Saturday, June 30, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
On Draft as of 6/29/07
Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Blue Point Pale Ale
Blue Point No Apologies Imperial IPA
Sly Fox Ichor
Sly Fox Royal Weisse
Brouwerij De Ranke XX Bitter
Anchor Summer Ale
Pyramid Apricot Ale
Warsteiner Premium Verum Pilsner
In Philadelphia, there are few of what I would consider a classic neighborhood bar serving great beer. I'm talking about the real neighborhoods, not the Old City or Rittenhouse Square neighborhoods. I'm talking about the kind of highly residential, non-touristy type of neighborhoods, the type with a lot of foot traffic and no parking garages.
And, I'm talking about the kind of neighborhood joint where you can come as you are, no pretensions. Maybe, though, a little atty-tood if you look like you are not from around the block. But, once you're settled in, you get the kind of decent service you might expect in a close-knit neighborhood tavern along with some solid, dependable food. And, to cap things off, you're be able to have some excellent domestic craft and imported beer, with a good representation of local standouts.
In Philadelphia, you might cite Standard Tap, Old Eagle Tavern, McMenamin's, Grey Lodge Pub, and South Philadelphia Tap Room as these kind of joints (though you could argue against Manayunk and, lately, Northern Liberties too). Make sure you add For Pete's Sake to the list as well. Though they've been around for some time now, the beer list began to excel a couple of years ago. Read further down below for some of the more prominent brands that have been available on tap and in bottle during a couple of my recent visits.
Finding For Pete's Sake is not all too difficult. If you're travelling along I-95 through Philadelphia, you'll want to take the Columbus Boulevard (fka Delaware Avenue) exit and make you're way over to Washington Avenue, head west turning north on to Front Street, and go to the intersection of Front and Christian streets. There's on street parking, so get your parallel parking skills ready, unless you have one of those late model Lexus self-parking thingies. Or there's parking under the elevated I-95 roadway as well.
FPS sits nicely on the corner with street-side seating available on both sides of the building. Sure, that adds auto traffic to the ambiance, but you get the foot traffic too. Both of which, come to think of it, can provide some humorous street theater, if that's your thing. The interior floor space is split to two levels, the back level being where the restrooms are located. Overall, the place is not huge, but rather comfortable in an intimate way, though without being intrusive.
Speaking of restrooms, of which I've seemed to have had an affinity for lately, hmmm. But, I digress. Similar to the Grey Lodge Pub, there are numerous things on the walls in the restrooms here to help you pass the time while you're in there. You'll need to check it out for yourself. Moving along now....
I have already hinted at the quality of the available beer at FSP. The staff's service level delivers just as strongly as the beer does. It's down-to-earth and as to the point as you might expect a Philly neighborhood tavern to offer. While they are not going to kiss your rear end, they do know enough about the beer and the food to be helpful in getting you what you're looking for.
So, what are you looking for? In terms of food, they deliver just what you might expect. Solid pub grub (burgers, wings, pulled pork, salads, and appetizers), enhanced just a bit with some more adventurous dishes like duck sandwich and tuna tacos. Needless to say, you won't go away hungry.
You've heard me praise the bars that ditch the TVs. In this case, I believe that FPS is the type of establishment that benefits from a few TVs. It's a classic pub environment and a few TVs showing various sporting events fits right in. Seems like there's always at least one European soccer (football? soccer? football? soccer?) game being shown. Apparently, it's also a popular place to catch the local Philly action too.
I mentioned somewhere above that I would list out some of what For Pete's Sake has recently offered up by draft and bottle. Here y'go.
DRAFT - Kwak, Allagash, Chimay, Yards, Hennepin, Dogfish Head, Maredsous, Corsendonk, Harpoon
BOTTLES - Bells Oberon, DFH 60 Minute & 90 Minute, Ayinger, Saison Dupont, Maredsous 10, Duvel, Chimay Red & Blue, Delirium Tremens
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Thu. 6/28 - Special Belgian Dinner @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (5pm-10pm; $19.99)
Thu. 6/28 - Fermentation School: Scott Morrison @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $40)
Thu. 6/28 - Thursday Night Tasting (Grimbergen) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7pm-9pm; free)
Fri. 6/29 - Friday Night Tasting (Erdinger) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Fri. 7/6 - Neal's Yard Cheese & English Beer Pairing @DiBruno Bros., Philadelphia, PA (6pm-8pm; $50)
Fri. 7/6 - First Friday Tasting (Flying Fish) @TJs Everyday, Paoli, PA (6pm-8pm; free)
Fri. 7/6 - Xmas in July @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; pay as you go)
Sat. 7/7 - SPTR Annual Wheat Beer Fest! @South Philadelphia Tap Room, Philadelphia, PA (1pm-close; pay as you go)
Tue. 7/10 - Local Beer, Local Food Dinner @Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA (7pm-10pm; $55)
Tue. 7/10 - Tria Fermentation School: A Taste of Victory @Tria Cafe, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $40)
Wed. 7/11 - Crab Boil & Meet the Brewer (Clipper City) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (6:30pm; $45)
Thu. 7/12 - Thursday Night Tasting (Troegs) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7pm-9pm; free)
Thu. 7/12 - Hagerstown Suns Beer Tasting Festival @Municipal Stadium, Hagerstown, MD (6pm-9pm; $12/$15)
Fri. 7/13 - Friday the Firkinteenth 16 @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (open-close; pay as you go)
Sat. 7/14 - 8th Annual Royal Stumble: The Running of the Bulls @Nodding Head, Philadelphia, PA (1pm-5pm; $35)
Sat. 7/14 - Brewers’ Reserve Big Bottle Bonanza @Iron Hill, North Wales, PA (12pm-4pm; $35/$40)
Sun. 7/15 - Buy Fresh Buy Local Week Kick-off @Yards, Philadelphia, PA (2:00pm-6:30pm; $20)
Tue. 7/17 - Local Organic Beer Dinner @Victory, Downingtown, PA (6pm; $50))
Fri. 7/20 - Empire State Brewing & Music Festival @Clinton Square, Syracuse, NY (5pm-10pm; $35)
Fri. 7/20-Sat.7/21 - Vermont Brewers Festival @Waterfront Park, Burlington, VT (see details at website)
Fri. 7/20-Sun.7/22 - Belgium Comes To Cooperstown @Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY (see details at website)
Sat. 7/21 - Stone Soul Picnic @Ortino's Northside, Zieglerville, PA (1pm-whenever; pay as you go)
Sun. 7/22 - Oskar Blues Night @Hop Devil Grill, New York, NY (all day; pay as you go)
Tue. 7/24 - Fermentation School: Lew Bryson's Session Beer Project @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $40) Fri. 7/27-Sun. 7/29 - 12th Anniversary Party @Stewart's Brewing Co., Bear, DE (all weekend; pay as you go)
Fri. 7/27 - Munich in Mayfair 8: Franzensteiner-Lodge of the Living Dead, Halloween in July @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-8pm; pay as you go)
Sat. 7/28 - Brew At The Zoo @Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown, PA (6pm-10pm; $35)
Sat. 7/28 - State College MicroBrewers & Importers Exposition @Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA (12pm-4pm, 6pm-10pm; $40)
Sat. 7/28 - Summer Beer Dinner & Anniversary Ale pre-release party @General Lafayette Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (12pm-4pm, 6pm-10pm; $40)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
...that I don't normally discuss it. But, some times things are just too good to keep to myself. Like this past Monday night. Not only did the sampling table include beauts like Alaskan Smoked Porter, Three Floyds Dark Lord, Heavyweight Saison de la Soeur, Malheur Dark Brut, and Andechser Weissbier Hefetrüb brought fresh from Germany. (I felt so modest with my Big Fish from Flying Fish!)
But, a guest appearance in the form of Brian Hunt, brewer at Moonlight Brewing in Fulton, CA made the night one of the more memorable beer drinking nights of the year. Brian's a cool cat, a one-man brewing machine just outside of Santa Rosa putting together some of the region's best, albeit style-defying beers. I'm looking forward to seeing a couple of his brews featured during the Lagunitas Skunk Beer Train event this coming September.
I've experienced his Reality Czeck (one of America's great contributions to the style...wait, did I say 'style'?), Santa's Tipple (a festive warmer if ever there was one), and Death & Taxes (oh yes, indeedy, an almost perfectly crafted dark, but not heavy beer). For our little gathering, he bestowed upon us a small keg of his Bombay by Boat IPA. The fresh hops are just so evident (duh, of course) and so tasty. The Cluster hops used deliver low acid, but big big big flavor. A session IPA is defined from person-to-person, but for me with this beer at 5.9% ABV, I think I could drink this all night. (okay, in reality maybe it's a 3/4 session, not a full session!)
Thanks, Brian, for stopping in to see us. Too bad for us that your product doesn't find its way to most of us outside of California. This should serve as a reminder to all travelling through northern California in the Santa Rosa (see also, Russian River) to be on the lookout for your Moonlight beers.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
- Do you want to save beer from a growler?
- Do you want to take beer to a party from your keg?
- Do you have some left over beer in a keg that you want to keep?
The building sits on the corner and fits right in with everything on the block. From the outside you can see the tanks and the beautifully carved wood sign out front. As you walk in you enter into a very large space that is much deeper than it is wide. Don't miss the Schaefer sign on your left. Further inspection reveals a clean and open space with barrels and barrel shaped items all around. My wife insisted on sitting at one of the barrels in the front section near the bar. Union Barrel Works is split into two sections. The front by the bar and the dining room in the back.
One of the bartenders came from behind the bar to serve us. We decided to start with the seven beer sampler. Guess how much it was? $4.50! You get two ounces of each one of their beers for the price of a pint. Not a bad way for one to test the waters so to speak. We each ordered a bowl of French Onion Soup. As we waited I whipped out the camera again and snapped some pictures. I noticed the tin ceiling, trim woodwork and columns. I spoke with Tom for a few minutes and he mentioned that he didn't let the architect touch anything on the ceilings that didn't absolutely need work. This obviously adds character and to the charm of the place and differentiates it from larger chain type brew pubs.
Soon the beer arrived. As you can see in the picture the samples were poured into these 2 oz. glasses and presented in a beer barrel shaped carrier. It didn't take long to get through them all. My three favorites are the Weizen, Dopplebock and Stout. I was very interested in the Kölsch and I even ordered a pint of it for good measure. Still it didn't stand out like some of the others. I'll be interested to see how things progress. All in all the beer was solid with plenty of attention to the lager styles. Here's the line up. I'll add some tasting notes later: Lager, Pale Ale, Wobbly Bob Dopplebock, Round Boy Stout, Hefe Weizen, Mai-bock and Kölsch.
How did it feel inside? One word, open. Oh, did I mention that it is smoke free?! That's right ladies and gents smoke free. In fact as we were sampling the beer a group of four came in and sat down. One of the men was carrying on about the fact that there wasn't a smoking area. I was smiling to myself as the other three said, get used to it because that's the way things are headed. Then they proceeded to talk about how much they appreciated the non-smoking atmosphere. Ahhh...doesn't it make you feel good?
Well, we were winding down and getting ready to head over to Stoudt's. Hey, I don't get out in this neck of the woods very often ;-) We decided to order one last item from the menu, beer sorbet. Well I had to try it of course. I'm not sure what I expected though. I have never seen or tasted anything like it before. The bartender offered three flavors including kölsch, raspberry kölsch (new) and maibock. I really wanted to try the kölsch, but I wasn't sure if Lisa would like it so we took the bartender's recommendation and ordered the raspberry kölsch to share. How did it taste? You'll have to taste it for yourself :-p. I know I'll be trying it again the next time I visit.
As I finished my beer we walked around a bit. Checked out the very clean brewing room through the glass. Moved down the hall to the dining area. On the right were some vintage pictures of this location from many many years ago. On the left you'll see a wall full of wooden drawers presumably from an occupant from an earlier era. Next to that there's a case where they have a few promotional items. I decided to have a pint glass added to the check and inquired about the hat with a built in bottle opener. Shucks, they were out of them. Maybe next time.
By now you know we enjoyed our stay. I appreciated the atmosphere, the good quality brews and the story. I'd like to know a bit more about this place. I'll bet these walls have a few more stories to tell. Evidently it used to be an old general store. Next time I'll have to have a run at the dinner menu as well. Oh, I almost forgot according to Tom there is a grand opening in the works too :-)
Union Barrel Works (map)
6 N. Reamstown Road
Stevens, Pennsylvania, 17578-9562
Sunday, June 24, 2007
What's on line as of 6/24/07? Funny you should ask.
Lancaster Rare Rooster
Rogue Daddy's Little Helper (John's Locker Stock)
Stone Old Guardian
Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA
Allagash Grand Cru
Sly Fox Royal Weisse
Sly Fox Chinook IPA
Troegs Mad Elf
Troegs/The Drafting Room's 13th Anniversary
Troegs/The Drafting Room's 12th Anniversary ...and last, but certainly not least, cask conditioned...
Troegs/The Drafting Room's 11th Anniversary (if I drink the rest of this before you get there to sample it, you'll only have yourself to blame!!
Consider yourself warned! This is one not to be missed)
Saturday, June 23, 2007
- One overflowed a bit. This is becoming a habit :-/
- The temperature in my basement was a bit too warm at 70-75 degrees for a day or so.
- I've been eagerly awaiting a chance to taste them.
- The yeast starter really did the trick. I split a large starter between two batches and they both took off overnight with no problems.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I should have posted this a few months back when I visited Twain's Billiards & Tap in Decatur, GA. It's just a couple of blocks away from my most favorite places in the Atlanta region, Brick Store Pub. They've only begun brewing their own beer in the past year, though they've been around for over 10 years.
I didn't stay much more then a half an hour, and only sampled a few of their brews so this will just be a 'quick review.' The first thing I was struck by when walking into Twain's was the industrial feel of high ceilings, metal, and wood. The second was the sports paraphernalia, especially hockey. I later learned that the owner is from the Philadelphia area and is a Philadelphia Flyers fan. In fact, the Atlanta Thrashers were playing a game that night and Twain's had a quite a crowd there to see it.
The brewpub generally had more of a working class feel to it on that particular night than Brick Store Pub. The BSP in my visits seems to have a slightly "trendier" crowd as well as a beer geek crowd. Twain's reminded me more of being in the upper level of the stadium during an Eagles or Flyers game in Philly. Not that it's a bad thing, just different.
Moving on to the beer. A quick sampling of most of their beers on tap that evening showed me the Jumping Frog IPA, the Hannibal Red Ale, and the Stranger Brown Ale were the best built beers. The stout and the ESB didn't quite live up to their style or deliver the flavor, while the Pale Ale and the regular IPA were a bit weak and a disappointment based on my preferences.
Keep in mind, this was all gleaned from roughly a 30 minute visit. During my next trip to Atlanta, I'd like to start my night at Twain's (then wind up at BSP) with some beer, dinner, and time on the pool tables (I didn't mention them, did I?) to give myself a fuller experience. Maybe I'll get some time with my Philadelphia brethren too. It seems like these guys are on the right track and compliment the Decatur landscape with something a bit different. If you've had a chance to stop in Twain's, let us know your opinion.
First they sent to us their barrel-aged Gonzo Porter. Then, the Helles Bock. Now, the Woody Creek White has shown up on our doorstep. We've heaped praise on their "regular" Gonzo in the past and the whiskey character in this Wild Dog release adds a little more fun to this already excellent brew.
The Helles Bock is a spring seasonal with a medium body weight that brings forth a dry and bready character with just a slight bitterness in the finish. A nice drinker for sure, it's still a solid beer at 6.2% that leaves you feeling it after just a few.
The Woody Creek White brought forth words like lemon zest tartness...refreshing...lemonade aroma...delicious...worthy of a 6-pack, or even a case here in PA! This was the newest summer seasonal release, named after a contest winner searched out from entries solicited from customers.
What else is Flying Dog up to? They've started up the Open Source Beer Project. Quite interesting, for sure, go check it out and let us know if you decide to participate.
And, they've got a somewhat new blog that they keep up-to-date fairly frequently.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The Beer: Morland's Old Speckled Hen
Style: English Pale Ale
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. clear glass bottle; no evident date stamp on bottle
From where & how stored: Obtained via holiday beer exchange in Dec. '06 (does this really qualify has a holiday/seasonal beer?!); stored at 42F since then
ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 5.2% ABV
- solid amber color
- decent white head holds up nicely for a while, leaves a thin layer
The Aroma & The Taste:
- very consistent between the taste and smell senses
- English ale for sure
- bit of caramel
- refreshing sweetness
- just the right body weight for a warm summer day
The Verdict: Technically, on the upper edge of ABV for a session beer, but this, served cold, can definitely be a decent session beer on a warm summer day.
- Curieux (hello wood! okay, that didn't sound right, but you all know what I mean)
- sixtel, won't be around much longer (no growlers)
- Grand Cru
- 1/2 barrel, will be around a bit longer (and will serve growlers)
- sixtel, won't be around much longer (no growlers)
- Hugh Malone (tasty, esp. as it "opened up"...nice drinker)
- Interlude (Brett was present, no doubt!....a fab. one to explore)
- Musette (all kinds of fruit, smoke, and wood flavors...awesome!)
For those of you who noticed I skipped week five. Well, I was counting Wednesdays not weeks. Bonus week :-)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Within a 2 mile distance, it gives a very nice alternative to the Flying Pig when it's too crowded, smoky, or loud. Some even say that the smoke is more tolerable at TJ's than at other smoking bars. These guys have not only been paying attention to their beer lately, but maybe more importantly their beer and food offerings/pairings. Check 'em out and you'll see what we mean.
On an attempted regular basis, we'll post the tap list here to the TJ's Everyday in Paoli, PA. We have no affiliation with the establishment other than living within 3 miles of it and appreciating the usual quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop us a note and let us know. While you're at it, check out the tap lists at these other fine suburban Philly watering holes.
On Draft as of 6/19/07
Heavy Seas/Clipper City Small Craft Warning Über Pils
Weyerbacher Muse Farmhouse Ale
Southampton Double White
Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
Sly Fox Slacker Bock
Dupont/Moinette Foret/Organic Pale Ale
Troegs Pale Ale (cask)
Samuel Adams Summer Ale
"Do you listen to beer related podcasts?"It seems that many of our readers do listen to podcasts (at least every now and then). 63% answered YES and 37% answered NO. We were a bit surprised to see such a high percentage of people answering YES. Thank you to all who participated. Cheers!
What better way to celebrate Monk's 10th anniversary than with a dinner celebrating Stoudt's, one of the region's stalwart and pioneering breweries (and some of the nicest people) which is celebrating its own landmark 20th anniversary.
Rush hour heading into Philly is normally no treat. That's part of the reason that we normally take a train. But, this time, friend and loyal TBL reader, Dennis, joined Adam and I for the dinner. He lives only a couple of miles from Stoudt's and often finds himself filling growlers, buying bottles for himself (and his TBL buddies), and picking up Eddie's bread for his dinners at home. That added to his desire to check out Monk's, for whom we rave about their dinners. Plus, he and I were spending the night in Philly and going to the Phillies afternoon game the following day. So, we drove....
In the end, it didn't register much of a net effect. But, by the time we checked-in at the hotel, we walked through the doors at Monk's at 6:55pm. You gotta understand, I only live 30 miles away and it took a record 1 3/4 hours to get there. Thing is, everyone was affected by the ferocious thunderstorms that swept through the area. All major, and secondary, roads were clogged. The Stoudt's crew (that would be Carol & Ed, daughters, a brewer (Joe), and a sales guy (Sean)) got stuck on the turnpike and didn't show up until close to 7:30pm. By the time Adam got to the train and meandered his way into the city, he only got there a few minutes earlier. No matter, it was game time and everyone was finally on the field.
With introductions out of the way, Carol took the microphone and smoothly transitioned from hectic travel to relaxing beer dinner co-host. From the picture here, you might think she was getting the night started with the National Anthem. But, seriously, throughout the evening, she did just what I appreciate most about Monk's dinners. That is, the interjection of stories and anecdotes from the brewer along with each course of the meal.
Not that there's hardly ever a dud in the food menu and pairings during a beer dinner at Monk's, but I sometimes find the first and the last courses the most intriguing. Their first course typically wakes up the senses with a flavorful, but not overpowering, pairing of food and beer. This time was no different. The wasabi cream underneath the tuna and the sauerkraut helped to bring out some of the spice in the Pilsner. The Stoudt's Pils has always been a real fine example of a smooth German Pilsner with its subtle fruit and spice components. Just another example of why food and beer pairing makes so much sense.
And, the last course, well the last course is dessert and you know what that means! To my recollection, I have never complained about the dessert. Usually decadent and usually perfectly paired, it's almost always the grand finale in the fireworks display that is a Monk's beer dinner. Though, this dinner's final course was just a slight derivation on their last beer dinner's dessert, it was far from worth quibbling about. Plus, with the smooth cask-conditioned Fat Dog Stout (one of my long time faves from Stoudt's), well I need not say more.
In between, we enjoyed the maibock which redeemed itself from a slightly off bottle version of it that I had a few months back. Served along with the chicken terrine stuffed with (was it?) cherries, it showed off its solid body along with solid malt flavors, but still a very drinkable beer.
The Weizen was served with a melon soup that finished with a nice pepper kick that complemented the spice from the Weizen quite nicely.
The tripel is also one of my long time favorites from Stoudt's and was served with monkfish. At first, I thought it could be an odd pairing, but it was pulled off just fine, probably helped by the fennel and vidalia onion.
The new kid on Stoudt's block (no, not Union Barrel Works) is the Smooth Hoperator. I have no clue how long it will take to get the Sade song out of my mind. But, while it rattles around up there, I can continue to dwell on what style this beer actually is. Ed and I had a little back-and-forth on this topic after dinner. I'm not certain we came to an exact agreement, but I do agree with him that it is "Americanized." But, let's forget all that for now. It's a downright hop-forward beer and went well with the veal dish. But, geez, the veal was just so tender and flavorful (and I'm a big mushroom guy, so this course you might guess was near the top of the night for me) that I couldn't decide which I wanted more of, the Hoperator or the food on the plate. Ah, to wrestle with such decisions.
After dinner, I was happy that Adam had the chance to sample the Boon (cask 52) lambic, whose second keg was still on line. That and Cantillon Lou Pepe were new styles to Dennis. We had fun watching as his perspective on what exactly beer is turned upside down. He'd come over to the craft beer world years ago, but now has a new frontier after tasting these lambics.
How did Dennis fare over the night? Well, if words from him like "incredible", "great time", "overwhelming", "well worth it", "now I know why you guys rave so much", etc. are any indication...He lives a good hike from Center City Philly, so he won't be a regular wingman for these dinners, but I'll bet he'll be back again sometime not too long from now! Then, we took him to Nodding Head and Tria....stories for another day.
Sorry, if anyone was looking for a negative note on the night, you'll have to look elsewhere. Good luck!
- Amuse Buche (grilled asparagus/sauerkraut/asian tuna)
- Chilled Melon Soup
Stoudt's Blonde Double Maibock
- Chicken Terrine
Stoudt's aged Belgian-style Tripel
- Monkfish, braised with tomatoes, fennel, & vidalia onions
Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator
- Veal Cheek Carbonnade with fresh morel mushrooms & fiddlehead ferns
Stoudt's Fat Dog Stout (cask)
- Chocolate Coffee Mousse
Monday, June 18, 2007
The next day I felt like the weekend was really humming along, from a beer perspective that is. I was pretty satisfied with the Legend Brown Ale, even though the bottles I bought for Bryan and Dennis were mysteriously missing. Ooops, I guess one more run to the grocery store for some beer was in order.
Even with all this success I was eager to find more local beer to bring back to PA. John was telling me about a friend of his that was into beer as well. He called him up and found out about this place in Smithfield, VA that had some really good stuff. I had a few minutes to jump on the web and decided to look it up. I found their website and at the Smithfield location they list all kinds of beer that just isn't mainstream, including a great selection of locals. Well that's all it took. We decided to make the 40 minute trek up to Smithfield and check out Bon Vivant Market.
So imagine traveling over some country roads for over 30 minutes past the peanut fields and easing into the outskirts of town looking for an address. Not to mention using directions from an online mapping site. It didn't appear to be where it was supposed to be so we drove a little futher down the road and circled around again. "Wait, no that can't be it." Yes, in fact that was it. As you can see from the picture Bon Vivant Market is a very small place. In this case good things come in small packages.
As I walked to the entrance of this informal little shop I was getting increasingly curious about what I would find. There were tons of baskets strewn among the wild flowers just outside the open front door. As I stepped inside and my eyes adjusted, there it was, the beer room. It wasn't big, but, boy was it chock full of all kinds of goodies! Check here for a pretty good list of what is available. The room is so small that I was immediately overwhelmed while trying to search for specific brands. John and Lisa helped me focus and eventually had to tear me away, but, not before filling a box with some hard to find (in Pennsylvania) beer. I even picked up some interesting glassware.
Mike Adams really knows what to put on the shelves. Too bad I didn't get to meet him. Evidently he isn't there on Mondays. Maybe next time. If you're in the area (Norfolk, Newport News or Hampton) and you're looking for good beer this is a great place to stop!
Bon Vivant at Governor's Pointe
- Picked up some supplies and gadgets at The Beer and Wine Emporium on Friday.
- Saturday put up the yeast starter.
- Sunday cleaned up one of the new (to me) corney kegs and some carboys
- Helped Bryan a little while he was working on the hops arbor area
- Kegged the Strong German Ale in the new keg
- Brewed an extract batch of Belgian Session beer with wheat and barley malt, belgian candi sugar and some orange peel
Tonight I'll be brewing again. This time it will be the same recipe without the candi sugar and the orange peel. A nice little side by side comparison.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
What's on line as of 6/16/07? Funny you should ask.
Lancaster Rare Rooster
Clipper City/Heavy Seas Red Sky At Night Saison
Cantillon Lou Pepe
Rogue Daddy's Little Helper (John's Locker Stock)
Stone Old Guardian
Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA
Sierra Nevada Pale Bock
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Can you guess what I'm doing up there?
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Beer: Stewart's Hoppy Trails
Style: Imperial Red
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
Packaging & Date Stamping: 64 oz. clear glass growler; purchased 6/9, consumed 6/10
From where & how stored: Fresh from brewpub and stored at 42F
Pricing: $11.00 per growler
Availability: Most likely one-time only in honor of departing brewer John F.
ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 6.2% ABV
- nice white foam that hangs around for a bit, but fades soon
- (most of their beers are served at the pub without much significant head)
- very, very pleasing fresh chinook and cascade hop aroma
- very hop forward, but oh so very well balanced too
The Verdict: This is just such an fun-drinking, hop friendly beer. Adam, I'm so sorry that this didn't last until Wednesday after you return home. This may require a drive...if you drive, I'll buy you one. Anyone else within spittin' distance of northern Delaware (now, that sounds silly doesn't it?!) should check this out at the brewpub while it lasts. (word is they have one batch...around 5 barrels)
Monday, June 11, 2007
The Beer: Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator
Style: A well-hopped Beer (because if you ask different people, you get different style opinions....so, we're sticking with "well-hopped beer")
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; "Best by 9/1/07"
From where & how stored: Purchased from brewpub and stored at 42F since then
Pricing: $8.00 per six-pack (thanks Dennis, for the pickup)
Availability: Possibly year-round, TBA
ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 7.2% ABV; 50 IBU
- Decent, off-white head that fades slowly
- Dark brownish-ale with hints of orange and red
- Very fresh, hoppy nose
- Medium body and carbonation carries the hops easily from front to back
- The hops, while not crazy over-the-top, sure do obscure other malt and yeast flavors
- There is a touch of honey sweetness that I could pick up, but that's about it for other non-hop flavors
The Verdict: Ed Stoudt describes this as an American Doppelbock, though I sure had a hard time finding the goat in this very hop-forward beer. Still, this is a nice drinking beer that I could certainly have a few of....oh, in fact I did!
While you're at it, check out their recently redesigned website. Much improved!
- dark amber with no bugs ;-)
- wonderfully hoppy fresh aroma...ah...crack one of these puppies open for a hop nose to die for
- round malty hoppy tangy bitter fun smellin' beer
- not too sweet, bitterness overides that
The Verdict: You might almost mistake this for a West Coast IPA. Maybe the yeast is what separates it?
Saturday, June 09, 2007
The Beer: Appalachian Brewing Co. Grinnin' Grizzly Holiday Spiced Ale
Style: Spiced Amber Ale
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; no date stamp
From where & how stored: Obtained via holiday beer exchange and stored at 50F since then
Availability: Winter Seasonal
ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 5.7% ABV; 14.0 P
- Solid reddish-brown color
- 2 finger, tightly packed tiny bubble head
- Hangs around for a while then fades slowly to a ring; no lacing
- Smooth looking pour
- pleasing cinnamon
- hops not noticeable
- Orange more so in the taste than the aroma
- Faint kick of alcohol
- hops not noticeable
The Verdict: Holiday spices are the theme throughout. Good, but not great.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Looks great, Patrick. Glad to see you snagged Mr. Tod for a couple hours of his time while he's on his Delaware Valley circuit. And, can't wait to see how this year's anniversary installment has turned out. Wow, you'll see us twice in 48 hours...what does that say about us?
Happy Hour with Rob Tod of Allagash (6/19; 6pm-8pm; pay as you go)
13th Anniversary Ale Release Party (6/21; 6pm-???; pay as you go)
The Beer: Bison Reunion Imperial Brown
Style: American Brown Ale
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
Packaging & Date Stamping: 22 oz. brown bottle; no evident date stamp on bottle
From where & how stored: Shipped via FedEx from Liquid Solutions and stored at 42F since then (1st bottle); stored at 55F (2nd bottle)
Pricing: $4.95 per bottle
Availability: Limited one-time fundraising brew, though, reportedly to be brewed again in 2008 for national distribution (style to be determined)
ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats:
- solid brown appearance
- one-finger head, disappears quickly but can be easily swirled back up (first bottle)
- holy carbonation! (2nd bottle, pictured)....this bottle was stored at closer to 55F and on its side. Would that tend to make it a gusher?
- cola sweetness
- distracting, not what I expected
- better than the aroma, yet still not what I was expecting for an "imperial Pete's Wicked"
- solid malt flavors; hints of the dry bready, malty flavors I look for in a brown
- medium body
The Verdict: For a good cause, I'll drink several of these. Though, would be interested to find on tap in California and compare. I'm anxious to try another of the bottles that I bought sometime down the road to see if there's any difference. I like brown ales, have a soft spot for Pete's Wicked, and really want to like this. Though, the aroma is very distracting and is hopefully an anomaly. Fortunately, we have another bottle to try down the road.
- dark oak brown
- persistent head
- spicy nose
- big brown ale
- bitter finish
- nutty in the middle
The Verdict: This is interesting, but, as most brown ales it just doesn't make much sense to me. Not sure if that is me or the beer. The jury is out. Need more samples to be sure.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Congratulations, Wayne. You finally have possession of the long-awaited Next Door Bar of Teresa's. Tuesday's soft opening event proved that the parts are all in place for their anticipated public opening on June 11th. While they don't overtly say that they are a Belgian bar, some elements of the food and beer certainly do give you the right Belgian feeling. In the spirit of brevity, for which I'm so well known, here's a quick rundown. ~ No TVs. check ~ No smoke. check ~ 24 taps, 1 hand pump. check ~ More beer celebrities than you could shake a rake at. check, check, check, check, check, check (ha, did I get you with that last one?) ~ Matt Guyer (and keeping it in the family with bartender and sister, Carolyn) working the crowd. check ~ Mussels, a dozen Belgian tap handles, Waterzooi. check ~ Stylish decor and, yes, restrooms too. check After the 6/15 Grimbergen tasting at Beer Yard could be a fun time to stop in and see how they're doing on their first Friday night of business. I'll be in Media doing a 5 mile run, then likely stopping in at Iron Hill and/or Quotations...but you could go to Teresa's, now couldn't you?! Check back over the next few weeks, when we should have a full review. (And yes, my friends that is a picture of the restroom. Hey, it was a talking point during the night, so razz away, I can take it.) P.S. now that I've wasted your time here, go read a better report over here. I knew all of his fastidious note-taking would render a better review than mine.