Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny
Taps: 17 / Bottles: 250
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 42 | Show All Ratings:
3.75/5 rDev -17.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
A nice place to stop by when you are out that way, but a place that does perplex me a bit.
The Good: Right next to a picture perfect creek setting. Service is generally good at the bar, less so at the tables. Very diverse selection of bottled beers, the drafts are nice for out there, but seem a little week in comparison to the "top tier bars". Decent food (not bad, not great but we do always eat when we are there.)But, then again our agenda is not the food here.
The Bad: "Next to a picture perfect creek setting", but they do not let you get close to it on a Sunday; they drop you next to they parking lot. Inside is okay, nothing special. Food is consistent, not great, not bad, but you do know what you are getting. Quality of taps beers is good, but the bottled beers are a bit touch and go. Service, a few months ago a table near me a had bad bottle (they ended up sharing with us) and the waitress still dinged them for it.
Synopsis: If you are looking for a day with a nice drive, a good place to stop. Overall, not a place I would go out of the way for unless we lived a lot closer.
02-18-2008 03:55:35 | More by Intheshadows
3.78/5 rDev -17.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
This place it out in the sticks. I drive over an hour to get there. And I've done it several times. Why? Because it's been awesome. Awesomely awesome.
So, last time I made the trek, and found the tap selection to be completely off-season and medicore (at best!), I was more than a little disappointed. Onto the beer bible I went for U.Jack's bottle selection. Struck out here a few times.
This was a Monday. Barkeep said they were super busy over the weekend so things weren't what they should be. Wasn't buying it. Somebody dropped the ball.
It's still on my list. I still like the place. But when I'm closer to a whole barrel of brewpubs and awesome bars with selections that are always good, I'll think twice before spending almost 2.5 total hours in the car to sit at this bar and be disappointed by its lack of "world class" selections.
Food is good. I like it. But let's be honest. That's not why you're there. Not in a place like this.
There once was a place called Kclingers out in Hanover, PA. (Well, it still exists, but it's a shell of its former self.) Journeyed there one weekend last year. The owner's let it slip so badly - a place that used to boast THE best beer selection on the East Coast - that we got one bottle for every 10 we ordered. One. And the worst part? The barkeep mocked us for ordering from such a long outdated list.
I mention this only because this place used to be a beer mecca. I'm sure it started slipping, in much the same way U.Jack's did that recent and fateful December Monday afternoon I was just there. Hope it doesn't go that route and it was just a one-time blunder, a temporary glitch in the fantastic beerdom that is U.Jack's.
My next review after my next visit will tell as much. Fingers crossed, friends. Fingers crossed. World class establishments shouldn't slip up, not if they intend to remain world class.
02-03-2009 21:37:31 | More by BeerBishop
3.88/5 rDev -14.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
My wife and I stopped in for the Easter Hopfest. Met up with a bunch of BA's around lunchtime. Started off with a glass of Russian River Pliny the Elder and placed my order for the burger special of the day - a Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger : bourbon glazed bacon, smoked gouda, and Boulder Mojo beer battered onion rings on a half pound burger. Everything about the burger was great except that I ordered it medium rare and when I got it, there was no pink to be found. It was still quite juicy, and not too killed, so I did not complain much. The Mojo Onion rings were killer, I should have tried to order an entire side of them. My wife had the Port Wrap - grilled chicken and portabella shrooms with spinach, feta on a pesto wrap. She was a fan of that. Due to the hopfest and all the people groveling over a sixtel of Pliny the Younger, the place was packed. Because of this, service suffered terribly. Too much attention to the time consuming sample flights. We waited around half an hour for each draft. That's unacceptable. Wish I would have been able to try a few more beers, but my patience wore thin. Didn't feel like wasting 2-3 hours there trying to get 2-3 more drafts. Prices for draft and bottles were a bit high for the location as well.
Edit - I've bumped the service from 1.5 to 3.0 after being contacted by management stating they will make things right on my next visit. That alone, after this review was posted just a few hours earlier, shows class on their part as well as a true concern for their customers satisfaction. I'll revisit this review on my next trip down to UJ's and update it accordingly.
04-13-2009 03:41:56 | More by ClockworkOrange
4.05/5 rDev -11.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
I love this place.
It is located in an out-of-the-way setting along the banks of the Manatawny Creek. Inside, it's a nice dimly lit pub. Outside, you can sit on the expansive patio at umbrella tables.
The food is great traditional pub food, fairly priced.
The tap list is always interesting and changes often. The draught menu is descriptive, informational, and often includes staff reviews. And I love it that they have Yuengling for the unadventurous, but the description just says "Duh." The bottle list is big and outstanding. And the staff is knowledgeable.
One of my favorite things is the free music on Sundays in the summer out in the band shell on the lawn. Bring your family and some chairs or blankets, sip some great beer, and listen to music. It is absolutely one of my top places to hear a band.
I go here every chance I get, and regret every time I have to drive by the road which leads to it and don't have time to stop.
07-06-2013 21:28:46 | More by candcholt
4.1/5 rDev -10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped by UJs on the Manatawny on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The bar was crowded obviously. It's really amazing anyone can find this place.
A: The bar area is rather small with some bar height tables and some booths. The bar is an L shaped but maybe only has 12 seats or so. Dark inside with minimal windows. The decoration is cool with lots of bar signs and old tap handles. The bar is very rustic.
Q: Here is where UJs shines. What a great lineup of quality beer. It amazes me that the bar has this quality located in basically the middle of nowhere.
S: I was a bit disappointed here as they only had one bartender serving the entire bar area. It was crowded and I had to get up from our table to get our beers.
S: Excellent, I don't know how many taps they had, but damn the selection was great. Local brews like Victory, hard to find beers like Oak Aged Yeti from Great Divide and other very good hard to find beers. Nice, nice selection.
F: Did not eat, sorry.
V: Reasonably priced. 6 beers cost us $ 34.00.
Overall a great beer bar in the Berks County area. I'll definitely get there again.
11-28-2008 18:27:50 | More by Kadonny
4.15/5 rDev -9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
A very nice pub in a beautiful country setting. We have only sat inside as the weather has not been right to sit outside when we have been there. But there is a beautiful deck in a wooded setting by a riverbank.
The bar area inside has a nice neighborhood pub vibe to it, with about 15 seats at an L-shaped bar.
The beer selection is excellent with about 15 taps with lots of good choices (recently Cane & Ebel, Southern Tier Hoppe and Cherry Saison) to go with a couple of taps from Sly Fox. The bottle list is outstanding, with about 150 selections (give or take 50; too many to count).
Service is always very pleasant and the food is tasty pub grub. Despite the wealth of great beer bars and brewpubs nearby, we always enjoy our one hour excursion to see what's going on.
Make sure to bring cashm or your ATM card, as they do not accept credit cards here.
07-03-2008 18:48:15 | More by sholland119
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
4.3/5 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
4.33/5 rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Nestled deep in the Oley Valley, this place is a little diamond in the rough. Driving along country roads, this place just appears like an oasis- reminds me of a ski lodge/chateau. Inside is a cozy L-shaped bar reminiscent of English style pubs. A seating area is also located in this area as well as a separate dining area in another section of the building. There is also an outdoor seating deck, though I have not yet had an opportunity to check it out. The beer selection is impressive, and for this area- enigmatic. Pliny the Younger is a typical find! Otherwise, great selections on tap and bottled. The food is respectable (only once have I eaten here). The service is good and friendly, though service speed can slow down a tad when busy. The bar area can get smoky- which knocks down 'amosphere' a little. Value: Prices are just a bit above average for beers, but well worth the price when you come across worthy beers that are not easy to find (especially on tap).
This is a great place to visit. Enjoy the selection and the comfortable confines!
02-09-2008 18:12:31 | More by coalcracker
4.35/5 rDev -4.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I live relatively close to Union Jack's so I am a somewhat frequent customer... I've never really had a bad experience. Yeah, definately some better beer bars out there, but not to many in the Reading area. Service has always been good. Staff is knowledgeable in the different brews and I've always been able to find something exciting to drink. Can't get to into detail on all the food, but I can definately say that their wings are phenomenal. As far as prices go, I'd say that they're in line with other bars with the same food and beers. If your in the 20-40 minute drive radius, check it out.
06-21-2009 23:17:28 | More by bbeane
Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny in Boyertown, PA
99 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.