Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
Active Beers: 92
Beer Ratings: 1,648
Beer Avg: 3.92
Taps: 102 / Bottles: 350
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 118 | Reviews: 72 | Display Reviews Only:
4.72/5 rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I usually stop in at least once a month or more. The food is good and the selection is great. I can always something on tap that I haven't had. The taps turn over often which is good and bad because you can miss out on some good beers but they get replaced by good beers.
The only problem is if you go on a Friday or Saturday around dinner time you may not be able to find a table to eat at.
The owner is very knowledgable about beer and will take requests on beers to get in if they are available in PA.
One of the best things is the mix six packs you can create. You don't have to buy a whole case or even a six pack of just one kind of beer. If you live in PA you know what I mean.
If you ever in the area it is a place you must stop at.
09-28-2011 02:12:21 | More by kenatbeerswap
4.05/5 rDev -8.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$$
Atmosphere - very awkward location... but at the same time, a very convenient location (less than a mile after the Wertzville Road exit from interstate 81 southbound from Harrisburg/Hershey). Checkered flag floor. Pizza parlor atmosphere (it's a pizza parlor so what else would one expect?). LCD screens above the cooler doors tell you what's on tap, how much for which size, etc. Several coolers with a huge assortment of different beers and malt beverage and non alchoholic selections. 2 cash registers and several taps along the wall behind counter. Several tables inside along with booths. also, some tables outside although I never really sit out there because it's an awkward location on the bottom of a hill without much to really look at.
Quality - Quality of food is average. Not the best pizza I've ever had but they do have a lot of different specialty pies which are usually on special a few different days of the week. The wings are frequently on special also but they aren't anything to really speak of. Sandwiches are along the same lines... what you would expect in a pizza parlor (chicken parm, cheesesteak, italian sub, etc)... again... not bad at all but certainly not the best subs I have ever had.
The quality of the beer is always good of course... it's craft beer and the taps rotate frequently enough where it is always fresh.
Service - Service is quite good. This place gets very busy (both with beer geeks and entire families after the soccer games or what-have-you are finished). I've never had to wait a long time in line for a beer or for my food once I placed an order. The owner, Al, is usually there and he seems like a good guy who knows his brews.
Food - As I described above, food is average and moderately priced with a whole bunch of specials offered pretty much every day of the week that seem to draw a good crowd in. I usually get some pizza when I'm there and it's decent but nothing to go crazy and write rave reviews for.
Value - The food is certainly moderately-priced and when you go there any day they have specials
(which is pretty much every day except Saturday I believe), you get a good bargain and a full and satisfied tummy.
The beer selection is huge (both on tap and as far as bottle/can selections go)... and I don't mind paying a little extra since they have anything you can ever want pretty much.
However, I think their beer is expensive (and I am a craft-beer drinker so I'm not comparing it to Miller Lite or Yuengling at the local corner bar or anything like that). It is hard to find anything on tap for less than $5 a serving (and pint glasses aren't even used for beers that would normally be served in a pint glass... it's just 12-ouncers). The belgians and most of the more floral beers are usually $6-7 for a 12 ounce tulip glass which I don't think is bad.
It's also nice to usually get a selection of three beers on cask (although there aren't always 3 steadily on cask/firkin). They are priced nicely... usually $4 or so... I asked them why once and they said they price them lower so they sell quicker since they can't / shouldn't be sitting around too long.
Overall, if you love craft beer and want some half-decent food to munch on while you drink it... with excellent service.... you'd be crazy not to stop in and at least give Al's a try. If it wasn't a 20 mile drive for me, I'd probably be there once a week at least.
09-10-2011 13:54:17 | More by danman0125
4.9/5 rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
This is the best 'beer bar' I've ever been to. Although Al's is 'really' a pizza shop, it easily has the best beer selection in the Southcentral PA area. 24 drafts, plus 3 hand pumps, all craft. In the unlikely event there's nothing for you on the tap list, there are also hundreds(?) of bottles. The pizza, stromboli, and subs are great too.
'Atmosphere' is the only category I'm not giving a '5.' As I said, it's a pizza shop, and it looks like one. Not that that's a bad thing, but neither is it upscale.
06-06-2011 20:30:51 | More by VikeMan
4.45/5 rDev +0.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
This place has ruined me for all other local establishments. The beer selection is constantly changing and is AMAZING. Al regularly updates his selection on his website, including a list of beer waiting to be be tapped (which you can vote for). There's no filler amongst the 24 on tap. He has 3 hand pumps (of which there is usually at least one beer on, if not all 3). All beer is BA rated. You can purchase most in 1 and 2 Liter growlers. Incredible selection of bottles too. I love this place!
The atmosphere: Basically a pizza shop with limited seating (about 15 tables?) and about 5-6 tables outside. The staff is small but dedicated!
The food: Subs are standard, wings are decent, but the real star of the show - the pizza!! My favorite? The Chicken Ranch (affectionately called BCR - bacon, chicken, ranch - by my small group. Hands down, this is my favorite pizza, anywhere. So much bacon, so much ranch, delicious chunky chicken, razor thin slices of red onion! Then there's also my other favorites: The Special (It's just got everything, including fresh mushrooms!), BBQ Chicken, and the Spinach/Tomato/Ricotta - you're all winners!! And for an extra bonus: Pizza is half-price on Mondays and Thursdays!
Wish I was there right now!
03-25-2011 23:58:11 | More by jDulcinea
4.25/5 rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I've visited Al's a number of times. It is about 45 minutes from my house with easy access off the interstate.
Al's has an excellent selection of draft beers and a very fine amount of craft beers in six packs and 750ml bottles. The website is continuously updated with the latest drafts. The service is knowledgeable and friendly. The pizza and other foods are really good too.
The dining area is pretty small and you can't always find a table but there's a pretty quick turnover and I've never minded waiting while sipping on a delicious and fresh brew.
The tap lines are kept clean and the pours into a glass or growler are done quickly.
02-12-2011 19:52:21 | More by Tucquan
4.33/5 rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Had occasion to visit this excellent beer bar for the first time last night.
Located just off of I-81, Al's is in kind of an odd location, and is not the sort of place I think many people are going to just happen upon. However, even at 4:15 on a Friday the place was pretty much packed, so obviously it's pretty well known in the area (the reason for which I quickly saw why).
Walking in from the parking lot, the place looks like a nothing special, fairly small deli, with a smattering of tables, a couple of cold boxes, and a cash register area with some chips laid out. My initial reaction was "am I in the right place?".... but then I noticed what was in the cold box and saw the draft list over head. Atmosphere-wise, there's really nothing to distinguish this place, and Al's is so small, you have folks waiting in line for a beer, standing in the middle of the dining area (you order your beer and food at the cash register - the beer is poured on the spot and your food is dropped off at your table once it's ready and/or reheated). Normally I'd give the atmosphere here probably a 3 for average, but I feel as if I need to give this place a score bump somewhere for doing something I have NEVER seen elsewhere. On the draft board, along with the beer name, brewery, abv. and pricing, there is also included the beer's BA score (letter grade). Very cool guys.
Service was pretty good I thought. The folks working here were friendly and knowledgeable, and both my beer and food orders came quickly.
As for the beer selection, aside from the 200 or so bottled beers on hand here, this day there were also 27 beers on tap. Three of those beers were cask conditioned, while 4 more were on nitro (very impressed by this). The quality of the selection was outstanding. While bottles included things like breakfast stout, hopslam, nugget nectar, etc., the tap list included Yeti, hopslam, cask NN, cask double simcoe and cask winter fidy. This place clearly knows good beer and it's apparent they make an extra special effort to obtain and provide it.
As for food, I got a couple of slices of pizza while here. Both were fine (the white spinach was superior to the stuffed philly cheesesteak - had to try that!), though I wouldn't describe them as anything memorable. On the other hand the slices here are good size, and my two slices were completely filling.
Prices here are very reaasonable, bordering on inexpensive. My 12 ounce tulip glass of hopslam cost $5, while my pint of cask NN was $6. The pizza slices were $3.40 a piece. Also, while I didn't take advantage of it, Al's fills growlers here (except for super rare beers like hopslam and cask NN), and on Friday's they typically have several beers on special (5 of them on this day) where they will fill a growler for only $9. Anyway, when I went up to pay my tab, I was a bit surprised when I was given a customer copy of my credit card receipt, but no store copy. Obviously, I wanted to leave a tip, and so wasn't sure how to go about it. I was told the reason for this is that they want to keep costs down, so the only way to leave a tip is to put cash in the tip jar (which was stuffed). Whatever. That explanation doesn't really make any sense to me, but I didn't feel as if it mattered.
This place is great and there's no doubt I'll be back any time I'm in the Harrisburg area.
01-22-2011 15:50:18 | More by John_M
4.45/5 rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $
Pretty legit beer bar/restaurant/store way out in the boonies west of Enola - not close to much other than the I-81/PA-581 junction. Came here with a bunch of guys from the Harrisburg crew when I was in town recently.
The tap list is extensive and interesting. I had Terrapin Wake-n-Bake on cask, which was outstanding. They'll fill growlers of the draft beers to go if you're so inclined.
The food is pretty solid. The cheese steak pizza was amazing, but man, that shit will put pounds on you!
There is also a very good selection of bottles available. I picked up a DFH My Antonia, some Central Waters beers (which I didn't expect to see), and other stuff.
Prices seemed to be on the cheaper side, but then again I've been living in Ripoffland, California for way too long, so don't trust me on that.
I met Al, who seemed to be a good guy and knowledgeable and passionate about beer. Next time I'm back in my old stomping grounds of Hummelstown, PA (the HTP) I'll make a point to get back out here.
01-07-2011 16:24:01 | More by nickd717
5/5 rDev +13.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
The mother ship of great beer in the Susquehanna Valley! I am actually a little disappointed that I never got around to reviewing this place. A pizza shop with 30+ taps, counter pressure growler filler, 3 hand pumps, and over 500+ bottles and six packs ? God Damn what is not to like here ? Simply put, Al is the man and you need to stop by this place he and his staff are very knowledgeable and great to interact with. I literally have to check out his tap list every few days (sometimes hours) because he has all kinds of great beers. One off firkins are another huge plus of stopping by and of course the "murren" events. If you happen to be hungry have no fear this place makes some wicked food at a reasonable price that never takes long. If you are near by or passing by do not miss this place....and better yet let me know I'll meet you there if I'm not there already!
01-04-2011 17:24:46 | More by Bmoyer0301
4.58/5 rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
Stopped in at Al's today for the 1st time, even though this place is literally 5.7 miles from my house. I almost never knew it was there! Crazy.
Anyways, upon entering this small italian pizza shop/eatery, there are about 10 tables lining the walls and high-top square tables scattered throughout the restaurant. A large cold drink cooler stands containing 6-packs and I even think some domestic 12-packs if i remember correctly. Along another wall is a cold drink cooler containing single bottles that you can make a mixed-6 pack for $13 (aside from the 22 oz bottles and "top shelf" brews). Fairly decent selection in those coolers, and I actually was able to make a 6-pack of all beers i have never had, which is getting harder and harder to do.
There are also 20+ brews to choose from that you can enjoy on tap, on cask (3 beers on cask), as well as you can fill growlers (your own, or you can either purchase one or use a returnable growler (I think). Two flat screen TVs display all the offerings on draft for drinking or filling a 1L or 2L growler, which is a nice feature rather than the usual chalkboard. They even use BA ratings in their board, which is a nice feature. Not ONE BEER has a BA rating less than a B (which shows they have quality brew). Prices are a bit steep, anywhere from $11 (Troegs hopback, which is local) for a 2L growler fill to $26 for a more rare treat (The Southern Tier Chokolat Imperial stout). I chose to make a mixed-6er to keep myself from spending $20 or so to fill a growler, but even after making my 6er, one of the beautiful young ladies behind the counter asked if I wanted to fill my growler. I declined, but I enjoyed the fact that she even noticed I walked in with my growler with the intent to fill it. However, I enjoy a variety so I chose a mixed 6-pack instead.
I did not have any food or order any takeout, but the food smelled very good, there was a lot of "traffic" for pizza, which I'll try next time. Also, a few flat screen TVs line one of the outer walls, which give you a nice, relaxing, atmosphere. I went alone, and I didn't feel awkward, like i have in some other establishments in the past.
Prices are a bit high ($6.50 for a 12 oz Soutern Tier Chokolat) but the beer is served in correct glass types and the variety is awesome!
I'm sure glad I heard about this place and finally made a trip over. I'll surely make it a staple place of visitation.
12-28-2010 00:34:14 | More by Fish113d
4.55/5 rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Well, I was there fairly early on a Wednesday morning in town for a release at Troeg's so the 'atmosphere' rating comes from the folks who reccomended the place while in line and then the fact that when we arrived at 9:30am a group of beer lovers were all around (at least 8 folks) eating food and getting ready to sample the newest release.
There was a good selection of brews, especially given the option to 'make your own' 6pack, or in my case, 12pack. Terrapin, Duck Rabbit, White Birch, Mikkeller, Central Waters, off the top of my head were the brews that caught my eye for being out of country/region.
I found the prices reasonable for what I purchased. Pizza was fresh and the slices I had were above average. Have to give a personal thanks for the growler and chance to try one-off Troeg's stuff along with the regulars. Made my trip out there all the more memorable and now I get to pimp an "Al's of Hampden" growler around Brooklyn. Hope it drives some extra business their way as I found this place to be well worth the little extra time it took from Harrisburg.
EDIT: I rated "selection" a 5 based on the combination of bottles/make your own 6/drafts/cask and the ability to vote on the next draft made available on their site despite the fact that I am not a local and have not really been able to enjoy that feature.
12-23-2010 19:25:45 | More by CooperEllis
Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing in Enola, PA
97 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.