With some help from well-heeled restaurateur Loïc Barnieu, James Mullally finally has the relaxed, family-oriented “hang” he’s fantasized about. “It sounds corny, but it’s been a legit lifelong dream of mine,” says Mullally of Bierhaul, which recently debuted in Thornton. “Bierhaul was conceived to share something Loïc and I experienced growing up in Europe. As soon as we walked onto the property, we felt it here.”
Formerly the Stables of Yellow House and, before that, Pace One Restaurant & Country Inn, the 22,000-square-foot 1740s fieldstone house includes an attached three-story motel space that will play a role in the restaurant’s future at some point. In warmer weather, a courtyard beer garden welcomes guests with shade, picnic tables and a relaxed rural vibe. Inside, the beer hall is anchored by a massive bar surrounded by high-top tables and a few private corner nooks. The rustic wood paneling, overhead beams and floor-to-ceiling fieldstone fireplace accentuate the lodge-like atmosphere. There’s also a more intimate dining room with booths and tables.
The huge kitchen is manned by chef and general manager Billy Yoder, who’s working with Mullally to curate the still-evolving seasonal menu of modern American classics. Popular dishes include a decadent lobster grilled cheese with sage cheddar, arugula and Old Bay-seasoned Béchamel, and bourbon steak tips with pickled mushrooms, horseradish mash and roasted honey-rosemary carrots. The massive charcuterie board is also worth a mention, as are the steamed mussels (spiked with an Irish curry).
The cheese curds (with marinara dipping sauce) are my newfound guilty pleasure. Other casual standouts include the Reuben eggrolls and the truﬄe mushroom and pork-belly pizza. The wings were meaty and flavorful, though they could’ve been roasted a tad longer for a more fall-off-the-bone experience. And be sure to order the tangy German potato salad as a side.
I had some serious fun sipping the flaming S’Mores Old Fashioned. Poured from an flip-top bottle, the aptly named, rye-based Smoke Show gets an A for presentation. As you might expect, Bierhaul is big on beer, its 24 taps focusing heavily on American and European lagers and pilsners.
341 Thornton Road, Thornton, (610) 550-3440, bierhaul.com
ATMOSPHERE: A lodge-like representation of a European beer hall that can get a little loud on weekends.
HOURS: 4 p.m.-midnight Wednesday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday.
EXTRAS: Five-ounce beer samplers; kids meals come with a toy.
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