Chatty Monks Brewing Company. West Reading, PA

The Lowdown

Location: 610 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611

Food: Full menu. Weekly specials. No dessert.

Kid Friendly: Yes. They have a kids menu, coloring books for kids and Tootsie Pops ( pending parental approval).

Quality of Beer:  Usually 3.5 to 5 stars.

Beer to go? Currently offer growler fills only. All beers except nitro draft beers. Growlers with Chatty Monks logo also available in 32oz, 64oz, and 2L growlers.  They will fill outside growlers also.

What else to drink? Seasonal sangrias. The Sweetheart Sangria was currently offered. Wynridge Farm hard (apple) cider. Cabernet/Merlot red wine and Chardonnay white wine from Karamoor Estates.  Coke products as well as Reading Draft Rootbeer and Orange Cream Soda.

Contact info :  (484) 818-0716

Chatty Monks came to West Reading three years ago, opened its doors during a closed street “Arts on the Avenue” event, and stole the hearts of all who desperately needed a craft brewery to call our own in the Reading/ Berks area.   I’ve been going ever since to enjoy their small batch, rotating list of seasonal experiments, as well as some flagships that regulars have come to love and expect.

I recently took my valentine to enjoy a brunch at Chatty’s.  You can always count on Chatty Monks to offer a more eclectic and upscale choice of menu offerings then you might find at more “standard fare” brewery restaurants.  Chatty Monks food offerings are classy, without being pretentious, and frequently changing with the seasons, much like the beer list itself.  Rebecca Keller is the Executive chef who also runs the West Reading Farmers Market and uses fresh, local produce for all menu options whenever possible. I love hearing that breweries use local businesses to help make a farm to table kitchen.

My date and I looked over the brunch menu and decided on a breakfast panini with eggs, bacon, and cheese with hash browns on the side. She selected the cranberry raisin pancakes with apples, pistachios and brown sugar on top. All of the food was very delicious.  It’s always clever, pairs great with the beers, and you leave wishing you had time to sample more of the culinary creations.

Upon entering the establishment, the first thing you see is the overhead sign that states the mantra; “Chew Chant Chill”. This declaration tells patrons, “We don’t have TVs hanging on every wall here; sit, relax, talk, enjoy delicious beer and food”.   Between the Monks adorning the walls, and the church pews as seats you can get comfortable and enjoy the good company, and the experience. 

In addition to the main floor dining and bar area, there is also a full upstairs dining room that is named “The Abbey”. It is a beautifully decorated dining area where the whole wall is made up of reclaimed barn wood stamped with a Chatty Monks logo. Pull a stool up to the cozy copper top bar and continue to sample the drafts on the list.  The servers are always eager to bring samples and chat about the latest and upcoming drafts. 

About the beer. Chatty Monks is known for their flagship IPA, Endoplasmic Reticulum.  It’s always on tap as is a stout on nitro.  They usually have on a porter for all those patrons who come in and say, ” I usually drink Yuengling, do you have anything like that”?

Besides those three beers, it’s all up to what head brewer Cliff Plank dreams up. Recently he brewed several pale ales and a stout brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, and bourbon. For brunch today, I enjoyed the “46 Hours”, an American Blonde infused with coffee. It was very good. Not overly powerful coffee flavor, but just a hint to let you know its there.  Cliff came to Chatty’s less than a year ago, a former architect turned head brewer. He’s brought a creative zest to the rotating drafts that are artfully crafted and complex.

Chatty Monks seems to have hit the mark with creating a formula for a destination that pleases the masses as well as the most discerning craft beer connoisseur. Given their popularity in their small West Reading brewery it will be interesting to see what’s next for their brand.

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