General Lafayette Inn & Brewery
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Ratings: 68 | Reviews: 68
4.45/5 rDev +7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
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.
05-09-2005 02:50:11 | More by slander
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
4.5/5 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
4.13/5 rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
The General Lafayette Inn & Brewery has had a slightly rocky history in it's short years. I remember really enjoyable nights listening to the Greatful Dead, playing pool or darts, and enjoying a myriad of different style beers in my mug club stein from brewer Owen Hutchins. But there's no more "Dead nights", and there's no more Owen, and the beers aren't the same "free form" expressions of malt and hops that they used to be, but... they're all really pretty good! The bar itself is very small, but the crowd usually isn't too big either. Brewer Chris Leonard is producing some really nice beers, particularily his "Over The Hop IPA" and the "Alt, who goes there?" But the seasonals change like the wind and they usually offer something especially nice. The restaurant almost operates as a seperate entity, and I'd recommend it, but it is a bit pricey. I generally just have something from the bar menu. The food is good. The beers are better. An excellent place to hang out for an afternoon away from work, or to spend a laid back night out. And if you're coming in from out of town, they have a B&B as well.
07-18-2002 19:34:43 | More by NeroFiddled
3.51/5 rDev -15.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Not many taps, and a smoking and non-smoking side. Most of the action was on the former, and they seemed challenged and testy in serving a moderate volume of clients. The inside has an interesting unique history, but you have to research it elsewhere. Some high A.B.V. selections, and several written warnings not to overdo it, maximum 3 points of these. A long drive, but not a complicated one, to a deep suburb in Philadelphia, which we did not mind on a beautiful night. Lots of free parking out here.
05-12-2005 22:01:15 | More by Sammy
4.28/5 rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
Just off the Norristown exit of the PA Turnpike, very easy to find. Got stuck in Friday afternoon school bus traffic from the local school, so the getting there was a little slower than normal. Keep an eye out as it is located on a sharp turn and may be easily missed.
The building is an old house, and when you walk in you enter a foyer and then step down to the double bar. One in two different rooms, but bartenders have easy access to both with a doorway in the middle of the wall. Nice plexiglass cutout on the floor to let you look into the brewing room below. One bar has a view of more brewing equipment. Several TVs and music played at a comfortable level. There is a seperate dining room just off one bar. There is a pool table and darts in another room.
The beer selection was very nice, as they had a wide variety of styles available to satisfy all tastes: pale ale, red, weizen, bock, oatmeal stout, strong scoth ale, a mead, and a blonde. Quality of the beers was good, and the food was OK as we had a few appetizers and a onion soup. The bartender understood the selections and was friendly, almost a little over talkative.
There is a B&B just behind the brewpub too. Room rates looked reasonable for the area ($109 - $159). This is a must visit for anyone in the area.
10-21-2004 12:44:28 | More by Gavage
4.18/5 rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$
General Lafayatte was the final stop of my short business trip to Pennsylvania that got me to Stoudt's, ABC Harrisburg, and Victory. I decided to stay at General Lafayatte because I had meeting in Villanova the next morning and it seemed reasonably close. My rating is based on beer, food, and atmosphere of the bar. I would not recommend staying at the Inn. I spent $190 and felt totally ripped off by the experience. I'm not big into antiques to begin with but this place is more of a dump than a historical shrine. It was dirty, lacked attention to detail (especially on the exterior), and lacked the updates that a room for $190 a night should garner. With that being said, I found the pub to be an enjoyable experience. I had their pacific pale, winter, IPA, and porter and they were all very enjoyable. I had a chicken cheese steak sandwhich for dinner and it was remarkably good. There was a big ice storm the night I was there so it was a good thing I could walk across the parking lot to my overpriced "room." There were only a couple of people in the bar but I could see how it could get very smoky when crowded. I endorse the beer and food aspect but would advise against staying there unless you really like historic charm and are not used to staying at business-class hotels.
02-14-2008 04:11:31 | More by Yetiman420
3.63/5 rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
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.
08-20-2006 21:31:31 | More by akorsak
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
4.7/5 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
General Lafayette Inn & Brewery in Lafayette Hill, PA
93 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.