best glass of cask I've had in a while. Bravo, Granite!

(03/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Just Sports Bar and Grill, Bristol, PA

Formerly O'Flaherty's, and on my first visit, months after the change, I have to admit to being impressed. The place is spiffed up, the food and service are both good, and the beer is almost as good as before...not quite, but damned respectable for a sports bar. Definitely worth a stop, even though I feel like a traitor saying it!

(03/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Fado Irish Pub, Philadelphia, PA

First time, finally, in any Fado. This is the pub that set off The Great Guinness Boycott in Philadelphia, which still goes on at McGillin's and the Irish Pub: they were mad at Guinness for backing and assisting Fado in setting up in Philly. From what I saw of business at Fado when I was in and business at McGillin's an hour later, the concern was overdone. As for Fado itself, my jar of Guinness was absolutely top-notch, a beautiful pour. The bar was a bit high (or the stool a bit low) for comfort. Service was quick and friendly, but not pushy. I'm just put off by the whole look and feel of the place. It says "old established bar" but you know damned well it isn't, and that jars more than a bit. At least for me, though I realize that most people wouldn't think twice about it. If you're one of those people, and you like the Irish ambience, Fado will probably suit you quite well -- no judgment involved on my part, just offering advice.

(03/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Pietro's Coal Oven Pizzeria, Philadelphia, PA

I hit this place while working on a story on upscale pizza and upscale beer, and Pietro's scored on both counts. 18 taps of usual suspects at the big, impressive bar, including Guinness, Bass, Pilsner Urquell, Sam Adams Lager and a seasonal, and the ubiquitous Stella Artois, but also Yards Philly Pale, Lancaster Hop Hog, and Anchor Steam. Bottles included Lindemans Peche and Framboise, Chimay Blue, La Fin du Monde, and Orval. The pizza I got, goat cheese and proscuitto, was outstanding, with plenty of each of the luscious ingredients. I'll be back next time I'm near Rittenhouse Square.

(03/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Update: opening put back to spring 2007. Got that from the general manager of Hofbräuhaus in Munich. Projected 450 seats inside, and an 800-seat beergarden.

(03/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Oakmont National Pub, Havertown, PA

Just visited the Oakmont National (so-named because it's in an old (1920s-era) bank building, complete with a vault in the back) for the first time this week. Nice little place! They've got some good taps going (Young's Double Chocolate and Legacy Alt, among others, and the Alt was quite nice), the buzz is good, the place was very pleasant and well-kept, and the staff attentive (and attractive; I try not to be sexist, but the waitresses were, frankly, quite pretty). I'd go back here in a heartbeat.

(03/19/2006)

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

Establishment: Ten Stone, Philadelphia, PA

Stopped in with a beer-hip bachelor party last week. I got a glass of draft La Chouffe, and it was just right. Lines are obviously well-kept, and the Chouffe tasted crisp and spicy. Nice work, nice place.

(02/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Ortino's Northside, Zieglerville, PA

Stopped in last night on my way home from a wedding, and I was glad I did: they had a keg of Troegs Nugget Nectar on the handpump, and it was just pitch-on perfect. Great beers on push tap as well. One of a few very impressive bars showing up out here in the far marches in the past couple of years.

(02/26/2006)

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

Establishment: Union Jack's on the Manatawny, Oley, PA

Wow. Stopped in here with three fairly critical friends, and we were all simply blown away. I cannot remember the last time I walked into a place with this wide a beer selection where the staff knew the beers so well. Extremely impressive. UJ's is comfortable, perfectly capable of satisfying the most discerning of geeks while not turning off the basic beer drinker. Well-done. The only complain I'd have is the dining room, which was a bit claustrophobic...but I'm quibbling. You will not believe that such a beer destination could exist down this narrow country road across from a roller rink. Outstanding, and worth a trip from as far away as Baltimore.

(12/30/2005)

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

Establishment: Troegs Brewing Company, Harrisburg, PA

Stopped in recently, and as always, was very impressed by the quality of the beers here: well-differentiated, flawless, and delicious. Not sure what else you could ask for.

(12/30/2005)

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

Establishment: Appalachian Brewing Company, Harrisburg, PA

Stopped in after a Troegs visit for a quick lunch. A nice pint of Hoppy Trails IPA: not insanely hoppy, but good and brisk, well-supported with malt. Also split a glass of barleywine with my friend; quite nice stuff indeed. I had the Hog Wild pulled pork, good eating. Service was right on the mark (though they did jab me for my new Troegs vest!). ABC keeps impressing me with their continually rising quality; an excellent stop.

(12/30/2005)

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

Establishment: Pittsburgh Bottleshop Cafe, Bridgeville , PA

Did a book signing at the Bottleshop three weeks ago, and finally got to try the food. Wow. One of the very best pieces of filet mignon I've had in a long time, with a delicious mushroom-filled sauce. Beers were excellent and fresh, selection was very broad. Overall suffers a bit because of the fairly sterile decor; better bring your own atmosphere -- and most people do! Great place to get some beers and check out the populace.

(11/15/2005)

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

Establishment: Gooski's, Polish Hill, PA

Stopped by Gooski's in the daylight for the first time...ever, and was not disappointed. They had East End's Big Hop Harvest on (fresh hop ale, wow), it was beautiful. The place was actually kinda clean, it scared me. Gooski's rules; if you ain't been there, you ain't been drinking in Pittsburgh.

(11/15/2005)

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

Establishment: Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA

I just tasted BBW's new Peche Lambic at the Lehigh Valley Fest in Easton: wow. Tart, funky, a whining buzz of peach flavor, a pseudo-lambic with some real guts to it. They were nice enough to pur me small samples of some older bottled efforts, a framboise and a kriek: the framboise was thin on fruit flavor but had that excellent Boon-ish character, the kriek came through with sharp cherries to boot. Great work at BBW, and a lot of effort and passion in these beers.

(10/23/2005)

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

Establishment: Quips Pub, Lancaster, PA

Stopped in for dinner between the two sessions of the recent Lancaster Brews & Blues Fest. Dinner (bangers and mash) was great, very nice meaty sausage, and the bartender handled our diverse, fired-up group with speed and aplomb. But the beer was quite disappointing. I got a pint of Fuller's ESB (there was a good selection of English/British ales and some seasonal Oktoberfests) and it was sour; had a taste of a friend's Oktoberfest and it tasted tired, like an unclean line or a long-tapped keg. Not a great experience at a bar that used to be one of my favorites.

(10/16/2005)

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

Establishment: Piece, Chicago, IL

Took the family here for lunch, and although it was deserted (late lunch), we still had a good time. The pizza was excellent, and the hefeweizen was quite good: clovey, plum-edged, and cloudy as a November sky. IPA wasn't bad either. I'd come back here in a heartbeat.

(09/27/2005)

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

Establishment: Sean Bolan's Irish Pub, Baltimore, MD

How can you go wrong? Sean Bolan's has an excellent tap selection, cask ale, and a deep bottle selection (plus one-of-a-kinds that their great connections get them); they've got savvy and quick bartenders serving them, and the place is comfy as an old EZ-Boy. Food's good, if not haute cuisine, and the prices are right for the area. A classic.

(09/27/2005)

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

Establishment: Za's Pizza Pub, Louisville, KY

Stopped in Cumberland Brews with a friend, and soon ran across the street with our tongues dragging. Za's did us up right with a great tap selection (you don't need 50 taps to have a great selection!) and an impressive set of bottles. Food was quite good, for what it was: pizza and sammiches. We had a great afternoon, drinking, eating, and talking. A great place for a beer in Louisville, but I sure do miss Fat Cat's.

(09/27/2005)

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

Establishment: Cumberland Brews, Louisville, KY

Hate to buck the trend, but I was here last month and found the beers to be iffy, and on the verge of being nasty. The Pale Ale and Porter were drinkable, at least, but the others just didn't cut it: stale, mineraly, on the edge of sour. That's a shame, because the place itself was very cool, and service was right on the money. The brewhouse was kind of grungy, though, which should have been a tip-off. Sorry, folks, not a good impression.

(09/27/2005)

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

Establishment: The Half King, New York, NY

Stopped in yesterday on my way to Chelsea Piers with my dad; hadn't heard of Half King before, but it looked inviting. The Basic Set was on tap: Guinness, SNPA, Brooklyn Lager, Hoegaarden, Newcastle, and Boddington's, plus a Kronenbourg and a Strongbow. The spirits selection was quite nice, there was a small beer garden out back, and the food was excellent: we both got fish stew, which was a heaping cioppino-like mess of salmon, shrimp, mussels, squid and cod, in a tomato-garlic broth. I understand that the Half King was opened by Sebastian Junger, the man who wrote "The Perfect Storm"; not sure if he still owns it or not, but it put a nice literary spin on things. I'd definitely return; great jar of Guinness, good feel, good time.

(09/27/2005)

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

Establishment: Destiny Brewing Company, Phoenixville, PA

I stopped in to talk to the brewer/owner at Destiny, Emerson Haines. The place is very cool, a basement brewpub, I liked it immediately. The beers are good, different from the local standards, but were maybe a bit too sweet. They were ALL clean and fresh, which is a big plus. Destiny would be a definite stop on any pubcrawl in the area, and when the new Iron Hill opens a few blocks away, it should only help.

(09/22/2005)

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

Establishment: Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

Just experienced the St. Feuillien dinner at Monk's, and wow. Monk's is still right on top of things. The owner of the brewery was there, she was solicitous of everyone's opinion, the food was tremendous, the beers were superb. Monk's rules.

(09/22/2005)

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

Establishment: Arena Bar and Grill, Wilkes-Barre, PA

First things first: yes, the parking flat out sucks. The spots are too narrow, and you're just asking to get your doors dinged. But I didn't experience any of the service problems other folks talked about. I sat at the bar with two local friends and we never were dry. The bartenders were quick, had good suggestions and knew their taps, and were even responsive to polite calls of "When you get a moment...", a sterling quality in a bartender. The beers I had were uniformly excellent and well-kept. The only thing that kept the beer selection from being awesome was the total lack of anything local: disappointing. Otherwise...Wilkes-Barre, you got a winner here.

(09/22/2005)

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

Establishment: Black Rock Brewing Company, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Black Rock's building has become the new Arena Bar & Grill, and it rocks. Review under that name.

(09/22/2005)

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

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

Just talked to the folks at Uncle Tucker's: they've been bought, the new owners take over on November 1, and they do not intend to continue brewing on premises. Bummer.

(09/20/2005)

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

Establishment: McGrath's Pub, Harrisburg, PA

Like Beav, I heard about this place from the Tröegs guys: not surprising when they're running four Tröegs taps! Great place, quick and friendly service (could've been a bit more beer-savvy to make it Awesome), food was quite good (Cashel Blue Burger, nice and rare like I asked) and the house chips were thick and crunchy. Good for lunch, and looked like a cool place to come back and drink, too. Definitely everything the guys at Tröegs said it would be.

(07/20/2005)

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

Establishment: Flanigan's Boathouse, Conshohocken, PA

Recently ate and drank twice at the Boathouse. First: Victory Throwback Lager and Reading Pils alongside one of the very best burgers I've had in months, simply outstanding. Beer was in great shape. Second: a Sly Fox beer dinner at the Boathouse that impressed me tremendously with the kitchen, almost up to the level of a Monk's Cafe beer dinner. Needless to say, the beer was pretty much flawless. I need to stop in here more often.

(07/10/2005)

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

Establishment: Crooked Rooster / Roosterfish Brewing, Watkins Glen, NY

Doug Thayer calls his brewing arm "Roosterfish Brewing," the bar is the Crooked Rooster. The bar itself is pretty neat, with a new-make backbar that is a wow. The beer's pretty good, and I expect it will get even better when he starts brewing on the 10 bbl. system he's currently putting in.

(06/01/2005)

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)

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

Establishment: Race Street Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

I'd been advised about Race Street several times, and was planning to visit, but today I was meeting microdistiller Tito Beveridge (really his name) and when other plans fell through, I suggested we walk round the block to Race Street Cafe. Man, what a lucky guess! The barroom is very dark-wood cozy, staff is quick and friendly without being the least bit pushy or fake, the bar and stools are very comfortable, and the beer rocks. About 15 taps, with handles like Sly Fox Odyssey IPA, Yards Philly Pale and ESA, Lancaster Winter Warmer, Stoudt's ESB, Southampton Secret Ale...great stuff, and the pints of Philly Pale Tito and I both had were phenomenally fresh, as good as any I've had (he loved the stuff, and commented on it several times). I'm going to have to make for lost time on this place. Highly recommended.

(02/18/2005)

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

Establishment: Cafe Saint-Ex, Washington, DC

Very cool place, romantic atmosphere, properly 1930s Euro-aviation motif. An excellent job of decor serving the ambiance. The beer selection is not broad, but it is well-chosen. 13 bourbons and some unusual malts round things out. Stylish but not poserish, and not snooty. Very well done.

(02/14/2005)

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

Establishment: World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA

I got to World Cafe Live's first beer festival yesterday, and man, was I impressed. Great live music venue, but also a great place for a beer fest. Everything's open to the stage, everything's easily accessible, everything's very cool. And thanks to an events coordinator who used to work for Boston Beer Company, there's good beer here, too. World Cafe Live is a music venue first and foremost, but it's also a nice cafe restaurant with great food and drink. Definitely check the website and find a good show to attend. They're currently planning two beerfests a year and some beer dinners as well. Nice!

(02/13/2005)

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

Establishment: Bridgewater's Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Just heard about this place four days ago, and there I was in 30th Street Station, running for my train back to the 'burbs, when I thought...hey, Lew, there's ALWAYS time for a beer. So I slipped into this nifty little bistro, right off the main concourse on the 30th Street side of this gorgeous old railroad station, sat down and ordered a Golden Monkey. Yeah, that's right: Golden Monkey, Young's Special, Stoudt's Pils, Flying Fish Dubbel, and some really good spirits, too. The service was quick but personable, and the food, WOW. Very nice seafood, surprising vegetarian items, NOT what you'd expect in a train station bar. This one's a keeper, folks: definitely recommended.

(02/13/2005)

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

Establishment: Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA

First time at this old hotel bar and restaurant, and I was very impressed. Nice old place, although the original building has pretty much been wrapped by new construction except for the original old chestnut beams in the banquet room upstairs -- the Spinnerstown has been a tavern since before 1819, and displays an 1822 petition to the governor to reinstate their tavern license, signed by every man in the township. The atmosphere is right in that cozy corner of comfortable, clean, and polished, helped by the excellent service (I didn't rate that because I was travelling with a brewery rep, which makes it hard to judge objectively). The owner, John, and bartender, Hal, were both very passionate about the beer (the chef seemed more passionate about the whiskey, which is a GOOD thing as well!), and they were running Gulden Draak, Dogfish Head Indian Brown (very nice), Smithwick's, among others. They're putting in a handpump, doing monthly "meet the brewer" nights, and the menu is great -- food was delicious, especially the cream of mushroom soup. Best of all, they're only a couple minutes from the Quakertown exit of the PA Turnpike, VERY easy stop to make...and I will be.

(02/11/2005)

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

Establishment: Quotations, Media, PA

Quotations is right across the street from Iron Hill, too close to pass up. (And while you're walking around the neighborhood, Trader Joe's, across the parking lot from Iron Hill, is fun to mess around in as well.) Quotations is running on a shoestring but picking up the pace, and you MUST admire an owner who put everything he owned on the line to open a place, and then put beers like Avery's The Czar and New Holland Mad Hatter on. Clean, uncluttered, friendly. I've been in twice and really like the place. Beers are well cared for and interesting, staff seems to know what they're talking about, two VERY important points. Could this be the start of a small pub crawl in Media? Good beer begets good beer!

(01/31/2005)

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

Establishment: DuClaw Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD

Stopped in for the first time tonight, had an Old Flame old ale, which was malty enough, but didn't have the fruitiness/estery character promised by the promo flyer; somewhat disappointing. Bartender was great, and so was the scenery: the place was absolutely crawling with women, guys were outnumbered by a large margin. Curious. Anyway, I thought the decor in the bar was a bit too industrial to be comfortable, seemed a bit echoey. Dining room, on the other hand, was very nice.

(01/25/2005)

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

Establishment: Bourbon, Washington, DC

First, why do I give Bourbon two Greats, a Good, and an N/A, but an overall Awesome? Simple: 60-odd bourbons crowd the top shelf of this aptly-named place, and the bartenders know them all and can really advise you on them. Second, so what, like, why is a bourbon bar here? Because not only do they have a massive bourbon selection, great comfort food at a reasonable price, and 12 by-the-glass wines, Bourbon also has a very nice tap selection, and some great bottled beer. If you want to drink, they're ready for you. The place is spotless, relaxed, and one of the slickest neighborhood bars I've ever seen. They're so neighborhood they don't even have a sign. Write down that street number!

(01/25/2005)

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

Establishment: Deep Creek Brewing Company, McHenry, MD

Just talked to an owner today (1/19/05): they have taken out the brewery, and are closed for a few months to renovate the place with "a whole new look and theme." Without a brewery. Bummer.

(01/19/2005)

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

Establishment: Typhoon Brewery, New York, NY

Typhoon is no longer brewing. Got that info from a brewer who is currently bidding on their system. The restaurant remains open.

(01/19/2005)

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

Establishment: Parker's Grille and Tap House, Newark, NY

If anything, Parker's looks better, and the staff has shaken down. The food was delicious. The Wagner IPA I had was great. But the beer selection has diminished. Sad. If you want to make the money on the higher-end beers, you got to work them.

(01/17/2005)

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

Establishment: Moonwinks, Cuba, NY

Moonwinks was a great surprise for me: out in the sticks (though they're sticks I love), nothing special to look at, but a really nice place inside, and a couple of outstanding taps: Erie Railbender (VERY fresh) and Southern Tier's Phin & Matt's Excellent Ale (also delish). Price was ridiculously reasonable, setting was very comfortable, service was personable and quick...and it was snowing with the playoff games on. What the hell more can you ask?

(01/17/2005)

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

Establishment: Old Chicago, Trevose, PA

Disappointing. I've been to Old Chicago before in other cities, and was pleased to hear one had landed near me, but today's visit...whew. I owe an apology to Bites & Brews in Pittsburgh, which I recently reviewed as a very disappointing use of 30-odd taps. Old Chicago in Trevose is worse. A Rogue Santa's Reserve that was stale, a good tap of Stoudt's Fat Dog, and perhaps four others were the lone standouts in The Taps of Crap. Lunch was good, a canadian bacon and red onion pizza with a nice caesar salad, and samples of beers were cheerfully offered. But the beer...jeez, did they think we weren't ready? In THIS area? We've got people crying for more selection, and we keep getting the same old crap. Meanwhile, Isaac Newton's sells any exotic thing they put on tap. Wake up!!!

(01/11/2005)

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

Establishment: Red Star Brewery and Grille, Greensburg, PA

Jeff Guidos's beers are excellent, and he's always working at making them better. Had a very nice Irish Red that I hope he makes again, and the Voodoo Child Dunkel was -- as always -- tasty and smooth. Great range of beers, well-executed, beautiful premises, and situated in a classic small-town downtown: Red Star is WELL worth getting off the PA Turnpike.

(01/03/2005)

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

Establishment: Jean Bonnet Tavern, Bedford, PA

Finally got a meal at Jean Bonnet's. Just a Reuben, but truly one of the best ones I've had. Beer was Yards Philly Pale Ale, delicious and snappy. Service was just fine, setting was great as always. A fine place to stop after a drive over the ridges on Rt. 30.

(01/02/2005)

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

Establishment: Troegs Brewing Company, Harrisburg, PA

Wow. Stopped in twice in the past two weeks, and the beers to be sampled were top of the mark. Troegenator, Mad Elf, Van den Hoorn (whoops, not supposed to talk about that one), Pale Ale, Hopback, all excellent, all consistent, all drinkable as all get-out. Fantastic work, and they're showing some real growth: new brewhouse arrives this month. Go boys, go.

(01/02/2005)

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

Establishment: Pittsburgh Bottleshop Cafe, Bridgeville , PA

NO ONE ELSE reviewed this place in four months? Jeez...Oh well. The beer has gotten even better, the atmosphere is improved with some nice decorating, the service is more personable. Mark is hitting this nail square on the head.

(01/02/2005)

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

Establishment: D's Six Packs and Dogz, Pittsburgh , PA

D's is what it is, which is a hot dog joint with a drop-dead beer selection. Six hot taps, 800+ bottles, and a short menu of dogs, sausage, chicken tenders, and fries (delicious Pittsburgh beauties). Drop in, grab a beer or two and a dog, and groove on it.

(01/02/2005)

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

Establishment: Chiodo's Tavern, Pittsburgh , PA

I HOPE this wasn't my last visit to Joe's...but if it was, it'll do as a valedictory. The bar was warm and friendly, full of neighborhood folks. And the Iron City was cold, clean, and fresh, and back on draft, thank you very much. Don't worry, the broad selection of bottles is still there. And so's Joe, who was looking better than I'd seen him in a few years, and playing it cagey about whether he was actually going to sell or not. Hey, Joe, whatever you do, it's cool. You earned it!

(01/02/2005)

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

Establishment: East End Brewing Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Stopped in to visit last Tuesday and met one-man operation Scott Smith. Big Hop IPA is packed with hop flavor, though not overly bitter; Black Strap Stout bulges all over with flavor, a bit rough, more than a bit bitter, and I can see a good following for it. Good luck to Scott, he's got a lot of hard work ahead, but he sure seems to know how to make beer.

(01/02/2005)

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

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

Penn was rocking when I stopped in last week, tables full and busy, and pint after pint of St. Nikolaus Bock sailing across the bar. I stuck to the damn-near-perfect Penn Dark and was not disappointed. Food was delicious and plentiful, service was on the dot. No complaints here.

(01/02/2005)

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

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

Great stop a few days after Christmas. Friendly crowd, even to my buddy the Eagles fan. Classic corner bar with a great breweriana display, and better than average beer selection.

(01/02/2005)

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

Establishment: Remedy was Ray's Marlin Beach Bar and Grill, Pittsburgh , PA

The beer: draft Kostritzer Maibock, one I'd never seen or even heard of, deliciously fresh and simply perfect. The food: Jacked and stacked meatloaf sammich with garlic mashed spuds, would have been perfect if the gravy had been a bit less sharp, but pretty darned good as it was. The Service: Attitudinal, attentive, experienced. The Vibe: pure Ray's. Seek this place out, and enjoy yourself.

(01/02/2005)

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

Establishment: The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh , PA

Stopped in last week and was lucky enough to find the Bocks au Chocolats on tap. Wonderfully dry cocoa-flavored beer, not the chock-sweet chocolate beers you'll find elsewhere, and light in body and color. Delightful. Service was quick, witty, and just a bit smart-assed: perfect for the moment. Great time, thanks, Church!

(01/02/2005)

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

Establishment: Mastracchio's Restaurant and Lounge, Newport, PA

Mastracchio's was recommended to me by Heather at Selin's Grove as a nice little place by the Juniata River with a pretty good beer selection. Dead on, Heather. I dropped in late on a Tuesday night this week, and it was quiet, but the owner, Lou, is very beer passionate, and tries to get as much in as he can...which is surprisingly good. The place is a rural bar, but it's clean, friendly, and the beer's amazing, given that you're literally miles from anywhere. It is conveniently located right beside the main eastern road to Penn State, though, so I'll be back.

(12/23/2004)

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

Establishment: North Country Brewing Company, Slippery Rock, PA

I've heard they're hoping for a 'soft' opening in the last week of the year. Nothing solid to back that up, but the guy I talked to should know. I'll be there on Dec. 29, I'll post after that.

(12/05/2004)

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

Establishment: Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Philadelphia, PA

Tom Morrice: if you're going to spout Philly bar history, you ought to know that Bridgid's was Philly's "original" Belgian beer bar, not Cuvee. As for Monk's vs. Eulogy (vs. Bridgid's), why does one have to be "the best"? I'm pretty happy we have three Belgian-focused beer bars in town (four, if you count the Abbaye). Cheer up, buddy.

(11/21/2004)

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

Establishment: Abbaye, Philadelphia, PA

Just had a very disappointing dinner at Abbaye, and I don't get it. Five of us went, four ordered sandwiches, one got fish and chips. The dinners took over 40 minutes to arrive, and every one of the five orders of frites was cold, as was my oyster po' boy and my wife's grilled zucchini sandwich. I told the waitress immediately about the frites, and she (rather unconcernedly) offered fresh orders. Those did come out, rather quickly, and were excellent, the main reason the food rating is as high as it is. Happily, the beer was great (Bluebird Bitter and Yards ESA), but we were only asked once in an hour if we wanted another; my glass had been sitting empty for almost half an hour. What the hell happened to this wonderful place that I recommended to so many people? I'm hoping this is an aberration, but...the waitress was the same one we had at the excellent dinner I reviewed below. Not a good sign. With luck, things will improve.

(11/04/2004)

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

Establishment: Tap Werks Ale House and Cafe, Oklahoma City, OK

Tapwerks is almost intimidating, with its long, long stretch of 108 taps. And that's cool. But I tried four beers, and only one of them was not spoiled at least a bit; two of them were undrinkable. Okay, finding that out sucks, but...when a guy tells a bartender, hey, this beer you got on cask has been on too long, it's going sour, the bartender oughta do more than nod and walk off. Still, the pint of Choc I had was very nice, and the service (other than that lapse) was pretty good, and it's a cool place. Just go and ask the bartender: "Hey, what are you selling a lot of?" And order that. She'll be right, mate.

(10/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Coach's, Norman, OK

I enjoyed Coach's: the big, old, authentic, and lofty feel of the pool hall, the excellent IPA and stout I sampled, and yeah, the good-looking waitresses! Didn't eat, didn't spend much time in the restaurant, but I did like the beer.

(10/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Bricktown Brewery, Oklahoma City, OK

I don't get all the talk of diacetyl; I couldn't taste any in the Bricktown beers I had. I couldn't taste much of anything past the sour tang of the infection in these beers. I had a sampler rack, and the only beers that weren't soured up were the lager (which had a nasty aroma of baby whiz), the fest beer (which was actually pretty decent -- and had only been on for 9 days, which could explain things), and the wheat...no, actually, the wheat was sour also, but a more citric tang than the lactic whack the others had, so it might well have been intentional, a lemon addition of some kind. But the other beers were just...too darned sour to drink at all. Too bad, because this is a really cool place, and the food was looking and smelling great. I'd almost recommend you go here and have lunch...with Pepsi. I can't recommend the beer at all. They were brewing while we were there, and it sure smelled like they knew what they were doing, but I'd guess (and it's just a guess, cuz I'm no brewer) that they either need more work on sanitation, or they just need to move the beer faster. There is a LOT of Bud and Lite signage in the place, and a lot of bottles of that at the bar. I suspect they're selling a lot of mainstream beer, and their own beer sales have slowed...but I could be wrong, I'm not privy to the details. What I do know is that the beers were pretty darned sour. Period.

(10/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Belle Isle Brewery, Oklahoma City, OK

Odd-looking place upstairs, beautiful downstairs. Had the Fallfest and the oatmeal stout, enjoyed both of them quite a bit: good clean beers, and solid in style. If I came back to OKC, I'd definitely come back to Belle Isle.

(10/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Anchor Drinking Establishment, Wichita, KS

I was in Wichita for the Midwest Beerfest this weekend, and when my buddy Bob and I got into town, we hit River City Brewing. After lunch and a few beers, we asked the brewer what else was good in town, and he told us about this new bar that had just opened, the Anchor. We walked down, and it was balls-out cool: a 20-tap bar with about 200 bottles and a full-service espresso bar. I started out by firing up a triple espresso to counteract the previous hour's beers, then went to a Free State Ad Astra Ale, a quite nice beer that we couldn't quite peg as to style: somewhere in the intersection of brown ale, pale ale, red ale, and amber...and good. The bar, though, was cool. It was open about a week, and looked like it had been there for three or four years. Very high pressed-tin ceiling, a neat clear-coated coppertop bar, just rough enough, just neat enough, and some pretty cool folks behind the bar. Downchecks? Tap selection was a bit weak; they're getting that "Great" based largely on the bottles. But I suspect that this place is going to pick up some business that will push things a bit, judging from the comments I was hearing there and at the beerfest dinner last night. Good luck to them, this is going to be a cool spot.

(10/09/2004)

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

Establishment: River City Brewing Company, Wichita, KS

First time here (hell, first time in Wichita), and some parts were pretty impressive. The building, in the Old Town section, was a neat old brick place, solid inside and out, with a big wraparound wooden porch/dock. Bar downstairs was where we headed, and ordered a stout and an IPA. Both were a bit sweeter than I expected, but good, real good, and clean. Food was good, though the chips with our artichoke dip were a bit stale (bizarrely plentiful, though!): our burgers were delish. The only rankling thing was the service. The bartender was taking our order and just walked away mid-sentence when the phone rang (what, anyone on the phone is more important than a bar customer?); she didn't ask how we wanted our burgers done (we got them medium, I prefer rare); and she got the wrong cheese on my buddy's burger...and didn't seem too upset by it. Bummer. But we talked to brewer Dan Norton, who was great, pleasant, knew his stuff, and got us samples of beers we hadn't had (we'd gotten pints of brown and red to go with lunch, also good; the red was nice and hoppy, brown a bit chocolate-tinged), and let us try a sample of a young pseudo-lambic framboise he was making (it's definitely a bug-beer, and had a beautiful red color). All in all? A definite return-worthy brewpub.

(10/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Ortlieb's Brewery and Grille, Pottstown, PA

Ortlieb's closed a couple weeks after Henry Ortlieb's death in July, and will not be re-opening. I have that from people who worked at the brewery and from people who are looking into buying the equipment. Too damned bad.

(09/12/2004)

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

Establishment: Otto's Pub and Brewery, State College, PA

I wasn't overly impressed with Otto's the first time I stopped in, but decided a second chance was definitely in order (as it always is); GLAD I went back. Charlie's beers were simply incredible, from the massive Double D to the beautifully sour character of the recent Flanders Red. Great range, great execution. Food's been great, service as well. A must-stop in the area.

(09/12/2004)

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

Establishment: Mesquito Grille, Doylestown, PA

Stopped in yesterday, blown away by the finely selected bottles and taps. For the space and taps they have, this may be one of the best selections I've ever seen in many years of looking at beer menus. The bottle menu is crammed with outstanding beers of almost every type (a bit low on lambics, but who's perfect?), a very nice selection of draft beers, and separate smoking and non-smoking bars (with satellite soccer in the smoking bar). Very knowledgeable bar staff round things out nicely. I didn't eat (except for a nice chewy mug of Fuller's London Porter), but I've heard very good things about the food. I'll be back to this one.

(08/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA

The sheer number of taps at Lancaster was quite impressive recently, over 10, but the quality was the gripper, from the great Milk Stout and classic Pilsner to the shocking Gueuze. Nice work! The Lamburger was an outstanding sandwich, served fresh and hot. And Lancaster has spiffed up its bar and dining room: great place to hang.

(08/24/2004)

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

Establishment: Appalachian Brewing Company, Gettysburg, PA

First, the brewery's in, the brewer's hired, but the state's holding things up. Licensing issues...come on, PA, GET A CLUE. Sorry.

Anyway, for the moment, we've got plenty of ABC brews on tap here, and they were tasting pretty damned good when I stopped in last week, particularly the Wheat, much to my surprise. Fish and chips rocked, the site was impressive: right beside Lee's HQ from the battle. Certainly worth a stop if you're in town, should be your first, might be your last, too.

(08/24/2004)

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

Establishment: Dobbin House Tavern, Gettysburg, PA

This is an atmosphere check, folks: the Springhouse Tavern at Dobbin House is just too cool to be missed. In a stone house dating from 1776, the Springhouse Tavern at the Dobbin House is a below-ground bar with rock walls and a stone floor, bartending women in colonial garb, lots of candles, low ceiling, and a bar that was built in 1815. And it's a real BAR, not a showpiece or a museum exhibit. I mean, come on, they only serve Troegs Hopback and Yuengling (okay, and Coors Light, too), but sitting at that old bar in the flickery light and coolth of a real springhouse (you can see and hear the spring trickling in the corner) and drinking a Hopback is just too damned cool. Definitely deserves a visit!

(08/24/2004)

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

Establishment: Blue Parrot Bistro, Gettysburg, PA

The Blue Parrot is not my first choice in Gettysburg, but it's far from last. I had a good glass of Lancaster Strawberry Wheat (which I thought was 4-Grain from the tap marker, which cost them a rank on Quality), quick service with a smile, and good conversation. Beer selection definitely could have been better.

(08/24/2004)

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

Establishment: Market Cross Pub, Carlisle, PA

Stopped in to see Jeff and Kevin last week, and thoroughly enjoyed the house beers. Market Cross has always been good, and the house brewery is pushing that towards the next level. Jeff told me of plans for a second MCP in a nearby town, opening soon. Good news for some people. Food's quite good, service was prompt and cheerful, bathroom's clean, beer's good (both house taps and decent guest taps). An absolute oasis in Carlisle.

(08/24/2004)

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

Establishment: Stoudt's Brewing Company, Adamstown, PA

Stopped in last week to see the new bottling line in action. After some initial struggles, it's running well. A pleasant side-effect: now that the pilsner's available in 12 oz. bottles, it's selling much better. Thank God! Yes, this does mean that ALL OF STOUDT'S BEER IS BEING MADE AT THE STOUDT'S BREWERY IN ADAMSTOWN. Period. No exceptions, and pretty much everything on the shelf now is from Adamstown. I picked up a sixtel of Weiss for a party in NY, and it was very popular with everyone from alpha geek types to Bud-suckers.

Stoudt's has a great selection of beers, from pilsners and fests, to stouts and IPA, to dubbels and tripels, with the occasional rauchbier and rye beer thrown in. The beers taste great, and while the sales have been flat for years, I think this bottling line may make the difference. Find some of the new 12 oz. bottles and give them a try, they're great.

(08/24/2004)

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

Establishment: Swashbuckler Brewing Company Limited, Manheim, PA

Well, this is kind of fun. This is my 350th "review" (I'll admit that some of them were less review-like than others), the first Pubcrawler to hit that mark, and I get to do it on a brewery that has no reviews yet. Cool. KEEP REVIEWING, EVERYONE!! And please do your best to really give people something more than just dots on the ratings and "Nice place." Doesn't have to be long-winded, but let us know WHY you liked it or didn't. Helps everyone.

Anyway... Swashbuckler is on the grounds of the PA Renaissance Faire, which is actually on the grounds of the Mt. Hope Winery. They make only four beers -- Golden Ale, Golden Lager, Red Skies Amber, and Old Peg Leg Stout -- and they only sell them on draft at the Faire grounds. But they do sell a LOT of beer in only 15 weeks, enough to keep them in business. Right now the Faire's opening for the first day of the season, and they were brewing frantically yesterday to be ready for the rush. The beers are okay, no flaws, but the only really outstanding one is the stout. They know that, and they're brewing to their audience: thousands of thirsty folks who didn't come for the beer; they came for the jousting and the wenches and the fun. The setting is unmatched for a brewpub, far as I know, a sprawling recreation of a medieval fair (or a cleverly crafted money sieve, depends on your perspective!). It's a lot of fun, the family went two years ago. There are three places in the fair where you can get Swashbuckler, and Mt. Hope wines by the glass. "Live free, eat well, and drink fine ale!" Indeed.

(08/13/2004)

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

Establishment: Pittsburgh Bottleshop Cafe, Bridgeville , PA

You know, I had a fantastic time here, but I'd also agree with Jen from C-ville: ZERO atmosphere...unless the joint's rocking. Looky here, I stopped in on a WEDNESDAY night, it was raining, it was half an hour till closing time, and the PBC was jumping, busting out at the seams with hot chix, big cigar guys, a coupla geeks, more good-lookin' bartenders than you could shake a tip at -- and I'm looking around, completely baffled. The PBC is in a strip plaza, it's just one big high-ceilinged room with very little decoration, a few tables, a bar with about 16 taps on one side (decent taps, though: Bell's 2-Hearted, Erdinger Weiss, Southern Tier Porter, Arrogant Bastard), and a wall of coolers on the other, filled with hundreds of beers, and not just crap, rare and excellent beers. What were they there for? Is there nothing else? Maybe it's the beer, maybe it's the bartenders, maybe it's owner Mark Davis (who was all over the place, keeping it happening), maybe it's the beer (did I say that? You bet!), but this place DOES have something...and my bet is that it's going to get better. Make the trip, it's easy.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Bites and Brews, Pittsburgh , PA

Bites & Brews is a new place, right next to the Elbow Room on Ellsworth. It's a pizza and sandwich joint (FYI: cash only), done in industrial HoJo orange, which I hate. THIRTY taps, but what a waste of lines: this is the most mediocre line of thirty craft/import taps I've seen in years. Some very cautious wholesaler rep must have picked these. The only out of the ordinary selections when I visited were Allagash Grand Cru and Young's Ramrod; good beers, and that's why I upped the selection rating to "Good," but all alone in a selection of taps you could easily find elsewhere in the city. Bottle selection was even worse. Yawn.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Carl's Tavern, Monroeville, PA

Thanks for the tip, Sean: Carl's is just as you described it. Not much to look at on the outside, just another cinderblock/permastone beer joint by the side of the road, and not that easy to get into, but the taps are excellent, lines and beers are clean, service is quick and friendly, and the place is absolutely spotless. Looks like a good place to hang in Monroeville.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Rivertowne Inn, Verona, PA

First time visit was very impressive. Rivertowne's tucked away in Verona, but would do any big-city bar scene proud. 16 taps (some good, some so-so, a couple that were amazing) and an excellent 200+ bottle selection. Very authentic feel without an ounce of pretension, with friendly locals who were happy to talk to an out-of-towner about their favorite watering hole. The food looked great, big honking pieces of fish and chicken, and the service was without reproach. Very impressive, but not intimidating. I'll be sending people here, you bet.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Pittsburgh Deli Company, Pittsburgh , PA

Can't really comment on anything but the selection: PDC wasn't open yet when I stopped in and talked to the manager. The selection WAS impressive: not huge, but the guy is getting bang for the buck on his cooler space. "I have beer ADD," Dave McCombie said; "I just can't have the same beer twice!" It shows. There are four taps and a handpump, but you'll go for the bottles, a full range of Dogfish Head, plenty of micros and imports.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Remedy was Ray's Marlin Beach Bar and Grill, Pittsburgh , PA

What to say...Ray's is rare, if not unique, in its character, and I love it. Fun, campy, multi-culti, smart, comfortable, friendly, beer-aware, and the food, the food rocks. Ray's is somewhat crippled by a small keg-room (they have 8 taps and hope to upgrade that as much as possible), but they've compensated with an excellent bottle selection. The upstairs rooms also sport full bars, and look like a hipster's basement. When this joint is hopping, it must be insane...in a good way. Definitely high on my list for a return visit.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Monterey Pub, Pittsburgh , PA

The Monterey is tucked into one of the brick rowhomes that make up this solid neighborhood. It was quiet and dark on the street when I stopped by, lightly raining, and the Monterery was a warm glow of light and welcome. There are no gaudy signs, only an Irish flag and a small sandwich board on the sidewalk to mark it as anything different from the homes around it; my ideal of a neighborhood bar. Inside? Six good taps (including 3 Penn taps, always good to support the local brewery), a decent selection of Irish and American whiskey, a substantial bar, booths, and a friendly crowd. The music played loud enough to be heard but not so as to overwhelm normal conversation, which was lively and even somewhat cultured. After I finished my Penn Dark and walked back down the street, I found myself wishing that this was my local, and that my family was waiting for me down the block.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Max's Allegheny Tavern, Pittsburgh , PA

Can't BELIEVE I've never rated Max's! A wonderfully authentic German joint on the North Side, with a good selection of German and micro taps, a great German bottle selection, and delicious German food. I had the sausage platter on my latest trip (last Wednesday) and a fresh jar of Penn Dark; did the trick for me. My dad's on a low-salt, low-fat diet, and he sticks to it religiously -- has pizza once a year, a model of compliance...except when Max's is in the offing, at which time he tosses his diet to the winds and chows down. It's that kind of place. A must-stop in Pittsburgh.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Lot 17, Pittsburgh, PA

Lot 17's an interesting mix of a stylish facade out front, an old-style bar inside the door, and a snazzily modern dining room in the back, kind of an upscale neighborhood tappie. Definitely looked to be the most "bar bar" on this block, though there are better choices not far off: Bloomfield Bridge Tavern just down the street, for one, and I'd probably go to the Pleasure Bar for dinner. But a good enough place to hole up for a few, and the food has gotten some good reviews in local press lately. Worth a look.

(08/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Brewer's Alley, Frederick, MD

Stopped in on a Saturday to meet my brother-in-law and his family, the eight of us stayed for a delicious late lunch. We tried the cask barleywine (marvelous, rich, round, not over-hopped, beautiful beer at the peak of condition), hefe (excellent, right on form), oatmeal stout (very nice, could have been a bit "silkier"), kölsch (excellent beer, clean but able to stand up for itself, no wimp), and IPA (slightly disappointing, seemed a bit low on body...but the growler of it we took home tasted awfully good last night: might have been me). If I'd been whisked there blindfolded, I might have thought I was at Selin's Grove. The food was excellent, I had the wood-oven mac & cheese with Maryland country ham, my bro-in-law's steak salad with blue cheese rocked. Service was quite good, though beer service was a bit slow at times. Brewer's Alley was a hit with everyone, getting four thumbs up from the adults, the kids loved it, too. Great place.

(08/03/2004)

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

Establishment: Wharf Rat At Camden Yards / Oliver Breweries, Baltimore, MD

Just talked to Bill Oliver earlier this month: no sale on the Wharf Rat. In fact, he said: "Oh, that rumor? Comes up every year or so. No, we're not selling." I visited in June and found almost every beer I sampled to be good, and some of them downright excellent. Steve Jones is a real Brit who really gets Brit ales; the Rat's lucky to have him brewing.

(07/29/2004)

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

Establishment: For Pete's Sake, Philadelphia, PA

I've heard folks complain that FPS is expensive: I paid $5 for a big 20 oz. pint of Yards Philly Pale. I've heard folks complain that the place is fake: I had a great conversation about Irish whiskey with the bartender. I've heard people...oh, to hell with 'em. FPS is great little corner bar that is Irish without being stupid about it, very friendly, clean enough to take your mother to, and not that hard to find. Great beer taps, outstanding Irish whiskey selection, and all of it served quickly and with a knowledgeable flair.

(07/29/2004)

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

Establishment: Just Sports Bar and Grill, Bristol, PA

I was shocked to find a place with a tap selection this good so close to my home...that I had no clue was here. I ran into the manager, Jimmy Flynn, at the Grey Lodge, and he told me to drop in sometime. Today I went down for lunch. FOUR Victory taps, Weyerbacher Old Heathen, Old Dominion Bourbon Barrel Stout, Lancaster 4-Grain, and more: I got a Heavyweight StickeNJAB that was deliciously fresh. Got the daily special, a bacon double cheeseburger, and it was just about perfect; the fries were so fresh they burnt me, the tomato on the burger was ripe and juicy. Service was quick and attentive, and enthusiastic about the beer. O'Flaherty's isn't much to look at, inside or out, just a highway-side bar, but the beer's excellent, and the joint's pretty damned friendly. Well worth a stop off I-95 or the PA Turnpike, it's less than a mile away from either one. I'll be back, believe me.

(07/29/2004)

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

Establishment: Ten Stone, Philadelphia, PA

First time for me, but first time for Pubcrawler? Guys, we need to do better than this! In any case, Ten Stone is definitely a strong second tier contender for Philly beer bars. I'd only keep it out of the first tier because the draft selection is a bit unfocused, and does not have enough of the exclusive to it. But comfortable? You bet, friendly, diverse crowd, good pours, and a neat look to the place. Definite winner, I'll have to be back here soon.

(07/23/2004)

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

Establishment: U.S. Hotel, Hollidaysburg, PA

The U.S. Hotel isn't really that micro-friendly; you'll find Sam Adams there, but that will be about it. But this is a great old bar, with a massive wooden back bar, tile floors and walls, and even a "spitoon" trough at the bottom of the bar with intact plumbing. Extemely comfortable place, not raucous with stupid music or sports, you can actually talk here. A step back into Pennsylvania's past, and a must-stop for the serious bar tourist.

(07/19/2004)

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

Establishment: Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA

Stopped in Standard Tap last Friday with some friends from out of town. Food was excellent (great fries, love the smelts, crisp calamari, small downcheck for one under-done steak), beer was outstanding: the 'new' Yards Philly Pale Ale, wow, couple good casks, Sly Fox Simcoe IPA and Dry Stout, Weyerbacher Heresy, McKenzie Brown Ale... We sat in the new section at the very cool corner table, first time sitting back in this section for me, and I loved it. Service was about as bad as I've ever had here, though: slow and apparently not really concerned about it, which was so out of character as to be disturbing. Hope it was just a busy night, but when three out of five pints on a table are sitting empty before the waitress notices, and it then takes five to ten minutes to get beers...that's not good. Still, the beer and food and vibe and atmosphere were great, and I'm willing to cut some slack for it for now.

(07/19/2004)

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

Establishment: Knickerbocker Tavern, Altoona, PA

Very pleasant first visit to this solid tavern. Good taps, very good bottle selection, tasty pub grub (onion rings are some of the best I've had), and a neat enclosed patio area back up the great old-style tavern bar. Perfect place to go drinking.

(07/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Johnstown Brewing Company, Johnstown, PA

Less than a year, and Johnstown has got it together. Stopped in today with the family, and was very impressed with the beers, food, and service. Beer, thanks to new brewer Barrett Goddard, was much more interesting this time: perfect dry stout, hoppier pale ale, nice Boho-type pilsner, and a zingy witbier. Food was excellent, some great sandwiches (and my son's pizza compared favorably to what I had in Rome last year) and house-made potato chips. The snappy tortilla jack flips (or whatever they were called) were very good: triangles of pepper jack, crusted with broken tortilla chip bits and deep-fried. Service was right on the spot and friendly. Had a great time, and got the distinct feeling that it's only going to get better.

(07/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Boulevard Grill and Warehouse, Johnstown, PA

Sorry, I forgot: The closing WAS temporary. The owners had expanded too much, too quickly, and got hosed. They closed, re-grouped, found some new partners (friends and family) with more business experience, and they're in for the long haul. Looks like a good future, and they want to put more beers on.

(07/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Boulevard Grill and Warehouse, Johnstown, PA

My first visit to the Boulevard Grill was this afternoon, and it was quite cool. Had a delicious glass of Penn Weizen, one of six "better" beers on tap, and met the owners. Real nice setup, good-looking bars, live music space. I'll be back to this one sometime for sure.

(07/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Ortlieb's Brewery and Grille, Pottstown, PA

RIP Henry Ortlieb. Henry Ortlieb died on vacation in Costa Rica on July 4th. No details on his death were available. He was 56. The brewery will remain open for the foreseeable future.

Henry was a mercurial character in Philly brewing, the scion of an old brewing family. It's strange to think of him not being around. He always had a good word to say about people.

(07/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Coopers Cave Ale Company Limited, Glens Falls, NY

Just a note: Lake Placid Brewpub's lawyer has the same opinion about growler fills. And from my experience with state booze law enforcement, it doesn't really matter so much what WE think the law says, what matters is what the local enforcement agent thinks. Sad, but true. Growler laws usually come under labeling laws, and some of that's interpretation. Mostly, though, it depends on the local agent's interpretation. And I like the Pathfinder Porter at Cooper's.

(06/30/2004)

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

Establishment: Black Rock Brewing Company, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Just heard from a knowledgeable local that Black Rock is closed indefinitely, the sign on the door was vague, but it didn't sound good. Anyone have any details?

(06/30/2004)

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

Establishment: Bardo Brewing, Amissville, VA

VERY closed, has been closed for over a year. There is apparently some controversy over whether this Amissville brewery was ever legally open.

(06/19/2004)

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

Establishment: Founders' Restaurant and Brewing Company, Alexandria, VA

Visited twice last month. Beers were surprisingly good, very hoppy pale ale and the kolsch was clean and tasty; obviously learned something from Cap City. Service was competent, although the other servers kept standing around the front door in a weird way; not waiting for customers, just talking and ignoring people. Didn't have food, though it looked good and people seemed to be enjoying it. If the reviewers who gave this a "Lousy" rating are serious, and not just jumped-up eejits who are still pissed about their mug club (guys, it was a different business...let it go), all I can say is that if you think this is a lousy brewpub, you're lucky. And spoiled. This place is good, better than some of the brewpubs in the DC Metro area. You need to get out more.

(06/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Owl Bar, Baltimore, MD

I don't understand the controversy. The Owl Bar had a surprising (to me, anyway) number of excellent taps, both local and imported, with a marvelous old-school hotel bar look and feel. I felt like I should perhaps have been a bit better dressed, but what's wrong with that? Does every bar have to be okay with casually sloppy dress, does every brewpub have to serve burgers and wings? NO! Get the bartenders a bit more up to speed on the great beer they have to offer (the bartender I had was willing and pleasant, but ignorant), and this could be a great addition to Baltimore's excellent beer bars. It only needs knowledgeable bartenders to become a rare and wonderful beer bar.

(06/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Barker Brew Company, Fredonia, NY

I heard the same sad news, and had heard rumblings of the possibility a few months ago. Just wanted to set one thing straight, though: Pepper Pike, Bobbi Pike's daughter, did not wreck things. Pepper was handed a mess, and was doing a great job handling things. The menu decisions were group decisions, and the food I had in February, after the menu change, was still top-notch. My parents were just at Barker last month and had the house beers, so I don't believe that was a problem. No heat, I'm not raving here, just wanted to clear Pepper of complicity. What I saw of her work was impressive. Sure as hell am gonna miss Barker, though. I can't think of too many places like it.

(06/07/2004)

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

Establishment: Mahaffey's Pub, Baltimore, MD

First time to Mahaffey's, and it was quite impressive. Outstanding selection for the number of taps: no clinkers at all. Great small bottle selection as well, and service was pretty quick and plenty cheerful. Steamed shrimp was delish; I can still smell Old Bay on my fingers. I'd go back to Mahaffey's again and again and again. Cask-conditioned beer EVERY DAY.

(06/03/2004)

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

Establishment: Brown's Brewing Company was Troy Pub and Brewery, Troy, NY

Troy Pub has changed their name to Brown's Brewing Co. as of 4/23/04, as reported in the Albany Times-Union. Everything else remains the same for now, it's just a name change, but they will be moving brewing ops to another site in the near future.

(05/31/2004)

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

Establishment: Brauerei Fassla, Bamberg,

Unfair, sir! Certainly Spezial has a wider selection of beers, and it could be argued that their beer is better than Fässla's...but it could be argued the other way, too. Fässla's pils was quite good when I had it, the lunch crowd was jovial and engaging (though they were sure I had to be Irish!), and the food was every bit as good as Spezial's. I don't believe it's possible to "waste your time" at any of the breweries in Bamberg.

(05/26/2004)

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

Establishment: Galaxy Hut, Arlington, VA

Assertively crude art, points for that. Not a big or fancy place, points for that. Don't care that they're not big or fancy, points. Good beer selection: BIG POINTS. Reasonable prices, no posers, unpretentious: I'll be back. Recommended.

(05/21/2004)

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

Establishment: Common Share, Washington, DC

Beer's definitely cheap, and the SNPA I had was good, but the selection's not much. Atmo's determinedly basic, but friendly. I'd go back again, but I wouldn't necessarily bring my wife...

(05/21/2004)

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

Establishment: Matchbox, Washington, DC

Tap selection is (as another writer once said) small but firm. Not a LOT of taps, but a high percentage of good ones, and what I had was clean and fresh. Staff is right on top of things, evidently well-trained, and polite. Very hip place; Matchbox was a very pleasant surprise.

(05/21/2004)

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

Establishment: Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Washington, DC

Smooth, well-made lagers are the key here, with a few top-fermenting German styles thrown in for fun. If you're too butt-ignorant to dig that, steer clear; but if you've got the beer sophistication to dig some cold-aged excellence, this is the place to be in DC.

(05/21/2004)

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

Establishment: District ChopHouse and Brewery, Washington, DC

Too bad Jason D. is leaving: hope they get someone REAL GOOD in to replace him. Chophouse beers were excellent under his hands: if only for the outstanding Bourbon Stout. This is a great place to go to, proof that "brewpub" doesn't have to mean "beer with burgers and pizza."

(05/21/2004)

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

Establishment: Capitol City Brewing Company - Shirlington, Arlington, VA

Very high-end street of shops and restaurants, but Cap City's still a good place to hoist yourself up on a stool and sample some great beers. Please don't turn your noses up at the Kölsch: this is very nice beer indeed. I think you'll find the beers at this CC tend to be more nuanced than some of the others: Bill Madden (and his new assistant, John Bryce, formerly at Blacksburg Brewing) is generally a fan of balanced beers, though when he decides to go big it's usually over the top. Witness his recent Imperial IPA, which was damned near lethally hopped.

(05/21/2004)

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

Establishment: Birchmere / Native Brewing Company, Alexandria, VA

Birchmere as a brewery has been closed for some months. The concert space is still open. I just heard today that a Virginia brewpub is looking at purchasing/leasing the brewery space, so I wouldn't delete it. But nothing's been brewed here in 2004.

(05/13/2004)

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

Establishment: Flying Barrel (BOP), Frederick, MD

Stopped in to see Bob this week; awesome homebrew shop, and the guy is obviously very wired in to both the local homebrew community AND the local brewing community. Flying Barrel is the glue that holds beer together in Frederick.

(05/13/2004)

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

Establishment: Hops Grill and Brewery, Richmond, VA

Sorry to have overlooked this: I visited both Hops on my recent trip to Richmond. Beer here was up to the standards of the other one; no surprise, the same brewer does both pubs. I was very impressed with the quality of the beers: very clean, all-malt, quite flavorful, if a bit on the light side. No real complaints except for the generic look of the place, and even that was broken up by some very attractive golden-era beer posters.

(05/13/2004)

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

Establishment: Clay Pipe Brewing Company, Westminster, MD

Blue Tractor's good, the Racer's Tiretread Porter is real flavor-packed, and the Pursuit of Happiness is a noggin-knocker, but Backfin Pale Ale is a delicious pint-after-pinter, a beer that drinks so smooth you hardly notice how great it tastes. Nicely done.

(05/12/2004)

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

Establishment: Brewer's Alley, Frederick, MD

Excellent Maibock; other beers were all good. Service from Tom the bartender was exceptional, as it was for everyone else at the bar; Tom's a talented guy. The feel of Brewer's Alley is upscale without being intimidating, and when the sidewalk area's open, it's one of the best places to be in Frederick.

(05/12/2004)

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

Establishment: Barley and Hops Grill and Microbrewery, Frederick, MD

New brewer indeed: Greg Curran is doing a great job here. Made my first visit yesterday, sampled the taps and truly enjoyed everything I tasted, from the Dirty Little Blonde Ale to the Lust for Lupulin double IPA. My burger was deliciously rare, just as I ordered it, although the spicy peanut cole slaw wasn't that spicy and had no discernible peanut flavor. The place itself is clean, attractive, and has some very interesting brewery touches: note the painted hopsacks on the walls. Barley & Hops suffers a little from a real generic look in the dining room, but overall, definitely a place I would return to.

(05/12/2004)

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

Establishment: Blacksburg Brewing Company, Christiansburg, VA

Just got an e-mail from John Bryce that Blacksburg Brewing is closing as of May 15. He plans to re-open as a brewpub, no time-line given. Hope he does it soon, because this beer was excellent.

(05/06/2004)

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

Establishment: Jeremiah's Tavern, Rochester, NY

Jeremiah's is an excellent neighborhood tavern, with lots of local beer (and that DOES include Genesee, and it OUGHT to), local color, good food, and excellent service. Very comfortable, you'll feel welcome as soon as you walk in. The bar's definitely a bar, the dining room's definitely for dining (it peeves me when there's no separation), and the outdoor seating is great in warm weather. I've been back a number of times, and just keep loving it.

(05/03/2004)

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

Establishment: Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Lake Placid, NY

Ah, Herr Heffe, guten morgen! Good to see you here, mein freund, and of course, you're right: NY is smoke-free these days. My mistake. But yes, the locals are good folks, and I like them here and over at Handlebars as well. It ain't always about the beer in the glass, sometimes it's about the bar. Zum wohl!

(05/03/2004)

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

Establishment: Latrobe Brewing Company, Latrobe, PA

Dude, go back: Latrobe is now giving tours. And don't stoop to the snide remarks about the river and the tires; as if. Just because you weren't smart enough to call ahead, doesn't mean they're not smart enough to use pure water for making beer (and just how much smarts would THAT take?).

(05/03/2004)

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

Some people ream Pubcrawler for "only allowing Awesome," some ream it for all the negative reviews...sheesh, make up your minds. I'd say that if you don't want a smoky, divey bar serving BMCLite with the craft brews...go upstairs. Why shouldn't the guys who like downstairs have the option to stay downstairs? And heck, you're certainly welcome to stick around and do more reviews, but if you don't like Pubcrawler, why not beerfly back to BA, eh?

(04/29/2004)

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

Establishment: Edelweiss, Staunton, VA

First, Edelweiss is a restaurant. There is not even a small bar. But it's very relaxed, the food is excellent (and fairly varied for a German place), and they have about 45 different German and Austrian bottled beers, and 6 taps of Germans. The place is quite authentic and homey, and when it's comfortable outside you can play beer garden. It's like Germany on the beautiful Blue Ridge.

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA

Mekong is not much at all to look at from the outside; just another tinted storefront in a roadside plaza on Broad St. But inside, this is a practically palatial Vietnamese restaurant, with a startling selection of Belgian and American specialty beers. There are the usual suspects in Asian restaurants, Tsingtao and Singha (I actually had a nice crisp bottle of Singha -- I'd been drinking already, and...well, read on), but the lure at Mekong is big bottles. Almost every good beer they offer is in bottles, and BIG bottles, 750s and 22s. There is a wide range of Belgian specialties and American craft brews, and the rare combination of top-rate Viet cuisine and non-mundane beers is too good to pass up. A definite stop.

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Queen City Brewing Limited, Staunton, VA

Queen City is a Brew On Premise (BOP) that opened around October of 2003.

Travis Smithdeal and his partner opened Queen City Brewing to let other people brew beer. Queen City is a BOP; a lot of people in the Shenandoah Valley used to brew at Monticello, in Charlottesville. Kevin Yeadon, who owned Monticello and had to get out for health reasons, helped these guys with recipes and advice, and they've hit the ground running. They're aiming for a commercial license in a few months and hope to be selling beer in the area. Look for them!

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: New Belmont, Norfolk, VA

Upscale, toney, well-designed restaurant with a high-end bar on the second floor. Emphasis is on wines by the glass, but drinkers were friendly, and there was a good selection of taps as well; I had a good pint of Smuttynose Porter. Might want to dress up a bit for this one to fit in better. Came highly recommended from our waitress at the Taphouse.

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Jean Bonnet Tavern, Bedford, PA

Finally got to Jean Bonnet's yesterday for the first time, and I'm already plotting a return visit. Great tap selection, amazing for the area...although things are coming up in central PA. Had an Appalachian Barley Wine that was a bit oxidized, but it tasted better and better as it warmed up. Beautiful establishment, food smelled great, wish I'd had more time! I will definitely be back.

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Jimbo's Eatery, Pittsburgh , PA

Had breakfast here yesterday: two chili cheese dogs (excellent) and a Coke. Fascinated by the beer selection, a lot better than I remember from the old days. Lots of big bottles, Dogfish Head, Troegs, but...hey guys, where's the Victory?! Great place to stop for a bite and a beer. I love Pittsburgh for these kinds of places.

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Fat Head's South Shore Saloon, Pittsburgh , PA

Great place, and not afraid to spend some money on themselves: some other Pittsburgh bars could learn some things about making yourself look good from Fat Head's. I'm not going to get into a slanging match about whose selection is better (only...Kelly's? Hah? Things get radically better there in the past 10 months?), Fat Head's is great, and the only objection I'd make is that I'd really rather see more local beers, more PA beers here instead of all the Rogue and Stone and Bell's and imports. But I'm nitpicking. The service I got was happy and attentive, the food was delicious and humongous (house-made chips are excellent), and the vibe is great. Lots of pretty women, lots of beer-savvy guys, although there were a disturbing number of Lite bottles in evidence...c'est la vie. Went twice in two days, and enjoyed myself immensely.

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Chiodo's Tavern, Pittsburgh , PA

I just cannot believe I've never reviewed Chiodo's, One of my favorite bars anywhere. Stopped in here the first time back in 1982, and I've rarely missed an opportunity to stop in when I've been in Pittsburgh. Stopped in this past Saturday, and the only thing that had changed was the number of bras hanging over the bar, and maybe a little dusting. Beer's still good and cheap, taps are small, bottles are big. I had a Beamish and a Burning River Pale Ale, and hung out. This is the quintessential Pittsburgh bar: Joe Bagadonuts got it just right. If you go to Pittsburgh for bars and you miss Chiodo's, you almost might as well have stayed home.

(04/27/2004)

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

Establishment: Deep Creek Brewing Company, McHenry, MD

Beautiful building, very lodge-like and comfortable inside, with a great small deck with fire-pit outside. This is not a great time of year to visit, though: lots of mud, and the ski-slopes opposite were looking worn. Must look great in the summer, winter, and fall, though! I had a bread-bowl chili lunch that was quite good. I'm going "great" on the beer quality mostly on the excellence of the Holy Cow IPA, a really refreshing light-bodied (but NOT thin-bodied) IPA that was downright rejuvenating; I felt like I had just woken from a deep sleep when I drank the stuff, invigorating. Most of the other beers were okay, though the Deep Creek Gold had a distinct mineral note that wasn't really pleasant, and the Angry Clown Brown was not to my linking at all; astringent and somewhat vegetal; might have been old. The Red Head Rye was a very nice example of how to use this grain: it was quite herbal, with a minty note to it that is familiar from rye whiskey. Beers overall could be better; would be great if everything were up to the level of the IPA.

(04/27/2004)

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)

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

Establishment: Independence Brew Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Attended a beer dinner at Independence in March -- actually, two beer dinners, on consecutive Saturdays. Beer was the best I've had there in quite a while; outstanding stout, a snappy clean kölsch, and a rich, heavy Scottish ale. Food was shockingly good, a delicious four-course meal. Service was top-notch the first dinner, about average the second one. And the joint was jumping both nights. Not to say the negative reviews are wrong, but...there's new money and new attitude at the top at Independence, and you really should stop in and make up your own mind. There may be a wad of trendoids around the bar drinking light beer, but it's prime Center City bar real estate, it's going to happen. Try to get beyond that.

(04/05/2004)

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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Wilmington, DE

Very snazzy new Iron Hill right in the middle of the new riverside development in Wilmington. All the classic Iron Hill touches: very visible brewhouse, brick and dark wood, architecturally pleasing design and decor, crisp fresh food, and flawless beer. Upstairs deck overlooking the river and the good side of Wilmington (with heaters for extended deck season) is a nice addition here. As with all Iron Hill's, highly recommended...although the service here the one time I visited was the slowest I've ever encountered at an Iron Hill, and the only time I've seen servers standing around chatting to each other. Hope it was an aberration, as service is usually a high point at Iron Hill.

(04/02/2004)

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

Establishment: Empire Brewing Company, Syracuse, NY

Closed in September 2003. Latest news is that re-opening efforts have run into a wall.

(04/02/2004)

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

Establishment: South Street Brewery, Charlottesville, VA

Great beer, great selection of beer, beautiful place with the long bar and two-sided fireplace. Looking forward to bringing some friends to this place.

(03/19/2004)

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

Establishment: Starr Hill Restaurant and Brewery, Charlottesville, VA

I always wind up visiting Starr Hill when it's not open; a writer has that option when it just doesn't fit your schedule. Mondays may be closed at Starr Hill, but they're "Open Door Mondays," locals are invited in to watch and help brew; VERY cool idea, and very community-involved. The beers are excellent, if not that varied; 4 regulars, 4 seasonals. That's okay, when they're done this well. Definitely worth a stop for the beer.

(03/19/2004)

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

Establishment: Michael's Bistro and Taphouse, Charlottesville, VA

Nice place, above average tap selection, quality of the beer (Lagunitas IPA) was good, and the duck potpie I had was real good. Only quibble: the bruschetta I ordered said 'feta' on the menu, and I got some kind of herbed cheese spread on it. Not bad, but not feta. Otherwise, real nice, cozy, relaxed, friendly.

(03/19/2004)

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

Establishment: Mellow Mushroom, Charlottesville, VA

Stopped in for a beer on Monday. This is a pizza joint with a small bar in the back -- that's wrapped around about 34 taps, with a pretty excellent selection; NOT the usual suspects. I got a Bear Republic Racer 5 -- sour! I got the bartender's attention, asked her for another beer. "Too much for you?" she asked. No, usually just right, but over the hill. "That's a new keg," she said, sounding worried. Then... "What else can I get you?" Cool! I selected a 3 Floyds Alpha King, she delivered, and it was great. That's the kind of reaction I like to see.

(03/19/2004)

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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery Restaurant -- North Wales, North Wales, PA

The latest Iron Hill, North Wales, jumped off to a great start on March 4. The interior is beautiful, with the architectural details that make Iron Hill so attractive, the dashing open kitchen, the proudly displayed brewhouse. Beers were limited to the Iron Hill standards, but brewer Larry Horwitz told me he has been given almost completely free rein on filling the rest of the taps with specials. "Anything within reason, they told me," he said, and added that they seemed pretty open to being convinced. I suspect this location is going get slammed, hard; once again, Iron Hill has put a perfect place in a perfect location. Cheers for a job well begun.

(03/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Ship Inn, Milford, NJ

Just hit the Ship yesterday with some good friends, one of whom is a particularly picky brewer of British-style ales. We all loved the beer (tried the cask porter and just stuck with it, excellent glass), sampled a bit of their great selection of whiskies, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The Ship is a neat little haven from the day's tiresome routine, and I always look forward to visiting.

(03/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Times Square Brewery, New York, NY

NOT the same Times Square Brewery that closed in 2001; different address, new brewer, and new owners. Only the name's the same. Opened 2/14/04. Apparently no website as yet.

(03/02/2004)

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

Establishment: Four Sons Brewery, Titusville, PA

Four Sons opens either today or tomorrow, I stopped in for a look around yesterday. Brewer Matt Allyn very kindly showed me around (7 bbl. Pub system), talked to us about how pleased he was to be returning to his home area, and set us up with samples of his beers: for first-time brews, these were top-notch, including a strong ale, a schwarz, a helles, a very creamy tripel, and three others. Really good, and the place is beautiful inside. Definitely worth the trip from either Erie or I-80!

(02/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Foxhead Pub / Foxburg Inn on the Allegheny, Foxburg, PA

Finding Foxburg was a blast: we took Metz Road, which is a winding gravel and mud track through the hills that comes out a mile uphill from the town. The town and pub sit on the banks of the Allegheny River, and the view is tremendous. The Inn itself looks great, the kind of place you dream about having as a summer lodge. There are two levels, the formal restaurant upstairs and the pub down below. We ate downstairs; delicious mushroom soup and stuffed mushrooms, somewhat overdone pasta with an excellent sauce, and great grilled lamb with rice and a hot pepper garnish with an unfortunate white sauce (mayonnaise? very bland). Service was very attentive and friendly. The beer is brewed on a hot-water-and-extract system, and is uninspiring, but not sour or seriously flawed. I wouldn't go back for the beer, to be honest, but I WILL go back for the restaurant and the view...and draft Yuengling, probably.

(02/23/2004)

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

Establishment: Clinchbrau Brewing Company, North Tazewell, VA

Clinchbrau has been closed for at least six months, the owner has moved, the equipment's broken up

(02/18/2004)

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

Establishment: Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Another Friday the Firkinteenth...15! casks of real ale pouring at the Grey Lodge, and at least a third of them were phenomenal. The joint was packed, people were lined up halfway down the block waiting to get in, just to drink cask ale. The selection was amazing, the bartenders harried but never snarly, prices reasonable...and it's great on other days too. A fantastic combination of beer temple and corner bar.

(02/16/2004)

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

Establishment: Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY

What's to say? The Blind Tiger bends over backwards to get a phenomenal, mind-blowing selection of beers, has a regular calendar of over-the-top beer events, euchres special-release kegs out of brewers, and presents them all to the beer lover in fantastic condition. Prices are not out of line, whiskey selection is also good, and the atmosphere is very comfortable. Gotta -- and I do mean GOTTA -- love this place!

(02/16/2004)

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

Establishment: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

Latest visit to Victory not only provided excellent handpump HopDevil, but great tableside service (bar service was a bit smart-assed and defensive) and excellent food: I had a rare burger with spinach and onions that was superb. Full marks to Victory, and I'm really happy to see the pub live up to the brew!

(02/10/2004)

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

Establishment: Parting Glass, Saratoga Springs, NY

I could nit-pick -- fair amount of gristle in my stew, waitress was friendly but occasionally clueless, beer selection was relatively innocent of local beers -- but that would miss the point. The stew tasted great, the waitress was REALLY friendly and quick, and the beer selection was appropriate to the setting...and the setting was excellent. A great old rambling bar, where I felt at home pretty quickly.

(02/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Horse You Came In On, Fells Point/Baltimore, MD

Very disappointing. I went here expecting a historic saloon, I found a swill bar with a cover charge, loud music, and a real frat-house look to it. Not on my return list.

(02/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Wharf Rat At Fells Point, Fells Point/Baltimore, MD

Just as nautical, rough-hewn, and real as it was when I first visited, 18 years ago. Beers still great, too, although these days it's almost all Oliver's beers, from the Wharf Rat brewpub over by the stadium. I had a great mug of Ironman PA. Dog-friendly, and pretty damned people-friendly, too. Great place to pound on the table and get loud talking to your friends.

(02/09/2004)

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

Establishment: Max's on Broadway, Fells Point/Baltimore, MD

Max's has one hell of a selection on draft, in the bottle, and in the cellar, aging. The beers I had were all in good condition but one, and that was just on the edge. The staff were knowledgeable, the taplist up to date, and the prices were reasonable. My only complaint was how damned loud it was...and that's not so bad if you go upstairs. Max's is on my must-stop list for my next stop in Baltimore, and that's a short list.

(02/08/2004)

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

Establishment: John Steven Limited, Fells Point/Baltimore, MD

Just stopped in for a look around, had a cup of coffee (long night, and I was flagging a bit), and was impressed by the beer selection; not the same thing everyone else in Fells Point was pouring. Cool place, plenty of dining room, nice little middle bar in the back.

(02/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Duda's Tavern, Baltimore , MD

I was real happy to finally get to Duda's. I like the feel of the place, the location, the building, the service, and the beers were excellent. Max's has more beers, no doubt, and even better ones, but Duda's would be the place I'd rather hang out: somewhat older crowd, with nothing to prove. I heard the food's great, didn't have any. Very comfortable place.

(02/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Bertha's, Fells Point/Baltimore, MD

Bertha's is the real thing, some unchanged, uncluttered Baltimore, and you can live on their mussels and Guinness (though I was sopping them up with the house Best Bitter, done by Wharf Rat). Followed it with a piece of chess pie, very good. Only complaint: the bread that comes with the meal is lifeless! Mussels this good deserve better bread! Bertha's is a great bar, a classic. It's not too big, but it's for real.

(02/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Baltimore Jack, Baltimore , MD

This place is now a nightclub/megabrew joint by a different name. No longer of interest to people looking for either great beer or great bars. I was just there 2/6/04.

(02/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Red Brick Station / White Marsh Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD

It's a special pleasure to taste a brewpub's entire range of taps in one day and have every single one of them be clean, tasty, and impressive. Just had this happen on Friday at Red Brick Station. Had the 3-pint Pasta in cream curry sauce (excellent plate of food, stuffed with chicken, shrimp, and sausage), my dad had the crab soup (also very good), and I just loved the Spooner's Stout. Listen up, all you folks who diss Ringwood: it can be done right. Come here and have a taste.

(02/08/2004)

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

Establishment: Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA

Standard Tap with a smaller menu, less room, and -- for now -- less people. Once again, William and Paul have struck at the edge of a developing neighborhood (Fishtown), getting in relatively cheap and building a bar that will draw people to this area. The beer is excellent, kept at the peak of freshness: Sly Fox Pils, Yards PYNK, Legacy Duke of Ale, Yards ESA on the handpump. Food? Like I said, smaller menu, but the grilled octopus, hummus, and shoestring fries I shared with my friends were outstanding. I'll be back. Sorry it took so long to get here the first time.

(02/03/2004)

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

Establishment: Johnstown Brewing Company, Johnstown, PA

Johnstown Brewing is working uphill. I stopped in December, and while the beers I had were all clean and well-made, they were not up to par on flavor. This is not necessarily a fault on the part of Johnstown or their brewer, Brian Neville; I suspect it is a plan, rather than bad execution. Johnstown is one of the deepest pockets of light beer-itis in PA, and pulling them out of it is going to be a long slow process. J-town Brewing is on the right track, I think: they're selling a LOT of their two lightest beers, which bodes well for the future. I'd just maybe think about putting one hefty beer in there for the people who are ready for it. Food was just okay; good, but nothing special. Service was unfortunately not as good as the first time I stopped; the bartender left the bar for 10 minutes at a time, and was not real attentive when she was on station. Still, the potential is good. If it's on your way, definitely stop in. I suspect they need a few out-of-towners to shake things up.

(02/02/2004)

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

Establishment: Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA

Isaac's has bounced back better than ever from the fire in 2002; upstairs is expanded and looks great, new carpet and decor downstairs looks good, and the bar expansion is much appreciated. But the tap and cooler expansion, now THAT is outstanding. The deep, well-thought-out bottle selection backs up a constantly rotating tap selection that covers all the major bases of beer. Service is better than it used to be; only weak spot is table-side, which is still not up to bar service levels. Bartenders are quite beer-savvy. Patrons are too, and friendly with it.

(02/02/2004)

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

Establishment: Flanigan's Boathouse, Conshohocken, PA

Took my son here after Return of the King, we both enjoyed the nachos, I had a real good pork sandwich. I'd like to say I got the whole beerlist (it was a good, pretty long one), but when the waitress said "Duke of Ale," I kind of short-circuited and just said "Yes yes yes yes." The Boathouse is a little over-sports'd for me, but otherwise, nice place to hang out; clean, reasonable, good service, good beers.

(02/02/2004)

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

Establishment: Colorado Brewery and Trading Company, Danbury, CT

Stopped in with the kids over Christmas break. Big place, kind of empty on a Sunday afternoon, but the beer was good (Trance Porter especially), my barbecue pizza was disgustingly good (I mean, I felt like a pig eating ALL of it, but I just couldn't stop), and the service was on the spot but not annoyingly clingy. Well-done all-round. Only complaint would be that the place is almost too big; kind of echo-y.

(01/13/2004)

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

Establishment: Keegan Ales, Kingston, NY

Tommy Keegan is an excellent brewer, and I've tasted the beer to prove it. Mother's Milk Stout is rich and rocking, Hurricane Kitty Pale Ale...well, most breweries would call this crisp, snappy beer an IPA. Get on up to Kingston and check it out, you can thank me later.

(01/13/2004)

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

Establishment: Nicks Seafood, Baltimore , MD

This place is SO DAMNED BALTIMORE. Huge buckets of beer (mostly mainstream, but I had Clipper City's McHenry) and seafood grilled, fried, broiled, sushified, and shucked raw. Mostly standup, and everyone's there, eating the fresh stuff. I can't remember the last time I saw my dad this happy eating, tearing into 9 jumbo steamed shrimp and a McHenry. Nick's is The Balls.

(01/07/2004)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

I've had Legacy's Steamhorse Lager (deliciously bigger version of a steam beer) and Duke of Ale IPA (smashingly good IPA, just wanted to keep drinking it all night) and Nor'Easter (strong ale, good, but not up to the caliber of the other two) so far, and I'd like to say that I hope they succeed, and that they get the Duke of Ale on at every bar I visit regularly!

(01/07/2004)

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

Establishment: Otto's Brauhaus, Horsham, PA

I can't believe this wasn't on Pubcrawler; I can't believe I didn't put it on before! Otto's is great, a real institution, and they know their beerology cold, especially when it comes to German and Czech lagers. The German food is authentic and delicious, the decor is authentic as well, and the service is ausgezeichnet. Great place to bring a bunch of friends and drink cold lager beer while talking, laughing, and even singing.

(01/07/2004)

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

Establishment: Brown's Brewing Company was Troy Pub and Brewery, Troy, NY

I don't live in Troy or the Capital District, and I only make it to the Troy Pub about twice a year, but...I think I speak for plenty of people when I say Please don't change your beer selection! There are lots of places that serve Coors Light; there is only ONE place that serves Troy's beers. Hang your hat on it.

(01/05/2004)

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

Establishment: Eddie's Brewery and Grille, Orchard Park, NY

Bill, sorry you had a bad experience. The thing I liked most about the beers at Eddie's when I had them (two years ago...it takes a while to get a book written and published!) was the LOW carbonation and how clean they were. Obviously something's changed, and that's a damned shame. I'm going to get out to western NY in the next month or so, and I'll be sure to drop in for a session.

(01/04/2004)

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

Establishment: Which Brew, Easton, PA

I'm really pissed that it took me so long to get to Which Brew! I took my family there tonight for dinner, and by the time my wife and I were splitting dessert (a delish chunk of sweet potato pie), she was saying how she wished we had a place like this near us. The tap beer tonight was rocking: Troegenator, Mad Elf, Old Heathen, Perkuno's Hammer, Lunacy, HopDevil, Lanc. Milk Stout, Smuttynose Pumpkin, and a dry-hopped firkin of Weyerbacher Winter. Back that up with an impressive bottle list, and you're sure to find something. The menu's a bit short, but very good. Cathy had a great burger with mushrooms and a couple of cheeses (more towards rare than the ordered medium-rare, but that's okay), I had ESB chili (a little over the top on the cumin for me, but meaty and satisfying), and like I said, the pie was great. Service was just about perfect, the atmosphere was great with friendly regulars, clean bathrooms, and a realy cozy feel. We will definitely be back, highly recommended.

(01/03/2004)

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

Establishment: Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, Manayunk, PA

Just a note: Manayunk's owner, Harry Renner IV, just died. RIP, Harry. Tough time for the family; Harry's dad was murdered last year. Next beer at Manayunk's is to you.

(12/22/2003)

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

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

Stopped at Marzoni's on 12/1; they opened on 11/21. Got the sampler (a very good deal at $5 for seven 7 oz. beers) and tried everything. Pale Ale and IPA were both very hoppy, stout was good (though relatively light in color), amber lager was quite good in a lightly malty way. Raz wheat was not nasty. Only disappointment was the hefeweizen, which showed no discernable Bavarian weizen characteristics other than the cloudiness. Didn't have food, but it looked great; no surprise, given the Hoss's pedigree. This place is up and running, doesn't look like they'll need much shakedown time at all. Well worth the trip up I-99 from the PA Turnpike.

(12/03/2003)

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

Establishment: Strawberry Hill Restaurant, Lancaster, PA

Excellent dining, outstanding wine list, and -- surprise! Great beer as well: Chimay White and Rogue Dead Guy on tap, plus a full line of Sam Smith in bottles, and some other treats (some nice whiskey, too). I'd like to see some more American (and LOCAL) micros, but for now, a great place for food and beer!

(10/28/2003)

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

Establishment: Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA

Went in Friday with 23 friends and kids. Beer was top-notch: milk stout, pilsner, Ye Old Mullet (a cask mild-like ale), Winter Warmer, Oktoberfest. Food was okay, if not great. Service was very good, considering we were about 35 minutes late on our reservation. Definitely would recommend this place to others: the bar is really happening, and the beer is excellent.

(10/28/2003)

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

Establishment: Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, NY

Haven't been there yet myself, but wanted to get this one in for everyone's benefit. People I've talked to say it's the hottest new place for beer in NYC.

<...great selection of Belgians. Adding a hand-pump in November>

(10/14/2003)

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

Establishment: Abbaye, Philadelphia, PA

The Abbaye is currently BYOB due to a screwup by the former owners of their license. But this is still a great place to go: the food we had was tremendous. Fancy (cheese-stuffed roasted figs wrapped in apple-smoked bacon) or plain (a honking big portion of halibut in fish and chips), this food is delicious, and the service is great. Call ahead to see if they're serving yet, but GO!

(10/13/2003)

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

Establishment: Bare Bones Grill and Brewery, Ellicott City, MD

Not a brewpub...it's this weird Maryland law. You can only have one brewpub in a chain. So all the beer is brewed at Cockeysville and shipped here. That might make it a tied house, but it's for sure not a brewpub, there is NO brewery here. But it doesn't serve a bunch of different beers, either, just Bare Bones beers (which are good!).

(10/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Gooski's, Polish Hill, PA

Found Gooski's late one Friday night, and it impressed the hell out of me. I'm not usually one to rate on price, but...$2.50 pints of HopDevil in Pittsburgh has got to be mentioned. Great jukebox, great staff, great crowd...weird look, it all adds up to a place that should be a lot better known than it is.

(10/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Neuweiler Brewing Company, Incorporated, Allentown, PA

Hasn't been a brewery in years, decades; the beer in the 1990s, while good, was contract-brewed. Haven't seen any Neuweiler's on the shelves in over three years. Too bad, it was good beer.

(10/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Jones Brewing Company, Smithton, PA

Closed January 2002. Still brewed under contract at Pittsburgh, but I don't think that will last.

(10/08/2003)

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

Establishment: KClinger's Publik House, Etters, PA

Definitely not a brewpub: the "brewery" is still a concrete block shell with a dirt floor, and has been for three years.

(10/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Canal Street Pub and Restaurant, Reading, PA

Not a brewpub, never has been a brewpub. Canal Street IS located directly over the brewery that has been Neversink, Fancy Pants, and now is Legacy, but it is a separate business, and always has been.

(10/08/2003)

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

Not sure who's running this now, but it's NOT called Red Bell anymore, and it never was a brewpub. It's a beer bar.

(10/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Valhalla Microbrewery and Restaurant, Pittsburgh , PA

Definitely closed. 9/27/03. RIP.

(10/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Closed and re-opened (again): Fancy Pants lost their brewer, Joe Beddia, back in May, and never found another. They have folded, and the brewery space is now occupied by Legacy Brewing, the same guys who were once Pretzel City Brewing across town. They will be brewing Steamhorse Lager and Duke of Ale.

(09/22/2003)

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

Establishment: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

The beer's a given; what I really wanted to mention was the service. Last two times I've been in to Victory, service has been noticeably better, the last time the bartenders were actually enthusiastic. What a breath of fresh air! Keep it up, Victory!

(09/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Empire Brewing Company, Rochester, NY

Just read in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle today that Empire in Rochester is closing. Don't know why, but they quoted the owner, so...

(09/02/2003)

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

Establishment: Ithaca Beer Company, Ithaca, NY

Herr Sadowy...It's not a bar, it's a production brewery. Most of them DO shut down at 5:00 on Friday. Go into Ithaca to have their beer, or come out to visit when they're open!

(09/02/2003)

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

Establishment: Big Tree Inn, Geneseo, NY

I'm cursing myself for not visiting the Big Tree earlier and including it in my New York Breweries book: this place is GREAT. Excellent, well-kept draft selection, informed and well-tempered bartender, beautiful place, good spirits selection, and an extremely picturesque setting (if it's not wintertime...): what more could you ask? Outstanding bar.

(08/23/2003)

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

Establishment: Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, NY

Very impressive start-up. IPA is a whack in the head, Mild is a beauty of a session beer, porter is a good reach for a dark session with some roast notes. Go to it, guys.

(08/14/2003)

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

Establishment: Barnstormers, Henrietta, NY

I had two excellent pints of Rohrbach Porter here last night, my bro-in-law had nice pints of Southern Tier Mild. I wish I had ignored the reviews here and visited Barnstormers myself: I would have included them in my NY Breweries book. Sorry, guys: second edition!

(08/14/2003)

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

Establishment: King Arthur's Steak House and Brew Pub, Oswego, NY

Hate to do this, but...I made my first visit to King Arthur's two days ago. It's in a great location, right by the river and the lake, in a nice section of town, in a cool old historic building. The place itself is very nice, good-looking bar, a lot of thought went into the decor. There were six house beers on tap, a good number. But the beer itself--in 20 years of drinking non-mainstream beer, I've only said a beer was "undrinkable" twice. The Wheat ale and the Oatmeal Stout at King Arthur's both fell into that class. I'm guessing, but I was told that the brewer, Steve, had left a few months ago, and the new brewer, Mark (sorry about the lack of last names, but the bartender couldn't recall them), had just started a couple days earlier, so I'm guessing that these beers have been on forever and have gone bad. But guys, come on! You have to know these beers are bad, they're totally soured. The Harborfest beer was actually pretty good, as was the Porter. Why not take off the soured ones and save your good name and reputation? It's worth a lot more than half a tank of skanked beer. Dump the bad beers, and let the new guy get to work. Looking forward to trying the new stuff sometime soon.

(08/14/2003)

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

Establishment: Red Lion Brewing Company, Watertown, NY

Stopped in at Red Lion two days ago when I was in upstate. Mike Bauer has left, evidently for true personal reasons, and gone home to Pittsburgh. I hope he gets the brewing job he wants there, the man has talent. Meanwhile, owner Mike Martini has taken over the brewing, and he's doing okay. The Velvelt Elvis Stout was perhaps not quite as rich as I remembered, but is still a real smooth jar of black. The Northern Lights golden ale was surprisingly flavorful, and the Mojo ESB was good, if a bit understrength. The only beer I had problems with was the Belgian Devil, which suffered from an overabundance of phenols (maybe a cooler fermentation next time?). Food was surprising, but good: I had a quesadilla that reminded me more of a pirogi, in a really good way--delicious stuff. The deck is killer, with a cool overlook of the rocking rapids on the Black River. I'll be back.

(08/14/2003)

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

Establishment: Kobors Brewing and Distributing Company, Schuylerville, NY

Dead as a doornail. Contract brewery. Cooperstown made beer for them, but they went under, sometime in 1998, 1999.

(07/23/2003)

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

Establishment: Gentleman Jim's Restaurant and Pub, Poughkeepsie, NY

The brewing equipment has been taken out of Gentleman Jim's as of May, 2003. Brewer John Calen is now at Ramapo Valley.

(07/23/2003)

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

Establishment: Parker's Grille and Tap House, Newark, NY

I've been coming to Newark to visit family for years, and the recent appearance of Parker's is going to make those trips a lot more beer-friendly. Parker's (owned by the same people who own Parker's in Geneva) is open, high-ceilinged, and done in light wood, so the place does NOT look dingy at all. It's not packed cheek-by-jowl, either, there's space between tables, and there's a nice sidewalk area as well. Best of all, we were in around 11 on a Saturday night, and it was pretty well lit and the music was not so loud that you had to shout to be heard. The tap selection included two Wagner Valley beers (including an excellent new IPA that was like a hop-hammerblow right between the eyes), three Ithacas, a couple Sam Adams, a couple tame imports (Guinness, Blue, Newcastle), and the usual swill; I'm hoping that improves a bit. I did see a LOT of people drinking Michelob Ultra: why? Water's cheaper. But I don't hold that against Parker's. If they can hold out long enough to get Newark up to speed, this is going to be a great place, maybe even good enough to be a destination. VERY enjoyable bar, even if the beer selection isn't quite up to places like the Blue Tusk or MacGregor's.

(06/30/2003)

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

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

Mr. Tomey, I couldn't let your comment go by. Rest assured, Tom Pastorius is NOT a jerk. Tom Pastorius is one of the true gentlemen in the craft brewing industry, a well-spoken, educated man who runs a clean business. His annual beer festival in June is one of the most popular fests with the brewers because of how well they are treated. This is the very first negative comment I've ever heard about Tom. He is one of my favorite people in the Pennsylvania brewing industry, in a group of great people. His beer's damned good, too. No slam on you, just letting you know my opinion, based on about 8 years of interviewing Tom for stories I've done.

(04/20/2003)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Fair enough, Rich. E-mail me, and tell me me why you're not at Fancy Pants anymore. No one wants to explain that to me.

(01/09/2003)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Heh. Thanks for the defense, Beth. I just want to be treated like any other Pubcrawler. I give Brian's beers good reviews and jump to his defense for one reason only: he's a damned good brewer, and his beers (for the most part) blow me away. William Reed feels the same way: Standard Tap has pretty much dedicated a tap to Sly Fox beers, as has the Grey Lodge Pub. I like the guys at Victory, too, but I've hammered them for service at the brewpub. I never will lie about something being good at a brewery: never. I will, I admit, not always mention something bad. I usually take back channels on that, talk to the owners/brewers, and find out what they're doing to improve the situation. I just had a chat with the owners at Capital Ale House in Richmond about a very specific service problem. I can understand why people are critical of my reviews: it's something that happens when you publish. You hang it out there, and part of that is becoming a target. That's okay, I kind of signed on for that. But don't be surprised if the target shoots back!

Oh, and Beth...Ed Fitz Porter is GREAT, no doubt. But you should get up to Fredonia and try the porter at Barker Brewing. Weow!

(01/08/2003)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Hey, whoa, slow down! I didn't mean to stomp you, just disagree with you. I don't consider myself the foremost expert on beer, either; especially not here. I just like to say whatever I want to say here, without worrying about editors. But porter is one of my hot buttons, and I have a pretty contrarian view of the style, because there's a LOT of misinformation about it floating around. The porter you got at Sly Fox may have been on the tap too long, but that color is not necessarily a bad thing for a porter. I mainly commented on it because I'd happened to have some in the same time frame. For what it's worth, I don't "get treated like El Dorado" at the Sly Fox (Jack Curtin does, but that's another story), and I've clashed with Brian on a number of brewing issues. But we're still friends, and when I have a problem with his beer, I tell him, and I'll put it in my writing, too. I think his stout's too dry. My opinion, and he disagrees. That's life! I do try to stay objective, I try really hard. It's my living, after all. You going to the Bobby Burns dinner at Sly Fox on the 17th? If you see me there (I'll be the one covered in gold with the Aztec headdress...), say hi, and I'll buy you a pint of porter.

(01/06/2003)

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

Establishment: Middle Ages Brewing Company, Syracuse, NY

Stopped in last week with some friends, we had a great time sampling the full line of Middle Ages beers. Took home growlers of porter, British triple, and Imperial stout. No excuses, beervolk: if you're in the area, STOP IN SYRACUSE.

(01/05/2003)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Had a pint of Mudskipper Porter at the Grey Lodge today: excellent, rich beer. Joe, you're doing it right, now get out there and SELL it! Best of luck in the new year.

(01/05/2003)

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

Establishment: Capital Ale House, Richmond, VA

New place, and it hit the ground running. Capital Ale House has set a high mark for beer bars anywhere, let alone Richmond. This high-end place has excellent taps (they claim to have a policy of seeking out unusual draft beers, and they're doing fairly well so far), a very deep bottle selection, and a classy atmosphere for enjoying good beer. The food was delicious: I had beer-steamed mussels for an appetizer and a fried oyster po' boy, both excellent. Big downcheck on service, though. Our waiter was an odd mix of competent and clueless. Given one chance to screw up a beer order, he did it, mixing my wife's Snow Goose with her brother's Bear Republic Red Rocket (an impressive draft for Richmond, admittedly). We had to bus our own empty dishes to an adjacent empty table to get room for our entrees, and I was out of beer for ten minutes before he came by again. He was pleasant, and knew the menu and the beerlist, but...I want a waiter who gets the beer right, who gets the crap out of my way (especially given the relatively narrow tables at Capital), and who is there when I'm dry. I've also heard that my experience was not unique, or even rare. However, the food and the beer were so exceptional, that I still give Capital a GREAT overall. Get the service up to speed, and this place will be awesome.

(01/02/2003)

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

Establishment: Country Inn, Krumville, NY

Sad news: Larry has sold the Country Inn. His last day behind the stick will be this Saturday, Dec. 28. I'll be there, hope to see some Pubcrawlers there to say farewell to this grand pioneer of the good beer movement. Thanks for a great time, Larry, and here's hoping your successors can hold high the torch.

(12/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Media, PA

Went to the Brewer's Reserve last Friday as the guest of Iron Hill partner Mark Edelson. Dinner was excellent; apps were dynamite (juicy duck spring rolls, cheese and artichoke dip with excellent Le Bus-made beer bread), and my steak was as rare as I wanted for a change, though it was a bit overly fatty. The beer was outstanding, from the crisp helles to the roaring "imperial IPA" Holiday Ale to the majestic Russian Imperial Stout (a first for Iron Hill, and quite impressive; kudos to brewer Bob Barrar) to the always delicious Triple. Also had some excellent draft Anchor OSA and a nip of Old Potrero, courtesy of Brewer's Reserve guest brewery Anchor and rep Andy Musser. This is a beautiful brewpub, the most elegant of Iron Hill's three, and it was hopping on a Friday night. That was the reason for the lower mark on service: our waitress was competent, but it took forever to get service at the bar. I was standing there with a twenty in my hand, and the bartender just kept walking past me and smiling. "Just a minute" would have been nice. It took almost ten minutes to get served; busy's busy, but... Once she did take my order, I got it quickly.

(12/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Dear Mr. Santini:

Your plea for black porter is strange;

black is not in that beer's color range.

So please take a look

at your old homebrew book;

your comments you should rearrange.

Seriously, porter historically was brewed with brown malt, not the cheaper black patent malt that was developed in the early 1800s. Brian O'Reilly, the brewer at Sly Fox, has obviously chosen to take a more historical tack on his porter. I just had some of his porter at the Grey Lodge Pub yesterday, and it tasted fine to me. It may not be in your range of experience with porter, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. In fact, as the Brits say, it's quite a bit of all right.

(12/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, Manayunk, PA

Finally got to meet Larry Horwitz this week, and it was an excellent experience. Sampled his ruby mild and porter, loved both, wish I'd have tried some lagers, but ran out of time. He's moved into the Philly beer scene with gusto, meeting the brewers and the alpha geeks, and it looks like his negotiating skills are up to getting more of what he wants at Manayunk. Good news, and good beers. Stop in, try these new beers.

(12/19/2002)

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

Establishment: Malt River Brewing Company, Latham, NY

I don't know what all the negative comments are about. I was in the area for three days and went here twice; beer was good, some of it quite good (the cask was great, IPA was clean and piney, porter was nicely understated). The service was good and very fast, even though the place was over half-full. We enjoyed our meal, except my dad: my tuna was very good, his was a bit rubbery. The "aled pub cheese" was delicious. Hell, I liked this place.

(12/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Pearly Baker's Alehouse, Easton, PA

Just had dinner at Pearly's tonight. The beer selection is quite diminished from what it was four years ago. No cask ale anymore, though the pump's still there (this is not necessarily a bad thing; Pearly's often kept casks on too long), lot of crap on tap, but they did have HopDevil, Spaten Ofest, Young's RamRod, and a few others. No Weyerbacher? What's up widdat? In any case, the knockout was the appetizers. The entrees were good, and the kids' meals (chicken fingers and angel hair with marinara) were obviously made in house with some care and were a cut above the usual crap kids get served. But the apps! Lord, smoked trout wontons with a delicious horseradish cream sauce: sounds freaky but it was not only delicious but beautifully presented. The other app was a grilled North Atlantic lobster tail, stuffed with crabmeat, on a bed of potato straws in brown butter and balsamic vinegar. Imaginative, beautiful, and delicious fare. We may have made bad picks on the entrees (crab cakes -- good but not stellar -- and chicken napoleon -- overspiced and skimpish on the andouille, though the shrimp was delicious), there were other interesting things on the menu. A very good meal, and the beer was at least fresh, if not exotic: easily the best glass of RamRod I've had in four or five years.

(11/02/2002)

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

Establishment: Monticello Brewing Company, Charlottesville, VA

Monticello did, unfortunately, close in late 2000. A shame, as they made some pretty good Abbey-style ales.

(11/02/2002)

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

Establishment: General Lafayette Inn and Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA

Tell you what, "Peter," or "Tubby," or whatever the voices told you your name was today, your plight has touched me, and I'm willing to help. You come up with $500 for a private lesson at the non-Victory brewpub of my choice, and I'll not only teach you more about beer than you ever wanted to know, I'll show you how to write a PubCrawler post that doesn't make you sound like a retard. Izzat a deal, or what? If you can't raise the cash, try to stop talking trash.

(10/29/2002)

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

Establishment: DuClaw Brewing Company, Bel Air, MD

Had Jim's Twisted Kilt Scottish Ale at the beerfest at Appalachian: best of the fest. What a great, raunchy, malt-monster beer. This man knows what he's doing.

(10/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA

Paul, I'm sorry you had bad experiences at the Standard, but I have to disagree with your evaluation of the beers. I was just there last night, and had an outstanding glass of Troegs ESB off the handpump and a knockout glass of Incubus (triple) from Sly Fox. They also had Sly Fox's Pilsner, the Strong Ale from Fancy Pants, and Lancaster Milk Stout. I got a visit to the new coldroom with part-owner William Reed, and there are kegs of Sly Fox's medal-winning Helles ready to go on. The only pale ale I saw was Stoudt's APA. True, they had Victory HopDevil, not Prima, but...even here, people seem to prefer ales. Stoudt's makes a fantastic Pilsner, one of my favorites, but it just doesn't sell. What to do? I dunno. You said they had the worst local brewers: last night it was Stoudt's, Victory, Flying Fish, Sly Fox, Dogfish Head, Yards, Troegs, Lancaster, and Fancy Pants, as well as the de riguer Yuengling. Who is it you want to see instead?

(10/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, West Chester, PA

Went over for the Brewer's Reserve last Friday: WHOA! Barleywine, Old Ale, and Wee Heavy (aged in a Jack Daniel barrel) were all thunderously awesome, the Pig Iron Porter was great (took a growler home for a party the next night and all agreed), but the best was the cask Anvil Ale, sharply spiced with a dry-hop addition of Tettnang (!), beautifully conditioned, and smooth as glass. The joint was packed on a Friday night, but the geeks were hanging in the brewery with all the Iron Hill brewers, Brian O'Reilly (Sly Fox), Scott Morrison (McKenzie), and Tony Forder and Jack Babbin of Ale Street News. A good time, and fantastic beer. Congratulations to Iron Hill for winning two MORE GABF medals, by the way: this is their sixth year in a row. Guess the beer's pretty good, despite some peoples' "opinions."

(10/22/2002)

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

Establishment: Rock Bottom Brewery, Bethesda, MD

As I've mentioned elsewhere here, I do this for a living: I write about beer. So when I go in a brewpub, generally the first thing I get is a sampler so I can taste as many of a brewery's beers as possible. Not this time. I saw some people drinking pints of cask ale at the bar, and asked the bartender what was on. I got a pint of pale ale...and it was tremendous. It was all I drank, I mean, why mess with perfection? Kudos to Geoff Lively; great job!

(10/22/2002)

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

Establishment: Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA

Recognition at last: congratulations to Brandon Greenwood and Nodding Head for winning GABF Gold for Grog, and Bronze for Boho Pilsner. Much deserved.

(10/07/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Just a tip of the hat to Brian the Brewer: congrats on the Bronze medal at the GABF. That would be for the HELLES, people! Great beer, great guy, way to go, dude!

(10/07/2002)

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

Establishment: Bube's Brewery, Mount Joy, PA

NICK! How are ya, buddy? I must agree, the new brewers (head brewer Christine Bump and Dan Binkley) are doing good work: had the oatmeal stout at Appalachian's fest and it was great. This place is one of a kind, really a must-stop, and now with house-made beer... Yow.

(10/07/2002)

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

Establishment: Nick's 1014 Cafe, Harrisburg, PA

I have to agree with the last reviewer. What the hell happened to Nick's? I was in two weeks ago and the taps were dry (they were out of half the beers showing), the booze shelves were half-empty, and there was no action in the place at all. We made do with a so-so pint of Troegs, but man; this used to be the best place in town. Suck!

(09/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Just wanted to note that though I've met Bill Bryson, and like his beers, as near as we can determine we are NOT related!

(09/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Had an excellent beer dinner at Sly Fox last night, their first ever. Brewer Brian O'Reilly came up with NINE great beers -- well, actually, there were only five "great" beers. The other four were amazing. The Incubus Tripel returned, we were treated to a delicious saison and Belgian golden ("Renard d'Or"), we had a big goblet of rich dubbel, there was an abbey single, a pils, the Wit, and dessert was served with dry stout and black-raz wheat. Impressive selection, fantastic execution. The meal was very good, marred somewhat by slow service on two of the courses (though the service was accurate and friendly...and to be honest, this was probably more the fault of the kitchen than the waitstaff, who were quite efficient). Good time, great beer and food, and a steal at $55 inclusive. Can't wait for the next one!

(09/06/2002)

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

Establishment: Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant, South Orange, NJ

Yada yada yada (I've enjoyed Gaslight's beers the two times I've had them, with the exception of one at a festival that was obviously off), but don't knock Erie's beer: Erie Brewing's Railbender is a great malty Scotch Ale-kinda beer that I really like, and there are more than a few places in town that are worth a visit. Slag Matt all you want, he can defend himself, but back off Erie! (The pollution's pretty much gone, by the way: you can even eat the lake fish again.)

(09/02/2002)

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

Establishment: Valley Forge Brewing Company, Wayne, PA

So, uh, Wayne...Why did you rate the beer quality and selection "so-so" if you were going to have a glass of wine? Did you have any beer on this trip? I only ask because in your whole long story you never mentioned the beer.

(09/02/2002)

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

Establishment: Woodstock Brewing Company, Kingston, NY

I'm afraid that's old info: Woodstock closed in late 2001. Brewer Nat Collins will soon be making beer on the Woodstock brewhouse at Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville.

(09/02/2002)

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

Establishment: The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh , PA

Well, fair enough, Dave, and I see we both like Brian O'Reilly's beers, so... I just have to stick with what I said: never had a bad one at Church, and I've had good cask ale there, too.

(08/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Franklin's, Hyattsville, MD

Oh, I forgot to mention: Franklin's IS very kid-friendly. My kids loved it, as did my niece and nephew, and they've all seen plenty of brewpubs that bored and annoyed them. This seems to peeve some adults (most of the print reviews I've seen of Franklin's griped about not being able to let their hair down with kids around); isn't that too bad? There are a TON of places that are NOT kid-friendly: this one place is and you're bummed? Get over it, or just come back after 9:00!

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Franklin's, Hyattsville, MD

I can't believe this place is only six months old as a brewpub! Excellent porter would have gained the "Awesome" award, this stuff is excellent, but it was served way too cold. We had that, the Anarchy, and IPA, and all were great beers. I've heard negative comments about Charles Noll's beer when he brewed elsewhere, but I truly cannot understand that: this stuff is outstanding. Food was a bit disappointing: my eggplant parm sandwich was stringy (and a big letdown from the excellent EP sandwich I'd had just a week before at Troy Brewing), my wife's portabella sandwich was very plain. But the place LOOKS fantastic, has a great vibe, and has a great future with their brewpub/general store combo. The general store...is a hoot, with all its gimcracks and doodads and whacky kid and adult toys, but don't overlook the very serious assortment of beer, wine, and odd foodstuffs. In short, fix the food, ease back on the beer freezing, and this place will live up to the buzz.

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Bacchus, New Paltz, NY

Don't let the name fool you: Bacchus may be the wine deity, but this place has 13 taps and over 250 bottles of beers. This is the place for beer variety in New Paltz; hit it before or after the Gilded Otter. Very comfy place, lots of dark wood and plants, but not a fern-bar.

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Gilded Otter, New Paltz, NY

First visited Gilded Otter about two months after they opened, and have seen it steadily improve since then (with the exception of the hostesses/greeters/seaters: clueless then, clueless now, clueless evermore: what does it take?). The beer is excellent, not a clinker in the bunch. The Stone House Imperial Stout is a killer that will leave you tangle-footed and smiling, but the Rail Trail Pale Ale is great too, crisp, clean, fruity, and brisk with American hop flavor bulging out at the seams. A happy stop. Make it great by improving the service (bartenders are just fine, food-side people need drilling).

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Rudy's, New York, NY

A great and famous dive. Rudy's looks like it's been kicked in the teeth a couple times, but it's doing just fine, thanks. You might run into a literary club, a bunch of old drunks, hell, you might run into the big pig outside, but that's Rudy's. Last time I was there they had Pilsner Urquell on tap, and that's not bad, especially at $10 a pitcher ($8 for Yuengling Lager). Free hot dogs during happy hour, too! An excellent dive bar.

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Saint Andrew's, New York, NY

If St. Andrew's had NO whisky, they'd be an excellent beer bar. With their selection of malts approaching 140, they are astounding for the beer and whisky lover. I love this stand-up place, well-lit and friendly to conversation. Bartenders are quick, cooperative, and unobtrusive.

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Manchester Pub, New York, NY

Manchester's small, but the beer selection was quite good, and the quality of the beer was impressive. Bartender knew about beer, and, even more importantly, was willing to learn more. Friendly place, if a bit cramped.

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Maggies Place, New York, NY

One of the very best pints of Guinness I've had, in the U.S. or Ireland. And I have to disagree, I thought the bartenders were quite attentive, even at rush time. The waitresses were pleasant, even though I was just trying to stay out of their way. Nice place, authentic-looking.

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: Jimmy Armstrong's Saloon, New York, NY

Excellent joint, very comfortable and somewhat eccentric, good beer and well-kept.

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: The Brazen Head, Brooklyn, NY

Nice, clean, one of the few beer bars in Brooklyn where I would take my wife if she was wearing her pearls, if you catch my drift. This is a somewhat precious crowd, but not overly so, and the ambiance is pleasantly upscale. NOT just another Guinness-bar, despite being named for Dublin's oldest pub.

(08/25/2002)

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

Establishment: General Lafayette Inn and Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA

Went to the mead event at the General Lafayette last night. I have to say: mead sux. Chris Leonard got in a number of commercial meads and served a few of his own. I tried a number of them, and the only one I liked was Chris's aged braggot, served on cask, and even it was only good. But then I went to beer, and WOW, the big fat 7.1% porter he had pouring knocked me out: Baltic in its hugeness, very ale-like in its character. Great beer. Best of all, service was notably better this time round, with two bartenders taking good care of our three-man drinking team. If you're not going to the General, you're missing a great part of Philly's beer scene.

(08/24/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Stopped in at Sly Fox twice tonight (had to take a friend back after a quick trip to the Meadfest at General Lafayette). Had the Keller Helles (outstanding, fantastic beer, clean as a whistle), black raspberry wheat (what a relief after all the buggy-tasting red razz wheats: pretty in purple and cleanly delicious), dry stout (perfect except for being just a bit too dry on the finish for my tastes), and the Pils (again, clean and brisk, with a beautiful north German pils bitterness to it). Excellent service, but I was with a regular and the brewer, so that's an unknown. Great beer!

(08/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Lake Placid, NY

I got an e-mail from LPP&B owner Chris Ericson today explaining that there is indeed a New York law that growlers must be labeled with the brewery information for the beer they're filled with. I'm still not happy about that, but I'm pissed at the NY ABC, not LPP&B. In fact, I'm pretty impressed that an owner would check Pubcrawler that regularly to see what people were saying about his place. Come to think of it, 4 bucks isn't much for a jug, either, considering I just saw one today at a brewpub in Maryland for $6. $4 may be the lowest price I've seen. So I owe Chris and LPP&B an apology: sorry, guys! Next time I'll buy a jug.

I'll have to start a campaign to stamp out these asinine laws, which are, after all, designed to make sure you know what beer you're getting. If you don't know what beer you're getting when you're going to the brewery yourself and getting it...you're as dumb as a politician.

(08/20/2002)

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

Establishment: Brown's Brewing Company was Troy Pub and Brewery, Troy, NY

Stopped in with the family last week, and we had a great time. I had the eggplant parm sandwich: fantastic on grilled bread with lots of fluffy ricotta, went very well with the porter. Helped my wife with her delicious portabella wrap, and her fresh and spicy hefeweizen. Finished up the meal out on the deck with a great fresh pint of Trojan Pale Ale, very snappy and hoppy. Beautiful view of the river at sunset. The kids loved the place, plenty of room to roam around (no, I don't let my kids run around a place unattended! I walked with them) and the fun murals to look at. I like the beer at a LOT of places in the Capital district, but Troy Brewing is my favorite place to hang out.

(08/19/2002)

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

Establishment: McGeary's Pub, Albany, NY

McGeary's is a lot of fun, with a big set of taps that include a few nice surprises. They also have what is possibly the best selection of whisk(e)y in Albany: Irish, Scotch, bourbon and rye, a deep array of the best. I'm not even from the area and I saw people I knew here; gotta love that. Great setting in downtown, easy walk to Big House and Pump Station brewpubs. This one's a winner.

(08/19/2002)

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

Establishment: Middle Ages Brewing Company, Syracuse, NY

Drank through a case of ImPaled Ale this week with the help of some family: outstanding beer. Rock-solid malt and ester base provide an anchor for some ravingly good hopping. The most popular beer of the week, and rightly so.

(08/17/2002)

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

Establishment: Cooperstown Brewing Company, Milford, NY

Helped the bro-in-law polish off a case of Pride of Milford while camping in the Adirondacks this past week. What a great beer: big, sweet, but not cloying, estery, nutty, delicious. Hats off.

(08/17/2002)

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

Establishment: Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY

I just visited Ommegang for the 7th time last Sunday, toured it with my family and friends. Our tourguide (dunno her name, young woman with red hair) gave us one of the very best brewery tours it has ever been my pleasure to receive in 17 years of touring breweries: informative, complete, and without a speck of BS. Well, not much. But the people on the tour heard more about brewing than they would hear at most tours in larger or longer-established breweries. This is a fantastic place, set aside the exquisitely good beers (the Hennepin just keeps getting better and better). You really owe it to yourself to come and visit.

(08/17/2002)

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

Establishment: Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid, NY

Had dinner here with the family last night. Promised an hour-long wait, it was only 25 minutes, and we were served fast. Beer was great, but the smoked porter was not quite as good as I've had it in the past. John Brown was excellent. The food was tremendous, even my son's kid's menu burger was awesome, and my own seafood casserole...if I could cook scallops that well every time I tried, I'd be one happy SOB. A fantastic stop for food and beer in the North Country.

(08/17/2002)

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

Establishment: Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Lake Placid, NY

Visited yesterday. Beer was great, particularly the hefeweizen, and the Ubu did not disappoint. Nachos were good, though a little short on chips: come on, they're the cheap part! I was bummed that when I presented my plain brown growler I was told that they only filled their own growlers. This is an annoyance; don't know if it's state law or an urge to sell $4 glass jugs. I get to Placid once a year, tops: I am not going to buy a growler. I'd be happy to pay to fill one or more of my own.

(08/17/2002)

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

Establishment: Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub and Restaurant, Syracuse, NY

Ditto on all that: Kitty Hoyne's is one of the most beer-aware "Irish" pubs I've been to, in the U.S. or the Republic. They also have an outstanding selection of whisk(e)ys, and a beautifully designed two-sided bar. Great place, and an easy walk from the rest of the amazing beer spots on and near Armory Square.

(08/17/2002)

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

Establishment: Adirondack Pub and Brewery, Lake George, NY

Forgot to review this one! I was up at Lake George in mid-June and stopped in Adirondack Pub. For a brewpub in a resort town that's not open all year-round (mostly closed in January and March), I was very pleasantly surprised. Owner John Carr does the brewing, and he's picky. The Bearnaked Ale was a quaffable ale with nice cherry jam estery notes. The IPA was a hop-blast, surprisingly bitter for a brewpub beer, and just hung in there with a bitter finish that lasted forever. I'm hoping to stop in again next week when we're up in the Adirondacks camping.

(08/05/2002)

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

Establishment: Barker Brew Company, Fredonia, NY

Well, Kurt, thanks for buying the books; your taste in reading material isn't in the least bit suspect! As for liking every beer, if you'll recall in the books, "The Pick" was my favorite beer from each brewery, and the only beer I actually reviewed from each place: of course there were a lot of positive reviews. It's also hard to find a publisher that will print both positive and negative reviews; I'm still trying.

As for Top 6 in New York... Brooklyn? Ommegang? Empire? Those are three pretty damned good breweries that most people are familiar with, then you have less well-known but equally good places like Middle Ages, Blue Point, Wagner, Southampton Publick House... There ARE excellent breweries in New York; there are also some that are pretty mediocre. Maybe we'll meet at Barker sometime and compare notes, eh?

(08/05/2002)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Another viewpoint: I just had the Fancy Pants blueberry beer at the Grey Lodge Pub in Philly last week, and I thought it was at least good. It was pale but with a tinge of reddish purple to it, a good aroma of blueberries, and a light blueberry flavor. I'd actually suggest backing off on the hops; the only hoppy fruit beer I've ever had that I liked is Dogfish Head's Aprihop. But this stuff is definitely drinkable. It sure sounds like Canal Street isn't doing Fancy Pants any favors by serving their beer in crappy condition.

(08/05/2002)

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

Establishment: Ireland's Four Courts, Arlington, VA

"Yhe Guinness was ice-cold"? You say that like it's supposed to be a GOOD thing. At least this kind of lunacy is not limited to the U.S.; I understand they're serving Guinness colder and colder in Ireland now, too. This beer was meant to be drunk at about 50 degrees. Jeez...

(08/05/2002)

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

Establishment: MacGregor's Grill and Tap Room, Henrietta, NY

The two beers I had were in excellent condition; the Ithaca Flower Power IPA I had was actually better than the sample I had at the brewery. But with that many taps, damn, man, I'd like to see a little more adventurous beers. There were only five I hadn't had before (and two of those were nondescript lagers). They did have a Chimay White tap, which was cool to see, but otherwise there were a lot of the usual suspects. Or maybe I'm just whining because I like the atmosphere at the original Gregory Street location better. Way better.

(07/31/2002)

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

Establishment: Distillery, Rochester, NY

I won't rate The Distillery's beer as Lousy, because the beer I've had there wasn't sour, or infected, or horribly stale (as I have had in some places); it was just boring and bland and woefully undifferentiated. Luckily they have taps of Saranac Pale Ale and Black Forest to go with the great food. Service pretty much sucked, though: our bartender wasn't busy, but couldn't be bothered to pay much attention to empty glasses and requests for more napkins and a glass of icewater. I've had to go here twice for research, but I won't be going back except at gunpoint.

(07/31/2002)

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

Establishment: The Brew Pub was Ramapo Valley Brewery, Suffern, NY

I like Neill's beers (and I took the time to learn how to spell his name), and I think it would be a sin if he stopped brewing, so shut up. The Stud Copper has a malty/biscuit/toffee mix that rewards the thoughtful drinker, and the Suffern Station Porter is a great smooth brew that is a pint-after-pinter. The IPA kicks butt, and the Skullcrusher Scotch Ale is a big, raunchy, smoky glass of gutsy beer. I still don't like the decor here, but the beers are excellent.

(07/30/2002)

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

Establishment: Barker Brew Company, Fredonia, NY

Sorry you were disappointed, Kurt, and amused that you felt you had to take a slap at me. If you would take the time to check my reviews, you'd see that I don't like everything. I also stand by what I said about Barker's beer, in fact, I'll step it up a notch: Barker Brewing is one of the top six breweries in New York. I hope you'll give them another shot. I did.

(07/30/2002)

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

Establishment: Gettysburg Brewing Company, Gettysburg, PA

Hey, if you were properly prepared with my "Pennsylvania Breweries" tourguide book, you'd KNOW the hours of PA's brewpubs before you went there, even places like Gettysburg and Selin's Grove! Just click on the folder by my name to see the Amazon link. (New York Breweries coming next year!)

(07/22/2002)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Guys, guys, guys: There is no longer any business linkage between the Canal Street Pub and the brewery downstairs (once Neversink, now Fancy Pants Brewing Co.) Canal Street is NOT a brewpub, it's just a bar, an increasingly lackadaisical one, from what I've seen, but it has nothing to do with Fancy Pants. The beers I've had from Fancy Pants have been good ones; if you've had bad FP beers upstairs at Canal Street, I would strongly suggest that the fault is with the bar's handling of the beers, not with the brewing.

(07/22/2002)

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

Establishment: Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA

Sorry Scotch Plains (that is your name, right?) had a bad time in my local. I've never had any problems with beer-ignorant servers, but then, I always sit at the bar. The bartenders know what they're talking about. Anyway, ISAAC'S HAD A FIRE in early June. They will probably be closed most of the summer of 2002, but are rebuilding and will re-open. Bummer. Now I gotta go to Philly to get good draft beer.

(07/02/2002)

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

Establishment: Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, Manayunk, PA

To clue you in on what's going on: Jim Brennan finally quit Manayunk Brewing, and no one seems to want to take the brewing position. Things are kind of up in the air right now. Not sure if they are going to continue brewing or not.

(06/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Yankee Brewing Company was Old World Brewing Co, Staten Island, NY

Old World has changed its name to Yankee Brewing Company (They're selling their New York Harbor beers at the Staten Island Yankees ballpark), and has a new brewer on the kettle, Dan Carter, who just started about 10 days ago. Dan comes from Greenshields, in Durham, NC, and has a wide range of brewing experience. He's good, and he's not easily satisfied: both great news for beer lovers. I expect New York Harbor beers will get even better. They're getting a new bottling line soon, so bottles should be on the shelves by September.

(06/23/2002)

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

Establishment: Cooperstown Brewing Company, Milford, NY

Cooperstown Brewing is in an old dairy station outside Milford, NY. (They meant to open IN Cooperstown, and had a property, but the town nixed it: "No one makes anything in Cooperstown but baseball cards." Their loss!) They are a Pugsley/Peter Austin brewery using the Ringwood yeast; i.e., they bought the system from Pugsley and use his proprietary yeast, but it is an independent business. This is a really cool, very laid-back tour with substantial tasting at the end. These are classic Yorkshire-style ales with American touches: a light ale (9 Man), a hop-boosted IPA (Backyard, and it's Brit hops, so American geeks raised on tons of Cascades may not recognize them), and a strong ale (Pride of Milford, my favorite). Some people just hate Ringwood beers; well, okay, some people hate weissbier. Some of us love them. They're not flawed, anymore than lambics are. They're different. And this place does a great job with them. One of my favorite New York breweries.

(06/17/2002)

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

Establishment: Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

That may be the only across-the-board Awesome rating I've given, not sure. But what are you going to say about this place? It's internationally famous, yet no one here has a swelled head about it. The food ranges from good to amazing. The owners are fanatical about finding and procuring new, excellent Belgian, German, and British beers. I was just at another Monk's beer debut last night: draft Chimay White, the first time in America. Yes, it gets crowded. Yes, when you've set aside time to go and you find there's an event or there's no room, that's a pain. Yes, it's expensive (that Chimay White's going for $7 a goblet; the owner told me how much he's paying for the keg and wow, $7 is very fair), although as Don Feinberg at Ommegang says, "How much will you pay for a real beer experience?" BUT! This is an extremely beer-savvy staff, an unbelievably beer-devoted ownership, a beer-aware chef and kitchen staff, and a characterful little place. It could be different, but I don't really know how it could be better. Come. Eat. Drink. Worry about the calories and the bill tomorrow.

(06/12/2002)

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

Establishment: Sterling Place Tavern, Buffalo, NY

"It's all about the beer." Lots of places say this, but few mean it like the Sterling Place. Twelve taps, and ten items on the menu, a relatively small offering. But The owners, John and Judy, make the place friendly, they know their customers and are very friendly to new ones, and they are passionate about their beer. It's always a good sign when you spot an Anchor neon in a bar; Fritz doesn't dole them out to just anyone. Sterling has the only Anchor Porter neon I've seen on the east coast. Dedicated. I stopped short on an Awesome overall rating only because while the personal atmosphere is excellent, the Sterling isn't much to look at. I'd like different lighting, maybe a bit of character. They're doing this on a shoestring, so maybe that will come. Regardless, this will be a regular stop when I go to Buffalo.

(06/12/2002)

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

Establishment: Mugs Ale House, Brooklyn, NY

One of the 20 best beer bars I've been in, anywhere. It doesn't hurt that Mugs is literally around the corner from Brooklyn Brewing and had six of their excellent beers on draft when I visited, including the exceptional Star of Manchester, a one-off porter that I intend to petition the brewery to make again (and again and again!). Mugs has a great jukebox, an out of the ordinary beer selection, very reasonable prices, and a cross-sectional clientele. It felt very "bar-like" in that indefinably comfortable way. I'd go back again tomorrow.

(06/07/2002)

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

Establishment: Gate, Brooklyn, NY

No idea what that first review is on about. I had a very pleasant little session at The Gate. Turned out the bartender and I knew someone in common, even though I live in Philly! Service was good even before that, and the beer selection was good, and the two beers I had were very fresh. Great place to hang out in the afternoon.

(06/07/2002)

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

Establishment: Middle Ages Brewing Company, Syracuse, NY

Well, yeah, I LIKED this place. As has been noted, Marc and Tim are great guys who know what they're doing and are brewing for all the right reasons. I dropped by earlier this month and had a nice "tap-dance" session with them, trying a little bit of everything. I particularly liked the Duke of Winship Porter, which I'd never had before. And YES, this is a Ringwood brewery, and they're damned proud of it. It's a great yeast, and you can make excellent beers with it: here they are! Marc was bummed he didn't have anything on cask, so he called over to the Blue Tusk and set me up with a complementary pint of cask IPA. Thanks, Marc, and it was delicious.

(05/27/2002)

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

Establishment: Black Forest Brew Haus, Farmingdale, NY

I stopped by the Black Forest last week while on a research trip through Long Island. I was very pleased with the care taken on brewing these lager beers: a full 8 weeks lagering time on each beer. Tried the pils, export, maibock, Baltic porter, and Amber/festbier. All were quite good, with the striking exception of the Baltic porter, which had a strong celery-homebrew taste to it. The brewer had told me it was near the end of the tank, but yeesh. The other beers were excellent, though, and I'd give it an Awesome if it weren't for the porter. I took a growler of the export along to my wife's family picnic, along with growlers from Middle Ages, Southampton, and Blue Point, and we all agreed that we would have liked to have about four more growlers of the Black Forest Export. Each.

(05/27/2002)

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

Establishment: The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh , PA

I dunno, Cleveland Dave. I've never had a bad beer AT the Church, never had a bad beer FROM the Church when I've seen them at beer festivals (Stoudt's, Penn, and Harrisburg). I've had Church beers that were just okay, but never bad. I'm not saying I'm better at this than other people, but I do make my living reviewing beer and writing about breweries, so I'm not a complete amateur. The judges at the GABF are all either pro brewers, similarly experienced writers, or very experienced homebrew judges. However, tastes do vary. I'm will say that I'm NOT nuts about the service at the Church; it's been average at best and sometimes glacial. But the food I've had there has been good, and I have always found the beer to be at least good and often outstanding. Like I said: I dunno. Exactly what is it about Church beers you DON'T like?

(05/27/2002)

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

Establishment: Blue Tusk, Syracuse, NY

The Blue Tusk belongs in the top 20 beer bars in the U.S., without question. Clean, open, friendly, with an excellent tap selection that's well-kept, and cask ale to boot. My only complaint, and it's a small one, is that I would have liked to see more NY beers. I was kind of annoyed by the number of Three Floyds beers I saw here (and everywhere, actually). Not that I don't like 3 Floyds, I do: but there are plenty of great breweries much closer to home. BUT, like I said, small complaint. This is a great bar, and a must-visit in upstate. Worth a side-trip from Albany or Buffalo. Really.

(05/18/2002)

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

Establishment: Clark's Ale House, Syracuse, NY

I've wanted to visit Clark's for almost 10 years now, since first hearing about the place at a Stoudt's Festival. I have lived: I been there. I WANNA GO BACK. An interesting array of beers, well-kept and well-served, and the roast beef sandwich rules. Only downer was one rude jackass of a customer, but that's hardly Clark's fault, is it? Service was excellent, very knowledgeable and cordial.

(05/18/2002)

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

Establishment: Awful Al's Smoke and Whiskey Bar, Syracuse, NY

Past reviewers hit it on the head: there is a small but excellent concentration of booze joints around Armoury Square, and Awful Al's is a top-notch part of it. With a HUGE spirits selection and lots of comfy chairs, you don't have to go there just for the 20+ taps of good beer. I shrugged off a cold and rainy day with a heavy shot of Eagle Rare 17 year old bourbon, while my bro-in-law held up the carbonated side with a pint of Prima Pils. Very relaxing place.

(05/18/2002)

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

Establishment: Ludwig's Garten, Philadelphia, PA

Rick, if you don't LIKE German food, that's your problem. I DO like it, and Ludwig's is very good. Besides, heck, how can you NOT like German desserts? I stopped in with my daughter yesterday after the ballet (we saw a matinee of Tchaikovsky's "The Sleeping Beauty" that was gorgeous) and had Black Forest cake and Linzer torte that were outstanding. And Ludwig's has added a second bar in the dining room... hmmm, maybe there is something about the food. I could be wrong, Rick. But I still like the eats at Ludwig's!

(05/06/2002)

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

Establishment: Pittsburgh Brewing Company, Pittsburgh , PA

R.W.C.: A response seems to be needed. First, I am an outsider too, from eastern PA; born there, grew up there, live there now. Like you, I went to CMU (History MA, 1984); unlike you, I never found Pittsburgh to be hostile to outsiders. The people I met from Pittsburgh were proud of what they had and never too busy to talk to me about the town. Second, I rate Iron City as "good" in comparison to other mainstream American beers (as I said in my review), and I stick by that. It's as good as any other mainstream American beer. Third, Pittsburgh isn't just stagnant, it's shrinking, though you need to go back further than 25 years to see that. Pittsburgh's lost 1/3 of its population since 1960. The decline of Big Steel is most of that, despite what some Pittsburghers have told me. Finally, I agree with you that the city desperately needs outside investment. But don't attribute my "Who Needs You?" to the city. I only said that in reference to the ridiculous statements I've heard about Iron City outside Pittsburgh. Iron City has always been a Pittsburgh beer, and the city has always supported it, just like Yuengling in Schuylkill County. The brewery will live or die on the support of Pittsburgh. That's true too, and why not? What's wrong with a local brewery? But the city is not going to save itself by buying from outside and killing local industry it DOES have. If you want to discuss this further, my e-mail is attached.

(05/06/2002)

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

Establishment: Red Lion Brewing Company, Watertown, NY

Dropped in again (now there's a stupid idea: how do you "drop in" on a place in Watertown when you live in Philadelphia? I was up to check bars in Sackets Harbor and Watertown and decided to have lunch at Red Lion) last week for a bite to eat. I got a couple half-pints of the Velvet Elvis Stout (real good chewy stout) and a Red Lion Special sandwich; a tribute to Primanti Brothers' "almost famous" sandwiches in Pittsburgh, with the coleslaw and french fries right in the sandwich. It was good, though there was an odd accent of dill in the coleslaw that I didn't care for. The roast turkey and cheese were real good, though, as was the sourdough bread. Service was quick, friendly, and accurate. Couldn't ask for much more for a bar lunch! Easily the best place for a beer in Watertown.

(05/02/2002)

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

Establishment: Bootleggers, Plattsburgh, NY

I've no idea why Bootleggers isn't in Pubcrawler: it's been open for better than four years. This is a fun place, too, with lots of Prohibition-era decoration (including a working period phone booth) and a huge arcade downstairs. The beers are clean and tasty, if not adventurous; I particularly liked the Cardinal Red, a malty, medium-bodied Irish red ale, and the Stout, which is an Irish dry with a bit more heft to it than Guinness. Nothing wrong there, and the food I had (lasagna) was hot, good, and came out quickly. Service at the bar was friendly and attentive. This is a fun place.

(05/02/2002)

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

Establishment: Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid, NY

Just wanted to congratulate Rob and his staff for winning the Matthew Vassar Cup over the weekend at the TAP New York Fest in Hunter Mountain (great fest, BTW, worth a trip next year). The Vassar Cup is for the best brewery in the Hudson Valley as judged at the Fest. I also just happened to overhear that Rob & co. just missed winning both the Vassar Cup AND the F.X. Matt Cup for best brewer in New York State by only one point in the judging. Awesome, guys! (Kudos also go to the John Harvard's on Long Island, which DID win the Matt Cup: who said chain brewpubs were boring? Way to go!)

(04/29/2002)

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

Establishment: Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton, PA

The new Weyerbacher brewery is MUCH more ... uh... "brewery looking." Gone are the wooden floors and cramped spaces, now it's all wide-open wall-less and concrete. And I must say that the beer tastes better for it. I was prepared for a temporary drop in quality, which MANY breweries suffer when they move, but Weyerbacher beers are better out of the starting blocks. I'm looking forward to fresh Hops Infusion this summer.

(04/22/2002)

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

Establishment: Old Lehigh Brewing Company, Allentown, PA

Old Lehigh is closed. A shame, I really liked the idea of a brewery run part-time by a bunch of plumbers, and they made some excellent beer.

(04/22/2002)

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

Establishment: Porterhouse Restaurant and Brew Pub , Lahaska, PA

Stopped in the newly re-opened Porter House (was Buckingham Mountain) Saturday the 20th with my wife and son. We split two apps -- smoked trout (w/horseradish cream, minced hard-boiled egg and onion, capers: should have had some toast or crackers with all those good accompaniments) and a crock of chili (GOOD chili, not too spicy, and my son, a chili-lover, tore into it). I got the sampler of five beers (NOT all they had, there were about eight, I think, including a nitro stout I didn't see until we were leaving). Beer's being produced by River Horse, which is about four miles away. They brew the house porter, which was okay, on-premises, the rest of the beers are trucked over from Lambertville. I was a bit concerned to see that the serving tanks behind the bar have been removed, and the brewery looked amazingly clean (except for the cobwebs my wife spotted on one valve), and there were no hoses hooked up to the unitanks. The River Horse beers, sorry to say, suffer from what has been, in my opinion, River Horse's trademark timidity. The only one with a lot of flavor was the seasonal Dark Ale; the Hop Hazard was somewhat hoppy, but scarcely a hazard. The RH Triple I had in February was a shockingly promising example of what River Horse CAN do... and I hope more is forthcoming. Meanwhile, service at Porter House is okay, but not outstanding, food was good and the presentation was nice. I'll be heading back, for sure, though, with this place only 20 minutes from my house, and MUCH improved from Buckingham Mountain days; at least the beers were all clean.

(04/22/2002)

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

Establishment: Brown's Brewing Company was Troy Pub and Brewery, Troy, NY

I visited Troy Pub & Brewery just last week, but I've been here with my wife a few times before; we always had a good time. This time it was work: an interview and tasting. The beers were overall quite good, though there were exceptions. The Oatmeal Stout and Uncle Sam Amber were stand-outs, as was the seasonal Smoked Bock (which almost every beer geek in the Capital District seemed to know about and urged me to get to Troy and taste). The Hefe was delicious, as was the tasty, ballsier-than-Newcastle Sid's Brown Ale. My main complaint was that a couple of the beers were a bit old: the barleywine was a little oxidized (though it grew on me: I really don't mind an aged barleywine), the pale ale had a flat bitterness to it. The place itself is fantastic, a solid old building with lots of excellent mural art done by local artist Kevin Clark. Check the big mural outside, and the kiss-blown mountains above the brewery window in the bar. I sure would like to see less partisan bickering among brewpub customers in the Capital District, though: maybe you guys could all sit down for a beer together once a month at a different pub?

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: C.H. Evans Brewing - The Albany Pump Station, Albany, NY

Wow, there sure seems to be a partisan character to some of these reviews! That's good and bad, I guess: good because it shows passion, bad because it's a bit misplaced. The brewpubs in the Capital District all offer something to different people. Here at the Pump Station, people get some great beer along with a truly breath-taking setting. I regret that the evidently fabulous Hefe wasn't on when I visited; maybe some other time, because between the good beer and the very easy access off I-787 I'll definitely be back. The Kick-Ass Brown deserves the GABF Gold it won in 2000. This is a dark IPA, with a long intense hop finish supported by solid malt and chocolate notes. The Dawn's Dry Stout was quite good, with a distinct coffee/roast malt aroma and flavor. The Pale Ale (which evidently sells like mad) seemed a little off the day I was in, with plenty of hop aroma and flavor, but with a slight cheesey/Band-Aid edge to it. Probably an effect of a particular batch of hops. I also tasted a very interesting tripel that had been keg-conditioned with hefe yeast, according to the bartender. It had an aroma like a slightly tart circus peanut candy, and an explosive fruit and spice flavor, sweet and sharpish, quite unlike anything else I'd ever had, a very stimulating beer. Like to go back and try some more at this place!

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: Big House Brewing Company, Albany, NY

First, I visited Big House just as it opened for the day. I understand it's often crowded, but I experienced none of that. Second, we did have a problem with our glassware: they evidently weren't rinsed too well, and that screwed up the aroma of the beer quite a bit. When we got fresh glasses, the beers did much better! I really liked the Irish Red, which smelled and tasted like the best Bass Ale I've ever had. Plenty of hop flavor in the Bonnie & Clyde IPA, and a very nice graham-roast malt finish on the Porter. Brewer Drew Schmidt also dug out a sample of porter he's been aging in a Jack Daniel barrel that was quite thick, rich, and delicious, with a huge vanilla nose. Real good Stout with real ale character that walked the line twixt Irish Dry and American export-type. Finally, the barleywine was huge, with tons of head and a lot of hop flavor and not much bitterness, thanks to use of lots of low-alpha hops.

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: Big House Grill, Albany, NY

I had Big House (or Big House brewer-brewed) beers four places last week, and of the four this was the least impressive. Not sure why; I was told it turns over quickly here. But the Amber was bland, as was the pale ale. Porter and Light were both good, though, which saved things somewhat. Unfortunately the food was disappointing. The "roast turkey dinner" my dad and uncle both got was turkey loaf, inexplicably served on top of slices of white bread. My meatloaf was delicious, but the side dishes -- filling, corn -- were not, the corn was chewy and tasteless, the filling without body. My chili tasted like Hormel with some tinkering. Sorry to be so bitchy, but all three of us were disappointed with the food, the only bad meal we had in four days on the road in eastern NY. The beers are mostly brought over from the Pearl St. location, though there is some brewing done on the in-house system. Beers tasted at Pearl St. were much better.

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: Mahar's, Albany, NY

Just my luck: I finally get to the much-acclaimed Mahar's...and they've got a bunch of PA beers on tap! Great for the locals, to be sure, but these are the beers I see every week! However, the beers were fresh, served well, not overly expensive. I also have to love a place where there is no music playing and the roar of conversation is almost deafening. I do get the "Beer Nazi" comment, and come close to agreeing, but it's all about passion, and that's great. A must-stop in the area.

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: Pauly's Hotel, Albany, NY

Albany's oldest continually operating bar, and worth a visit for that. But the beer selection is largely mainstream (lots of taps, but almost all doubles -- FIVE Miller High Life taps!), it's full of drunks and college students, and there's holes in the floor. Gotta be honest: not a place I could drink real comfortably at my age. Years ago, maybe.

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: Lionheart Blues Cafe, Albany, NY

I was actually quite impressed by the selection at Lionheart. The draft selection was okay (Guinness, Beamish, Franziskaner, Tetley's nitro, #9, Dinkel Acker Dark, and HopDevil), and what I had was in good condition, but the bottle selection had some impressive out-of-the-ordinary finds: Coniston Bluebird, Koff Porter, Fuller's Porter, La Fin du Monde, and Aventinus. It's not a huge selection, but a well-chosen one, IMO. I'd actually like to see fewer taps and better ones in most bars. I had a very nice time here, chatting with patrons (arguing with one, but I understand that's how Kathleen is) and watching the action out on the street. The stairs are a bit tough to negotiate when you've had a few...

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: McKenzie Brew House, Glen Mills, PA

I always stop at a brewpub/beer bar for lunch on the day I finish my taxes, as a little reward for all the skullsweat. This year I was running late on the day, so I decided to bag lunch and just drink! I was out in the western burbs of Philly to drop off my SEP payment at Vanguard, so dropped down to see Scott Morrison at McKenzie. Excellent beer! Donald, you need to get back, because the Alt was probably the least impressive of the beers on. There was a great Oatmeal Stout and a very nice Pale Ale, along with a work-in-progress Biere de Gard that Scott's tweaking as he brews. Best news for me was that he's planning on brewing a batch of barleywine in May to the New Haven Brewing Belle Dock recipe, which he helped formulate. This was one of my fave beers ever (still have four bottles stashed of the 1994 batch) and I've had my fingers crossed since Scott started brewing at McKenzie in December. Payoff! Anyway, the place is quite nice-looking, and easy to get to: it sits right in the median of Rt. 202, 2 miles north of the DE border. Stop in and check out the beers (very nice, informative brew-board in the barroom).

(04/15/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Not sure what beers you had, Bart, Amber, but the pale ale and helles I had last week were great. There are tanks of leftover beer from the previous brewer that are being emptied (I'm not nuts about this idea, just because of the age of it, but business is business), but the pale ale and helles I thought were pretty darned good. If you have a chance, come by on April 21st for the Bockfest, when they'll have at least four different bocks on, including a double eisbock that will lay you flat. Brian O'Reilly definitely knows what he's doing, give him another try!

(04/03/2002)

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

Establishment: Yards Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PA

Yards has moved to Kensington, into the old Weisbrod & Hess brewery building on Amber Street. Solid building, and they just started brewing last week. Yards ESA should start moving back into the beer pipeline within three weeks. Things are going to be great at this new place once it's more completely spiffed up; watch for a banquet hall and real tasting room.

(03/20/2002)

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

Establishment: Lake Placid Craft Brewery, Plattsburgh, NY

Lake Placid Pub & Brewery owner Chris Ericson has pushed ahead with a plan to increase production and distribution of LPP&B's Ubu Ale and 46'er IPA by buying the former AAA Brewery. When I stopped in last week, I was stunned by this place. AAA planned to brew only weissbier, a kristall and a dunkelweizen, and sell them largely in Boston. They bought a 21 bbl. brewhouse, a huge bottling line (that evidently never worked well), a mountain of bottles, and 700 kegs. They went under swiftly, and for three years the place sat empty. Now Ericson has bought it, cleaned it, brought in a more reasonable bottling line, spiffed up a tasting room, and, once ATF registration comes through, will be brewing Ubu and 46'er here, probably later in March of 2002. Good luck to him!

(03/12/2002)

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

Establishment: Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery, Glens Falls, NY

I really liked Davidson Bros. as soon as I walked in the door. I'm a sucker for these old places; real old brick walls, rough-joist rafters, exposed pipes, wood floors. Davidson Bros. looks old without looking either shabby or 'tarted-up' with silly 'old-fashioned' stuff. ELEVEN beers on tap, and NONE of them overdone with what out-of-touch geeks would have you believe is "inescapable Ringwood character." We had pub-grub food (cheddar stout soup that was fantastic adults-only food, crisply done calamari, a delicious (real) turkey, cheddar, and apple sandwich, and a burger that was simply magnificent) that was excellent. Service was excellent, but I don't rate it because they knew from the get-go that I was a beer pro; but I did see other people treated very well. Beer: clean, but some were a bit old and tired, should have been cleared out with sale prices. IPA was quite nice, not overbalanced in any direction ("overhopped?" Eh?), the Cohan's Porter was fantastic, medium-bodied and quite drinkable, and the oatmeal stout opened strong and sweet but managed to finish clean and dry. The Scotch Ale was a big beer that just kind of hung out all over, yeasty, malty, fruity and delicious. The Imperial Stout may have been a bit over-the-top, but... isn't that what the style's about? Definitely worth a stop if you're in the North Country.

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Coopers Cave Ale Company Limited, Glens Falls, NY

Cooper's Cave falls short of Awesome on their Beer Selection only due to their focus: they make British-style ales. They make a lot of them, though, which puts them in Great territory. They only fall just short of Awesome in Quality of Beer because I like to see a really big beer in a line-up to see how a brewer handles that assignment. HOWEVER!! They definitely rank Awesome Overall because the beers they make are delicious, the place is just way too cool, and the Bethel family does things right, the way they like them. Plus they sell Whalen's horseradish, which utterly rocked my world. (Patty, you were right about the horseradish pickles!) If you have time for only one beer at CCAC, make it Pathfinder's Porter, one of the two richest, blackest, most delicious porters I've had, comparable only to Mystic's Wizard's Wonder. Wow, what a great beer. And don't miss their delicious sodas (I got a growler of orange cream for my kids), hard ice cream, and ... all the other great stuff! Cool place: find it, fall in love.

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Lake Placid, NY

Excellent brewpub experience. I'm SOOOO tired of hearing the conventional wisdom from people who think they're so damned smart saying it: "You know, a brewpub is really a restaurant that happens to make beer." Not here. LPP&B is about the beer first, the pub atmosphere first, the people first. The food comes second, although it doesn't get slighted in the process. Let me explain. Owner Chris Ericson knows that there are excellent restaurants in Lake Placid (he's right, too, you could get REALLY fat in this town), so he figures trying to beat them or even emulate them is a tough row. Instead, he offers the pub atmosphere and pub menu that many people are looking for, and succeeds in spades. The result is a brewpub that will bring a smile to your face. And that beer is great. From the smooth, strong, malty Ubu to the Britly bitter 46'er IPA and the viciously hoppy seasonal Frostbite pale ale that was on when I visited last week, this is stuff any brewer would be pleased with. And with the big brewery coming online up in Plattsburgh this month, lots more people will get a chance to try it. Good news!

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid, NY

Rob Davis Makes Good Beer. Trademark it, guys. I tried them last Friday, and the least of them was pretty good, the best were outstanding. Rob and Kyle brew up the beers in a garage out back of the restaurant. The whole gist of the grist, as it were, is revealed in the first taste of Rob's lightest beer, the Haystack Blonde: it is brewed with a big helping of rye and Saaz hops, and it is one of the tastiest blonde/golden ales I've had in a while, light yet spicy, a really crisp and interesting beer. The John Brown PA is clean and bitter, yet shows a half-ton of hop flavor and aroma. The Smoked Porter (Rob smokes the malts himself, this batch over pecan, wild cherry and maple woods) had a fantastic smoky smell, coupled with a mild but firm smoky flavor in what would be a really good porter even without the smoke. Food, even though all I had was a roast beef club, was great: it was the VERY BEST roast beef sandwich I've ever had, and the steak strips on my wife's bistro salad...well, many restaurants skimp on the steak for salad. Not here, this was prime stuff. Service was right on top of things but not overly intrusive. A great place, right on the main drag in Lake Placid, and (with Lake Placid Pub & Brewery) really one of only two places worth going to in town just for the beer.

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Red Lion Brewing Company, Watertown, NY

First, Red Lion's not easy to find. There's only one sign, and no one in town seems to know where Newell Street is. Call for directions, it's actually pretty simple off I-81. Second, from the outside, this is probably the ugliest brewpub I've ever seen: a dingy old brick building with an aggressively unattractive cinderblock fire escape tower. Sorry, but it's just butt-ugly. However! Get inside, and things change. Red Lion is very nice inside, and the beauty is all in the back, where big windows look out on the roaring Black River (a deck will be added this summer). Actually, there's some beauty in the glass, too: Mike Bauer's making some pretty good beer here. He's got some fine-tuning to do, but his Velvet Elvis Stout is ready for prime-time now: a nice graham cracker nose, with a roasty, chocolatey mouthfull to follow, a very easy-drinking flavorful stout. Surprisingly, the other regular that impressed me was the Northern Light golden ale, a crisp, Saaz-hopped beer that was wonderfully clean and dry. The Red Lion Lager needed a bit of work to get into real German Marzen territory, and had a disconcerting tart edge to it. Seasonals were a mixed bag: the Empire Strikes Bock was real good, rich and malty, the Iron Horse altbier didn't have any real hop flavor (Mike did say, without prompting, that he wasn't pleased with the hops he'd used to brew it), and the Ye Old Frothingslosh spiced winter beer was a fairly decent vanilla/hazelnut/cinnamon mix, not overspiced. We didn't try the food, but what we saw looked and smelled real good. Red Lion professes allegiance to the Slow Food idea, and uses local ingredients (like Morgia's Pasta) as much as possible. Why only "Good" for an overall rating? Room for improvement: clean up the rest of the beers, spiff up the outside, get that deck on. Do all that (and they will, I'm sure, they've got all the right intentions), and this place may well put Watertown on the map. Outstanding potential, and worth a trip up from Syracuse.

(03/11/2002)

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

Establishment: Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, Manayunk, PA

Just a one-beer review, really: saw Jim at the Main Line Beer Fest with his Moon Dahg Imperial stout, and had to try some. Very impressive beer, one of the better impies I've had. Anyone who thinks this guy can only brew Schuylkill Punch needs to visit more often. Jim Can Brew!

(03/04/2002)

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

Establishment: Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, Phoenixville, PA

Another new brewer at Sly Fox, and this one's another star: Brian O'Reilly, late of the ill-starred New Road (feh. Curse their name). New Road's loss is Sly Fox's gain, and Brian's already produced one of the liveliest Pale Ales I've had in quite a while. Wait till the big boys start coming out to play...

(03/04/2002)

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

Establishment: Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA

Dropped in LBC for the first time in too long last Friday night. I kind of worked my way backwards, with rounds of Spring Bock (whip-sharp bockbier, dryly malty), Lancastrator Doublebock (HUGE, clean, delicious, masterful), Milk Stout (perfect), Pilsner (on the heavy side, a real good mouthful), and cask Helles (really, a cask lager, and it was great). Good to be there, great beer. Bottle line arrives tomorrow, can't come too soon!

(03/04/2002)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Fancy Pants showed up at the Main Line beer festival at the Desmond Hotel, in Malvern, PA. They had the IPO, which has changed and needs some tuning -- kind of blandly okay -- but the Mudskipper Porter was a big fat knockout beer, excellent stuff. They have a new brewer, but it looks like a tough row for them. Look for the beer when you're in southeast PA, give it a try.

(03/04/2002)

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

Establishment: Pelham's Upstate Tuna Company, Corning, NY

Definitely worth a stop, but then, with the Glory Hole (get your mind out of the gutter, it's a glass-blowing term), Boomers', and Wet Goods, just walking along Market Street in Corning and stopping in for beers at all the places is one hell of a good time! The Tuna Company DOES have the best selection of beer in town, no doubt, and the most impressive bar. Nice place.

(02/27/2002)

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

Establishment: Red Bell Brewery and Pub, Philadelphia, PA

Jim Bell is gone, and his brewery finally has a chance. This brewpub in the FUCenter was the butt of jokes for years, but now there is competent staff actually working the Newlands brewhouse and producing beer, including the long-dormant Ahopalypse Now and Black Cherry Stout. If they can manage to renegotiate a lot of their debt and get enough cash flow going here to get the Manayunk brewpub open, Red Bell may have a chance. Good luck to them! Oh, and the roast beef sandwiches are great, get the horseradish if you think you can handle it: I scarf wasabi, but this stuff brought tears to my eyes.

(02/20/2002)

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

Establishment: Stetson's, Washington, DC

I used to love going to Stetson's when I worked in DC, and even after when I visited. Their Tex-Mex food was great, fantastic, even though the best beers they ever had were Rolling Rock and Shiner Bock. It was an excellent place, just a long bar with some tables down the side, but welcoming and friendly. I was just back after four or five years, and stood outside in the cold wind for ten minutes waiting for opening: I was anticipating the chicken chalupas and drooling. Imagine my disappointment when I got in, sat down at the bar, grabbed a menu and found wings, nachos, and burgers. New people bought Stetson's last year, and deep-sixed the Tex-Mex. I was devastated. But you know? The beer's MUCH better (I had a solidly clean and delish pint of Old Dominion Pale, they had Heurich's Foggy Ale, a house tap of Amber (probably OD's), Yuengling Lager and B&T, Bass, and Blue Moon White), the burger I had was an excellent burger, and the bar is still a really good bar. So... I'll probably go back and hang. Worth a visit, if you're into bars as well as beers.

(02/13/2002)

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

Establishment: Bridgid's, Philadelphia, PA

Stopped in at Bridgid's last Saturday on my birthday pub crawl with my wife. Great time. Had a bottle of Chimay Cinq Cents (Da Beeg Bottle!), which was superb, and had a fun conversation with the people at the bar. You can almost always find someone to talk to here, that's the kind of place it is. I agree with Mark: small number of taps is a good thing, and as the Farmhouse in Emmaus used to demonstrate, you can do amazing things with a small number of taps. Wish parking didn't suck quite so much.

(02/12/2002)

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

Establishment: McMenamin's Tavern, Philadelphia , PA

McMenamin's is becoming one of my favorite bars anywhere. Add it all up: good prices on beer and food; an eclectic selection of draft and bottled beer; CLEAN draft lines (I've realized that I've never had a sour, skanky beer here); consistently excellent cask-conditioned ales; fast, knowledgeable, and personable service; a clientele that runs the gamut from beer and food geeks to chili/wing/Yuengling sucking locals, all of whom get along tremendously; and fantastic food that ranges from Philly's Best Wings (Philadelphia Magazine, 2001, and they ARE GOOD!) to awesome stuff like I had the other night, a seafood risotto full of littlenecks, mussels, oysters, shrimp, and lobster tail. A neighborhood tavern that got great beer and great food and never forgot what it was, McMenamin's is a model for taverns everywhere. I wish there were more like this place, a lot more.

(02/12/2002)

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

Establishment: General Lafayette Inn and Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA

My wife takes me on a pub crawl through Greater Philadelphia every year for my birthday. This year we went to the General L. to start the evening, and I'm glad we did. Chris Leonard's beers have just been impressing me more and more (and more and more!), and tonight was no exception: the cask Best Bitter was fantastic, great condition, excellent yeast character, and the Pacific Pale Ale my wife had was well-named, a crisp, hoppy (but not over-the-top) American pale without flaw. The food was the same spinach/artichoke dip you get anywhere, and really the only thing that annoyed me about the visit: it was served with some piping-hot triangles of grilled flatbread, which was fine, but there was way too much dip for the flatbread. I asked for more, and it was delivered -- again, hot, delicious -- but we were charged a buck for the extra bread. Cheap. Niggling. Annoying. Why not serve more to begin with? I did notice that service was a bit lackadaisical, even though it was still early on a Saturday night. But the place itself is beautiful and quite atmospheric (we stayed out of the main bar, which gets very smoky (thanks so much to the waitress who insisted on smoking on our side so we wouldn't miss that)), and damnation, what great beer! Fix the service, and just get rid of the live music.

(02/12/2002)

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

Establishment: Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Washington, DC

GBDC is in an old Riggs Bank building, a beautiful place with a sharp-looking Specific Mechanical brewing system. The beers are about normal price for DC (particularly when you consider you're getting 0.5 liter beers instead of the usual 13 oz. "pint"), which makes them a deal: these are good quality lagers. I sampled five: Golden Export (delicious, fresh, and dryly malty), Märzen (a bit thin for the style, IMO, but good), Dunkles (the main reason I went "Great" rather than awesome on "Quality"--this one was just a little bit sour, which ruined an otherwise good beer for me), Winterbock (outstanding 7% dark bock beer), and a tank sample of the unfiltered Czech Lager (deliciously soft and laden with hop aroma (Hallertauer), this one's a must-drink). Didn't have food, but the smell of a plate of fish'n'chips going by was quite drool-inducing.

And...I don't know where Ed from Michigan was drinking, but he should pay more attention: Gordon Biersch does German style beers only, all lagers except for their weizen beers. No stouts.

(02/12/2002)

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

Establishment: Eddie's Brewery and Grille, Orchard Park, NY

Eddie's Brewery is an extract-only system, but they do pretty well with it. When I visited, they had seven beers on, and they were all clean. Not overly exciting, but clean, which is GOOD for a system like that, in my experience. The Ed's Light was actually quite good, tasted very fresh. I'd go here rather than to just another mainstream beer-only bar, and there's not really anything else around. The bowling alley's fun, too!

(02/01/2002)

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

Establishment: Buffalo Tap Room and Grill, Tonawanda, NY

Tucked away on the butt-end of a shopping plaza (it's almost a 1/4 mile OFF Niagara Falls Blvd.!), but worth the search. Nice, well-lit, great service, and a line of 10 Custom Brew Crafters beers that were pretty danged good (plus 2 Flying Bison beers, Ithaca Brewing's Nut Brown, and the usual lite shite). There was a real good vibe at this place, and I felt good being there.

(01/27/2002)

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

Establishment: Papa Jake's Saloon, Buffalo, NY

Jake's is not strictly a beer bar, though it sports an excellent selection of taps and a decent array of bottles. But you'd short yourself if you didn't hog into some of their delicious food, like the grilled meatloaf on french bread, a slab of robust meatloaf the size of a Steven King paperback with fried onions and melted probolone, or the justly celebrated fresh-cut fries, or the snappy, tangy barbecue wings. Great, friendly place, one of Buffalo's best taverns. Go. Now.

(01/27/2002)

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

Establishment: Ulrich's Tavern, Buffalo, NY

Ulrich's may not have the best selection of beer in Buffalo, but it's more than adequate, and the place itself is fantastic. It is the oldest bar in Buffalo, opened in 1868. They served in the upstairs (as the "Hassenpfeffer Club") during Prohibition, and presidential candidate Al Smith dined here during his campaign as the Democrat's "Wet" candidate. I missed the food, unfortunately: they only serve on Friday and Saturday nights, and it's gotten great reviews in local press. A piece of history with draft Flying Bison, Guinness, and Warsteiner: how can you miss?

(01/27/2002)

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

Establishment: Pizza Plant, Williamsville, NY

Saw beers here I saw nowhere else in two hard days of drinking in Buffalo: Cooperstown Benchwarmer Porter, Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA, Three Floyd's Behemoth. Well-done, guys! Strange setup, but I'll take it for these beers.

(01/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Alternative Brews, Amherst, NY

Some truly great beers here, and I hear the blues is tremendous. This was the one bar EVERY beer geek mentioned when I said I was going to Buffalo, and now I know why. Excellent beers, good cigar selection, too.

(01/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Barker Brew Company, Fredonia, NY

I went back, and I'm glad I did. Barker Brewing has an edge, and that edge is Joe Rogers. I'm just now finishing up a mini-growler of his ESB, and it is FINE, one of the better beers I've had lately. The 90/60-shilling Scotch (let Joe explain the 90/60 part) is a work in progress, and he's getting close to perfection. The Porter continues as a wonder in glass. Nothing overdone, nothing wimpy. Beautiful place, drool-inducing menu, top-shelf booze, and hot live jazz. What more do you WANT from a brewpub, other than to have this one in your town?

(01/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Market Street Brewing Company and Restaurant, Corning, NY

I was prepared to like Market Street, but two things ruined it for me. First, their bar munchies are wicked spicy, like as in painfully hot. I've been told that their jerk chicken sandwich (which, to be fair, is noted as terrifically hot in the menu) is painfully hot by someone who digs hot foods. Second, I had a sampler of the five beers on tap, and two of them were too sour/infected to drink, another was obviously headed in the same direction. That's depressing. I hate to downcheck a brewery so hard, but the beer was just not good enough OVERALL to give a better rating. The two that were not sour, the blackberry lager and Potbelly Pale Ale were both good, the PA was actually quite good. But sour beers are bad news, hence the low review.

(01/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Colter Bay, Buffalo, NY

I was initially impressed with Colter Bay. Lots of good-looking taps, nice enough place, not overpoweringly noisy, cute bartenders (I like looking at good-looking women, deal with it). Sounds good, right? Then I looked at what was going on. First, about 1/3 of the taps were swill. Second, about 4/5 of the taps were all from the same distributor, who is obviously having a LOT to say about what goes on tap at Colter Bay. Finally, when I looked down the bar, you know what I saw people drinking? Wine, mixed drinks, and bottles of Blue. In a crowded bar, I saw 5 pints of draft beer, and one of them was mine. Not a great sign. I understand Colter Bay was one of Buffalo's original multitaps: too bad they've wandered.

(01/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Flying Bison Brewing Company, Buffalo, NY

Service at a packaging brewery? You gotta understand: Tim Herzog will bend over backwards to get an account serviced or make a customer happy. The best way he does that is by brewing his beers: I'm drinking the tail-end of a growler of his new Blackbird Oatmeal Stout right now, it's rippingly good stuff. If you're in Buffalo, find a pub with Flying Bison beer: if you find one that doesn't have it, ask the morons why they don't. Look for the blue propellor tap handles.

(01/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, Buffalo, NY

VERY comfortable place, and sharp-looking. Paul Koehler brews up some very clean, traditional beers. I really liked his lighter beer, the Seneca Saaz: bright clear yellow beer, with a surprisingly peppy floral hop aroma and crisp, clean malt body with a light bitterness. Excellent pint-after-pinter. The Trainwreck altbier is superbly balanced. Buffalo's best brewpub.

(01/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Empire Brewing Company, Buffalo, NY

This place is SO closed! Been a while, but people in Buffalo bars are still talking about it: they left town like the Colts left Baltimore! They're picking over the bones: mark this placed CLOSED.

(01/26/2002)

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

Establishment: Black Rock Brewing Company, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Went back just before Christmas. Saw plenty of families, couples, and singles enjoying themselves during an intense snow squall. Our waitress served us with a smile: a burly, delicious Alt, that "grab-ya" Kolsch (favorite of my group), gently spiced Winter ale, and a crisp Pale Ale. Very comfy, and yes, they've turned the lights down!

(01/04/2002)

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

Establishment: Selin's Grove Brewing, Selinsgrove, PA

My wife and I made arrangements with my parents to take our kids overnight so we could drive 3 1/2 hours to go to Selin's Grove's 5th anniversary on 12/21/01. It didn't seem like a lot of trouble for what we got: fantastic beers (the 1999 and 2000 St. Filian's on cask were almost reward enough), excellent food (I had mulligatawney and promptly ordered a second bowl), and friendly service, all in a cozy, warm, sophisticated (NON-SMOKING) atmosphere. I told Steve that as much as I loved being at Selin's Grove, I was often happy sitting at home in Bucks County, just knowing that a place like that was open and doing well. This is a must stop for any beerlover visiting... America.

(12/27/2001)

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

Toad, you monkey, how the hell are you?! Good to see you here. Yes, there are new owners at B-Mountain, no word yet on when they're re-opening. Have to take a run up there.

(12/13/2001)

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

Establishment: Black Rock Brewing Company, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Black Rock just opened on Nov. 19. I was there the previous Friday, when brewer Terry Hawbaker (late of W.T. Hackett's, which is definitely closed, BTW!) was doing staff training. I'm basing that service rating on the waitresses I saw: mama! They were hip chicks who really dug the beer. Good sign. The beer was pretty good stuff for first batches. A fairly gutsy kolsch, malty in aroma. A very brisk, Centennial-hopped Pale Ale. A somewhat overhopped ESB, though Terry said he had a second batch in tank that had more body to it, that might up the balance a bit. A very big nut brown ale, full-bodied and buzzy with booze: watch out for this one. A smoky, roasty porter. Terry has plans for an oatmeal stout and a weizenbock...at least. Hope this place works out, be nice to have fresh beer in NE PA again!

(11/20/2001)

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

Establishment: Legacy Brewing (was Neversink and was Fancy Pants), Reading, PA

Fancy Pants it is, and Pete's involved as a consultant. Brewer used to work at Pretzel City, and their IPO is reminiscent of PC's late lamented Duke of Ale. Great-tasting porter, very smooth nitro-pour Pub Ale. Look for the roll-out on Thanksgiving Eve in Berks County. I expect good things from these guys!

(11/13/2001)

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

Establishment: Ugly Oyster Drafthaus, Reading, PA

After hearing rave reviews of the Ugly Oyster, I finally got a chance to stop in last night. It was beautiful, gorgeous, cozy... I was let down. The Ugly Oyster's been redone as one of the "Fado"-type Guinness bars. Guinness spun off a company that essentially sells bar interiors and Irish pub businesses. It's not technically a franchise, but you'll notice a lot of similarity right away: a lot of Guinness-Bass Import Co. beers on tap (check: UO had Harp, Guinness, Bass, though they also had Black Biddy Stout, Tupper's Hop Pocket, and Stoudt's Harvest on cask), Irish music (check), plenty of Guinness signage (check), and beautiful woodwork and such that looks old and is brand-new (check). Comfortable, but an Irish pub in Reading is about as authentic as an Arab cowboy. It's a nice enough place, but where is the place I heard about: "a mini-Monk's," "Belgium in Reading," "great beers from all over"? My server broke off pouring my beer repeatedly to scoop foam off the top (if she knew how to use the taps properly...), answer the phone, and chat. Man could die of thirst in a place like that. I'd go back, but I doubt I'd send people there when the Northeast Taproom, 3rd & Spruce, the Peanut Bar, and Canal Street were around. Probably I'm just irked that I missed it before the re-do, but these 'pub-in-a-box' redo's irk me too. If you can't come up with a bar on your own, why not just run an Appleby's?

(11/13/2001)

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

Establishment: Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton, PA

Before any nasty rumors get started: Weyerbacher is moving in early January, and the pub will unfortunately be closing for at least a year. THE BREWERY IS NOT CLOSING! Just moving in a lost-our-lease kind of deal, to industrial space in Easton. If anything, the beer might be better. But plans are for the pub to return as soon as proper space is found for it. A shame, but I know I intend to get a few nights in at one of my favorite bars before it's gone!

(10/22/2001)

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

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

Another Great American Beer Festival medal for Penn Gold -- the fifth, and the FOURTH GOLD. Some kind of achievement. Congratulations!

(10/02/2001)

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

Establishment: Valhalla Microbrewery and Restaurant, Pittsburgh , PA

Hey, Sean, SOMEone likes your beer besides me (and all the people who keep swarming Valhalla, that is): Congratulations on another Great American Beer Festival medal (Silver) for Pillage Pils! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE LAGER, PEOPLE!!

(10/02/2001)

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

Establishment: The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh , PA

Dontcha hate it, when people keep slamming your beer...and then you keep winning those pesky Great American Beer Festival medals? Congratulations to Bryan the Brewer on two more medals! Mad Brewer Maibock and Pious Monk Dunkel do it again!

(10/02/2001)

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

Establishment: Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton, PA

I agree with Doug: the food has suddenly gotten MUCH better. We were just up last Saturday (9/29) and had ravioli, chili (great pita "plate"), and a grilled chicken sandwich: all were excellent, as was the creamy wild mushroom and garlic soup. Was somewhat disappointed by the selection of beer (ESB, IPA, Hops Infusion, Triple, and QUAD, no Autumnfest, Mild, or stout/porter), but what we had was delicious, particularly the after-dinner snifter of QUAD. Yes, it's small, yes, it's on a back street, yes, it's Easton, but YES, I love this place, and so does my family. Very friendly place, very friendly people.

(10/02/2001)

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

Establishment: Village Tap, Chicago, IL

Found this place through a friend's recommendation while in town for WhiskyFest. We took Michael Jackson here for dinner -- really. He liked the beer, but I don't think he was nuts about the chicken sandwich. I know I was pretty pissed when the waiter screwed up our food orders and I got stuck with a veggie burger. Feh. Thank God the beer was fantastic and the bartender was really into the whole beer gig. I'd go back, but I'd order from the window!

(09/25/2001)

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

Establishment: New Road Brewhouse, Collegeville, PA

Just talked to the GM at New Road last week, and they are NOT brewing. They are still selling the beer Brian O'Reilly brewed last June, and a bunch of commercial beers like Molson, Coors Light, and Yuengling Lager. The GM did say they were talking to two brewers, but they're only looking for part-timers. Doesn't look good. Sorry, guys, but it just doesn't look good.

(09/25/2001)

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

Establishment: The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh , PA

I sure can't understand why anyone would complain about this beer. We had five this past weekend: Turbo Llama Lager (made with quinoa), Blast Furnace Stout, Pious Monk Dunkel, Bell Tower Brown (cask), and Weizenbock. The T.Llama damn near took my head off, a strong lager that needs to be treated with respect but with a delicious sweet taste. The Blast Furnace Stout is the stout newbies think Guinness is, rich and tasty. The Weizenbock was fantastic, full of weizen esters and banana and clove, and the Dunkel was smooth and malty...which is why it won a Gold GABF medal in 1998. The only complaint I had was that the Bell Tower Brown was served a bit too cold. But these were excellent beers, a great range of brewpub beers. That's what I expect from all four brewpubs in Pittsburgh, and I haven't been let down for three years or so. The Pierogie pizze was good too, and my son's bison burger was outstanding. Price was reasonable, service was competent and knowledgeable, if not particularly personable. This place is great, a destination stop in Da Burgh.

(09/25/2001)

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

Establishment: Wachusett Brewing Company, Westminster, MA

Wachusett brews some excellent beer, my particular favorites are the Porter and IPA. They have a high level of quality and consistency, and continue to put money into their production equipment. Good guys, and I hope to see them grow.

(09/06/2001)

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

Establishment: New Road Brewhouse, Collegeville, PA

I was told today that New Road has NOT ceased brewing ops. I'll investigate and report.

(08/26/2001)

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?