In a freestanding gray-hued chalet-styled Lafayette Hills lodge five miles north of Earth Bread & Brewing on Germantown Pike, GENERAL LAFAYETTE INN & BREWERY marks history as a Revolutionary War-era relic (visited May ’09). Opened as a brewpub in 1996, its small outdoor side deck leads to low-ceilinged catacomb-like wood bar middling right and left dining areas. Sunday buffet is recommended, but if that’s not doable than the sandwiches, seafood bisque, and French onion soup make fine alternative. But during tough economic times, brewery closed 2010 (but in late 2011 will open as Copper Crow Brewing Company).

Nevertheless, ex-brewmaster Christopher Leonard crafted two separate types of beers: Brewmaster Specials and Signature Ales. As for the former, honeyed raspberry resonates fizz-hopped yellow grape, apple, and strawberry tartness of dry Raspberry Mead Ale and washed-out peach-candied tartness counters grassy hop acridity of low-alcohol Economizer Pale Ale.

Better were brown-sugared chocolate-sweetened coffee-soured nut-sharpened peppery-hopped Chocolate Thunder Porter and black & tan red ale-porter hybrid Red Velvet, with its black cherry and stewed prune illusions propping peat-smoked malts to dry bourbon-burgundy finish. Best bet: Alt! Who Goes There, a honey-spiced rum raisin-y banana-peach-bruised fruity dessert.

Signature Ales included simply outstanding candi-sugared banana-bruised clove-spiced corn-buttered Abbey Blonde Ale, dry wood-stained red-fruited Sunset Red Ale (which maintained crisp lemon-seeded grapefruit-currant bittering), and the lesser dry-bodied fungi-fruited aspirin-powdered Pacific Pale Ale.

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