Iron Hill Brewery
After a grueling afternoon of outlet shopping in what felt like the middle of nowhere, Limerick, Pennsylvania, an early dinner was in order. The on site Ruby Tuesday wasn't calling to me so we checked to see what the GPS might come up with nearby. There appeared to be a cluster of restaurants in two towns: Royersford and Phoenixville. I wanted to avoid already-known-to-me chains and was wooed by Texas Roadhouse and Iron Hill Brewery. The latter sounded classier so off to Phoenixville.
Along the Schuylkill River, Phoenixville was quainter than expected with a cutesy main street inhabited by outdoorsy types. I was willing to be swayed by any restaurant along the strip. The thing is, independent doesn't necessarily mean good cooking. The little hamlet was rife with tapas abuse.
One restaurant, 101 Bridge, with colored strobe lights and a disco ball beaming from the second floor of the historic Victorian house, was advertising $16 "tapas" of chicken marsala and rigatoni. Ok.
Just down the way was The Fenix, "Phoenixville's only martini and whisky bar" offered tapas that included, California rolls, lobster nachos and a peculiarity called shrimp lejon, which you'll soon see is a favorite of the area.
I also wasn't sold on New Orleans pizza whatever that might be. So, we ultimately ended up right where our car's oracle suggested in the first place: Iron Hill Brewery, a bright clean suburban-style restaurant with vague upscale tendencies (lots of $20+ entrees and steak) and an almost comical seriousness about their beers. It really wasn't terrible in the least, though unprompted you will get a lengthy description with lots of flowery tasting notes if you ask about a beer. To their credit, they'll also give you juice glass-sized tastes if you show interest in a particular brew. We ended up with full servings of the Abbey Dubbel, Pig Iron Porter and Extra Special Bitter.
Always a sucker for a cheese plate, we had a cheddar sampler and honestly I don't remember which each wedge was. The crumbly aged variety in the middle was a favorite. Extras included grainy mustard, pear compote, dried cranberries and cinnamon-sugared walnuts.
Ok, here's that shrimp lejon again. I pronounced it lehon like it was Spanish and was corrected to lezhan. Apparently lejon is the combination of shrimp, bacon and horseradish, here in the form of a pizza. I ordered it because it was so foreign. I've never heard of this creation in my life. I'm assuming it's regional, much like that frightening Goeslin coiff, which I did see on a woman in the dining room. I'll concede that the flavors combine well, the creamy mildly hot horseradish sauce instead of tomato helping balance the double richness of bacon and shrimp. I still think it's weird, though.
Fish and chips in a beer batter, of course, their Vienna Lager.
Iron Hill Brewery * 130 E. Bridge St., Phoenixville, PA