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The Beer Circle » Breweries, Pizza Boy Brewing Co. » Al’s of Hampden: A New Location! – Enola, PA

Al’s of Hampden: A New Location! – Enola, PA

The Trip:

This past Saturday, The Beer Circle writers Garrett, Kenton, and Paige were fortunate enough to be able to make a rendezvous at one of their favorite beer establishments in the Central Pennsylvania region. The location of which they speak, however, is not the same Al’s of Hampden which they’ve visited on a previous beer tour, this was something new – something the beer community has been much abuzz about for some time now. We’ve been following the developments at Al’s closely – in fact, Al was so kind to even let our own Jeff Kupko brew his own wedding beer on the premises.

Al's Original Location (via Al's)

Al’s Original Location (via Al’s)

 

Inside:

Inside Al's New Location

Inside Al’s New Location

Put simply, the first thing that comes to mind about the new location is space.  While the interior is quite reminiscent of the somewhat-spartan look that characterized the first location, it lets you know what this place is all about – great beer and delicious pizza, no frills.  That said, the increased capacity of the new location is very welcome, and should accommodate a far greater number of beer lovers than was legally permissible at the old location.  As always, there is also still a fantastic selection of bottles to go.

One really interesting aspect of the new location is how family friendly it is.  Especially over the lunch hour there were a lot of families there; many of the children were playing on the video games located on one wall of the brewery, and there’s also the addition of a combination digital juke box and photo booth.  This illustrates a larger trend within the space– it’s highly versatile   In addition to being able to easily host beer geeks and families, the manner of seating also accommodates groups of all sizes.  There are tables suited towards groups of 2-4, but there are also a few more family style tables that would easily seat groups of 15 or so.  Al’s is definitely a place we can imagine spending more time if we lived closer, as it makes a cool transition from a good place for lunch, dinner or happy hour, to a place where you could spend the evening.

The Beers:

As always, Al’s selection is extensive, with beers from his own Pizza Boy Brewing and other world-class breweries filling dozens of taps.  The current selections are always visible from a ton of these:

One of Many.

One of Many.

Al’s also currently has a few different beers in large format bottles that are only available for consumption on premise because there isn’t label approval.  These include Permasmile, an apricot lambic, Intangible, a tangerine sour, and Afternoon Delight, a hoppy berlinerweiss.  There are 99 different beers on draft, though while we were there about 15 had kicked and not been replaced. Even looking at the website today, it seems like there are quite a few that tapped at some point and haven’t yet been replaced.  Judging by the onslaught of announcements that permeate our Facebook or Twitter pages when they do start tapping new beers, it seems they tend to tap everything en-masse rather than replacing immediately as kegs kick.  One of the cool things about the TV menus as opposed to paper menus is that they could tap new beers throughout the day or evening without having to reprint menus.  This would also tie in with their approach of having the Facebook and Twitter accounts updating each time a beer is tapped– potential customers could see a new beer being tapped through their social media and be drawn to Al’s for the evening.

beer2

Sunny Side Up – Little Amps Double Coffee. A delicious stout with an extra kick of coffee flavoring

Pizza Boy Amarillo Hopgasm

Pizza Boy Amarillo Hopgasm. A delightful fresh-hop IPA.

 

The new location obviously comes with plenty extra breathing room. Regardless, Al has made it known they will still be a “hole-in-the-wall” style restaurant, just the hole is a lot roomier.   Without a doubt, this is a place we’ll be returning to frequently. Al is a great guy, and the price and selection available through Al’s and Pizza Boy Brewing are unmatched.  We find ourselves quite jealous of Kenton, fortunate enough to live so close.  It is worth noting that you’ll need to bring cash to tip, as they automatically run credit cards without tip.

You can follow Al on Twitter here.

Pizza Boy Bock

Pizza Boy Bock

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Written by Garrett Miller, Kenton Martin and Paige Deckert

Garrett brings a somewhat different perspective on beer to the table. While always thrilled to try any new, exotic brew that finds itself his way, Garrett finds that he's often quite satisfied with reliable, common craft choices. As such, Garrett is a fan of trying and reviewing these (admittedly less expensive) beers, and using them to introduce the exciting, flavorful world of craft beer to those not-yet-acquainted. Garrett’s favorite styles are IPAs and bourbon stouts, but won’t turn his nose up at anything. Find Garrett Miller on Google Plus

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