Allentown Brew Works
Active Beers: 46
Beer Ratings: 1,459
Beer Avg: 3.67
Taps: 12 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 31 | Show All Ratings:
3.98/5 rDev +2.3%
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
4.03/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
On my last trip to the area I did the sister location in Bethleham which I feel is in a more happening area and has an atmosphere that takes better advantage of the old, restored building each of these places has in common.
Pretty slow on an icy Tuesday evening. I had to move from a bar table to a seat at the bar because no one would wait on me.
I went with a Hop Explosion IPA (tomahawk hops) and their Belgian holiday ale. Both were very nice and I don't think an indicator of the B rating on BA. They also had a barleywine on tap. I had the Gyro and it was good as well.
You can't go wrong at either of these places as the beer and food are both very good. If I had to choose again, I'd pick the Bethleham location.
01-07-2009 16:58:37 | More by Yetiman420
3.8/5 rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Travelling home from Weyerbacher's open house, the akorsak clan decided to visit ABW.
Atmosphere: The first floor is reasonably spacious, with plenty of tables both up front and around the long bar. Modest color designs are neither inviting or cold. There is apparently at least one other level, as we sat adjacent to the stairs to the Silk Lounge.
Quality: The hostess seemed disinterested but the waitress made up for it. Food and drinks were all better than acceptable.
Service: Our waitress was prompt and friendly. The boys' lunch came out quicker than we expected (thumbs up for keeping a 3- and 1-year old happy). Beers were kept full.
Selection: I counted 10 or so house brews on tap, including Hop Explosion (a decent, even good, IPA) and Rude Elf (a nice Belgian warmer). As we exited, I scanned the bar and saw what appeared to be a modest line-up of import beers (good stuff, not Corona or Stella).
Food: Mozz sticks were good, not great. The boys were content with grilled cheese and fries. My bacon 'n' blue burger was good (could have used a more robust bleu though) and my wife enjoyed her veggie wrap.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed ABW. After a less-than-thrilling visit to BBW one year ago today, I am glad that we gave the Fegleys another chance.
03-30-2008 03:41:27 | More by akorsak
4.3/5 rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Stopped into Allentown Brew Works for lunch on 26JAN10, en route to Lancaster PA.
Located on the ground floor of a large stone building in the heart of Allentown, the front of ABC has lots of metal and large windows. Through a small foyer on the left, and you are deposited inside about 1/3 of the way down the long, front-to-back dining area. Along the right side of the 1st third of the place are large fermenting vessels, perhaps 6 or 7 of them. Tables and chairs line the front windows, as well as some booths parallel to the tanks. More booths and tables are set up heading towards the rear of the place, with a low dividing wall on the left amid some large, square pillars. The bar runs alongside the right, about 1/3 of the way from the front to the far rear. The bar itself has a cool, lemon-yellow plexiglas inlay which is illuminated from below. Behind the bar are rows of neatly arranged mug-club steins and a well-stocked collection of liquor, as well as a few large-screen TVs. Between the brew vessels and the start of the bar is an exit to a fair-weather biergarten. At the far rear, on the right, is a staircase leading to an upper level, perhaps more dining or another bar; I didn't investigate. Most of the walls and decor are brownish, the lighting is fairly low and warm, and the ceilings are high with exposed duct-work. A nice mix of mostly-classic rock with some reggae filled the airwaves.
Parked at the bar, I had to choose from about a dozen draft offerings, most from right here but 1 or 2 from their sister brewpub in Bethlehem. It was a good variety, from pale ales to belgian strongs to doppelbocks. They also have a large, quality list of domestic and imported bottled biers. I opted first for their own DBock, and some food, the 2500° Chicken Breast Sammich. Very well-proportioned, and nice and spicy! It really hit the spot, and the DBock was well-made, too. For "dessert" I went for a tulip of their DIPA. Damn, was that tasty! So much so that I had two! Wish I could have hung for more, but driving was on the horizon. Service here was quite good, staff being attentive, helpful and friendly (even comping me a DIPA. Woo-hoo!).
All in all, a very pleasant and satisfying stop while traversing PA. Prosit!!
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 - $$
02-04-2010 21:01:14 | More by Bierman9
4/5 rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $
Hit around lunch time on a weekday. Fairly busy in the restaurant area but bar was a little slow so I sat there as I was alone.
First time in a this new facility of the sister to Bethlehem Brew Works.
Located right downtown near the square in Allentown. Nice place inside with a modern / industrial feel. I sat at the bar that had a really cool top...it was translucent and seemed to be lighted underneath.
All three of my beers were good or better, pilsner, porter and pumpkin with the pumpkin being the best. I was a bit bummed that they had nothing hoppy on....their 7% Hop Explosion IPA was out and the newly crowned GABF gold medal winning (won in the Pro-Am category) English IPA was out too....although it would on tomorrow for a special thing...damn!
My bartender Michelle was a real talker (in a good way) and was very attentive to all of her patrons. She was truly interested in learning things about beer and was a true pleasure.
Food looked good but I was in a bit of a hurry and passed....next time I plan on taking more time.
All totaled I had 3 pints and my bill was $8....wow, is that all ok!
Overall a nice addition to the revitalizing scene in downtown Allentown and a solid addition to the Fegley's empire. I wish them all the best.
10-19-2007 12:07:39 | More by Deuane
3.5/5 rDev -10%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
This is an odd little place - the beers are perfectly OK, but the experience was just a shade off. Hard to say why - kind of like everything was about half a second out of phase with reality.
Start with the location. The downtown area is, to put it charitably, a little sketchy. And parking is a nuisance. Not to say there isn't plenty, because there is - acres of parking. But it is strictly metered for blocks and blocks in every direction. Bring quarters.
The restaurant is severely modern - wood and steel, with a high ceiling and a gigantic bar area. It's not bad looking, but the effect is rather austere and cold, and the net effect is to amplify the noise from the bar to an uncomfortable degree.
The menu is huge - page after page of food options. Too big, in fact. The dishes get lost in a sea of options.
And the execution is a little odd. Caramelized onions on a gyro? Seriously? It's not that the food is bad, it is just strangely conceived and not a wow - lacking in salt, featuring odd accents.
The beer, however, is good. They have a generous sampling tray that comes in a nifty little holder designed like an industrial gear, the symbol of the restaurant. The Hop Explosion IPA and the Copper Kettle Pale Ale stand out.
Service was competent, but I found a little remote. The staff was friendly without actually being warm or welcoming, though I must say they were reasonably crisp in their timing.
Not a bad place, but not one I will be dreaming of returning to.
05-24-2010 10:56:57 | More by Seanibus
4.13/5 rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Having been to the sister location in nearby Bethlehem I could see some similarities, but generally, contrary to the other reviews, I tend to like this one better. It may be unfair to judge this based upon one visit on a quiet Monday night, but I found the bartender (Dennis) and other employees milling about to be friendlier and more helpful then I recall in Bethlehem, though granted, there wasn't much going on to distract them as I experienced in Bethlehem. I had three beers during this visit, all were good, none great, though the Hop Explosion was better than average. The food (chili & the buffalo chicken salad) was very decent, no problem there at all though it seems you might need to be careful what you choose according to what I heard in conversation. This is a big place with four floors (!) right in the heart of the downtown Allentown area, just a block away from the Holiday Inn on Hamilton Street if you are visiting from out of town as I was. The atmosphere is dark and fairly moderne trendy but not offensive by my take. I was comfortable. There's a constant stream of good music with a few well placed televisions. The variety of brews is pretty solid although I was disappointed to find that they were out of the barleywine this night. Dennis threw me a free round along with a free bottle of water for the walk to my hotel. A few folks sitting at the bar around me were very friendly and chatty (good to have met Griffin, Mr. Mug Club, growler king and member of the unofficial/official Allentown Municipal golf league). All in all, it was a real enjoyable visit and I will be sure to stop here again.
04-21-2009 05:12:51 | More by Durge
4.05/5 rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
My wife, son and I came here after picking up a case of hopslam in Emmaus. This is a nice place to pick up lunch. Right in the middle of town on hamilton street. After walking through the two sets of double glass doors. We were greeted by cases of hop explosion. Damn shame I didn't have enough money for a case. Anyway a stairwell is kind of hidden to the left of the hosstess desk with a nice dining area to the left and awesome looking bar to the right. Our seats back were we came in in front of the window to the city of Allentown.
Our server was a bit unpleasant but besides being grumpy he was very quick to ask if we needed anything.
Beers were a bit pricey as well as the samples at $10 for six. Brew works is some of the cheapest cases I have seen and for good quality but at the brewpub the seem to charge a bit more.
I will say the is the cleanest brewpub and restaraunt I have ever been in. Very pleased to go to the bathroom and smell potpouri and not stand in a puddle of urine.
The family and I were very happy to come here.
01-26-2012 22:43:27 | More by TheFightfan1
2.95/5 rDev -24.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$
I've been here a few times now, and will review on the average of those visits.
First off, I'll give it props for atmosphere. Very elegant feel, with fair prices. That's about as good as it gets I'm afraid.
The beer is average, with only the occasional reach into the above par. The beers I've had: Pigtail Ale, Pigpen Pils, Maibock, Rudolph's Revenge, and the only one I actually ordered more than once, Hop Explosion. The beers seem dumbed down, or rushed. The Hop Explosion is fairly tasty, and I give them props on that beer. I'm not sure what the issue is, whether it's equipment or upper management. From what I'm told, the head brewer is quite good at doing his "thang", so I can only blame his equipment or superiors.
Food is just your average pub grub. I do like their chicken fingers, but other than that, every meal was just average and just served to fill my stomach.
Overall, the Allentown Brew Works is merely a clone of the Bethlehem Brew Works, Average. It'll feed you, it'll get some alcohol in you, and keep you dry in the rain. But don't expect to get "wow-ed" Head to an Iron Hill Brewpub for that.
06-25-2008 22:19:05 | More by leftmindedrighty
1.45/5 rDev -62.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 2 | $$
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
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Allentown Brew Works in Allentown, PA
88 out of 100 based on 36 user ratings.