Make reservations immediately.
Iron Hill Brewery, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Attended the soft opening on Sunday evening and we were already impressed. Timing was generally good, service was super friendly and competent. Management was an obvious presence. Love the arts & crafts meets steel & industrial decor.
Started with soups (only critique was that they came out at the same time as the other appetizers, but temperatures were good on everything so it was not an issue really). Shrimp and scallop bisque was what you'd expect, creamy but with hint of cayenne. Gumbo was prepared correctly, rice not mixed in, but underneath, spiced for a northern audience, but definitely not for the timid. Could easily identify the okra and filet gumbo powder in spite of the heat.
Cheddar plate offered a flight of mild to sharp (Ale & mustard, Welsh extra sharp, and double Gloucester) served at the perfect temperature and with pear chutney and candied walnuts - all combinations of which were wonderful. Thought I tasted a hint of ginger in the chutney? The raspberry wheat ale was really nice with this dish.
Stan had the Voodoo shrimp in a barbecue sauce with streamed rice and sour cream and pronounced that it was mildly spicy with good flavor.
Garcia pizza had portobella, shiitake, oyster and crimini mushrooms, red onion, fontina, mozzarella and herbs. This one was even good cold as leftovers for lunch today. Crust of medium thickness and though a fair amount of flour underneath, had a good flavor and texture on it's own.
Come hungry if you plan to order the four cheese and woodland mushroom lasagna. It is a hefty portion, beautifully presented. This is a sturdy dish that does not fall all over itself when you cut into it. The flavors are savory and earthy and I really liked the inclusion of pine nuts here. I would have liked a hint of sweetness somewhere in this dish to balance it out for my taste buds, but not everyone would want that I am sure. I have leftovers, so I am going to hit it with a tiny bit of balsamic reduction to see how that is...
My second beer was Pig Iron Porter which will win over even ardent Guinness drinkers. I find it less bitter than Guinness with a more complex flavor.
The food was even pleasing to discriminating younger diners at the next table who reported the mac and cheese to be "great."
Iron Hill has a cohesive menu with a good mix of beef, poultry fish and vegetarian options. Presentations are interesting, flavor profiles are solid. Appetizers are imaginative and full of flavor. Beer, though not featured in the food (maybe it should be?) makes itself the star of the show. A note: definitely try the beer sampler - 6 or more 4 oz. glasses, of which even the light beer is good.
The Lancaster location opens to the public on Wednesday, November 28. I am not sure that is soon enough.