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John Harvard's Brew House

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

17 Ratings
Ratings: 17
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 0%
Active Beers: 206
Beer Ratings: 904
Beer Avg: 3.55
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Eatery ]

629 W.Lancaster Ave
Wayne, Pennsylvania, 19087
United States
phone: (610) 687-6565
// CLOSED //

(Linked Listing) None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 17 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sholland119
3.05/5  rDev -18.7%

Just a note that this place is closed. I have reported the update but it has not been noted in the official profile so it you were thinking of going... rest assured that you really did not miss much.

(I need to add 301 characters to get this post to, well, post. So I will add that this was our least favorite John Harvard's of the three in our area, all of which are now closed. This one somehow held on longer than the others. The location would be perfect for another quality beer bar along Rt. 30 or the Septa R5, though the walk from the station is a bit longer than either TND, TJ or Flying Pig.)

That should do it!

sholland119, Feb 27, 2008
Photo of scottbrew4u
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%

For a Sunday afternoon during football season, this place was nearly empty. The elevated bar and fermenting tanks were very appealing when first getting inside. Seats were comfortable and lighting was low and just right for the environment. TV's were numerous and the seats were comfortable.

Here is where it starts to go down hill a bit. The person who greeted us seem flustered and we couldn't tell why. It was not that busy. The servers were not very knowledgeable. The first beer I ordered was a cask conditioned IPA called Insomniac. It was a pretty average IPA. The hot wings were pretty decent and the menu was above average in selections for a brewpub. They did not have the next beer I ordered even though it was listed as their special on the board by the door. I had the James Brown Ale instead which turned out above average. The meatloaf I ordered was excellent and the potatoes were very good too but the onion rings were below average.

The setting was great I thought, very neat and clean and the food was good and the beer is worth trying more of so I will have to give it another try.

scottbrew4u, Sep 19, 2007
Photo of maddogruss
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%

This place is a nice little brew pub tucked away in the suburbs of Philly.

Atmosphere: A well-rounded brewpub. You walk in, there's a nice, square bar on the left that has a decent selection of beer there, less the homebrew stuff. You immediately see the microbrewery across from the entrance with various barrels to the left of it (usually about 5 or 6) with the brewpubs beers.

Quality: I'd say the beer here is pretty good. They have a fair variety in regards to breadth of style and what not from what the brewpub offers itself.

Service: The service is actually not too bad, coming back multiple times to check on you, especially when you are drinking. Usually, when you are just about finished with one, they will be asking you what you want to have next.

Selection: Like I said, they do have a fair selection of beers here, but this is definitely a place to come and get what they are brewing. Definitely worth the trip. I had their pale ale, which was not bad at all.

Food: The food there is typical of most brewpubs and I had the typical brewpub item: a nice, juicy burger and fries. The burger was pretty good; about the same of going to a Friday's or something like that.

Value: I'd say this place is pretty reasonable. Did not really put a dent in my pocket and I would definitely go back there again.

maddogruss, Aug 14, 2007
Photo of treehugger02010
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%

I really do enjoy this place,
Atmosphere: This brew pub certainly tries to make the place feel more or less relaxed. They have two pool tables, which is a bit rare around here.
Quality: Their food and beers are execllent, and very high quality.
Service: The service is very good. The one complaint I do have is that the staff doesn't seem to know the beers too well. I would say that they knew them better than other places, but they tend to talk out of ignorance anyway.
Selection: They always seem to have a good selection of beers, both seasonal and year-round. Their food is that of a typical brew-pub.
Food: The food it pretty good, but not outstanding.
Value: The value of what you get to what you pay for is certainly very reasonable. Plus they have good happy hour specials.
Don't drink and review.

treehugger02010, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of instrumentality
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%

This was one of four stops I made in the Boston area during a recent trip to New England, and the one by which I was by far the least impressed.

The surroundings were dimly lit, mostly dark wood, plenty of space, perhaps 20 tables along with a decent sized bar. The music was so-so, mostly disco and classic rock from the likes of Heart and Kansas.

We arrived on a Monday afternoon (11/13/06), which would explain why it was pretty dead. What boggled my mind was that as dead as it was, the service utterly ignored us for most of our visit despite the fact that we were sitting at the bar and the entire staff was chatting away just a short distance away.

I ordered the Hopback Rye on cask (a rotational option) and my girlfriend ordered the sampler, which consisted of five brews (I believe it was something like a pilsner, a pale ale, a porter, a stout, and a pumpkin ale). There was also a "dubbel time ale" (Belgian style dubbel) which neither of us tried. Everything she had was tasty. My rye beer was flat and virtually flavorless. I took two sips and then sat there for 20 minutes waiting for someone to stop by so I could request something else. When someone finally did show up, I was ready to leave, and he was kind enough not to charge me as he explained to me that cask beers are naturally carbonated and often seem flat to some people (news to me, but ok).

At one point, I looked around and saw that there were several small groups of students, so I gave the bartender the benefit of the doubt to some extent and assumed he was just used to leaving people alone and probably figured I was studying when I was writing down my review.

I'd consider giving this place another chance if I went back, but I was so impressed by some of our other stops and there are so many more places I want to try that it may not be worth the effort.

instrumentality, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of HimerMan
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%

I went here after my first trip to BeerYard - they suggesting going since it was just about a mile down the road.

Atmosphere was nice, plenty of room, large booths as well as tables. I was with my girlfriend and we had plenty of room in a 4-person booth. Only down-side was that there was smoking, NJ's ban on smoking in all public places really is a nice touch to restaurants.

Food - I thought the chicken enchiladas were excellent, as my girlfriend thought the Asian quesdillas and salad were also. I would come back for the food alone, sure beats going to a more mainstream location along Lancaster Ave.

Beer - Their ultimate sampler was nice, great way to try every beer they have (and was cheap). My biggest drawback was their lack of stouts or porters as many of their beers were either IPA or another form of a golden ale. (Yes, it is summer time - but they could have done an Oatmeal Stout, the Snozzberry was too fruity.)

Specialty Beers - Outstanding. The Bourbon Sue very limited quantity brew is to be reviewed today. Check on that in time. I really like their prices (moderate/cheap) while still having high quality. I await a change-up of their 9 beers.

Overall though, I will be back in a few weeks to have one of my limited brew liter bottles filled. I am hoping that they bring in a heavy stout or something like it.

If you go to BeerYard - you should head here too.


HimerMan, May 28, 2006
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%

I drove out onto the “Vain Line” for some lunch on two separate afternoons to see what this place is all about. From my experiences, it really pays to research the beers before you arrive.

The over all decor of this place is centered around dark hardwoods. I‘m learning that this is the JH MO. Everything is dark and dreary, but in a rustic sort of way. When you enter the building, you get the darkness up front at the “wait here to be seated” choke point. As we waited, I could see, off to our left, the big square bar, proudly raised up off the ground over looking the neat line of stainless steel tanks behind a short wall with a railing. Around the bar were a few tables and two red felt pool tables. We were guided straight ahead along the right side of the building into a small booth that was shielded from the main bar, across from some copper brewing vats. An enormous party was seated across from us which understandably drew the attention of our server. Further back in the building was a cozy dining nook with a large stone fireplace and a generally more classy feel. Towards the far side of the restaurant, behind the bar was another section that has a very traditional family dining feel to it. Sadly, on our second visit here as we were seated in this area, we couldn’t really tell what our beers looked like as there’s no bright light sources. On a final note, the stock casino carpeting was sadly present here as well. Over all, I enjoyed the openness this building provided with the vast selection of seating options and (dark hardwood) high ceilings.

The beers we tried on our first impromptu visit, the Maibock and the Abbey Dubble, were disappointingly average at best. The quality of these two beers deterred us from ordering a second round. After rendering a negative review of this JH, with an inside scoop on some better beers to try, we returned to see what we missed out on with this advanced information at our disposal. The second time, I tried the IPA which was both fantastic, unique and it paired well with my meal, punching through the vinegar and lemon laden fish and chips I ordered. But what blew my mind was the Snozzberry stout. The stout on its own was pretty good, but when paired with the ricotta cheese cake, it blew my mind. This is arguably the best beer and desert pairing I’ve ever tried. This alone is worth a visit and is probably going to bring me back to try it again. So on two visits, I had two entirely different experiences. The moral I learned is that you have to do your research before you come here. There are some not-so-hot beers available, but there are also a couple of gems here if you look for them.

On our first visit, the food came about halfway through our pints. Nice! I got a buffalo chicken salad and my girlfriend got their chicken potpie. Both were all right, but nothing to write home about. I don’t know if it’s the chef’s preference, but all of the chicken came in “giant chunk” format. In the salad, this wasn’t all that bad, but finding half an entire chicken breast in a potpie seemed a bit odd to me. It just seemed that minimal effort could be applied here to make a world of difference in quality. Or maybe that’s just how the chef likes it. What ever. During round two, things went well again. The food was very tasty and satisfying, but nothing ground-breaking.

Our first time, our server was very fast and friendly. The only problem was that huge party that was sat in our section and he took a long time getting our bill when food came out for them. I don’t blame the guy for that at all, so I won’t dock the service points. The second time, about the same thing happened. With a different waiter in a different section of the building, four separate tables were seated while we waited for our bill. There was a little awkward wait, but nothing I would hold against our server.

Over all, my experiences here have been pretty good but the beers here are kind of hit-or-miss. This visit was a spur of the moment decision, so I didn’t have the ability to research what’s hot here. The second time, I already knew what I wanted to drink when I walked in the front door and this had a tremendous impact on our experience. So, if you plan on stopping by, you should probably figure out what’s hot in advance instead of randomly wading through a couple of disappointing beers. As far as the food, for the Vain Line, I expected a little more. That being said, I’ll come back for the cheese cake and Snozzberry Stout again for sure.

DarkerTheBetter, May 21, 2006
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Almost forgot to review this place since I always hit it after the Beer Yard to snag a plate of nachos and a pint and scoot back to the Bat Cave. Plenty of parking first of all, and inside is a basic dark wood oasis. All around is dark dark wood. Some years of slinging brews is starting to show on the worn bar but who is complaining? I'd take this place near my pad any ole day o' the week! Food is decent, reasonable prices and the waitstaff actually gives a damn about the beers. Credit to their creativity! They actually brew good stuff beyond the ho-hum browns and pales. Today, I had a Biere de Garde, an oak aged doppelbock and a tripel is for sale in the swing top litre, and a King IPA with simcoe is on tap. Too bad that I missed the Belgian IPA. Oh well! I dig John Harvards and yes, bring Mother one day to dig the ambiance, the red velvet pool tables and the monk reliefs in the walls. Join the mug club if yer local!

blitheringidiot, May 04, 2006
Photo of slander
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%

I thought we were done. Rock Bottom, Iron Hill, and then the Victory 10 party. My shoes were swimming in Vitamin E's beer and I was pretty well beered out, I think we all were, so finally en route to the hotel, the surprise of the evening came from the back seat, in the form of a low moaning at first. Out of the corner of his mouth, without moving his lips, Spesh quietly spoke, "What the hell was was that?" And then it came again, "chaaain breeeewpub". I thought we were out of the woods on this. "Um, Phil, we did that already, hell, we did two of 'em", and he sits up sharply and says, "Yeah, but three chain brewpubs, in a single day, will look most sweet, on my beer, res-uh-may". I'm like, "Whatever, ticker", but really, the food thing seemed a pretty good idea at this point...
I have no idea where I am. It's dark and I'm a-scared, and what? We're going to have to wait how long for a table? I said something that was funny to us, but not so funny to the host guy that I said it to, and we retreated to the bar to wait. It's an interesting layout here. A large rectangular bar seating 2 dozen+ sits in an elevated area in the center of the room. Glass dimple mugs hang running the perimeter and growlers on the corners. Tap selections on blackboards above the bar, signs depicting scenes from the life of John Harvard all about, as well as stained glass panels of biblical figures with photograph faces (JFK, Garcia, Teddy Roosevelt). From this elevated bar area, you can pretty much look out over the whole place, survey all this is yours. There's a bar counter on one side of the bar, overlooking a small dining area pen holding a dozen table and booths. To the rear of this seating area, a hadful of copper kettles in a glass front half a hexagon room and another seating area behind that to the far rear with some dozen tables. On the opposite side of the bar, a pair of booths beyond which lies the larger dining area, roughly a dozen and a half tables and booths. On the third side of bar, 3 booths below a large projection TV overlooking a row of 7 fermenters in a pen. The last side of the bar is an openish area with a pair of pool tables. A musical performer would later set up just off this side. TV's here and there, exposed ducts and spot lighting over the bar area.
8 taps and a cask (IPA). The sampler brought it all. The All American Lager was a standard light; the Harvard's Pale Ale floral & hoppy; the ESB had a good bitterness to it; the Munich Dunkel well malty; the Smokey the Beer Porter was thinnish and had only a glimmer of smokiness to it; the Bourbon Sue, their Dopple on nitro, was bourbonny, and crazy sweet; the Belgian Threat Triple had a slight Belgian flavor but was very nicely spicy; the Old Eagle Wheat Wine was sweet alcohol; and the cask IPA pleasant, smooth, hoppy, floral.
I seem to recall picking at something dinnerish. It was an enormous chicken pot pie from Crazytown and it was damn good. Flakey crust hat, huuuge chucks of chicken, good veg-a-ta-bles. Service, well I know they provided it because my beer sampler and chicken pot pie showed up, but I was somewhat beaten up at this point, so that was good. One of the better Harvard's locations I've seen, based on number and range of selection, of course.

slander, Mar 26, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

This brewpub is in a good location. It is very easy to find ;) and we had a great experience. Thanks to a BA review from HopGod (Sanatoga, Pennsylvania) we heard about the Beer Yard, (a nearby distributor) which was an even better experience. When we walked into JHBH, I was immediately impressed with the number of beers they had available on tap. We had just come from Victory brewpub, which has a bit of a cool grunge feel to it. JHBH felt extremely formal at that point, so I was set back a bit. We got a bar tender as a sever. Then things turned very quickly when we started talking beer. The staff seemed notably intelligent about the beer and extremely interested in finding the answers they did not know. The service was FAR beyond the call of duty; so far in fact, the classification of exceptional doesn't cut it. We got SMALL tour of their brewing process; it is quaint. The beer was all decent. We had maybe eight or nine different beers and they were all good but not all mind blowing. Including: Pumpkin Spice, Bitter Insanity, Irish Stout, Nut Brown Ale, Pale Ale and others. The one EXCEPTIONAL beer was an Alt. that was on cask. They do have others, which will be available in a few weeks including a Barley Wine. We did not eat a meal there so I can only comment on the appetizers, which were very good. They did have a unique and what I would call classy selection of food. In summation it is worth the stop, but maybe not a special trip (from our distance anyway).

Hope this is helpful.
EDIT: We visited JHBP again this weekend and were again pleased. Not quite the same level of service as the first time we were there but the meatloaf was very good and I had there ESB to drink and I was pleased with the stop.
Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Dec 05, 2005
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John Harvard's Brew House in Wayne, PA
87 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.