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Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing

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BEER AVG
3.97/5
Based on:
101 Beers
2,770 Ratings
Place Score: 99
Ratings: 181
Reviews: 86
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: n/a
Taps: 102
Bottles: 350
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

2240 Millennium Way
Enola, Pennsylvania, 17025
United States
phone: (717) 728-3840

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: petesuphi on 10-19-2008

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 181 | Reviews: 86 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DNICE555
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of facesnorth
3.56/5  rDev -20.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

For beer alone, this place is close to perfect. The bottled sours in particular are some of the best you can find anywhere. There's also always a number of quality offerings on draft. Note this is attributed to Terry, not Al, and while I think I would follow Terry wherever he brewed - if he left Al's I don't think I'd ever need to return.

The food is another story. While the pizza is decent, the hot subs are not good. A bunch of us went and tried a good variety of them, including the meatball parm, the chicken cheesesteak and chicken parm. We all forced ourselves to finish half and then couldn't go any further.

Probably my biggest disappointment was the attitude of the staff. The young manager there in particular was very rude after a misunderstanding, and some of the other servers I found to be arrogant and slightly off-putting. I've been here twice now, and felt the same way both times. After speaking with Al, I believe this attitude trickles down from him.

Besides this, clear 64 oz growlers? When asked why they would have clear growlers, the answer given was that no one keeps the beer long enough for it to matter. And the cost is unnecessarily high. $6 for a 32 oz grenade style growler? The lack of any samples, half pours, or flights makes it difficult to try all of the beers, and some are better than others.

They are also very uptight about carding - so make sure you have your ID with you, or you won't drink, even if you're 60 years old and drove 3 hours to get there. I've never seen another bar in the state of PA who was as uptight about everyone in a party having an ID as this establishment is. The level of enforcement here reminded me of visiting Egypt and having our public buses constantly stopped, emptied and inspected at vigorous and drawn-out checkpoints.

Photo of pmarlowe
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of thelung
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of DLSheidy
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of JArmour15
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of _RL_
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of BMart
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of qcbrewer
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Seehearcait
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of 57md
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 2.75

The last time that I was in Al’s they were still in their old location which is less than a mile from the current location. The new location is a basically a renovated warehouse located in the middle of a suburban industrial park. They brew on-site with the tanks and brewing staff visible to the customers. The place is clean but a bit spartan and lacking in character.

The only alcohol served is beer, but since they have over 100 taps and a decent bottle collection who needs hard liquor? The service is set up in stations with a couple people tapping beer behind a long bar and another register for food orders and take-out beer purchases. However, anything can be ordered at any station and the staff is very willing to set up tabs for customers.

The food is pretty much basic pizza shop-type grub. It is mediocre and pricey for what you get. However, let me be blunt: the food is good enough to provide a base for consuming more of the tasty beer offerings available - ok?!?

The feature at Al’s is the beer, particularly their on-site Pizza Boy brews. They have more than 20 of their own beers on-tap at any given time. Their home-made beers are absolutely outstanding! The remainder of the taps are dedicated to a good mix of regional and national craft breweries. If you can’t find something that you like at Al’s, then you simply don’t like beer.

Photo of JMUbrewz
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of paleoplant
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of DrBier
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Review based on new place, would have been slightly higher for old one. First of all the beer selection is outstanding. Usually at least 20+ Pizza Boys on tap, of all styles and very good to excellent quality. The remaining 70-80 taps available feature mainly American craft beers with lots of PA breweries and an excellent representation of the remainder of the U.S., at least what Al can get, with several rarieties/one-offs on at most times. The foreign selection is limited. There are a few rare bottles and a couple of Pizza Boy bottles for sale, in house consumption only. Al's offers a relatively small but impressive selection of bottles to go and most drafts are available in 32 & 64 oz growlers, bottles and growlers are very reasonably priced. Food is pretty much pizza shop menu, but is very good and the menu is extensive, but in about 6 years of visiting Al's the menu has changed very little if at all. They used to have some special dinner nights at the old place but not at the new one. My main complaint is the service, never found the bartenders/servers to be rude in any way but some can be less than engaging to say the least when it comes to beer. I don't think this is all their fault, as the way the ordering system is set up they don't have time to chit-chat or even really answer questions at certain times. And when I say I have a problem with the service it's how the place is set up for ordering. The best analogy I can give is if you ever been to Max's on Broadway in Baltimore, similar in size comparing Max's main bar only to Al's (Max's probably holds a few more), both offer pub style service order beer and food at the bar and both have 100 taps. Just imagine if everyone had to order at Max's at just 2 registers at the bar, it would be a nightmare of lines, which is what Al's becomes many nights and weekends and especially any special event (wasn't as much of a problem at old place as popularity wasn't as great). Also the lack of sample sizes or half pours also is a big drawback (samples were available at the old place). All that being said Al's is hands down the best place for beer between Philly and Pitts in PA. Al's has always presented a unique vibe with outstanding beer, with some refinement this could be worldclass. May come down to Al having to decide between pizza shop and beer bar/brewery.

Photo of jackrodgers77
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of WarrenGofstein
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of GeorgianBayPackr
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of JKV96
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Shandycan
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Finally made a visit to Al's and it lives up to the hype- large, open atmosphere with a quieter, more family oriented room to the back. The pizza was tasty, but what you're really here for are the brews, and there's plenty, including a lot of their own stuff. Excellent organization on digital boards- there's so many that you end up with quite a tiny font! The in-house beers were all I had on my first visit, and they all were excellent.

There's separate ordering for food and drinks, only thing that I think is a downfall is not offering samples... and that has been mentioned before. Al's puts out a lot of high abv brews, and not being able to purchase a 4oz. glass (I'm not even talking about free pours!) is a real shame- hopefully they'll think about doing this in the future!

Other than that quirk, I loved it, and will definitely be back again. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they have a nice selection of bottles to go as well.... can't beat that

Photo of tommyguz
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of WarrenKone
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of girlwithnojeep
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I love this place and drive up every week like clockwork. I've always found the staff to be friendly, prompt and knowledgable. The owner often stops and chats with each of the customers and answers questions when time permits.

I appreciate the "order at the bar" policy they have. It makes ordering so much simpler and efficient. No sitting around waiting for a server! I was a little confused about the procedure when I went for the first time, so I just went to the take out counter and asked. I also appreciate that they ID me and check my ID against the credit card I leave to run the tab. I've had a credit card stolen before and fixing that is a mess. As for seating, usually you can just seat yourself, but on busier nights a staff member will seat you as soon as one opens and is cleaned off.

I enjoy the selection and even though I tend to be picky about which "flavor" of beer I drink, I am ALWAYS able to find something! I also like the large selection of ciders and malt beverages since I'm not always in the mood for a beer. They have a lot of sour beers which aren't my thing, but seem to balance them well with the other selections.

The food is fantastic. The wings are the best I've ever had and are always fresh and juicy. I ask for extra celery with my orders because they only come with four pieces. The feta, spinich, and tomato white pizza is my favorite. Great to take home and reheat too!

It can get a little noisy during televised sporting events. Also, there is a "family friendly" corner which I bring my kids to, but also appreciate that it is a ways away from the bar for the visits where I don't. It has a couple video games and a claw machine.

Photo of AMBREW13
3.2/5  rDev -28.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It's a shame a craft beer paradise with excellent food has to be ruined by staff who don't clean tables, serve in a timely manner, drink behind the bar, aimless walk around talking to their friends and are genuinely annoyed by customers asking for assistance. Won't be returning which is disappointing because I had high hopes for this place.

Atmosphere: Loud at times but that's because there's a lot of people. Definitely around or slightly above average.

Quality: Food is great, Pizza Boy beer isn't the best but it's definitely pretty good.

Service: As evidenced by many reviews on Yelp, their customer service isn't good. Bartenders are apathetic and uneducated about the beer they serve and can't answer simple questions as to why nitro is used, food pairings or flavor profiles. It's not an uncommon sight to see them playing on their phones, brushing off customers to serve their friends or drinking behind the bar. The service is as bad as it gets. Rude, irritable humans with not even an ounce of common courtesy or good manners.

Selection: Out of the 100 taps, 90 some are usually active. The selection features great local beers, their own brew as well as some of the top names in the craft beer industry. You won't be disappointed with your beer once you get past the rude staff. Typically, this would be a 5/5 because hell, 90-100 beers at a given time is awesome. However, their pick six selection to go isn't very good.

Food: Again, the food is great. Their pizza is awesome.

Value: $5+ for a pint of craft is definitely reasonable. Food's not too bad either.

Photo of BerBen
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of bret717
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing in Enola, PA
99 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.