Trip One – Pubs 4 & 5

[Disclaimer: If you haven’t read the Introduction posting, this may not make sense. You may want to start there before reading on.]

To get to the next two pubs, leave Downingtown and go back to the Turnpike headed west to Exit 286. These two brewpubs can be enjoyed in no particular order – one is south of the Turnpike, and the other is north (Stoudt’s, to the north, doesn’t open until 4:30 most days.) They are both fine places, and your visit might depend upon your beer or food choices.

Union Barrel Works

6 N. Reamstown Road
Reamstown, PA 17567
717-335-SUDS (7837)

UBW is one of the newer breweries in our state, and specializes in German-style beers. The brewer, Tom Rupp (former Stoudt’s brewer) is often described as a brewer who doesn’t care so much for the hops. There are usually 5-7 house beers on tap, and generally one can find Pale Ale, Kolsch, Wobbly Bob Dopplebock, Hefeweizen, Lager, Mai-Bock, and Round Boy Stout. Beer is sold by the pint, but I quite enjoy that they offer a sampler of six 2 oz. tasters for $3.50. They will fill any growler, as well.

This pub is open Tuesday through Sunday at 11:00 AM (closed Monday.) As far as I know, this is not a place to have a tour of the brewery, although you can see where the beer is brewed if you visit the bar. The cozy bar area features an old bar back that dates from the late 1800’s from the old Showboat Bar in Reading. Ornate woodwork, the tin ceiling and PA Dutch influenced arts and crafts decorate the dining space.

While you will not find a large number of vegetarian dishes on the menu, there are some lovely fish and shellfish items for those who choose to enjoy these non-meat offerings. Every review I’ve read of this place raves about the food, and in my limited experience, I agree.

My favorite its the Smoked Trout Chowder – created by the same chef who made it for the 2007 PA Farm Show. There is also Olive Tapenade, Crab Cheesecake (like a crab dip served in a skillet with pita points), Portobello Mushrooms with gorgonzola cheese, Eggplant Gratin, crab cakes, Sesame Salmon, and two very interesting mollusk dishes – Shrimp Magnolias and (this has bacon!) Coquille St. Jacques (sautéed scallops with bacon and mushrooms, deglazed with vermouth and finished with cream and parmesan cheese; served over puff pastry.)

The pub is located in a large brick building with ample parking in the back, and some street parking in front. It used to be a hardware store, so you’ll notice the large windows and enjoy the open space.

For more information, try finding other reviews.

Black Angus Restaurant & Pub (Stoudt’s)

stoudtsRoute 272
2800 North Reading Road
Adamstown PA 19501
717-484-4386
Free tours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons

Just up the road in the opposite direction is Stoudt’s in Adamstown – a brewery that has been around for over 20 years, and a restaurant that’s been around for nearly 50 years. This is a family-owned business with a lot of clutter, and a lot of character. Ed and Carol, and now many of their children and in-laws, are involved at all levels (and Carol is America’s first recognized female brewer.). Besides beer and the restaurant, this place is also known for antiques and the bread (at least three signature bread recipes use beer, and the bread is made with 100-year-old Levin from France.)

Stoudt’s is open Monday through Thursday at 4:30 PM, Friday and Saturday at noon, and Sunday at 11:30 AM. The food menus are available online, and, again, you won’t find it to be exactly vegetarian-friendly. Afterall, it’s called the Black Angus and the tagline on the menu says, “The House that Beef Built”. The menu leans heavily on the German side, and it’s pretty authentic! There is a line under “entrees” that says, “Vegetarian – $17.00; Our chef will be happy to create something for you to suite your needs.”

I’ve enjoyed the raw bar and the smoked salmon (no, not vegetarian), and also the cheese plates (choose three artisanal cheese from list; served with minted lemon rind compote and lavender sugar almonds.) I’ve also ordered some of the veggie sides, like spaetzle and red cabbage, with a salad for my meal. The Portabella Rueben is a unique offering, and the salmon dishes are wonderful. For those who eat steak, it is aged steak in a variety of cuts, and Stoudt’s has an annual Wurst festival if you’re into that sort of thing.

There are free brewery tours available Saturdays at 3:00 PM and Sundays at 1:00 PM. Meet in the restaurant lobby for the tour, and if you can’t make it, you can see some highlights online and watch Ed and Carol talk about Stoudt’s beers!

Brett Kintzer is the head brewer. He got his start at Stoudt’s in 1995, and has been there ever since. In addition to supplying the pub, Stoudt’s distributes in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The beers keep getting better and better, and the climax came at their 20th anniversary with Smooth Hoperator. Check out the interactive beer menu online for the Flagship beers, as well as beers they label as Big, Seasonal and Specialty. As far as I know, you can’t see what’s on tap now, but there is always something great available.

Stoudt’s is one of the older brewpubs in the country, and it is recognized both nationally and internationally by the beer community for high quality, consistently created beers.

I don’t recall the serving sizes, or the policy on growler fills, but I’m pretty sure things are liberal at Stoudt’s. The eclectic decor, great beers and interesting menu, paired with the rich history, make this place a destination.

If your designated driver is tired of taking you around, this is a good time to head home. If not, there are some great stops you can make on the way home!

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