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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
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Eatery, Store ]
6 N Reamstown Rd
phone: (717) 335-7837
Non smoking, closed on Mondays; all others and Sundays open at 11am.
(Place added by: Phatz on 03-07-2007)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 32 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
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.
10-21-2009 15:28:03 |
More by slander
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
A fairly new establishment located in the heart of a little town, UBW is a nice place in a what looked to be a converted office or municipal building. A beautiful mahogany bar is the centerpiece of the room.
We started with the sampler (9 beers currently), which yielded a nice hefeweizen, a tasty maibock and a solid pale ale. Also some decent beers (kolsch, stout, lager, oktoberfest), a disappointing dopplebock and a (to us) undrinkable vienna lager. All of the beers seemed oddly undercarbonated and, excpet for the hefe and the maibock, a little thin.
The bartender was very pleasant but not very knowledgeable about beer. I prefer a little beer geekiness in a brewpub bartender.
This place has potential and will be worth dropping in on from time to time.
12-28-2007 20:31:54 |
More by sholland119
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
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.
10-05-2009 21:40:17 |
More by akorsak
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
A-Lovely interior with lots of wood . Nice touch of NO SMOKING. Beautiful wooden bar with ~15 stools. Very cool old bar back that dates from the late 1800's from the old Showboat Bar in Reading, PA. Lots of Brewerania around to iclude a Gunther Beer light sign, last name of a good friend who is distantly related to the brewing Gunther clan form Baltimore, MD. ABout a dozen tables in the bar area with a single TV in the corner. A very cozy atmosphere. A more formal open dining are in the back has about 20 tables.
Q-Both the beers and the food were solid. A very nice place.
S-Suzie was friendly and supportive. It was rather slow at 230 PM but she did a fine job. Not overly attentive. Needs to learn a bit about the beer business though...had no idea about the stout being on nitro, Why do I need to know that? she stated....Because some beer geek like me might ask....that's why!
S-7 beers on....5 lagers or lager -like (the Kolsch) only two ales...a pale that was more malty than hoppy and a nice stout. The lagers were solid but not my cup of tea....a want for maybe a truly hoppy beer.
F-Wonderful! Some of the best Brew Pub food I have had. Smoked Trout Chowder was outstanding. A chipotle encrusted sea scallop salad with mango, red onion over mixed greens with a house vinagrette was innovative and very lovely.
V-A very reasonable place for the quality of food and beer you are getting. A nice addition to the southeastern PA beer scene.
01-17-2008 14:13:35 |
More by Deuane
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
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.
09-21-2007 14:03:16 |
More by Slatetank
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Arrived at 530pm on a Thursday evening. We had reservations, but the dinig area was virtually empty and we were promptly seated by the owner. Our drink orders were promptly taken and we were given a free appetizer. (That's one sure wat to impress me. Our drinks arrived in an appropriate time frame.Our food orders were then taken and they were also served in an appropiate time. All the food was excellent. My wife requested a side salad in place of the fries for her meal and her request was granted. The appetizer I ordered (crab cheesecake) was absolutely excellent.If you go there I highly recommend it. The portions were large and I ended up taking half my sandwich home (I finished it 2 days later and it was still good) . This was my second visit (I was there on opening day but with the limited menu available I did not feel it was appropriate to evaluate that visit) A great place. I wish them the best of luck.
04-21-2007 18:50:38 |
More by tgbljb
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
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.
01-11-2008 02:21:57 |
More by sulldaddy
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $
I will comment more on the food after I get a chance to try it, but I stopped by today and got a look around. I had the pleasure of chatting with Tom Rupp and even meeting his son who is the Chef. The building is spectacular. Old tin ceilings that you can't buy today. Gorgeous wooden bar, hardwood floors, you name it. The carpentry work is superb. Tom spared *no* expense on anywhere. Even the men's room has nice woodwork, and tile floor. No metal stall doors, it is all hand made. Is it elaborate? YES. but it feels very classy from start to finish. The brew house is between the bar section and the restaurant. When you first walk in the door you will notice how spacious everything feel. A long bar is to you left. If you continue on by you'll see glass doors showing off the brewery and then beyond that is the dining area. It is a large space. Currently set for 76 seats though it has capacity for 96. Very spacious, open feeling all the way through the building. Well done Tom.
[I have been back now a number of times and failed to add to my review. Here goes: The food is absolutely exceptional. The service is magnificent. I was there last night and had the opportunity to spend about two hours talking with Tom and his bar tender Nelson. Great time, great people, great food. I did talk with the son Dave. He is a good chef but try not to talk to him. (we'll leave it at that) everyone else is very cordial.]
03-30-2007 23:43:47 |
More by Phatz
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
First off, this place is smoke free! The bar and dining are both spacious and airy with lots of wood. German styles of beer aren't my favorite but they have some damn tasty brews nonetheless. The maibock and hefe in particular were standouts. The menu is fantastic by brewpub standards. I've had the duck and shrimp magnolias and both were outstanding. The dinners are pricey but a good value and the beer prices are very reasonable. They have a liberal growler fill policy which I appreciate. Either 1 or 2 liter fills are o.k. regardless of the name on the side of the growler. I highly recommend a visit.
11-29-2007 23:15:44 |
More by DIM
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$
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!
09-09-2007 19:08:24 |
More by ffejherb
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Union Barrel Works in Reamstown, PA
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