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Allentown Brew Works
Active Beers: 43
Beer Ratings: 1,135
Beer Avg: 3.69
Taps: 12 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
812-816 W. Hamilton Street
phone: (610) 433-7777
In 2010 the beers from both brewpubs will be called Fegley Brew Works brands, though the names of the brew pubs will remain the same.
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vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Missed my kid sister and her Bum in from the west for cousin Lauren's vegan wedding (which as the black alpaca of the family, I was not invited to), so I trudged out the next day to PA for a Labor day gathering at mom's. So long a time since I've last been home, my own family didn't even remember me. Was due out there for 3, but how's about I come out around say, noonish and we go grab a beer or two beforehand somewhere (the somewhere I already know where). Promised mom I'd have them back early enough for set up and that we wouldn't get all shitty, and off we went. Mapquested fairly short but came up longer and weren't we (mis)fortunate to have seen the scenes of blight on the scary detoured around town tour. Holy crap, Allentown is dodgytown...
Scored a sweet street spot just up the way from the big old bargain for a buck building on the block. A large cavernous space here and it ain't the half of it. A wall of windows up front with a half dozen tables below, and past there, a row of serving tanks in a pen along the far wall with a row of booths running adjacent.
To the rear, a long "C" shaped bar with a lit yellow splotchy pebble plexi panel top seating a dozen and a half off to one side. We deemed the lack of a foot rail to be "not cool". Barback is a long counter with glass front coolers in the center holding bottled selections, and 4 tiered booze below a tall vertical mirror. Rows of mugs two deep to both sides below mounted flat screens, and further out on more vertical mirrors above towers of 12 at each end. 5 raised bar tables run adjacent to the bar/dining side separator on large beams, a dozen or so booths on the other side, and more seating in a rear perch "L" above around the back and side offering views of the room. Drop blue cone lamps above the bar, brown rough walls, mounted lampage, and exposed duct work.
Elevators and staircases, I got the kind tour without even asking for it. Starting upstairs, in the High Gravity Room; a "C" shaped bar seating 13, with a good deal of seating to the rear, roughly a dozen booths running the near wall past the bar, and about 2 dozen tables riddled about. Up front, a few tables in the bar area looking over the seating in the front windows down below, and a row of alternating sized fermenters in the large front windows above. Forewent the banquet room up upstairs to have a look at the Silk Lounge down in the basement; low lit and chill, with an "L" shaped bar seating a dozen, cushy couches, and a pair of pool tables there.
Currently 10 taps on, 6 flagship and 4 seasonals. The sampler only gives you 6 served in a cog wheel but you get to pick which ones you want, so we did (And then ordered up second samplers to fill in the blanks). Starting with the flagships, the Pig Pen Pilsener was somewhat corny; the Fegley's Amber Lager, slightly malty, okay; the Copper Kettle Pale Ale, pleasant enough, not too hoppy; the Steelgaarden Wit, unfiltered, you got chamomile more than anything, and it was very tasty; the Hop Explosion IPA, at 7%, "An APA with liquid bitterness", so says the Bum; the Pawn Shop Porter, chocolatey roasty goodness; and the seasonals, Belgian Triple, at 9%, pale color, a sickly sweet mess; the Grand Cru, at 6.3%, pepper spicy weird assness, really odd and just not good; the Old Allentown Ale, an English brown, very nicely done; and the West End Red, with a nice hoppy bitterness, Cascade & Chinook. Thought the best of the lot were the Steelgaarden Wit, Pawn Shop Porter & Old Allentown Ale. They've also got a large bottle list, some 90+ offerings. Nearly a dozen and a half American micros, and just as many UK, and then just over a dozen Belgians and just as many Germans. The remainder being just too many crappy beers of the world for my liking. Amongst the American micros... Port Wipeout, Bells Two Hearted, Lost Abbey Avant Garde, New Holland, Stone, Left Hand.
Not too bad overall, but not outstanding either. Service was pleasant and gave me the tour without me having asked for it (maybe it was the red pen jotting). Held the lunch menu but never got to it as I was informed that I was expected to eat back home, which reminds me; that second sampler put us over a tad on time, we need to move.
09-24-2008 01:10:48 |
More by slander
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$
I've been here a few times now, and will review on the average of those visits.
First off, I'll give it props for atmosphere. Very elegant feel, with fair prices. That's about as good as it gets I'm afraid.
The beer is average, with only the occasional reach into the above par. The beers I've had: Pigtail Ale, Pigpen Pils, Maibock, Rudolph's Revenge, and the only one I actually ordered more than once, Hop Explosion. The beers seem dumbed down, or rushed. The Hop Explosion is fairly tasty, and I give them props on that beer. I'm not sure what the issue is, whether it's equipment or upper management. From what I'm told, the head brewer is quite good at doing his "thang", so I can only blame his equipment or superiors.
Food is just your average pub grub. I do like their chicken fingers, but other than that, every meal was just average and just served to fill my stomach.
Overall, the Allentown Brew Works is merely a clone of the Bethlehem Brew Works, Average. It'll feed you, it'll get some alcohol in you, and keep you dry in the rain. But don't expect to get "wow-ed" Head to an Iron Hill Brewpub for that.
06-25-2008 22:19:05 |
More by leftmindedrighty
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Not easy to find for this out-of-towner.
Nice space, with the serving tanks greeting you upon entering. Stopped in around 2pm on a Sat. and it was mostly empty. Some folks were outside in the garden. After being seated by the hostess, we waited 10 minutes before our server said Hi. After placing our order, the turn-around was great. The beer was good with 6 fulltimers and 3 seasonals; I had both the Hop Explosion and the Porter. I also picked-up a growler of the Pale Ale for later. The food was good, but you did not get alot for the price. I had the pulled pork sandwich that came on a hotdog bun-sized steak roll(about 5 inches long). The way they cut the roll, you don't get much meat and I finished the meal in about 5 minutes. Put it on a kaiser roll and take care of the customer (8.50?!? - come on). That is the reason for the pricey rating. The beer was good and the bartender I talked to was real cool, but I don't see myself eating here again - more of a beer stop if in the area
06-22-2008 14:08:06 |
More by mobud
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$$
Place is located in the heart of Allentown.
Long narrow building with plent of seating. Nicely lit bar (literally) led to a very inviting atmosphere.
The selection of beer was very good, 8 or 9 different beers offered on tap. Also have a martini bar and ful licquor available.
All the beers i tried were good. The best was a seasonal Belgian Strong called. "Rude Elfs Reserve" . Excellent, excellent beer.
Service was great and the food was too.
A bit pricey, but would definitly visit again.
04-06-2008 19:56:25 |
More by dmamiano
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Travelling home from Weyerbacher's open house, the akorsak clan decided to visit ABW.
Atmosphere: The first floor is reasonably spacious, with plenty of tables both up front and around the long bar. Modest color designs are neither inviting or cold. There is apparently at least one other level, as we sat adjacent to the stairs to the Silk Lounge.
Quality: The hostess seemed disinterested but the waitress made up for it. Food and drinks were all better than acceptable.
Service: Our waitress was prompt and friendly. The boys' lunch came out quicker than we expected (thumbs up for keeping a 3- and 1-year old happy). Beers were kept full.
Selection: I counted 10 or so house brews on tap, including Hop Explosion (a decent, even good, IPA) and Rude Elf (a nice Belgian warmer). As we exited, I scanned the bar and saw what appeared to be a modest line-up of import beers (good stuff, not Corona or Stella).
Food: Mozz sticks were good, not great. The boys were content with grilled cheese and fries. My bacon 'n' blue burger was good (could have used a more robust bleu though) and my wife enjoyed her veggie wrap.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed ABW. After a less-than-thrilling visit to BBW one year ago today, I am glad that we gave the Fegleys another chance.
03-30-2008 03:41:27 |
More by akorsak
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This place is massive!!! Man I can not get over how big it is. Four floors all together and I was told that there are two floors that are not even developed yet. It has to be one of the biggest Brew Pubs in PA or maybe even the US.
When you first walk in you see the serving tanks right away. When you look up you have the fermenters hanging over your head in an atrium opening.
The Main bar has a cool lighted bar top that is very NY in style. The whole place looks like it should be located in NY or Vegas. Amazing that the Fegley Family took the risk of opening this pub in a struggling city. They certainly are sending the message that Allentown is changing for the better. What an undertaking and my hats off to them.
The basement holds a lounge called Silk. They feature over 100 world beers. The second floor is called High Gravity and rightly so sells 'big' beers. The third floor is a banquet room called the Hamilton room and is used for weddings and big party functions.
There is plenty of free parking on the street or in a surface lot right across the street at night time. Plus there is a parking deck free at nights and I am told free parking behind the pub day and night.
The atmosphere is great. The pulled pork and beer cheese soup were just as good as their Bethlehem location. The menu here seemed to offer more items than the other location but the portions and quality were equally as good.
If you are in the Allentown area visiting Dorney Park with the family, don't miss this place. They are kid friendly like most brew pubs.
The Porter is one of the best I have ever had. Try that or the Pig Pen Pils which I think is named in honor of the new AAA phillies team the Iron Pigs that will be playing right down the street at a new stadium called coca-cola park.
I'll be back again for sure and may even make it a baseball trip with friends!
03-24-2008 08:19:43 |
More by beerhawk
vibe: 2 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 2 | $$
Stopped by here Sunday evening on the way back from Philladelphia. I can only review the street level bar/restaurant as we didn't make it downstairs to Silk or upstairs to High Gravity.
Atmosphere - Dark. Too Dark. My party and I were dressed in hats and sweatshirts so they stuck us at a table away from every one else. The place had a modern look to it from what I can tell. However it was too dark. The surface of the bar lit up and that was neat because I believe that was the only light in the whole place.
Quality - Terrbile. The beer was beyond not drinkable. I had a sampler. This consisted of:
William Ale Ale
Rudolph's Revenge (or some thing like that)
Instead of describing each one, feel free to take any five of the following words to describe any of the above beers:
Awful, repugnant, stale, sewer water, moldy, feet smell, cinnamon, terrible, bland, undrinkable.
The worst being the Rudolph beer. I have never tasted so much cinnamon in a beer before. The overwhelming taste made the beer completely undrinkable.
Service - Our waitress was more interested in the people at the bar than she was with our table.
Selection - I really didn't know how to rate this. Since the six beers I had were awful, I would state the selection was awful. However, I didn't try all of the beers.
Food - mediocore. The appetize Pizza was bland. The Asian Wrap was over sauced. Eating the wrap, all of the sauce ran down my hand onto the plate.
Value - THe prices were OK, $50 for four of us. But that would not make me want to come back.
In closing, let me say this place is identical in subpar beer and mediocore beer to the Bethlehem location. If that is your thing, go to which ever one is closer.
12-10-2007 18:14:45 |
More by mymrnngjckt
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $
Hit around lunch time on a weekday. Fairly busy in the restaurant area but bar was a little slow so I sat there as I was alone.
First time in a this new facility of the sister to Bethlehem Brew Works.
Located right downtown near the square in Allentown. Nice place inside with a modern / industrial feel. I sat at the bar that had a really cool top...it was translucent and seemed to be lighted underneath.
All three of my beers were good or better, pilsner, porter and pumpkin with the pumpkin being the best. I was a bit bummed that they had nothing hoppy on....their 7% Hop Explosion IPA was out and the newly crowned GABF gold medal winning (won in the Pro-Am category) English IPA was out too....although it would on tomorrow for a special thing...damn!
My bartender Michelle was a real talker (in a good way) and was very attentive to all of her patrons. She was truly interested in learning things about beer and was a true pleasure.
Food looked good but I was in a bit of a hurry and passed....next time I plan on taking more time.
All totaled I had 3 pints and my bill was $8....wow, is that all ok!
Overall a nice addition to the revitalizing scene in downtown Allentown and a solid addition to the Fegley's empire. I wish them all the best.
10-19-2007 12:07:39 |
More by Deuane
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
It's a spin-off of the Brew Works already thriving in Bethlehem, PA, complete with the same steel town motif -- Bethlehem Steel was the #2 American Steel producer for most of the 20th century -- but with a touch more sophistication.
The building, set in downtown Allentown, is divided into three parts. The main floor is the dining area, a deep room that seems to disappear from sight when you enter the building, although you can make out an assortment of flat-screen TVs looming over the softly lit bar area. Terrace seating for dining curves along the outline of the room, as patrons can look down on other patron's bald spots.
Take an elevator or the stairs to the upper level, called "High Gravity," to reveal a smaller bar, which the staff admitted was mostly spill-over space. Nothing spectacular. Not even high-gravity beers.
But the real winner is the downstairs bar, called Silk. Reminiscent of the Steelgarten on the bottom floor of the Bethlehem Works -- instituted to provide a haven for those seeking a bit more class and, with that, other single adults -- it features a lone pool table and a marble bar with your prototypical lounge-style music in the background. Coltrane, Davis, easier-listening Wilco, et al. Couches line the back wall, promoting an even more loungy feel.
We'll see as the place grows in popularity what kind of identities the rooms develop.
My favorite part about Silk, though, had nothing to do with decor...if it did, this place would blow. (I hope most everybody skipped the first part...I felt like I had some obligation to provide a scene setting) The glory of the bar is the fridge, which features more than 100 bottled craft beers from all around the world, America to Guyana to Germany. The menu illuminates each beer with well-constructed and extraordinarily knowledgeable analyses that don't just make generalizations on the style of beer -- my buddy didn't talk to us for 15 minutes because he was studying it. Each bottle gets its own treatment, just like it deserves. It's even more impressive to me because a great deal of breweries are reticent to acknowledge that other beers exist, using a business-by-coercion, funnel-our-customers mentality. This place, though, promotes beer awareness (isn't that the point of all of this?), clearly trying to propagate the abounding love of the beverage that it already possesses.
Now onto the real important stuff -- its own beers. You could, after all, go to a good beer store to stock up on foreign crafts. When we were there, a few days before its grand opening on Father's Day 2007, eight beers on tap.
--Pale Ale -- ok, a bit under-hopped
--Amber Lager -- Insinuations of Yuengling, the local passion
--Hop Explosion -- Not underhopped. Delicious, though with a bit of an astringent mouthfeel.
--Pilsner -- The weakest offering. Few hops, very watery and over-carbonated. Like it was brewed to rein in the business of those who ask "What's the beer that's most like Bud Light?" If so, successful.
--Porter -- One of the best porters I've ever had. Served on carbo-tap, but still exquisitely smooth. Not overpoweringly bitter, allowing the dark malt to come through and coax you into it. Really nice.
--Berliner Weisse -- Lot of lactic acid, creamy and bitter and quite refreshing. Can also be served with some raspberry flavoring and some other one I can't remember.
I forget the other two. Check them out yourselves.
Each one of the beers, if I remember, was less than $4. A flight of six 5.5-ounce beers was only $8.50. Worth it.
The personable and knowledgable staff told us that the brewer not only designs and brews all the beers, but set up all the tap lines and everything. Way cool.
So if this review seems effusively positive (and it does), it's because this establishment is a place that aims at one of the most important goals in the Lehigh Valley it calls home: The Revitalization of Allentown. A town beset with decay after industry evaporated in the Valley, Allentown's struggled to recover. But slowly, some good things have begun to foment in the downtown area as local developers/philanthropists have finally poured in money with some sort of direction instead of just randomly throwing it around.
So have an altruistic pint and smile. And repeat.
06-16-2007 23:39:13 |
More by Scheity
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Allentown Brew Works in Allentown, PA