The Quest for the Holy Grain
The Boneyard


Alas, nothing lasts forever. Bye and bye, and for various reasons, some of our favorite establishments are forced to close their doors. This then is a page both nostalgic and melancholy, devoted to our Best Brew Pubs, Beer Bars, and Beer Retailers that are no longer with us.
Note: In some cases, the establishment could still be open, but have changed enough so as to fail to meet the criteria for Best Brew Pub, Beer Bar, or Beer Retailer






Punk's Backyard Grill
2002 Annapolis Mall  
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 571-7744


Punk's Backyard Grill is located in the enoumous Annapolis Mall complex just north of Annapolis proper.
The L-shaped bar only seats about 10 patrons, as Punk's is predominantly a restaurant...very casual with live trees and large windows suggesting the backyard patio theme.
But let me tell you about the beer.
Punk's has 11 taps, with nary a one wasted on macros. The tap list was a well-chosen assortment of American microbrews, most with hefty ABV's. The bottle list exceeded 60, once again carefully chosen and multi-national.
The dinner crowd included families, but every one at the bar was there for the beer, and a few of the tables seated groups of people serious about their brew choices.
Many beers were served in the appropriate glass, and it's a good sign to see copies of the Brewing News close by.
The barkeep was friendly and personable, and the beers were $2 cheaper due to Happy Hour.
Beers are poured in either an 8-oz. or pint serving.
Punk's does not have the largest draft selection in Annapolis, nor would it make the short list of the town's best bars. But for a person serious about their beers, it is a great find.



Beneluxx Tasting Room
33 S 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(267) 318-7269

Beneluxx Tasting Room is an extension of Eulogy Belgian Tavern, which lies only about two blocks east. Beneluxx boasts the most Trappist ales on tap anywhere in the world. Their total taps number about 35, with about 50 brands in bottles. The innovative twist is that the drafts can be purchased by the glass, or by a sample of several ounces, arriving either in a small snifter or Ehrlenmeyer flask. Beneluxx also excels in pairing cheeses and beers. Never has a Two-Hearted IPA tasted so good as it did with a farmhouse cheddar. The staff was more than attentive, and glad to make suggestions or offer explanations. In a town full of Belgians, this has to be one of the best venues in which to taste them.



KClingers Tavern
304 Poplar Street
Hanover, PA 17331
(717) 633-9197

You probably won't just happen to be in Hanover, PA. You have to go out of your way to get there. The best reason to do this would be to visit KClinger's Tavern.
With 41 taps that nearly all rotate, and over 600 bottles, KClinger's is one of the premier beer bars in the region. They
serve well-cared for micros and imports, with nary a macro or light. The atmosphere is warm, the beer is cold, and the crowd is friendly...and they know their beer. That's why they are there.



Shenandoah Brewing Company

652 S. Pickett Street
Alexandria, VA 22304
703.823.9508 -

Shenandoah is the area's first and only brewery, brewpub, and brew-on-premise facility rolled into one. The bar is small, and serves fresh on draft about 8 of Shenandoah's award-winning beers...

Whoa! Not any more they don't!
Shenandoah was sold in 2011. The facility is still a brewery and makes beer for
The Farmer's Cabinet...a restaurant/Beer Bar in Philadelphia.
So long, Anning. Shenandoah was a fun place.


Bavarian Barbarian Brewing Company
429 West 3rd St.
Williamsport, PA 17701

First let us say that Bavarian Barbarian is not a brew pub... it is a microbrewery where a crew of thirsty Questors can walk in off the street, during tasting hours, and be treated to a sampling of Bavarian Barbarian's tasty beers. Brewer and Barbarian Chief Mike Hiller will be glad to explain the brewery's philosophy and processes, while pouring you a sample of his Hammerin' Ale, Headbangerz' Brown, Weldspatter IPA, and Steel Drivin' Stout. The brewery now supplies kegs for local venues, has plenty of room for expansion, and will begin bottling bombers as these words are being written. Growlers are also filled on premise.



Muggsy's Mug House
1236 Light Street in Federal Hill

For those of us still mourning the closing of Sean Bolan's, Muggsy's Mug House has arrived on the beer scene. Occupying the same location in Federal Hill as did Bolan's, Muggsy's offers 18 taps and about 40 bottles for your enjoyment. Danny, the proprietor, promises the arrival of Belgians, firkins, and other sudsy selections, that will attract appreciators of great beer. A large chalkboard lists the ...

Sorry - Muggsy's is closed as of the summer of 2011



Bunker Bier Hall
41 Earlham Street
Covent Garden, London

Bunker Bier Hall is a brewpub in a trendy London shopping district. Located in the basement of a store block, the facility is quite large. The stand up bar is about 40 feet long. The dining area and kitchen probably extend another 50 feet...too bad the life of the brewpub didn't extend any longer; the space is now Kitchen Italia.


19-21 Great Portland St
London, England
020 7637 5555

Mash is a very unique brewpub located in one of London's busier shopping districts. The decor is ultra-modern, and the three-barrel, automated brewing system is on display behind the DJ booth...not any more it's not; Mash is closed and is now a swawnky restaurant called Vapiano!



Mattingly Brewing Company
3000 South Jefferson
St. Louis, MO 63118

The Mattingly Brewing Company is a very small neighborhood restaurant in an eclectic mature St. Louis neighborhood.  The total bar/restaurant seating is about 50.  They have 8 of their own beers on tap; the brewing operation is in the basement.  The pub grub was tasty and seemed to be popular with the locals. Unfortunately, Mattingly is closed!



Swift Half Pub
1001 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Swift Half is located in the new 80,000 sq. ft. courtyard known as the Piazza in Northern Liberties. During our visit, the Piazza was packed with screaming kids, dancers, vendors, and loud, mind-numbing club music. Since the doors to the bar were thrown wide open, this ambiance insinuated itself into the restaurant. The bar seats about 20, with booths and tables. There were 10 taps, and about 20 bottles. The beer selection was well-chosen and well-delivered. Our visit would have been a lot more pleasant without the courtyard chaos...whoa! Don't get too excited about this one. Swift Half is closed as of the summer of 2011.



General Lafayette Inn and Brewery
646 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA  19444 
Telephone (610) 941-0600

The General Lafayette Inn is housed in a building whose construction was begun in 1732. The restaurant and brewpub itself is a warren of cozy, comfortable rooms that make even a first-time patron feel at home. At any given time they will offer 8-12 taps of their own beers, and two casks. They included a nice assortment of styles with several Belgians and a raspberry mead ale.
What a dern shame! General Lafayette closed it doors in 2011.



Clark's Ale House
(315) 479-9859
122 W Jefferson St
Syracuse, NY 13202

Clark's has about 21 beers on a nice rotation; when a keg is done, something different replaces it. Clark's is popular also for their half-gallon milk containers that they fill with beer to go...popular for parades and other outdoor events. They have no TV, jukebox, or electronic games, there is nothing to do except drink beer with your friends. A cask or two will be on tap, and there's always that roast beef sandwich. Clark's has been called a "beer bar set in a lunch counter." It has also been declared that bars like Clark's make Syracuse a great, if underrated, beer town.
Egads! This is a bitter pill to swallow. Clark's closed its doors on 9/25/10 with no plans to reopen, due to an expansion project of the theater which houses the bar. This is not only a loss for Syracuse, but a jolt to the beer drinking establishment, as Clark's was a pioneer beer bar, repeatedly listed in lists of best places to have a beer.
You can read more about it here...


The Parkside
4709 Harford Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21214

Located conveniently near the intersection of Harford Rd. and Cold Spring Lane/Moravia Rd., Parkside is the newest establishment along Harford Rd. that features an impressive beer selection. The place is spacious, with a long L-shaped bar and perhaps 20 tables in a large dining area. Owner
Christopher Cashell has 6 beers on tap, and a comprehensive bottle list offering about 36 more. Needless to say...

As of midsummer, 2010, the Parkside is closed.



The Tiedhouse
2001 Hamilton Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

The Tiedhouse is situated on the ground floor of the Cityview Condominium in Philly's Art Museum area. This beer bar is tied to the General Lafayette Brew Pub in Lafayette Hill and features 13 of the General's outstanding beers on tap. Six guest taps and about a dozen bottles round out the brew menu. There is something for every beer palate, from a light lager to a number of high-octane beers....uh oh...
Hold the phone! Nine months after opening, The Tiedhouse closed for good. Sources from Philly Beer Scene chalk it up to "casuality of location."


Cantina del Cabo
139 G Street,
Davis, CA
(530) 756-2226

The Cantina has over 50 beers on tap and all but the most advanced Questors are guaranteed to find a few new beers here. Go for the beer, leave for the ambiance. Featuring plastic chairs and picnic tables, its decor is strictly Spring Break and it is very popular with the UC Davis crowd.
Whoa! Not any more its not! Our sources report Cantina del Cabo has been torn down for an AT&T store.


Old Dominion Brewpub
44633 Guilford Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147

You are not going to stumble upon Old Dominion Brewery by have to be looking for it. Which is a good idea. They offer 22 different taps, just about all of the beers made here at the brewery. They carry both the Old Dominion labels and contract brews. They also have some bottles. Just about all styles are represented. The bar seats about 20, with a spacious dining area of tables and booths....Wait a minute! Not any more it doesn't! On August 25, 2008, Old Dominion Brewpub closed its doors. According to ownership, as quoted in Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, "the business wasn't there." The Brewery will remain open and public events at the site will continue.

Kevin pulls a cold one


Kelly Cole's Improper
253 E. Water Street
Syracuse, NY 13202

Kelly Coles is a beer bar in Syracuse with 60 taps emphasizing local beers. Once a disco, it looks more like a diner, with linoleum tile and lots of windows. There are about 20 stools at the bar and about 25 tables. The patio has seating for about 50. The day I was there the barmaid said that she and the cook were the only ones there. Even so, the service was attentive.
Kelly Cole's Improper closed in February, 2008 for failure to pay $80,000 in state taxes. It is a loss for beer lovers and for Syracuse.


Rocky Run Tap & Grill
6480 Dobbin Center Way
Columbia, MD 21045
Phone: 410-730-6581

All locations of Rocky Run are fun places that have good, quenching beers and a reasonable menu. Rocky Run specializes in Canadian ales, and usually have their 5 standards available. Don't look for odd, complex beers here...the brews are all good, if a little similar...yada, yada, yada...
Rocky Run in Columbia surprised many when it closed on August 11, 2008. However, the beer always seemed an afterthought here, especially in the later years. Don't know what will happen to the brewing equipment. The Marley Station location is open as of now, but the bar in Charles Village has been renamed, "Bert's."


Johnstown Brewing Company
942 Pinegrove Lane
Johnstown, PA 15905

Johnstown BC is an interesting place. The upstairs is a dining room with a small bar, the downstairs is a bar with a small eating area. Both have outside seating. The upstairs bartender was very generous with samples. After we ordred our lunch, he disappeared. The server boy got us our next drinks, and the tab. The price and amount of pub grub were what we expected. However, my angus burger tasted like breakfast sausage, and my heap of fries were the worst fries I have ever had; hard on the inside, and soft and slimey outside. The brewing setup is in sight,and is "upside down", in that the lauter and kettle are downstairs, and the fermenters are upstairs. The young brewer has been there a month, coming from John Harvard in Philadelphia. There are 9 beers on tap, as well as Miller lite, and what we had was tasty.
Johnstown closed on June 23, 2008 after 5 years in business. Two rock slides on a local road severely hurt their business. We'll never get to find out just how bad those fries were.


Dr. Dremo's Taphouse
2001 Clarendon Blvd.
Arlington VA 22201

Housed in the facility that used to be Bardo Rodeo, Dr. Dremo's occupies that niche between beer bar and brew pub. Dremo boasts about 40 draft beers and some half-dozen bottles. They also feature seasonal brews, such as their Chocolate Donut Beer. This is a particular favorite of one of our unnamed Charter Questors, who is taking the idea and running with it. We just don't know where. You may view this Donut Stout below, if you dare.

Dremo's house beers are brewed by Shenandoah Brewing Co. of Alexandria, VA. Dr. Dremo's has been described as an "abandoned warehouse" with "minimalist ambiance." The establishment is also known for their music, pool tables, and happy hours.

Sad News - Dremo's closed its doors on January 27, 2008. Property is being developed. Dremo's is hoping to open at a new location.





Ludwig's Garten
1315 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 985-1525

In a town that boasts of it's Belgians and rapidly moves it's microbrews, Ludwig's is an oasis of outstanding German draft beer. The bier menu features about 20 taps and maybe 40 bottles, including such noted names as Jever, Engel, Spaten, Schneider, Franziskaner, and many others of German and Austrian origin...there were

even a few Belgians. Styles included Bock, Schwarzbier, Kolsch, Lager, Weisse, Hefeweizen and Pils.
Ludwig's Garten, the kitschy Center City German, has closed, as the building at 1315 Sansom Street has been sold. The new occupant will be Time, from the owners of nearby Vintage.



Capitol City Brewing Company
Baltimore, MD
301 S. Light St Harborplace
(410) 539-PINT

Capitol City is in the heart of the tourist district and as a result has to put up with crowds of strangers that don't realize they are in a brew pub. The beer quality varies with the style. Fuel, their barley wine has won prizes, while their amber begins to taste like sugar water after a few. The IPA is true to style. The food portions are large and the service is pretty quick.

As of September, 2007, Capitol City in Baltimore has closed it's doors. Check the other locations.


Four Sons Brewery
[Closed - January 2007]
113 South Franklin Street
Titusville, PA 16354

We reviewed the Four Sons Brewery and Restaurant two years ago, and found it to be an intriguing brew pub with good beers and helpful staff. Unfortunately, the establishment closed in January, 2007.


Summit Station
227 East Diamond Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD

Summit Station was sold in 2006, closed down, and was re-opened as Growlers. The brewer is the same and the beers are still good

Summit Station is an old brick building located in a nice, quaint part of Gaithersburg. A great place to put a brewpub. There were about 8 styles on tap at the time of my visit. Their beers have won medals, which is no surprise, as those that I tried were very good. The India Pale Ale started out good, but as it warmed up, became superb. They also carry about 5 macro bottles for those who...well, I don't know who would want a macro with all these fine beers on tap. The barmaid was friendly, knew her stuff, and didn't mind serving samples.The crowd at about 2 in the afternoon seemed to be a bunch of beer cronies with whom I enjoyed talking. Most belonged to the mug club, knew their beer, and were there to get a head start on Happy Hour which starts at 4 PM. I will return to Summit Station when I am anywhere nearby



Jackie Blue
1313 N 2nd St
Harrisburg, PA 17102
(717) 230-9888

Looks forlorn, eh? It is. We visited Jackie Blue after reading that is was a great beer bar. It was. Now it is in the process of being sold. Only one draft - a few bottles - no customers. It should reopen, but not as a beer bar. Oh well, always call first.


Sean Bolan's Irish Pub

1236 Light Street
Federal Hill
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 837-4440
Baltimore Location Closed!

Sean Bolan's is most definitely one of Baltimore's top 3 beer bars. With about 12 taps and well over 50 bottles, the selection is well-cared for and well-chosen. Ken is the beer man, and will be glad to chat about the various brews. Nearly half of the taps rotate and a firkin is tapped on Thursdays. Ask about getting on their email list. The chalkboard lists the beers with ABV's, the food is excellent, and the peanuts are free.

Yikes - this came as a shock. In October, 2005, Sean Bolan's closed its doors. They still have the place in Bel Air, but the Federal Hill site is gone! It was a great one.



DeGroen's Grill
Baltimore Brewing Company
104 Albemarle St.

DeGroen's Grille , also known also as The Baltimore Brewing Company has been called the "cornerstone of local craft brewing." BBC brews some of the best German-style lagers around. Brews include Pils, Weizen, Dunkel, Marzen, and always a seasonal, including their famous Doppelbock.


Requiem for a Brewpub

DeGroen's Grill, or the BBC, closed it's doors for good on Friday, Feb. 25, 2005. Although there are a lot of great bars in Baltimore; most are long and narrow, having formerly been rowhouses. Beloved as they are, many are of similar architectural style. The BBC was a true beer hall. People were attracted to the BBC for more than the beer, although that would have been reason enough. There was a sense of community and camaradie among the customers.The Mug Club drew both locals and those from the suburbs looking for good conversation and German style lagers. You were certain to meet freindly and interesting people from all walks of life.

I first learned about Oktoberfest at the BBC... and recall festive annual celebrations with Hans und Heidi. Hans would stand on a table playing his bass, leading toasts, and doing the Chicken Dance. The BBC also played host to brewfests of Maryland beers.

The last few years saw management changes and an inconsistency in beer quality, but the regulars remained loyal. The Mug Club may even outlive this tragedy and gather at another venue. I've heard things. But there will never be anyplace quite like the BBC,and Baltmore beer lovers are in mourning.




Ryleigh's Brew Pub & Raw Bar
32-36 E. Cross St.
Federal Hill

No Longer Brewing Beer

This building has gone through several incarnations since it was Sisson's...Baltimore's first brew pub. People seem very pleased with the way it is now. Still brewing their own beer, Ryleigh's makes 5 standard brews, but will only have about 3 at any one time. There is also always a seasonal on tap. In addition, there are 5 other "guest" taps, and about a dozen bottles, but these could stand to be a little more diverse. Stick with Ryleigh's beers.

Achtung! Ryleigh's closed their brewing operation in the summer of 2005. It is now an oyster bar where macros are very popular. A shame...Ryleigh's, then known as Sisson's, was Baltimore's first brewpub.



Uncle Tucker's

68 Exit 46 •
Cumberland, MD 21502

Well, here's something we don't usually do at Quest for the Holy a brewpub after it has closed down. We were there on the last day, Nov. 1, to say farewell to this cozy pub in an historic building. This is the at least the third Maryland brewpub to cease brewing in 2005, and Uncle Tucker's 1810 Brewhouse will be missed.



The Loft/Barnyard Wine and Spirits
7926 Crain Highway South
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
The Loft is a diamond in the rough for beer lovers.

The liquor store features 600-700 different imports and microbrews crammed into a tiny area. Not only 6-packs, but hundreds of individual hard-to-find bottles can be located. They have a small, mix-a-sixpack shelf. Staff is courteous and helpful.

Whoa! Our sources tell us that as of 2/07, The Loft/Barnyard is CLOSED! What a loss! And the building has burned down.




"Life is Uncertain.
Don't sip."

...Lagunitas Brewing Co.


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