Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny
Taps: 17 / Bottles: 250
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 42 | Show All Ratings:
4.95/5 rDev +8.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This review is a long time coming. I've been a regular here for at least 2 years now. I'm unbelievably lucky to have such a great place less than 10 mins away from my house.
When I first found this place I wondered if I was lost. You pass house after house and never see a business and then as if dropped from the heavens there it is sitting right along the quiet rolling waters of the Manatawny.
I remember first sitting down and being handed a draft list, a current bottle list and their permanent bottle list. I quickly realized I must be in beer heaven. How did I not know about this place in the 2 years I had already lived in the area.
When you first enter, you are dropped into the bar area with a largish L shaped bar. To your left you will find "smoking" seating with booths and 2 rather large booths. There are also a few high tops. To the right of the bar is a good sized dining room. The real jewel is during the warmer months when they open the outdoor seating area. Its not often you find outdoor seating area and in PA and this one has the atmosphere to go along with it. You can listen to quietly meandering Manatawny or look over the newly transplanted log cabin. Plus on weekends the outdoor bar has seating for about 8 people.
The draft list always consists of at least 10 craft beers. Many of it some of the highest rated beer from this site. The bottle list is extensive and well picked out. There are great beers from the US, Belgian, Germany and many other European countrys. I could go own and on about the beer, but if you love beer, you will simply fall in love with UJ's.
The food is always good. The wings are some of the best I have ever had. Plus you will find everything from a sandwich to a nice steak to seafood. There is something for everyone.
The service is always great. The people who work here know their beer and if they are unsure they will find someone to ask. Most of the wait staff has even tried much of the beer being served. The manager Tom is top notch and goes out his way to make you feel welcome.
I could go on and on about how great this place is, but all you have to do is visit and quickly realize this is a gem in the woods and very much worth the drive.
02-07-2008 17:49:29 | More by davide169
4.5/5 rDev -1.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I went to this little restaurant this past Sunday with a few friends. Our first impression was that it was an extremely cozy feeling little place. Very dimly lit, with a number of people relaxing at the bar, and even a family sitting down to a meal. It was rather quiet, which was good because we just wanted to chat instead of getting loud and wild. The beer menu was rather overwhelming at first, but we were able to round it down to a couple of beers each that we wanted to try out. Prices on the beers were pretty reasonable, about a dollar less than what I'm used to paying in Philly.
Next was the food. As soon as we all opened our menus, we were pretty surprised as to how cheap the food was. Burgers for 5 and 6 dollars, pork BBQ for 8, most appetizers were 4 or 5. It was really reasonable, but it got us worried that the food was going to suck. I got a burger and everyone else got the wings, and we all really enjoyed our meals. We also had a couple of orders of their homemade french fries which were delicious.
The service was pretty decent at Union Jack's. Our waitress made an excellent recommendation of Two Hearted Ale to my friend who loves IPA's. She was very helpful and when we ordered our beers, she was back with them in only a couple of minutes. The only mishap was that we got charged for a beer that we had ordered but then were told that they were out of, but the waitress was very apologetic and took care of it right away.
All in all, I can guarantee I'll be going back to this place, regardless of how out of the way it was for me. The beer selection is great. I can find some things here that I have never seen in Philly, and the place is small and quiet unlike the Philly bars. Great place for families, too. I can't wait to go back again.
10-23-2007 05:34:44 | More by CaptainObvious
4.58/5 rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
It was mid to late morning. Handsome Ed had cut out to work at an ungodly hour earlier; otherwise everyone was still asleep. I was standing in the kitchen looking out the back windows over the deck that'll be built someday, listening to the birds chirping, and contemplating the day, when Not Terribly Unattractive Heather came downstairs. Coffee, Ed having to leave for work in the wee hours, our day ahead, eventually the conversation turned to the crazy chirping of the birds.
So Heather says, "You know that's Phil, right?"
And I'm like, "What?"
"Yeah, that's Phil making that chirping noise".
Now she's laughing, and with a "this way" motioning gesture, we tip toe into the living room and sure enough, the noise that I thought was being made by birds chirping outside was actually Phil's head whistling as he inhaled and exhaled, sleeping there on the lazyboy. I approached a sleeping (Evil) Davo on the couch in the corner to quietly wake him so he could hear this too, and he just sprung up as if alerted to danger somehow. I gave him the "Shhh" and then the 3 of us sat listening to the song of the endangered "Phil bird", until it suddenly opened its eyes and flew for the bathroom...
Took some time to get out here and I don't even know where here is. It's not near nothin' close or otherwise. A long stand alone building in a lot on a rural road, we entered off to the far left into the bar area. The 12 seat "L" shaped wood paneled top bar with a dark wood lip runs 2 walls here, the bar back on one side being shelves of booze over small windows looking in on the adjacent dining room and a corner cooler full of beer, the other holding a much larger cooler with 3 rows of bottled beer and more displayed below on the counter on half the wall, and a pair of arched shelving units housing booze (Tequila, hooray!!) to both sides of a center mirror and booze, specialty giant bottles, figurines and growlers below on the other half. 3 bar tables and a half dozen booths about the room. Brewery mirrors mounted on the bar overhang, lined with chili pepper strung lighting, and hanging glassware racks at both ends of the bar. Green wall uppers over slat wood lowers, brewery mirrors between blinded windows, and tap handles displayed above. Low lamps and candles on the bar. TV's in opposite corners, a CD juke, electronic darts, and a corner bar video game. A corner door near the entrance leads you into the dining room holding upwards of 2 dozen tables and booths, and through to a large banquet room beyond that. Off the bar, a doorway to an exterior 3 tiered brick seating deck and another elevated deck below separated where they set up for live music, all this with good views over the Manatawny River out back just yards away.
Perused the food menu some and came up with a cup of chili (topped with cheddar and served with garlic bread), and the sirloin tips sandwich (good, yeah!!, in fact, the food was good all around and a shot of the Cuervo Reserva De La Familia helped nicely. You don't see it out everywhere and it's well worth whatever they're charging for it).
And beer... 17 taps across different points along the bar on towers of 2's and 3's. Nearly half of them micros from Pennsylvania (Stoudts Double Blonde & Mai Bock, Sly Fox Galena IPA, Legacy Hoptimus Prime Double IPA), and beyond (Avery Collaborator, Rogue Imperial Stout, Smuttynose Hanami, Boulder Mojo IPA), the other half a mix of imports (Warsteiner Pils, Franziskaner Hefe, Spaten Optimator, Lindemans Peche & Framboise, Murphys), a cider (Strongbow), and then Yuengling and Coors Light. Apparently, I just missed the Verhaeghe Echte Kriekenbier on tap (what a world, what a world). No cask beer, but infrequent firkins.
And, uh, yeah, 300 or so bottles. At least 1/3 of them American micros, with goodies from Bells, Jolly Pumpkin, Russian River, Lost Abbey, and then 5 dozen plus Belgians, 2 dozen UK, a dozen and a half German, etc. Some hard to find vintage stuff, too (I bought a '93 Courage Russian Impy just because).
Sick selection here, not near anywhere, but well worth the jaunt in the country.
07-09-2007 02:15:50 | More by slander
4.3/5 rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
What a great location. I wish I could get to this place more often. The following notes Carolyn took from our visit on 9/23/06 for the King of Hops contest.
On Friday, September 23, D and I were joined by our friend Mark to make a trip into the countryside where we would help crown the King of Hop Beers at Union Jacks Inn. What a beautiful building - an old brick house with a patio - the perfect country setting and two of my favorite people accompanying me. The beer didnt even need to be good, but thank goodness it was!
The tap list at Union Jacks was pretty amazing, and the bottle list was equally impressive. Picking our pre-contest beer was a chore (and, unfortunately, after I ordered a Sly Fox Simcoe, there was no more to be had!) D started with a Youngs Double Chocolate Stout and Mark had the Rodenbach. Inspired by the despised podcast title, I decided on a Lindemans Peche, which was really quite refreshing on that early fall evening.
Shortly after our dinner, the taps were switched over, and the King of Hops contest began! We each ordered one of every contestant, and they were served in perfect glassware for tasting - 6 oz glasses with a wide rim. The hops were pretty overwhelming - Im not suggesting that is a bad thing - and I was finished after those five samples.
D went on to order the additional Russian River selections (Deification and Damnation - obviously not part of the contest) so we could enjoy those together. It seems a limited number of these Russian River kegs were released in PA, and we had already missed out on two opportunities to enjoy them, so we were going to take in one of each while we had the chance!
The King of Hop Beers contest ballot asked us to rate each beer from 1 to 5; 1 being not so hoppy; 5 being hoppiest (now THAT answer would have been obvious.) Upon further questioning, we learned that we were really to rate them according to our preferences; 5 being our favorite.
Now for the contestants:
Russian River Pliney the Elder - 8% (which they would serve in 6oz or 18oz)
This one made us all say WOW! What an easy drinking beer! It was full of flavor, yet light (in comparison to the others.) Very tasty! On the final table rating scale, this averaged a 4 (I rated it 3, D rated it a 4 and Mark rated it a 5.)
Russian River Pliney the Younger - 11% (also available in 6oz or 18oz)
On first tasting, this one just made us all exclaim WHOA! It blew us all away with the high alcohol and the strong citrusy hops flavor. As it warmed up to room temperature, I became more and more impressed, and in the end, I rated this one a fabulous 5. The final table rating was a 3.33 (D waffled on his #3, so we allowed him to rate two beers in that level; Mark rated it a 2.)
Union Jacks Hoptimus Prime - 9.4% (6oz or 18oz)
This particular beer was brewed for Union Jacks by Legacy Brewing Co. in Reading, and the brewer was just around the corner at the bar. What a moment that could have been - an opportunity to meet the brewer and congratulate him on a job well done - except it just wasnt. The flavor was so very harsh, and no one enjoyed it (Mark and I didnt even finish our 6oz glass!) This got a final table rating of 1, with ones all around.
Weyerbacher Eleven - 11% (6oz or 10oz)
Brewed for the 11th anniversary of Weyerbacher, this was a superb glass of beer. D commented that it was the Cognac of IPA, and he was pretty good in that assessment. It was SO smooth, and it was hard to tell this was such a high-alcohol beer. I rated it a 2 only because something had to be a 2 in my mind, however, a this 2 was so much closer to 5 (and the 1 was much closer to -5.) The final table rating was a 3.33 as D rated it a 5 and Mark rated it a 3.
Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA - 11% (6oz or 10oz)
It had only been two weeks since D and I enjoyed Unearthly onsite and by the growler, so it was fun to taste it side-by-side with other big IPAs. This is such an excellent example of this style. We gave it a collective table rating of 3.66 (Mark and I agreed on a placement of 4, and this was Ds other 3.)
As I said before, for a Friday night with a drive ahead, that was plenty of beer for the moment, but D did order the other two Russian River beers for us to try. Deification had a very nice candy sugar sort of flavor to it, and Damnation was very unique, reminiscent of a cider. We liked them both very much!
05-28-2007 09:13:51 | More by Deuane
4.28/5 rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
This place is pretty amazing, but what it's doing out in the middle of nowhere, I'll never understand. I drove up from Baltimore to visit this place for the first time, and was beginning to think I was lost when I finally spotted UJ's Inn on the Manatawny. From the outside the place kind of looks like an old farmhouse or barn, something that's been transformed into some kind of knick-knack goods and antique store. However, that impression quickly ends as soon as you walk in the door.
I really liked how low key the bar area seemed, with it's kind of cool, dark and informal vibe. The place just seems like an ideal place to hang out and while away a quiet afternoon drinking good beer. The day I was there I think they had between 12 and 16 beers on tap, most of which were very well thought out and interesting. From previous posts I was a bit afraid they would not pour/sell samples size glasses (which given the number of great beers they had available, would have been a huge problem for me), but fortunately this was not the case. I didn't look closely at my bill, but it appeared that sample size glasses were around $1.50 to $2 for a 4 to 5 ounce pour. In my opinion, this was more then fair for what they were letting me sample (Founder's Dirty Bastard scotch ale, among other things)
The service here was pretty good for the most part, especially as it appeared they were preparing for a large party in the dining room next door. Chatted a bit with the bar tender about the selection, as well as DIPA's in general.
As for food, I ordered the wings, which while pretty good, I would not describe them as outstanding (though they were good size). No complaints, again they were fine for what they were.
This is an excellent place, though given where it's located, you have to really want to visit the place. I'm guessing no one just happens to drop in to UJ's Manatawny by accident. Amazing.
05-13-2007 15:24:09 | More by johnmichaelsen
4.78/5 rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I met April & her husband for a few pints on this random Saturday. It is a bit of a hike to get there: over an hour for me from the burbs of Philly. Google maps 422 route was faster (an hour with no traffic) but boring while I took 73 home (slower by ten minutes but a nicer drive).
Neat place. Old rustic hotel with a great deck overlooking a creek (thus it takes a while to get there). The service was good and the manager Tom is a good guy who chatted me up while I waited for April to arrive. Great bottle list (Founders, Belgians, Lost Abbey, RR, etc) plus great beers on tap (Bell's, Arcardia, locals, RR on deck). I had a tasty pulled pork sandwich. Prices were reasonable for the quality of the brew. I will be heading back there for sure.
05-12-2007 23:41:29 | More by SkinnyElvis
4.83/5 rDev +5.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
What an absolutely magnificent destination!!! I was at Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny a week ago but the delay in the review is because I wanted to take the proper time to tell you why you *must* visit this place.
First and foremost, Tom. Tom is the owner / manager of UJ's and he truly is a Beer Advocate in all respects. This is a man who loves great beer, cares about great beer talks beer and serves great beer. The service from Tom and from his staff was *far* beyond my expectations!
Second; UJ's On The Manatawny is gorgeous! It is a site to behold. You will get lost trying to find this remote location in the middle of nowhere, (I did) but that is part of the beauty. When you find it, it'll be worth the effort. The building is located right on the bank of the Manatawny river. I was there while snow covered the patio, the outdoor seating, the banks of the river, the trees and everything else. Still, it was amazing. I love the sound of the water running over the rocks and the ambience it creates. I will be back, with my wife in the spring (despite the hour and a half drive). The building has a lodge appearance with woodwork and Breweriana to tease the eye.
Third; The most important of all. THE BEER! I started to jot down the breweries represented in the cooler (from which he does sell takeout) and I stopped and changed my notes to most brewerys available in PA. And he has some of the best beers from them as well. Trust me on this; you will not be disappointed in the beer quality or selection. Period.
-- oh and by the way the food is good too but the beer is my focus and decent food... just a plus!
No matter where you live you are going to need to travel to find your way to the Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny. There is no two ways about that. Still, it is a *must* see beer destination in my very humble opinion.
Hope this is helpful.
02-28-2007 08:48:44 | More by Phatz
4.85/5 rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
The selection and service are the best of any bar I have ever been to. In this state with its miserable liquor laws this place is an escape to another state or country.
I avoid going on weekends and Friday nights as much as possible as the cigarette smoke changes the taste of food and more importantly the smell/taste of beer. In the warmer months the deck is open and that is the time to go.
The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about their massive selection. Tell them what you like and they can usually recommend something new that is good.
I never go there to eat but usually eat when I am there. Their wings are the best but I have never had anything bad from them.
02-24-2007 18:07:12 | More by donotknowme
4.58/5 rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
This spot is great for the beer connissuer. I attended a beer tasting at this locale and tried several beers (on tap and in bottles) that I probably would not have found anywhere else in the general vicinity. The location is a bit off the beaten path, but that adds to the ambience. Beers I tried here for the first time:
Russian River - Pliny the Younger, Damnation
Allagash - Interlude, Musette
Legacy - Fantasy, Hoptimus Prime
Nugget Nectar in a cask.
The servers behind the bar were very pleasant and very very knowledgable about their selection. The crowd on this specific night were pleasant and very knowledgable as well about beer.
02-24-2007 14:53:43 | More by Matteox3
4.9/5 rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
In starting I must say that I am not only a close neighbor of this fine establishment for the past year, but also an experienced beer home brewer, judge, traveler and all-around geek for the past 15 years. And this place keeps me busy. So let me simply quantify some of my ratings.
The Quality (and Selection) ratings applies to every one of the 325+ micros and imports in the coolers and taps. There are everyday beers enough to please those not so inclined. (Somebody has to drive!) Bear in mind, too that the selection morphs by the WEEK. We are not worthy. By the way, they often feature import beers that are exclusive within the state, and sometimes the nation.
The Food is entirely high quality and mostly innovative. The soups are entirely to die for. Do not miss the patio grill in the summer, with live music. You'll thank me.
The Value rating is well earned. This beer is a tad pricey, but for two important reasons: it is the best the world's most creative brewers have to offer, and also brewing and transportation costs have been skyrocketing. Expensive, but, all things considered, a bargain.
These opinions were all given in regard to how this establishment rates as a beer bar and great place to hang.Even if only once, treat yourself.
12-19-2006 08:11:39 | More by Brewery88
Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny in Boyertown, PA
99 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.