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A brewhouse is one of two things – a brewery that produces craft beer, with or without a pub where customers can sample beer, or a pub/restaurant that may or may not feature an exclusive brand of beer.
There are many online sources for brewhouse reviews, from Yelp and Google Local to craft beer websites and forums. Many general interest websites and magazines, including ones focused on travel, men’s interests, food and pop culture, offer articles about brewhouses.
People tend to be pretty honest when reviewing brewhouses so that you can find a lot of useful information online. Some reviews can tell you a lot more than others. Some brewhouses may get lots of reviews from customers while some only get a few.
What to Look for in a Review
What should you look for in a review (whether it’s written by a customer or a professional writer/beer enthusiast) to help you decide what beer to buy? Obviously, the more complete the review, the better.
You should know about the history of the brewhouse, how they brew their beer, what ingredients they use if they have an onsite store or pub, and if the sponsor tastings or other events.
Here is a list of some of the features offered by top brewhouses that provide onsite food and drink. Check reviews for any mentions of these features, and what the writer thought about them.
- Daily or weekly concerts or trivia contests
- Special Tastings
- Brewery Tours
- Film screenings
- Contests for free beer, swag, trips, etc.
- Snacks or full meals
- Food and beer specials
Brewery to Table Service
Some brew houses serve handcrafted beer made on the premises. The brewery may be next to the restaurant/bar, or both businesses may be located in the same building. Either way, you will get to sample freshly-made brew instead of beer that has been stored for months in a generic restaurant’s stockroom.
Small brewhouses may only offer a few beers, while others might offer a dozen or more. Larger breweries may offer most or all of the following beers:
- Strong ales (some may have an ABV as high as 9.2%)
- Porters and Stouts (ABV may be as high as 12%)
- Amber, Red and Brown Ales
- IPAs (India Pale Ales)
- Belgian Styles
- Blonde and Pale Ale
- Wheat Beers
- Pilsners and Pale Lagers
- Wild/Sour Beers
- Hybrid Beers
- Scottish Style Ales
- Specialty Beers
ABV stands for Alcohol by Volume, and it will tell you which beers are the strongest. You should always look for ABV, as it will prevent lightweight drinkers from getting too inebriated.
For each type of beer, there are subsections. Under wheat beers, for example, you could have German, American, or Belgian-Style Wheat Beers.
Reviews will tell you which breweries have a wide selection of beers in one location, and which brew houses specialize in certain beers. If you have a favorite type of beer, check the reviews online – they will not only tell you what beers the brewhouse offers but how they taste (from an unbiased source).
Checking Flix brewhouse reviews online, you can learn more about the beers offered by this popular company. Flix Brewhouse, known as America’s Cinema Brewery, has seven locations. This chain features first-run movies and a microbrewery on the premises.
Flix brews nine signature beers and offers 38 other draft beers. They have locations in Round Rock, Des Moines, Albuquerque, and Carmel, Indiana, with new brewhouses to come in Little Elm, Texas, Madison, Wisconsin and Chandler, Arizona.
Flix brews vary according to location. They include:
- Flix Golden Ale (4.8 ABV)
- Satellite Red IPA (6.2 ABV)
- Umbra Chocostout (6.0 ABV)
- 10 Day Scottish Ale (5.4 ABV)
- Saison de Walt Belgian Ale (Round Rock only, 6.0 ABV)
The food menu has pizza, wraps, sandwiches, burgers and other casual favorites. There are foods for kids ,desserts and a brunch menu with waffles, breakfast tacos, French toast sticks and an egg and bacon breakfast.
All locations also offer Flix Picks, showings of classic films we all love. Some screenings feature Q and A’s with the director.
BJ’s is a chain of brewhouses that feature handcrafted beers and a full menu of appetizers, meals, and desserts. The chain’s signature brews include Hopstorm IPA, Harvest Hefeweizen Wheat Beer, Brewhouse Blonde Kolsch-Style Beer, Jeremiah Red Irish-Style Ale and Piranha Pale Ale. You can buy a six-pack of these beers to take home.
BJs offers “beer dinners”, with welcome and after-dinner beers with a five-course dinner. Stone beers or other beers may be highlighted depending on the location. This brewhouse also serves wine and features specials on craft beers, call drinks and pork ribs or other menu items.
BJ’s Brewhouse reviews are mostly positive or neutral. Of course, since it’s a chain with many locations, the quality will vary depending on the management of each brewhouse.
There’s an extensive menu at BJs, so it’s more like a family restaurant with signature beers for adults than a true brewhouse/restaurant. Think of BJs as a generic version of a gastropub – it’s suitable for the whole family.
A Look at Other Brewhouses
Other brewhouse reviews we found deal with local brewpubs that usually offer a few of their own beers, along with other craft beers. Most of these brewhouses also provide food or at least appetizers and snacks. A few brewhouses only offer beer, but occasionally sponsor events at their brewery or other local businesses.
Taxman Brewing, with locations in Bargersville and Fortville, Indiana, brings trendy brewing to quiet Central Indiana. They offer 18 different beers, including Blackberry Deduction (available May to June), Death and Taxes (an Imperial Stout, available in April), and Hop Collector, a Belgian-style IPA, available year-round. Both locations serve dinner daily and brunch on Sundays.
Reformation Brewery was named one of the 50 Best Breweries in America by Yahoo Travel. This brewery has also received accolades from Eater, Craftbeer.com, Time and Fortune.
Some of the beers produced by Reformation include Oren India Pale Ale (5.5 ABV), Cadence Belgian Style Ale (6.9 ABV), and Stark Toasted Porter (5.5 ABV). You can also buy a Variety Box Set of Belgian Style Favorites.
Beer To-Go hours are 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday at the brewery in Woodstock, Georgia. Occasional events at the brewery include book signings, visits from food trucks, Popcorn and Beer nights, live music and Tacos and Trivia Nights.
Goose Island Brewhouse in Chicago offers brews from the famous Goose Island Brewing Company, one of the best-known craft beer producers in the U.S. Beer on tap includes Juliet American Wild Ale (8.0 ABV), the malty Smoked Heller-Bock (8.2 ABV) and the roasty Dooley Stout (Irish Dry, 4.6 ABV). The food menu offers fish ‘n’ chips, hangar steak, burgers, salads and small plates. There are monthly events focusing on local charities and their missions.
Brooklyn’s Six Point Brewery was named one of the Top 11 Breweries in New York State by Thrillist. Located in the gentrifying neighborhood of Red Hook, this brewery is well-received by customers for its unique beers.
Current Six Point brews include Tesla Hop-Charged Lager, 3 Beans Bourbon Barrel-Aged Porter and Abigale Abby Ale. Sixpoint also has small batch brews on tap for locals (and tourists) only, like Lil’ Raspy Raspberry Ale.
The brewery sponsors events like Sunday Night Football with draft specials and complimentary pizza. Order merch (including glassware and apparel online) or download the Sixpoint app for easier ordering capabilities.
Ballast Point Brewing has seven locations in Southern California, with the main office in San Diego. This brewery offers year round and limited beers, the unique Homework series of brews, pepper beers, barrel-aged beers and beer collaborations with other breweries.
Year-round beers are the Manta Ray Double IPA, Bonito Blonde Ale, Piper Down Scottish Ale and Watermelon Dorado (Double IPA with Watermelon). Currently, the limited beers are Mocha Marlin (Porter with Coffee and Chocolate), Tart Peach Kolsch (German-Style Pale Ale) and Cinnamon Raisin Commodore (American Stout with Cinnamon and Raisin).
Collaborations with Coedo Brewery in Japan resulted in draft-only East to West India Pale Ale. Distinctive pepper beers are Smoke Screen with Jalapeño Lager and Black Marlin with Chipotle, Cocoa Nibs, and Orange Peel Porter.
Ballast Point has taprooms/restaurants in San Diego, Long Beach, CA, Miramar, and Scripps Ranch in CA and Daleville, Virginia. Most locations have a kitchen and tasting room. There’s also a Home Brew Mart in San Diego with supplies for amateur beer makers.
Do an internet search for exact terms and locations if you have a specific idea of what you want from a brewhouse. Adventurous types who seek out new and unusual beers will find plenty of unique offerings from reading reviews or merely walking into a new brewpub in your city.
Read professional reviews in All About Beer, Draft Magazine, Beer Magazine and other beer websites and periodicals for more thorough reviews about breweries and brewhouses. Experienced writers with a knowledge of beer terminology can add more details to their reviews and give you an idea of how a beer tastes and even what foods will make a good pairing for each brew.