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Your favorite brewpub chains?

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My favorite has to be Rock Bottom. I frequent the King of Prussia, PA location.
I love the selection of beers and their food is fantastic. The 1/2 lb. burgers there are phenom...I'm partial to their Brew Burger! It's also a great place to catch the game. GO EAGLES!

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  1. Rock Bottoms beers are really mediocre in my opinion. None of the chain brewpubs do it fo rme, though the mira mesa location of Karl Strauss is beautifully set up.

    Here in San dIego we have Pizza Port which makes fantastic beers. If you are in the area give em a try

    1. BJ"s brewery. Good selection of beers and great food.

      I never leave that place without eating my all-time favorite chocolate chunk pizookie.

      1. I agree about Rock Bottom and Karl Strauss. How about Gordon Biersch - decent beer and menu, if a bit corporate. That is what chains are. I've been to SF, Miami and DC, and can't complain about GB.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nickdanger

          The GB in Atlanta would satisfy as well, if you find yourself there and in need. There are better locals, though, as you would imagine.

        2. The thing is there are much better alternatives in SD. Pizza port's food is nothing special but all of their beers are excellent. And while not a brew pub, the liars club in PB makes great sandwiches and have a great tap selection. I would rather go to these places or O Briens than the rest

          1. Used to hang out at Pyramid in Berkeley/Albany quite a bit. THey got bought by McTarnahan's out of Oregon and the foods not what it was.

            The beer is as good as ever, the menu seems less inspired.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Scrapironchef

              I think it's the other way around: Pyramid bought Portland Brewing/McTarnahan's.

            2. I miss Hops. There used to be one here in Daytona Beach across from the Speedway and it's gone. In fact, I see a lot of empty Hops' lately. . .are they folding as a chain? I loved their red beer, and the sweet pastries they gave you before the meal. (And DH loved their steak.)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Covert Ops

                theres still a hops just outside baltimore. dont really frequent it becasue baltimore is abundant with awesome local brewpubs

              2. It's faint praise because I don't think there are many good Brewhouse chains but IMHO the John Harvard Alehouses of N.E. are as good as any.

                1. I've had really good experiences in certain Rock Bottom's. Denver and Chicago come to mind as having good beer - the one in Braintree MA isn't too bad either, but the one in Boston is. Brewers are free to develop their own seasonal/special beers, and have a little freedom to tweak the basics as long as they cover the characteristics that corporate dictates.

                  They are owned by Gordon Biersch now which isn't a bad choice either for solid, well made german styles.

                  I have funny story about the one and only Hops pub I went to outside of Orlando. I sat at the bar and asked if they had any IPA's. The bartender asked what an IPA was, and I said IPA stands for India Pale Ale and are pretty hoppy. Then he asked me what hoppy means. I said, "you know, the flavor that comes from those things your restaurant is named after"

                  Not all that impressed with the two John Harvard's (Boston, Framingham) I visit occassionally. Boston location does have decent special beers once in a while though. Food at both locations is mediocre to poor though.

                  Boston Beer Works is a joke to me. Their beers have gotten watery and thin over the years, and all have a cloying yeast profile.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: LStaff

                    The John Harvard's in Washington DC recently folded. Overpriced food, too many overhopped ales, the lagers they had stank.

                    The Gordon Biersch in DC has decent food, nothing special, but the beers are very good. Better than the Rock Bottom in Bethesda.

                    There are two Capitol City Brew Companies in DC and they're both weak. The burgers are good, but the ratio to fruity beers to real beers is 10 to 1.

                    There's a DuClaw Brewery Chain in Maryland that uses Baltimore Brewing Company beers, which I like, but I haven't been.

                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      DuClaws has good seasonal beers but most of their regular ones are only so-so. Their food is not great though at all.

                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                        Unless something changed recently, DuClaw brews their own beers. Perhaps the fire at their Bel Air location affected the brewing, so they may be getting it temporarily from the BBC.

                        1. re: SuzyInChains

                          Duclaw brews beers for ALL their locations off of rt7 in Abingdon (just outside Belair). They make some excellent beers (Bad Moon Porter is my favorite), but their food is hit or miss at times. I like their crab dip alot, and several of the sandwiches. I do wish they would bring back the appetizer sampler, which used to be a meal for me <G>

                      2. re: LStaff

                        I have usually avoided Rock Bottom, if possible (sometimes it is the only game in town). However, the one in Chicago does have really good beer. I spoke with the brewer there, and he told me that the corporation gives them suggested recipes for their standard brews, but also allows the individual brewers a lot leeway in what they produce. The Ram breweries are OK (they are located in the WA, OR,ID,IL and IN), but I like them for the food more than the beer. The beer is drinkable and pretty cheap, but it is so filtered, it has very little character.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          Since when does Gordon Biersch own Rock Bottom Brewery. My understanding is they are still owned by Rock Bottom Restuarants.

                          I like Rock Bottom here in the Denver area (both the Broomfield and Denver locations). Gordon Biersch is good as well but I prefer other more local breweries around here.

                          1. re: LStaff

                            Your Hops story is sadly very funny. When they first opened in Clearwater, Fl. they were energetic, knowlegable and delicious. Last I was there visiting I noticed that location was closed. No idea what happened to them. Last saw one 4 years ago near Greenville SC, stopped in & food was still good. In the midst of a road trip with several hours to go, so didn't try the beer there.

                          2. Having been to brewpubs in at least 10 cities, I'd have to second the Pizza Port

                            1. I'll probably get some criticism for this, but I've had some really decent beers at Heartland Brewery in NYC. Not sure how big of a chain it is.

                              1. I like Gordon Biersch...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  How about Flying Saucer Draught Emporium? We went to locations in both Memphis and Nashville several years ago, and thought they were great. Hundreds of beers on tap from all over the world. I'd never seen anything like it. A caveat: they allowed cigar smoking in the place, and that could turn off some people ... like my husband! Me, I thought it added to the whole beer-quaffing atmosphere.

                                2. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I've never had a bad meal at the John Harvard in Framingham. They don't do a high rotation, they probably should do so a little more. So we've sampled most of the American comfort foods and pub-grub on the menu at one time or another. It's not gourmand, but it's very good. The Curly Q IPA & the Irish Dry stout are both outstanding

                                  1. Located in WA and around- the Elaysian (best lavender seasonal beverage- and they have a whole pumpkin themed selection in the fall!), McMenamin's (the stouts are really meaty), Kell's (for the Irish selection), and the Ram (for the IPA and the porter)