4 Views Of Dock Street Brewery

Dock Street Pizza - Photo by PhilaFoodie

Photo by PhilaFoodie

When we first visited Dock Street for pizza and beer at their grand opening event we felt we had found Philadelphia’s best pizza that doesn’t require dough reservations. But subsequent reports have hinted there are some serious consistency issues.

Read four different opinions after the jump.

At present, the brewery is still getting its feet wet. The beers on the rotating list – Rye IPA, Gold Stock Ale, Barley Wine – can have a note of experimentation about them. And except for the sweet-natured Helles, a traditional German lager, they lack the finesse of the original Dock Street styles that date to when the brewery had a nearly decade-long run on 18th Street.

But though the firehouse pub’s first brewer is already gone, Eric Savage, the original brewmaster, is now consulting. So the beer boasts its signature individualism, even though a few of the brews, as one aficionado put it, are still “rough drafts.”

The pizzas ($8 and up) – nearly half of them vegetarian or vegan in deference to the sizable vegan presence – are baked in a wood-fired oven, giving them good crunchy crusts; not as thin and crackling as the champs at Osteria on North Broad, but also not as dear. (Osteria’s are twice the price.)

The margherita is ordinary. But the caramelized-onion flammenkuche, the Greek topped with fresh greens after it’s cooked, and the tangy Sicilian with black olives, capers and pine nuts are worthy companions to a pint.

Drafting a course of change [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Second, contrary to the early hype, the pizza is nothing to crow about. The pizzas may sound compelling on the menu, but most fall short of expectations. The sweetness you expect from the layer of fig jam on the Fig Jam Pizza, for example, is virtually undetectable, overshadowed by bacon. The pizza isn’t the only letdown. The signature Dock Street Beer Battered Fish & Chips also misses the mark—the batter was thin and the fish itself was bland. Not everything is disappointing. The Flammenkuche Pizza is worth repeating; its sweet caramelized onions and bacon balance nicely with its crème fraîche and gruyère. And although the leeks were overcooked, the French Fry Trio makes a half decent bar snack.

Dock Street Brewery [PhilaFoodie]

There’s a big difference, of course: the beer’s totally solid. Scott “The Dude” Morrison is back in the brewhouse again, with competent assistance, and the three beers I had were excellent. I also had a Gold Stock Ale, which was one of the best pale ales I’ve had in quite a while, not overly hopped and with a bedrock maltiness to it; and a Cuckoo’s Nest Red Ale, a malty soother that grew on me as I sipped it. I also got a nip of the Barleywine, which was not a typical “American-style” barleywine/double IPA, but a rip-roaring fire-well of malty depth.

The food’s not bad either. There’s a lengthy menu of pizzas well outside the normal range, including the return of Dock Street’s Alsatian beauty, the flammenküche pizza, which is what I got; hell, I had to. It was outstanding: caramelized onions, creme fraiche, and some delicious double-smoked bacon.

Dock Street: bare bones place, stylish beer [Seen Through A Glass]

Made with stone-ground flour, pizzas are fired in a gape-mouthed monster of an oven. It hungrily gobbles up firewood stacked on the eroded concrete floor. Stoked by spacey student kitchen workers in flannel and gunmetal denim, the oven is a fickle beast, turning out pies more flaccid than a Shady Acres canasta tournament alongside the crisp and snappy.

Dock Tease [Philadelphia Weekly]