Mission to the Brewhouse

By Mike Butler
November 16, 2000

Mike Butler

by Mike Butler

perspectives editor

Everyone makes pilgrimages. Some go to Mecca. Others to Graceland. My pilgrimage of the week was to John Harvard’s Brewhouse on Lancaster Avenue.

I, the twenty-one year old Mike `80s Butler, had set an agenda for myself on that evening: partake in all of the assorted beers that John Harvard’s had to offer and tell my reading public about them. But first, I should give some background on this wonderland.

What makes John Harvard’s Brewhouse different than just going to a bar is that the beer they serve is brewed in the establishment and not imported in kegs from afar. The beer is as fresh as it can be. And with all the fuss about born-on dates and freshness quality, John Harvard’s clearly has the edge over all other beers in this freshness category.

But it is not just a place to get fresh beer. As well as having a full bar for hard alcohol, John Harvard’s has a wonderful menu of dinners and appetizers. Their lobster bisque soup is quite possibly the best soup I have ever tasted, aside from when I’m sick and the only thing I can eat is soup. Then all soup tastes the same.

The linguini with blackened chicken was tantalizing to the tongue and a colleague of mine commented that the salmon was “indescribable” when asked about how his dinner was as he ate it with joy on his face and in his heart. So if it’s good food you’re looking for, John Harvard’s has you covered.

But back to my mission at hand. John Harvard’s presents its customers with the opportunity to taste each of the beers it brews. The Super Sampler, as it is called, is nine small glasses containing each of John Harvard’s brews.

It’s about the equivalent of three full beers so you don’t have to worry about a later prayer service before the porcelain god when you order it.

And for the reasonable price of around eight dollars, the Super Sampler doesn’t hurt your wallet that much for the amount of beer and the medley of tastes you will experience.

To start off with, I tried the All-American Light which is a beer that is lightly refreshing and is an excellent choice as a dinner beverage.

Next, I tried the John Harvard’s Fruit Ale, which happened to be raspberry that night. It was mighty tangy and is a good choice for people who traditionally do not like the taste of beer.

The John Harvard’s Pale Ale was next to be downed. It had a distinct, robust flavor, as pale ales usually do, but it was not overpowering like pale ales tend to be.

When the Pale Ale was finished, I moved on to the Scottish Ale, which was rather plain, but had a solid, non-abrasive taste like that of a Yuengling.

The Harvest Spice is another choice for those who don’t like the taste of beer as it brought up the idea of “Cinnamon Toast Crunch in a glass” to this journalist.

After a short respite to fully digest the beers that I had consumed, I continued with my review. The Pilgrim’s Porter had a dry kick to it and it is one that I would recommend to strong beer lovers.

After that came the sweet, refreshing Amber Ale that combined both sweetness and a full-body quality that made for a delicious beverage. I would recommend the Amber Ale to casual beer lovers.

Then came the Porter Cask. This was a special beer that ferments at a higher temperature than other beers, so it was sort of like having an English pub experience in the good of U.S. of A. This was the strongest of the strong-tasting beers at John Harvard’s.

The last beer on the sampler that I imbibed was the Autumn Gold. The Autumn Gold was another light-tasting beer, but it had a brisk quality to it that set it apart from the All-American Light. It fell in between the Amber Ale and the All-American Light.

All of the beers offered at John Harvard’s come in 10 ounce glasses or full pints, but the sampler is a good way to find out what your favorite beer is before you commit to a full pint of it.

If you are a beer-lover, then John Harvard’s is the place to come.

If you love good food and don’t drink or are not old enough to drink, John Harvard’s is still the place to come.

Either way, if you haven’t been to John Harvard’s Brewhouse you’re missing out on a magnificent taste bud experience, whether you’re a drinker or a non-drinker.

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Mike Butler

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