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Aug 16, 2006 11:16 PM

Best Brew Pubs - Philly and Suburbs

I am a huge fan of Slyfox Brewpub in Phoenixville (although it’s a 50 minute drive). I enjoy the freshness, variety and quality of their beer along with the crowd, which can be very pleasant. I also enjoy drinking at Victory Brewpub in Downingtown (however the atmosphere can leave something to be desired). I also frequent G&G (Glenside), Nodding Head (CC), General Lafayette (Lafayette Hill). Does anyone else know of any other cool brewpubs with quality beer in the area?

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  1. There is Iron Hill Brewery in North Wales (also one in Media). Not sure I'd consider it overly great, it is pretty standard and gets way too crowded on weekends so bthat it feels like a chain. It is decent.. standard Brewpub fare, pretty good beers. I love Victory (though agree about the atmosphere). Their hop devil is so good....

    I hear Dogfish Head is amazing (I've never been myself). It is a bit of a drive in Delaware but I heard it is totally worth it.

    We just went to Lancaster Brewery and that was really good. They have a great milk stoudt and are now featuring a completelt unfiltered hefeweisen on tap. Food is decent. That is also a bit of a drive from the Philly area... but not too far from Victory if you want to make a day of it.

    I wish Pretzel City in Reading was still around (but I'm getting nostalgic here).

    On a side note I am so glad I am not the only one who loves the brewpub in Glenside! It is perfect.. small, friendly people, good beers, and they have a gret selection of local wines ((I know, why on earth would I order wine at a brewpub....). Hopefully that is the first of many new bars and restaurants in that area.

      1. I visited Triumph Brew Pub in New Hope yesterday. I was very disappointed. It is similar to places like John Harvard's, Rock Bottom or McKenzie's. For me anyway, it appears that brewery/pubs that don't bottle and distribute (with the exception of Iron Hill) tend to make beer that tastes, for lack of a better word, artificial or contrived. It tasted like an attempt at making or concocting "real beer". Moreover, despite the fact that a wide variety of beer styles were presented they all tasted middle of the road like they were carefully crafted to not offend ANYONE.

        The pub decor was dark, modern, and sleek with everything just in the right place; the beer tasted just as calculated.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00

          There are many exceptions to this generalization, but I see what you are driving at.

          A brewpub that is trying to make it as a mainstream restaurant is forced to brew middle of the road beers so as not to offend its dining audience. Many such establishments also brew seasonals, however, that are crafted to please the more adventurous beer drinker.

          Some exceptions to your rule that I have found in my travels include Five Seasons in Atlanta, Nodding Head in Philadelphia, Pizza Port in San Diego and Magnolia in San Francisco.

          1. re: brentk

            Let me add two Baltimore brewpubs, Brewer's Art and Wharf Rat, to the list of great brewpubs that don't bottle.

        2. Was at Porterhouse brew pub in New Hope. They recently switched from Riverhorse Brewery to Yards Brewery for their contract(?) brewing operation. Was there last Friday and overall the beer is decent but flat. Either the conditioning is incomplete or there is an issue with the gas.
          The four house brews were:
          1) Porter - Good porter with a licorice finish.
          2) Kolsch - Apparently their answer to Coors Light. nuff said.
          3) Abbey Ale - Very nice
          4) Dark Lager - Malty, lemony and confused. Not sure what this is but it ain't like any Dunkle that I've had.
          The other Yards standards were there and extremely fresh:
          1) Philly Pale
          2) IPA
          3) ESA
          4) Saison
          If you like Yards it's worth checking out for the freshness of these beers alone. The IPA for example sang an opera.
          Back to the house brews it appears that they are making them all in a very approachable style (low hops and noticeable sugar). Will return in a few weeks to give them another review.

          1. I had an additional question about brew pub entertainment. Why is the music consistently either:
            1) Dude with a guitar covering "Hooty and the Blowfish" tunes (yuck)
            2) Dixieland bands (double yuck)
            3) Some type of Irish related folk music (beyond yuck)