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Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

134 Ratings
Ratings: 134
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 10.34%
Active Beers: 97
Beer Ratings: 1,824
Beer Avg: 3.94
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:
None, yet.

(Place added by: petesuphi on 10-19-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 134 | Reviews: 75 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of duceswild
3/5  rDev -32.6%

duceswild, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of jwjon1
3.08/5  rDev -30.8%

Updated Nov 30 2013

I want to love this place. I really do. On my second trip--in the new location--I was again met with horrible service (like the first time), but this time around I learned that they have done away with small pours of their beer and instead only do full pours.

This is a brewery right? People visit breweries specifically to sample beers, right? Not here: over 20 of their beers on tap and you'd have to buy full pours of each to try them. WTF? I'm not asking for free samples: more than happy to pay. I just don't want to get tanked trying more than two beers. Even half pours would be okay.

Not here.

If you want to try their beers, bring a DD or about 20 friends.

Ridiculous. Dropping my service rating from a poor to an awful.

jwjon1, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of AMBREW13
3.2/5  rDev -28.1%

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.

AMBREW13, Feb 23, 2014
Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -27%

mendvicdog, Jul 10, 2014
Photo of IPAchris
3.35/5  rDev -24.7%

I absolutely loved this place and hated it at the same time. The Pizza Boy beer was amazing, well worth the hype and the food was also very good. However, not offering samples or flights of beer is very puzzling. At least offer 4 or 5oz pours. This would allow customers to try more of this great beer and certainly increase sales. It was also really odd that you cannot tip using a credit card. Not sure about the reasoning behind this but it has to hurt the servers/bartenders. We ran up decent sized bill but had very little cash on us to provide a tip. Overall, great beer, good food but unusual business practices.

IPAchris, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of bum732
3.4/5  rDev -23.6%

Re-reviewing this since it's in a new location. I really don't want to write an entire diatribe, so let me just quickly point out the major flaws:

1. Their 2L growlers are clear glass
2. They have an entire shelf of beers exposed to the outside sun
3. Beers they serve on tap are way too cold
4. The inside has a women's penitentiary feel to it
5. No tasters allowed, can only get full pours
6. When ordering one of their bottled beers, you can't have any other beers on your table

Many people would point out that many of these issues are minor. But I would argue that selling clear growlers and not allowing trying beers on tap without ordering a full pour as complete bullshit. There is really no excuse for doing this. I just don't understand this place, there is so much potential and the beers here were for the most part, excellent. But it's the little things that are just baffling to me. There is just a weird vibe of paranoia that makes this place reek of amateur hour. I feel bad for the head brewer, he's clearly a great at his job but unfortunately has to deal with piss poor policies from the owner. Too bad.

bum732, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of waddellc2
3.5/5  rDev -21.3%

waddellc2, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of Era717
3.5/5  rDev -21.3%

For such an excellent beer selection (huge fan of the pizza boy sours) it's a real shame that the staff is so rude. Also, its obnoxious that they wont let you sample beer when deciding which delicious selection would like to fill your growler with. I'm thoroughly upset about this since als could have easily become one of my new fav spots.

Era717, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of jdaddy
3.5/5  rDev -21.3%

jdaddy, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of facesnorth
3.56/5  rDev -20%

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.

facesnorth, May 27, 2014
Photo of JustBeFair
3.6/5  rDev -19.1%

If you like slightly above average tasting food and expensive pricing, this is the place for you. The sad part is that I probably would even pay a little more for the food just because of how conveniently located it is from my house. But when I mentioned to them that the online menu ( on the NEW " Pizza Boy Brewing" web page) shows prices that are lower than their "real" prices, the response that I got was " it's not even on my radar, pick up one of our menus at our location". I cant imagine it would take more than a half hour to update the pricing on the online menu. Therefore, until the online menu reflects the true pricing that they charge, Pizza Boy Brewing is not on my radar either.

JustBeFair, May 25, 2013
Photo of lidu5ii
3.72/5  rDev -16.4%

lidu5ii, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of GeorgianBayPackr
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

GeorgianBayPackr, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of Profchaos20
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

Profchaos20, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of brewsclues
3.83/5  rDev -13.9%

Ok, Al's is a true study in contrasts. Welcome to PA, one of the driest and most up-tight mid-Atlantic/East Coast states when it comes to cold-ones-drinking. Good luck trying to find many places that have the selection of bottles and drafts as Al's does. Generally, you'll find bottles here that most places within 50 miles won't have, and certainly their draft selection is A) solid to excellent, B) in constant rotation, and C) helpful with that big digital board with BA rankings and everything. So for selection they get high marks (particularly in relation to the lack of a bottle section in this geographic area). Atmosphere: OK. It's a pizza shop - plus points for stripped down un-pretentiousness, but it's still a pizza shop with tons of TVs in it. Food is also good. A lot of Pizza. Just sayin'.

Service, on the other hand, is a totally different story. I'm a pretty jovial fellow who will smile and have a kind word for just about everybody I meet. Not at Al's. They have hardened and darkened my soul. The first 3 or 4 times I went in there, I asked one or two questions, such as, "Hey, is this IPA any good?, or, "What size glass can I get a draft in?" You know, very offensive and degrading questions. I'm always met with responses that are at best, indifferent and annoyed, and at worst, outright hostile. Inexplicable. There have been multiple interactions with staff and owners that are too ridiculous to go into detail here. Suffice to say, it left me with a bad taste in my mouth - but not from the beer.

Best left to summary: Damn you, Al's, and your above average beer selection and below average service! I shall return, but not as often as you might think.

brewsclues, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of jbdpsu82
3.86/5  rDev -13.3%

This new location is definitely a much-needed improvement over their previous VERY cramped location. It got so warm in there from being so crowded, it was hard to relax.

The new location is much different. Wide open atmosphere with open views of the brewing system. Same big selection, only bigger! A wide variety of bottles to purchase to-go (not quite as good of a selection as Al's of Enola) but a better selection on-tap.

I stopped in for my first time to try their Intangible bottle. Hours of the place are disappointing, they closed at 10 the night I was there.

I have never been too impressed with the food at Al's of Hampden. One slice of mediocre cheese pizza will run you $3+.

I'll stick with what I know they do well... the beer.

Definitely worth a stop if you're a beer drinker in the area. They make some great brews, and always have a huge selection on tap!

jbdpsu82, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of nopucophop
3.93/5  rDev -11.7%

KEYNOTE-- I went on a Friday at 6pm which made this place very busy and hectic.

This is a great spot. It was a perfect place off the highway to grab some goodies. I only knew of this place because a fellow BA recommended it to me. I have to say that this is a strange place as it is a pizzeria that has great beer. This does not help the atmosphere as the place is loud and chaotic. The are mixes of families and serious beer drinkers and all in between. The quality of both the food and beer are great. The beer is better then the food but the food made for a great meal. As far as the service goes you have to go to the counter to be served. If you don't know this ahead of time you can be left at your table wondering if anyone is going to try and help you. The beer selection is excellent! they have growler fills as well as bottles to go. They do allow mix sixers too. Overall again great spot. To much chaos for me but as noted earlier I believe that has to do with the time I arrived. I imagine at 8pm on Tuesday this place is just awesome.

nopucophop, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
3.93/5  rDev -11.7%

*Note: this review and rating is for the old location. Working on updating soon.

We stopped here on the way back home from Pittsburgh to Philly, figuring we'd have a little mini picnic outside with the dog, as not many good spots are pet friendly (but the wife HAD to bring the dog on the trip :P). If you don't know what you're looking for, this place is hard enough to find, but it didn't help that I put the wrong street number in my GPS. But after backtracking a few miles, I saw the place--it's down a little hill and we drove right past without even noticing it.

As far as atmosphere goes, there's really nothing to speak of. It's a pizza place with a few tables. I'd imagine that it's a nightmare during busy hours. It seems like there should be a few tables outside, but there aren't, and though they won't allow you to take an open glass out, I got a 1L growler of one of their house beers, a small pizza, and we ate and drank out in the car for a little change of pace.

Note: there is no bar here. You order drinks right at the counter.

As far as beer goes, the selection is pretty impressive. Lots of stuff to choose from on tap, including local favorites and about 5 or so micros made right on the premises. Seems like the most random place ever for a microbrewery, but there you have it. And if that's not enough for you, there are tons of bottles to chose from, cold and room temp. Food was basic pizzeria stuff, and the pizza we got I thought was pretty good, even though I kind of scarfed it down, wanting to get back on the road.

Service was fine. It wasn't busy when we visited, but everyone seemed pretty on the ball. Prices were generally pretty good, with $8 for a liter growler fill and $4-6 on pints. I was kind of disappointed that the liter growlers didn't have logos on them, but I got a logo snifter to compensate. I didn't notice bottle prices. The only oddity revealed itself when I asked for a sample of a couple of their beers, and was hit with a $3 bill for each one. $3 for a sampler? And $4.50 for a full pour of the same stuff. Hmm. I don't think I've ever seen a sampler for more than $2, and those were at places much classier than this. I like a little taste before committing to a growler...just a sip...not a $3 shot.

Anyway, overall it was a nice experience, and I wouldn't mind going back if I'm ever in the area again.

Rifugium, May 20, 2012
Photo of Throckmorton
3.98/5  rDev -10.6%

The atmosphere is nothing special, but for this area of the country, the beer selection is great.

atmosphere: small pizza joint. formica tables, formica floor, small counter. big beer coolers carry a great variety of singles, and of 6/12 packs, which is fairly unusual given the absurd liquor laws in PA.

But the taps are great. 24 rotating taps, some nitrogen driven, plus 3 pulls. The taps, with few exceptions, carry only unique, interesting or somewhat rare brews. The taps are listed on flat panels, along with A.B.V. and style description and Beer Advocate rating! also, you can go online and vote for which beers come on next, which is fun.

staff is nice.

Throckmorton, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of Dodo2step
4/5  rDev -10.1%

I have been to Al's of 15 before for the food and it is always great. Their buffet is phenomenal for the price they ask.

I havent had the food at this Al's but im sure it is the same idea. A great selection and nice atmosphere. A very open space and a nice small selection of brews.

The price was very nice for a sixer mixed but i could only get from a certain shelf and down. Still, everything was great!

Their service was very quick and very helpful in helping me find whatever i needed. They also had the six pack containers on hand so you dont have to struggle holding em all.

A nice mix and match place!

Dodo2step, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of qcbrewer
4/5  rDev -10.1%

qcbrewer, May 05, 2014
Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -10.1%

BillRoth, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev -9%

Stopped to eat lunch on the return trip from visiting family during the holidays and I'm pretty glad that I did. The place was very small and we arrived right around lunchtime on a Saturday so it was pretty busy and I felt pretty excited that we were able to score a table. There is not much in the way of decor here but the place has a real beer geek vibe to it.

Beer was served at a good temperature and in proper glassware - it was actually a very nice pour with a proper amount of head and everything. Beer tasted fresh and I saw the taplist change twice in the 1.5 hours I was there... There were also tons of folks filling growlers here during my visit.

You go to the counter and place your own order so I don't have a lot of comment on the service - the gent working at the counter was very friendly and pleasant, willing to offer an opinion/suggestion on beers that they were serving on tap.

Very nice selection of taps that included 5 Pizza Boy beers and the rest were regional offerings from pretty decent craft breweries - I only wish that we were not on the road and I could have enjoyed a couple more...

The food was essentially a pizza/sub shop and not very fancy but still enjoyable. Nothing out of this world but not something I would avoid either... I think the pizza was better than the subs but to each their own

Prices were reasonable and average, no complaints there.

dbrauneis, Dec 02, 2012
Photo of pecokid
4.05/5  rDev -9%

I have heard about Al's for years but never got there until about six months ago. The place is good. Seating is limited, 4 high-tops, 4 tables and one booth. The cash register area is tight - right in front of the more expensive unrefridgerated beers. They just put in HD TVs to serve as beer menu boards. I gues they kick kegs so fats they needed that. Every time I have been there Al himself has waited on me. My 16 month old daughter enjoyed the white Hawaiin pizza. The mix six pack does not seem like a great deal but the stuff that is unrefrigerated is just as good of a deal if not better than the Brass Rail. I can not compare to Wegman's because I have only been there a few times. Sadly, thanks to the stupid PA laws, Al's is "tied" to Westy's and Westy's has paid $100K for the central PA monopoly for Dogfish Head (so I hear). Yes I useed the terms tied and monopoly which I believe were suposed to be illegal. Sorry for the saide bar rant. To sum up, go to Al's it may be the best you can get in Harrisburg.

pecokid, May 22, 2010
Photo of danman0125
4.05/5  rDev -9%

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.

danman0125, Sep 10, 2011
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Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing in Enola, PA
98 out of 100 based on 134 ratings.