Union Barrel Works
Active Beers: 21
Beer Ratings: 135
Beer Avg: 3.68
Taps: 6 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 34 | Reviews: 32 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by sulldaddy:
4.65/5 rDev +19.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I visited this place around Christmas with waldo567, fish113d and some other friends. Found out the pub is only 7-8 months old so that was kinda cool, always gotta be happy with new brewpubs opening.
The pub is located in a large brick building with ample parking behind and some street parking in front. It used to be a hardware store and a bank I think.
We walked in the backdoor and headed towards the bar. It was lunch on a wed and seemed a little slow, but folks trickled in as we were there. We walked past a private function room and all the brewing equipment is easy to see through some glass windows behind bar and around the room. Lots of old PA breweriana around with the majority being frmo Reading Brewing Co. The main dining/bar area features a 12-15 seat rectangular bar and several table chair combos spread around the room. We sat at a long table near the bar and started to peruse the beer list. 8 house beers on tap! That is pretty ambitious for a new place and most of the brews were lagers, even more ambitious! I like it.
The stout was served on nitrous and I sampled that and the Maibock, my brother had the sampler so I did taste all the beers and all were good to excellent for the Kolsch. They do growlers and bring anything you have 2L 1L, 1/2 gallon, they fill em all.
Prices seemed reasonable for take home beer too.
Food was pub grub I had a chicken pesto sandwich with sweet potato fries. The sandwich was good and the fries were great! Others had a variety of sandwiches and everyone seemed very happy with their food.
The only drawback I had was the pub was a little drafty so if it is really cold out that could be a negative, but otherwise I think this is a nice little gem in central PA. I WILL be back.
01-11-2008 02:21:57 | More by sulldaddy
More User Reviews:
3.65/5 rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
A decent brewpub in the middle of no where. I first started going here about three years ago. Most of the beers are German/English styles. I enjoy their Hefe-Weis and Dark Lager. The food is really good and reasonably priced. I have always had decent service in here, nothing special but a great place to come to once or twice a year. I recommand the Smoked Trout soup which is homemade and just amazing, also I enjoyed the Elk meatloaf as well. I had a few things here that I didn't care much for but over all the food is good.
12-24-2012 20:00:45 | More by mildlybitter75
4.38/5 rDev +12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
This place is close by so I get there quite often. The Mai Bock is one of my favorites. Supriseingly, the quality of the beer is not consistent. Sometimes it is the best beer in the area. Other times it is not what I expected. Actually at time I am a little dissapointed. Overall, I still believe this is the best of their brews and be the one I recommend.
Since this is a beer pub, a lot depends on the food which can also add or subtract to the taste of the beer. I am just amaized that the Mai Bock is so much like the beer from Erie Brewing called Railbender which is also one of my favorites.
12-18-2011 21:00:40 | More by etop8222
3.85/5 rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
Appearance/Atmosphere : Brick building blends organically well with surrounding environment. Rustic and early feel. Inside had a nice and spacious feel with a lengthy bar that was dark maple or oak that went well with the dark wood floor. Around were small scattered signs and memorabilia such as Pabst signs and Unibroue. Off to the right sat the array of tanks show prominently through the glass enclosure. Comfortable, rustic with a cozy welcoming feel even on the first time.
Quality: The beers were clean, mostly lagers, though most seemed to have a similar flavor or grain bill running thoughout with exception of their IPA hop knockers which was noticeably malty. Nothing over the top flavor wise, sitting comfortably in that safe zone for acceptance which may be a product of its environment and area (Yuengly country with mendendite church right down road) which is a good business model. Finding that special neglected niche of lagers that will turn the local crowd into support while still drawing in outsiders.
Service: ok I was here sipping my first beer at 11:20am so didn’t have a lot of competition for refills or conversation. Knowledgeable staff, especially bartender who was well versed on the beers and brewer’s philosophy of lager brewing.
Selection: Very good selection, most were lager based with 10 beers on tap, one on engine. Something for everyone with a summertime selection of maibock, lager, pilsner, octoberfest, kolsch as well IPA for the ale fiends all suitable for the August weather. An simcoe pale recently kicked as well the Brugg Belgian I was so looking forward to.
Food: good selection of food, wraps, sandwiches, as well prices. All can be found on website. Fairly extensive, nothing gourment, just good ole fashion bar food again well suited for area. Pricing was good as well. Again as with their beer selection something to appease everyone.
Value: $3.25 pounders. Not matter what you drink from the ipa with hops to the 10%abv dopplebock wobbly bob. Pricing was a promotion that brewer said will stick around. How can you go wrong with prices like that 6 beers under $20 with good pairing of food value makes this a good lunch time spot.
08-25-2011 01:40:25 | More by beerthulhu
2.85/5 rDev -26.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
I dont know what the deal is with the beer at this place but all of their beers seem watered down to me. Not to mention that every beer from the IPA to the Stoudts to the Hefe all have the same weird kind of a soapy after taste. And I am not the only one who has said it. I know of about 5 other people that agree. The food is better than average and I would go there to eat but to fill a growler or sit at the bar and have a couple of pints... I dont think so. How anyone could sit and drink more than one of their beers and think that it tastes like it should is crazy. I do like the place. It is a cool little brew pub but they need to improve on their beers. I dont know if it their cleaning solutions or the water that they us but they need to change something.
07-11-2011 21:16:30 | More by Ibrewmyownbeer
3.38/5 rDev -13.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Overall, an interesting place. GPS took us (g/f & me) directly to the parking lot. From the road it was a bit of a guessing game on which lot to enter. The stone lot is the one you want. From there it took some looking about to figure out where the entrance was. That found, we entered through the great door at the rear of the building. Once inside, we were struck by the welcoming and intimate atmosphere. Down an open hallway, the space opened up & the intimacy began to dissolve. What looked like a very nice dining room on our right was not open during our visit. A glass area showcases a bit of the pub's brewery & separates the dining room from the bar area.
In the bar, the space opened up quite a bit, too much for my taste. Aesthetically, the bar area was far too open and spartan feeling. The large light walls dwarf and distract from the beautiful old world wooden bar. The bar held quite a bit of memorabilia and curiosities of various origin and interest, it was far too cluttered & busy to take in the collected goodies. There are some great beer adverts from Reading and Sunshine on the walls. Also spotted two 3D wall mounted sculptures. Very nice pieces, but presented in awkward spaces making it difficult to take their entirety in.
The upper 1/2 - 2/3 of the wall in the bar goes undecorated. This I found to draw my attention away from the stunning pressed tin ceiling. Ironicaly, in the more intimate entry area, the ceiling was one of the first things we noticed, and yet there we were with lots of blank space surrounding the lovely ceiling, and the void on the walls kept distracting the eye from ceiling's artistry.
I'd suggest some large signage, mural(s) and / or trompe l'oeil balcony / loft type stuff up on the vacant part of the wall in order to maintain visual interest and draw the eye back up to that gorgeous ceiling.
It's clear that the brewpub has become a part of the local social landscape. The NFL playoffs were on and a couple people were there to watch the game. The bar is one large room. There are no cloisters to tuck ones-self away & enjoy the paper without the sound of the tv resonating about the room & into the ear. Because of the acoustics of the space and absence of sound deadening material, it is even audible in the gents (a positive for fans whose game is on).
Onto the beer - there were plenty on tap. We decided to forgo the sampler and dive right in. I had a Kolsch and she a stout. They were fair beers. Our initial impressions are not that memorable, beyond the fact that they appeared a bit cloudy, with a nose on the Kolsch that the flavor didn't support. What struck us most of all, was the discrepancy between the written descriptions of the brews, and the actual taste.
Round two - Me - Lager, her - Uncle Fester. Immediately the Lager hit me with some astringency. Not too overpowering, but most certainly distracting from the rest of the taste spectrum. As I was sipping lager (a beer style I usually enjoy gulping) my girlfriend asked me to taste the Uncle Fester. I did and was slammed with hardcore sweet & sour astringency. It took us both an hour or so & some coffee / water to get the flavor out of our mouths.
On hindsight, bypassing the sampler was not the wisest move.
To sum up, this was a very nice place. It's clear that a good deal of work has been invested in maintaining, restoring and showcasing the stunning architecture of the structure. From the honey colored wood flooring to the painted tin ceiling, to the interestingly unique local beer ephemera. We also had a little desert which was exquisite. There too, the care and pride were evident. It is unfortunate that the beer did not follow.
I may stop again if I find myself in the area, undecided.
01-19-2011 00:42:27 | More by pcar333
3.3/5 rDev -15.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$
Stopped for lunch earlier today at the behest of some friends.
The place was deserted upon our entrance with the staff seeming somewhat bewildered to find 4 people sitting at the bar at 11:30am. The barkeep handed us beer menus and did the run-down, noting changes.
We ordered beers and they were really awesome about asking us if we wanted to order food before a party of 20 put in their order. We did, I got fish & chips (pretty good stuff) and the food was out fast.
Beers were decent, nothing to write home about, and a few that we tried were strangely acidic, notable their stout and dopplebock. Not sure if it's intentional, line cleaning or infection. One of the people who suggested this for lunch did not remember the dopplebock being tart.
However, we got a sample of their new Simcoe Pale Ale and that was the shit! Had remorse that we had to go without a pint of it.
Decent, but not a huge fan, all things considered.
10-13-2010 04:22:56 | More by SFLpunk
3.55/5 rDev -9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
I've hit Union Barrel Works a few times and always leave with the same impression...Clean, friendly atmosphere with quality beer and food. There is a lot of character in the old building and the classic bar.
The early dinner atmosphere is great for family, but I haven't been there later on a weekend, so I don't know if it livens up after the early birds.
The wait staff is helpful and knowledgeable and service has always been prompt. The food is standard brewpub (I am a fan of the sweet potato fries) and hasn't disappointed. The number of beers on tap has increased over time and there's a full range of styles to choose from. The Mai Bock and Kolsch are top notch.
Union Barrel Works is not spectacular, but it is a solid brewpub that I'll continue to frequent.
09-27-2010 20:22:05 | More by 007
Union Barrel Works in Reamstown, PA
88 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.