Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dinner: Craft Ale House, Best Kept Secret in the Suburbs

Living in New York City, it is easy for me to find restaurants that are made with love, that have both quality and quantity. In the suburbs of PA? Not so much. I had always been a fan of Craft Ale House with they first opened, though they only served micro brews then. Upon hearing that they started serving lunch and dinner a while back, I had to go check it out. Could this be my future go-to restaurant when I am in the area? Quite possibly so...
Unpretentious setting, this used to be Limerick Deli. Neighbors with a hardware store, I am sure many have drove past this place without a second thought.

Chalkboard wall with the daily microbrews, and spacious seating at the bar.

If you don't have time to sit for a drink, they have six pack holders you can fill with whatever custom beers you wish. Great if you just want to try different types.

Flying Fish Doggie Style Pale Ale
Buddy's dad ordered this one. He is the type to like lighter flavored beers and  with ABV 5.3%, it still had a nice hoppy flavor without being overbearing. There was a pleasant malt flavor which comes from the addition of Carastan malts.
Price: $4.00
Left Hand Imperial Stout
I  ordered this because (to be honest) of the name and the fact that it was on nitro tap. It had ABV 10.4%, and wow was this thick. The consistency reminscent of Guinness, but the taste- double the flavor. 
Price: $5.50

Stout Mustache!!

Funky Farmhouse Mussels
This was made with Farmhouse ale, leeks, bleu cheese, garlic and spinach. The mussel shells acted like little spoons to get scoops of every component in one big bite. The bleu cheese flavor was not very strong, but still nice to get little bites of cheese in my broth and twice as nice to put on the soft and buttery garlic bread that accompanied it.  
Price: $9.00

Grilled Octopus
This was made with asparagus, and a tomato chutney and garnished with micro greens. A more modest sized appetizer, I ordered it as an entree. The octopus (or as Buddy would call it Oct-op-pose) was tender, and gave easily with each bite. The tomato chutney was a nice acidic alternative to lemons but not overbearing in anyway. The asparagus was fresh and cooked to perfection. Beautiful presentation, perfect size for an appetizer.

Buttermilk Tenders
Buddy ordered this one. This was the star of the night. Too modest to call itself tenders, this was more like hardy fried chicken and undoubtedly one of the best of I have ever eaten. The breading was thick crunchy, spicy and bursting with flavor. The chicken was moist and juicy- so much so that some jumped out at me. Though the sauce was delicious, it was almost not necessary. With 7 or 8 pieces per order, this was big enough for 2 people.
Price: $8.00

Roasted Pork Sandwich with Hand Cut Fries
Buddy's dad ordered this one. It was slow roasted with garlic, herbs, beer and provolone cheese. A side of au jus, and hand cut fries. I didn't get a chance to taste the sandwich, but he seemed to really enjoy it. Massive in size, the other half was packaged in a to-go box. The fries? Best ones in PA. Soft with tough and resistant outer skin. A sprinkling of kosher salt and it was the perfect bar snack.
Price: $8.00

If you can't decide on a beer, they are happy to give you little shot sized tastings. After 4 or 5 shot tasting, they only charge $1.00 for each additional taste. A great (and economical) way for trying different types of beer.

Chocolate Bread Pudding
Of course we had to get dessert and this was house made! The "bread" seemed more crepe like with chunks of melted chocolate in its folds. Essentially, a disfigured chocolate crepe.
Price: $5.00

Banoffee pie
The owner's (Gary) wife made this at home. This is basically a banana cream pie, but she calls it a bafonte. Either way- it was delicious. The lighter dessert out of the two, the whipped creams airiness was refreshing on such a hot day. There was a hint of alcohol in it...perhaps Grand Marnier? The bananas perfectly ripened and the the pie crust crumbly.
     * upon speaking with the owner, I found out that this dessert is an English dessert made from bananascreamtoffee and boiled condensed milk
Price: $5.00
Verdict: New York quality food and drink at PA prices. How can you beat that? The perfect place to come and eat when you want a more relaxed atmosphere then a rowdy bar. I can not wait to come back... a great reason to go to Royersford and visit parents!
Craft Ale House
708 West Ridge Pike
Limerick, PA 19468

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