Rock Bottom Brewwery and Restaurant Beer (in KoP) Rocks!
Just left Rock Bottom for lunch and the beer was very good (although the food left something to be desire). They had a Munich Golden lager (good) and three IPAs (Prussia, Sub Zero [w/ Simcoe hops], and St. Nick's). The St. Nicks was the most profound (SG 16.5) while the Sub Zero was also interesting and challenging. The Prussia I also liked a lot. They also had a stout and an amber that were solid. Overall this place is now neck and neck with Iron Hill IMHO.
For clarification, I was referring only to the beer in my positive review of Rock Bottom. I will repeat that my meal left something to be desired.
When I went to Rock Bottom last which was several years ago at least I didn't like the food or the beer either. The beer was completely uninteresting. About a month ago though I was intrigued by an article in Mid Atlantic Brewing News about Rock Bottom (KoP). The article discussed some of the changes made to the beer program by new brewmaster Brian McConnell since his arrival there (about two years ago per the bartender). This prompted me to go and check out their beer.
And for me, in terms of beer alone I would now rank them along side Iron Hill which I also enjoy a lot (Iron Hill's food is much better however).
They are brewing a "Hop Bomb" IPA for release soon for all you hop heads and Czech "Mate" pilsner in May. I'm looking forward to the pils as this is probably my favorite style of beer.
I have been to many Rock Bottom's across the US and they are indeed variable. The one in Chicago is mediocre, Charleston, the same, Denver superb. King of Prussia is hit and miss. They have had several stellar beers, most notably a Schwartzbier, which later won an award at GABF. My recommendation is always to try their seasonals, as they tend to be more adventurous,
I have also found that its better to sit at the bar rather than to eat at a table. Service is better and you will get more personal service from the tenders behind the bar. They have reasonable Happy Hour specials, but other than that, I would not bothering to eat there.
The comparison to Iron Hill is interstring. I find Iron Hills food to be far superiour. The pizza's at Iron Hill in North Wales are always good. Their soups, such as the Carrot Ginger and chicken gumbo are great. Some of their other food is pretty mediocre such as the mushroom lasagna. I have found other Iron Hills to vary. The one in West Chester is superb, the one in Phoenixville is hit and miss.
I'm glad you had a good experience there. Personally on its best day the service is mediocre and the food is about the same. I've been to several Rock Bottoms around the country and the on in KoP is by far the worst.
I will say that their beer is good, but if given the choice to go to Rock Bottom or Iron Hill I would choose Iron Hill 10 out of 10 times.
I went to RockBottom when I took the bar exam at the Convention Center in July of this year. It was the only regular food/reasonable price combination in the area close enough to the hotel. Anyhow, my beer was mediocre--it was an oatmeal stout. My meatloaf, to start, was TOO salty. Second, it came with a piece of paper in it. I'm not certain it was garbage but it was still none to appetizing. I noted this to the server and he came over and PICKED IT OUT PERSONALLY. He did not offer to bring me another plate or to comp the dish. I couldn't bring myself to finish the meal and if they couldn't think to do either of those things, I just don't know...