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General Lafayette Inn & Brewery

General Lafayette Inn & BreweryGeneral Lafayette Inn & Brewery
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

68 Ratings
Ratings: 68
Reviews: 68
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.34%
Active Beers: 0
Beer Ratings: 0
Beer Avg: 0
[ Brewery ]

646 Germantown Pike
Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, 19444
United States
phone: (610) 941-0600
// CLOSED //



Notes:
The pub is closed, but the brewery continues to produce beer for wholesale distribution.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 68 | Reviews: 68 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%

The General is in a great old buildng and the bar is very cool. The smoke is a bit much at times (which is reflected in my vibe score) so I only go off-hours. The beer quality is always very good with anywhere from 8-10 drafts plus two on cask. The General is best IMO at German & English style beers. The bottle list from the cellar is always a treat. I am very pleased that they are starting to bottle for outside consumption. I have never had "dinner" there but the bar food is always good. Staff is friendly & prices are reasonable.

Recommended.

SkinnyElvis, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.7/5  rDev +13%

Talk about fate.

So we drop someone off for their two hour meeting and I hit the GPS for a list of nearby restaurants from our current position. What? General Lafayette Inn is 25 yards away? I think to myself: "What? THE General Lafayette Inn? Like...the brewpub??" I had no idea I was going to be in the area, so hadn't planned any excursions. But alas, what is meant to be is meant to be.

Great decor. I love the old building. Just wreaks of history and being a standard of the area. Great paint on the walls, nice wood bar. It's nice. And the plexiglass floor so that you can see brewing equipment in the basement? Good touch, whoever had that idea. To me, this place just exemplifies the area and the region.

Quality of brews was nice. All was fresh and as it should be.

Service was good. I ordered the sampler (more to follow) and told the 'tender to just pick the four I should have. All good choices were presented.

Selection is very good. I think there are 10 taps on? And it is of a wide variety of stuff. They did have the 275th Anniversary barleywine on. A sampler cost $6 and you get four 4 ounce glasses. I don't think I have seen sampling glasses like this ever. It is a very generous portion and you truly get a full sense of what the experience is with each beer. If I had more time (though I doubt one trip would be enough), they do have vintage bottles available for purchase, but only for consumption at the bar. (well...you can buy the 275th anniversary barleywine to take home)

I didn't go for the food as I had eaten already.

Overall I am very glad I was able to check this place out. I mean what are the odds? I wasn't even 25 yards away when I hit the GPS! I realized later it was right to our left just as I hit the menu on the Tomtom. I am very glad I got to go.

RblWthACoz, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of SixpointJMH
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%

As I was in the area and had been wanting to try this place, a stop at General Lafayette was clearly in order.

The entire establishment is situated within a colonial era building/inn and that theme is thankfully continued within the building. Save for the necessary modern twists, you do indeed feel as if you are stepping back in time here. The building is divided up with bathrooms off in one direction, the main dining area in another and the bar in it's own little nook as well.

I walked in just about noon time and the crowd was minimal at first so I was able to chat with the bartender about the selections. He was quite helpful and knowledgeable and kept up with a friendly banter throughout my visit. As the lunch crowd picked up conversation was easily and unexpectedly struck with other patrons making for a lively and homey visit.

The selections were fairly plentiful and varied, with about 8 or so items on tap that ranged from brewpub standards to more diverse styles that you don't find everywhere. Everything that I tried was quite fresh, with one or two of the lines just being added that morning or the previous night. You can't get much fresher than that.

Food came out rather quickly and was very good overall.

As I perused the menu for a growler of something to take home, the bartender thankfully noted to me that some of the special brews would end up being quite pricey, especially with having to purchase the growler itself. That said, they then informed me the there were currently no growlers available as the few they had remaining on-site at the time were being held for an upcoming event. After chatting with the bartender and the manager for a while about beer in general and other topics, they were kind enough to try to see what they could do re: finding a growler, and lo and behold one appeared for me. Kudos to them for making the extra effort.

Overall, the General Lafayette is an enjoyable experience. Prices are reasonable for the most part, just watch out for certain beers' growler pricing. I'll certainly re-visit again when I can.

SixpointJMH, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of mymrnngjckt
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%

Stop here on a recent pub crawl. Easy to find right on the Germantown Pike.

The atmposphere was old. This place is a bit anncient but quaint look. A lot of little spaces and many things to look at. We were surprised to see the bar full at 2:00 on a Saturday. That is always a good sign.

We went up to the bar to order our drinks and the barternder took our orders and brought our beers over to our table quickly. The beers were $5 for a pint. I thought this was a bit pricey so we only stayed for one. My fear of inflated prices was confirmed when my growler of Rasberry Meade cost me $30. Yikes. But it was very good.

Didn't try the food but it looked good.

mymrnngjckt, Oct 24, 2007
Photo of beertwisted
3.05/5  rDev -26.7%

I became a member of the "mug club" during my first visit. The great thing (for me) was that I was so close to work, so how could I go wrong. The food was a little on the pricey side, but the quality was good to better then good. The service was mediocre at best, maybe because we were regulars and were demanding at times, but no more then the average Joe off the street.

The mug club allowed a free selection from the menu and a mug of beer after the first 10 fills of approx. 20oz. This kind of offering to members was a bargain if you came at least once a week and became a mug club member at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately for me this was not the case, and I was not told the details of the club when I bought it. It was ok considering I started in early July and still had half a year to get my monies worth.

Their beers fluctuated in quality from one week to the next, even if you were drinking the same beer you had a week ago. Most of the beers I tried, and I tried them all, were nothing to write home about. They were decent beers but nothing really memorable. One of my associates loved the mead and I too enjoyed its company from time to time.

The "General's" service is what kept me from coming back after six months of diligent service. This is a brewpub for the occasional visit, not for someone entertaining the notion of being in the mug club. Being dedicated to any one bar/brewery/pub is enough work as it is without having to pay$40+ for a mug that you will feel obligated to get your moneys worth.

Still some beers are worth a try and the food will make amends for the service.

~Arrogant

beertwisted, Jul 01, 2007
Photo of coalcracker
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

This place has been at the top of my favorite beer destinations for some time now. I have always been a fan of the old and ancient taverns that have been around for 200+ years- the history, ambiance, and architecture is always fascinating. This place does not disappoint. An ancient tavern previously known as "Three Tuns' prior to the American Revolution, it sits at the crest of Barren Hill along Germantown Pike and was witness to the Battle of Barren Hill. Atmosphere inside is great, the fine dining area is partitioned from the pub itself, which happens to be cozy with just enough seating. The beers here are fantastic with the 'house populars' being Pacific Pale Ale and Sunset Red. They usually have about ten to a dozen available at one time (which also include seasonals and cask-conditioned ales). There is also some vintage ale in reserve, from what I hear. Service is reliable but can slow if you arrive later on hot nights- this has become a popular spot! The bar food is typical but good- the chicken cheesesteak is awesome! If you opt for the main seating, make a reservation. The meals on this side are delicious. Pricing is about right for the Philly suburbs, but quite affordable.

If you happen to be in the area, make a stop. You'll be in heaven if you are a true beer lover and appreciate the history of this great little corner of the state. Local attractions include Valley Forge, the King of Prussia mall, and Philly itself!

coalcracker, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of Jredner
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Historic old building complete with a widow’s walk and hand-hewn beams. Very cool setting for a brewpub. I was told the food was good and while the menu was a bit sparse the food did not dissapoint and was fairly reasonably priced. 4 of us with a sampler, pint and a $15 bomber only set us back a touch of $100 with a 20% tip. We ate in the dining room rather than having pub grub in the bar side- I understand there is a different menu on that side.

At first the service was fairly slow, but our waiter was working five tables. When he finally got some help he was very attentive.

The beer was very good. I had the Scotch Ale and the Imperial Stout....both solid....and also shared the sampler with my wife. It was a great time and I’d love to go back.

Jredner, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

Visited for the BA Gathering on 1/27 - once again, it was great to finally meet all of you! Very easy to find once on the Germantown Pike...very close to King of Prussia, so in case any of your wives want to drop you off and go shopping...

I spent the whole time in the downstairs bar and restaurant areas. Enjoyed the Sunset Red on-tap...rather enjoyable red ale. Bar staff was very friendly and helpful to a first-time visitor. When it was time to move into the restaurant to share our goodies, the staff stayed on top of things, frequently filling empty water pitchers being very patient of us. Considering there were 30-some people cracking open bottles and being rather boisterous, I felt they did a great job and should be commended.

A very enjoyable atmosphere for a large gathering or small dinner...I really like the bar setup. I'm very much looking forward to returning for another visit.

JohnnyM2002, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of Phatz
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%

The General Lafayette Inn & Brewery is absolutely gorgeous place. Colonial style mansion with attractive woodwork all over. Classy but fun I went to the downstairs bar. a pool table through one door and restaurant seating through the other. Expansive bar. Good selection of their own brews including vintage bottles available. A big food menu and wine as well. The pub grub looks decent but I didn't try any to comment on. I did try the platter of cold cut meats and cheeses they prepare. Very fancy. Very nice. The most important thing is good beer. The Porter is classic and right on the money. The red ale is easy drinking. The McGlynn’s Ghost Barleywine from the cellar is a real treat. And if you have a few too many there is a B&B right there.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of Beerquester
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

Came back to visit this place about a year later because we enjoyed the Holiday Cheer so much last year. We were not disappointed at all. In fact, I think it may even be better this year. We had to get one for the road. Forgot to bring an empty growler along, so had to purchase one for $5. They do have a nice logo on it, so its a nice one to keep. The holiday cheer cost $18 for the fill, but was worth it. I think its about an 8% abv, so lots of bang for the buck. This was definitely my favorite beer here.

I also tried (in sampler-size amounts) and enjoyed: rasberry mead ale, sunset red ale, holiday cheer, novemberfest, chocolate thunder porter, pacific pale from tap, and pacific pale cask conditioned. I tried the pacific ale cask first and was really pleased with it. An astoundingly good ale with excellent hop aroma. This time of year I like to concentrate my drinking interests on darker beers, but this was definitely a standout that I could not ignore. I ordered one on tap because i thought the co2 bubbles would bring out the aroma even more. I was wrong on this effect, maybe because the beer was served a little too cold. Still good, though i preferred the cask a lot more. The chocolate thunder porter was a very good beer, my only disappointment being that it had a little too much alcohol for my taste (6.7%, which technically is fine for a robust porter). Being a little higher in alcohol, I would not be able to sit back and drink too many of these in a row.

I ordered only beer-battered onion rings with jalepeno ketchup, but the portion was large and they tasted really great!

The thing that makes this place so great is that it is in an ancient stone tavern, with low beam ceilings, and fireplaces and dark corners. A really cozy feeling that makes you think you are back in a different era. I love it when historical buildings are preserved in this way. They are really treasures. Their were some locals at the bar this Friday night visit and it seemed like they were good ordinary people with a good sense of humor. A great place to visit for some dependably good brews on a cold winter night.

Beerquester, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of leftmindedrighty
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%

Went there Friday night to see a friend's band, Downtown Harvest. Great Band, but thats not what this is for is it?

Got banged for a $5 cover charge, but that happens when they have good live music or some other special occasion. Great selection on tap, the number was around 8-10 different house made beers.

The highlight by far is the cask conditioned ales, Their cask Pale Ale is some of the best beer I can find fresh locally. Its too bad they won't fill growlers of their cask stuff, but thats normal and you can't subtract points for that.

Good place to visit if your local or in the area, but try to go on off nights (or during the day), Friday and Saturday night brings in a crowd, and makes it a little more difficult to enjoy the beer without being distracted to go party down like its on sale for $19.99.

leftmindedrighty, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

Visited the establishment on a Saturday afternoon at about 2PM. We were offered seats in the dining room or the bar area. My wife and I selected the bar area. We selected a table and were promptly offered a beer and food menu. I selected the sampler which was served in an acceptable time frame. The 3 ounce samplers are a bit small to really get much of the taste of the beer. We gave our food menu choices which were served within an acceptable time frame. The food protions were moderate, sereved at the correct temperature, and very tasty. Other than the small size of the sampler tray, It was an enjoyable dining and drinking experience.

tgbljb, Sep 17, 2006
Photo of akorsak
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%

During a visit to the in-laws, we made a stop at the General Lafayette.

A: The place is a converted old farmhouse that is high on charm. There are several dining areas, including a semi-private room that our large party was given without question.

Q: Food was decent, service was not, beer was. Basically a zero-sum.

Ser: Service was slow at best, completely inattentive at worst. During a full meal in which you could expect 3 or so pints, I got one and had to beg three times to get the vintage beer listing.

Sel: They offered 9 house brews, an additional on cask as well as a true jewel, a vintage beer listing from which I chose a 2003 barleywine that aged nicely.

F: Food came out somewhat bland, with my meatloaf lacking any personality and in desperate need of some spices. Sausage and cheese plate was also just okay.

Follow-up: As a result of the Winterfest and the 275th Anniversary celebration, food makes a big jump from 2.5 to 4.0 and the overall quality jumps from 3.0 to 4.0.

akorsak, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of DrJay
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

Wow, does this place reek of history! Great atmosphere with dark rooms, low ceilings, and slightly cramped spaces that transport you to another era. I showed up at lunch on a Sunday, so the brunch buffet was in full swing in the dining room. Only one of the two bars was open, which was fine since there weren't many people in this section. Decent ventilation kept smoke to a minimum. I tried a sampler of beers and was impressed with the lot - I had six out of ~10 that were available. Overall, these were top notch brews that all had superb texture and body. Unfortunately there was no cask on at the time. So I ordered a pint with my lunch (Sunset Red - very nice) and was pleasantly surprised that it came in a 20oz glass! I hadn't seen one of those since heading across the border from Toronto. My fish & chips were okay, the burgers and wings looked pretty good too. The portion sizes were fair and quite appropriate for lunch. This is another great brew/pub that I've hit since moving to the Philly burbs. I'll definitely try to make my way back here on a regular basis.

DrJay, Jul 07, 2006
Photo of Suds
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

On our recent trip to the Philadelphia area, I had to make a stop at this place. I loved reading about the history behind the Inn, so I was pretty excited to get there. We spent time on both the Restaurant and Tavern sides of the establishment. The formal restaurant is a first class establishment, with impeccable service and great ambiance. I have to admit, however, that I was more drawn to the tavern. The low ceilings and old-style tavern mystique were really enchanting. The service was prompt, knowledgeable, and courteous (even going above and beyond with direction assistance). The beer was very well made. I loved the ESB on cask (which, regrettably they wouldn’t put in a growler). The Frambioses was notably good, as was the Tripel. It’s obvious that they take the beer seriously. As for food, I had a salmon, which was quite good as well. All in all, this place was first rate and well worth the trip.

Suds, Jun 28, 2006
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

The General Lafayette is arguably the most beautiful drinking establishment I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a patron of. The quaint and cozy bar is indeed cozy in the truest sense and not in the real estate euphemism for cramped. There is a certain un-forced antiquity feel of the bar area that seems perfectly natural, as if I stepped back in time to have a pint with a little snot-nosed French general in the continental army. Even the dishes we were served on had an honest ancient feel to them. Adding to the effect are flint lock rifles hanging on the walls, exposed wooded beams in the ceilings and a bare minimum of televisions. Very nice indeed.

The layout of the building is quite remarkable with the beautiful, rustic, divided bar in the far back, over looking the stainless steel goodies out the window that in turn overlooks Germantown pike. Just in front is another room for playing pool. Also, the dining room (I haven’t yet been in) is intimidating formal. There is also a bed and breakfast of sorts in an adjacent building that I may need to check out in the future. This place is just oozing with class.

Each time I’ve been here, the food has been exemplary. I had a well prepared veggie burger and the brie platter this time and the time before, a simple grilled cheese and tomato soup. Both were fantastic. Each time, my dining companions had nothing but positive things to say as well. The food here is really destination dining. Oh, and I hear they brew their own beer.
-Update- The Buffalo ChickenSteak was wonderful. If you dig wings, try this for sure.

The beer’s I had were pretty good. I’m getting a lot of pale malt flavors, a flavor my palate is ill suited to, so I’ll try to be objective. The chocolate porter was tasty, the cask Sunset Red was all right, but the Germantown Blonde was really something. It was really a perfect summer session beer and just what I needed on a warm summer night. If you’re feeling a bit done in by the sun, grab a Blonde for sure.
-Update- The Biere de Framboise was freakin’ amazing. It tasted like wild raspberries! Also, the Malted Oat Stout was fantastic.

The service was disappointing. Not because our server was half-assed, but because it looked like there was only one server for the entire bar area. This poor girl was running around, frazzled trying to do her job. My rating on service does not reflect our servers maximum effort and great attitude, but the managements decision to over work the poor girl!
-Update- Oh, it’s not that bad…

I like the General so far. What’s needed is a few more return visits to sample the spectrum of offerings so I can get a better feel for what’s hot and what’s to be avoided. Regardless of the beer, the great atmosphere and killer food will keep me coming back. That, and the general is 5 miles from my new place!
-Update- 4.5 miles!
-Update- The buffalo chicken cheese steak keeps rocking my world. Also, I'll give the service a boost.

DarkerTheBetter, Jun 23, 2006
Photo of Abita45
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%

I've been to here a few times recently, the first time being during Lent when I was introduced to their outstanding fish and chips. Truly the best I've had at any brew pub. Last Friday, I went for a late night snack and beer with my girlfriend. They maintain a very good late menu in the pub. My girlfriend had the pesto chicken sandwich, which was very good. The pesto was excellent and the chicken good perfectly. My fish and chips were solid as usual.

We had to pay $5.00 covers due to some musicians playing (though loud, the bands were good and the bar was pretty much filled up; we were glad to luck into a high-table right when we walked in). The bar is split, with half being a bit larger and facing the tanks, while the other side seems to lend itself to dininig or waiting for a table in the main resturant. In the past, it has also seemed like the front half was non-smoking early in the evening. Don't know for sure if that is policy or not, but if so, it is a nice idea. There's enough wall between the bars that it makes a difference.

I had a pint of the bitters and took home a growler of the Pacific Pale Ale. I'm interested in trying the main resturant some time, because the pub food I've had has been very good.

At the end of it all, our bill was very reasonable (especially if you knock the $10.00 cover off the top). We were both really happy with the overall experience, though we look forward to going during an "off" night when we can talk without shouting.

Abita45, Jun 13, 2006
Photo of StoutHearted
4.2/5  rDev +1%

This is one of my favorite haunts, as many of their available beers on draft tend to be my favorite styles. At my last visit in early June '06, they had a Chocolate Porter, a Tripel, a Framboise, and a Raspberry Mead, plus many more, but the ones I just listed are my favorites. This place also does a mean barleywine. A person in love with IPA's may not be impressed with the selection, but as a malthead, this place suits me perfectly. I have a friend who hates beer, but I got her hooked on the mead. It's not fruity to the point that you think it was made by Bartles & James, but the alcohol is very strong and will hit you hard, which is why they'll only sell you 3 per night.

The atmosphere is as cozy as it gets. If it weren't for the one neon blue stripe above the bar and hte TVs, you'd expect George Washington to stroll in at any moment. The brewpub is in an old house that kept its old-timey feel, despite redecorating in the front hall and the modern furniture in the restaurant. You must come here in winter- with two fireplaces roaring, you'll want to stay all day and night. (Which might be possible- I heard a someone say that this place also functions as an inn for those caught in a jam, but am not positive about it. Anyway, can't hurt to call 'em up and ask.)

There are two bars, but I'm always in the one with the huge window view of the brewing equipment. I suspect the outer bar is for folks waiting to get a seat in the restaurant. If you walk by this bar, look down: there's a window on the floor to give you a peek at the brewing equipment in the basement.

Bar food is very good here and ranges from pub grub to homecooked fare. I can recommend the calamari and the hot wings, and I also had the meatloaf, which was fantastic. They also put together a large crudite platter. I've eaten in the restaurant and the food is more high-end there, with prices to match (think at least $17 a plate on average), but the food is very delicious and worth it if you have the dough. I remember seeing a view of a hops vine growing outside the window while eating in the restaurant, so I'm taking a wild guess and saying they grow their own hops.

At nights, especially weekends, you'll find live music. Once, I came late on aweekend and was asked for $5 cover, which never happened all the other times I've been there before. It hasn't happened to me since, but I mentally prepare myself for a bouncer, just in case. A side room contains a pool table and darts. You'll have to fight for these when the bar gets crowded. Weekdays, they should be all yours. There are TVs all around the bar to console you if the folks at the pool table start their third game in a row.

The beer keeps me coming back, and its atmopshere is nice enough to bring the family to the classy restaurant. However, sis allowed in the bar, and I inevitably end up with ashtray-scented hair at the end of the night. Oh, and one bit of trivia about this place: According to a book on ghosts of Montgomery County, this place is haunted. Haven't seen a spectre yet, but will keep some cash handy in case one floats down from the rafters for a drink.

StoutHearted, Jun 12, 2006
Photo of sparkydoyle
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Updated 5/8/06--

I just upgraded my ranking of "The General". In the last year or so the beers have noticably improved, especially the Belgian offerings. They're now slightly drier and the balance of flavors seems more on-target. In addition, I think that the brewery has become much more adept the subtle art of hitting the styles accurately while at the same time offering an interpretation with artistic merit.

Extra points earned for describing their beers in accurate detail on the beer menu, and for the excellent selection of "Vintage Ales".

The food offerings have expanded, and the bar menu now offers a lot of variety and value. It's funny how many home brewers and pro brewers like to hang out here (and entirely understandable too).




Updated 9/10/04--

The General Lafayette (along with Victory Brewing in Downingtown) is in my humble opinion one of the two most enjoyable brewpubs in the Philly area, and I'm in there at least once a week. (Unlike Monks, they have a happy hour, and I can actually afford to be a regular there.) About half of one of their bars (they have two bars) was just made smoke-free til 10:00 pm. Oktoberfest is back (really good--it lasted about two weeks last year, so this year they're making extra.) They suprised me yesterday by serving chocolate cake for dessert (my favorite beer treat--chocolate cake with a complementing porter or stout). Couldn't have asked for more, and felt like the management was reading my mind.

The General consistantly has four or five remarkable beers on tap, and a capable and professional chef who put together an interesting menu with some good deals. The weekend brunches are excellent, the prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is wonderful. The General has actually gotten better over time.

Previous review--

The General Lafayette seems to have streamlined it's menu of late, and has started offering lower-cost entrees. (Dinner for two with beers came to $32.)

Sadly, Michael McGlynn, who opened the brewpub in 1996, passed away in July, however brewermaster Chris Leonard had already taken on a more expanded role in running the establishment. It was nice to see that the quality of the beer is as good as ever, and the menu has becomre more affordable.

sparkydoyle, May 08, 2006
Photo of woodychandler
5/5  rDev +20.2%

I was recently telling BlitheringIdiot of the jealousy that visiting Californians have expressed upon entering the Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh, since they have nothing comparable on the Left Coast.

Hey, Ev, here's another place to get their panties in a bunch! I get here a lot less often than I would like, but perhaps more often than they would like, but it tends to make each visit that much more memorable. My latest was the occasion of their Comfort Foods Dinner with the previous coming during the 2005 PHL BA Rally.

If you are coming here, do NOT approach from the east! You will be robbed of one of the most stunning visuals ever. You really need to experience the visual of rounding the bend on Germantown Pike, shortly after crossing the Montgomery County line, and having the building's glass facade with the brewhouse visible in the window (!) greet you. Fear not, you Speedy Gonzalezes in the crowd, because even if you come around the bend too quickly to really allow it to sink in, then once you make the left to get into the parking lot, walk back to the southeast corner, camera in hand, and take your time. It is understood.

Returning to the parking lot, the entrance is under a green canvas canopy with crossed US and French flags emblazoned on it in commemoration of the Revolutionary War. Historians, take note: this place dates back to 1732 and was a waystation during the Battle of Germantown. Left Coasters, eat your hearts out.

As you enter through the front door, you pass through a short vestibule and into a carpeted area with two frosted glass doors on your right. The maitre d' station is off to the left, just above a short flight of stairs to the right of the station. Going down these steps puts you in their restaurant area, which is absolutely gorgeous. There is a short series of tables with booth-style seats on one side with the majority of the space dedicated to tables and chairs. All of the way aft are a pair of double doors that open onto an open-air patio, which is where they hold their homebrew club meetings. The one wall is wood witha built-in working fireplace. There are red velvet curtains over many of the windows, each decorated with a portrait of a Native American. The exposed wood beams, soft lighting, and iron candlesticks above the fireplace lend a unique ambiance.

Returning to the front, those frosted glass doors hide a billiards room that is accessible down a short set of steps into the bar area and then a button-hook right turn to go in. One pool table, one rotating electronic video game, and a couple of television monitors are what this area has to offer.

The bar is an oval, divided at either end by a short wall. At the front end is the plexiglass window overlooking the brewhouse, and on the other side of the bar, moving from left to right on your radio dial, are a window constructed of several panes of 3/8" glass mounted in the floor looking onto the chill box beneath; a pair of wine cabinets with vintage Squires & Sons padlocks that Gunner's Mate Johnny Ray Logsdon would drool over; a four-person booth; another working fireplace, above which are two working vintage muskets; and more colonial-themed artwork.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the owner and his wife, Chris (Hackleo) and Kristin Leonard, whose hospitality and patience with yours truly is always appreciated. I look forward to the upcoming barleywine tasting to be held on the same day as my 41st birthday. See you then!

woodychandler, Jan 19, 2006
Photo of GnomeKing
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

Hint: If you want to try several beers on a single visit (and you do, don't you?) ask for beers in 10oz or 14oz servings. They're available for almost every beer, but it's not something that's publicized much.

This is an old wooden country house that has two sections: If you want the elegant, country house atmosphere, ask for a table in the dining area. If you want a hipper, casual, and more upbeat atmosphere, sit in the bar area.

The beers range from good (Sunset Red and Alt, Who Goes There!) to great (Germantown Blonde, Framboise) to knockouts (Double Thunder, Bavarian Hefeweizen). I recommend the seasonals over the signature beers, although the always-on-tap Germantown Blonde is a standout. If brewing a light-colored, low-ABV, very drinkable beer is the truest test of a brewer's raw skills, then Germantown Blonde passes with flying colors. What's really admirable about the place is how experimental and diverse their choices of beers to brew are. While some brewpubs stick to a relatively stable line up of beers and/or brew mostly in common styles, General Lafayette is always throwing customers curveballs...new styles, new variations on styles they've tried before, interesting seasonals--you don't know what to expect. If you ask the bartender, you'll get a list of vintage bottles of choice brews not currently on tap. With the rapid rotation of beers, the variety of styles available, and the vintage bottle list, the selection gets a 4.5. It's something you appreciate the more you come here. (On some nights the selection is not as impressive as others.)

The service is usually good, friendly, and informative. Some more consistency here would be nice.

I really like their soups, and the other meals I've had have been good (but not great). I now live in the neighborhood, so there are so many other menu choices for me to try. (Update: the jumbo roasted wings are really nice. The seasoning, while nice, isn't a traditional hot wing sauce, but I think they have hot wings as a separate menu item. Ask your server before ordering.)

Minor nitpicks: They stop serving food fairly early at night. I'm not sure when, but I've tried ordering shortly after 10pm and couldn't even get an appetizer. I had to pay a $1 cover the other night because they had a singer/guitarist. There usually isn't a cover, so it's not generally an issue, but it annoyed me. They could always put that guy in a separate room, and only charge a cover if you wanted to hear the music.

GnomeKing, Jan 15, 2006
Photo of DunkelFester
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

New Year's Eve 2005

Walking into the main dining room at the General Lafayette on a chilly winter's evening is like slipping under pre-warmed silk sheets heated old-world style by warm iron.

The massive fireplace pumped out ample heat to take the chill from one's bones, and the softly lit Colonial space is, at once, both spacious and cozy.

It's more 'fine dining' than 'family friendly', but this suited the occassion perfectly.

The food was deftly prepared, and the use of beer in cooking was great - the blood orange and stout reduction atop my pork porterhouse was outstanding!

Service was simply fantastic from beginning to end. Our waitress was always attentive yet never intrusive (despite dividing her time between the dining room and the bar).

Selection was good - something for everyone. The beer selection was nice, and each of the 6 house-brewed beers in my sampler was tasty in its own right. The standout for me was the excellent cask-conditioned Pacific Pale Ale - just a beautifully balanced, quaffable brew that bursted at the seems with juicy citrus hop aromas and flavors. There's a seperate menu of bottled Vintage Ales available upon request.

Our tab for the evening including the following:

2 appetizers, 1 caeser salad, 3 french onion soups, 2 1/2 lb beef tenderloin filets and 2 pork porterhouse chops, 4 desserts, 2 cocktails, 2 sampler rounds, 5 or 6 true pints, and a bomber of Vintage Emperor's New Clothes (+ tax and tip in excess of 20%) came to almost exactly $300.

$75/head for top-notch food and drink (including a complimentary champagne toast at midnight) seems perfectly reasonable in my book!

I'll certainly be back again. And again. And...

One tiny nit I'd pick on my next visit, though, is the tulip glasses provided with our vintage ale. Mine reeked of stale smoke. The glasses hang above the bar and, presumably, weren't rinsed prior to use. If it weren't near closing, I would have sent it back and requested a new glass and bottle.

This aside, everyone had an excellent time.

DunkelFester, Jan 03, 2006
Photo of Nutleybeer
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

We decided to take a day trip from NJ out to the Philly area. General Lafayette was one of our main reasons for going. It certainly didn't disappoint. The location is only about 15 minutes outside Center City. While situated on the main strip of town, once inside this historic site, you feel like you are thrown back to the 1700s. The smells of a burning fireplace filled the room as we walked in.

There are 2 bar areas...I am not sure if 1 is non smoking or not. 1 of them was filled with smoke, the other was not, so we went there. We only ate appetizers: calimari and mozarella sticks. Both were good, but hardly enough to write a food review about.

They had a nice, extensive selection of beers on tap. The selections truly varied, like a good brewpub should, from a golden ale to a porter. They had a flavorful doppelbock on tap called the "Intimidator". 2 versions of their red ale. A raspberry mead ale (when is the last time you saw that at a brewpub?). And even a framboise.

The fellow patrons were nice. We spoke about our beer travels. It turned out to be a real nice experience. Next time, maybe we will stay for dinner too!

Nutleybeer, Dec 31, 2005
Photo of ithacabaron
4.2/5  rDev +1%

The General has continually improved over the last few years. Everytime I go, I realize how much I enjoy it, and ask myself why I don't go more often. So recently, I have been.

Only about two miles from where I work, it's a great little bar in a converted farmhouse, complete with a small, split, somewhat cramped bar, a pool room to the side, and dark wood everywhere. Besides the distracting and out-of-place neon blue strip above the bar, this place just oozes cozyness. Without a doubt, this is a real wintertime bar, the place to hole up for a few hours.

Everything is served at the correct temperature, and pours were generous, with full nonic pints of almost every brew being filled.

Service is pretty good, and has gotten much better. Servers are knowledgeable about what they're pouring, and just attentive enough. Sometimes it's hard to get another pint, but that's part of the pace of this place.

As for selection, some people say that Chris is scared of hops -- and those people can mind their own damn business. Faithful, loving renditions of English styles abound here, with the occasional Belgian experiment and a German brew or two. Usually there are 10 beers on tap, and two of them will be cask-conditioned. There are also vintaged bottled offerings served in 22oz. bottles and highly recommended. You'll have to ask for the vintage beer menu...otherwise, you'll never know that it's there.

***CASK-GEEK ALERT***: The Sunset Red, on the handpump, is the best cask-conditioned beer you'll find in the Philadelphia area -- and for a city that wholeheartedly supports real ale, that is no small accomplishment.

Food is pretty good, and you'll pay for the quality you get. The meat, fruit and cheese plate is a decent choice for sharing, but isn't all artisanally and schtuff, so don't get your hopes up too high.

All in all, the check is always a bit high at the end of the night, averaging about 5.50 per draft pint, and 12 dollars for a 22 oz. 2004 vintaged bottle. Just a bit on the high side, but hey -- I can appreciate that bills have to be paid. Additionally, growler prices are very steep, and they insist on only filling their own growlers -- which cost you another arm and a leg, by the way. It's worth the indulgence, however. Go with someone who can drive you, soak in the place for an evening, and don't look at the bill when you give them your credit card. Okay?

All in all, a fine establishment, and one that remains near and dear to me, for several reasons. Perhaps the best place to have a pint in Philly. Perhaps.

***
Why To Make The Scene: Didn't you read above? THE best cask beer in the city. Period. What else do you need?

ithacabaron, Nov 23, 2005
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.2/5  rDev +1%

the final stop (not counting pee stops or toll booths) on my 2005 pennsylvania brew vacation. and what a stop it was. big ups to venom for the recommendation on this suburban gem.

first off, this place looks nothing like the BA picture during the day. i drove right past it. its at a big three way intersection and the sign is small so squint hard. it is a big, olde-time house with that civil war era feel to it. place is broken up into several rooms, and the rooms that make up the bar area are very moody and gothic with history and dark wood highlights. the bar is split between two rooms.. one smaller room with no tv's and about 8 seats. the other is more of a lively bar.. 15 seats and tv's, some tables and an adjoining game room with pool and arcade game. in the smaller bar area, you have a see-thru floor section to get a look at the fermenters.. also there are some tanks behind glass here. lots of country kitchen stuff on the wall.

bartenders were all mid-20's cute townie girls who weren't quite beer-savvy but also not beer-retarded. they knew enough to not screw up any of my orders and were friendly, especially to the depressing looking regulars. the customers there with the exception of ourselves and one other couple were very annoying. this place is very family oriented and draws teenagers and kids into the bar area, with tv's and video game close by. a group of 18 year olds took a table behind me in the bar area so they could smoke.. ordering pepsi's and fries. for this, atmosphere suffers a bit.

we ordered a few dishes here. $12 charcuterie plate was overpriced and offered mild enjoyment.. wasn't the best cured meat.. 2 selections which both seemed like hickory farms. cheese all tasted the same, from a mild cheddar variety. the grilled cheese (which i ordered with bacon) was fabulous on the other hand, showcasing tasty whole grain bread and crisp, fresh bacon. fries also decent but somewhat soggy. i left most of them. allie's french onion soup was a nice balance of sweet onion and salty broth.

HOWEVER... we're not here for the onion soup. here for the beer, which was the best brewpub beer of the entire trip. weizenbock which knocked moonglow into orbit.. framboise lambic with perfect balance, a nice estery and mildly sweet counterbalance to the sour peche from bethelhem. double thunder is a chocolatey porter dream and the raspberry mead was dangerously drinkable pushing 10%. i was planning to stay here all day, but the dangerous drinkabilites of the beers plus the fact that half of them were over 9% made an early day of it.

you can bet a growler came home with me, and you can bet ill be back here.

goodbyeohio, Oct 25, 2005
General Lafayette Inn & Brewery in Lafayette Hill, PA
93 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.