Place Reviews: Most Recent

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Hopleaf

in Chicago, Illinois

4.76/5  rDev +8.7% | Avg: 4.38
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

I would like to think that I have been to some of the best beer bars in the country during the past 15 years or so as my appreciation for craft beer has blossomed and Hopleaf in Chicago is among the best on that list.

After a exploratory Friday afternoon visit of walking around downtown Chicago and having the opportunity to check out the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism showcase at Navy Pier, we headed to the hotel room to freshen up before meeting up with a good friend. We decided to pre-game at Sweetwater Tavern close to the hotel for a beer and then hopped in an Uber and made the trek north to Hopleaf, fighting the infamous rush hour Chicago traffic in the process. The weather was hot and muggy, profiling a typical end of July weather vibe.

Upon arrival, the neon beer signs in the window were the equivalent of a lighthouse providing direction to a misguided boat at sea. Once we walked in, I could detect a relaxed and welcoming vibe in the air. The atmosphere was dimly lit by candle light, tin beer signs of the finest breweries decorated the wall and captivating blues music played over the speakers. This place is beautifully and tastefully decorated with breweriana memorabilia or other beer related collectibles. I don't remember seeing a TV here and that deserves recognition not as a statement against TV, but rather what the absence of TV in social setting can do among patrons in a bar; it provides the avenue for people to focus on a good conversation, appreciate the music and most importantly, the opportunity to focus on the wonderful beer being consumed.

I typically like to recite portions of the beer lists at places I visit, but I simply would not to justice if I decided to do that in this review. The focus here is on Belgian beers with an extensive list and phenomenal offerings. Quality was top notch as all of the beers I sampled were served in appropriate glassware, accentuating the marvelous qualities of each rare brew.

When in Chicago, this is an extraordinary beer bar destination. I was completely impressed and hope to revisit in the future. Hopleaf rekindled my love and appreciation for Belgian beer and will remember this visit for many years to come.

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Photo of Hibernator
Sweetwater Tavern and Grille

in Chicago, Illinois

3.89/5  rDev +0.3% | Avg: 3.88
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

We were in Chicago this past weekend for a work and fun combo trip. Our hotel, the Hyatt Regency was a close walk to the Sweetwater Tavern and Grille on N Michigan Ave., which was in the center of the action. We ended up going to the Sweetwater two times during our visit.

In terms of food, there are good pub style options like salads, burgers, sandwiches and other dishes. We sampled a couple appetizers during our visits. We mainly went here for the close proximity to the hotel and the respectable beer selection. I think there were about 20 draft options on tap and a massive bottle selection divided into different style categories like Pilsners, IPA's, English Style Ales, Belgians, Brown Ales, etc.

I had to take advantage of being in the Midwest, so I ordered regional draft delights like 3 Floyds Yum Yum and Bell's Oberon that were absolutely delicious. I also had a Stone Tangerine Express on tap as well that was awesome.

Sweetwater is a solid option in the downtown area that offers patio and indoor seating in a casual atmosphere with a beer selection that anyone should be able to find something they enjoy.

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Photo of donspublic
Drink Hala

in Wrocław, Poland

4.79/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 4.79
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

On my recent trip to Wroclaw I made it a point to hit most of the good bars, which there were quite a few. While at Doctor Bar I asked the bartender where I could go to get some good room beers and he sent me to Drink Hala. The next day I set out to find it. It looks like a corner grocery store, which it actually is, but beer seems to consume 50% of the store. After spending about 45 minutes just cataloging what was in the store an employee walked over and asked if I needed help. I told him what I was looking for (good polish beers and some good Grodziskie's) and let him choose for me. I walked out of there with about 8 pints for the week. The bonus find was while checking the shelves, there was a Belgian selection where they had 3 different Cantillon and 2 different Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen Gueze along with Trappist Westvleteren 12. All 6 bottles ran me about $60. This is a must place to hit up if you are ever in Wroclaw.

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Photo of donspublic
Ghost Train Brewing Company

in Birmingham, Alabama

3.75/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 3.75
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

I hit up this brewery when I was in Birmingham for a 2 day trip to try all the local breweries. I will be honest I spent very little time here, while the taproom was nice and the service was good, the place felt somewhat dead. Compound that with the most of the beers they had weren't on tap, they were out and were pouring from cans. That was somewhat of a letdown. The Saison I had was good, but a was pretty much one and done because of the lack of selection

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Photo of spoony
Water Street Brewery

in Delafield, Wisconsin

3.65/5  rDev +21.3% | Avg: 3.01
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

V-The Delafield branch of this brewpub mini chain is located in strip mall country in suburban Milwaukee. The place is kind of dark despite being big with a large bar in the center. There is a huge fireplace that would probably be pretty cozy in the winter, but was not doing much when I visited in July. Decor inside is typical brewpub with slightly less kitsch and crap on the walls than normal.

Q-I tasted the raspberry hefe and the regular hefe. Both beers were merely OK; well, the regular hefe might have been below normal.

Ser-Service was the highpoint. The waitress was friendly and prompt, and the pours were nicely done in appropriate glassware.

Sel-Water Street leans German in its slim menu of house-brewed beers and I appreciate that a Marzen is one of their flagships. There were also a few guest options if you needed an local IPA, but don't come here expecting the newest sour or fruity-bomb, hazy IPA.

F-I had a salad and my lady friend had a burger. Both were well-done (meaning tasty, not overcooked). The menu is not going to win awards for creativity, but sometimes simple is alright.

O-A simple brewpub with adequate beers and above-average food and service.

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Paul's Club

in Madison, Wisconsin

3.64/5  rDev -0.8% | Avg: 3.67
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

V-This review is of the new Paul's Club location, which is apparently located pretty close to the old establishment. The tree is still there in the middle of the bar in case anyone is wondering. Paul's felt comfortable and a little lounge-y with dim lighting and a plethora of leather couches and overstuffed chairs. There is a small patio that allows patrons to take in all of the State-street action. The place was pretty quiet on an early Saturday afternoon during July when I visited.

Q-The beers on offer were mostly large craft and well-known locals. I would not hunt any of these beers down, but they were not awful swill, either. Just slightly above my average.

Ser-Despite the non-existent crowd, the bartenders were surly and stressed out. At least one of them did apologize after being kind of a dick, so he redeemed himself. The pours were OK, but I did get short-filled once. Glassware was appropriate for the beer style.

Sel-Paul's has about 20 beers on tap and a few can/bottle selections. As noted above, the variety is OK, but not great compared to some of the other places in town.

O-I like the feel of this place and location is great, but the service was a little underwhelming.

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Photo of coldriver
Twin City Brewing Company

in Port Alberni, British Columbia

3.99/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 3.99
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

This brewery opened in March 2017 in the Vancouver Island logging town of Port Alberni. We visited Twin City early on a Tuesday evening and found the place already packed - mostly by locals with a smattering of tourists like us coming from or going to Pacific Rim National Park on the Vancouver Island west coast. Having grown up in a similar logging town on the Washington Coast I loved the vibe of this place where the strong beer drinking tradition of PNW logging towns meets the young outdoor enthusiast movement and bonds together over craft beer. They had six beers on tap in their tap room (which seats around 30 or so) including a couple English styles (in fine BC beer tradition), a West Coast IPA, and my favorite, "Swedish Gymnast", labeled as a blonde but seeming more like a juicy pale ale to me. We didn't try the pizza but it looked great. They also do flights and growler fills. A must stop on the long and winding road to Tofino!

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Photo of Billolick
Ferreira Foodtown

in Jackson Heights (Queens), New York

3.44/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 3.44
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.25

Decent sized supermarket on a busy boulevard in New York City's Queens borough. Meats, veggies and ample internationals Neal food options in this highly mixed ethnicity neighborhood....Queens is on of the most diverse areas in the nation...the offer a reasonable but not overwhelming array of the widely available decent craft beer options typically found in the area...nothing hard to find but you will be able to get some real craft beer here if in the area

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Pro Re Nata Brewery

in Crozet, Virginia

3.83/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 3.83
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Absolutely fantastic location, spacious, large patio, and a crazy cool structure made out of storage units in the back. I don't know where the farm comes from? The beer is mediocre, worth a visit

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Photo of MacMalt
Cove Castle Restaurant

in Greenwood Lake, New York

4.21/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 4.21
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

This popular lakeside restaurant/bar is located on east side of Greenwood Lake. The restaurant features both indoor and outdoor deck dining. The deck is casual and you can watch the pleasure boats coming and going as you eat and drink. The inside dining and bar areas are rustic. The food is quite good. The beer selection is somewhat limited but includes numerous New York State craft beers. The Cove also features live entertainment both indoors and outside during the summer. The staff is friendly. Overall, it's a great place for a relaxing meal and a couple of beers.

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Photo of WickedBeer
Bottle Logic Brewing

in Anaheim, California

4.38/5  rDev +3.1% | Avg: 4.25
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Bottle Logic was great. Just a baby in the world of a craft brewing, they've created some incredible beer and grown so quickly in just 4 years. I was lucky enough to go yesterday and get a hold of three rare releases of theirs and it was totally worth it. It was crowded, hot, and only a brief visit but it's a stop any beer fanatic needs to make!!

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Photo of CaptainHate
Hansa Brewery

in Cleveland, Ohio

4.43/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 4.43
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

The place was pleasantly crowded on an early Saturday afternoon close to the West Side Market.. Excellent selection of German beer styles and cuisine. Bartender/brewmaster was friendly and informative. Lunch special gave a well rounded meal at a reasonable price. Had a very good time.

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Photo of John_M
Sunriver Brewing Company

in Sunriver, Oregon

3.76/5  rDev -2.1% | Avg: 3.84
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Located in the Sunriver Village, stopped by the other day for lunch and a brew with the wife and sister (and her husband).

The Sunriver pub is a decent size affair, with a nice size patio area as well. In the summer time, the village can get pretty packed with tourista types, and so to no great surprise, this place can get pretty busy (half hour to an hour waits for a table are fairly typical). The vibe is fairly low key, with a few flat screen TV's strewn around with various sporting events on. There didn't seem to be any very distinctive about the pub otherwise, though it seemed to have something of a modernistic vibe. There's modest size bar are holding I think around 10 seats (straight back from the front door I believe), along with all the tables in the dining room and out on the patio.

In terms of beer, I think there were some 10 different selections, which consisted of the 3 core beers (IPA, rippin ale and something else), and then a variety of seasonals (DIPA, TIPA, ESB, porter and weizen, among other things). I got the pineapple haze IPA (yet another NE style IPA), and it was pretty good. I think I might still prefer the vicious mosquito, but it was an enjoyable IPA for sure. Also tried the TIPA (batch 1000 I think), which was OK. It's not going to make me forget notorious or younger any time soon, but it wasn't terrible). Service was decent. The server seemed personal and pretty quick, which was a good thing, considering the lunch hour crowd. Food was also a but above your basic pub grub I thought, and everyone at our table enjoyed their selections.

Shrug. If this place was located in Portland or Bend I'm not sure how often I'd stop in, but it was a welcome oasis in Sunriver. Can absolutely see myself stopping in again the next time I'm in Sunriver.

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Photo of spelingchampeon
Waywood Beverage Co, Inc.

in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev -2.2% | Avg: 4.15
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Stopped in for the 2nd time in a couple month's. They have changed quite a bit, to the better. Single beers and six packs are available now, instead of case only. They have a good selection of beers from all over. The best thing for me is, I can now buy beer from breweries not available in Delaware or Maryland. The staff has always been helpful answering questions or checking for something not on the shelves. They recently installed a crowler/growler station.

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Alvarium Beer Company

in New Britain, Connecticut

4.18/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 4.18
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75

Located in a circa 1960s industrial park, Alvarium's taproom is large and spacious, with a 20 or so seat bar on the right, and another row of countertop seating running parallel on the left where the room is partitioned off from the brew house. With additional tables in the front and back, it's a big room. Bar is made from reclaimed wood, and sports a hi-tech digital taplist. The staff was courteous and engaging. The place has been open about 5 week... they had 4 of the own beers on tap, the three I tried were very tasty, and they had three local guest taps and a cider. They have a crowler machine... SWEET. Very pleasant experience, I look forward to future visits.

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The Lost Abbey

in San Marcos, California

4.6/5  rDev +6% | Avg: 4.34
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

This breweries tasting room is very nice. Not much on the eyes, unless you do enjoy drinking while forklifts drive by, I happen to enjoy it. The bartenders are great, selection is fantastic. I recommend a stop to taste and enjoy.

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Societe Brewing Co.

in San Diego, California

3.41/5  rDev -20.7% | Avg: 4.3
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5

I just love arrogant bartenders at breweries. The current explosion of craft beer has fueled this arrogance. I just moved to the West from the East, been stopping by local breweries when I get the chance. Stopped by to Société, because I happened to be in the neighborhood. I have had several beers at beer bars and the bartenders raved about the beer. The few I tried were great! So I was excited to visit. Walked in at sat at L-shaped bar. Waited for service....never happened. I waited and observed. I'm guessing after 15minutes, that it was counter service. My problem was the bartender saw me. The bartender walked by me twice, never said a word to me. So I left. I don't get upset anymore. FYI bartenders it is your job to inform new guests of your policy. Not the guests job to figure it out.

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Photo of spelingchampeon
Victory Brewing Company - Kennett Square

in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

4.65/5  rDev +6.2% | Avg: 4.38
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Arrived around lunch time on a Saturday. Clean! Pretty good crowd, which was slightly subdued.. probably because of how large it is. Huge bar, 25+/- taps.. with about 20 choices, plus 2 cask and 2 nitro options. The beertender was excellent, and everyone we met on-staff was outgoing and a pleasure to deal with. The beers were very good, and loved that they had 5 oz tasters. Both my wife and I enjoyed the time spent there and are looking to return. OTW out, we bought a shirt and a couple of drinking glasses.

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Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn

in Staten Island, New York

4.7/5  rDev +12.7% | Avg: 4.17
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Loved the beer, loved the atmosphere, loved the service, loved the food, loved it. I have to come back when the Ompah band is playing and enjoy some libation in the Beer Garden. I'm coming back soon. Love it here.

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Aeronaut Brewing Company

in Somerville, Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev +5.5% | Avg: 3.85
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3.75

There's only about 8 beers on draft, but they are decent. Service was top notch. Very cool vibe though, I love what they did with the place. Come to sample a flight or enjoy 1-3 beers... then see what else is out there.

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Augustiner Bräu - Kloster Mülln

in Salzburg, Austria

3.85/5  rDev -4% | Avg: 4.01
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

This place is an absolutely giant beer garden. It took a bit of a walk to bet too but it's close to the old town of Salzburg. We got there about 10 minutes before it opened and waiting with a bunch of other pilgrims for it to open. You basically go in, get a 1 liter stonewear stein, pay, get it filled and chill out outside. We had a beautiful cool summer day and it was great outside. There is just one beer- no selection but it's good beer in huge quanitites and the experience is so great that the lack of selection really doesn't matter. The food situation is really interesting with a bunch of different stalls where you can get any type of German/Austrian food you could want- everything we had was delicious. My rating is going to average out a little low because of how BA forces its rating categories- what can you do with selection when there's only one beer? But make no mistake, this place is awesome. Definitely the place to go in Salzburg and worth going out of your way for the experience.

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The BottleHouse Brewing Company

in Cleveland Heights, Ohio

4.13/5  rDev -3.1% | Avg: 4.26
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5

Spacious with long picnic communal-style tables and a few hightops, there is a music stage, high ceilings, and a short bar with a metal surface that is my only real complain about the space. If you spend long enough at the bar, the metallic surface can give off a scent that's a little like what your skin smells like after visiting a tanning salon.

It has a mellow vibe though, where board games are welcome, and chill music is playing. Even if it gets busy, it seems like a nice spot to take it easy. There's minimal food options though, and most are at the snacks level.

The beer selection is very nice with quite a variety. Not only are they hitting on all cylinders as far as beer styles, from Pale Ales, IPAs, Stouts, Saisons, Sours, and more, but they also offer their own meads and ciders, all made by BottleHouse, and all top notch. There wasn't a thing I had that I wasn't impressed by during my visit.

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Grav South Brew Co

in Cotati, California

3.92/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 3.92
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4

i love checking out random little breweries in northern california, they always have this charm about them, and the beer is always so much better than it seems like on average than most of the rest of the country. this little spot is cool once you find it, tucked into a shopping plaza corner off the highway, but it feels comfortable inside, new smelling, and with a small bar, some outside seating, a large building but not a lot of seating, and a small stage with a guy picking the blues. mellow but somewhat nondescript as a taproom, like ive been here several times before, but its relaxed as can be and the service is good. they had maybe ten beers flowing, many hoppier offerings which i like for california, and some cool strong ales. i was most impressed with the classic american pale and the barleywine, but all the hoppy stuff we had was great. solid brown ale too. nothing really too ambitious, but good beer doesnt always need to be challenging, and that seems to be their motto here. they are also doing some smoked foods from the aroma in here, so tantalizing, but we unfortunately did not have time to indulge. great place to stop when you are trekking north, the hoppy beers were all good, and its literally right off the highway. worth checking out, it was fun and happening yet mellow enough for conversation, exactly what i need in a good taproom...

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Salm Bräu

in Wien, Austria

4.3/5  rDev +5.4% | Avg: 4.08
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

Nice beer hall near the center of Vienna right at the stop of one of the street car lines. The vibe is very cool traditional German/Austrian. We sat outside on a hot day right after our flight from the states, all severely jet lagged. But they had a fan running near us and the overall vibe was just what we needed. Between us we tried all or nearly all of their beers (all were quite good), I think there were about 5, which is a fair number for this type of place in Europe, from my experience. Service was good with waiters running around constantly and pretty cool and friendly (although there's never enough of them- this is also very typical Europe from my experience). Food was awesome- great schnitzels and traditional German/Austrian food.

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Green Cheek Beer Company

in Orange, California

5/5  rDev +8% | Avg: 4.63
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Although only a month since its grand opening, Green Cheek has already established itself as one of Orange County’s top craft beer producers by releasing an entire portfolio of high quality brews … especially their “hoppies” (IPAs, Pale Ales, etc.). Green Cheek was started by the former head brewer at Noble Ale Works, Even Price … Evan was pretty much responsible for putting and keeping Noble on the map – he is a talented brewer and this shows in every Green Cheek beer.

At the time of my visit there were 9 different beers available and two non-beer selections … iced coffee and tea … pretty unique for a brewery to offer iced tea on tap, definitely a welcomed addition. Green Cheek’s interior space is quite large for a “smaller” brewery. No air conditioning but they have big industrial fans keep the place cool … heat shouldn’t be much of a problem except on the hottest of SoCal days. Friendly vibe and a mixed crowd of older and younger patrons. Family friendly. Staff is super friendly and attentive … there was a decent line during my two hour stay at Green Cheek, but the staff kept the line moving very well. No food served, but they typically have food trucks onsite or you are welcome to bring your own grub.

The value at Green Cheek is the best I’ve seen from any Orange County brewery … meaning the LOWEST PRICES I’ve seen for tasting flights, full pours, crowlers, etc. Considering the high quality of the beer, these prices are a steal. A tasting flight of four 4-ounce pours is $6, full pours averaged $5, crowler fills $10 to $14and growler fills in the $20 to $25 range (price includes glass). Heck, even their merchandise was priced very reasonably … t-shirts were well under $20.

Green Cheek is a welcome addition to the Orange County craft beer scene … it has my highest recommendation … absolutely worth a visit, even if you have to drive out of your way.

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