Sunday, March 01, 2015

Beer Calendar: What To Do in March 2015

Beware the beers of March. They're out there. Everywhere from the shore to the mountains. Read on and see for yourself.

As always, if I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know.


$20 and under, down to and including FREE...Pay As You Go (PAYG) also included here

Philadelphia
Sun. 3/1 - Victory Belgian Inspired Brunch at Varga Bar in Philadelphia, Pa. (12 p.m.; $PAYG)
Mon. 3/2 - Bottle Shop Happy Hour (Victory) at Local 44 Bottle Shop in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $Free)
Mon. 3/2 - Industry Night with Varga and Founders at Amis in Philadelphia, Pa. (10 p.m.; $PAYG)
Mon. 3/2 - Younger at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, Pa. (11:30 a.m.; $PAYG)
Mon. 3/2 through Tue. 3/31 - March Madness at Varga Bar in Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Tue. 3/3 - Keep The Pint Night (Victory) at Grace Tavern in Philadelphia, Pa. (5 p.m.-7 p.m.; $PAYG)
Tue. 3/3 - Tuesday Tapping (Stillwater) at Lucky's Last Chance in Philadelphia, Pa. (8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 3/4 - DuClaw Brewing Beer & Cheese Pairing at Hawthornes in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 3/4 - Weyerbacher Polar Vortex Evening at The Belgian Cafe in Philadelphia, Pa. (7:01 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 3/4 - Port Brewing/Lost Abbey Event at The Bishop's Collar in Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Thu. 3/5 - St. Benjamin Meet the Brewers Keep the Glass at Hop Angel Brauhaus in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/5 - Olde Cask Imports Launch Party at The Victoria Freehouse in Philadelphia, Pa. (7 p.m.-9 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/5 - Weyerbacher Tap Takeover at Dawson Street Pub in Philadelphia, Pa. (7 p.m.; $PAYG for a night of Weyerbacher beers.)
Fri. 3/6 - Beer + Art Show with Forest & Main at Indy Hall in Philadelphia, Pa. (5 p.m.-9 p.m.; $Free)
Fri. 3/6 - Manayunk Grand Cru bottle release party at Bottle Bar East in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/7 - Hop Brunch at City Tap House (Logan) in Philadelphia, Pa. (11 a.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/7 - Weyerbacher: Some Things Old, Some Things Nouveau at U-Bahn in Philadelphia, Pa. (2 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/7 - Boulevard 7 on 7 at Brü Craft & Wurst in Philadelphia, Pa. (2 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sun. 3/8 - Pliny Time at City Tap House (University City) in Philadelphia, Pa. (1 p.m.; $10)
Mon. 3/9 - Bottle Shop Happy Hour (Stoudts) at Local 44 Bottle Shop in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $Free)
Tue. 3/10 - Tuesday Tapping (Knee Deep) at Lucky's Last Chance in Philadelphia, Pa. (8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/13 - Friday the Firkinteenth at The Grey Lodge in Philadelphia, Pa. (12 p.m. and 6 p.m. tappings; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/13 - Yards Sampling at Stone's Beverage Center in Philadelphia, Pa. (5 p.m.-7 p.m.; $Free)
Fri. 3/13 - Broken Goblet Carle the Great release party at Bottle Bar East in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/14 - Craft Beer Express at 12 top-notch beer bars in Philadelphia, Pa. (11 a.m.-7 p.m.; $10-$15)
Sat. 3/14 - Exclusive USA Launch at Brauhaus Schmitz in Philadelphia, Pa. (11 a.m.; $PAYG)
Sun. 3/15 - Founders Breakfast Club Brunch at City Tap House (University City) in Philadelphia, Pa. (11 a.m.; $PAYG)
Mon. 3/16 - Bottle Shop Happy Hour (Yards) at Local 44 Bottle Shop in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $Free)
Tue. 3/17 - Tuesday Tapping (Hardywood) at Lucky's Last Chance in Philadelphia, Pa. (8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 3/18 - Yards Brewing Company at Hawthornes in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/19 - Terrapin Brewing Night at Barcade in Philadelphia, Pa. (4 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/19 - Funky Brewstah at City Tap House (Logan) in Philadelphia, Pa. (8 p.m.-12 a.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/21 - EBB & Malt House Homebrew Challenge at Earth Bread + Brewery in Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Sun. 3/22 through Sun. 3/29 - Flight Club: Grape vs. Grain at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Mon. 3/23 - Bottle Shop Happy Hour (Neshaminy Creek) at Local 44 Bottle Shop in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $Free)
Tue. 3/24 - Tuesday Tapping (Avery) at Lucky's Last Chance in Philadelphia, Pa. (8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 3/25 - Firestone Walker Brewing Company at Hawthornes in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/26 - Bella Vista Beer Night at The Trestle Inn in Philadelphia, Pa. (5 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/26 - Flying Fish Keep the Pint Night at Revolution House in Philadelphia, Pa. (7 p.m.-10 p.m.; $20)
Sun. 3/29 - Firestone Walker Savage Sixtel Sunday at Kite & Key in Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Mon. 3/30 - Bottle Shop Happy Hour (Starr Hill) at Local 44 Bottle Shop in Philadelphia, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $Free)
Tue. 3/31 - Tuesday Tapping (Maine) at Lucky's Last Chance in Philadelphia, Pa. (8 p.m.; $PAYG)


Philadelphia's close suburbs (within 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Sun. 3/1 - Founders CBS Comes to Narberth at The Greeks Next Door in Narberth, Pa. (1 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/5 - First Thursday Tasting at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. (5 p.m.-7 p.m.; $Free)
Thu. 3/5 - Prism Event at Pinocchio's in Media, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/6 - Firkin Friday at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Media, Pa. (4 p.m.-8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/6 - Yards Tasting at The Beer Shoppe in Ardmore, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $Free)
Fri. 3/6 - Cape May Tap Takeover at Uno Chicago Grill in Maple Shade, NJ ($PAYG)
Sat. 3/7 - Barrels, Bourbon, and Bugs at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Maple Shade, NJ (1 p.m.-5 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/13 - Yards Sampling at Wegmans in King of Prussia, Pa. (5 p.m.-7 p.m.; $Free)
Sat. 3/14 - Founders Tap Takeover at Pinocchio's in Media, Pa. (11 a.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/19 - Exit Tap Takeover at Hulmeville Inn in Hulmeville, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/20 - Founders and CBS at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, Pa. ($PAYG)
Wed. 3/25 - Flying Fish Tap Takeover at Pinocchio's in Media, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/28 - Otter Creek Tap Takeover at Pinocchio's in Media, Pa. (1 p.m.-3 p.m.; $PAYG)


Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania / Other (beyond 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Wed. 3/4 - Charity Cask Night (March's beer: TBA) at Allentown Brew Works in Allentown, Pa. (5 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/5 - Full Moon Firkin at Tröegs Brewing Company in Hershey, Pa. (11 a.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/5 - Charity Cask Night (March's beer: TBA) at Bethlehem Brew Works in Bethlehem, Pa. (5 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/6 - Incubus Friday at Sly Fox Brewing Company in Phoenixville and Pottstown, Pa. (11:30 a.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/6 - Beer Sampling (Straub) at Goshen Beverage in West Chester, Pa. (4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.; $Free)
Fri. 3/6 - Friday Night Beer Tasting (Celtic beers) at Washington House in Sellersville, Pa. (5 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/6 - First Friday Firkin at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pa. (5 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/7 - Pre-St. Patty's Day Pub Crawl at 8 bars in Phoenixville, Pa. (12 p.m.-6 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/7 - 3rd Anniversary Party at Round Guys in Lansdale, Pa. (12 p.m.-6 p.m.; $15)
Tue. 3/10 - River Horse Tap Takeover at Alchemist & Barrister in Princeton, NJ (6 p.m.-10 p.m.; $PAYG)
Tue. 3/10 - Girls Night With Firestone Walker at CJ's Doghouse in Kulpsville, Pa. (6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/12 - Hop Addicted Double IPA Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Newark, Del. (4 p.m.-8 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/14 - Tap Takeover with Bell’s Brewery at Isaac Newton’s in Newtown, Pa. (11:30 a.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 3/19 - Tröegs Tap Takeover at Paradise by the Slice in Wernersville, Pa. (5 p.m.-7 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/20 - Third Friday Firkin Fest at Sly Fox Brewing Company in Phoenixville, Pa. (11:30 a.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/20 - Hardywood Park Craft Brewing Company Tap Takeover at Isaac's Pickle Bar in Lancaster, Pa. (5 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 3/25 - Oskar Blues Gubna Release at Trolley Tap House in Wilmington, Del. ($PAYG)
Fri. 3/27 - Tough Guy IPA Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in West Chester, Pa. (5 p.m.-9 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 3/27 - Mahalo, Apollo! Release Party at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Wilmington, Del. (6 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/28 - Café Au Chocolat Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Voorhees, NJ (12 p.m.-4 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 3/28 - Bacon & Beer Pairing at CJ's Doghouse in Kulpsville, Pa. ($PAYG)


Events Over $20

Philadelphia
Wed. 3/4 - Pubs That Care at Misconduct Tavern in Philadelphia, Pa. (7 p.m.; $40)
Sat. 3/7 - Philly Craft Beer Festival at Philadelphia Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pa. (12:30 p.m.-5 p.m.; $10-$75)
Sun. 3/8 - The Brewer's Plate at Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Pa. (5:30 p.m.; $59-$99)
Tue. 3/10 - Brooklyn Beer Dinner at Dos Segundos Cantina in Philadelphia, Pa. ($65)
Wed. 3/11 - Beer & Cheese Pairing at Philly Beer School in Philadelphia, Pa. (7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; $47.98)
Fri. 3/13 - World Atlas of Beer at Philly Beer School in Philadelphia, Pa. (7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; $39.98)
Tue. 3/24 - He Said PA Beer, She Said PA Wine at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Pa. (6:30 p.m.; $55)

Philadelphia's close suburbs (within 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Wed. 3/11 - Maryland Breweries Beer Dinner at Iron Abbey in Horsham, Pa. (7 p.m.; $60)
Wed. 3/18 - Brewed Food Beer Dinner at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in North Wales, Pa. (6:30 p.m.; $TBA)

Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania / Other (beyond 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Thu. 3/5 - Craft Beer Series: Founders & Sebastiani Wines at The Inn Keeper's Kitchen in West Chester, Pa. (7 p.m.-9 p.m.; $70)
Sat. 3/7 - The Stars of Craft Beer Fest at State Theatre in Easton, Pa. (12 p.m.; $10-$55)
Tue. 3/10 - Weyerbacher Beer Dinner at Savory Grille in Macungie, Pa. (6 p.m.; $75)
Fri. 3/13 - Ferry Beer Dinner at Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal in Cape May, NJ (5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; $50)
Sat. 3/14 - Saturday Brew Review (Hardywood Park) at Isaac's Pickle Bar in Lancaster, Pa. (3 p.m.-5 p.m.; $25)
Sat. 3/14 - The Great Allentown Brew Works Cask Beer Festival at Allentown Brew Works in Allentown, Pa. (4 p.m.; $15-$45)
Sat. 3/14 - Craft Beer Series: Boulevard & Deschutes at The Inn Keeper's Kitchen in West Chester, Pa. (7 p.m.-9 p.m.; $70)
Wed. 3/18 - 6 Degrees of Bacon Beer Dinner at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Wilmington, Del. (6:30 p.m.; $75)
Thu. 3/19 - Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer Tasting at World Cafe Live in Wilmington, Del. (6 p.m.; $40)
Fri. 3/20 and Sat. 3/21 - Atlantic City Beer and Music Fest at Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, NJ ($20-$60)
Sat. 3/21 - Beer and Yoga at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pa. (9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.; $30)
Mon. 3/30 - Tröegs Beer Dinner at Bulls Head Public House in Lititz, Pa. (5:30 p.m.; $28.50)
Tue. 3/31 - Tröegs Beer Dinner at Liberty Taproom in Reading, Pa. (6 p.m.-8 p.m.; $TBA)





Monday, February 23, 2015

Ten years of serving at The Brew Lounge - Where has time gone? - Part 1


After twenty-plus years drinking the good stuff and now approaching ten years writing about it, if I had a dollar for every time someone said I should write a book about beer, I would've never had to write a book about beer.

Last winter, after eight years of time served at The Brew Lounge, I was approached to write "Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic", what has turned out to be a 416-page book about the good beer producers and bars/restaurants of PA, NJ, MD, and DE. It's due to hit the virtual and brick-and-mortar bookstores on May 7.

Long before that there was The Brew Lounge — the blog. Yup, a blog is what started it all. In 2005. I resisted for many years being referred to as a "blogger", with all the baggage and implication that comes along with it. Somewhere along the way, however, I began hearing folks from within the industry introduce me as a "respected blogger". People that I was writing about respected me and vouched for me. That, as they say, was a game changer.

My attempt to take a professional approach to dealing with the people and the subject of beer had paid off. My desired objective of providing independent information that consumers could use was being realized. Through the years on The Brew Lounge, there have been all types of information surfaced in all sorts of ways: Interviews; Tap lists; Weekly news; Beer reviews; Event calendars; Construction updates; Dinner and event reviews; Bar reviews; Obituaries; Travel guides; Plenty of pictures and videos; and on and on. Beer running material and events too; long before it became trendy.

Admittedly, during the last ten years with the dawn and explosion of social media, my long-form writing on The Brew Lounge has taken a back seat to much less frequent full-length reviews and articles often in favor of shorter snippets of information on the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Pictures, in this multimedia world, have become more important than ever as well. It's a strange world attempting to figure out where and how to share information for maximum benefit in a more-dynamic-than-ever beer industry. The book's release and subsequent sales figures will probably add some insight to the topic as well.

Over the next six months, I'm going to take a look back on how I got from 2005 to 2015. I used to track stats but gave up on that years ago when I didn't feel I could trust (or determine to what extent they mattered since I've never derived a significant source of income from these beer-y endeavors) them with all the different avenues springing up for content. Basically, though, ten years have seen more than 3,000 postings to The Brew Lounge come and go and over a million visits. Compared to more established and better linked beer writers, these numbers pale in comparison. But hopefully the quality wins out and, at the end of the day, I've helped to move the needle just a few ticks as the industry continues to plow headstrong into the future.

I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane and would appreciate hearing your thoughts in the comments section and/or social land over at my Facebook page and Twitter feed. Cheers to more years with great beers!

Next: TBL at 10 — Let's Get This Party Started



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: February 19 - February 28

What can be said about more than a cool thirty beer events over the next ten days? Well, read below and learn all that needs saying.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. As always, they host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Adamstown, Pa.
Sat. 2/28; 6 p.m.-10 p.m. - Winter Brew Festival at Stoudts Brewing Company ($35 to get out and sample some winter warming ales and lagers from a selection of craft breweries, complemented by hearty, warm, festive food.)

Conshohocken, Pa.
Wed. 2/25; 12 p.m. - Raison d'Bibo at Fingers Wings and Other Things ($PAYG for 120 Minute IPA 2015, Raison d’Extra, Miles Davis Bitches Brew, Grateful Dead American Beauty, Piercing Pils, Black and Blue 2012, and some surprise brews.)

Downingtown, Pa.
Sun. 2/22; 12 p.m.-4 p.m. - Chili Challenge at Victory Brewing Company ($PAYG for Victory beers at the bar and $Free to taste a variety of chilis and vote for your favorite. Your vote will help select the winner of The People’s Pepper.)

Exton, Pa.
Fri. 2/20; 5:30 p.m. - Firkin Friday: Nugget Nectar at The Drafting Room ($PAYG for one of the best seasonal beers around and served in the traditional cask style.)
Fri. 2/27; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Friday Night Sampling at Exton Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Otter Creek.)
Sat. 2/28; 1 p.m.-3 p.m. - Saturday Afternoon Sampling at Exton Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Prism.)

Horsham, Pa.
Thu. 2/19; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Complimentary Beer Tasting at Iron Abbey ($Free tastings of beers from Draai Laag in Pittsburgh.)
Sat. 2/21; 11 a.m. - Founders CBS Tapping and Tap Takeover at Iron Abbey ($PAYG for Founders' Canadian Breakfast Stout, Dark Penance, Imperial Stout, Breakfast Stout, Black Rye, Backwoods Bastard, Nitro Pale Ale, and Dirty Bastard.)
Thu. 2/26; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Complimentary Beer Tasting at Iron Abbey ($Free tastings of beers from Victory.)

Hulmeville, Pa.
Tue. 2/24; 7 p.m. - Heavy Seas and ALEiens night at Hulmeville Inn ($PAYG to meet owner Hugh Sisson, brewmaster Chris Leonard, and sales manager Mike Beamer plus two custom firkins.)

Kennett Square, Pa.
Sat. 2/28; 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. - Kennett Winterfest at downtown Kennett Square, Pa. ($20-$85 to sample some of the best regional and national craft beers accompanied by great food, great music, and great people.)

Kulpsville, Pa.
Thu. 2/19 - Girl Scout Cookie Pairing at CJ's Doghouse ($19 for twelve different beers paired with six different cookies.)

Lancaster, Pa.
Sat. 2/21; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. - Saturday Brew Review at Isaac's Pickle Bar ($25 for a four-course meal paired perfectly with four brewmaster picks from Stoudts Brewing Company.)
Fri. 2/27; 5 p.m. - Stoudts Brewing Company Tap Takeover at Isaac's Pickle Bar ($PAYG as all taps are dedicated to Stoudts Brewing Company.)

Media, Pa.
Fri. 2/20; 4 p.m. - Firkin February Friday at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for a firkin of the English IPA.)
Thu. 2/26; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Port/Lost Abbey Event at Pinocchio's ($PAYG for Hop Freshener and six more.)
Fri. 2/27; 4 p.m. - Firkin February Friday at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for a firkin of the Small World XPA.)

Newtown, Pa.
Thu. 2/26; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Tap Takeover with Bell’s Brewery at Isaac Newton’s ($PAYG for an array of Bell's beers including Special Double Cream Stout, Smitten Golden Rye Ale, Cherry Stout, Oarsman Ale, Two Hearted Ale, and the highly coveted Hopslam Ale.)

North Wales, Pa.
Fri. 2/20; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. - Something Hoppy Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for the Double IPA, brewed with an excessive amount of West Coast hops for an explosive aroma of citrus and stone fruit.)

Paoli, Pa.
Thu. 2/26; 4 p.m. - Evil Twin Happy Hour at TJ's ($PAYG for Evil Twin's Intagible Ales Sour Bikini, Stillwater Even Less Jesus, Molotov Lite, Femme Fatale Brett, Imperial Biscotti, Lil B, I Love You With My Stout, and From Amager With Love.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Thu. 2/19; 4 p.m. - Midwest Beer Night at Barcade ($PAYG to celebrate all the fantastic beer that makes its way here from the marvelous Midwest.)
Thu. 2/19; 8 p.m.-12 a.m. - Funky Brewstah at City Tap House-Logan ($PAYG for beers from Other Farm Brewing and ciders from their sister Frecon Ciders. Funk and soul by DJ Femi.)
Sat. 2/21; 12 p.m.-5:30 p.m. - Bierfest at German Society of Pennsylvania ($45-$75 to celebrate Pennsylvania’s German Brewing Heritage with the Philly Roller Girls and visit with PA’s leading brewers of lagers, bocks, and weizens, plus sample a diverse array of imports from Germany.)
Sat. 2/21; 12 p.m. - Beats, Brews, & BBQ at World Cafe Live ($45-$60 to sample the offerings of over 30 local and regional breweries and enjoy free live music.)
Sat. 2/21; 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. - Belgian Beer Experience at Philly Beer School ($47.98 for the famous, and not-so-famous, beer styles of Belgium, including Strong Golden Ales, Wild Fermented Lambics, Monk brews, and more.)
Sat. 2/21; 2 p.m.-6 p.m. - Conshohocken Brewing Pig Roast at The Institute ($40 for an all-you-can-eat-and-drink pig roast and featuring Conshohocken Brewing Company.)
Sun. 2/22; 11 a.m. - Bear Republic Savage Sixtel Sunday at Kite & Key ($PAYG for Bear Republic's Crazy Ivan Belgian IPA, Red Racer IPA, Tartare, Tartare Rouge, Rebellion Blanc, Olde Scoutters Barleywine, Sonoma Brown, Grand Am Pale, and Apex 2x IPA.)
Tue. 2/24; 8 p.m. - Tuesday Tapping at Lucky's Last Chance ($PAYG for Great Lakes' Blackout Stout, a 9% ABV Russian Imperial Stout.)
Tue. 2/24; 7 p.m. - Tomme Arthur Lost Abbey Dinner at Monk's Cafe ($100 for a dinner with Tomme Arthur focused on his outstanding Lost Abbey lineup.)
Wed. 2/25; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Suds Sessions Beer Dinner at Kings Oak ($35 for an educational and fun experience in our cozy fireside lounge with four courses of food and beers from Elysian.)
Fri. 2/27; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. - Goose Island 2014 Bourbon County Stout Tapping at Grey Lodge ($PAYG for this rare sixtel.)
Fri. 2/27; 6 p.m. - Saved By The Bell's at City Tap House-University City ($PAYG for Bell's Hopslam Ale, Oarsmen, Two Hearted, Java Stout, Best Brown, Cherry Stout, Smitten, Double Cream Stout, Midwestern Pale Ale, Kalamazoo, Winter White, Third Coast Old Ale, and a few more specialties TBA.)

Phoenixville, Pa.
Fri. 2/20; 11:30 a.m. - Third Friday Firkin Fest at Sly Fox Brewing Company ($PAYG as our latest Hop Project IPA (new, experimental hop variety 06277) and Seamus' Irish Red will pour along side our always quenching Chester County Bitter.)
Thu. 2/26; 4 p.m. - Free Will Tap Takeover at Pickering Creek Inn ($PAYG for tapas and Free Will's Mango Wheat, West Coast IPA, Community Kolsch, and Grape Lambic.)
Sat. 2/28; 6 p.m. - Heavy Seas Tap Takeover at Pickering Creek Inn ($PAYG to meet the head brewer from Heavy Seas and drink Crossbones Session IPA, Deep Six English Porter, and Siren Noire Imperial Chocolate Stout.)

Pittsburgh, Pa.
Fri. 2/20 and Sat. 2/21; 6:30 p.m.-11 p.m. - Pittsburgh Beerfest at David L. Lawrence Convention Center ($20-$85 for an unlimited sampling of 300+ craft beers, local restaurants, and local bands.)

Warminster, Pa.
Sat. 2/28; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. - Fare Festival at The Fuge ($50 for craft beer, small batch spirits, local wines, and some of the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area. A portion of proceeds benefit the Doylestown Fire Company No. 1, a 100% volunteer firehouse.)

Yardley, Pa.
Sun. 2/22 - Founders Beer Dinner at The Yardley Inn ($65 for a five-course meal paired with Founders' All Day IPA, Dry-hopped Pale Ale, Dirty Bastard Ale, Dark Penance Black IPA, and Breakfast Stout.)



Friday, February 13, 2015

Farm to Philly - Philly Beer Week 2015 goes to Belgium


(click to visit full gallery of photos at Picasa)
Tracking the "success" of writing something here versus there versus everywhere versus nowhere is typically a fruitless effort. I take my best shot and the chips lay scattered and crushed where they land.

Figuring many of you catch my stuff in social-land, I'm gonna go out on a limb and presume that you're aware I just returned from Belgium.

Brussels, to be specific. With Philly Beer Week, Free Will Brewing, and a cast of characters exploring the Belgian beer landscape and brewing a collaboration beer at Hof ten Dormaal in Tildonk to be even more specific.

And if you didn't catch all the social love that I gave to this trip, you may have caught the Philly.com food/beverage blog — in conjunction with Philly Beer Week — that John Stemler (Free Will co-owner/brewer) and I contributed to while across the pond.

Rather than repeat here, below I've gathered a handy index that you can go exploring on your own. The one additional thing you get here, however, is many more pictures. Click above on our group picture at Cantillon to head over to Picasa for a much larger photo gallery than was included at Philly.com.


(link to) Pre-travel thoughts and planning
    — The PBW/Philly.com crew thought it would be a good start to talk about some pre-trip thoughts, planning, expectations, etc. So we did. May not be all that riveting, but it set the groundwork.

(link to) En route
    — Slightly more riveting than the first entry, this got into more of the trip across the pond and arrival.

(link to) Monday, Feb. 2
    — Now things are really humming
    — Moeder Lambic, Delirium Cafe, Grand Place

(link to) Tuesday, Feb. 3
    — Bruges must be experienced up close and personal to be appreciated. Hopefully, we've helped with that.
    — Le Pain Quotidien. Halve Maan brewery. Cambrinus. De Garre.
    — Walking. Churches. Bridges. Canals. Food. Beer. Not exactly in that order or quantity.

(link to) Wednesday, Feb. 4
    — I referred to this day as epic. In hindsight, I stand by that.
    — Cantillon, Nuëtnigenough. Never enough. Indeed.

(link to) Thursday, Feb. 5
    — The day that this trip was all about. Brew day at Hof ten Dormaal in Tildonk, just east of Brussels.
    — And, back to Brussels for Le Coq, Cafe Bizon, and probably a place or two lost to the beer-soaked streets of Brussels.

(link to) Friday, Feb. 6
    — More epictasticality. Boon, 3 Fonteinen, Lambics, trains. Classic Belgian/French dining.

(link to) John's review of Feb. 5-7
    — Stemler takes a crack at knocking out three days of catch-up writing in one entry.

(link to) My post-trip wrap
    — A huge shout-out to all involved, including the importer 12% Imports.



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: February 12 - February 18

Okay all you love bugs. Express your love for all your loves by getting the one you love out for some of the beverage you love the most. Ugh, that was a lot of love in one sentence. Whatever. You know you love it; go out and drink it up.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. They continue to host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Ambler, Pa.
Sat. 2/14 - Valentine's Day Dinner at Forest & Main (Details TBA.)

Croydon, Pa.
Sat. 2/14; 5 p.m. - Valentine's Chef Special Dinner at Dog & Bull ($90 per couple for a three-course dinner paired with beers from Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company.)

Downingtown, Pa.
Tue. 2/17; 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. - 19th Anniversary Beer Dinner at Victory Brewing Company ($65 for a five-course meal paired with Braumeister Pils, Anniversary 19 Ale, Hip Czech Lager, Sticke Alt, St. Victorious, and Moving Parts 03.)

Kulpsville, Pa.
Sat. 2/14; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. - Chocolate and Beer at CJ's Doghouse ($PAYG for a pairing of Asher Chocolates and Neshimany Creek beers.)

Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Sun. 2/15 through Sun. 2/22 - Lehigh Valley Beer Week at establishments around the Lehigh Valley, Pa. (see website for a current schedule of events.)

Limerick, Pa.
Thu. 2/12; 6 p.m.; - Darwin's Birthday at Craft Ale House ($PAYG for Evolution's Natural Selection, Lot 3, Lot 6, Rise Up, and Primal Pale.)

Media, Pa.
Thu. 2/12; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Lagunitas Event at Pinocchio's ($PAYG for a night of beer from Lagunitas.)
Fri. 2/13; 4 p.m. - Firkin February Friday at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for a firkin of the Rye of The Tiger.)
Tue. 2/17; 7 p.m. - Bootlegger’s Beer Dinner at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($65 for a five-course dinner paired with English IPA, Barrel-aged Porter, Rye of the Tiger, Bourbon Tripel, and Coffee Stout.)

Norristown, Pa.
Sat. 2/14; 11:30 a.m.; - Hopslam and Head Hunter at Capone's ($PAYG as Bell's Hopslam and Fat Head's Head Hunter make an appearance together.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Thu. 2/12 - Stouts & Oysters at Sansom Street Oyster Hosue ($PAYG for oysters and four different stouts from Yards including Russian Imperial Stout, Chocolate Love Stout, Love Stout on nitro draught, and Corsica Love Stout.)
Fri. 2/13; 12 p.m. - Friday the Firkinteenth at The Grey Lodge ($PAYG for 26 different firkins from 26 different breweries two sessions.)
Sat. 2/14; 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. seatings - Valentine's Day at Varga ($55 for a four-course meal served with a choice of wine or beer.)
Sat. 2/14 - Be my Valentine Bells Brewing at Kite & Key ($PAYG to celebrate Valentines day with your favorite Bell's beer.)
Sun. 2/15; 6 p.m. - The Goose Island Sweet Heart Dinner at City Tap House (University City) ($75 to celebrate the "Hallmark holiday" with four sisters from the Goose Island Vintage Collection, complimented by Chef Vetter's four course menu.)
Tue. 2/17; 8 p.m. - Tuesday Tapping at Lucky's Last Chance ($PAYG for Carton's Gilded Lily, a 10.6% ABV classic Belgian Tripel.)
Wed. 2/18; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Suds Sessions Beer Dinner at Kings Oak ($35 for an educational and fun experience in our cozy fireside lounge with four courses of food and beers from Evil Genius.)

Phoenixville, Pa.
Fri. 2/13; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. - Rose Tripel Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for the traditional Belgian-style golden ale aged with rose petals and rose water.)

Reading, Pa.
Sat. 2/14; 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. seatings - Valentine's Day Pre Fixe Dinner at Chatty Monk's ($49.95 for a four-course dinner paired with beers.)

Rio Grande, NJ
Fri. 2/13 - Tap Takeover at Rio Station ($PAYG for four taps from Cape May Brewery and live music.)

Wayne, Pa.
Fri. 2/13; 1 p.m.-4 p.m. - Oxbow Industry Luncheon at Teresa's Next Door ($PAYG to drink rare, great beer with Philly's own Fava and Brewmaster Tim.)

West Chester, Pa.
Fri. 2/13; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. - Shokolad Stout Limited Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for the release of our full-bodied Imperial Stout brewed with chocolate and aged with fresh cocoa nibs and whole vanilla beans.)
Fri. 2/13; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Craft Beer Series: Mason Dixon Line at The Inn Keeper's Kitchen ($75 for five courses of food paired with East Coast beers from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.)

Wilmington, Del.
Thu. 2/12; 7 p.m. - The Murder Mystery of Abraham Lincoln at Trolley Tap House ($60 as Mispillion River and Victory Brewing companies help to solve the mystery with five beers from each served with five courses of food.)
Sat. 2/14; 3 p.m. - Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer Tasting at World Cafe Live ($40 for two of the best things paired together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – in unexpected and delicious ways. Bring your vegetarian friends, too – we can accommodate them on all pairings.)



Thursday, February 05, 2015

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: February 5 - February 11

I forgot to release this from draft to scheduled mode while away in that great beer land of Belgium. Hope you're all having a blast back home and, if not, here are some suggestions beginning, well, yesterday through next Wednesday.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. They continue to host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.


Atlantic City, NJ
Fri. 2/6; 6:30 p.m. - Cape May Brewing Company Beer Dinner at Ruth's Chris ($65 for an exclusive four-course dinner with four perfectly paired beers from Cape May Brewing Company.)

Bethlehem, Pa.
Thu. 2/5; 5 p.m. - Charity Cask Night at Bethlehem Brew Works ($PAYG as 100% of proceeds from select cask sales will be donated to Miller-Keystone Blood Center.)

Deptford, NJ
Fri. 2/6; 6 p.m. - Tap Takeover at Uno Chicago Grill ($PAYG for a lineup of beers, including a firkin, from Forgotten Boardwalk.)

Ewing, NJ
Fri. 2/6; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. - Barrel-aged Series at River Horse Brewing Company ($45 for two 12-oz. pours, a souvenir glass, and one big bottle to take home at the end of the night.)

Exton, Pa.
Fri. 2/6; 5 p.m. - HopSlam Tapping at The Drafting Room ($PAYG as the annual Bell's HopSlam is tapped along with Tröegs Nugget Nectar.)

Harrisburg, Pa.
Thu. 2/5; 5 p.m.-8 p.m. - Tröegsuary at McGrath's ($PAYG for 10 Tröegs taps including seasonal, limited, and year-round brews plus a firkin of Nugget Nectar.)

Horsham, Pa.
Wed. 2/11; 7 p.m. - Wine vs. Beer Dinner at Iron Abbey ($65 for five-course meal served with five beers pitted against five wines.)

Kulpsville, Pa.
Thu. 2/5; 5 p.m. - Bell's Brewery Tap Takeover at CJ's Doghouse ($PAYG for many of Bell's favorite beers on tap including HopSlam.)
Fri. 2/6; 3 p.m. - Blind Tasting at CJ's Doghouse in Kulpsville, Pa. ($23 for a blind tasting of three styles of beer — Belgian Quads, Imperial IPAs, and Barrel-aged beers.)

Lancaster, Pa.
Fri. 2/6; 6:30 p.m. - Victory Beer Dinner at Greenfield Restaurant & Bar ($57 for a five-course meal paired with Mad King Weiss, Prima Pils, Anniversary 19 Session IPA, Earth & Flame, and Golden Monkey.)
Tue. 2/10; 5 p.m. - 19 Years of Victory Beers at The Fridge ($PAYG as Victory Brewing's Founder/Owner Bill Covaleski visits for a full tap takeover to celebrate the brewery's 19th anniversary.)

Lansdale, Pa.
Fri. 2/6; 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. - Tröegs Night at Blue Dog Pub ($PAYG for a huge lineup of Tröegs beers including Nugget Nectar and Impending Decent.)

Media, Pa.
Thu. 2/5; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Ithaca Event at Pinocchio's ($PAYG for tappings of a Flower Power cask, Creeker DIPA, and more.)
Fri. 2/6; 4 p.m.-8 p.m. - Polar Bear Plunge Outdoor Patio Party at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for the annual outdoor party featuring a firkin of Russian Imperial Stout.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Fri. 2/6; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. - Beer Tasting at Craft Beer Outlet ($Free tasting samples of beers from Philadelphia Brewing Company.)
Fri. 2/6; 7 p.m. - Do Good Brewery Release Party at Bottle Bar East ($PAYG for beers from Do Good Brewing, live jazz music, and late night DJ.)
Fri. 2/6; 5:30 p.m. - The Philly 0.0 at Victory Beer Hall ($28-$35 as runners and non-runners join together in the middle of winter to enjoy the best part of any running event, the post-race festivities.)
Sat. 2/7; 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. - Beer & Brewing 101 at Philly Beer School ($39.98 for an introduction to how beer is made, major beer styles, and brewing history. Eight different brews will be sampled.)
Sat. 2/7; 4 p.m. - One Year Anniversary at Madira ($PAYG for a Stone Brewing tap takeover, with several of their special brews to be had all night long in addition to a special 3-piece sampler to reflect our unique take on Indian cuisine.)
Sun. 2/8; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. - Band of Brewers at World Cafe Live ($20 + $PAYG as nine bands face off in an afternoon of musical competition, local beers, and food available for purchase.)
Sun. 2/8 through Sat. 2/14 - Ballast Point Tasting Menu at Beast and Ale ($28 for a three-course menu paired with Ballast Point's Big Eye IPA, Sculpin IPA, and Dorado Double IPA.)
Tue. 2/10; 8 p.m. - Tuesday Tapping at Lucky's Last Chance ($PAYG for Lagunitas' Brown Shugga, a 9.99% ABV hoppy strong ale.)
Wed. 2/11; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Suds Sessions Beer Dinner at Kings Oak ($35 for an educational and fun experience in our cozy fireside lounge with four courses of food and ciders from Woodchuck.)

Phoenixville & Pottstown, Pa.
Fri. 2/6; 11:30 a.m. - Incubus Friday at Sly Fox Brewing Company ($PAYG for the Belgian-style Tripel that pours until the keg kicks.)

Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Thu. 2/5; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. - First Thursday Tasting at Whole Foods ($Free tastings of beers from Yards Brewing Company.)

Sellersville, Pa.
Fri. 2/6; 5 p.m. - Friday Night Beer Tasting at Washington House ($PAYG for a special lineup of dark beers from Duck-Rabbit.)

Wayne, Pa.
Thu. 2/5 - New Stuff from Sierra Nevada at Teresa's Next Door ($PAYG to get to know the new side of Sierra.)
Sat. 2/7 - Summit is Back at Teresa's Next Door ($PAYG for a firkin or two, a barrel-aged beer, and some other fun treats to help forget the cold.)

West Chester, Pa.
Fri. 2/6; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. - Beer Sampling at Goshen Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Yards.)
Tue. 2/10 - River Horse Brewery and Wine Dinner at The Inn Keeper's Kitchen in West Chester, Pa. (7 p.m.-9 p.m.; $70 for five courses of food paired with beers from River Horse and wines TBA.)

York, Pa.
Sat. 2/7; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. - Hibrewnation at Memorial Hall-York Expo ($20-$55 for 80+ hand-selected craft brews and a few spirits.)




Friday, January 30, 2015

There's this little trip to Belgium next week





Remember that raffle that I won in December from Philly Beer Week and 12% Imports? Well, it's finally here. Not that it snuck up on me all that much, but any ideas I had about preparing adequately to maximize my travels have all but evaporated at this point.

I know I have a flight, a hotel room, and a valid passport. The weather looks clear (and cold) leaving Philly and overcast/rainy (and not quite as cold) when arriving in Brussels.

Beyond that, oy.

That's not really true, though. The level of communication has been much higher than expected amongst all the principals involved in the trip. Brian Ewing of 12% Imports (the importer of the host brewery, Hof ten Dormaal) is picking up the travel tab for myself and the brewer I tapped, John Stemler of Free Will Brewing, and has been playing his liaison role between the brewing entities on both sides of the pond. This role has become even more critical in light of the devastating fire that HtD suffered earlier in January. They continue to work like crazy at their brewery just east of Brussels to prepare for our brew day on February 5.

The dialogue between the brewers, myself, Tom Peters (of Monk's Cafe), William Reed (Standard Tap), Casey Parker (Jose Pistolas), and others around the recipe specifications has also taken on a life of its own in long-running e-mail conversations. While it's still too soon to say with 100% certainty, you can bet we'll be talking about the recipe next week as we tweet, burp, share, post, blog, bleep, blurp, write, and take pictures along the way. The free-wheeling conversation leading up to the trip has been fun and educational for me as an outsider to the professional brewing world — or at least to the part that involves recipe formulation, ingredient planning and sourcing, etc.

Side threads have also sprouted in e-mail around other group excursions apart from brew day. Staying in Brussels, Cantillon is an obvious choice. Drie Fonteinen and Boon are also likely visits. As he has taken the lead in planning these additional visits, the respect that Tom Peters garners in his home away from home in Belgium is immediately obvious.

Finally, as Stemler and I will both be coming into Belgium prior to the larger group (we expect a total of 11 from Philly, I think is our last count, in the complete traveling group), he has been taking the lead in establishing other brewery meetups and possible brew days in order to further his professional relationships abroad during this trip.

So my rough count is that there have been over 130 e-mails over the past few weeks leading up to what should be a most-excellent trip. Now, it's time for me to count some Euros I have at my home desk and figure out if/how to get more. Set up my international data and calling plan. Figure out the best route into the city from the airport (likely the train). Determine which, if any, "gift beers" I'd like to pack for the new friends we make over there. Clothes, toiletries? Eh, minor stuff!

Oh, and the minor footnote of being 89% of the way through editing my 416-page book manuscript, due by the end of this week--is that today?! Separate story for a different day. Maybe I'll write something about it on the plane ride to Belgium.

While I'm in Belgium, expect to see updates here at The Brew Lounge. I'll also be forwarding some material to Philly.com for Michael Klein to include in his column. Philly Beer Week will also have some fun content that we'll be chipping in with along the way. And the usual social media outlets — The Brew Lounge on Facebook and The Brew Lounge on Twitter — should be alive and well during this trip and full of fun things found, heard, and tasted along the way.

Here we go....