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John Harvard's Brew House

Not Rated.
John Harvard's Brew HouseJohn Harvard's Brew House

Beer Stats:
Active Beers: 190
Beer Ratings: 850
Beer Avg: 3.59

Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
very good

35 Ratings
Ratings: 35
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 0%
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

1487 Pleasant Valley Rd
Manchester, Connecticut, 06042-1664
United States
phone: (860) 644-2739
// CLOSED //

(Linked Listing) None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 35 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by RedChrome:
Photo of RedChrome


4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$

Knew of this place before I joined BA, but had never stopped in. Had an opportunity to try it with friends last night, and was quite impressed.

We went after the standard dinner crowd, and this seemed to make a big difference from some of the other reviews I have read. We were seated promptly, and I was impressed that the hostess took the time to clean the table before sitting us, as opposed to some other "casual dining" establishments, where they do it with you sitting there.

I really liked the atmosphere, which was mostly of dark wood and glass. The tanks right at the entryway is a nice touch. Music was a tad bit to loud, and I would have liked a better view of the Sox game, but no luck there. A blackboard in the bar area advertises the "On Tap" date of each of the offerings currently availiable.

The hostess immediatley apologized that the waitress was on a break, and took our drink orders in her place. Many bonus points to the hostess, whoever you are. Six choices from the taps, offering a nice range from light ale through Irish stout. I started with the "Hue Hefeweizen", which was advertised as an American Wheat Beer for the "playboy/girl" in everyone.

Disspointed with the head on the beer, but appreciate the bertends zealous nature to put as much beer into a pint glass as possible. Waitress returned quickly after the beverages arrived. I ordered the sirloin and awaited the "sour cream" mashed potatos. Very nice selection on the menu, but I was in a steak mood.

Food arrived quite quickly, and was served as ordered. All I can say is, EVERYONE SHOULD EAT HERE. The steak was perfectky seasoned and cooked to exactly the color I expected of a medium steak. Mashed potatos we out of this world.

Tried the "Brown Recluse IPA" during dinner, and was dissapointed I had to wait a few minutes to flag down the waitress. Again, almost no head, but filled the pint glass.

Finished dinner, and had a third pint, this time the "John Harvard's Pale Ale", while my friends had dessert. Third beer, third weak head in favor of giving the customer a fuller pint.

Overall a fantastic experience that I hope to repeat often. I just need to make sure to avoid the weekend and dinner rush crowds. The beer menu listed three brews coming soon, and I look foward to them. For complete beer reviews, check the appropriate pages for the particular beer.

05-23-2006 21:29:38 | More by RedChrome
More User Reviews:
Photo of TtheGrey


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$

I just got back from dinner. I thought the atmosphere was very nice and cozy. The service was ok, but in their defense it was packed. The beers were tasty, I got the sampler (they were out of the IPA and the nut brown ale) which was their light beer, pale ale, rasperry love, dr. metal and A barleywine. The beers were good (the barlywine had some kick). I preferred the pale ale, Dr. Metal and the light beer. The cost for my wife and I to have dinner was about $30, not too bad. I would go there again, next time I am in the area. I need to thank this website for leading me to the place in the first place.

03-07-2010 03:39:19 | More by TtheGrey
Photo of Jayli


4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$

I've been to this location on numerous occassions, but had not reviewed it. Revisited this location last Wednesday 11/18 with a friend in town from MN. We were seated right away, and the waitress came over immediately. She was quite knowledgeable about the brews, and made recommendations for my friend based on her preferences. Nice selection of beers, they had the basics available - IPA, Pale, Porter, Wheat, Light, and a few others. The only thing they weren't offering at the time was a red. I tried their Chewbacca IPA and Fade to Black Porter. Both were pretty decent offerings. It's not typical pub food. There is a nice selection of food to chose from and the food was great, as always.
This isn't a blow your mind away beer type of brewery, but it's good food, good beer, good atmosphere.

11-23-2009 19:48:13 | More by Jayli
Photo of hoochlovesbeer


2.3/5  rDev -39.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 1 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$

What a disappointment! After many years of reading/listening to how this JH is above the rest; I sincerely beg to differ. We stopped in for lunch recently on the way to the Buckland Hills Mall. I tried the Amber, and Hefeweizen which were down right nearly undrinkable, I can only relate them to less than mediocre homebrew. I've been homebrewing award wining beers for over 11 years and even as a newbie my beers were better than this. I felt obligated to order "a beer" after the waitress had already made two trips to the bar and then asked how I liked the two samples. I did what any other beer connoisseur would do and ordered a beer that would mask the brewers flaws; I ordered the IPA. I was again let down. The glass smelled like iodophor, perhaps they were cleaning the lines, and didn't do a through job of rinsing them properly, whatever the case maybe there's no excuse.

09-09-2009 02:00:21 | More by hoochlovesbeer
Photo of dbmcrorie


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$

Was able to stop by this place on the way through Hartford.

I was very excited to see their list of brews on tap, but was immediately let down to find a few of them were out. However, the food was quite tasty (though not exceptional) and the beer was certainly tasty. Had the porter, blonde, and barleywine. The porter and blonde came in massive glasses (must have been at least 22 oz), but the barleywine - which cost twice the other beers - came in a itty-bitty snifter. A bit of a disappointment.

The service was rather slow, but I'll give them that it was in the early afternoon and who knows if it was just a tired waitress waiting for her lunch shift to end.

Not much else to say other than it was a decent brewpub, tasty brews, a nice atmosphere and interior design (rustic meets fancier restaurant) with a decent view of the brewing equipment. Only major complaint was that the food was mediocre and everything was quite over-priced. Nevertheless, I'll admit I might go back if I am in the area.

08-03-2009 01:10:04 | More by dbmcrorie
Photo of Durge


4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$

Stopped here for the first time on a recent Thursday night in time to pick up a growler of Anniversary IPA. It's conveniently located right off the main highway (I-84) near the Buckland Mall. It's a pretty big stand alone place with plenty of parking. A hostess will greet you and you have a choice of a good sized dining area or a similarly sized bar area with a few televisions for sports viewing, etc. I was grrety very nicely by hostess and bartender alike and immediately received my desired growler but I stayed for a pint of the cask IPA which was fairly good. It seems like a nice, friendly atmosphere, the bartender was fairly knowledgable and she offered me a free sample to ensure my choice. Unfortunately I can't recall what else they had on tap that night but it wasn't terribly exotic as I recall. Reasonable but nothing making that little devil speak to me about staying for just one more brew. But I would have been very happy to stay for more had I not had another hour to drive home. The dining areas were dimly lit, comfortable looking and in close proximity to the bar but it looks like they have multiple sections available depending upon volume, etc. I hope to eat there next time and sample a few more of their brews. I can see from the listings on BA that they have offered many different and unusual brews so I am confident that overall the selection is solid here. The couple I have tried so far are promising. Don't dismiss this place just because it is a dreaded "chain", it's really perfectly fine, and cask ales to boot!

05-30-2009 20:58:38 | More by Durge
Photo of gixxerman


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$

Popped in for lunch on the way to the airport. Like it has been said before it is pretty typical JH here. More of a chain than neighborhood feel.

I had a smoked turkey sandwich, and an Irish Stout. The sandwich was average but the stout was good. Hits of smoke, coffee and chocolate were there in the correct intensities.

I was one of 5 people at the bar at noon, and the rest of the place was pretty empty as well.

Not a bad place, I liked the beer and would stop back for a few more, and give dinner a try.

04-08-2009 22:48:51 | More by gixxerman
Photo of FLBeerGuy


4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$

Visited on a Friday night just before 8 Pm as the happy hour crowd was winding down. It was pretty busy when we arrived, but we managed to find a couple chairs at the bar after making a couple of loops around the place. They had 5 or 6 beers on tap and one on cask. Since I am partial to a good cask ale, the Raisin Stout on cask was my first choice. I wasn't disappointed, it was mighty tasty and served at the proper temperature. Next I had the Oatmeal Stout, which had some bitterness going down, not what I expect from an Oatmeal Stout. My companion also sampled the Bock, which was decent. Did not try the food, but what I saw, looked decent, with decent sized portions

Overall, a nich brewpub with some tasty beer. Being a suburban location, parking is not a problem.

02-01-2009 04:15:39 | More by FLBeerGuy
Photo of jim102864


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$

I've visited here many times and after yesterday's visit, it's time to review John Harvard's.

Located in a busy part of the state just north of Hartford, this pleasant pub has served up solid microbrewed beer for years now. The atmosphere is all dark wood and very cozy. A big screen and two smaller flat screens offer local sports. A large rectangular bar surrounds the liquor shelves in the center and taps for their tasty brew. Yesterday, they had five on tap. A red ale which was somewhat lacking in body was the first round. And since a large group came in before me, according to the pleasant and well-endowed barmaid, my roasted turkey wrap was delayed so I moved on to my next round; an IPA. Very much worthy of the name as it was a hoppy, pleasant experience. Once the wrap finally arrived after a humble apology, I was pleased to find it hot as were the french fries. The turkey itself was ice cold and I can only assume that's the way the wrap is prepared (not exactly my preference). The wrap was good. Not great, but good. I signed up for their mug club sometime during the Coolidge administration. When asked, the barmaid said there's a long waiting list, but with the draconian mandate that members visit 35 times per year (that ain't a misprint) to maintain their membership, she suspects I will be getting a call shortly since renewals are underway. I've already got a mug at my regular place, but it was interesting information anyway. JH is a nice pub that continues to endure though I understand some of their other locations have closed down recently. It's my hope this one stays open as it is a solid second option a few times per year for me and a place other BA's would enjoy.

11-21-2008 12:05:37 | More by jim102864
Photo of kmo1030


3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$

john harvard's manchester is similar to other john harvard's obviously. dark wood, brewing equipment, etc. i like the high ceilinged dining room beyonf the bar area. john harvard's standards on tap with some a few interesting rotating taps. all are of solid john harvard's quality... nothing to wirte home about for the most part, but good and reliably so. usually something's on cask.
the number or times i've been here the service has always been at least adequate and always helpful with beer descriptions.
this one's food does not disappoint. this JH's has always had good grub, like the others i've been to. prices are pretty reasonable.

05-29-2008 00:48:43 | More by kmo1030
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John Harvard's Brew House in Manchester, CT
87 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.