General Lafayette Inn & Brewery
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Ratings: 68 | Reviews: 68
5/5 rDev +20.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
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!
01-19-2006 23:28:19 | More by woodychandler
4.85/5 rDev +16.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
A must go for beer lovers in the Philly area. This place just rocks.
The beers are excellent. I am still shaking over the alt that I had here the other night. Exceptional. All the beers are top notch. The selection is great -- about 10 styles of beer -- and at least one (sometimes two) are cask conditioned.
The service is very good -- I gave it an extra bump up . . . because the bartenders/waitresses are pretty attractive and there is no category for this.
Shouldn't there be a category for this?
Anyway, the food is solid -- very solid. I have not had a bad meal yet --- but would like some bread other than corn bread to dip into my mussels.
Anyway, the one negative is that the bar gets a little to smoky and a little loud with live music.
10-17-2005 05:40:18 | More by dansteino
4.75/5 rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
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).
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.
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.
05-08-2006 16:36:07 | More by sparkydoyle
4.7/5 rDev +13%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
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.
01-06-2008 07:44:01 | More by RblWthACoz
4.6/5 rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
One of my all time favorites... I used to spend massive amounts of time at this fine establishment, but now that I'm a tad older, I don't get there as much as I would like. Both the bar and restaurant food are great. The historic and quaint setting is terrific. The quality of brews (especially the Matrimonial Ale, Sunset Red, and Chocolate Thunder Porter) are excellent. Usually it's not that crowded and the service is typically above average... I wish I got there 1/10th as much as I used to, which would be close to 100% increase over how often I get there now...
07-29-2008 20:05:17 | More by philbe311
4.59/5 rDev +10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
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 McGlynns 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.
01-30-2007 02:44:06 | More by Phatz
4.53/5 rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Wanna know what's funny about reviewing brewpubs? I always think what it would be like if the brewpub I am reviewing were near my hometown. Well, The General Lafayette Inn IS my local brewpub. So now I need to review it.
First and foremost this colonial style 18th century style makes me feel like George Washington is going to walk in the door at any minute. When you think General, think wood. Everything is wood in this place. The inner circle bar is divided by two rooms. When you walk in, you're better off trying to to make a right and hang on the bar side instead of the restaurant side. The waitstaff spends more time on that half. Bonus points to GLI for the always up-to-date beer chalkboard across from the bar on the brick wall. The year round beers are on the left and the seasonals are on the right. There is also another chalk board to the right that tells you what beers are on the two handpumps. Usually, Pacific Pale is one of them, and the other can be anything from a stout to a braggot.
Other ameneties include a back room with darts and a pool table. Bonus points for The General go to support of local home brew clubs and even beer tasting events. Usually, a chacuterie platter is available for the beer geeks.
Count on good bartending and beer knowledgeable staff. My only gripe about the General is that there are never enough seats despite the huge size of the building, the bar is sorta crowded.
Beer selection rotates often enough that things stay interesting. Lately the Phantom barley wine has been the absolute BEST ever at the General and the Weinstephaner is amazing.
There is a high end restaurant (y'know with wine and big menus and stuff) and then there is the pub grub menu. Too bad that they 86'ed the salmon sandwich, but there is always good pub grub til late hours. Oh, by the way you can always rent a room or a back house for special occasions.
Finally, the General definitely passes the "Could you bring your Mom here?" test. My Ma loves this joint. See ya there!
08-09-2005 02:25:46 | More by blitheringidiot
4.5/5 rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
General Lafayette Inn & Brewery is located in a nice little suburb of Philadelphia. The atmosphere is absoluteley wonderful. This old 18th century Inn has been converted into an absolutely gorgeous little bar. As you walk in from outside there is a small vestibule which leads to a small "loungy" sort of room with two rest rooms and some big chairs. There is a door to the right but it was closed on my last visit. After you go down a step or two you are at a small bar, and on the other side of this bar is another, larger, "main?" bar. The rooms of this place are all old, with dark wood, and some perioid looking furniture as well. The quality and freshness of the beers on tap is excellent and the bartenders are pleasant and fast as well. The food we had (hummus plate) was excellent, and the portion was just right for the price. The selection of brews here is absolutely awesome. four year round brews, two cask conditioned brews, and 5 or 6 seasonals. We tried 12 brews here between the two of us, and there was really not a stinker in the lot. The quality and consistency of this brewpub is simply amazing, and I will definately be back in a few weeks to sample some more of their fine wares. Oh, and I stronlgy recommend the raspberry mead. At 9.6%ABV they will only sell you 3 glasses of it in a night, but you may just want a fourth!
11-01-2004 18:51:18 | More by francisweizen
4.5/5 rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
After a few brews at the excellent new Sly Fox in Royersford, we headed out to the much anticipated General Lafayette, and it proved to be everything that I had read about.
Visually appealing from the outside, the Georgian era exterior holds a white painted double-deck frontage. Shuttered windows on the first floor look out over an L-shaped trailing roof that covers the ground floor. A third floor of windows is set into a high banked tiled roof. The Brewery is clearly visible from the Germantown Pike roadside, for it sits inside and underneath the ground floor roofed frontage behind a bank of windows. We parked in the lot at the side of the General and entered through the door located here.
Greeted by an aged smell that reeked of old father time, the interior is a lovely surprise. As Im from the UK, Im very familiar with buildings and pubs some 200, 300 and 400+ years old, and this Inn has that smell, the sort of odor that you never get in even the best reproduction copy, thankfully. As we worked our way inside, past alcoves and dining rooms on the left, the low deck ceiling and creaky feel had me feeling at home long before we took a short right into a long thin room which housed the Bar area. As I stood looking down the Bar from the end, I noted a bank of two Angrams at the end of the Bar, a perfect place to sit I suggested to my drinking companion Ericaweizen, and soon enough we were sat on the two stools here. From here, to our right, the Brewery is visible through interior windows, as indeed was the traffic on Germantown Pike through the exterior ones; both sets of windows being a muted source of light in the darkened den-like interior. The wooden floor, bare brick and stone walls, crooked fittings and dark décor was the real deal, well worn by time and as warm as the two fireplaces that bookmark the ends of the Bar area. Small TVs were showing the violent Australian Rules Footy, La Crosse and ..oh my .England versus USA at Soccer .needless to say we got our own back and the Colonials kicked domestic ass in that encounter!
Regular Beers on Tap;
Raspberry Mead Ale
Sunset Red Ale
Pacific Pale Ale
Brewmaster Specials were;
Canseco Pale Ale
John Doe Oat Stout
The Phantom Barleywine
The Emperors New Clothes
Served from a selection of nine tightly packed taps, even though we sat right in front of the brace of Angram Beer Engines, I never elected to go for any of the Cask brews, mainly in part because I am often disappointed with the flat/low conditioning in the US, not that that was the case here, but as I had not yet tried any of the Lafayette brews, I wanted to try the brews from the taps first. I will most certainly be hitting the Cask Ales the next time Im here though.
The Blonde was a solid Kölsch, the Pacific Pale Ale was a dry tasty and mildly hoppy treat, the Canseco Pale Ale is split at the bright tank, with one line of the Pale Ale sent to the GL secret, "super duper hops infuser" - a very nice treat. I tried the Matrimoniale, described in the listing as similar to a Belgian Saison, well not any that I have tried, it was more like a damn tasty luscious Wit, lovely regardless of its tag. However, I have to say that the stand-outs from the crowd were the creamy John Doe Oat Stout on Nitro and the simply outstanding Phantom Barleywine, utterly fantastic. I could have gone for a Growler of the latter but it was simply too pricey in the end when I did the Math. Service was very friendly and attentive - just right.
Superb building, excellent location, friendly feel, nice staff and great brews. I really like the fact that this is one BrewPub that avoids the strongest/biggest/hoppiest temptation to retain a solid portfolio of high quality well-balanced brews. All this and in a Pub just barely 200 years old ;-)
A Big Thanks to the PA General, Major Ericaweizen for the ride out here.
Last Visit: Saturday 28th May, 2005.
06-05-2005 01:57:48 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.47/5 rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
We went there for lunch and were very impress with this old time bar place. Service was very good and tap selection was very good, had their brew and it was B and above). We had lunch (turkey chili and chicken cheese steak) and played some pool. Check the place out and you should agree we us as we loved it!. We will come again. You should too!!! Saturday afternoon looks like a good time for first timers.
This place also has an inn to stay over (if you had too may drinks or in town). There is a story that there are scary thing happing in the place.
11-30-2008 23:47:43 | More by cartagena
General Lafayette Inn & Brewery in Lafayette Hill, PA
93 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.