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Jan 17, 2008 10:59 AM

Ranking Our Regional Brewpubs

So I decided to rank the fifteen regional brewpubs that I’ve visited at least once within the past year according to atmosphere, food and of course beer (Atmosphere 0-2pts Food 0-3pts Beer 0-5pts). The highest possible score therefore is 10 points. Here they are:

Appalachian Brewing Company (Harrisburg, PA) 6
Bethlehem Beer Works (Bethlehem, PA) 6.5
Dogfish Head (Rehobeth Beach, DE) 8
G.G. Brewpub (Glenside, PA) 4.5
General Lafayette Inn (Lafayette Hill, PA) 6
Independence Brewpub (Philadelphia, PA) 6
Iron Hill Brewery (North Wales, PA) 7
Lancaster Brewing Company (Lancaster, PA) 6
Manayunk Brewpub (Philadelphia, PA) 5.5
McKenzie's (Glenn Mills, PA) 6
Nodding Head (Philadelphia, PA) 4
Rock Bottom Brewery (King of Prussia, PA) 6
Slyfox Brewpub (Phoenixville, PA) 8
Triumph Brewery (Philadelphia, PA) 7
Victory Brewpub (Downingtown, PA) 7.5


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  1. Of the places that I have been on your list I think your rankings are very generous. I have been to many brewpubs from Maine down to the Carolinas and I think when it comes to brewpubs that our area is quite poor.

    Honestly there isn't a brewpub in the area that I would give more than a 6 and the only one on your list that would get that would be Iron Hill (West Chester and North Wales).

    3 Replies
    1. re: mitchh

      OK well let me break one of my scores down and see if you agree:
      Dogfish Head scored:
      Atmosphere 1/2 (average)
      Food 2/3 (average)
      Beer 5/5 (outstanding)

      Agree/ disagree?

        1. re: mitchh

          Thanks. I can actually agree with that. Could you please provide me a score breakdown of Iron Hill and your number one brewpub (and it's name of course).

          Thanks again.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Independence Brewpub is closed. I guess that means they score a zero.

        And only a 4 for Nodding Head? While their beer is hit or miss (2/5) their food is usually good (2/3) and nothing wrong with the atmosphere - (1.5/2). That's 5.5 from me. People trash this place and I'm not sure why.

        1. Rock Bottom over Nodding Head? That's a surprise to me. And I'm guessing most of the Lafayette's score comes from the beer?

          10 Replies
          1. re: lawgirl3278

            Lafayettes score is definitely not coming from the food. yikes.

            1. re: GBak504

              For atmosphere and food I looked at it like this (and I could be wrong).

              I think that overall Triumph (both in Phila and New Hope) has very good atmosphere for example because: the staff is knowledgeable and friendly, the crowd is cool, and they have a nice sort of modern layout and design with plenty of points of visual interest. They’ve never been unreasonably noisy either when I’ve been (which is more of a personal preference I know)

              For food, since we are talking about pub food essentially I referenced the food at really good gastropubs (e.g. Royal Tavern) as being 5 out of 5 and went from there.

              Note: I’ve yet to have visited a brewpub with food as good or as interesting as Royal Tavern, Tap, etc.

              Note 2: I gave General Lafayette 1 of 2 (atmosphere), 1 of 3 (food), 4 of 5 (beer)

              Note 3: IMHO if you scored 5pts or below you shouldn't be in business.

              1. re: Chinon00

                General Lafayette

                atmosphere 0 out of 2
                food 0 out of 3
                beer 2 out of 5

                1. re: mitchh

                  I think having a ghost deserves 1 point for atmosphere. ;^)

                  1. re: mitchh

                    That's pretty harsh. I agree that the atmosphere and the food leave a lot to be desired but Sunset Red, Pacific Pale Ale and "I'll Be Bock" deserve more than a 2 out of 5 don't they? And their 275th anniversary Barley Wine was tome of flavor.

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      You asked my opinion and I gave it. Sorry that I don't agree with everyone.

                      As I posted above, I've been to many brewpubs, especially in the New England, New York State and some in Ohio and when it comes to brewpubs, this area pales in comparison.

                      That said if we take out my out of state experiences out of the equation then I guess the General's beer would be more like a 3.5.

                      1. re: mitchh

                        I travel a lot and I will be sure to visit Brewer's Art in Baltimore (as suggested by Buckethead) when I get a chance. The website looks fantastic. But could you please breakdown a few places that you've visited in New York State, New England, etc via atmosphere, food and beer that you really like. I'd really appreciate it.


                    2. re: mitchh

                      Way harsh......The General Lafayette needs to do two things to really up their profile....ban smoking and upgrade the menu. I think that place has a great atmosphere (besides for the wall of smoke in the bar area) their beer is good, sometimes great, but the food stinks.

                      1. re: G Goo

                        I haven't been to the General Lafayette in a few years. Do they still have the pool table and darts? That's worth a point to me! But I do remember the food being...let me see how I should say this....from the 1970s?

                        1. re: JCap

                          First of all General Lafayette has cask conditioned ale (two handles) and that in and of itself deserves extra points. I do not find their food to be bad, and I am a food snob. They have comfort food there (mac and cheese), good wings, a good chicken cheese steak, a decent steak salad, and a good charcuterie plate. I have also been to a beer dinner there where the food was outstanding.

                          I put their food way over Rock Bottom food which I find to be a glorified Applebees and the atmosphere in Rock Bottom feels like a warehouse, where you cannot hear yourself think.

                          Re Victory, their food is pedestrian though their pizzas are pretty good. The best reason to go to Victory is to try beers there they dont distribute.

              2. Have you ever been to the Brewer's Art in Baltimore? If Dogfish Head counts as 'Regional', I'd say they do too. Their beers are not very widely available in Philadelphia as they don't bottle anything, they only sell kegs, and precious few of those from what the bartender there told me. Southwark (4th and Bainbridge) has their Resurrection on draft, so do a few other places. Anyway, the atmosphere there is a 2/2, the food is at least a 2/3 (great burger and fries), and the beers are easily a 5. If you ever get down that way, definitely go there. Actually it may be worth the trip all by itself, it's a 90-minute (or so) drive or an hour train ride.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Buckethead

                  You cannot rate Brewers Art without recognizing number 1, they try to be a european style restaurant. They try to pair beers and food together and they have a good selection of cheeses. They are a food destination for people who do not like beer and they have a great wine list (for a brew pub).

                  Also noted about Brewers Art is they have guest beers on tap.