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General Lafayette Inn & Brewery

General Lafayette Inn & BreweryGeneral Lafayette Inn & Brewery

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 //

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

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 68 | Reviews: 68 | Display Reviews Only:
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 dansteino
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%

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.


dansteino, Oct 17, 2005
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 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 philbe311
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%

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...

philbe311, Jul 29, 2008
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.

Phatz, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%

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!

blitheringidiot, Aug 09, 2005
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

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 I’m from the UK, I’m 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 TV’s 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;

• Germantown Blonde
• Raspberry Mead Ale
• Sunset Red Ale
• Pacific Pale Ale

Brewmaster Specials were;

• Canseco Pale Ale
• John Doe Oat Stout
• The Phantom Barleywine
• The Emperor’s New Clothes
• Matrimoniale

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 I’m 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 it’s 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.

Extremely....Highly Recommended.

Last Visit: Saturday 28th May, 2005.

TheLongBeachBum, Jun 05, 2005
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

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!

francisweizen, Nov 01, 2004
Photo of cartagena
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%

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.

cartagena, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of slander
4.45/5  rDev +7%

The lunch specials I do near-daily come with a choice of soup (Egg Drop, Hot & Sour, or Wonton) or an eggroll, and of course Pork Fried Rice (PFR) or steamed rice. Entreewise, I like to mix it up some. Sometimes I play the Kung Po game, maybe beef & broccoli, roast pork chow fun, but mostly I'm all about the General Lafayette's Chicken. I like that whole spicy brown sauce thing. Most places spell it funny on the menu like "Tso", but it's actually pronounced "Lah-fee-eht". Anyway, I was all psyched when I found out that we were hitting the place where they invented General Lafayette's Chicken on the Philly crawl Saturday...
It's like a large old home done up, brewpub. Entering through a foyer, you can see the main dining areas off to the left and the bar straight ahead. Actually, it's like a "not the bar", a small piece where "on deck diners" would reasonably be awaiting their tables, clearly visible and easy to be found. The real deal is a room behind the bar. It's a small room with green walls and the length wall all brick with glass windows looking in on a room with fermenters. Fireplaces at both ends, little lamps on the walls, old wooden beams overhead, drop spot lighting over the "L" shaped wood bar with seating for about 15 and a handful of adjacent tables. TV's above the bar in the corners, and hanging ceramic mug club mugs suspended above. Pictures of General Lafayette and a flag adorn the walls. It's a good comfortable room (except for that strange completely out of place strip of blue neon lighting that runs overhead). Wandered off for a bit and found some of the BA's in a small gaming room off the front with a pool table and Phil's golf game.
4 signature beers (Blonde, Raspberry Mead Ale, Red Ale, American Pale Ale), a bunch of brewmaster specialties (Imperial Stout, IPA, Belgian Amber, Dubbel), and a pair of casks (IPA & Braggot). Additionally, they do a black & tan called the Red Velvet which is a mix of their Impy & Red Ale.
I opted for the sampler of six in a wooden rack with a handle and got seven (Yay!!!) and got to pick 'em, too. The Raspberry Mead Ale was sweet but then medicinally raspberryish on the end, still very interesting, the Pacific Pale Ale was pleasant enough, although nowhere near as hoppy as the When In Doubt IPA (and the cask version was also mighty fine), the Grim Reaper Imperial Stout was all licorice (I have never had a beer so licorice, very well done), the Marquis De Lafayette, a Belgian Amber had good banana and fruit, and the Le Tete Fontaine, the Dubbel, well, my notes read "Fuck, that's nice and deep, plummy and fruity", so there you go.
Pope & Cheese ordered up some apps. Service was spot on with their food and my sampler, really. The place was kind of jammed with the crowd we were but waiter man dealt well. They make some really nice damn beers. I'm sorry we didn't get more time here, but I'll remedy that, believe you me.

slander, May 09, 2005
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 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 gixxerman
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

This place is 270 years old, I was sitting at the bar wondering who might have been here. I bet a few of the people who signed our Declaration of Independence had to have passed through this place....and it is haunted, how cool is that!

A few Chocolate Thunders, how could I resist, they were great.

Oh, and they are officially going NONSMOKING starting on September 2, 2008. Even though I didn't experience it, others have noted this place could get quite smokey, no longer an issue.

The only disappointment was the lack of paranormal activity I encountered, maybe I should have stayed the night.

This is a great historic place I hope it sticks around for another 270 years.

gixxerman, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

Why haven't I gone here until now? I'm not sure, but, Lord willing, this will not be the last time. I stuck the bar area mainly, but I must say that although some of the building is under construction, it has a very nice atmosphere. Not unlike the Standard Tap, the brewery is situated in a nice, old building. A lot of character.

The selection was pretty decent. An excellent porter. Two winter warmers. A rasberry mead. If you have a mead, you get an automatic bump in your selection rating. A nice British-style ale was also present, which was a very good session brew. They had a few more things, but memory isn't serving me well right now.

The only negative I had was with the service. And the service wasn't bad at all. I had a hard time getting the barkeep's attention to put in my food order. But he was busy and I wasn't assertive. As far as service is concerned, I would like to mention that the owner/brewmaster gave us two bottles of beer for free for all of us BAs to share. Their barleywine was fruity, assertive, yet mellow. Thanks so much. Their imperial stout was pretty solid. Thanks! It pays to be a BA. I guess it also doesn't hurt to be noticed by BAs as well.

The food was excellent. A cured meat and cheese dish others had looked scrumptious. My bbq quesadilla had ample amounts of guacemole and sour creame. My cheese fries came with real provolone. I was a big fan.

I'm not sure if this brewpub is underrated so much as not visited enough. Very high quality with both their beers and with their food. Everything a brewpub should be. I look forward to trying their restaraunt section.

GeoffFromSJ, Dec 28, 2004
Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

The atmosphere was so rustic, I half expected to see a historical monument that "General Lafayette Slept Here," or at least stopped for an Ale. Maybe he did...

Looked like an old cottage that's been hollowed out, 360 oval bar in what was probably the front room or parlor, a billiard room off to the side, and two large dining rooms (one with a Citizen Kane-level fireplace) in what was probably the rest of the house. Small brewing operation is visible from the road in an atrium-greenhouse area. All very cozy. About the only thing that looks out of place is the 80s stripe of blue neon above the bar.

Beers were excellent, I wish I had time for more than one (Russian Imperial) but it was a beer crawl (via bus) and time was of the essence. Had a sip of the lambic-like Raspberry mead, I should have taken some of that with me...

Food was especially good (you cannot resist the spring roll appetizer), better than average bar fare. Service was especially good, we were a scheduled party of 20 but our waiter pulled out all the stops, was extra attentive and lighting-fast, and liberal with the water. My only complaint was the tiny 2-toilet men's room. I thought I was going to lose my kidneys waiting in line.

I will certainly make an effort to visit this place again, on my next trip to Philly!

PopeJonPaul, Apr 14, 2005
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 fuchebu
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%

General Lafayette Inn is a great brewpub in the Philly suburbs. It is an 18th Century building with much history. When they first opened, I was unimpressed with their beers but that has changed in the last few years. Somewhere along the line, they got very good at brewing. They brew a wide range of beers from pilsners to Imperial Stouts to barley wines and even mead ales.

My last visit came after a Revolutionary War re-enactment so I was drinking with people in 18th Century garb. I had their raspberry mead ale which registered 9.6% abv and had a dry, fruity flavor. I also indulged in their Shut eye Stout and Loch Ness Scotch Ale. Both were very good beers and over 8.5%. The stout had a rich, creamy character. The Scotch ale struck a nice smoky chord.

This is a very comfortable brewpub. It is a lovely building with a fireplace. The historic aesthetics add to the experience. It's a must stop for brewpub crawlers in the Philly area.

fuchebu, Nov 02, 2003
Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

My second visit to this establishment, and the first in maybe 7 or 8 years. Nice way to cap off a visit to the Beer Yard. This is a fun, old-style building with an 18th century sort of feel to it. The bar has two halves, separating a more noisy "nightlife" side from a quieter "wait for dinner" side. There is plenty of wood throughout for a cozy sort of feel. There are clear plexyglass panes in the floor to see into the basement, for an added effect. Nice selection of brews provide plenty of choice. They also make the big beers for those who want something to chew on, such as Barleywine (11.1%) and Imperial Porter (9%). Food is OK, with pub grub or fancy american fare for dinner. Well worth the visit, especially if you are in search of more assertive brews.

vladtheimpaler, Apr 19, 2004
Photo of weeare138
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

The atmosphere is very dim and lowly lit but comforting. You walk into the old building, which immediately starts to show it's age by the architecture and structural patterns. There is a nice, small side bar down the front steps and a medium sized bar to the right. The smoke can get to be a drag at times but sometimes it's not that bad. Depending upon when you go, you could end up smelling like an ashtray when you leave, or feeling as fresh as you did when you walked in. Other than that, many locals enjoy this brew pub. The mug club members are always around having a good time. The larger dining room is a comforting and subtle place to have dinner with loved ones and experience upscale dining that is sure to please.
The quality of both the food and beer has always been superb. The menu has items from sandwiches, to salads, to fish, chicken, and steak. A decent array, all aranged and served on pewter (or pewter-esque) for an authentic old style dining experience. Beers are always fresh and well maintained.
Service is sometimes suspect and sometimes good, which makes me split the line with this. Bartenders try to be attentive and wait staff is usually decent. There was an issue the last time I was in with the bartender being a bit confused about what I asked for and myself being confused at what he was telling me. I asked for an '02 vintage 22 oz. bottle of Imperial Stout. He brought out a 12 oz. bottle of the '04 and told me that's the best he could do, as they seemed to have sold out of the '02's. He was about to crack it open when I stopped him and asked how much this would cost. He said, it would be $12, which was the cost of the 22 oz '04. I pointed that out to him and he said that he wasn't supposed to be selling the 12 oz one anyway. I then asked if I could just get it to go, as I was pretty confused now. He replied by telling me that due to labeling issues, he couldn't give it to me to go. He also told me that it said it clear in the vintage menu but he couldn't find where it said it anywhere in there when questioned. Obviously annoyed at this point, he simply said that he didn't have to sell me anything to which I replied, "sounds like a good idea...check please."
Selection of the beers is always great. Chris always has his 4 standby's up, as well as 5 rotating specials. There's usually 2 on cask too. And there's never a dud in the bunch.
Food is always good and well prepared. Also, check out the Sunday brunch, it's one of the better ones around. Some of the best eggs benedict you'll ever have.
Prices are not cheap by any means. House brews usually run about $5/pint and the food is always a tad on the pricey side. Growlers can get to be a bit ridiculous at times but I guess I can understand. I believe I was quoted from the bartender around a month ago for a growler of the Framboise to be around $54. Holy smokes!
Overall though, this is a great place to go. You know that you're going to have a great beer, or two, or three!
[Updated 8/17 - new service rating. Was:3, now:3.5
I went in yesterday and received some of the best service I've ever had since going to the General. Friendly and prompt service made me feel like I was a welcomed guest.]

weeare138, Aug 01, 2005
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 rdrummer
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

The General Lafayette Inn is an old 1730s Inn that has been completely renovated inside, but left to look like the original inside and out. There are obvious modernizations such as the shiny new brewery equipment on display on the other side of the glass in one of the back to back bars, but the large fireplaces in the pool room and in the cozy dining room are authentic.

The bars are unique in that the back bars abut a wall that has a cutout so that a bartender can walk through to tend either bar. There is a nitro system in place for the eight or nine beers brewed on premises, plus a two pump beer engine that delives some superb brew. There are four banks of taps so the bartender doesn't have to walk far to pour a beer.

I visited for a Saturday lunch, and there was little other business so I had almost perfect service. The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable about both the beer and the food. Samples are encouraged so that you get a pint that you like. There is also a six beer sample for only $5.00 that is a bargain. I started with the ESB on the beer engine. It was the perfect temperature, about 52-55 degrees, and a very representative example of the style. It was extremely flavorful. The Oatmeal Stout was also excellent with some strong caramel, malt, and a little chocolate in the taste. My wife liked the German blonde but I thought it was a little weak. I also thought that the Brown Ale was not memorable. The Pacific Pale Ale was outstanding. It was a bartender recommendation that I sampled and then couldn't resist ordering. The other beers of the day were red ale, a Bock, a Pilsner, and a Raspberry Mead that the locals were drinking as a spritzer. It was about 9.8 percent so I think they must have been driving.

The food was good. I had a nice escarole soup that was definitely homemade but a little thin. The spring rolls and dipping sauces were great. My wife got a pate, cheese, fruit, and breads platter that was huge so I got to help her finish it. It was also good.

Others in the bar got Philly cheesesteaks, which smelled great and a Mexican tortilla concoction that sounded good, but this is definitely not a Mexican place. The restaurant also has fish, seafood, burgers, and at least one beef entree. The crab cakes looked huge and like they were all crab.

The best thing I can say about the Inn is that I will definitely be back.

rdrummer, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of DIM
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

First of all, they were willing to fill my foreign growler. Big points for that.

This place just feels old. Plenty of wood, a sprawling, almost random floorplan, and the ghosts of course. I went first to the bar which is divided between two seperate rooms. I ordered a Mirage and watched the Red Sox give up some early runs while I waited for my friend.

We were the first to be seated, but they did get pretty busy for a monday. Our waitress was fantastic. She brought us some free "short fills", improperly filled bottles, of the Abbey Brune. We both just had sandwiches, passing on some of the more interesting dinner options. I closed out the evening with the Framboises which was a very pleasant surprise.

Overall, this is a place I definitely intend to visit again.

DIM, Oct 17, 2008
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 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
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General Lafayette Inn & Brewery in Lafayette Hill, PA
93 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.