On my mid-July 2011 overnight perusal of northern Philly and the outlying Lancaster area, the most accessible brewpub fare came from Manheim-based JOBOY’S. Located in the rustic rural hillside on Main Street at the historic Summy House just down the road from Pennsylvania’s Renaissance Fair (housing the smallish Swashbuckler Brewery), cozily wood-furnished JoBoy’s brings casual country comfort to local denizens, wayward road warriors, and inquiring ‘brewpies’ (groupie-like beer geeks).
Married owners Jeff and Jo Harless unveiled this intimate joint on April Fools Day, 2010. But the beers are no joke. Besides Jeff’s six delectable oblations (prepared with help by chef, Mike ‘Tug’ Mc Gall), I seriously enjoyed the terrific Southern-styled smoked pork sandwich with fried hush puppies.
A crooked red brick walkway from the rear parking lot leads to a slanted gray front porch. Upon entering the antiquated 1879 hotel tavern, a low ceiling 12-seated right bar with four booths welcomes patrons. One TV at the bar and another up front kept several bar drinkers entertained while a family-styled backroom and adjoining dining space suit the quieter supper crowd. Vintage provincial pictures, farm equipment, quilts, and antiques don the walls.
This mid-afternoon, I got introduced to a few well-rounded brews that leaned to the lighter side without getting commonplace. For a zesty opener, Raspberry Summer Cream Ale brought judicious raspberry-seeded tartness to wheat-honeyed sweetness and sugary bubblegum fruitiness. Next, moderate-bodied German Wheat sauntered by with its simple banana-clove expectancy. Spicy red-fruited Manheim Red saddled its candi-sugared sweetness with an India Pale Ale-like grapefruit-peeled orange, apricot, and lemon meringue zing. Briskly fruited American IPA contrasted mild floral-hopped wood dryness and grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering against lively apple, peach and pear illusions overriding biscuit-y caramel malts.
Anyone with a taste for a proper British bitter should welcome JoBoy’s ESB, an endearing dry body gathering mineral-grained pumpernickel-rye breading, sun-drenched dried fruit astringency, and mild herbal traces. Easygoing JoBoy’s Robust Porter finished off my day with a sedately soft-tongued goodbye, draping black cherry over creamed coffee and dark chocolate.
Fine beer and authentic barbecue readied by ‘good old boys busting their asses.’ What more could a thirsty carnivore ask for? This enticing niche-like ‘destination restaurant’ has been jam-packed since its advent.