Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny
Ratings: 48 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
4.58/5 rDev +0.2%
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
4.7/5 rDev +2.8%
Well Now, here is a really nice surprise.
Stop #2 during a quiet Sunday drive round PA with BA Erica. First off its listed as in Boyertown, but it is not actually in Boyertown. You need to take Rte. 73 *from* Boyertown & head West for about 5 miles until you get to Pheasantland (no really it is called that), once through there you turn left onto Tollhouse Road, be careful not to miss it, we did, look for the sign that says Pheasantland Roller Rink and Repperts Candy. Once in the back lanes take a left at the stop sign onto Manatawny Road and its on your right hand side set down the hill after about a mile.
Remember the driving sequence up the hills to the Overlook Hotel (Oregons Timberline Lodge) in The Shining?? ..oh I digress, but needless to say we seemed to be in the back of beyond by the time we got here. After a lonely drive we ended up outside a large wooden lodge affair .ooh spooky. My attention was immediately drawn to an Old London Black Cab (Hackney Carriage) sitting to the left of the driveway that leads down to the largish parking lot.
A small deck area fronts Union Jacks, it was dark when we arrived, it felt like 9pm but it was barely 6pm when we got there, the clocks had just gone back that day so it seemed much later than it really was. Quiet as a Church Mouse inside, we were outnumbered by the staff & the focus of much giggling attention it seemed. Surely we must be lost tourists!?
Nevertheless, once inside the bar, which is a large L-shape affair, lots of wood & the cabin feel are accentuated by the darkened interior. The bar area sits towards & in front of you and dog-legs to your left as you enter, whilst the nicely appointed restaurant area is to the right which is visible through a glass pane from the bar area.
Even though there was no sound on the TV, it wasnt hard to work out that the Eagles were getting their proverbial arses pasted by the Broncos when we arrived. 30 minutes later an Eagles fan turned up for the Football Night, he was alone; needless to say he fought hard to get the volume on the TV raised.
None of this mattered to me, for I was fixated on the great draft beer range. Divine providence had me sit at the bar right in front of Russian River Pliny the Elder naahhh .YEP! Sure enough, I started with a PtE. Erica chose a Victory Moonglow, which was too sweet & way too Bananery for my liking, and I suspect hers too, yet even though she bravely soldiered through it. Some 15 plus taps with a seriously impressive range of draft brews, lots of choice, style and source and no crap on tap. My second draft brew was a Rogue Saison from the Johns Locker range, weird to say the least but the chance to try it out here at the Outlook Hotel was awesome. Beyond the drafts the coolers behind the bar contains some real serious eye candy. Well over 300 brews to choose from in total, far too many to mention but suffice to say that it ranged from Coast to Coast and North to South as well as overseas. An immensely impressive range of brews that bowled me over, well except for the bottle of Flying Fish crap that I tried, did I really order that (slaps forehead). Nevertheless, I did manage to snaffle a DFH Olde School and Raison DExtra to take out though.
Service was superb, a little quiet at first but once the beers were ordered the guy behind the bar was incredibly helpful, was his name Jack Torrance? Later on one of the waitresses, Shelly Duvall I think, joined us in the conversation with a few locals. Warm and friendly the attitude was great and very welcome.
The toilets were clean and well appointed, I just followed the directions from the two young twin girls stood next to each other in the hallway saying Hello Darren, Come and play with us. Come and play with us, Darren" but I hated having to wade through all that gushing blood as the toilet doors opened.
I couldnt resist food here, not usually a good idea in a quiet bar, but I was hungry by the time we got here. Fear not, I opted for a spicy El Paso Burger whilst Erica opted for a Non-Carnivorous Veggie version called a Hey Vinnie whatever that meant. A basket of home-made Fries completed the sides as did the Ketchup and Malt Vinegar. Both the Burgers were superb and demolished in no time, I thoroughly enjoyed mine and Erica was quiet so I am sure she enjoyed hers. The food menu was varied and seemed to offer a lot of home made options. I would eat here again no worries.
The décor is heavy with Englishness and Beer related items which lends a nice atmosphere throughout. I imagine that in the Summer this place is a really cool place to hang out, but in the Winter, the snow covered maze will probably be the only reason to venture outside.
They say that ..
...All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy ..Redrum ..
So what did happen in Room 237?
The Union Jack Torrance-Nicholsons Inn at the Outlook Hotel is highly recommended.
Well worth the drive up the Colorado Rockies. ;-)
Last Visit: Sunday 30th October, 2005
11-06-2005 07:31:27 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.28/5 rDev -6.3%
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 John_M
4.15/5 rDev -9.2%
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
4.5/5 rDev -1.5%
A lovely place right off of 663 in suburban berks county close to the bucks line. Easy to get too but seemingly in the middle of nowhere in a batty location tucked in the woods by some big lake or river or something. Atmosphere is great, this place is HUGE, and decked out like a boathouse from the 40's or something of that ilk. The quality of the beer is top notch and the serive was fantastic. The tenders' are friendly and love talking beer. The selection was also killer, with two russian rivers on tap! (Benediction and Pliny the younger) with the elder on deck apparantly. I was sad to see the deification was gone, but apparantly there was a problem with a foamy keg :-( Wow, this is one of the best beer bars that I have been to recently and it is only 40 minutes from my house...Awesome! The food looked great too! It's worth a special trip here for the Russian River beers alone (who else has em'!?). If you live within an hour of here I suggest going (multiple times)...I know I will!
02-24-2006 00:17:49 | More by francisweizen
4.3/5 rDev -5.9%
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
4.64/5 rDev +1.5%
I finally was able to pop into another UJs after practically growing up in UJs Glenside. This place is stunning. A beer lover's dream! It's a little tricky to find this joint but well worth finding. Appearing like a hunting lodge or a bed & breakfast type building out of the blue as you turn the corner, it's a beautiful spacious building. Inside, the bar, booths and band are to the left and a second restaurant type room is to the right where you'll find the little boy's room replete with antique style. Lots of dark wood enhance the beauty of this beer geek heaven. There is also an outdoor deck that is open for beers when it is warmer, and a babbling brook to boot. Free entrance with a reggae band that was really good.
I was most impressed with the knowledge of the bar staff. I ordered a couple esoteric beergeek bottles of Luciérnaga, The Firefly and Middle Ages for $22. They actually asked if I wanted them cold or not. How cool! Also take out was further enhanced by AlphaKlaus, Panil Barque, and the taps are to die for. As good as anywhere with Urthel Hop-it, Vic'ry Storm King and Hop Wallop, Sly Fox, Russian River Pliny the Elder and more! About 20 taps overall. Awesome! UJs pays attention to good local beer and good beer in general. Mad props.
Last call: Could you take your Mother here? Absolutely. An inviting ambiance. Top notch beer and top notch people. Even Stevie Wonder can see that UJs cares about beer. A little off the beaten track, but only by about an hour from other great places like Sly Fox and Vic'ry.
11-28-2005 02:44:47 | More by blitheringidiot
4.38/5 rDev -4.2%
Had dinner and beer here on a Saturday night with some friends.
We sat in the bar area, not the dining room which had a nice pub feel to it, although a pit cramped, they fit in as many booths as possible. L shaped bar. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great so we didn't get a chance to check out their patio.
Quality of beer on their tap and bottle list was excellent, with an array of American craft beer and Belgian imports. An array of styles, so easy to find something for every palate- including some craft hard cider for my wife.
Service was good, our waiter was friendly and checked on us often. Food was tasty, our group stuck with standard bar food of wings, sandwiches, burgers, etc. They had some dinner entrees on the menu too.
My rating of $$ was based on the draft prices that were reasonable. Menu clearly indicated size and cost. Some of the limited release bottles on their list were a bit pricey.
09-25-2012 15:34:46 | More by jmdrpi
4.95/5 rDev +8.3%
This had to be one of my most enjoyable visits to a beer bar ever.
After my twists, turns, (and one wrong turn), my wife and I arrived at Union Jack's. It has a very impressive from the outside, and the scene was complete with an English Taxi parked in the front. We arrived shortly after noon on a Friday and we were the only patrons. We were offered any table in the place, and selected a corner booth. The waiter came with a menu and asked for our drink selections. When I asked what was on tap, he presented me with a listing that was fabulous. They also have a list of their new bottle arriveals and are in the process of printing up a full listing. I selected a Russian River Benediction for the tap list, and was not disappointed. The lunch menu selection was typical, with some nice wraps and several portabella mushroom selections available, in addition to your standard burgers, chicken dishes, and appetizers. I chose a chicken and portabella wrap, and my wife sselected the Maryland crab soup and the ceasar salad. I also ordered my second beer selection, a Bell's Two hearted Ale on tap. The food was excellent, ane the beers were fresh and delicious. I also purchased theur last bottle of Russian River Temptation. The manager, Tom, was very familiar with the beers being served and it was enjoyable talking to him. Our waiter was also very attentive, and gave us a tour of the outside when we were leaving. Definitely a first rate operation. While talking with Tom I mentioned that I found out the place from BA, and he says he frequently is on line. My wife and I also looked at the dinner menu, and it seemed to have some nice selections at reasonable prices. I hope to return in the near future.
02-04-2006 00:27:08 | More by tgbljb
4.55/5 rDev -0.4%
Went to the Manatawny location for their 3rd Annual Hopfest with a sick-ass line up. I can't believe I went to school 15 minutes from here for fourish years and never went here. Kicks rocks...
"There's no way that a beer bar is out in this area."- me on the way up. I was wrong, Manatawny's Union Jack's is a beer bar destination and a regular/local joint, and I spotted a group of biker's as well. A great mix of people. The Inn reminded me of a 'Great Outdoors' type of place with old wood and a homey feel. There is a bar area with tables, a middle room dining area with tables, and a banquet type room with a small bar area serving Hopslam when I looked. There is a upstairs to and I don't want to imagine all the foolishness that goes on up there. With all of that, an outside dining/drinking area with seating and a great view. I would drink here all day if I could, outside at least.
The quality is up there. Clean lines from what I could tell and a clean place inside and outside. The bathrooms were clean and nice looking, very relaxing, but I digress. Clean glassware and different types for different styles. The bottles were refrigerated without light so that freshness and skunkness are kept in check. The outside area looked beautiful.
I had no problems with the service, not to pushy but informative when asked some simple questions. Water filled when needed, not to mention the beer. I was up at the bar so I can't comment on table service, but from the looks of it, im going to have to eat and drink outside next time, all to easy to have a good time.
Well, I drove about an hour or so to get here from philly, so the selection is top notch, no need to drive away from philly to get good beer. It was a hopfest and I got there late to avoid the crowd but I had two top notch IPA's plus a hopslam and something in between. I also saw a plethora of bottles of beer that I want to drink, a vast selection, Im not going to spill any beans here, but there are some gems up there.
The food was spot on to. Having already had the Union Jack's wings's at the other two locations, I opted for some duck quesadillas which were superb. I also got some asiago crab dip and something else which I forget. In short, the food menu is much more vast than the other locations. And it's good as well.
Well, this place is the shit, it's just, how do I say this, what I want in a bar. I just wish I knew about it sooner. I would of lived here in the early 2000's. This is a place that Im coming back to if they have a great line up going on, it is a bit out of the way. This place is great!!
04-09-2010 05:59:42 | More by BARFLYB
Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny in Boyertown, PA
99 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.