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Capital Ale House

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

23 Ratings
Ratings: 23
Reviews: 13
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.05%
Taps: 100
Bottles: 250
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

41 Court Sq
Harrisonburg, Virginia, 22801-3759
United States
phone: (540) 564-2537

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: nandemo1 on 09-02-2011)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 23 | Reviews: 13 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by dauss:
Photo of dauss
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%

I was here visiting for the weekend and a friend had suggested this place. I went and visited on a Saturday at 5pm. The restaurant was pretty empty and the bar was about half full. By the time I left at 7:30, it was pretty busy.

The tap list is impressive. It ranged from the mundane to the unique. They also made an extra effort to show which ones were local in the beer menu. The server did inform me that it was $2.50 for local microbrew. The beer menu is pretty much unworkable. It was separated out by style and not terribly well. Also noticed a few typos.

They have 2 bars and if you are eating you have access to the whole beer selection. If you are at the downstairs bar you have to go upstairs to get a beer. In addition, there are no seats upstairs at the bar.

I wasn't terribly hungry and got the mussels, smoked gouda and bacon style. It was good, only had 1 mussel that didn't open and a big piece of crusty bread to go with it.

I dig this place. It was only my second time to VA and didn't know that growlers could be filled. I like that.

dauss, Apr 02, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of Iamjeff6
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Iamjeff6, Nov 19, 2014
Photo of Hrodebert
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

Food was quite good, and the beer selection was outstanding.
Our server was very good, and the rest of the servers seemed to be quite attentive to the moderate crowd.
I would be a regular for the beer selection.

Hrodebert, Nov 13, 2014
Photo of ElGordito
4/5  rDev +0.5%

ElGordito, Oct 26, 2014
Photo of Thomas0790
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%

Thomas0790, Aug 29, 2014
Photo of Rarrar
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%

Rarrar, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Sammy, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of sebaastionb
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%

Was Thoroughly Impressed With The Number Of Tap Lines AT this Establishment. Beer Prices Weren't To Bad But The Food Prices Were A Little High For The Quality. The Service Left A Little To Be Desired...And It Wasnt Overly Busy When We Were There, Like 2 Waitresses To 5 Tables With A Runner (Would've Expected A Little Better Service Given The Circumstance)

sebaastionb, Jul 24, 2014
Photo of lillitnn92
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

lillitnn92, Jul 08, 2014
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

DrunkinYogi, Jun 19, 2014
Photo of atrocity
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

atrocity, May 20, 2014
Photo of JWalterWeatherman
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

JWalterWeatherman, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of qchic
3.9/5  rDev -2%

Finally made it in when the other cool beer spots were packed. Plenty of room here. Lots of tables and a horseshoe bar that could be good for people watching, had there been people there. Dim light, lots of wood, and tasteful tap handles behind the bar with magnets labeling each. Personally, I like the crazy, creative handles, but not a big deal. Great beer list with a focus on draft beer--the bartender said 2nd most in the state. The list leans heavily toward offerings from within the state, so that should help ensure freshness. Unfortunately, out of the half dozen that we tried to order, 2 were out, so they could be better prepared for a Friday night. Service was attentive when needed. The bartender had that confidence and enthusiasm that servers sometimes have, but at least he seemed knowledgeable enough. Had some burgers that were decent (a little more seasoning wouldn't hurt), and the fries came with flavored mayo. Prices seemed a bit high, especially for the area. Overall, it's a good place to find a great beer selection, but the atmosphere feels a little corporate. Could be a stellar spot if there was a little more character.

qchic, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

You rated this place. Add a review.

, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of Mantooth
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%

In Harrisonburg, this is the go-to spot for great beer. 80 taps down and twenty more upstairs. Beers can be purchased in small & large sizes (12 oz or 20 if my bad memory serves). We stayed small at about $6-7 a pop. Well worth the price for a grand selection of brews. The beer menu is laid out well and I had numerous brews this NC boy hadn't had access to before. I've read complaints about service, ours was fantastic. Elizabeth knew the massive beer menu inside out and more than held her own with this brewer and beer geek. We stopped in twice on our stay and I let her pick a brew for me a couple times and she never failed to impress.

The spot isn't charming or eclectic, like Billy Jack's or Jack Brown's (which are fun spots but certainly not world class beer bars), but it's more interesting than your standard brass and glass establishment; with a massive bar and lots of dark wood.

If you're looking for a great beer bar in Harrisonburg... this is the spot.

Mantooth, Sep 22, 2013
Photo of arizcards
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%

Stopped here after visiting The Civil War Museum in New Market, VA this afternoon.

Atmosphere was good, we arrived at 4:00 pm and were ushered up to the rooftop deck to enjoy a 75 degree late afternoon Virginia September afternoon. We did not see much of the 1st floor other than it was spacious with dozens of taps of good beer.

Service was very good. Our server Kevin did a good job guiding me through the regional beers that i had interest in trying.

Selection was excellent. Dozens of beers available on tap ranging from about 20 or so Va brews to national craft brewers to Belgium brews we are all familiar with.

Food was excellent as well. Da Boss had the Buffalo Chicken Mac-n-Cheese and i had a crab based Mac-n-Cheese and both were delicious. We shared a S'more dessert which paired very well with my Sweet Baby Jesus porter.

Overall it was a tasty meal with tasty brews and a fairly reasonable price. Recommend if you are staying in the Massanutten area.

arizcards, Sep 20, 2013
Photo of VBWharfRat
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%

So it seems like the thing most people are bitching about is the price. I do agree with this. However, if you go during happy hour or for one of their specials, that's when you can really take advantage of this place.

I love going on Monday afternoons during happy hour. You can get a burger (or a delicious vegan black bean burger), a dank 20 oz beer, and leave a good tip for under $10.

But if you're there at another time, you may be spending $10 on just the beer.

Service isn't the best, I've had better luck at the bar than tables but even then it can be shoddy.

Still a good bar with a vast selection of great beers and good specials.

VBWharfRat, Sep 11, 2013
Photo of brother_kenneth
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%

Stopped by for dinner and a beer on a Sunday evening around 7pm. Went back around 11:30pm for one more beer. This review will cover both of those visits.

First, I will say that the bar is very nice looking and there are lots of tap handles (100+). During my first visit, I waited probably 10 minutes before the server/bartender finally made her way to me. Not very efficient at all in this area. However, this did give me ample time to survey the nearby cooler and notice a row of beautiful Uncle Jacob's Stout bottles sitting there waiting for me to enjoy (which I may have missed if I had sat somewhere else, as this was not on the menu). The bartender of course had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for it, as it was probably a new offering for them. She quickly found the bottle and brought it over to me along with a 16oz straight beer glass. I was surprised by this and asked if a snifter glass was available; thank god, there was. While she was finding the glass, I checked out the tap menu and noticed some of the high prices. I was terrified about how much the Uncle Jacob's was going to cost me. In the end, it was only $13! Ordered a burger, which was awesome, finished my beer and left. At this point I should mention that this bar has an exceptional list of rare/limited bottles. Madame Rose was also in the cooler, for example. Their tap list is extensive as well. One criticism at this point is that Sofie Paradisi is still on tap, and has been for a few months now, from what I understand. It is most likely way past it's "prime."

During my second visit, I thought I would bite the bullet and pay for a pour of Stone Enjoy By, knowing it would be expensive, but not looking at the menu for the actual price. This was a horrendous mistake. After drinking it (16oz glass, I believe), I was handed the bill and noticed that it was $14. I was with a friend who was drinking the same thing. I assumed the bartender had included both beers so I just gave her my card and thought "no big deal." Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, my buddy was also handed a bill. Yes, you read that correctly. $14 for a Stone Enjoy By on tap. This is absolutely exorbitant. I may come back sometime for a rare bottle or two when I am around Harrisonburg, but I don't think I will ever order a "limited" beer on tap again. I am just dumbfounded by their pricing. How is an incredibly rare bottle like Uncle Jacob's priced so reasonably, yet an IPA on tap is absolutely the highest price I have ever heard of? I doubt bars in Manhattan would even charge this much for Enjoy By! This place needs to work on their pricing, but overall, it is a very nice bar with good, albeit mostly overpriced, craft beer.

brother_kenneth, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of JMUbrewz
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%

Surprised at the high reviews. It's a novelty to see so many taps in this area, so I'm gonna chalk up the ratings to the sheer number of beers available (with over 100 taps). Unfortunately, this place doesn't rotate beers nearly enough. I've had many a beer taste "off" in some way or another at the Hburg Capitol Ale House. Sometimes I suspect the culprit is an old keg, other times I've wondered whether they rinse the lines after changing kegs, which I'm fairly certain they do not. Either way, the beers usually taste funny to me.

The atmosphere isn't bad, but the place is huge, and usually feels pretty empty unless they're having a tap takeover (which is the best time to go if you want fresh beer). Despite the problems with beers I've ordered, the service is my real problem. I had a waiter tell me not to waste my time with a Sixpoint Resin one time, which is a beer that I love. That same trip to Cap. Ale House was actually a New Belgium tap takeover. A friend of mine asked about the price of the Heavenly Felojah Tripel, obviously one of their specials for the night. The waiter responded with, "how am I supposed to know the price when I've got over a hundred beers to keep track of." Maybe he should've known the price of one of the few specials for the night. Just sayin. Another time my brother ordered an Epic Hopulent on Nitro. It was a 12 oz pour, and by the time it settled, there may have been 7 oz left in the glass. We had to get another bartender to top him off.

These poor experiences with service and the relatively high prices (I'm looking at you, $10 10 oz pour of W00TStout when it's 7 at the bar across the street) keep me away from this place more often than not. So much potential, such poor execution.

JMUbrewz, Aug 07, 2013
Photo of BeahDrinkah
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%

Visited on Thursday, early evening. First thing you notice is a lot of taps lined up on the wall, then an Old-West, belly-up bar counter - very cool! Off to the right, a long horseshoe bar with stools for settling in for brew and a bite. A big selection of drafts with options to satisfy any beer geeks wishes. They highlight local brews and carry several other craft pours - I enjoyed a 12 oz. 3Brothers pale ale then a couple Founders options - all Bangin' Brews! I noticed their Tuesday promo is "Steal the Glass" night, which I was told meant brewers participate by donating giveaway glassware with a purchase. Capital Ale House in Harrisonburg was a nice find for a guy just passing through the area. A very fine beer lovers joint, indeed.

BeahDrinkah, Jul 26, 2013
Photo of ottobon100
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%

Happened to find it on a trip to Virginia Beach. At 1:30 PM the place was not crowded at all. Food was average. I had a sandwich. Service was great. Beer selection was very good with 100 brews on tap. I have been to the Richmond location and this is better by far. I'll stop by again when I am in the area.

ottobon100, May 18, 2013
Photo of mcaulifww
4.3/5  rDev +8%

I had my wedding rehearsal dinner at Capitol Ale House in Harrisonburg in June. Our party rented out the upstairs. The building itself is great. I had frequented the bar that was here the year before Cap Ale House opened. They did a great job making it their own and making it a little more upscale.

The quality is great. Huge beer selection and a good sized menu.

Our private dinner menu was excellent. They picked out a draft list of about 15 beers for our party. They were awesome. I hadn't heard of most of them, but they were all good.

The food was ok. I ordered a steak that was cooked well but it was peppered to hell, and I like pepper... the rest of the food was pretty solid.

I think the overall value for this place in Harrisonburg is a touch pricey. It is however, more upscale than some other places in town, and not as pricey as the fancy places. For a college town it's a once a month kind of place.

mcaulifww, Sep 06, 2012
Photo of DaveBlack
3.7/5  rDev -7%

This place just opened up last month, which could account for some of the problems it has.

I personally was not a fan of the atmosphere largely because it was so crowded. It seems like it has been almost booked solid since it opened, making it relatively loud and tough to get in. This could also account for why the service was relatively spotty

I was impressed when I first walked by the wall o'taps. The selection is quite large, with a 4 page draft list. I was annoyed, however, when the first beer I ordered was out. And the third. And the fourth. I'm not sure what the point of having a beer list printed up is if 3/5 of the listed beers aren't available. Maybe I just had bad luck.

The food was decent. It was heavy, German-inspired fare. In short, it was made to be eaten while drinking beer. And many of the dishes are made using beer. I liked my main course better than my appetizer, but I did enjoy both.

I would like to see what this place does in a few months, once the novelty wears off and people stop packing into it. For a place that just opened it's not bad, but there are definitely a few kinks that they need to work out.

DaveBlack, Feb 16, 2012
Capital Ale House in Harrisonburg, VA
90 out of 100 based on 23 ratings.