Iron Hill Brewery.

Last Friday, my lovely boyfriend and I went to Iron Hill Brewery. Iron Hill is regarded for it’s beer, which is brewed on-sight, with the brewery visible to customers. The History section of their website states that Iron Hill formed “when two award-winning homebrewers, Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson teamed up with Kevin Davies, an experienced professional in restaurant operations.” The result is definitely a success. There are now several Iron Hill Breweries throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania, and I’m lucky to live close to the one in Media, PA.

As I am still underage, I’ve yet to experience their beers. However, I have experienced their food enough to report in what is hopefully an appropriate manner. Bar food typically gets a bad rep, and for good reason. Grease is not very nutritious, and you usually can’t order much beyond a burger and fries. Iron Hill, on the other hand, serves above par bar food. They update their menu on a regular basis, and everything I’ve ordered there, save for a vegetarian entree that has since been removed from the menu, has been excellent. I’ve dined at Iron Hill many times, and return because I’ve almost always had decent service, and an above-average meal.

My boyfriend Jay’s first beer, an Irish Dry Stout.

Although I just stated that Iron Hill is better than a burger and fries, they do serve them. And for the first time ever, I ordered both, together. This is a big step, not only for my recovery, but also in broadening my horizons. Having been vegetarian for two plus years, meat has often been questionable to me. Sometimes it makes me feel incredibly full, to the extent that the aftereffects negate any enjoyment experienced during the meal. Even so, since reuniting with chicken and fish, I have realized the importance of protein in my life. And since then, I have also experienced hunger pangs that scream, MEAT PROTEIN! Although this is rare, it does occur. I am not a meat fanatic by any means, but when the craving strikes, I will satisfy it. And lately, that craving has been geared towards burgers. Not any burger, mind you, but an upscale, bacon cheeseburger. And I know you’re wondering, “Does this girl really have an eating disorder?” But there is no reason, when you’re feeling good, to limit yourself. Recovery has taught me to enjoy food, and I do, immensely. Although I still (even very recently) find eating and everything that comes with it to be challenging, I am at the point in my recovery where I am willing to take on these challenges. I am ready to meet my needs, and yes, indulge. So I did just that.

We sat in the bar area next to the window. I loved the view. However, the sound system was right over my head, and it was happy hour, so the music was pounding. Yelling isn’t my ideal form of communication, but Jay and I dealt with it. Our waitress took our orders shortly, and I ordered what is probably any anorexic’s worst nightmare; their Smoke House burger with their hand-cut sweet potato fries. I’ve tried their sweet potato fries before, and they are wonderful. Not too greasy, with just the right amount of crisp. As an appetizer, they’re served with three dipping sauces; bourbon-vanilla cream, smoked paprika aioli, and habanero-lime. The combination of the sweet potato fries with the bourbon-vanilla cream sauce is absolutely delicious, so I asked for it on the side.

While we waited, I took note of the menu, which describes the brewing process step-by-step, with complimentary images. Jay explained to me the Mug Club, which exists for beer enthusiasts. You get a special mug and a card to go with it, which rewards you with points back for every beer you buy. More info here.

It wasn’t long before our orders arrived.

The Smoke House 8 oz. Angus Beef Burger. It comes with smoked gouda, barbecued onions, and bacon. Also on the plate: sweet potato fries, vanilla-bourbon dipping sauce, coleslaw, and a pickle. Upon first glance, I was completely overwhelmed. Not only did my plate look like a heart-attack, but Jay’s looked much prettier.

He ordered the Brewski Burger, which comes with lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, bacon, and your choice of cheese. He opted for salad on the side, and it added such vibrancy and color to the plate. For a moment, I felt insecure for picking the less “healthy” option, fries instead of salad, but I quickly cut my burger in half and made a mental note telling ED to shove off.

My Smoke House meal was pretty good. The burger itself was too big for my liking, but I guess that’s what happens when you order an 8 oz burger, which equates to two plus servings of protein. I enjoyed the gouda, and I have quite the hankering for any type of cooked onions. The bacon, however, was thin and limp. I would have preferred it to be crispy and thick. If I’m going to eat bacon, which I rarely do, I want it to be bangin’. I decided to eat half of my burger, and save the rest of my appetite for the fries. And I must admit, they were probably my favorite part of the meal. You will never know until you experience it. The wholesome flavor of the sweet potato combined with the subtle richness of the vanilla-bourbon is a real treat. My boo polished off his burger with ease, and nixed the salad. Apparently, it was too bitter.

After we finished, Jay ordered another beer. This time it was an IPA (India Pale Ale). I was quite full at this point, but Jay kept me company and I got through it. Once he finished his beer, I got the rest of my burger and fries to go, and we headed home. Overall, it was a pleasant experience. I think my burger craving is satisfied for now, but I am glad I tried it. I’d never ordered a burger at restaurant before, let alone with fries. Still, I think it was something I needed to experience. After all, burgers are one of America’s most beloved sandwiches. I had to find out why.

Recommendations: Mesculn salad, Salmon Spring Rolls, Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, Hand Cut Sweet Potato Fries, Moroccan Spiced Salmon, Mediterranean Wrap, and yes, any burger of your choice, if you’re in the mood.

Skip: Onion and Ale au Gratin. It’s not that bad, but there is so much cheese, I swear I nearly choked on it once.

Overall, a good meal. If you’re ever near an Iron Hill, you should give it a try. For more information, click here.

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Filed under dining out, ed, recovery, review

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