Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing
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Ratings: 128 | Reviews: 75 | Display Reviews Only:
4.28/5 rDev -3.6%
Driving from NYC to Charlottesville, Virginia, the wife and I stopped at Al's/Pizza Boy for a brew and some pizza.
Located squarely in the middle of nowhere, this is an industrial-looking joint with brew tanks on view and the works. Inside the place looks like a high-school cafeteria, and the ordering system is annoying (one beer at a time, no tastings, no service).
But you know what, the pizza is delicious and the beer selection is stunning. 102 taps, including rarities like Creme Brulee, Founders Imp Stout, Palo Santo and Weyer Heresy on nitro, DuClaw Hell on Wood (bourbon barleywine), Liquid Hero Imp Stout, Full Pint Rye Rebelation plus a ton of Pizza Boy beers. I loved the Galaxy IPA, and also the Azazel (Imp Stout with chilies).
This is my kind of tap list: lots of variety, a ton of bourbon-aged stuff, big beers...
Draughts are priced between three and seven dollars, and they also sell growlers (only for takeout).
Service is minimal, and they do not accept tips. Take it for what it is and enjoy it. I look forward to experiencing Al's/Pizza again.
06-23-2014 18:45:55 | More by DoubleSimcoe
4.23/5 rDev -4.7%
A lot going on here. Its a dinky little place, jammed with several tables, numerous cooler units and the small kitchen all squeezed into one small, cramped feeling room. Its a full menu pizza joint, Italian eatery. Def not the place to take a date or the family. Better to drop in for a bite with the guys or take food to go or just to pick up some of the many fine beers they offer.
Loads and loads of quality locals, regional and national good stuff in bottles in the coolers and they fill growlers from a large variety of taps..always a huge plus. They had numerous growler fill options I would have taken advantage on a regular basis if I was local. They also brew their own beer right here and offer it in growlers. Nice. Very beer friendly athmosphere. I got the feeling I was in the company of many beer geeks ( a good thing) when I visited with my local buddy.
Support this place - they respect beer
09-09-2012 16:05:20 | More by Billolick
4.33/5 rDev -2.5%
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
3.93/5 rDev -11.5%
*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.
05-20-2012 20:50:49 | More by Rifugium
4.38/5 rDev -1.4%
Edit on 11-Apr-10: First visit since expanding their tap last. A great selection that is IPA/DIPA heavy, just the way I like it. Our cheesesteak pizza was rockin' too. Atmosphere up from 3.5 to 4.0; Selection up to 5.0 from 4.5; Food up to 4.0 from 3.5; Service up from 3.5 to 4.5.
Atmosphere: Al's is a pizza joint in a two-store strip mall (okay, maybe it's not a strip mall). Approximately 10 tables are aligned around the counter (back right), six pack coolers (back left), soda/water/etc. (left) and singles cooler (right).
Quality: My sandwich was average and the restrooms were reasonably clean. Staff was friendly and lunch came out quicklty.
Service: There was no table service, only counter ordering. They diligently checked my id before serving my beer.
Selection: Six tap offerings and at least fifty different bottle offerings were available. I had a Blue Pointe Winter Ale with lunch. They also have Arrogant Bastard, Mad Elf, and Gritty's Christmas Ale on-tap. Bottle-wise, the selection was surprisingly good. I've seen Pennichuck bottles in the area but never Pozharnik. Guess what? They have bottles here. A nice array of Stone, Chimay, Lindemans, Victory and Troegs were available as well.
Food: Food is decent with an Italian focus. Subs, pizza, calzone, and stromboli are the headliners. I went with an Italian sub and found it to be average.
The restaurant is worth visiting for the bottle selection.
01-01-2009 17:12:21 | More by akorsak
4.35/5 rDev -2%
Typically, I review a place after one visit as I like to keep checking out new spots since there is so much out there.
For whatever reason, I am finally entering a Pizza Boy review after 3 visits.
Generally speaking, there isn't much more that you could ask for from Pizza Boy. You have a ton of taps, and as of yesterday, I hear they are finally going to do smaller pours. (Too bad they couldn't have started that a few days earlier, for my sake!! Oh well.) The pizza is pretty good, and there always seems to be something I haven't seen available on the bottle shop side of things. It will be interesting to see how this recent expansion goes for them.
07-31-2014 21:29:12 | More by RblWthACoz
4.05/5 rDev -8.8%
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.
12-02-2012 13:55:01 | More by dbrauneis
4.35/5 rDev -2%
Hit the place up for lunch. After stopping in to check out the goings on a few times I thought a proper BF is in order.
Hey it's a pizza/sub shop what more do you want? Nothing fancy but the place, if a bit small, is fine.
Clean, comfortable and convenient. Easy to find, just east of the Wertzville (PA 944) exit of I-81. Exit I-81, go east on 944 to first light, turn left onto Valley Rd and then make immediate left in small plaza.
A damn good beer selection with 24, constantly roatating, taps...only 1 dud being Coors Light. The other 23 taps are solid American and imported craft beers.
Ten cooler doors for six packs, bombers and singles hold a good variety of beer with about 75% being craft. A nice array of American craft with a smattering of Belgian offerings. Beers were priced fairly, especially for a PA bottle shop. They also have a make your own six-pack section at 6 for $13.
They offer growler fills, including selling the nice German flip tops at cost for $18. Specials include Troeg's Tuesday, with growler fills of Pale Ale and Hopback for $5,that is $3 less than the brewery! Also, they have Victory Fridays with various incentives.
Food is solid with in house made rolls, pizza dough and soups. I have ordered many an item off the menu and it is all solid, filling, good stuff.
Counter service only but the staff was pleasant enough and brought my cheesesteak out to me. Nothing extraordinary but certainly not sub par either.
A nice addition to the local beer scene. Will I make Al's my local, I doubt it. But, I surely will I keep it in mind as a place to check out every now and then!
*EDIT*--Well since bumping the taps up and becoming friends with Al and the folks that work there Al's HAS become my local. C and I head there at least twice a week for pizza and a few pints.
04-09-2009 18:31:25 | More by Deuane
4.61/5 rDev +3.8%
Al's is an interesting case of what a pizza place really should be. Not the biggest place in the world, getting smaller every day in fact, but it makes up for it with good food and even better beer. I have tried just about everything on the menu now and have not been disappointed yet. The subs are great, and the pizza's are even better. I prefer the buffalo chicken pizza personally but the beer geek is awesome as well.
Now on to the good part, the beer. Simply put, there is no better selection of beers in the harrisburg area. From the 24 taps, 4 on nitro, to the 3 cask hand pulls, you will not find a better selection. The mix-a-six for $13 is a good deal if you are looking to try multiple offerings. They also sell and fill growlers with nearly all of the beers. Bottle selection is usually pretty good as well. You can find anything from Lost Abbey Angles Share to victory at Sea to nearly all of the beers dogfish makes.
Al's has started to brew under the name Pizza Boy Brewing and has begun to have them on-tap at the shop. I look forward to trying his beers for years to come.
02-05-2010 20:08:55 | More by orangesol
Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing in Enola, PA
98 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.