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General Lafayette Inn & Brewery (PA)

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SixFoFalcon

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Anyone else been to the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery in Lafayette Hill, PA? It's a nice very historic (think revolutionary war) B&B that brews and serves some tasty beers.

I recently went there and I think it was a good find. I got to watch one of the brewers in action on one of the big mash tuns while I sampled a nice porter. The food and atmosphere weren't bad either. I only had 2 complaints--the cigarette smoke in the bar area (I'm spoiled living in Philly where smoking is banned in most bars, but the General is just a few miles outside the city limits) and then there was the guy who came out to set a fire in the fireplace, and then filled the restaurant with smoke because he didn't open the flue, and then he decided to fix that by opening the door and letting the 20° air blow in and freeze out everyone in the dining room every time the wind changed direction. :rolleyes:

Anyway, the place has been around forever and I'm sure someone else here has at least stopped in for a drink or a bite to eat, and I'm curious what other people think of the place. I definitely plan on stopping in for a few more pints in the future. :)

http://www.generallafayetteinn.com/
 

RoaringBrewer

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Haven't been there yet, but going there this weekend. The SWMBO and I are going to Chesnut Hill area for the weekend - spa, melting pot, etc. for Saturday... Planning to hit the Lafayette later in the evening with another couple to have a few pints...
 

AnOldUR

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General Lafayette is about an hour from my house. Sounds like a good day trip. Thanks for the review.

SWMBO and I will be heading to Newark DE this weekend. There's an Iron Hill Brewery there. Anyone have any experience with them?
 

Soulive

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I haven't been there yet but I may in about 3 weeks. I have a friend about 20 minutes outside that area and he highly recommends it. I'll probably go there for my birthday dinner and then stay overnight...
 

RoaringBrewer

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anoldur said:
General Lafayette is about an hour from my house. Sounds like a good day trip. Thanks for the review.

SWMBO and I will be heading to Newark DE this weekend. There's an Iron Hill Brewery there. Anyone have any experience with them?
Iron Hill is a "chain" brewery in the PA/DE area. It's not bad at all, but as you can imagine, most of the brews are kind of 'mainstream'. I went to the Lancaster, PA location recently and there were no beers I would consider 'outstanding', but 3 or so of the 8 they offered were pretty solid and drinkable...
 

brewt00l

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Haven't been to the General but I have had their beer on tap at another location...excellent stuff!
 

RoaringBrewer

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Plans are finalized... I'll be there around 930PM on Saturday evening.

If any of y'all come out that evening, post up on here and I'll try to check the iPhone before I go... If not, look for a review to be posted at some point Sunday or Monday. :)
 

brewt00l

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RoaringBrewer said:
Plans are finalized... I'll be there around 930PM on Saturday evening.

If any of y'all come out that evening, post up on here and I'll try to check the iPhone before I go... If not, look for a review to be posted at some point Sunday or Monday. :)

What did ya think?
 

Cauldron7

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I love the General, I havnt been there in quite a while, this is making me want to go back! Let us know what you thought of your visit!

I live halfway between two Iron Hill locations (both West Chester and Media locations are within a 10 minute drive.) I frequent both of them, because of the proximity. Generally speaking Media location tends to have more "seasonal" or selections that arnt part of the standard 6-8 beer they always have on tap. I was at the West Chester Location this past weekend, and they just realeased a Barleywine that was wonderful. THe hoppiest barlywine i ever had, i am sure i will be back for another before the weeks end. But if you are in the area, and havnt yet been, i suggest visiting the Victory Brewery. it aint a pretty pub, but they have my favorite locally brewed beers.
 

RoaringBrewer

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I thought the Lafayette was just kind of "Ok"... Maybe on the slightly upper-side of "Ok", but definitely not great.

The outside of the place looks much more magnificant on the webpage - its kind of ratty looking in person, but I guess thats what you get for a building from the 1700s.

The interior dining areas appear quite nice and the bar area is half decent, but the pool and other areas just give it kind of a ratty-bar kind of feel on a Saturday night. I got carded at the door as if it was some kind of club, it was smoky, etc. Not bad, but just not what I expected.

The beers - they were so, so too IMO. The mild on cask and the porter on cask were great beers. Their blonde was pretty solid for a blonde IMO too. The pale ale - where are the hops? In fact, in all of their beers, where are the hops? No IPA in site... I even read on one of the beer descriptions, "due to the hop shortage we are brewing low hopped beers - try our big malty bock" or something to that effect. It shows in all their beers IMO. Suck it up and brew something with hop flavor! :) The raspberry mead ale - I was expecting wonderful things - was, blah... I don't know. I enjoyed my SNPA I got on draft at the melting pot beforehand more than any of the Lafayette beers other than maybe the cask beers.

Not a bad place and glad I visited, but I'd take the 10 mile or so drive over to the Manayunk Brewpub before going back to the Lafayette - only hit that place in the early evening though. Reminds me of a "club" on weekend evenings. Too loud, crowded, etc. to enjoy their good brews.
 
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SixFoFalcon

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I agree that the General isn't "all that" by any means, but I'd still say it's above average and worth visiting rather than walking into a random bar-restaurant if you aren't familiar with the area. The level of cigarette smoke in the place is ludicrous... it's practically criminal if you are supposed to be serving good food and drinks. But they are still doing good things compared to the average pub or restaurant. I thought the porter was very good and the bock was nice (although that's not a style I'm ever truly wild about) and the few other beers I sampled were at least OK.

I'm right between the Manayunk Brewing Company and the General. Unlike the General, which I've only visited once, I know the Manayunk Brewing Co. inside and out (and I've probably seen too much inside those walls as far as most people are concerned.) I don't know if I'll ever respect the brewing side of the house, after some of the things I've seen and tasted there. The food is usually good, though, and the service is usually pretty good when they aren't stealing your money. Depending on the night, the band, and the level of Main Line and/or frat boy activity, it can be either a great place to hang out or a nightmare.

Thanks for the review, RoaringBrewer. From the other reviews I've read on-line, it seems that the weekend evenings can be a bit "off" in terms of food quality, crowds, and service. Did you have any trouble with very slow service? That seemed to be a common complaint in many of the reviews I read. Was there a band?
 

Soulive

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Wow, thanks for the review. Sounds like I won't be making the trip out there after all...
 

Cauldron7

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bummer that they are playing the hop shortage games. From the people i haave talked to at other local brew pubs around Philly, they all seemed to be well contracted on advanced hop orders and dont feat they will be effected by the shortage. I wonder why the General doesnt think ahead like that?
Thanks for the review!
 

brewt00l

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They "should" have contracts already in place...Lots of other area breweries seem to be adapting with out too much pain. Who knows...

Shame that the beer just didn't stand up. The ones that I have had elsewhere over the past year were mighty tasty.
 

Jamo99

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I've been there a few times. Never had to deal with a crowded Saturday night crowd though.

I recently purchased tickets to their WinterFest though. Feb 16th, noon to 3:30. I think they're having something like 12-14 local breweries there. $45 for food and beer. There's also an additional "brewer's only" session afterwards until 6 pm for $20 or $25. The girl I spoke with said they'll probably have some vertical tastings and just brewer's talking in general. I'll be going to the first session at least. I usually have a little too much fun at events like this and the vertical tasting might be lost on my pallate at that time.

Anyway, I'm in Roxborough. If anyone in the neighborhood wants to swap some beers, I'm game.
 
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SixFoFalcon

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Jamo99 said:
I've been there a few times. Never had to deal with a crowded Saturday night crowd though.

I recently purchased tickets to their WinterFest though. Feb 16th, noon to 3:30. I think they're having something like 12-14 local breweries there. $45 for food and beer. There's also an additional "brewer's only" session afterwards until 6 pm for $20 or $25. The girl I spoke with said they'll probably have some vertical tastings and just brewer's talking in general. I'll be going to the first session at least. I usually have a little too much fun at events like this and the vertical tasting might be lost on my pallate at that time.

Anyway, I'm in Roxborough. If anyone in the neighborhood wants to swap some beers, I'm game.
Awesome! I just marked my calendar for that event. The last local beer event I went to was the "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" fest at the Yards brewery in Kensington this summer. I was a newb to beer tasting events then... this time I will bring a notepad. :)

I'm in Roxy, too. (Right on Henry Ave.) I'm up for a beer swap. I don't have anything in bottles at the moment though, and I'm literally right in the process of swapping out the chest freezer I ruined last week for a new one that I picked up this morning, so my kegs are warm for the time being. :(

As far as the "hops game" goes... I think we all have to remember that many of "us" are real connoisseurs of beer, but probably better than 80% of the cash that comes into the average brew-pub from sales of their house beers comes from people who are just into the novelty of in-house brewing, and/or just like the place regardless of what's on tap. If the cost of hops goes up such that it increases your brewing costs by more than 10% or so, how are you going to re-coup that cost? Jack up the cost of a pint? That won't fly with the masses, so sales would dip (people would drink something else, or just go somewhere else.) But the masses will probably be OK with just drinking some other styles that don't require an expensive dose of hops... many of them wouldn't really know the difference.
 
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