Bethlehem Brew Works
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Active Beers: 102
Beer Ratings: 1,341
Beer Avg: 3.65
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 85 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by woodychandler:
4.68/5 rDev +20%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
BOHICA, boys and girls! Another rave review from everybody's favorite Beer Pest. I don't stop and neither should you.
Man, I love this place! It is located right on the corner of Main and Broad Streets, and it is an homage to the steel that was produced in the region, which speaks directly to my love of industrial decor.
It's all exposed: piping, ducting, brickwork, even the brewhouse and fermentation and serving tanks are out in the open. Heck, the brewhouse sits right in the window overlooking the street! Whoops, there's that sense of overwhelming excitement again. Gotta go to the lav and change my skivvies.
Okay, I'm back. That sense of euphoria is overtaking me a lot more often these days. Wow.
The restaurant booths are fashioned from storage lockers, diamond-deck plates, and bolted pipes. It leaves me almost breathless until I look at the murals on the walls which evoke steel mills and in the banquet facility is a rendition of the interior with regulars depicted at the bar. It is at that point that I fall into a swoon and must be revived. Speaking of the bar, it is a long, curving affair that takes up about a quarter of the space on the first floor. As always, you can find me at the bar.
Going upstairs to pester people, one encounters a set of diamond-deck steps in the center of the upper restaurant area. This leads one into the SteelGaarden, a Belgian-style lounge with several billiard tables, one full-service and one smaller bar, and numerous leather and faux-fur couches. When the lights are dimmed to near-Stygian darkness, I begin to have these wild flights of fantasy hearkening back to my days in the navy, indulging in all sorts of sensual pleasures ... Damn these digressions!
I should also mention that the entire building is cigar-friendly, which doesn't bother me, but it is a consideration for some.
Let me now touch on service and ownership. The Fegley family are some of the greatest people on the face of the Earth. I was a beginning Beer Pest the first time that I actually made the trek up, in the summer of 2000. I had a copy of PA Breweries, by my mentor, Lew Bryson, in hand and I casually asked if any brewers or owners were about. The next thing I know, the ebullient head waitress comes running over, fully excited about my visit. Ah, the halcyon days of yore! She explains that none of the Fegleys are around but she signs and dates my book to commemorate the visit. The next time that I saw the Fegleys was at Coors Field in Denver ISO GABF 2001 and in talking to Dave and Jeff, they not only introduced me to their mother, Peg, but Dave tells me that the waitress, Nicole, has now upgraded her status to wife! Wow. Dave and Nicole now live in Denver, but that memory remains a fond one for all of us. Jeff and current brewer, Lewis Thomas, bring in a European brewer each summer on a work visa to guest brew with and for them. I think that has to be a unique situation and I commend them for it. The last such brewer that I remember was Sven (?), no? This post will have to be edited later, I suppose.
Their beers are always spectacular (don't get me started on the Peche Lambic) and the service always prompt and friendly, even after I start drooling and swooning. I love yunz guys!
11-24-2005 16:02:19 | More by woodychandler
More User Reviews:
3.78/5 rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.25 | $$
I’ve been a resident of the area for slightly over a year now, so I figured it was time to review this place.
Situated in the historic downtown area, the Brew Works is right on the corner inside the Bethlehem Commons. Parking is either in the metered lot behind it, or on the street. I’ve never really had an issue with finding a spot.
The entrance can get a bit crowded at the busier times with people walking in and out, and waiting to be seated. They recently started using texting to notify you when your table is ready if there’s a wait. Pretty convenient.
The seating is mostly booths in the downstairs area, with a fairly long bar on the one side. Upstairs is more seating with a mix of tables and booths. It’s usually a bit quieter up here if the bar is busy. They have their fermentation and conditioning tanks up here as well. During the appropriate seasons they also have outside seating on the sidewalk.
Service is pretty quick, even at busy times. They have a lot of staff moving about. I’ve never had any issues with anyone; in addition to being quick the service is almost always with a smile and good attitude.
Food is more upscale pub food, and very good. I think in the dozens of times I’ve been here there’s been maybe one time where I didn’t like what was ordered (it was a special so it wasn’t a regularly offered dish).
Their beer is very well done. Their standard lineup is solid, and they usually have a couple rotating beers as well as a couple one-offs. Thursday nights they have a cask beer on to benefit a charity. They usually don’t last the evening. Over the past year they’ve had a few sours on, with a Flanders Red being the most recent. Usually a style I’m pretty particular about, their take on it was very good. They also offer some of their beers in bottles for consumption on premise or take out. I believe they only fill their 64 oz growlers so something to keep in mind.
Overall it’s a no-brainer for me if I’m looking for a decent meal and good beer. If you’re in the area and looking for a place to stop I’d definitely recommend it for anyone.
12-06-2013 16:22:58 | More by skiofpinsk
Bethlehem Brew Works in Bethlehem, PA
88 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.