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Union Barrel Works
Active Beers: 21
Beer Ratings: 134
Beer Avg: 3.68
Taps: 6 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Eatery, Store ]
6 N Reamstown Rd
phone: (717) 335-7837
Non smoking, closed on Mondays; all others and Sundays open at 11am.
(Place added by: Phatz on 03-07-2007)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 32 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
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.
07-11-2011 21:16:30 |
More by Ibrewmyownbeer
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | $$
We hit this place right after our journey to Stoudts. The building was pretty cool, and atmosphere was pleasant in the brewpub. Our group did not get anything to eat as we already had dinner over at Stoudts.
We each tried a 10 beer (2oz) sampler. ($7?) Even though the bartenders were very attentive, some of the pours were not correct. Most of the beers were very bland, and in my opnion the bare minimum in order to have it actually be considered a pilsner,lager, etc..
The beers were not very impressive, and my favorite the Dubbel was only slightly above average. Unfortunately they were out of their Octoberfest which is one of the beers I wanted to try.
Pretty sure I would not come back to this place unless they upgraded their beer. On a positive note, they do growler refills.
08-10-2008 15:37:56 |
More by krukster
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2 | $$
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.
08-15-2008 17:07:04 |
More by TonyT
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$
Stopped for lunch earlier today at the behest of some friends.
The place was deserted upon our entrance with the staff seeming somewhat bewildered to find 4 people sitting at the bar at 11:30am. The barkeep handed us beer menus and did the run-down, noting changes.
We ordered beers and they were really awesome about asking us if we wanted to order food before a party of 20 put in their order. We did, I got fish & chips (pretty good stuff) and the food was out fast.
Beers were decent, nothing to write home about, and a few that we tried were strangely acidic, notable their stout and dopplebock. Not sure if it's intentional, line cleaning or infection. One of the people who suggested this for lunch did not remember the dopplebock being tart.
However, we got a sample of their new Simcoe Pale Ale and that was the shit! Had remorse that we had to go without a pint of it.
Decent, but not a huge fan, all things considered.
10-13-2010 04:22:56 |
More by SFLpunk
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
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.
10-30-2009 19:55:32 |
More by BlitzShadow
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.
01-19-2011 00:42:27 |
More by pcar333
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.
12-28-2007 20:31:54 |
More by sholland119
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
I've hit Union Barrel Works a few times and always leave with the same impression...Clean, friendly atmosphere with quality beer and food. There is a lot of character in the old building and the classic bar.
The early dinner atmosphere is great for family, but I haven't been there later on a weekend, so I don't know if it livens up after the early birds.
The wait staff is helpful and knowledgeable and service has always been prompt. The food is standard brewpub (I am a fan of the sweet potato fries) and hasn't disappointed. The number of beers on tap has increased over time and there's a full range of styles to choose from. The Mai Bock and Kolsch are top notch.
Union Barrel Works is not spectacular, but it is a solid brewpub that I'll continue to frequent.
09-27-2010 20:22:05 |
More by 007
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
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.
03-04-2009 17:52:32 |
More by shangwang
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.
12-24-2012 20:00:45 |
More by mildlybitter75
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Union Barrel Works in Reamstown, PA
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