Capital Ale House
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Taps: 100 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 12 | Reviews: 11 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by dauss:
4.08/5 rDev +0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I was here visiting for the weekend and a friend had suggested this place. I went and visited on a Saturday at 5pm. The restaurant was pretty empty and the bar was about half full. By the time I left at 7:30, it was pretty busy.
The tap list is impressive. It ranged from the mundane to the unique. They also made an extra effort to show which ones were local in the beer menu. The server did inform me that it was $2.50 for local microbrew. The beer menu is pretty much unworkable. It was separated out by style and not terribly well. Also noticed a few typos.
They have 2 bars and if you are eating you have access to the whole beer selection. If you are at the downstairs bar you have to go upstairs to get a beer. In addition, there are no seats upstairs at the bar.
I wasn't terribly hungry and got the mussels, smoked gouda and bacon style. It was good, only had 1 mussel that didn't open and a big piece of crusty bread to go with it.
I dig this place. It was only my second time to VA and didn't know that growlers could be filled. I like that.
04-02-2012 22:20:26 | More by dauss
More User Reviews:
3.9/5 rDev -3.7%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75 | $$$
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.
11-24-2013 22:19:54 | More by qchic
4.28/5 rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
In Harrisonburg, this is the go-to spot for great beer. 80 taps down and twenty more upstairs. Beers can be purchased in small & large sizes (12 oz or 20 if my bad memory serves). We stayed small at about $6-7 a pop. Well worth the price for a grand selection of brews. The beer menu is laid out well and I had numerous brews this NC boy hadn't had access to before. I've read complaints about service, ours was fantastic. Elizabeth knew the massive beer menu inside out and more than held her own with this brewer and beer geek. We stopped in twice on our stay and I let her pick a brew for me a couple times and she never failed to impress.
The spot isn't charming or eclectic, like Billy Jack's or Jack Brown's (which are fun spots but certainly not world class beer bars), but it's more interesting than your standard brass and glass establishment; with a massive bar and lots of dark wood.
If you're looking for a great beer bar in Harrisonburg... this is the spot.
09-22-2013 13:48:55 | More by Mantooth
4.31/5 rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
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.
09-19-2013 23:45:12 | More by arizcards
3.95/5 rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4 | $$$
So it seems like the thing most people are bitching about is the price. I do agree with this. However, if you go during happy hour or for one of their specials, that's when you can really take advantage of this place.
I love going on Monday afternoons during happy hour. You can get a burger (or a delicious vegan black bean burger), a dank 20 oz beer, and leave a good tip for under $10.
But if you're there at another time, you may be spending $10 on just the beer.
Service is also isn't so great, although there are a few bartenders I do really like (can't paint everyone with the same brush).
I will share one story though, came in here for brunch on a Sunday cause my favorite place was packed. Never again, even if it's the only place without a line. My food was missing the homemade jelly (the entire reason I ordered it) and when I politely asked about it the waitress brought me one of those schmuckers jellys in a package.
They also have a make your own bloody mary bar, which is a cool idea, but I had just bartended myself the night before. When I asked the girl for a bloody mary, she said it'd be cheaper to just make it myself. Then when I asked her if she could just make it for me, she basically told me to make it myself. Third strike was when my buddy ordered a tequila sunrise and she had to ask US what that's made of. Maybe it was her first day or something, but if that's the case, don't just throw your employees into the fire without proper training (even if it is a slow Sunday morning shift).
Still a good bar with tons of beer selection and good specials.
09-11-2013 02:35:05 | More by VBWharfRat
3.8/5 rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$$
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.
09-02-2013 19:19:25 | More by brother_kenneth
3.84/5 rDev -5.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4 | $$$
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 experience 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, but such poor execution.
08-07-2013 15:09:45 | More by JMUbrewz
4.55/5 rDev +12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5 | $$
Visited on Thursday, early evening. First thing you notice is a lot of taps lined up on the wall, then an Old-West, belly-up bar counter - very cool! Off to the right, a long horseshoe bar with stools for settling in for brew and a bite. A big selection of drafts with options to satisfy any beer geeks wishes. They highlight local brews and carry several other craft pours - I enjoyed a 12 oz. 3Brothers pale ale then a couple Founders options - all Bangin' Brews! I noticed their Tuesday promo is "Steal the Glass" night, which I was told meant brewers participate by donating giveaway glassware with a purchase. Capital Ale House in Harrisonburg was a nice find for a guy just passing through the area. A very fine beer lovers joint, indeed.
07-26-2013 04:00:56 | More by BeahDrinkah
4.35/5 rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
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.
05-18-2013 17:26:57 | More by ottobon100
Capital Ale House in Harrisonburg, VA
91 out of 100 based on 12 ratings.