Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing

BEER AVG
3.93/5
Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy BrewingAl's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

2240 Millennium Way
Enola, Pennsylvania, 17025
United States

(717) 728-3840 | map
alsofhampden.com

Notes:
Hours:
Mon-Wed: 11:00am - 10:00pm
Thu-Sat: 11:00am - 11:00pm
Sun: 11:00am - 9:00pm

Added by petesuphi on 10-19-2008

BEER STATS
Beers:
139
Ratings:
4,110
Reviews:
495
PLACE STATS
Score:
96
Ratings:
244
Reviews:
94
Avg:
4.32
pDev:
6.48%
 
 
Taps:
102
Bottles/Cans:
350
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 244 |  Reviews: 94
Photo of TimberSwanson
2.98/5  rDev -31%
vibe: 2.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 1.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of duceswild
3/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -30.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Photo of jwjon1
3.08/5  rDev -28.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Updated Nov 30 2013

I want to love this place. I really do. On my second trip--in the new location--I was again met with horrible service (like the first time), but this time around I learned that they have done away with small pours of their beer and instead only do full pours.

This is a brewery right? People visit breweries specifically to sample beers, right? Not here: over 20 of their beers on tap and you'd have to buy full pours of each to try them. WTF? I'm not asking for free samples: more than happy to pay. I just don't want to get tanked trying more than two beers. Even half pours would be okay.

Not here.

If you want to try their beers, bring a DD or about 20 friends.

Ridiculous. Dropping my service rating from a poor to an awful.

 755 characters

Photo of AMBREW13
3.2/5  rDev -25.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It's a shame a craft beer paradise with excellent food has to be ruined by staff who don't clean tables, serve in a timely manner, drink behind the bar, aimless walk around talking to their friends and are genuinely annoyed by customers asking for assistance. Won't be returning which is disappointing because I had high hopes for this place.

Atmosphere: Loud at times but that's because there's a lot of people. Definitely around or slightly above average.

Quality: Food is great, Pizza Boy beer isn't the best but it's definitely pretty good.

Service: As evidenced by many reviews on Yelp, their customer service isn't good. Bartenders are apathetic and uneducated about the beer they serve and can't answer simple questions as to why nitro is used, food pairings or flavor profiles. It's not an uncommon sight to see them playing on their phones, brushing off customers to serve their friends or drinking behind the bar. The service is as bad as it gets. Rude, irritable humans with not even an ounce of common courtesy or good manners.

Selection: Out of the 100 taps, 90 some are usually active. The selection features great local beers, their own brew as well as some of the top names in the craft beer industry. You won't be disappointed with your beer once you get past the rude staff. Typically, this would be a 5/5 because hell, 90-100 beers at a given time is awesome. However, their pick six selection to go isn't very good.

Food: Again, the food is great. Their pizza is awesome.

Value: $5+ for a pint of craft is definitely reasonable. Food's not too bad either.

 1,581 characters

Photo of IPAchris
3.35/5  rDev -22.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I absolutely loved this place and hated it at the same time. The Pizza Boy beer was amazing, well worth the hype and the food was also very good. However, not offering samples or flights of beer is very puzzling. At least offer 4 or 5oz pours. This would allow customers to try more of this great beer and certainly increase sales. It was also really odd that you cannot tip using a credit card. Not sure about the reasoning behind this but it has to hurt the servers/bartenders. We ran up decent sized bill but had very little cash on us to provide a tip. Overall, great beer, good food but unusual business practices.

 619 characters

Photo of baybum
3.35/5  rDev -22.5%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Their recent vibe has been off, not very customer friendly.

59 characters

Photo of bum732
3.4/5  rDev -21.3%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Re-reviewing this since it's in a new location. I really don't want to write an entire diatribe, so let me just quickly point out the major flaws:

1. Their 2L growlers are clear glass
2. They have an entire shelf of beers exposed to the outside sun
3. Beers they serve on tap are way too cold
4. The inside has a women's penitentiary feel to it
5. No tasters allowed, can only get full pours
6. When ordering one of their bottled beers, you can't have any other beers on your table

Many people would point out that many of these issues are minor. But I would argue that selling clear growlers and not allowing trying beers on tap without ordering a full pour as complete bullshit. There is really no excuse for doing this. I just don't understand this place, there is so much potential and the beers here were for the most part, excellent. But it's the little things that are just baffling to me. There is just a weird vibe of paranoia that makes this place reek of amateur hour. I feel bad for the head brewer, he's clearly a great at his job but unfortunately has to deal with piss poor policies from the owner. Too bad.

 1,124 characters

Photo of waddellc2
3.5/5  rDev -19%

Photo of Era717
3.5/5  rDev -19%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 4

For such an excellent beer selection (huge fan of the pizza boy sours) it's a real shame that the staff is so rude. Also, its obnoxious that they wont let you sample beer when deciding which delicious selection would like to fill your growler with. I'm thoroughly upset about this since als could have easily become one of my new fav spots.

 340 characters

Photo of jdaddy
3.5/5  rDev -19%

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.54/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I thought this place would be like a BJ's Brewhouse or something chain-like and it kind of was: massive space with high ceilings, plastic bench-table setups and cold, impersonal service.

But the pizza is decent, about on par with what you can get in any town in the US.

The beer selection is insane and overwhelming but some would argue the more the merrier. I understand why they don't do samples, but given all the beers they do and some of the shit they throw in them, a tiny taste would be helpful.

Either way, besides the unfriendly service, it's a good place to stop for beer and pizza. We visited after visiting Gettysburg and the combo hit the spot.

 663 characters

Photo of Boston970
3.56/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Photo of facesnorth
3.56/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

For beer alone, this place is close to perfect. The bottled sours in particular are some of the best you can find anywhere. There's also always a number of quality offerings on draft. Note this is attributed to Terry, not Al, and while I think I would follow Terry wherever he brewed - if he left Al's I don't think I'd ever need to return.

The food is another story. While the pizza is decent, the hot subs are not good. A bunch of us went and tried a good variety of them, including the meatball parm, the chicken cheesesteak and chicken parm. We all forced ourselves to finish half and then couldn't go any further.

Probably my biggest disappointment was the attitude of the staff. The young manager there in particular was very rude after a misunderstanding, and some of the other servers I found to be arrogant and slightly off-putting. I've been here twice now, and felt the same way both times. After speaking with Al, I believe this attitude trickles down from him.

Besides this, clear 64 oz growlers? When asked why they would have clear growlers, the answer given was that no one keeps the beer long enough for it to matter. And the cost is unnecessarily high. $6 for a 32 oz grenade style growler? The lack of any samples, half pours, or flights makes it difficult to try all of the beers, and some are better than others.

They are also very uptight about carding - so make sure you have your ID with you, or you won't drink, even if you're 60 years old and drove 3 hours to get there. I've never seen another bar in the state of PA who was as uptight about everyone in a party having an ID as this establishment is. The level of enforcement here reminded me of visiting Egypt and having our public buses constantly stopped, emptied and inspected at vigorous and drawn-out checkpoints.

 1,800 characters

Photo of JustBeFair
3.6/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

If you like slightly above average tasting food and expensive pricing, this is the place for you. The sad part is that I probably would even pay a little more for the food just because of how conveniently located it is from my house. But when I mentioned to them that the online menu ( on the NEW " Pizza Boy Brewing" web page) shows prices that are lower than their "real" prices, the response that I got was " it's not even on my radar, pick up one of our menus at our location". I cant imagine it would take more than a half hour to update the pricing on the online menu. Therefore, until the online menu reflects the true pricing that they charge, Pizza Boy Brewing is not on my radar either.

 696 characters

Photo of Spoda1983
3.63/5  rDev -16%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%

Atmosphere: pretty cool place, not trying to make themselves anything, just a good place for pizza and beer. some view into their brewing process and kitchen.

Service: everyone was nice and helpful, only thing I found odd was they didn't want to let me try something before I filled multiple growlers.

Selection and Quality: over a hundred taps is an easy way to make a good selection, but nothing was overly rare. I'd say your beset bet is to go with the pizza boy beer, the rest (besides nitros and firkins) are easy to find elsewhere.

Food: pizza was good, but nothing overly special. jalapeƱo poppers were just okay.

Overall: I almost wish they'd get rid of all the taps but their own if the rarest thing you'll find is a troegs scratch beer (less than half an hour away from the brewery). Their beers, that I tried, were quite good. certainly a place to check out but not somewhere I'd go to all the time.

 918 characters

Photo of barflybastard
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5

Photo of stakem
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.25

I have been going to Als for over awhile now and recently the establishment got a bit of an upgrade. Al's now features 24 quality taps (6 of which are on nitro.) There is an oversized white board that clearly displays what is on tap along with the beer name/brewery/ABV/BA rating/cost for single serving along with the price for 1 and 2 liter growler fills. Even more convenient is Al's web site that gets updated multiple times throughout the day and lists what beer is on tap, has been kicked and what is next in line.

I will be honest, I don't pay much attention to the food when I visit because I am usually just stopping by to enjoy a quick pint, pick up some bottles (which the selection I might add is quite good) or fill a growler. However, the pizza (more specifically the chicken bacon ranch and/or bacon cheeseburg pizza) is awesome. Al's offers "mix a six" variety of beers that you choose from their large selection of beer in the cooler. Very nice option if you are looking to expand your horizons for a particular style or want to try some offerings from a brewery you are unfamiliar with.

Some minor complaints are that the seating arrangement is a bit small and cramped. After work lets out on a Friday, it is not uncommon to see people standing around waiting to snag a place to sit. Also, if you are looking to try a sampler of the beers on draft the price is a little high. A dollar for a sample isn't bad until you see how small the serving glass is.

Overall Al's is a great stop. What strikes me as being the most important aspect about Al's is that Al cares about beer and is always devoting his time seeking out the next quality beer to have available for the customers.

***Update 6/22/10
Add to the list of upgrades the incorporation of 2 super big wide screen monitors that electronically display the beer that is one tap with brewery info, BA rating and pricing. The web site got a bit of an overhaul and now includes a voting system for the regulars to show their preference in what beers get tapped next. Also added to the in-store lineup are 3 casks. Absolutely loving this place and what Al is bringing to central PA.

***Update #2
There are no longer white boards but 2 huge monitors which boldly display all of the offerings on tap along with prices and BA ratings. The serving sizes for samples has increased and there are 3 hand pumps for cask offerings. This is the must-see beer place in Central PA.

***Update #3
This place is now a brewery too. Ive been patronizing Al's regularly for more than 6 years. Unfortunately, the owner is an outright asshole and its no longer a place I or my friends enjoy visiting. Its still the premier beer stop in the area but id rather not see my money supporting that type of person and behavior.

 2,773 characters

Photo of lidu5ii
3.72/5  rDev -13.9%

Photo of GeorgianBayPackr
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Profchaos20
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Jdavis23112
3.76/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Photo of Drift
3.76/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

Photo of brother_rebus
3.79/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

A bit sterile. Kinda industrial, but not by interior design standards. Too bright/fluorescent. Good beers. And good guest beers. No bar service except at the register. A friendly couple staffers. Relatively quick food. But no samples is horseshit, given the relatively higher pricing. At least a 3oz pour for charge would be a compromise. A hundo brews on tap, plus a cooler leaves plenty of options. Pizza was a bit soggy and cheese-heavy. Most likely woukdnt be back except for a release or special event.

 507 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Al's of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing in Enola, PA
3.93 out of 5 based on 4,110 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe