Iron Hill Brewery in Phoenixville, Pa. We were looking for something cheap to eat because we were set to go to a Philadelphia brunch (most likely at Northern Liberties' PYT) the next day. However, a couple circumstances aligned to allow us to set our sights a little higher: 1) We were not able to find a suitable pizza place on Bridge St., which is sort of surprising and 2) our brunch date for Sunday cancelled on us, leaving us eligible for slightly more expensive fare. With Iron Hill inexplicably featuring two open tables on their patio despite the fact that there was a wait inside, we jumped at the opportunity to dine al fresco.
First on the menu was an order of Loaded Nachos. At first, I was a little disappointed because Iron Hill's version of the dish does not come with salsa, instead going with a pico de gallo to accompany guacamole and a heaping dollop of sour cream. I find that salsa is often more spicy than pico and it does a better job of covering the nachos. It's just a preference. What can I say? This being said, the pico tasted incredibly fresh and the rest of the ingredients - black beans, jalapenos, monterey & cheddar cheeses, and especially the fajita grilled chicken - were supplied in bulk, ensuring that none of the delicious corn nachos were enjoyed in naked fashion. The wife - a major nacho fan - especially reveled in this dish. At one point, I took our kid to the bathroom and the plate was 3/4 full. When I returned from the sojourn, it was as if a gang of passers-by ambled through and joined in the consumption, leaving us with a near-empty plate.
For the main course, I partook in the establishment's House Smoked Pork Sandwich while the wife sampled - this being a pizza site - a Voodoo Chicken Pizza. I can't say enough about the pork sandwich, which I proceeded to take apart with unbridled abandon. The pork was juicy, tender, and ample. The sauce, while not thick, tasted of sugar, molasses, vinegar, tomato, and a bunch of other ingredients I would not be able to identify because I was stuffing my face so fast. They supplied a little extra juice on the side for additional moistening. Obviously, from the sound of my food selections thus far, I am a bit of a health nut. So I went with a salad instead of the fries on this day. It's a side salad, so there is nothing really there to go crazy about, but I will say that I liked their Italian-style house dressing and the fact that there was a lot of it. I hate how often times side salads are served with limited dressing and end up tasting a little dry.
The wife could probably give a better opinion on the Voodoo Chicken pie - which featured bacon, red onion, green bell peppers, smoked gouda, mozzarella, and barbecue sauce - but I did have a couple slices and can attest to its quality. I am automatically going to be a little against a pizza that does not have red sauce. Often, I just don't see the point in such a venture. However, the spicy barbecue sauce of this pie was a quality substitute (personally, I would have liked more of it) and the bell peppers packed a mysteriously powerful punch. The gouda didn't bother me too much and the chicken was a very distinct white. It was clear that Iron Hill uses only the best ingredients in the makings of their pies. Throw in a great crust - perfect texture and thick while not being doughy - and you have a wonderful pizza from a place for whom you would not think the dish would be a specialty. It made me excited to get back there and try the red sauce pie.
Of course, there is nothing like a beer in the open air and there was no way I was going to nosh at Iron Hill without indulging in one or two of their sudsy spirits (as I'm sure you realize, it is the entire reason I put the idea of eating at Iron Hill in my wife's head). The first beer I ordered was Ironbound Ale, a pale ale of amber color. When I first lifted it to my lips, I picked up a bit of an off-putting smell. However, I suppose bad scent does not always translate to a poor-quality beer. In this case, I would say it translated to an "average" beer. While the item had some hop power, it fell a little bit short in my estimation, so much that I was a little bit bummed that I missed the sheet featuring specials when our very friendly and attentive waitress first came to our table.
When she arrived to take a second beer order, I did not make the same mistake. I jumped at their Saison and I was not disappointed. Boasting a cloudy, golden appearance, the beer packed a variance of flavors. There were subtle Belgian notes, yes, but I also picked up something that resembled raspberry. The fruity vibe was set off by a rustic, earthy taste in the finish. It was a very good beer, and one that left me wishing I had time for more.
But alas - much like our recent sunny weather - visits to drinking establishments when you have kids are fleeting. I was forced to leave Iron Hill before my time, but it's not like I wasn't there long enough to realize that they serve good food and beer that, while it isn't always perfect, definitely leaves you feeling like you would want some more.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
130 E. Bridge St.
Phoenixville, PA 19460
The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/