Union Barrel Works

Union Barrel WorksUnion Barrel Works
Union Barrel WorksUnion Barrel Works
Brewery, Eatery, Beer-to-go

6 N Reamstown Rd
Reamstown, Pennsylvania, 17567
United States

// CLOSED //

Notes: Non smoking, closed on Mondays; all others and Sundays open at 11am.
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Ratings by sdaly3:
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Rated by sdaly3 from New Hampshire

3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Jul 14, 2014
More User Ratings:
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Reviewed by JRybacki from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4
I stopped here over lunch on the way home from central PA going to SE PA to sample some beer and grab a growler to go- it was empty and really quiet. It's a small town brewery located in an historically old building with lots of character- the door alone when you enter from the rear parking lot is a thing of beauty. I ended up taking home a growler of their kolsch which was OK. There was some aftertaste to the beer that may have been from the tap system. I would stop by again if in the area.
Sep 16, 2020
Rated: 3.11 by Shenk87 from Pennsylvania

Mar 23, 2019
Rated: 3.49 by SHMD_Brewing from New York

Dec 24, 2017
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Reviewed by Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.25
Initial review 5/9/15.
Union Barrel Works occupies an old factory building and has an essentially open floor plan. Sound travels from the bar area in the front to the dining room in the rear unimpeded. The ceilings are old pressed tin and are quite attractive and the floors are wood, supposedly mostly original.
We have been stopping in at the Union Barrel once or twice a year since 2007. They have a scallop dish my wife loves – I usually have a salad as I find their meat dishes unappealing. Since we began stopping there, I have only found one of their beers that I liked – the Brugge Bastaard. Of course this is rarely available when I stop in. In fact yesterday four of their regular beers had kicked. The remaining selections were overcarbonated – I got to watch the bartender pour quite a bit of foam down the drain from every beer she poured. The two I had were hopefully both infected because the flavors were off and the appearance of both was like mud. In general, I’ll order just one beer with a meal – why subject myself to more?
The website is kept up to date for the social events but not for the beer listings.
All in all, if you are in the area, it’s worth checking out – maybe you’ll get lucky and the beer will be good.

Update: 6/29/19

We stopped in again last night - first time in 4 years. The menu has become basically pubgrub although the elk meatloaf is still on the list. There was a change of ownership around July of 2018. My wife enjoyed her brisket sandwich, my smoked pork sandwich and sweet potato fries were good, and the hot Bavarian pretzel was delicious. I only had one beer (Round Boy Stout) which was a short pour as well as having a distinct sour taste. My waitress offered to replace it but I chose to finish it. Since she never returned until the end of the meal, I didn't order any other beer. Maybe in another four years the beer will have improved.
May 09, 2015
Rated: 3.74 by BeerForMuscle from New Jersey

Apr 21, 2015
Rated: 3.86 by BigRizz62 from Maryland

Aug 19, 2014
Rated: 4 by richardwood76 from Pennsylvania

May 19, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by wildwm from Pennsylvania

May 05, 2014
Rated: 2.75 by greyghost86 from Delaware

May 04, 2014
Rated: 4 by canawler from Pennsylvania

Oct 30, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by Corburk from Pennsylvania

Oct 27, 2013
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Reviewed by mildlybitter75 from Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
A decent brewpub in the middle of no where. I first started going here about three years ago. Most of the beers are German/English styles. I enjoy their Hefe-Weis and Dark Lager. The food is really good and reasonably priced. I have always had decent service in here, nothing special but a great place to come to once or twice a year. I recommand the Smoked Trout soup which is homemade and just amazing, also I enjoyed the Elk meatloaf as well. I had a few things here that I didn't care much for but over all the food is good.
Dec 24, 2012
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Reviewed by etop8222 from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
This place is close by so I get there quite often. The Mai Bock is one of my favorites. Supriseingly, the quality of the beer is not consistent. Sometimes it is the best beer in the area. Other times it is not what I expected. Actually at time I am a little dissapointed. Overall, I still believe this is the best of their brews and be the one I recommend.
Since this is a beer pub, a lot depends on the food which can also add or subtract to the taste of the beer. I am just amaized that the Mai Bock is so much like the beer from Erie Brewing called Railbender which is also one of my favorites.
Dec 18, 2011
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Reviewed by beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Appearance/Atmosphere : Brick building blends organically well with surrounding environment. Rustic and early feel. Inside had a nice and spacious feel with a lengthy bar that was dark maple or oak that went well with the dark wood floor. Around were small scattered signs and memorabilia such as Pabst signs and Unibroue. Off to the right sat the array of tanks show prominently through the glass enclosure. Comfortable, rustic with a cozy welcoming feel even on the first time.

Quality: The beers were clean, mostly lagers, though most seemed to have a similar flavor or grain bill running thoughout with exception of their IPA hop knockers which was noticeably malty. Nothing over the top flavor wise, sitting comfortably in that safe zone for acceptance which may be a product of its environment and area (Yuengly country with mendendite church right down road) which is a good business model. Finding that special neglected niche of lagers that will turn the local crowd into support while still drawing in outsiders.

Service: ok I was here sipping my first beer at 11:20am so didn’t have a lot of competition for refills or conversation. Knowledgeable staff, especially bartender who was well versed on the beers and brewer’s philosophy of lager brewing.

Selection: Very good selection, most were lager based with 10 beers on tap, one on engine. Something for everyone with a summertime selection of maibock, lager, pilsner, octoberfest, kolsch as well IPA for the ale fiends all suitable for the August weather. An simcoe pale recently kicked as well the Brugg Belgian I was so looking forward to.

Food: good selection of food, wraps, sandwiches, as well prices. All can be found on website. Fairly extensive, nothing gourment, just good ole fashion bar food again well suited for area. Pricing was good as well. Again as with their beer selection something to appease everyone.

Value: $3.25 pounders. Not matter what you drink from the ipa with hops to the 10%abv dopplebock wobbly bob. Pricing was a promotion that brewer said will stick around. How can you go wrong with prices like that 6 beers under $20 with good pairing of food value makes this a good lunch time spot.
Aug 25, 2011
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Reviewed by Ibrewmyownbeer from Pennsylvania

2.85/5  rDev -25.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4
I dont know what the deal is with the beer at this place but all of their beers seem watered down to me. Not to mention that every beer from the IPA to the Stoudts to the Hefe all have the same weird kind of a soapy after taste. And I am not the only one who has said it. I know of about 5 other people that agree. The food is better than average and I would go there to eat but to fill a growler or sit at the bar and have a couple of pints... I dont think so. How anyone could sit and drink more than one of their beers and think that it tastes like it should is crazy. I do like the place. It is a cool little brew pub but they need to improve on their beers. I dont know if it their cleaning solutions or the water that they us but they need to change something.
Jul 11, 2011
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Reviewed by pcar333 from Pennsylvania

3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Overall, an interesting place. GPS took us (g/f & me) directly to the parking lot. From the road it was a bit of a guessing game on which lot to enter. The stone lot is the one you want. From there it took some looking about to figure out where the entrance was. That found, we entered through the great door at the rear of the building. Once inside, we were struck by the welcoming and intimate atmosphere. Down an open hallway, the space opened up & the intimacy began to dissolve. What looked like a very nice dining room on our right was not open during our visit. A glass area showcases a bit of the pub's brewery & separates the dining room from the bar area.

In the bar, the space opened up quite a bit, too much for my taste. Aesthetically, the bar area was far too open and spartan feeling. The large light walls dwarf and distract from the beautiful old world wooden bar. The bar held quite a bit of memorabilia and curiosities of various origin and interest, it was far too cluttered & busy to take in the collected goodies. There are some great beer adverts from Reading and Sunshine on the walls. Also spotted two 3D wall mounted sculptures. Very nice pieces, but presented in awkward spaces making it difficult to take their entirety in.

The upper 1/2 - 2/3 of the wall in the bar goes undecorated. This I found to draw my attention away from the stunning pressed tin ceiling. Ironicaly, in the more intimate entry area, the ceiling was one of the first things we noticed, and yet there we were with lots of blank space surrounding the lovely ceiling, and the void on the walls kept distracting the eye from ceiling's artistry.

I'd suggest some large signage, mural(s) and / or trompe l'oeil balcony / loft type stuff up on the vacant part of the wall in order to maintain visual interest and draw the eye back up to that gorgeous ceiling.

It's clear that the brewpub has become a part of the local social landscape. The NFL playoffs were on and a couple people were there to watch the game. The bar is one large room. There are no cloisters to tuck ones-self away & enjoy the paper without the sound of the tv resonating about the room & into the ear. Because of the acoustics of the space and absence of sound deadening material, it is even audible in the gents (a positive for fans whose game is on).

Onto the beer - there were plenty on tap. We decided to forgo the sampler and dive right in. I had a Kolsch and she a stout. They were fair beers. Our initial impressions are not that memorable, beyond the fact that they appeared a bit cloudy, with a nose on the Kolsch that the flavor didn't support. What struck us most of all, was the discrepancy between the written descriptions of the brews, and the actual taste.

Round two - Me - Lager, her - Uncle Fester. Immediately the Lager hit me with some astringency. Not too overpowering, but most certainly distracting from the rest of the taste spectrum. As I was sipping lager (a beer style I usually enjoy gulping) my girlfriend asked me to taste the Uncle Fester. I did and was slammed with hardcore sweet & sour astringency. It took us both an hour or so & some coffee / water to get the flavor out of our mouths.

On hindsight, bypassing the sampler was not the wisest move.

To sum up, this was a very nice place. It's clear that a good deal of work has been invested in maintaining, restoring and showcasing the stunning architecture of the structure. From the honey colored wood flooring to the painted tin ceiling, to the interestingly unique local beer ephemera. We also had a little desert which was exquisite. There too, the care and pride were evident. It is unfortunate that the beer did not follow.

I may stop again if I find myself in the area, undecided.
Jan 19, 2011
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Reviewed by SFLpunk from Vermont

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5
Stopped for lunch earlier today at the behest of some friends.

The place was deserted upon our entrance with the staff seeming somewhat bewildered to find 4 people sitting at the bar at 11:30am. The barkeep handed us beer menus and did the run-down, noting changes.

We ordered beers and they were really awesome about asking us if we wanted to order food before a party of 20 put in their order. We did, I got fish & chips (pretty good stuff) and the food was out fast.

Beers were decent, nothing to write home about, and a few that we tried were strangely acidic, notable their stout and dopplebock. Not sure if it's intentional, line cleaning or infection. One of the people who suggested this for lunch did not remember the dopplebock being tart.

However, we got a sample of their new Simcoe Pale Ale and that was the shit! Had remorse that we had to go without a pint of it.

Decent, but not a huge fan, all things considered.
Oct 13, 2010
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Reviewed by 007 from Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5
I've hit Union Barrel Works a few times and always leave with the same impression...Clean, friendly atmosphere with quality beer and food. There is a lot of character in the old building and the classic bar.

The early dinner atmosphere is great for family, but I haven't been there later on a weekend, so I don't know if it livens up after the early birds.

The wait staff is helpful and knowledgeable and service has always been prompt. The food is standard brewpub (I am a fan of the sweet potato fries) and hasn't disappointed. The number of beers on tap has increased over time and there's a full range of styles to choose from. The Mai Bock and Kolsch are top notch.

Union Barrel Works is not spectacular, but it is a solid brewpub that I'll continue to frequent.
Sep 27, 2010
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Reviewed by bbeane from Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
A- Well lit. Lots of wood. Very Pa Dutch type atmosphere. Old school beer tackers and pictures (sunshine and reading). Very cabin or farmhouse type feel. Couple of tvs at the bar

Q- Very clean inside the pub side, as well as in the commode

S- Service was just ok. Bartenders were helpful, though our waitress was a less informative, and did forget my side to my dinner ( I wasn't that concerned... just fyi )

S- Had a decent amount of beers to choose from... I tasted 12 of them, my favorite being the Kolsch and Double Barrel vienna lager. Okfest was decent, the rest were just ok

F- I thought the food was better than the beer, and was pretty reasonably priced. Good selection of different apps, sandwiches, salads, and entrees. I had a chicken and pasta in vodka sauce that was good... no complaints from anybody in my group

V- I'd say pretty decent for the price. Our bill (gf and I) was mid $40s... thats a sampler of 10 2oz beers and a pint of 2 others, and both dinners (I had leftovers too)

Check it out.
Nov 19, 2009
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Reviewed by BlitzShadow from Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3
Latest Update - I had the fish sampler (entree). Tuna = Excellent! Prepared very well and seasoned very well. Salmon = Ugh... Not so Fresh. The server said the chef smelled the salmon and shrugged his shoulders.

So... we're back to hit-or-miss. And I understand them serving the sub-par Bob and Maibock (see below) because throwing away an entire batch is very costly. But something must be said to serving it while knowing it is not the quality that your customers have come to expect.

Nov '10 Edit - New Chef! Big difference! The changing of the guard was over the summer and I wanted to visit several times before reporting back. Talk to the barender, Justin - he's a straight shooter and will not steer you wrong.

Also, I saw some notes on off-flavors - that is attributed to a cooling system failure over the summer that they have since recovered from. The latest (November) Wobbly Bob is most excellent.

Oct '09 Edit - My first review (A-) was sans food. Also, I've been back many many times since. See updates in parenthesis below. Score was updated to reflect an average of all visits. (Original Review 08/07. Update 10/09)

Atmosphere: Clean and Classy. They have some nice Reading Beer memorabilia on the wall. Nice touch and not as cluttery as Stoudts. I think the "cold" feeling described in other reviews has more to do with the fact that the place is brand new, but I think it "warms" up well during the busier hours. I think the memorabilia adds to the warmth a little. (Keep in mind, it's a stone throw or so from hundreds of Antique shops). If the bar is packed, there is usually a nearby barrel to rest your beer on... also a nice touch. Also, an HDTV at the bar. (Update - No Change)

Quality: The place is new. Still very clean. Tom (the owner) is obviously focused on Quality. (Update - Still very clean in the dining area.)

Service: The service is VERY friendly - every time I'm there. Logistically, it can be confusing on your first visit, though. (see notes below). I know that's not the server's fault, but it affects the service overall and makes it very difficult to newcomers. (That's the only black-eye for service that I've observed, though.) (Update: Bar Service is still very friendly - the rest of the staff can seem stressed or preoccupied at times - even when there are only two tables to wait on in the entire place.)

Selection: Solid. Kolsch, Maibock, and Bob are highly recommended. At the time of this review, the Kolsch is my favorite. It's so clean and crisp. Very refreshing after playing 18 at Fox Chase around the corner. Missing an IPA or a DIPA. The APA is dry-hopped well, though. (Update: Tom is trying his hand at IPAs and even a Blonde Maibock!)

Food: The food here is done well. I haven't tasted anything exceptional there yet, though. If I do, I'll adjust the score accordingly. (Update: The food is hit or miss - and, honestly, much more likely to miss. I've had a couple of good meals, but they are few and far between. I've had the crab cheesecake dip with a hot plate and stone-cold middle. I've had wings with so much freezer-burn that hot sauce couldn't help. I've even had the french onion soup that was so bland and "off-taste" that I wondered if they used the water from a puddle outside. Also, I need to ask... could having your son as the "Executive" Chef be a potential conflict of interest? My advice: Stick to their tasty beers!)

Value: $4.50 for samples of all seven. If your in the area, there's no reason to not stop by. (Update: No change - definitely stop by for the beer)

NOTE - The parking is in the back, off of Church Road. It the gravel / chipped stone lot. The entrance is quite deceiving. It's the HUGE door. Once inside, the bar is all the way at the other end on the right.

Finding the exact building from the back parking lot is the challenge. Getting to that point is easy. Take the PA TP to Exit 286. Drive straight after the tolls. Pass the first set of lights (Rt 222). Make a left at the next set (Rt 272) where the Turkey Hill gas station and Dunkin' Donuts are. Make a left at the first light you come to (after about a mile - you'll see the Sunoco). That's Church. The parking lot is the gravel pit approaching on the left.
Oct 30, 2009
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Reviewed by slander from New York

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
The end of the 3rd of endless more weeks, I can tell already. Been seeing a lot of central Pennsylvania in my traveling to and fro the Maryland panhandle, got a little list of what's where even. Being in fro-mode Thursday, I figured I'd do din here. Took a little doing what with the way it's tucked in that can't get to easily from here but I found it (you can no hide)...

Brewing vessels in the front windows of this converted early 1900's Hardware Store; viewable in a room behind glass up front somewhat hidden by tall shutterings. Off to the left, a straight wood laminate topped bar seating 13, rounded on the ends and holding a wood handrail, my forearms teetering there. A tower of 6 on both ends with little barrel tap handles mostly, and yes, I spotted the handpump down below. Elaborate, ornately carved wood barback unit; a large mirror on center and smaller ones to both sides with shelving holding slight glassware & bric-a-brac, steins, candles, and vintage Reading Brewery pieces; old bottles and figurines. Inlayed mirrored pieces above, and cupboards below. Naturally, there's a large mounted fish, a harpoon & a rifle atop the unit. Wine fridge down the end of the bar and some bottles displayed above. So you know, there's no booze here, just wine & Pennsylvania beer.

High pressed tin ceilings painted green with matching crown molding & ducts. Drop buttercup lamps above the bar, spinning tops elsewhere, and a single mounted flatscreen in the front corner. A set of barrels with hightop chairs sit adjacent to the bar and roughly a dozen square tables lay scattered throughout the room. Large windows down past the bar looking over the brewroom corner from there and from the rear dining room. Brewerania mania; Reading & Sunshine Premium Beer pieces ev-ry-where; signage, a clock, framed trays, coasters displays, mirrors, blackboards, maps & prints. Old bottles lining the front sill, with lots of old signage & prints for sale, and the framed area over the bathroom displaying barrels, beer crates, can pyramids and steins. Beer trays from Hohenadel, Blatz, Piels, Ortlieb, Ballantine and other breweries mostly gone line the space above the brewroom windows, and just lots of vintage Pennsylvania brewery pieces; Yuengling, Rupperts, Reading & Sunshine Brewing; it's good shit.

Rear dining room holds 2 dozen tables in a large space, wallpapered, with a cream ceiling boxed in red with dark green crown molding, a very sharp room. Forward brew room views, some very good artwork & giant quilts. Old town Reamstown pics & an apothecary cabinet in the hallway along the way.

6 beers on the primary sampler (Kolsch, it was Kolschy, not bad; Dortmunder Lager, clean, a good lager; Maibock, some decent maltiness; Round Boy Stout, a little chocolatey, thin & sour; Hop Knockers IPA, good hoppiness, not over the top; Uncle Fester, a Marzen, and um, no), and then you can hit the seasonal samples by the each, which I did because, you know, I was here, and they had them (Wobbly Bob Dopplebock, just not so Dopply; Pilsner, Saaaaz, not too bad; Blonde Bock, meh; Hefe, not crazy hazy, but some decent banana & clove; Lemon Wheatgrass, lemon pledge something not in a good way; and I added the cask IPA, which was better than the non cask version, to round out the dozen. The IPA's, cask and not, were the best of the lot and everything else was fair to middlin' on down. Seems like a good few of them were off style.

Foodings, a bowl of the smoked trout chowder, oh, smoky goodness, and would I like fresh prepper on that? Yes, please. And the catch of the day Georgia peach almond salmon (don't it sound good?). Salad? I guess the orange vinaigrette on the side, vegetable, the carrots please, and a starch, um, sweet potato fries? And it showed up like that. Yes, more pepper please, the salad, and then again the salmon, all sweet peached & slivered almonded up, it was quite good. The sweet potato fries came with a side of maple syrup for dipping, which I did, once. It was wrong, I did it a second time again to be sure, I was right the first time, it was wrong, I'll never do it again.

Tunes, first Pete doing an acoustic Drowned, I'm thinking from The Secret Policeman's Ball, and then someone doing an acoustic Little Red Corvette, and Chris Issak doing Wicked Games, and I was thinking how meh the beers were overall as the Sundays' "Here's where the story ends" came on and thought, "Hmmn". Again, I liked the IPA, otherwise, the beers were mostly okay (this is why we do samplers), and I had a very good meal, the smoked trout chowder's where it's at. Suzie was a great server, barside; attentive, friendly, and she was always there with the pepper for me. A clean, comfortable place I think needs another look.
Oct 21, 2009
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Reviewed by JimmyK77 from Delaware

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
I visited Union Barrel Works in September 2009. It is located in an old brick building which gives it great character. However, in this part of PA, empty old brick buildings are not hard to find since most industry has left. Still, the inside has high ceilings with pressed tin decoration, and the place is decorated with beer memorabilia from local PA breweries that have long since shut down. Very cool to look at while drinking your beer.

In stock they had five regular beers and two seasonals. They had a cask pump too, but sadly no cask beer. I had two beers - the MaiBock and a seasonal hefewiezen. My wife had the seasonal Double Barrel (barrel aged) which I also tried. I thought the hef was very good, not overly clove-y which makes me dislike other examples. The Maibock and double barrel were good, but I thought they were a little too sweet. Especially the maibock which according to the description contains 'generous amounts of honey' which should dry the beer out some.

I heard another waitress ask the bartender for the 'lemon wheat' which was not on the beer list. I asked her about it and she said 'You'd better try that' and gave us a sample glass of that and their mango wheat. I see why its not on the menu - not really beer. It was dry with zero malt or hop presence (and I mean less than light lager), and a lemon (and mango) flavor much like that in flavored seltzer water. I'd avoid that, but I don't think its really for the beer drinking crowd either. We thanked the bartender for not letting us order it!

The food was good, nothing fancy, but I was happy with it. I came out fast, but we did get there after 9pm, so there was no competition in the kitchen.
Oct 13, 2009
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Reviewed by akorsak from Pennsylvania

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
Edit on 26-Sep-09: Stopped by for lunch. Menu has a German/PA Dutch comfort food feel. My carver sandwich was layered with thick ham slices and punctuated with spicy mustard. Pretzels were okay. Food upped from 3.0 to 3.5.


Original Review on 7-Apr-07:
The day seemed to get off to a bad start. Arriving at UBW at noon, we were greeted with a notice that there would be no lunch service because last night was packed and they had no one available. A brief WTF crossed my mind and we hightailed it to Stoudt's for lunch. Luckily we decided to return after lunch to try a few beers.

Atmosphere: The place is a beautifully restored building. The interior is full of intricate wood and breweriana. The bar is up front with a sizeable dining room in the back. There is brewing equipment in the front (bar) window but I think it is for show, the guts of the brewing operation is between the bar and dining area.

Quality: The entire place is pristine, well maintained and a real treat on the eyes. Well worth a trip.

Service: When we arrived, I couldn't tell if it was bar service or if there was a waitstaff. Hopefully some shakedown will cure that. The bartenders were friendly.

Selection: Six beers on tap, including an excellent doppelbock and maibock. I was not a fan of the stout (tasted from my wife's sampler). I look forward to returning to try the kolsch and lager again.

Food: We passed on food this time (there was none available). My son was given a bowl of ice cream that he really seemed to enjoy (and for which we were grateful). When we have a chance to return for food, an update will be posted. In the meantime, we'll chalk it up as a 3.0 because there obviously is food available.

Value: The beer is very good and dirty cheap. I didn't look at a menu to comment on those prices but the pints are a great value.
Oct 05, 2009
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Reviewed by shangwang from Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3
Tried this place out on a suggestion of a friend. Went on a Tuesday night and sat in the bar area. There wasn't a lot of customers throughout the time I was there; I'd say the bar was about half full. Cool atmosphere and there were 9 different choices on tap. I had the sampler of their 6 most popular beers, and then a pint of the Wobbly Bob and a pint of the Lager. The Wobbly Bob was by far my favorite, and the Maibock was a close second. The waitress was a little ditzy and wasn't very helpful as far as suggesting beer or food (everything I asked her about she hadn't tried) but overall it was a pleasant experience. Would definitely go back again.
Mar 04, 2009
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Reviewed by TonyT from Pennsylvania

3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2
Visited last Saturday, after visiting Stoudt's.

The staff was very nice and you can tell that they were into the beer. Cool Building, good atmosphere.

I tried the 10 beer sampler and I was not impressed. (I think I was tainted by the Stoudt's experience.)

The issue I had is as follows...I was drinking a beer that was supposed to be this or that...and it had no semblance of what they stated it should be. (Ex: I could see through their stout). The only sample that I did like was the wheat beer (The irony is that I am not a wheat beer fan).

I did not have a taste from the menu.
If I am in the area again, I think I'll stop in to try with a fresh perspective.
Aug 15, 2008
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Reviewed by krukster from Pennsylvania

3.04/5  rDev -20.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3
We hit this place right after our journey to Stoudts. The building was pretty cool, and atmosphere was pleasant in the brewpub. Our group did not get anything to eat as we already had dinner over at Stoudts.

We each tried a 10 beer (2oz) sampler. ($7?) Even though the bartenders were very attentive, some of the pours were not correct. Most of the beers were very bland, and in my opnion the bare minimum in order to have it actually be considered a pilsner,lager, etc..

The beers were not very impressive, and my favorite the Dubbel was only slightly above average. Unfortunately they were out of their Octoberfest which is one of the beers I wanted to try.

Pretty sure I would not come back to this place unless they upgraded their beer. On a positive note, they do growler refills.
Aug 10, 2008
Photo of davide169
Reviewed by davide169 from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5
This is a great addition to Reamstown. In fact I don't know why I don't end up here more often.

You are not going to find a huge beer selection. There always seems to be 5-7 beers on tap. These are all brewed in house. If you are looking for something barrel aged, imperialized or double anything, you will most likely not find it here. Tom brews everything to style and it is all very good.

The food here is just wonderful. Everything I have every had has just been great. Its really nice to sit down and have a great beer and great food to go along with it. I really can't say enough good things about the food.

As for the atmosphere in the place. You have to remember this is a old building that has served many purposes but it has been restored beautifully. You could spend hours staring up at the tin ceiling and beautiful crown molding. The bar is equally ornate, restored from a bygone era when bars were made to be looked at and not just a place to set your beer on. In the bar area you will find a few tables (some are even barrels). If you go back to sit in the dining room and its busy you may find it a bit loud as the dining area is a very large area with tall ceilings.

This is a great place to visit to have a quality beer brewed in house and have some great food to go along with it.
Feb 07, 2008
Photo of Deuane
Reviewed by Deuane from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
A-Lovely interior with lots of wood . Nice touch of NO SMOKING. Beautiful wooden bar with ~15 stools. Very cool old bar back that dates from the late 1800's from the old Showboat Bar in Reading, PA. Lots of Brewerania around to iclude a Gunther Beer light sign, last name of a good friend who is distantly related to the brewing Gunther clan form Baltimore, MD. ABout a dozen tables in the bar area with a single TV in the corner. A very cozy atmosphere. A more formal open dining are in the back has about 20 tables.

Q-Both the beers and the food were solid. A very nice place.

S-Suzie was friendly and supportive. It was rather slow at 230 PM but she did a fine job. Not overly attentive. Needs to learn a bit about the beer business though...had no idea about the stout being on nitro, Why do I need to know that? she stated....Because some beer geek like me might ask....that's why!

S-7 beers on....5 lagers or lager -like (the Kolsch) only two ales...a pale that was more malty than hoppy and a nice stout. The lagers were solid but not my cup of tea....a want for maybe a truly hoppy beer.

F-Wonderful! Some of the best Brew Pub food I have had. Smoked Trout Chowder was outstanding. A chipotle encrusted sea scallop salad with mango, red onion over mixed greens with a house vinagrette was innovative and very lovely.

V-A very reasonable place for the quality of food and beer you are getting. A nice addition to the southeastern PA beer scene.
Jan 17, 2008
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Reviewed by sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
I visited this place around Christmas with waldo567, fish113d and some other friends. Found out the pub is only 7-8 months old so that was kinda cool, always gotta be happy with new brewpubs opening.
The pub is located in a large brick building with ample parking behind and some street parking in front. It used to be a hardware store and a bank I think.
We walked in the backdoor and headed towards the bar. It was lunch on a wed and seemed a little slow, but folks trickled in as we were there. We walked past a private function room and all the brewing equipment is easy to see through some glass windows behind bar and around the room. Lots of old PA breweriana around with the majority being frmo Reading Brewing Co. The main dining/bar area features a 12-15 seat rectangular bar and several table chair combos spread around the room. We sat at a long table near the bar and started to peruse the beer list. 8 house beers on tap! That is pretty ambitious for a new place and most of the brews were lagers, even more ambitious! I like it.
The stout was served on nitrous and I sampled that and the Maibock, my brother had the sampler so I did taste all the beers and all were good to excellent for the Kolsch. They do growlers and bring anything you have 2L 1L, 1/2 gallon, they fill em all.
Prices seemed reasonable for take home beer too.

Food was pub grub I had a chicken pesto sandwich with sweet potato fries. The sandwich was good and the fries were great! Others had a variety of sandwiches and everyone seemed very happy with their food.
The only drawback I had was the pub was a little drafty so if it is really cold out that could be a negative, but otherwise I think this is a nice little gem in central PA. I WILL be back.
Jan 11, 2008
Photo of sholland119
Reviewed by sholland119 from Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4
A fairly new establishment located in the heart of a little town, UBW is a nice place in a what looked to be a converted office or municipal building. A beautiful mahogany bar is the centerpiece of the room.

We started with the sampler (9 beers currently), which yielded a nice hefeweizen, a tasty maibock and a solid pale ale. Also some decent beers (kolsch, stout, lager, oktoberfest), a disappointing dopplebock and a (to us) undrinkable vienna lager. All of the beers seemed oddly undercarbonated and, excpet for the hefe and the maibock, a little thin.

The bartender was very pleasant but not very knowledgeable about beer. I prefer a little beer geekiness in a brewpub bartender.

This place has potential and will be worth dropping in on from time to time.
Dec 28, 2007
Photo of Fish113d
Reviewed by Fish113d from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
I made a stop at this place yesterday with a group of friends including fellow BA, Sulldaddy and Waldo. The atmosphere is nice. Smoke free, which is a good idea for a brew pub/beer bar in my opinion. That added big time to it, and the fact taht I'm a "sometimes" smoker should make you feel better. The bar is 'L-shaped' with about 20 stools in my estimation. We sat at a table to grab lunch. We all enjoyed the food. I had the "special" of the day which was a pastrami/provalone sandwich on frocaccia bread (spelling?). It was quite good. I also ordered sweet potato fries that came with the meal instead of regular french fries. They came with maple syrup, which was "different" than the usual offering of ketchup. It was very good! Food was very reasonably priced ($8). I also had a few brews, and I even took a growler home, which is nice because they'll fill any growler, not just their own. However, it cost me $11 for a fill which was somewhat steep in my eyes, but I got a doublebock, so maybe that ain't so bad. The service was solid; our waitress warmed up to us as we "warmed up" from the brews.

I'll definitely make another trip here. They've been only open for 9 months according to our server, and I'll bring the wife back! Very nice place!
Dec 28, 2007
Photo of DIM
Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
First off, this place is smoke free! The bar and dining are both spacious and airy with lots of wood. German styles of beer aren't my favorite but they have some damn tasty brews nonetheless. The maibock and hefe in particular were standouts. The menu is fantastic by brewpub standards. I've had the duck and shrimp magnolias and both were outstanding. The dinners are pricey but a good value and the beer prices are very reasonable. They have a liberal growler fill policy which I appreciate. Either 1 or 2 liter fills are o.k. regardless of the name on the side of the growler. I highly recommend a visit.
Nov 29, 2007
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Reviewed by Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
I stopped by UBW yesterday and was happy to find it was easy to locate. I parked right out front and walked in. There is a lot of beautiful wood at the bar and breweriana tastefully displayed w/ locals like Reading Premium and Ortlieb's represented. They have a barrel them w/ barrel tables and firkins up high across from the fermenting area which is enclosed in glass. It is a spacious and clean bar area, but I woudl recommend a few plants to break it up a bit.

The quality is top notch w/ about 7 drafts that are brewed w/ care and attention to flavor. I got great service at the change of shift which was pretty seamless. I decided to order a crab cheesecake which is like a crab dip served in a skillet w/ pita points. It was very tasty, it really hit the spot. I was treated to two samples of stout and bock which were also flavorful. The beer is available to go which is nice, I got a growler fill of Wobblin' Bob. One of the positives for those who like to smell their beer is the bar is non-smoking. I asked about checkin' out the brewing operation and the bartender said Tom would be willing to whenever he is in.

I thought the pricing was very reasonable I got an appetizer, two pints and a growler fill for about $25. This is a very attractive setting for enjoying some craft beer brewed the traditional way.
Sep 21, 2007
Photo of ffejherb
Reviewed by ffejherb from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5
My wife and I dediced to do an afternoon session at Stoudt's and Union Barrel Works, since they are both in such close proximity to one another. I had read some nice reviews of UBW and the picture I'd seen of the exterior and interior were quite nice, so we took the leisurely 40-min. drive to Reamstown.

The atmosphere of this place is among my favorite of brewpubs I've visited in PA. We sat at the bar, whch had a nice view of the brewing tanks. Their tap handles are especially cool and unique, and looking around, I also noticed some interesting seating, with barrels used as tables. The ceilings are quite high with intricate designs and ceiling fans kept the room nice and cool. But the highlight was definitely the intricate woodwork throughout the establishment, including the bar. The seating was also very comfortable at the bar.

There weren't many other patrons, since we usually tend to go to places at odd hours (usually between 2-3pm for late lunch/early dinner). Our bartender was very attentive and friendly, though quite new and still had some learning to do with regard to some of the brews.

Since we had already eaten at Stoudt's on a seperate occasion, we decided to eat at UBW today. We ordered the bruschetta appetizer, which was excellent... very fresh and tasty. I ordered a bowl of shrimp and corn chowder, which was simply amazing and huge taboot! And at only $3.50, it was a steal. I also had the pesto chicken sandwich ($5.95) which came with the best sweet potato fries I'd ever have. What a deal! My wife's salad was pretty small for the price, though.

Now, on to the beer... We each ordered a sampler, which included the small servings of the following: kolsch, pale ale, heffe, dopplebock, lager, maibock and stout. My favorites were the kolsch (great session beer... very light, refreshing and crisp) and maibock, while my wife absolutely loved the dopplebock. Pints were only $3.50, and you could also order 12-oz. glasses for $3.00. After our samplers, I went with a 12-oz. Maibock, which was served in a unique glass. Their Maibock boasts a beautiful orange color with tinges of bronze and rust. While there wasn't much of a head and virtually no lacing, the beer itself had a nice fruity/spicy aspect with a semi-dry finish. Very tasty brew! Before we left, I also had a 12-oz. pale ale that a nearby customer bought for me as a "thank you" for explaining some beer styles to him, as he didn't know what to get. We had a nice conversation with them as well. I'd also like to point out that they had growlers for sale at $15, and fills were either $9 or $11, depending on the beer.

Overall, this was an extremely pleasant visit, and we are already making plans to return. Only one small gripe was that the chef/cook came out to the bar area (he is apparently the owner/brewer's son), and he kind of dissed Stoudt's when I told him we were stopping there next. Apparently, his dad used to be the head brewer at Stoudt's and left to open UBW. At any rate, the food, beer and atmosphere were all fantastic and I will definitely be back very soon, especially since it is so close to my favorite record store, The Record Connection in Ephrata!
Sep 09, 2007
Photo of guzzle211
Reviewed by guzzle211 from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
Nestled in an unsuspecting craft draft corridor (being only a stone's throw from Stoudt's and the Black Horse Inn,) UBW is a great place to quench your thirst as you fress.

The atmosphere is actually quite classy, as quite a bit of attention has been paid to the interior. Intricately patterned woodwork adorns the walls and accents the tin ceiling. Retro beer mementos and PA dutch memorabilia tastefully decorate the walls.

The quality is above-average. The beers are top-notch examples of their styles. The only complaint I can muster is the iceberg lettuce that was on my sandwich (sorry, a personal pet peeve.) Other than this one small issue, I was completely satisfied.

The service was quick and friendly. I have read a previous review that mentions the amount of attention and time that is required for the bartender to serve up a sampler, and I did experience this towards the end of my visit. (samplers have 7 2oz servings for $2.50.

I can't complain too much about the selection, and feel they offer a wide enough range to please everyone. Do I drink other beers at brewpubs that serve outside brands? yes. Is it an issue for me not to be able to buy outside brands somewhere that has such a wide array of in-house styles? absolutely not. The current beer menu is Kolsch, Pale Ale, Lager, Maibock, Doppelbock, Hefe, and Stout.

On this trip I ate a pesto chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries and molasses dipping sauce. The sandwich and fries were delicious and I look forward to exploring the menu further.

I started my visit with a Kolsch in order to quench my thirst from the 95-degree heat with a heat index pushing triple digits. I followed that by an absolutely awesome Maibock that I drank while I ate. I ended the visit with a Stout that I simply did not want to end. I am already very eager to return in order to sample the Doppelbock (and to experience more of the Stout, it is incredible.)
Jul 12, 2007
Photo of mattrepko
Reviewed by mattrepko from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
Went to Union Barrel Works last night for dinner and beer. This was the second trip there for my wife and I. We made sure to have reservations since we knew the place gets crowded for the dinner hour.

We got there around 7 PM and the dining area was full, it did empty out when we left around 8:30. We were seated promptly and I had a Hefeweizen in hand within 5 minutes. A very drinkable beer for this time of the year. My wife had the Kolsch which is a fine beer on its own.

I started with the Smoked Trout Chowder which is worth the trip alone. I then had the Shrimp and Scallops Sambuca special which was also excellent. My wife had the crab cakes which she said were very good. The service was efficient and my beer glass was never empty for long.

The best part of the night occurred when we were leaving. I saw another patron heading for the door with a growler in hand. UBW hadn't been offering growlers when they first opened but they have them now. We turned around and headed back to the bar where the bartender hooked me up with a growler of the Hefeweizen. That'll taste great during the upcoming heat wave.

Overall, I highly recommend UBW. It's a little off the beaten path but the food and beers make the trip very worthwhile
Jul 08, 2007
Photo of discwood
Reviewed by discwood from Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
great place! i've been to 95 different breweries and brewpubs and the union barrel works nailed it right. the owner told me that it was a hardware store and then was used as a sewing factory. sat empty for 10 years and now a brewpub. lets start with the food. had read the other reveiws about the crab cheesecake and the smoked salmon cowder. they were both great. the crab cheesecake was alot to eat for two. i had the chicken oscar with fresh cut sweet potatoe fries. my other half had the chicken pesto sandwich with regular fresh cut fries. everything was so good. drank a pint of the pale ale and lager. good drinkable beers. i want to go back to have them again before i rate them. overall i was very impressed. 6/24/07
Jun 24, 2007
Photo of NolanGTI
Reviewed by NolanGTI from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
The most notable thing about UBW is it is down the street from Stoudt's making this trip an easier one to justify. The second most notable thing is the atmosphere and attention to detail inside. Some truly wonderful carpentry work went into this bar and it has an amazing small town feel. I really can't say enough about how well the owners did here...although a TV might not be bad addition IMHO, I can understand not having one as well. Tons of local beer paraphernalia on the walls including lots of 'Reading Beer' branded items (which our bartender pronounced Reed-ing, which I didn't quite get).

Service was good but not exceptional. Not a lot done to describe the beers beyond some very basics. I sat with an empty sampler for a bit, but no big deal.

They have a nice rotation of beers on and they were all fairly good. I only really disliked one, but unfortunately didn't love any of them. They seemed a bit thin at times, hopefully this will come with time -- this is a very new operation. I would absolutely go back and recommend UBW as a stop even with the initial lukewarm reaction I had to the beers.
May 03, 2007
Photo of tgbljb
Reviewed by tgbljb from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Arrived at 530pm on a Thursday evening. We had reservations, but the dinig area was virtually empty and we were promptly seated by the owner. Our drink orders were promptly taken and we were given a free appetizer. (That's one sure wat to impress me. Our drinks arrived in an appropriate time frame.Our food orders were then taken and they were also served in an appropiate time. All the food was excellent. My wife requested a side salad in place of the fries for her meal and her request was granted. The appetizer I ordered (crab cheesecake) was absolutely excellent.If you go there I highly recommend it. The portions were large and I ended up taking half my sandwich home (I finished it 2 days later and it was still good) . This was my second visit (I was there on opening day but with the limited menu available I did not feel it was appropriate to evaluate that visit) A great place. I wish them the best of luck.
Apr 21, 2007
Union Barrel Works in Reamstown, PA
Brewery rating: 3.15 out of 5 with 5 ratings