09 September 2008

Appalachian Brewing Company - Harrisburg

Overall Rating: Not Too Bad
Highlight: The Beer
Lowlight: Burnt cheese
Veggie Note: There is no vegetarian designation for the dishes on the menu, but there are some choices available and ingredients are listed pretty well.

Came here for the beer, but had a plan to eat dinner while we were here as well.

Appalachian Brewing Company is brewery/restaurant that now has several locations around the region (Cameron St in Harrisburg is where we were). There are two floors here, with Belgian beers featured on the second floor along with pool and darts. We ate upstairs in the Abbey Bar. The table service was spotty as it is not their main dining room, but we were fine with walking to the bar if we needed something a little quicker than the bartender/server was able to bring it to us. The menu is pretty full and has changed some since the last time we ate here several years ago.

We had the following:

  • Nothing complementary served here


  • Appalachian Beer Cheese Dip (Backcountry Buffalo) – if you’re a regular reader you should be able to predict by now that we will almost always pick a cheese related appetizer when it’s available. This blend of beer, cheddar cheese, peppers and spices came out a little darker and chunkier than we expected it too (funny how the server said “it’s dark and chunky looking like it’s supposed to be” as she set it down – that was unsolicited and now looking back it was almost as if she was planting subliminal messages in our brains). It was also very much burnt on the bottom. All that said, it still tasted pretty good, but hey, it was cheese after all… There were two other varieties of cheese dips available as well.


  • Springer Mountain Pasta – Somehow I misinterpreted what it was I ordered so when it came out I was a little surprised, but it ended up being pretty good. I think I was totally out of it tonight though. I’m not usually a big fan of sundried tomatoes and this dish was swimming in them, but to be honest I found myself seeking them out by the time I was done. They were very nice sundried tomatoes. The fettuccini was a little too al dente for me. Also, the “Chardonnay Sauce” was very thin and oily. I think I imagined it a little more reduced or at least something a little thicker. It splashed around a lot and I actually noticed a few little oil spots on my shirt when I got home. All of the pasta on the menu is prepared without meat, which is really great. You can add the meat of your choice if you want, or portabella mushrooms, which is what I did.
  • Santa Fe Salad – This salad was all around pretty good, the dressing was the most notable (Stout BBQ Ranch) and the black beans made it very tasty. The salads, like the pasta, can be customized with your choice of meat or mushrooms, but some have meat in them already, so watch out for that.
  • Pomegranate Blueberry Chicken– I forgot to mention we had a non-veggie friend with us again (it seems we have a bunch of those). Apparently this chicken was awesome; the blueberries were very unique and yummy. The onions, I’m told, could have been more caramelized than they were, but two thumbs up!

Just a few other notes:

On Tuesday nights, pool is free! (Also on Sundays)

Back in the day, ABC used to have a really nice vegetarian chili on the menu that we loved. When we travelled through this area, we often stopped here and had that. Over time it stopped being very good, so we were disappointed it’s no longer on the menu, but not surprised.

The beer made here is super good. We highly recommend a stop here for a pint or four, even if you’re not hungry. It would be interesting to find out about their brewing process. For those of you who are serious vegetarians or vegans, you may or may not already know that a common beer filtering agent is a compound that comes from fish. It is typically left behind in the settling process, but there is no guarantee that it hasn’t made it into your glass of beer and of course, if you are vegan, it is an animal by-product.

Final Thoughts: There are no specifically vegetarian dishes on the menu, but it is nice that the pasta and salads can be customized with just mushrooms. For a place that is PA preferred (a Dept of Ag designation) it would have been nice to see a few more local foods “featured” on the menu as well.

1 comment:

Jaysus said...

ABC does not use isinglass (the "common beer filtering agent")in their brewing process. In fact most American breweries do not.

ABC offers free guided brewery tours on Saturday at noon... the tours include samples.