Sunday, February 17, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - La Cabra Hipster Catnip

Difficult to believe that for all the time in planning and grinding of the rumor mill, La Cabra has been open for nearly 2 1/2 years. From a thirsty beer traveler's perspective along Route 30, they filled in a nice gap between Wayne (Teresa's Next Door) and Paoli (TJs). If you haven't been, do so. You'll find one of the area's most aesthetically-pleasing and comfortable brewpub layouts. The beer is diverse and well-made and the kitchen is a stand-out, whether you use it to enhance the beer experience or are just looking for an excellent meal at a reasonable price.

La Cabra's got a bit more of the spotlight recently as they just returned from Belgium earlier this month and a collaboration brew day with Duvel as part of Philly Beer Week's annual partnership with Belgian breweries. In fact, if you're near Berwyn tomorrow night (Feb. 18), you can get a behind-the-scenes "tour" of their trip as they do a video presentation plus Q&A. The pub is not typically open on Mondays, so it should be an extra special night.

Finally, they recently announced plans to open a satellite location called Bodega just a bit farther down the Main Line in Bryn Mawr.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on La Cabra Hipster Catnip. Frankly, one of my favorite beers from the youngest batch of breweries in the area (let's say, roughly under 2-3 years old) and one of the best examples of word play in the name that I can recall.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's La Cabra beer while at the brewpub.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Saturday, February 16, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Dock Street Bohemian Pilsner

This one is as Flagship as they come in the city of Philadelphia. Leading the charge into the micro/craft beer revolution in Philly, and really let's not kid ourselves, at that time the country, Rosemarie Certo (and her husband at the time, Jeff Ware), unveiled Dock Street to the beer-drinking public in 1985 with the Bohemian Pilsner as part of the trio of original beers. It was second out of production after the Amber Ale. For me, it was a few years later, in the early 90s, along with Amber and Illuminator Doppelbock, that my first tastes of Dock Street beers were enjoyed.

The pub's suave style on 18th Street where they were originally located certainly fit the neighborhood of Center City accounting and law firms and high-end hotels. The complimentary billiards table in the back room was worth the extra couple bucks for the on-premises made beer. And, some well-known names have been associated with that brewhouse including Chris LaPierre, Will Kemper, Nick Fennell, Eric Savage, Vic Novak, and Bill Moeller.

The new location, est. 2007, to me fits who Dock Street is, or maybe better put, who they were meant to be. In a converted firehouse in a part of West Philly that has seen gentrification encroach at a somewhat slower (and therefore more welcome?!) pace compared to other hot neighborhoods in the city, Dock Street is a welcoming come-one, come-all brewpub (or, in their words "...a progressive and eclectic counterculture and a mixture of race, creed and background) that focuses on solid beers and food, particularly the pizzas and, thank the almighty, Trio Fries which have survived the move to West Philly. If you're an 18th Street original, you know what I mean.

Brewers that have touched down at 50th and Baltimore have included Scott Morrison, Vince Desrosiers, Justin Quinlan, and Ben Potts. Today, the brewery's award-winning ways continue under Mark Russell. The last one was at the Great American Beer Festival in 2017 for Man Full Of Trouble Porter. The family feeling at Dock Street is not just stemming from the "kids" involvement in the business (son, Sasha, has been involved in brewing and daughter, Renata, whose title includes marketing, sales, and business development), but Marilyn Candeloro, VP, has been around for almost ten years and, with her hands seemingly in most aspects of the business, feels a bit like family too.

Showing their inclination to grow, they've opened the adjacent Cannery & Lounge next door for something of a hidden getaway drinking session that includes their beers as well as craft cocktails and draft wine. Next up (maybe in late summer/early fall if things progress as hoped and planned), will be a South Philly outpost on Washington Avenue. Call it Dock Street South for the time being.

Love me some Rye IPA and Prince Myshkin. And, others from their always evolving beer menu. For example, act now and you too can have an excellent Altbier named Passive Specificity. But, for an all-day drinker, it's BoPils for me. For the nostalgia and for the love, still, of a great beer.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Dock Street Bohemian Pilsner.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. Today's beer was provided to me by the brewery while I was at Dock Street to chat about the beer and the business.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Friday, February 15, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Tröegs HopBack Amber

Hershey was already on the map, no doubt. The chocolate museum, minor league hockey, the amusement park, the hotel & spa, the botantical gardens, the auto museum, and more are all big draws for the city and region.

For beer lovers, if any of that wasn't enough, Hershey quickly moved up the priority of travel destinations once Tröegs Independent Brewing relocated its brewery there from Harrisburg in 2011. Not only did the Tröegs team move operations, they took the next big step (and money!) and made it into a first-rate brewery experience. The opening of the Splinter Cellar addition in 2016 continued that theme.

As for the beers, Perpetual IPA has quickly become a rockstar for them as Troegenator Doppelbock and Nugget Nectar have been for even longer. Sunshine Pils is on tap every summer at my house. The Scratch Series has long impressed with unique one-offs that occasionally sends one of its own into regular or semi-regular rotation.

But, for a feature here, HopBack Amber has long impressed me as a solid beer worthy of multiple in any given session. If Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale was still considered year-round/flagship, I might have given the nod in that direction, but HopBack will suffice quite nicely for today.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Tröegs HopBack Amber.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's Tröegs beer at retail.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Lancaster Milk Stout

This marks halfway through Flagship February. Surprised by any of my picks thus far? Hoping to see any still pop up in the next 14 I have to feature after today?

Not many breweries can stake a claim to a well-made milk stout as one of their longtime flagships. Lancaster Brewing has a long history in the city and for almost 15 years have had a location on the outskirts of Harrisburg as well. As with my Manayunk feature yesterday, I need to fess up to not having been to LBC in over two years. Been to the first two versions of LBC, but not yet to the new Taproom at all. Another bit of negligence that needs fixing.

Wish the Amish Four Grain Ale had survived as an LBC flagship, or at least seasonal, but alas we still have the Hop Hog and the Milk Stout as year-rounds amongst solid seasonals such as Jump Seat Black Lager and the Lancaster Kölsch.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Lancaster's Milk Stout.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's Lancaster beer at retail.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Manayunk Monk From The 'Yunk Belgian Tripel

Manayunk Brewing, sitting where the canal meets the Schuylkill River, has been brewing up a storm and weathered quite a few storms (i.e. floods) from Mother Nature herself going all the way back to 1996. That makes it one of Philly's earliest brewpubs. It's a remarkable bout of consistency on Main Street where things can come and go as times and tastes change. And, by the way, fun factoid if you didn't know that Schuylkill translates to "hidden river" and Manayunk means "place to drink".

But I'm not qualified to write about Manayunk; I haven't been there in nearly five years. Really lame on my part, eh? Consider this feature part of my atonement. The last time I was there was for a bit of al fresco dining. The deck dining at MBC in nice weather is worth the visit as much as (I'd imagine) are the brunch menu and sushi menu, the latter making it a unique brewpub visit for sure. Special events are frequent and lately, there seems to be something new always coming out of the brewhouse as they keep up with the times.

Had a chance to find a taste of the Crunch at a recent festival and it's a spot-on chocolate peanut butter porter. I really must make yet more amends for not having been to MBC in a ridiculous amount of time.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Manayunk's Monk From The 'Yunk.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's Manayunk beer at retail.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Root Down Bine IPA

Root Down was able to pick up a sweet location in Phoenixville, just steps away from the bustling Bridge Street. The interior's unique shape that used to house a stage theater in its early years, and later a soda factory, adds to the character and atmosphere. So do the beers which have won popular approval as well as the approval of judges at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival, which bestowed a gold medal on the Bine IPA to best 310 other entrants in the IPA category. (Salty By Nature Gose also took home a silver medal achieving a multiple medal win at GABF, something which is getting more difficult each year to do.)

A whole lot of adult beverages going down in Phoenixville. If you haven't been to Root Down, you should probably rectify that soon. Oh, and by the way, not many local breweries are doing Altbiers, let alone very good Altbiers. 3-Legged Rabbit Altbier is just such a brew and unfortunately available only very occasionally, but for this one guy at least, I believe it should be more often.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Root Down's Bine IPA.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. Today's Root Down beer was provided to me by the brewery while I was at the bar discussing the brewery and the beer with owner Mike Hamara.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Monday, February 11, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Yuengling Black & Tan

There's so much that could be said about Yuengling - the oldest brewery in the U.S. But, this feature is about one beer. Or, in this case, two. For the complete history, it's really best to visit the original brewery in person. It's such a fascinating tour, complete with a descent to the beer caves, which were walled off with brick by the federal government during Prohibition.

For the beers, my original tastes of Yuengling brews count Lord Chesterfield, Black & Tan, and Porter amongst my favorites. Never took a strong liking to Lager, but over the years have found Bock and, now in 2018, the new Golden Pilsner to also be quite good. I would've chosen Porter here as my featured flagship, but it's not as widely available as the Black & Tan. And, by featuring Black & Tan, I'm indirectly featuring Porter, so there we go.

They hit 190 years old this year and I'm sure we'll see them out 'n' about even more than usual.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Yuengling's Black & Tan.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's Yuengling beer at retail.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com