Monday, June 30, 2008

Beer Dates In History: July Anniversaries

25 years Hale's Ales 20 years Gordon Biersch 15 years Richbrau Brewing 13 years Stewart's Brewing 10 years Gritty McDuff's Rochester Mills Pizza Port (San Clemente)

The Brew Lounge Always Delivers

You kids buckle up and behave back there, because if I have to stop this car and come back there and...uh, drink...yeah drink you guys, you'll be sorry!


With 43 bottles of beer, or 638.4 fluid ounces, along for the ride, you've got to lay down the law early. That's the way the trip to Pittsburgh began. Safely stowed the brews in the car and westward we headed. Severe thunderstorms ruled the weekend and we found the first one half way into our trip in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.

We survived, but found ourselves in Pittsburgh too late to take in the Pirates game and opted instead for pre-dinner beer at Bocktown Beer & Grill and dinner at Sharp Edge Creekhouse. It was odd how folks thought my name, Bryan, resembled Bryson and they were excited to hear that he'd shown up after being told to get his self to both of these high-quality locations. Looks like for now, I'm two up on him in western PA.

More on these great beer spots, plus East End Brewing, in posts over the coming weeks.

After helping with Gratitude bottle labeling on Saturday morning at East End, we headed over to Bocktown to take my dose of ridicule for being a Flyers fan and to give away free beer from the wager. Turns out the 'Burghers don't like free beer...or that seemed to be the logical conclusion to make. They seem to prefer to pay for it instead at a Sharp Edge Belgian Beer Festival, occurring same bat-time. Or, they're still disappointed about losing the Cup and couldn't bear to be reminded of how their season ended. Nonetheless, we were prepared with the equivalent of 159.6 four-ounce samples of great beer.


No worries, our small little group of beer lovers (and Penguins fans) gathered and enjoyed all of the beers sent to them. Perhaps most rewarding was to meet a young lady (seen seated at center in picture above) with brewing aspirations who was enjoying the beers, but not so much my Philadelphia presence...being a huge Penguins fan, as the jerseys should indicate. I believe her name is Amanda, so any of you brewers out there looking for some help, drop me a line and we'll get you hooked up.

By the way, everyone wearing a Penguins, Bocktown, or Craft Beer Radio piece of clothing scored themselves a 50% discount on all take-out beer. With a small little Penguins logo on my conference finals t-shirt, I was able to walk out with a $7 Penn Weizenbock, that of recent WBC silver medal fame.


Every beer went down so well, from the Pilsners of Tröegs, Victory, and Sly Fox moving over to the Royal Weisse from Sly Fox stepping up to the Troegenator and over to the big, bad beers of Iron Hill (Cannibal and Old Ale, 2005) every one was hitting all the right notes with these folks. Scattered in between was the Biere d'Hiver from McKenzie, Fluxus from Allagash, and other beers from Tröegs, Victory, Sly Fox, Chimay, and Yards. The night ended with some big beers from Dogfish Head and a little something called Peche Mortel.

Clothing was given away from McKenzie, Grey Lodge, Sierra Nevada, and Sly Fox. And, one lucky guy went home with a handcrafted bottle opener from Monk's Café.



Smack in the middle of the festivities came yet another blast of nasty thunderstorms, moving us inside from the outdoor patio. It was a good transition to a sit-down dinner (to be covered in a future posting), when we began the wind down stage (sort of) of the evening.

All in all, this could have been better attended with a bit more hoopla and antics (where was the Pens jersey I was supposed to be shamed into wearing?), but then again those in attendance had a blast and some great beer they'd never tasted before. Plus, Patty and I had a great getaway weekend in Pittsburgh, adding 3 new beer spots to my résumé...Bocktown, Sharp Edge, and East End.

Oh, and could there be a cuter piece of clothing than the "one-sy" from East End Brewing, modeled by the lovely Allison Bearer (Jeff and Heather's recent addition)? Thanks to Bocktown and Jeff & Greg from Craft Beer Radio for hosting this little party.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Run next Sunday at General Lafayette

If you haven't exchanged private e-mails with me regarding details of next Sunday's run, please drop me a note. Haven't checked exactly, but we've got a group of roughly 6-8 ready to go for a 3.5 mile run, with beers to conclude at the General.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 6/26/08

What's on tap at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA as of 6/26/2008? Avery 15th Anniversary (American Wild/Sour) Bell's Oberon Brooklyn Lager Brouwerij Het Anker Carolus Van De Keizer Lost Coast Double Trouble Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale Tröegs 14th Anniversary Tröegs Pale Ale Tröegs Hopback Amber Victory 10 Year Alt Victory Hop Devil (cask) Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout Legacy Midnight Wit Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Lindemans Framboise Amstel Light

Another Black Bavarian coming soon

Euro Cup 2008 is coming to a close this coming Sunday, 6/29. That can only mean one thing at Memphis Taproom...another bar-top firkin of Black Bavarian from Sprecher. If you didn't know, this is a very good thing. Hm, could there be a stop there on my way home from Pittsburgh?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Random bytes of beer-related news around Philly

All sorts of new stuff on the local Philly beer scene in the past 24 hours (not counting murder arrests). A busy lass's life just got a little busier with a writing gig at Philadelphia Weekly. Check out her first article at Philadelphia Weekly. You have also noticed another new gig of hers recently over at Ale Street News, where she's now covering the Philadelphia scene. The doctor is in at The Grain Bill and has also now revealed his other project he's been working on....a paying position at New Holland. He talks about it over at the usual place. AAAANNNNNNND, Philly Beer Week 2009 has officially been announced. Not much in the way of details yet at PBW2009's website, but planning has already begun, which means that we are approximately 6 months ahead of last year's planning schedule. That can only mean better things, right? (well, maybe not for procrastinators)

Really?

I don't have any thought-provoking beer news for the day, so unfortunately I'll give this to you to contemplate whether this is an utter PR disaster. Just so I'm up-to-date here, the Washington Bullets and Tampa Bay Devil Rays changed their names, but Cleveland......? Perhaps someone more informed than I on this subject can enlighten me.

Yinz going to Bocktown on Saturday?

If you're in the Pittsburgh area this weekend, then the answer should be 'yes!' I won't bother with the back story, just check out the event posted over at Beer Advocate for all that you need to know...then meet us there for some great beer and fun times. (I'm assuming someone will be bringing the Penguins jersey, ja?)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Views through the Macro Lens

On the topic of potential combination of the Anheuser-Busch & InBev brewing behemoths, I've stayed quiet figuring I don't have much personal insight (or in some way, care) for the outcome. Plus, the media is already saturated from the Wall Street Journal to beer industry columns and blogs with related content and opinions. As the story drags on with A-B's board of directors still undecided, the plot certainly becomes more intriguing with every passing day and how things may unravel. Check out an update at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for more details. There are archives of past content, as well as an interesting timeline called "History of A-B and InBev" under the Multimedia section (or just click here, farther down the page worth perusing if you are so inclined to read more. Also, check out InBev's "fact sheet" over at their site for additional interesting statistics and perspectives. Also, as the story drags on, I actually do find myself becoming more interested and caring more about the outcome, due in at least a small way to an intangible jingoistic beat somewhere inside. There is certainly something compelling about an All-American story of a family-run business surviving the test of time in a dog-eat-dog business world. From a 'business of craft beer' perspective, I find myself caring more, mostly because I realize that with half the total U.S. beer market consuming A-B products, this proposed merger will cause some level of disruption (predictable, or perhaps unpredictable) to the network distribution of beer through the channels that A-B has masterfully built over the years. This has the potential to pose knock-on effects to craft beer and its own distribution, whether through A-B channels or otherwise. More to come to be sure...

Beer Calendar: What To Do in July 2008

Philadelphia
Tue. 7/1 - Pittsburgh Transplant Happy Hour @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (5pm-7pm; PAYG)
Tue. 7/1 - Anchor Brewing, Andy Musser, & Burritos @José Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA (5pm-8pm; PAYG)
Tue. 7/1 - Yuengs & Wings @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-10pm; PAYG)
Thu. 7/3 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tapping (German Pilsner) @Triumph Brewery, Philadelphia, PA (6pm; PAYG)
Thu. 7/3 - Fishtown Beer Runners finish @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (see website for details)
Sat. 7/5 - BBQ & Sly Fox Beer @the Phillies Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA (follow link for details)
Thu. 7/10 - Lobster Bake with Allagash @José Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA (7pm; PAYG)
Thu. 7/10 - Fishtown Beer Runners finish @Race Street Tavern, Philadelphia, PA (see website for details)
Fri. 7/11 - Xmas in July @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; PAYG)
Sat. 7/12 - Royal Stumble @Nodding Head, Philadelphia, PA (1pm-5pm; $40)
Wed. 7/16 - Blue Point Oysters & Blue Point Brewing @José Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA (8pm; PAYG)
Wed. 7/16 - An Evening with Joe Sixpack 7pm @The Free Library; 9pm @McGillin's, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Thu. 7/17 - Fishtown Beer Runners finish @Doobie's, Philadelphia, PA (see website for details)
Fri. 7/18 - Flying Fish Brewer's Night @Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia, PA (6pm-8pm; $45)
Tue. 7/22 - BBQ & Ommegang @José Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG)
Thu. 7/24 - Fishtown Beer Runners finish @The Dive Bar, Philadelphia, PA (see website for details)
Sat. 7/26 - Brew at the Zoo @The Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-10pm; $40)
Sun. 7/27 - New Jersey Breweries Brunch @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (11am-2pm; PAYG)

Philadelphia's close suburbs
Thu. 7/3 - Thursday Night Tasting (Dogfish Head) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4pm-6pm; free)
Sat. 7/5 - Iron Hill Twilight Criterium @downtown West Chester, PA (see website for details) Sun. 7/6 - Philly Runs For Beer @General Lafayette, Lafayette Hill, PA (11am; free to run, PAYG beer)
Thu. 7/10 - Sly Fox-A Variety of IPAs @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (6pm; PAYG)
Thu. 7/10 - Brewery Promo Nights (Woodchuck) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7pm-9pm; free)
Fri. 7/11 - Friday Night Tastings (Peroni) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Fri. 7/18 - Friday Night Tastings (Sierra Nevada) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Sat. 7/19 - Summer Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, West Chester, PA (7pm; $50) Sat. 7/19 - Saturday Night Tasting (Stoudt's) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (3pm-5pm; free)
Fri. 7/25 - Friday Night Tasting (Victory) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4pm-6pm; free)
Fri. 7/25 - Friday Night Tasting (Victory) @Ron's Original, Exton, PA (7pm-9pm; PAYG)
Fri. 7/25 - Friday Night Tastings (O'Fallon) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Fri. 8/1 - Friday Night Tasting (Intercourse) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4pm-6pm; free)

Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania
Sat. 7/5 - Revolutionary IPA Festival @Union Jack's, Boyertown, PA (12pm; PAYG)
Thu. 7/17 - Summer Beers Dinner @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA (6:30pm; $45)
Thu. 7/17 - Blue Point Promo Night @Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny, Boyertown, PA (6pm; PAYG)
Sat. 7/19 - 1st Annual Selinsgrove Beer & Wine Festival (Hop Vines & Wines) @Downtown Selinsgrove, PA (2pm-6pm; $40)
Fri. 7/25 - Cask Ale Night (Victory Hop Devil, Victory Uncle Teddy's Bitter, Oliver's Mad Monk Miled) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; pay as you go)
Sat. 7/26 - 13th Anniversary Party @Stewart's Brewing Company, Bear, DE (details forthcoming)
Sat. 7/26 - Battle of the Brewery Bands for Charity @Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA (6pm-10pm; $20)

Elsewhere
Wed. 7/2 - A Full Lineup of Italian Beer @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4pm; PAYG)
Fri. 7/4-Sun. 7/6 - Seattle International Beer Fest @Seattle Center, Seattle, WA (see website for details)
Wed. 7/9 - 31 Victory Taps @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4pm; PAYG)
Wed. 7/16 - Sly Fox/Arcadia @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4pm; PAYG)
Fri. 7/18-Sun. 7/20 - Portland International Beer Fest @downtown Portland, OR (see website for details)
Fri. 7/18-Sat. 7/19 - Vermont Brewers Festival @Waterfront Park, Burlington, VT (see website for details)
Sun. 7/20 - Sour Fest @Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA (11am; $30)
Wed. 7/23 - Christmas in July @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4pm; PAYG)
Thu. 7/24-Sun. 7/27 - Oregon Brewers Festival @Tom McCall Waterfront Park, downtown Portland, OR (see website for details)
Fri. 7/25-Sat. 7/26 - Stewart's Big Beer Friday & 13th Anniversary Party @Stewart's Brewing, Bear, DE (11am-???, PAYG; see website for more details)

Monk's Beer Dinner 5/15/08: Sam Adams, Jim Koch, & Utopias



Unfortunately, my menu and notes, and practically everything other than my memory of what a great night it was, are no longer with me. Fortunately, on the other hand, Carolyn Smagalski was also there and captured the essence of the evening.



On top of that, my dying camera failed me on virtually all food, beverage, and indoor shots of Jim Koch. Luckily, the camera still likes to take outdoor pictures, and the one at top with Fergie, Jim, and Tom is a gem.

Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company regaled the sold-out crowd with stories of strippers (yes, this is not the first, but second, time that strippers have been mentioned on The Brew Lounge....the first?), making and selling craft beer in Boston and beyond during the 80s and 90s, and what it takes to brew Utopias, part of the more-than-typically decadent grand finale of the evening.

Wanna know more about the night at Monk's? Go and read Carolyn's review.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fields of Ever-Flowing Elysian

My planned trip for this week to NYC appears to be falling apart as we speak. Therefore, I leave it in fellow Tigerites hands to ably welcome Elysian Brewing (from Seattle, WA) into NYC on Wednesday night at the Blind Tiger. What a night I'm sure this will be; just check out the following tap list and notes from Alan.
The Immortal IPA (Draught & Cask) The Wise ESB (Draught & Cask) Perseus Porter Dragons Tooth Stout Elysian Fields Pale Zephyrus Pilsner Avatar Jasmine IPA Bi-frost Winter Ale Foster Child Australian-style Lager Fields Belgian-style Wit Daedalus Irish Stout Valkyrie Strong Ale Hubris Imperial IPA Yuzu's Belgian-style Golden Ale Cyclops Barleywine Saison Elyseé Oaked Ambrosia Maibock Loser Pale Ale (Sub Pop beer) White Woods Wit Poison Dwarf Scotch Ale Yeah, this makes this one of the biggest premieres in BT history... So, this Wednesday June 25th @ 4:00PM, come to the Blind Tiger and help us welcome the Elysian Brewing Company! Oh, yeah... Just so you don't forget: Wednesday July 2nd @ 4:00PM - The Italian Beer Event (12 lines of some of the finest craft beers from Italy) Wednesday July 9th @ 4:00PM - The Victory Bash! (31 lines of Victory Brews - that's right, I said 31!) Wednesday July 16th @ 4:00PM - The Slyfox/Arcadia Event (that's two breweries for the price of one...ok, not price...but you know what I mean) Wednesday July 23rd @ 4:00PM - Christmas in July (you know it and love it).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sensible Journalism

I swamped with way too much to still do before bed tonight, but I feel compelled to pass this along to you. I believe that it was Lew that said something like...."spread the word." All I'll add to this for the time being is that it's about time that mainstream media has shown a balanced argument in the case of alcohol and young adults (which I believe begins, um, at 18?) This may be a long read, but sit back and take some time with it. You should be glad you did.

Another encouraging note

Catching up with e-mails and other material from the past week as also revealed this happy nugget of news from the west coast. It's extremely gratifying to hear that a compromise has been worked out with regard to the rent increase situation at Iron Springs in Fairfax, CA. News a couple months back did not look as good. You may recall my visit there almost, sheesh, two years ago now. Good things do occasionally happen to good people, eh?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 6/19/08

What's on tap at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA as of 6/19/2008? Bell's Oberon Ithaca Apricot Wheat Lost Coast Double Trouble North Coast Pranqster Tröegs 13th Anniversary (for The Drafting Room); holding up very, very nicely I might add Tröegs 14th Anniversary Tröegs 14th Anniversary (gravity cask) Tröegs Pale Ale Tröegs Hopback Amber Victory 10 Year Alt Victory Hop Devil (cask) Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout Legacy Midnight Wit Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Lindemans Pomme Amstel Light

Brewers are doing it too

I'm sure this is killin' the non-runners by now, but...... You probably already knew that a few beer lads and lasses lace up their inner adidas and that many beer folk take to the two-wheeled pedal power. But, a quick shout out here to John Rehm over at Philadelphia Brewing who I might expect to see pounding the pavement sometime soon as well. He was hoping to join us back in March for the run during Philly Beer Week, but it didn't work out. Fishtown is certainly closer to his home, so I'll bet he gets out with these guys and gals at Fishtown Beer Runners Club once and a while. Looks like they've got a nice thing going over there, with a great mission statement. I might even find myself trekking over to Fishtown to go out for a group run with them (helps me with ideas for my own, as well). Thanks, John, for the link to The Brew Lounge. I couldn't have said it better myself when you said: "Anyways I think its long overdue that we change the misconception that all beer drinkers (and brewers for that matter) are fat or unhealthy. In many cases the opposite is true... ...And if you're some sort of neo-prohibitionist weirdo who is also a runner and thinks I'm full of it ... I'll race ya." Any chance to stick it to the neo-prohibitionists works for me. Oh yeah, he also had some lovely words to say about his Fleur de Lehigh.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Philly Runs for Beer - General Lafayette

Fear not, non-runners. I will be conducting the bulk of the gory detail about these beer runs through private e-mail. But, I will put initial notices (and wrap-ups, if interesting enough) up here in the public domain whether you ask for them or not. If this is all new to you and you need some background info, you could check here....or over here. After a few weeks of starting to lay the base, I'm ready to (finally) begin my 2009 marathon training. I promised to keep the fellow runners up-to-date with my schedule should they wish to join me. The first group run of my training plan will begin and end in Lafayette Hill at the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, home of marathon finisher and proprietor Chris Leonard. The route will be just a tick or two over 3.5 miles, touching on Forbidden Drive along the Wissahickon Creek along the way. At the end, Chris will have the house specialties awaiting our return. My e-mail with all of the remaining details will come by this weekend to those who have previously "opted-in." If you haven't told me that you'd like to be part of the distribution list, you can do so now by sending me a quick note. If you already have, don't do it again (please!) as my mailbox is nearing capacity. Nearly 100 of you have replied in the past, so chances are you've already replied...you know who you are.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Brew Lounge is going to Pittsburgh

The Official Event Notice
Guess if Guv Ed can do it, so can I. But, must I wear a Penguins jersey and drink and I-C Light? Rumor has it, I may. The time has finally come for The Brew Lounge and its area breweries and bars to pay up. On 6/28, I'll be hand-delivering all sorts of goodies from 11 different Philly-based establishments. You may recall that they were pledged during the Flyers-Penguins Eastern Conference finals a few weeks back. On the other end of the wager, was Craft Beer Radio which is based out of Pittsburgh...and, I should add, has been doing a remarkable job of getting all sorts of high-quality material distributed from their official coverage of the Brewers Association's SAVOR event last month. Here's the deal: one of the Pittsburgh area's more well-acclaimed bars, Bocktown Bar & Grill is hosting a party of sorts for us all to meet up and partake in these goodies. It will take place from 3pm-7pm on Saturday, June 28th. Will you be there? Do you want more information? Drop me a line.
The Official Event Notice

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Adam Avery for President

I knew that this last week's trip to the Dallas area was going to be different when I was minding my own business at The Old Monk in Dallas. Well, you could say I wasn't entirely minding my own business because I happened to take notice of someone who looked very familiar ordering a beer next to me at the bar. But, I figured...what would Adam Avery be doing in Dallas? Of course, being the friendly sorta guy that I am, I chatted them up. Turns out, he and a assorted bunch of brewers and publican GMs were on an annual fishing trip. Where does the 'president' reference come in to the story here? He's already the president and brewmaster of his eponymous brewery. But, when you've got certain Presidential candidates questionably slinging back various fermenteds, and this Avery guy hands me an Irish Car Bomb...well, you just go with the flow. Just maybe he's aspiring to higher presidential office. Avery and Irish Car Bombs; If this is the way their trip began, I can only imagine how the rest of their trip unfolded. More of my own Dallas trip to come over the coming week. [Pictures have been withheld to protect the not-so-innocent.]

Thursday, June 12, 2008

See Said He She Beer Wine

Most of you have probably seen and heard plenty of the Sam and Marnie show promoting their book, He Said Beer She Said Wine. If you haven't seen them in their roles, you can check out almost 5 minutes of a mini-show that they did with the Today show. Not too bad given the time they were allotted.

The Only Friday the Firkinteenth of 2008 at Grey Lodge

June 2008 Firkinteenth Details updated as of 11 June 2008 * tapping begins at noon. * Number of firkins is still TBA. * 7 firkins will be pouring at any time (except when we get down to less than 7), tapping a new one as one kicks. The order of the casks will be random, but hey there should be no stinkers in the line-up. * Due to the huge amont of cask ale we will have, we will be doing limited growler fills, most likely after 9pm and during that lag period (usually between 3pm and 4pm) where the first seven are hanging on a little too long and people start to get antsy. * If we get too full, there will be a line outside, so please dress lightly and be patient. We will do our best to let as many people in as safely and quickly as we can. Current Cask List (likely to change, it always does): * Appalachian Hoppy Trails IPA * Arcadia Hopmouth IPA * Bells Two Hearted IPA * Clipper City TBA * Dock Street Satellite Stout * Dock Street Rye IPA * Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA * Flying Fish Hopfish, dry hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, and Chinook. * General Lafayette Wayside Summer Ale * Iron Hill (North Wales) Ironbound APA. "We'll dry hop it with something cool....." * Iron Hill (West Chester) Scottish Ale. 3.6% abv * Ithaca Flower Power IPA (pin) * Ithaca Oaked Nut Brown (pin) * Lancaster Amish Four Grain * Legacy Dear Abbey Dubbel * Nodding Head IPA * Philadelphia Special Blend * Porterhouse Weizen Bock or Hoppy Lager * River Horse Special Ale, easy drinking British style amber ale, 4.5% abv * Sly Fox Standard Ale * Stoudt's Black Eye PA * Troegs Sh#tless Hopback. Nick says he is going to dry-hop the sh#t out of it. * Victory Hop Wallop * Weyerbacher Hops Infusion * Weyerbacher Old Heathen

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Crib Sheet for those who suffer from...huh?

If any of you had difficulty getting through the masterful prose that wrapped up this past weekend in and around Philly, here's a list of keywords. If you turned away from the posting because your eyes glazed over, or you all of a sudden found yourself thinking about the dalmatian population in Slovenia, then use this list to determine whether you want to go back and check it out again. These are the topics that were covered... Thursday 6/5 * Dr. Joel in Phoenixville at Earthmart. Friday 6/6 * Don Russell & Nick Johnson/Tröegs in Wayne at Beer Yard. * Chris LaPierre, Iron Hill, & Ring of Fire Porter in West Chester. * Growler of Rye IPA brought home from Iron Hill. Saturday 6/7 * Brendan "Spanky" Hartranft & Leigh with Black Bavarian in Philadelphia at Memphis Taproom. Sunday 6/8 * Philadelphia Brewing's Fleur de Lehigh in Philadelphia at Grey Lodge. * Teresa's Next Door 1st Year Anniversary in Wayne toasted with Cantillon Saint Lamvinus. How does that help?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Smutty Tiger gets the Last Laugh

It's obvious that it's a little too hot in the city, cuz the Blind Tiger is just doing crazy stuff these days. The Smuttynose tap list for your reading pleasure is below...and take note that the Italian Beer Event was moved to July 2nd at 4pm (something to do with a dock workers strike in Italy).
Now... This Wednesday June 11th @ 4:00PM, the Blind Tiger will be hosting our dear friends from Smuttynose Brewing Company. My advice is to come early and stay late...then wake up, shower (please), and come back again. The List: Smuttynose Pale Ale Smuttynose IPA Smuttynose Wheat Smuttynose Blonde Smuttynose Gnome Smuttynose Brett Beer Smuttynose G-Bock Smuttynose Smutt-a-roni Smuttynose Oak Aged Maibock Smuttynose Maibock 2007 Smuttynose Big A IPA 2007 Smuttynose Scotch Ale Smuttynose Russian Imp. Stout Smuttynose Very Old Brown Dog '07 Smuttynose Brown Dog Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager Smuttynose Oak Aged Barley Wine 2005 Smuttynose Barley Wine 2004 Smuttynose JD Oak Aged Porter Smuttynose Hanami Smuttynose Winter Smuttynose IPA (pin) Smuttynose Brown (cask) Smuttynose Farmhouse (cask)
wow

Monday, June 09, 2008

Jay Misson's passing; A Sad Day for the Community of Brewers and Fans of His Beer

I was not planning for any beers this evening, but in light of the news of Jay Misson's passing, I can certainly find it in me to pull out a well-crafted beer tonight to toast his good life. I had only met and talked with him for the first time during this year's Philly Beer Week. His passion for good beer, especially well-crafted lagers, was evident. His products at Triumph are an outstanding testament to the brewing part of his life. He will be missed.

This is the only picture that I could find. I was at Triumph 3 times during PBW2008. This picture was taken during the quizzo event held on the evening of Day 4.

This was supposed to be a Quiet Weekend

Stick with me here, this is gonna be another long one packing in a lot of weekend goodness. Otherwise, you'd be hearing tales from this weekend 'til the dawn of the next decade. We'll get through this here together.

All you've heard about, if you're following the local beer calendar here in Philly, was how crazy this weekend was going to be. Forget about the Belmont Stakes and the Bike Race. Though both great excuses to drink great beer, there were plenty of other things from City to Suburbs and from free to expensive to take in for great beer events.

I suppose the (beer) weekend for me actually began on Thursday night...or Tuesday or Wednesday in New York, take your pick. But, I've already told you about the NYC excursion, so let's say for sake of argument that the weekend started on Thursday. In Phoenixville, to be exact.










Of the many characters I ran into this weekend, one of the most ambitious beer bloggers of late has been beer aficionado, (Dr) Joel of GrainBill.BlogSpot.com. Along with other plans which he will reveal to us sometime in the near future, he is embarking upon the Bridge Street Tastings series. His concept is to pair local retailers with "related" beers (based on each business type, or model) and doing a tasting for the customers of the retailer. This first installment was an attempt at bringing organic beers into Earthmart, an ethically-responsible and eco-friendly store in Phoenixville. Perfect match, well done beers. Well done sir.

I've had a couple Wolaver's and Peak Organic here and there in the past but, to be quite honest, never had given a whole lot of thought to them. On this night, the Brown Ale from each brewery stood out on my palate as the best of the night. Each brewery was presenting 3 beers (Brown, Amber, & Pale from Peak Organic and IPA, Brown, and Pale Ale from Wolavers) while Tom Larochelle (regional sales guy for Peak Organic) and Joel were there to discuss the merits of each.

Speaking of ambitious and hard working, Don Russell and Nick Johnson ain't schlepping through the suds either. Don's still out on book tour and on Friday night brought some books to sign and his flexible wife Theresa (easy savages! I'm referring to her recently opened yoga practice) to the Beer Yard in Wayne, PA.










Nick Johnson from Tröegs was there pouring Troegenator from their new bomber sized bottles along with a handful of other Tröegs staples. Cases were flying off Matt's shelves left and right (did I catch the number as being, 31?) with souvenir glassware included. Nick also provided homemade potato salad and hamburgers from Tröegs-spent-grain-fed cattle from a local Harrisburg farm. Brother Ryan was manning the grill and serving up the perfect accompaniment for the Troeganator and a particular barleywine Scratch beer (#4?). Well done, also, good sirs.

Then, it was on to Iron Hill in West Chester to check out their Ring of Fire porter. Out of all of the local beer calendars, mine included, this event seemed to miss the radar. Good thing I got a text message from a certain lass to suggest meeting up. Below this paragraph was where the first published lass and lance picture (to my knowledge) was due to be found. That is, until my camera decided to go the way of her last camera. Maybe the publicity wasn't meant to be. I did get a curious look when I asked if the picture was permitted for Brew Lounge use. Anywho, it seems as if my camera is happy to still take some decent flash-less outdoor pictures, but the flash-assisted exposures are no longer reliable.

Back to the topic at hand. Accompanying the release of this fiery porter was the way-excellent local Johnny Cash cover band, David Stone & The Johnny Cash Experience. If we had planned our evening more carefully, we may have arrived later and stayed later. But, this was a weekend with a lot of non-beer stuff to do (I know, hard to believe, given the content of this log) and we were intent on sticking to our vow to "keep it under control."


The Ring of Fire porter comes in at 5.4% ABV and is extremely drinkable, even with the mild heat that you feel in the finish of the beer. But, up front and throughout the drink, the chocolate roastiness and slight bitterness are pronounced. I'll save more tasting notes for when I officially review a bottle that I brought home with me, courtesy of brewing/blending master Chris LaPierre.

We stopped out front and purchased a few more bottles for gifts and grabbed a growler of Rye IPA. I'm finishing the last glass of said beer as I type this Sunday evening. IPA for sure, galena hops make it an interesting drink. But, rye? Not getting that so much under the hop onslaught. Pleasurable, nonetheless. Fitting that we left to Folsom Prison Blues as we moved a little farther down the line.

After a morning run, yard work, and household chores on Saturday we headed out for a graduation party in the Trevose area. From where we live, how else would you get there other than through Port Fishington? After all, when you get an e-mail saying that one of the State's best new beers received in 2008 (Black Bavarian from Sprecher in Wisconsin) was being cracked open and poured from the bartop at Memphis Taproom....well, you don't think twice. You zip down the Schuylkill Expressway and up Aramingo Avenue to a parking spot reserved for you directly out front of said joint.


Disappointed, we were not. Spanky (eh-hem, Brendan), Leigh, and Jessica graciously served up a Black Bavarian (even better from the cask than forced CO2), an Amber also from Sprecher, and a Maredsous 8 along with our Chicken Fried Chicken (I've always giggled at that name for some reason) and things could not have been more perfect. The air conditioning and fine tap list could have kept us there all afternoon into the evening but a graduation party with a Nittany Lion ice luge was beckoning.


Graduation party was enough to kill off our day. As much as we would have loved to swing by Grey Lodge (Fleur de Lehigh debut from PBC) or TJs (smoke-free Beer Advocate event), the day was without a doubt, OVER.

A lot of good housework accomplished on Sunday led us to reward ourselves with another quick trip (or "zipping on over," I believe is how I described it to Mr. Guyer) to Philly...this time to Grey Lodge after an e-mail from Scoats confirmed that the Fleur de Lehigh from Philadephia Brewing was still pouring from the night before. A nice crowd, apparently, but not enough to kill the keg (this was another last minute e-mail, so perhaps not surprising). Lucky us! A tomato pie along with this Belgian ale (with a lot of herbal goodness reportedly added...cardamom, ginger, lemongrass, rose hips, even rhubarb) worked better than expected.


As much as I wanted to go for a second one, it seemed like it was enough after one. I certainly got the cardamom and ginger, and it was probably the rhubarb that gave off some of the tartness. But the Rowhouse Red was on too and I couldn't pass up the chance to put back another of these goodies. The FBL isn't being bottled, so catch it while you can. We left some for you at Grey Lodge and it will be appearing at Memphis Taproom on Monday the 9th.

One more stop, believe it or not, was in store for us. On the way home from Grey Lodge, we made a stop at the Main Line Jazz Festival in Wayne....coincidentally (?!) the home of Teresa's Next Door....who just so happened to be celebrating their first year anniversary, with a mighty fine tap list as usual. All said, of course, with tongue firmly in cheek.












We arrived after the festival was over; that was sort of the point. Figured the crowds would have dissipated some by that point. A bowl of dirty mussels (blue cheese, bacon, and onions) and a bread board (prosciutto, sausage, cheese, and bread) along with a North Coast Pranqster, Allagash White, and Cantillon Saint Lamnivus helped bring the weekend to a perfect close. Then that Guyer guy came in to the picture, working the crowd and unwinding after a long weekend of his own.

Now, I need to get myself to Texas, where there'll be quite a few less beer options. To be sure, it's gonna be a busy week of work, so that's not such a bad thing after all. For now, I'm gonna revel in what was a great, great weekend of beer in Philadelphia and its rich region. It almost felt like a mini-Philly Beer Week!

Did you make it to the end of all of this? Really? Didja read every word? Well, if you did, I'll quiz you next time we see each other and maybe buy you a beer if I'm impressed.

Tap List at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA - 6/8/08

For those who have not made their way to Teresa's Next Door, here's the tap list as of 6/8/08. It's fairly typical of the quality and diversity that can be found there. Keep in mind, that these are the drafts. The bottle selection is just as good, but ten fold. Allagash White Avery IPA Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont Breckenridge 471 IPA Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet Brouwerij Slaghmuylder Witkap Singel Brouwerij Van Steenberge Piraat Cantillon Saint Lamnivus Chimay White Corsendonk Pale Ale Founders Red's Rye Hoegaarden Witbier Lindemans Framboise North Coast Old Stock North Coast Pranqster Philadelphia Brewing Newbold IPA (cask) Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker Gaffel Kölsch Ridgeway Blue Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout (nitro) St. Bernardus 12 St. Feuillien Brune Stoudt's Gold Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock Thomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine Tröegs HopBack Amber (cask) Tröegs Pale Ale

Saturday, June 07, 2008

24 Hours in New York City

Hang with me here guys and gals, this is gonna be long, but wonderful, trip. If you're the late night, clubbing type...grab yourself some coffee and settle in. If your day's half over, grab a beer, sit back and let yourself go....here's the scenario. A quick spin again this week through Manhattan. Unfortunately, with a medical convention and internet gathering taking up most hotel rooms (esp. those affordable ones), I stayed over in Long Island City. Though, that didn't deter my fighting spirit to find a few good beers on the island. It's been a little while since I've been to The Ginger Man on 36th Street, instead spending most available time on Manhattan lately at Blind Tiger's new home. A nice table to spread out with some work preparation for the next day, a bite to eat (bratwurst, grainy mustard, potato salad, and crusty bread), and a few beers later reminded me why The Ginger Man is still one of the top 5 beer joints on Manhattan. Some draft highlights included La Rulles Tripel, Harviestoun Ginger & Lime, Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse, St. Bernardus Dubbel, Saison Dupont, Rogue Old Crustacean, Glazen Toren Cuvee Angelique, La Chouffe, and Ommegang Chocolate Stout. Bottles included at least half of the trappists, a couple of handfuls of Italian beers, and Canadian Unibruoue and Dieu du Ciel. Others available from the region included Stoudt's, Captain Lawrence, Sly Fox, and Tröegs. Normally a fan of cask-conditioned beer, I shied away from the samples that I received each of the Blue Point Imperial Stout and Chelsea Summer Solstice. Heading back in the direction of Penn Station, I found Heartland Brewery along the way at the base of the Empire State Building. (Heartland has 5 locations around Manhattan and their beer is brewed, not sure how much or if all of it, over in Brooklyn at Greenpoint Beer Works who also makes the Kelso brand). I had around 30 minutes to kill, and once again figured 'why not?' Here also it had been a couple of years since I stopped in. Though here, it was more so because I've found Heartland's beers to be satisfactory but rarely wow-ing and the atmosphere usually packed with the tourist-type crowd. The Oatmeal Stout would probably be the one exception (okay, one of two exceptions, the other being the Red Rooster) for which I would go out of my way. This was my first visit where I showed up when the downstairs was open. I slipped down there, was even able to make a phone call from this large subterranean space, and found a nice spot at the bar where the bartender was pleasant enough to slide a handful of samples at me. So much for predisposed notions. I figured out of the non-usuals on the menu, I may most enjoy the Indiana PA, the Indy 500 IPA, or even the Apricot. Nope, it was the Berry Champagne Ale that stole the show for me. Apparently, it's been an occasional release for the past couple of years and is mighty refreshing with its wheat texture and cool effervescence layered by strong raspberry and pomegranate fruit. On not such a warm and humid day, I may not have enjoyed it as much. A fruit beer for sure (though don't be mistaken, it's not in the lambic area, nor the French/Belgian champagne style either....more like American Fruit beer). Lunch the following day took me to Bar Americain on 52nd between 6th & 7th Avenues. It's part of the Bobby Flay empire (Mesa Grill is probably best known to many) and is has a polished and trendy look to the atmosphere inside. While there was no dress code, per se, it is the kind of place that you'll want to go looking "smartly" stylish. Jams, flip-flops, and an I-Heart-NY t-shirt with a fanny pack won't work ;-) So here's little ol' innocent me thinking Bobby Flay/trendy/lunch; beer was only an after thought for me at that point. (There you go, you caught me with my guard down!) But, I overlooked the one key word: trendy. If you haven't picked up on it yet, folks, beer is indeed experience a trendy pickup. I've been having more conversations lately than ever before about what's being perceived as more of the business world (publications and investors) paying attention to and wanting to ride this perceived trend. In any case, a quick perusal of the wine list (very impressive) took me to the beer list, which prominently displayed around 10-12 draft beers. I was with a colleague and didn't take out a note pad or get overly geeky about it. Just simply ordered a Six Point Righteous Rye to go with my killer burger (3 nicely sliced goat's cheese coins sitting atop a beautiful mound of beef....it's what's for lunch). If I would have another, it would have been the Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter. I still haven't had a bad beer from these guys, and I'm confident this one would not disappointed either. Oh, and by the way, speaking of not disappointing, if you should happen upon Bar Americain, don't pass up the 'Hot Potato Chips w/Blue Cheese Sauce'. Simply, wow! Of course, no trip to Manhattan is complete without a stop at Blind Tiger. Have I said that before? Now, with a little more time to kill off before the train ride home, it was a quick subway trip down to 4th Street and a two block walk to my very own table at Blind Tiger. The featured brewery for this particular Wednesday was Ramstein, the predominantly wheat-based brewery of whom I'm only really familiar with its Winter Wheat. Let's see...it was a Double Blond from Ramstein to get things started. Then, next was supposed to be WheaDoppelBock (though I can't seem to find any information on this beer anywhere) also from Ramstein. But, marbles in my mouth must have made it sound like Double Blond, so I wound up with a second one of these. But, that's far from a problem. Very nice drinker and reminded me of how much I've enjoyed (the "new") River Horse's Double White. Finished off my stay at BT with a Southampton Biere de Mars. Once again, a very easy and comfortable place to hang out for way too long. Looks from their current tap list that they still have a handful of Ramsteins on tap, along with oh wow look at that, 30 year Ola Dubh...oh well. Just another day in the city. Now, it's off to see if there's any of that delicious Black Bavarian still dripping from the cask over at Memphis Taproom.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Ron's Original Bar & Grille Grand Re-Opening

You think I've been behind lately? (Listen here smartypants, I said 'behind', not 'a behind'.) I haven't told you about my visit to Ron's on their Grand Opening weekend yet, have I? Eh, that's nothing. I still have some good notes that I haven't shared with you from a visit to Barclay's in Oakland, CA all the way back in February. But, I have no excuses. Nah, I do have excuses, but I won't waste your time sharing them with you. Instead, I'll give you a quick rundown of my stop in at the new and improved Ron's Original Bar & Grille in Exton, PA. A month or so after the soft opening, they were ready to blow the doors off with a Grand Re-Opening Bash, complete with Andre Gardner from WMGK, free wine tastings, and live music. I couldn't make it for Friday night's festivities. So, I stopped in early Saturday evening for a few beers, light food, and an Oval to take home to eat with Patty. From the minute I pulled into the parking lot, then walked through the doors, I could tell that they got the word out (I'm sure I helped too!) because this was the most crowded I'd seen Ron's in quite a while. As I mentioned the free wine tasting, I'm sure this didn't hurt the turnout. I settled in at the bar, which was packed with a mixture of folks like me having some beers and watching baseball and hockey, and others waiting for tables. The dining room was running a waiting list of approximately 30 minutes. The tap list was as strong as I reported at their soft opening. Of course, giving you this listing 6 days later will not likely be very helpful, but it should continue to provide you with an idea of the kind of selection they're bringing to you at Ron's. The prices seemed to have settled into a reasonable range, something that I was not ready to report a few weeks back. It's good to see that last Saturday the most expensive draft beer were Stone's Imperial Russian Stout, Chimay's Cinq Cents, and Dogfish Head's Festina Peche, each at $7. All others came in just above or below five bucks. Glassware is something that I hope to see them improve upon. While I didn't inquire further, I could see that many of the drafts were being poured into the round-shaped Dogfish Head glass (14 or 16 ounces, I believe). While I certainly don't expect the glassware "fanaticism" (I say that with a good dose of respect) of a place such as Teresa's, I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more diversity in serving glass shapes and sizes, especially to fit the particular styles and alcohol levels. I'll have pictures and more detailed tellings in the future. In the mean time, you might want to stop in and rehydrate this weekend; it's gonna be a hot one here in the Philadelphia area. Below is the tap list as of last Saturday. Anderson Valley High Rollers Wheat Avery Maharaja IPA Brooklyn Brooklynator Doppelbock (Brewmasters Reserve) Chimay Cinq Cents (White label/cap) Dogfish Head Festina Peche Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Flying Fish Imperial Espresso Porter Magic Hat Circus Boy Ramstein (High Point Brewing) Mai Bock Rogue Black Brutal Bitter (John's Locker Stock) Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager Stone Imperial Russian Stout Southern Tier Über Sun Victory Whirlwind Wheat Young's Double Chocolate Stout And the usual suspects for those who enjoy depriving themselves of gustatory pleasure ;-) Coors Light Miller Lite Peroni Yuengling Lager Under the coming soon, or maybe here and gone already by this point, section were: Arcadia Coco Loco; Bell's Double Cream Stout; Blue Point Hoptical Illusion; Franziskaner Hefe Weisse; Left Hand Milk Stout; New Holland Dragon's Milk; Pyramid Apricot Weizen; Rogue I-Squared; Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA; Stone Arrogant Bastard; Thirsty Dog Siberian Night; Tröegs Troegenator; Victory Dark Lager; Weihenstephaner Kristall Weiss; and Wells Banana Bread