Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Columbus- #6, eh?

I'll be heading to Columbus later in October for a Penn State/Ohio State Saturday night college football game. Be sure to check back in a month when I help to confirm this article on the Columbus beer scene. I'd certainly throw my votes behind numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7. We'll see about Columbus. There's been a few awards handed out to Columbus-based beer in the past, if that's any indication. In addition to local establishments, Gordon Biersch, Whole Foods, and Mad Mex are also serving up craft beer to The Buckeye crowd.

The Great Pumpkin Event at Blind Tiger

I'm on a bit of an NYC dry spell of late, and I won't be there tomorrow for this festive event either. If you won't be there either, there'll be a few pumpkins, fests, and hoppies remaining at TJs in Paoli.
The Great Pumpkin Event is on... This Wednesday Oct.1st at the Blind Tiger starting at 4:00PM... The Pumpkin List: Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale (brewed at New Belgium) Elysian Dark O' the Moon Pumpkin Stout Elysian Hansel & Gretel Pumpkin Pilsner Elysian Pumpkinheart Strong Scottish Pumpkin Ale-with the skirl of oak Elysian PK-47 Pumpkin Malt Liquor Elysian The Great Pumpkin Ale Dogfish Head Punkin Southampton Pumpkin Smuttynose Pumpkin Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout (Gravity) Allagash Pumpkin (never seen before) Southern Tier Pump"king" Brooklyn's Post Road Pumpkin Yeah, is that enough for you? Alan PS - we will have some really special guest coming for the big night...so be sure to be there...

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Big Fat Oktoberfest

If my notes here sound a bit like kindly Mr. Curtin's, then I should apologize straightaway. But, please don't hold it against me and don't make any conclusions about what that might mean. Simple and sheer coincidence, I say. I ran into him once at the beginning. Then, either because he was intimidated by my incredible sense of fashion (truth now, who wasn't!?) or he needed to put the wraps on a brilliant Dubya piece, I never saw him after that. Young lasses were even asking after him (yes, you'll just have to believe me on this one) looking to share a beer with him. I arrived near the end of the VIP session (I was busy laying a solid base of breakfast food at the over-the-top breakfast eatery, Classic Diner, in Malvern, PA) and claimed my 1 liter Spaten stein. This was a nice touch to Philly's first attempt at a traditional Oktoberfest. Though, whether anyone really needed to be drinking some of these not-so-sessiony beers out of the steins is another question (lest ye think I throw stones, I could be found drinking more than one greater than 4% ABV beer out of said stein...so there you go!), they certainly did lend an air of Oktoberfest to our Octoberfest here in Philly. Once I got squared away with green tickets, pink tickets, blue tickets, festival guide, and a stein I was off to grab a Spaten and Franziskaner...perfect must haves for the Oktoberfest celebration at the 23rd Street Armory. The venue seemed perfect to host this event and could likely accommodate a crowd of at least another 50%. While the outdoor area never got annoyingly crowded, there was much more room inside that could have been better utilized to spread the crowd more evenly around the event. Lines were never much of an issue either, unless you were standing in a restroom line where I heard of multiple complaints of 30-45 minute waits. Once the downstairs restrooms were opened to the general public, things eased up a bit in that regard. Other than running into a lot of the usual industry folk, the face of the general admission crowd tended to be more of an anonymous one to me. Generally speaking, that all worked out okay. Save for the occasional thrown plastic cup during spirited beer chugging games or the one dropped glass stein that I heard, the crowd was fairly well behaved. The band provided mostly non-Oktoberfest style music, which I thought a bit curious, but it certainly was not a showstopper. I noticed heaping plates of food from the buffet line, but after my aforementioned breakfast of eggs benedict, bacon, potatoes, I only had room for my liquid bread at this time. The food was complimentary during the VIP session and available for a fee during the general session; many seemed more than happy to indulge. Alright now, have I talked about everything except for the beer? Other than the "typical" German beers (Spaten, Franziskaner, Hacker-Pschorr) and some atypical German beers (brought in specially as "Monk's" fest beers, though once again agreeing with Jack I didn't find too much spectacular about these other than perhaps the Weiherer Lager, described as a Kellerbier) this was mostly a local affair. There was one exception, Oskar Blues, which I couldn't complain about, since their Oskartoberfest (specially made for this festival, I was told...really?) made it on to my list of memorable beers from the session. (Sorry, even I had to read this paragraph more than once, but well, that's the way it's going to remain.) Also on my list of beers to remember were: Roy Pitz- Is anyone not talking about these guys? I, like Jack, had my first non-email encounter with Ryan, Jessie, and two of their beers. My not-so-expert opinion says these are guys are on the right track. Make sure you try the Ichabod and Ludwig's Revenge if you see them. They can be found in Pittsburgh (e.g. Piper's), Philly (many accounts), and numerous locations in between. River Horse- New management continues to bring interesting things out of the brewhouse. In the past, it's been the Double White. At this festival, it was the Dunkel Fester. Get your hands on some if you can (they've got their own Oktoberfest coming up in a few weeks). Yards- ESA is back, with a vengeance. Tom and the crew at their new location should be proud. Welcome Back! Dock Street- I'm anxious to see how Mike Fava's first trip to Denver goes. He's got 6 interesting beers headed off to GABF that all have the potential to stand up well in their categories. At Oktoberfest, he brought Docktoberfest. I'd say that the D stands for delicious. Nodding Head- Loved the Berliner Weisse, as expected. Though, not as expected was the notched down tartness (even though it was served without woodruff or raspberry). Still, a tasty treat. Stewart's- I don't know how may times I passed their stand until I saw them. Well, maybe because they were only pouring one beer under their banner. In any case, Ric hits another one out of the park with this year's Oktoberfest. I actually did manage to meander up the street to T.A. Flannery's with my football pal for a couple of Sierra Nevadas and a few innings of Phillies division-clinching baseball before catching the 6:45pm train back to Paoli and TJs Drinkery. Where you know exactly what was happening. A tapping of Blind Pig (which, by the way, can you shake a stick in southeastern Pennsylvania without getting some sort of Russian River beer on draft?), a cask of Dead Reckoning, and plenty of the usual suspects that I'd figured I'd run into sooner or later. Scotty wouldn't fill my stein with Blind Pig and that was probably for the best. I was on the downside of my Big Fat Oktoberfest and making it to Victory's festival just wasn't in the cards by 10:30pm. So, I loosened my grip on the stein and decided I'm probably not the young buck that I used to be. The venue was perfect, the weather cooperated, and the Phillies won. Sunday was a washout in terms of rain, perfect for lazing and recovering...watching football, baseball, and movies. All in all, a great weekend. Hope you had the same. p.s. Did we ever find the Southampton tap handle?

Beer Dates in History: October Anniversaries

150 years König-Brauerei 20 years Wynkoop Brewing 15 years Mountain Sun 10 years Bertram's Salmon Valley Brewery

Friday, September 26, 2008

Beer Calendar: What To Do in October 2008

The biggest of the big events is in Denver, CO but there are also plenty of other events around the region for your choosing. Check here for long lists of upcoming Oktoberfest and Fall Festival happenings across the Philadelphia region. Philadelphia Tue. 9/30 - Elysian Meet & Greet @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA (5pm-7pm; PAYG) Tue. 9/30 - Sam Calagione & Theobroma @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (5pm-6pm; PAYG) Tue. 9/30 - Off-Centered Ales & Ancient Brews @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $60) Wed. 10/1 - Firkin Night (Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale)@Kite & Key, Philadelphia, PA (7pm-10pm; PAYG) Wed. 10/1 - Victory Beer Dinner@JL Sullivan's, Philadelphia, PA (7pm; $50) Thu. 10/2 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (Oktoberfest)@Triumph, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm; PAYG) Sat. 10/4 - Ten-Four Good Buddy @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (all day; PAYG) Sun. 10/5 - Farmers Sunday Supper@White Dog, Philadelphia, PA (6pm; $65) Sun. 10/5 - Grand Re-Opening@Bella Vista Beer Distributor, Philadelphia, PA (12pm-5pm; free) Sun. 10/5 - Main Line School Night@Manayunk Brewery, Philadelphia, PA ($50) Fri. 10/10 - Italian Beers @Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia, PA (6pm-8pm) Tue. 10/14 - "Nite of The Full Moon" Dinner @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA (7pm; $60) Tue. 10/21 - Victory Beer Dinner @The Belgian Café, Philadelphia, PA (7pm) Fri. 10/24 - It's the Great Punkin, Indian Brown @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Tue. 10/28 - Ommegang-Duvel-Maredsous Beer Dinner @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (TBA) Fri. 10/31 - Police and Firefighers Benefit @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA (all day; PAYG) Philadelphia's close suburbs Wed. 10/1 - Victory Oktoberfest Beer Dinner @Maia, Villanova, PA ($39) Thu. 10/2 - Thursday Night Tasting (Penn Octoberfest, draft) @Goshen Beverage, West Chester, PA (2pm-3pm; free) Fri. 10/3 - Friday Firkin (Weyerbacher Double Simcoe) @The Drafting Room, Spring House, PA (5:30pm-???; PAYG) Fri. 10/3 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (12pm-???; PAYG) Tue. 10/7 - Victory Beer Dinner @Riverstone Café, Exton, PA (6:30pm; $55) Fri. 10/10 - Second Friday IPA Varietal Release (Perle) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (12pm-???; PAYG) Sat. 10/11 - GABF Live Party @Iron Hill, North Wales, PA (PAYG, details to come) Sat. 10/11 - Oktoberfest @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (12pm-4pm; $25) Fri. 10/17 - Friday Night Tasting (Clipper City/Heavy Seas) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free) Sat. 10/18 - Newtown Brewfest @The Stocking Works Complex, Newtown, PA (12:00pm-1:30pm (VIP), 1:30pm-5:30pm (general); $35) Sun. 10/19 - Main Line School Night@TJs, Paoli, PA ($60) Fri. 10/24 - Oktoberfest @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (5pm-11pm; PAYG) Sun. 10/26 - Main Line School Night@Gullifty's, Paoli, PA ($50) Fri. 10/31 - Second Friday IPA Varietal Release (Amarillo) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (12pm-???; PAYG) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Thu. 10/2 - Firkin Thursday Charity Cask Night @Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA (5pm; PAYG) Fri. 10/3 - "He Said Beer She Said Wine" Dinner @Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA (7pm; $150) Sat. 10/4 - Kennett Brewfest @downtown Kennett Square, PA (12pm-1:30pm, 2pm-6pm; $35/$60) Sat. 10/4 - Bethlehem Harvest Festival @downtown Bethlehem, PA (3pm-11pm; $5 admission; then PAYG) Fri. 10/10 - Oktoberfest Beer Dinner @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA (TBD) Tue. 10/14 - An Evening With Weyerbacher @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (6:30pm) Thu. 10/16 - For The Love Of Pumpkins @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA (6:30pm; $30) Sat. 10/18 - 17th Annual Microfest @Stoudt's, Adamstown, PA (12pm-4pm, 7pm-11pm; $28) Sat. 10/18 - Port/Lost Abbey Tasting @Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny, Boyertown, PA (3pm; PAYG) Sat. 10/25 - West Coast Cask/East Coast Pig @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (12pm-6pm; PAYG) Fri. 10/31 - Cask Ale Night (TBA) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; PAYG) Elsewhere Wed. 10/1 - The Great Pumpkin Event @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4pm; PAYG) Sat. 10/4 - The Dark Side @Zeno's Pub, State College, PA (3pm-8pm; $20) Sat. 10/4 - World Beer Festival @Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham, NC (12pm-4pm, 6pm-10pm; $40) Wed. 10/8 - Sam & His Buddies In Boulder For Beer Dinner @The Kitchen, Boulder, CO (6:30pm; $100) Thu.10/9-Sat. 10/11 - Great American Beer Festival @Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO (see website for details) Sat. 10/11 - Waffles & Puppets @Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY (12pm-5pm; admission-free; PAYG food and drink) Sat. 10/11 - Maryland Brewer's Oktoberfest @Timonium Fairgrounds, Timonium, MD (12pm-8pm; $18) Wed. 10/15 - Dogfish Head & Duvel Green @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4pm; PAYG) Thu. 10/16 - 4th Anniversary Party @Barcade, New York, NY (TBA) Sat. 10/18 - Chesapeake Real Ale Festival @The Wharf Rat, Baltimore, MD (1pm-6pm; $35) Sat. 10/18 - The Great Decatur Beer Tasting Festival @Downtown Square, Decatur, GA (12pm-5pm; $35) Fri. 10/31-Sat. 11/1 - Great World Beer Fest @Pier 92 (52nd Street), New York, NY (7pm-11pm, 12pm-4pm, 5pm-9pm; $50/$59) Fri. 10/31 - The Great Pumpkin Festival! or "How we learned to stop worrying & love the pumpkin" @Cambridge Brewing, Cambridge, MA (5pm-11pm; PAYG)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland, OH

As I'd mentioned somewhere earlier, I was unexpectedly in Cleveland recently. My mother and I drove out to be with her sister (who just so happens to have my mother's other kidney) who had undergone open heart surgery. It was a satisfying trip in that we were able to spend quality time with my aunt during the first days after coming out of sedation. Her situation is still quite precarious, but it was nonetheless comforting to be there with her. And, at the risk of sounding selfish, I managed to take in a couple of beer-related stops as well. Yesterday, I shared my short stop on the way out of town at La Cave du Vin. The night prior to my leaving we decided to stop in at Great Lakes for dinner and a few beers (for me). The other two choices were a casual Italian place that I'd been to a couple of times (now closed) and a steakhouse (too upscale for our mood). So, a brewpub it was...perfect for this particular evening. Cleveland Clinic's impressive institution where we were staying is on the east side of the city (and practically a city within a city), La Cave is even farther east. Great Lakes is clear across town to the west in the Ohio City neighborhood. Past the Cleveland Browns stadium, Rock 'n' Roll Museum, Downtown, The Jake, the Flats, and across the Cuyahoga River to a neighborhood that is home to the historic, century-old West Side Market. Just around another corner from Great Lakes is a relative newcomer (the brewery is celebrating its 20th anniversary), the Belgian-influenced Bier Markt. It was recommended to me by more than one whose opinion I trust. I couldn't make it there during this trip, but it's on my short list for my next visit to Cleveland. Around the corner from the busy intersection of 25th and Lorain Streets, Great Lakes is tucked away on what, I suppose, would be called a couple of side streets. While the production brewery (sampling and tours) is on one side of the street, the restaurant location is across the street. When on-street parking is tough to come by, there's a parking lot ($4 off-hours) within sniffing distance of the brewery. There's no doubt when parking in this lot of when brewing is occurring, as it was when we arrived. They were still going when we left around 9pm and it made me wonder if they brew almost nonstop. With plenty of room on the sidewalk and another ten degrees warmer, it would have been tempting to sit outside. We went inside and sat by a small brewing operation that they have setup in a side room. I didn't ask, but wondered if it's where they do smaller, perhaps experimental, batches. The layout of the pub is interesting to the point of wanting to explore. From the front bar, to the two side dining rooms, and the underground pub behind big heavy wood doors there's a feeling that there's a nook that you haven't found. On top of all this, there's an upstairs dining room as well. Yet, somehow the restaurant still has a warm and cozy feel. Sitting down for dinner, my mother and I were treated to pleasant and helpful service from our waitress who promptly set me up with six 5-ounce samplers of the twelve that were available. The breadth of beers available in the local Cleveland market and as brewpub exclusives is staggering...reminds me in some ways of Victory here back home. This was quite a treat for me having only previously tried the Dortmunder Gold, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and Elliot Ness Amber. In addition to the first two of those, I added the Nosferatu (a bigger Hop Devil?), the Imperial Dortmunder (imperial, for sure),the Holy Moses White (a nice, middle-of-the-road Wit named after Moses Cleveland, founder of the City...that's a little known fact for you Cliffie), and the Peerless Pilsner (easy, tasty drinker). The Wit went real nicely with a Spinach and Arugula salad (strawberry vinaigrette) that we began with and the Nosferatu provided a nice counter punch to the Black & Blue burger (excellent!) that I had as my main course. Even more of a treat for me was to explain some of the differences to my mother, with whom I've never really had the one-on-one opportunity to talk about the many wonderful aspects of well-crafted beer and just what it is that makes each beer so uniquely different and flavorful. She tried a few and seemed to take mostly to the Holy Moses and the Eddie Fitz, admitting that she was surprised at the range of flavors and colors. Out the front door and just a few steps away is the "gift shop" where customers can find bottled versions of various Great Lakes beer as well as clothing, books, and accessories. I couldn't leave without a 4-pack of the Nosferatu, just one of the many Great Lake varieties that I'd never previously come across. Great Lakes has always had a distant appeal to me. I've known that they make some pretty decent beers and have been recognized time and again with GABF, USBTC, and WBC awards. Only a few of their standard bearers, though, are distributed here in Pennsylvania, at least on the eastern side. But, while on site, I learned that they make a whole long line of well-crafted, great-tasting beers. On top of all of this, they take great care in tending to environmental concerns as well. From basic recycling to community reinvestment to using (not discarding) "low-fill beers" in food preparation in the kitchen, Great Lakes is practicing what they preach. This year they began sourcing a portion of the ingredients in the kitchen from Hale Farm & Village in Bath, Ohio. I think it's safe to say that if I were a local in Cleveland, I'd be reinvesting heavily in my local Great Lakes. Can't wait to return!

An Interesting Development Presents Itself on Saturday

Below, this is from Jeff, half of TJs, in Paoli, PA. They've already got a FallFest/Oktoberfest event going Saturday night. Now he's given yet another reason to stop by somewhere between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning (if one of this country's best IPAs, imo, is something for you). The hops aren't getting any fresher! (And cask-conditioned Dead Reckoning? ay, ay, ay) "I have been hearing so many "when are you tapping Blind Pig" that I will be tapping it this Saturday afternoon (around 4pm) for the Oktoberfest event that evening."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

La Cave du Vin in Cleveland, OH

Now I don't claim to know much about Cleveland; I've only been there a half-dozen times or so. But what I (apparently) learned on this last trip should be enough to help you out on your next trip. More about Bier Markt and Great Lakes tomorrow. Today, a few words about La Cave du Vin on the east side of Cleveland, near Cleveland Heights and University Heights neighborhoods and Case Western Reserve University. La Cave has been in business for almost 15 years serving up quality beers and wines both for consumption on-site as well as for take home. They're located underground down a couple flights of stairs. Above ground and nearby is Grog Shop, Phoenix Coffee, Chipotle, and Winking Lizard Tavern (an Ohio institution). Parking is not easy to come by in this neighborhood. Be sure to have some loose change for the meters if you can find one. It seems that most of the meters will give you a complimentary 15 minutes, so make sure you look for that little freebie button on the meter...and make sure to put in for more time you need, because you likely will need it when at La Cave. Behind the big, heavy entrance door picture lots of wood and stone foundation walls covered in racks and cases of wine and some beer. The far wall is at least five coolers of well-chosen beer from around this country and many others. The space is lit by dim overhead lights and more candles than I could count; the ambiance certainly lives up to its name. To the left is a bar area with ten, or so, barstools. There are, if memory serves correctly, six taps. It's a perfect area for doing beer or wine tastings, accompanied by a limited food menu. Limited, though, in just the right way to be conducive for beer and wine tastings. What a shame that this was the briefest of stops as I was heading back home on a 6 hour drive. So it was quick perusal of the coolers for some goodies to go, a sample of Stone's 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (must get more) and a swish of the Cantillon Iris and I was off...gggrrrr. Oh, and the staff. They'd just opened for the night and only Dana was working at the time, but did she know her stuff, or what? She was a big help with finding the right beers for me to take home, including some J.W. Lees 9, 10, 11, and 12 year old vintage barleywines. Some of the prices seem to be a bit on the higher side (e.g. Bear Republic assorted styles for around $10, or $11), but with the inventory and ambiance, I wasn't complaining. Sorry, no pretty pictures this time...hopefully you suffered through the words. I really didn't expect to be wow-ed the way I was. As far as I can tell from online rankings in addition to my reaction, this is probably one of the must-stops for takeout beer in the Cleveland area. Camera will certainly be in tow next time...and there will be a next time!

At Morton's, hold the A-1, pass the Chimay

The Jim & Jim show (Wiggins and Meiers from Origlio, in case you wondered) moved on from the Duvel Green unveiling at Monk's Cafe (check out Lew's wrapup) and made its next stop at Morton's Steakhouse on Walnut Street. Morton's was introducing their patrons to the wondrous lineup of Chimay beers: Première, Cinq Cents, and Grande Réserve. According to the general manager, wine still rules the table but they do hear occasional requests for better beer on the menu. Tasty little treats from Tuna Tartare, to Smoked Salmon, to filet mignon sandwiches were being served up alongside the beers. These were all basically bite-size treats that were very nice. But, as seems to occur at almost every beer and food pairing (at least for me), the dessert brought a little additional wow factor. The Morton's Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake (should that have a little TM next to it?) with the Grande Réserve? Well, that's just something that everyone should have the pleasure of tasting. But, everyone was not there. There was a small group of people that had come out for this event and they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the beer and food. Could have been the price tag ($45), the night of the week (Monday), or the venue (yes, steakhouse food does not only pair with red wine...don't make me bring out Garrett or Sam!) but it would have been nice to see a fuller room of people. Still, it was encouraging to see a respected steakhouse like Morton's taking a step to give beer its legitimate place on the menu. (This event is being repeated at Morton's all across the country. Catch one near you.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Killer Kowalski to Defend Title at GABF

Killer Kowalski will be defending at this year's GABF...the baltic porter, that is, not the wrestler (RIP). Just one of many interesting stories, I'm sure, that will be coming out of Denver at this year's installment of the Great American Beer Festival.

Oktoberfest/Fall Fest Gatherings in the Philly Area

The Foobooz crew has a nicely compiled list of upcoming Oktoberfest/Fall Fest happenings in the Delaware Valley posted over at their site. And if there's something that is near and dear to The Brew Lounge's heart...it's a well compiled reference list! Check it out. Edit: And, Lew's gone one step further and added some more. I can't keep up!

Monday, September 22, 2008

BJs Restaurant & Brewhouse in Addison, TX



After years of hearing of the BJs big family of restaurants/brewpubs, I finally had the opportunity to visit the Addison, TX location a couple of times over the past few months. This last visit was sealed during the flight to Texas by Mufasa, aka Michael Ferguson, aka Director of Brewing Operations for BJs Brewery & Restaurant. No, he wasn't on the plane, physically. Only via podcast of the Sunday Session at The Brewing Network (direct link to the episode).

His appearance was one of the show's more interesting, opinionated, informative, and fun (all in one) sessions in a while. As he lavished praise (he's a family guy, why wouldn't he?!) on the beer, the deep dish pizza, and of course the Pazookie (more on that later) I became convinced that this most recent trip to Texas would include a stop at BJs. There's another location over near the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where I found myself for a Rangers/Tigers game, but the rain kept me from hunting down BJ's Arlington location.


Most of this country's population, particularly in the far west, has a BJs location near them. There are around 80 of their spigot stops in 13 states, with more opening every year. They have the northeast in their sights in the coming years as well. Ferguson's job is to ensure brewing consistency across all locations. Most recently in 2002, the BJs family won the GABF distinction of Large Brewpub/Brewmaster of the Year.

In Texas, due to state laws, the beer must be brewed off-site and brought into the brewpubs. Therefore, the beers I had at the Addison location were brewed in Houston at Saint Arnold's brewery under Ferguson's direction. Also, under these same laws, they are permitted to carry non-BJs beers as well. In addition to the BJs lineup of beers, other domestic and imported beers from Pyramid to Piraat could also be found at this Addison, TX location. Speaking of brewery locations, less than 10 of the locations are actual breweries...but, I didn't inquire as to the arrangements in other states for getting BJs beer to the various locations.


And how were the beers? For a lineup of standard bearers that get mass produced for dozens of locations, they do a very decent job of making beers that are mighty drinkable, and oh by the way award-winning, without being boring. They hit all the right marks from a basic Blonde/Kölsch, a refreshing Pilsner, and a subtle Wit to a zesty Hefeweizen, up to the fuller-bodied Jeremiah Red with a bigger ABV kick, and a flavorful Porter and imperial Stout.

The food menu at BJs shines as much as the beer as they cover all of the bases with an assortment of both standard and creative appetizers and salads. One of the hallmarks of the menu is the classic deep dish pizzas with all sorts of toppings available a la carte style. A full compliment of pasta dishes, sandwiches, stuffed potatoes, "knife and fork sandwiches," and half-pound burgers round out the robust menu.

While I enjoyed the Porter with the Pazookie (think, deep dish cookie with ice cream served in a variety of manners), my hunch is that I would have preferred the Tatonka (isn't it just plain fun to say Tatonka?) and its bigger, richer flavors to match up against the cookie and ice cream dessert. They brew their own root beer as well for a dessert menu item, but it's really difficult to get by the Pazookie, at least for this palate.


When visiting BJs, I've only sat at the bar but each time received great service with just the right amount of interaction. There are plenty of TVs if socializing is not really your thing.

One visit was with an Ohio transplanted bartender who shared with me some of his learning curve living in the south. Another time was with a bartender named Trina who trained under Ferguson and had nothing but praise for him and was interested to hear how I knew of him. She gave me some background on how each location ideally has at least one staff member (someone please help me with the acronym...is it FBT? Final Beer Taster?...or something like that) that serves as the resident non-brewer expert regarding the BJs lineup of brews.

When out in Colorado next month for GABF, I'm looking forward to checking out the local BJs and see if/how the model is different. If any of you have your own reactions from a trip to BJs, I'd be interested in hearing them. As tendencies go, I'm sure there will be some "anti-chain" backlash out there. But, in my opinion, this is one "chain" that should not be passed over.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Found Behind Home Plate at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

Behind Home Plate of the Texas Rangers' Ballpark in Arlington, I can vouch for the St. Arnold (Houston), Rahr (Fort Worth), and Shiner (some of it). The Lone Star (Pabst) and ZiegenBock (A-B)? Not so much so. St. Arnold was offering up Lawnmower and Texas Wheat; Rahr had one choice in their Ugly Pug; and Shiner had Blonde, Black, and Helles Bock. On an unseasonably cool late August night with thunderstorms held at bay (at least until the 8th inning), this selection made for a perfect night of baseball in Texas, all things considering.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 9/18/08

Flower Power, one word: WOW! Once more: WOW!....seriously, get there today and finish that sucker off. What's on tap at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA as of 9/18/2008? Ithaca Flower Power IPA (gravity cask) Ithaca 10 Ithaca White Gold Ithaca Nut Brown Ithaca CascaZilla Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Founders Breakfast Stout New Holland Dragon's Milk Pilsner Urquell Victory Fest Weyerbacher Harvest Victory Hop Devil (hand cask) Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout Legacy Midnight Wit Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Lindemans Framboise Amstel Light

Saddle Up for Philly's Oktoberfest at The Armory

Just a little over a week to go until we all need to put some semblance of a plan together for how to attack 9/27 in the Philly region. First to Oktoberfest in Center City Philadelphia, which looks to be a huge hit amongst festival-goers. Then, decide where to make last call...TJs in Paoli or Victory in Downingtown for each of their fall festivals. If you only make it to one of these three events, I have little doubt that you'll have a great day. But, judging from the forums, there'll be at least a few of you trying to make it to all three. The Oktoberfest in Philadelphia will be held at a venue that I've seen many times in the past, but only from the outside. Finally, I have the opportunity to see what is behind the imposing walls of the First City Troop Armory, between Market and Chestnut streets on south 23rd street. Approximately 50 regional and international breweries are promised during the main session which is scheduled to run from 1:00pm-5:00pm. A special VIP session starts at noon, with attendees receiving free food, "special beer," and a commemorative one-liter Spaten (the event's lead sponsor) beer stein. Tickets are available on line. Single tickets are $45.00; VIP tickets are $75; Designated driver tickets for $15.00. If public transportation is your thing (and with SEPTA's increasing late-night service, there's becoming less reason for it not to be your thing when out carousing in the city), the Armory is a short walking distance from 30th Street Station and other SEPTA bus, rail, and high speed lines. Philly Oktoberfest 2008 is a production of Philly Beer Fests LLC and proceeds will benefit Philly Beer Week 2009 and breast cancer research. UPDATE: Check out Joe Sixpack's article in today's Philadelphia Daily News for more background on Oktoberfest here and in Germany.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Victory for Maia

An Oktoberfest Beer Dinner featuring Victory's beers seems to be a fitting start to beer events at the relatively new Maia in Villanova, PA. Four courses at $39 seems around the right point at which to not gouge the wallet or bust the waistline. The four-course menu will be available on 10/1 for the kickoff dinner and a la carte as individually priced menu items (between $8-$15) through October 31st during dinner hours. Here are the details from a recent press release. Wiesen (a lighter, more modern lager) with a choice of: ~House-Smoked Salmon with German pickles, red onion and egg salad ~Ballotine of Amish Chicken with cassis mustard Festbier (a malty lager) with a choice of: ~Spiced Corned Duck Breast with celery root slaw ~Curried Herring with green apples and endive Braumeister Harvest Pils (a special, wet-hopped pilsner with a bracing, herbal bite over layers of soft and smooth malt flavor) with a choice of: ~Coriander-Crusted Scallops with caramelized Brussels sprouts, potato puree and preserved lemon ~Applewood Smoked Pork Chop with braised red cabbage and apples Moonglow Weizenbock (a dark amber beer with a delicious, spicy fruit aroma) with a choice of: ~Shellbark Farms Goat Cheese Fritters with smoked almonds and local baby greens ~Grilled Salmon with lemon jam and crispy shallots Maia is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more information, please call the restaurant at (610) 527-4888.

Russian River at Monk's Café

It was on my calendar in big, bold letters. I was anticipating taking the afternoon off from work and heading into Philly for Monk's Russian River blowout. It seemed a perfect afternoon for playing Ferris Bueller, beer edition. But, alas, life got in the way and I was instead in Cleveland tending to a family medical emergency. (Because man must eat and drink, there will be a few notes on my stops in Cleveland forthcoming.) Fortunately, though when I returned, I ran into Pliny the Elder and Damnation on draft at Teresa's Next Door last night in Wayne, PA. But in addition to these at TND, Monk's was also offering up Compunction, Blind Pig, and Supplication. The City Paper has a nice review of the afternoon along with a few quotes from fellow beer lovers, Messers Armato and Hummel.

Tap List at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA - 9/17/08

Vinnie makes a double showing just before I was ready to leave...good for me, since I wasn't able to make it to Monk's earlier this week for their Russian River blowout. Here's what else is on Tap at Teresa's Next Door as of 9/17/08. Bell's Oberon Brauerei Ayinger Bräu Weisse Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont Brooklyn Grand Cru Brouwerij De Ranke XX Bitter Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Nocturnum Brouwerij Liefmans Kriek Brouwerij Slaghmuylder Witkap Tripel Chimay White Climax ESB Corsendonk Brown Felinfoel Brewery Thames Welsh ESB Founders Hop Rod Rye Hoegaarden Witbier Lindemans Framboise New Holland Ichabod Philadelphia Brewing Newbold IPA Russian River Damnation Russian River Pliny the Elder Scaldis/Bush Ambrée Quad Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout (nitro) Victory Braumeister Pils Victory Hop Devil (cask) Weyerbacher Alpha Weyerbacher Hops Infusion (cask)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beer Dinner at Iron Hill, Kennett Square festival, and much, much more

It's not only Oktoberfest season, but this second half of September is really heating up with all sorts of beer events ranging from free tastings to higher-priced dinners. Check out the calendar over here for a (not quite) complete listing for the Philadelphia region and sometimes beyond. In the meantime, here's a bit more information for this coming Saturday's (9/20) Beer Dinner at Iron Hill in West Chester, PA. Contact the brewery for reservations. Only a few seats remain. Ah, and an announcement from Kennett Square says that less than 200 tickets remain for their festival on 10/4 (good buddy). The connoisseur tasting has been sold out for a while, but there'll still be plenty of tasty treats at the general session, so get the tickets while you can. Always a good bet as one of the region's better fall festivals. First Course Butternut Squash and Potato Soup black forest ham, brie cheese, and caramelized apples Paired with German Pilsner Second Course Baked Brook Trout julienne vegetables, lemon-shallot butter and watercress cream Paired with Munich Helles Third Course Austrian Meatball endive, fennel, exotic mushrooms and hunter-style sauce Paired with Dunkelweizen Fourth Course Choucroute Garni smoked pork, sausages, bacon, sauerkraut, potatoes, and assorted mustards Paired with Oktoberfest (Märzen) Dessert German Chocolate Cake Squares coconut and pecan icing and a roasted banana sauce Paired with Weizenbock

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 9/14/08

Yes, it really has been over 4 months since my last visit to the Pig. Just way too many other people and places to see. News of the Pig's smoke-free environment has not been exaggerated. I can report that the only thing that has changed since my last visit there is the absence of smoke. Interesting to see almost as many people outside smoking as inside watching football. On an attempted regular basis, I'll post the tap list here to the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA. I have no affiliation with the establishment. On Draft as of 9/14/08 Anderson Valley High Rollers Wheat Boulder Cold Hop British-Style Ale Brasserie Dupont Avril Clipper City/Heavy Seas Hang Ten Corsendonk Abbey Brown Dock Street Amber Ale Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest-Märzen Left Hand Oktoberfest Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen River Horse Oktoberfest Smuttynose Smuttonator Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Wychwood Hobgoblin (cask) And the usual suspects... Blanche De Bruxelles Witbier Chimay White Coors Light Guinness Stout Harp Lager Plzensky Prazdroj Pilsner Urquell Smithwick's Ale Stella Artois Belgian Pale Ale Victory HopDevil Yuengling Traditional Lager

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fat Heads going into enemy territory

As Lloyd points out at Taking It To The House, week 2 of the NFL season looks to be an early-season match-up of bitter rivals. Cleveland Browns are playing host to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This while legendary (well, maybe, almost) Fat Heads of Pittsburgh's South Side neighborhood is readying plans to open a new location later this year in, of all places, Cleveland. Not just a new location, but a new brewpub location, the first for them. Check out the details, courtesy of Bob Batz at the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 9/12/08

Since neither I nor The Drafting Room has seen an updated tap list in months, I figured it was time I get my act together and get back in the service of tap lists for all of you fine folks out there. Don't forget, TDR will be hosting an Ithaca special night next Thursday beginning at 6pm. What's on tap at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA as of 9/12/2008? Clipper City Balto MärzHon East End Big Hop Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Founders Breakfast Stout Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold High & Mighty Purity of Essence Ramstein Oktoberfest Stoudt's Dunkel Weizen Victory Dampf Weyerbacher Bravo Victory Hop Devil (hand cask) Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout Legacy Midnight Wit Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Lindemans Framboise Amstel Light

Try This Pairing: Saison & Pheasant/Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Patty and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary last night at one of the best (and, our favorite) restaurant in the Philadelphia region. I cast a very big net when I say region, because the Birchrunville Store Cafe is just that excellent. From the city to the sticks to the shore, that's a very easy argument to make. If you find your way there (yes, it really is out in the middle of nowhere...and we kinda like it that way), I think you'll have a difficult time disagreeing. We've been there many times for dinner and still feel like we can't get there often enough. Okay, enough of a plug for the restaurant. Afterall, they don't have a license to sell beer, or any alcohol for that matter. If this was more of a food-centric site, I'd be writing a lot more about Birchrunville. Then again, more of you would start taking up the very limited and precious table reservations and we can't be having any of that! (If you want to know more about the restaurant, check out their website or drop me an e-mail if you'd prefer....just don't drop me) But, we gather here to discuss beer and often the subject turns to food and beer pairings. When two things go so well together, I am obligated to bring it to your attention. I've gone on and on in the past about my favorite style of beer, saison. The incredibly versatile food-pairing-worthiness of saison plays a large role in my appreciation for the style. Last night, when a pheasant (just barely perceptible) and wild mushroom and truffle (much more noticeable) lasagna was on the appetizer menu, how excited do you think I was to have the De Proef Saison along with me as our opening bottle? Called Saison Imperiale, it's from their Brewmaster Reserve line. This beer is so nicely layered with strong saison-type flavors (a bit spicy, a touch floral, 8.5% ABV) running in the forefront with a real nice solid layer of funk running behind the scenes. But not so far behind that you need to search for it...it's there, striking just the right balance, in my opinion. And balance? With the ever-so-slight gamey-ness of the pheasant and the more intense earthiness of the mushrooms and truffles...WOW! I almost ruined our anniversary dinner by talking too much about it. Problem is, Patty's palate is starting to develop a liking for the sours and the funkies. Sharing is great and all, but now I have to buy twice as much as I'd normally drink ;-) Wait, there's more! Oh wait, that's what he said. Who's he? William Brand's latest posting contained this nugget: "a Saison aged in Pinot barrels."

Ithaca Promo at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA

I feel like it's been a little while since I've been to an event hosted by The Drafting Room at their Exton location. So, it's good news when I see a brewery like Ithaca Brewing and TDR putting together a nice lineup for a promotional tasting event next Thursday, 9/18 beginning at 6pm...PAYG Due to have on tap: Flower Power IPA (firkin) White Gold and Ten (Excelsior! series) Nut Brown and CascaZilla

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Give A Pig A Beer

Give a Pig a Beer and he/she will drink it. Give a Pig a Beer and Guess What? It's still just a pig...albeit a beer-drinking pig...what else?! Even if it's a Kasteel Rouge or Ommegang Rouge that you serve, it's still a pig. Please let's all take a deep breath and hope that this political cycle rises above this silliness. I could stay cynical and assume that it won't, but I'll still try to have hope. Just don't leave any lipstick on the glass. Oink. (That's officially the first time 'oink' has ever been used at The Brew Lounge!)

A Reason to Head to Pittsburgh Tomorrow Night

Not that a reason is needed to head over to Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh. But, on Friday 9/12, if you're in the Pittsburgh, PA area, this looks like a great reason to stop in at Penn to pay tribute to one of the country's older craft breweries delivering consistently good German-style product. Congratulations to Tom Pastorius and company for continued excellence. I'll try to track down a Penn Fest beer to raise a toast tomorrow night...come to think of it, I should still have a PENNdemonium in the cooler that would work just as well.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Non-Smoking is Officially a Non-Issue in Pennsylvania

At least in most places it will be a non-issue...and virtually anywhere that we who enjoy good beer and good food will be frequenting in the future in the State of Pennsylvania. I'm surprised for all of the impassioned imploring for smoke-free bars, that once the announcement was made of the passed legislation, there wasn't much in the way of trumpeting on blogs, forums, or the like. I mean...we do care, right? What happened? No celebrations planned for this week as (most) Pennsylvania bars and restaurants are forced to go smoke-free? Though, I have noticed scattered e-mails from and home pages of businesses announcing their upcoming transition to a smoke-free environment. (Edit: and as I type, I trip upon a thread from our friends at BA who seem to have taken notice.) What might be interesting to see is which bars will continue to light up, coming in under the 20% food revenue threshold exemption. I also find it curious that the language of the state law appears to prohibit local municipalities from enacting stricter smoke-free policies. Apparently, this and other details of the law have forced the American Lung Association to withhold its endorsement (link to NBC news item). Still, most of us who enjoy quality food and beer will be able to do so unimpeded across Pennsylvania in a smoke-free environment beginning this coming Thursday, September 11th. And, that's a pretty good thing.

What IS a Seasonal?

Jack asked for our input a little while ago about whether 'seasonals' being the most popular beer is a good thing. I've debated this with myself for a while (and flip-flopped...hey, 'tis the season) and come to a conclusion...sort of, kind of, maybe. Seasonal as a category is somewhat ambiguous. Afterall, almost every beer could be shoe-horned into a season of the year and thus be called a seasonal. So, what does it really mean, what value does that categorization mean? Is 'bock' a style or a spring seasonal? What about barleywine, a winter seasonal? I'm not convinced; why can't we commit to which actual styles are trending up and down? But, if beers are being marketed to newer craft beer consumers as being tied to a particular season - and it works - then, I suppose that's not necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, if we are relying upon specialties, one-off wow beers, and 'seasonals' to drive and sustain growth, then I don't believe it's such a good thing. Getting people to drink better beer on a regular basis and not just for the next big thing is a better way to go. So, I believe that I'm saying I agree with Jack. All that being said, you may have noticed that I put up a seasonal listing of Oktoberfest, fresh hop harvest, and pumpkin beers being brewed up by our Philadelphia regional brewers. Plus a few extra goodies from those brewers who offered up the details. As I get more details, I'll update the list and bump it to the top of The Brew Lounge's homepage...as I've done just.....now. (new info from Nodding Head and Dock Street)

Fall into Oktoberfests, Pumpkins, and Fresh Hop Harvest beers

Labor Day, the Unofficial End To Summer, is behind us. Football, as we discussed yesterday, is upon us. In the beer world, we have “fall seasonals” to look forward to. This includes such tasty treats as Fest (Oktoberfests, e.g.), Fresh Hop/Harvest, and Pumpkin beers. In the spirit of drinking locally this autumn, I’ve compiled a list of these fall type of beers that breweries around the Philadelphia metro region (and in a few cases, just a bit beyond) are brewing up. Much of this was compiled from brewers, sales people, and other brewery reps, while some info was taken from brewery website details that appeared up-to-date. They might have included some additional production notes outside of the fall beers they’re working on. There are, as you can see, a few gaps that I'm waiting on feedback to fill in. If you feel that there are other additional details to be included, please drop a note to me. Prosit! Would you like to download and/or print a copy of this? Click Here.
Dock Street Philadelphia, PA http://dockstreetbeer.com Name: Biketoberfest Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest Batch Size: 10 bbls Serving Formats & Distribution: kegs & firkins Date Expected in the market: September 27th @ Philadelphia Oktoberfest, October 19th @ Biketoberfest, Fikin @ Good Dog – TBD Name: The Great Pumpkin Style: Fruit beer Batch Size: 10 bbls Serving Formats & Distribution: kegs Date Expected in the market: October 1st Name: Hop Garden IPA Style: Imperial IPA Batch Size: 10bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: kegs & specialty bottles Date Expected in the market: November 1st Other related info: Assistant Brewer Ben Potts's homebrewer competition “Best In Show” winning recipe What else is happening: We are tapping our anniversary ale Friday, 9/5: Name: Anniversary Amber Style: Imperial Amber Ale Batch Size: 10 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft only at the Pub Date Expected in the market: 9/5 Other related info: 8% ABV; 42 IBUs; Malts: Cara, 2 row Pilsner; Hops: Centennial, Cascade, Columbus
Flying Fish Cherry Hill, NJ http://www.flyingfish.com Name: OktoberFish Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest Batch Size: 1000 bbls Serving Formats & Distribution: 12oz bottles and 1/6 and 1/2 bbl kegs Date Expected in the market: September 1st Other related info: 7th year in production.
General Lafayette Inn & Brewery Lafayette Hill, PA http://www.generallafayetteinn.com Name: Oktoberfest Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest Batch Size: 7 bbls x 2 (or maybe 3) Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft only at the Pub and soon to be at the Tiedhouse Date Expected in the market: 9/22 Other related info: Rumor says it's delicious! Name: East Coast IPA Style: East Coast IPA Batch Size: 7 bbls x many times over Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft only at the Pub and soon to be at the Tiedhouse Date Expected in the market: Currently available (next batch 10/1) Other related info: Brewing now in its 10th year; Dry-hopped with undetermined variety of hops grown at the Beer Yard in Wayne
Iron Hill DE, PA, and coming in 2009 to NJ http://www.ironhillbrewery.com Name: Oktoberfest Style: Traditional Märzen / Oktoberfest Batch Size: 8.5 bbls Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft at every Iron Hill location Date Expected in the market: September 15th through October Name: Pumpkin Ale Style: Fruit Beer Batch Size: 8.5 BBls Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft at Iron Hill-West Chester Date Expected in the market: October 25th What else is happening: Something's hoppening, more to come shortly
Lancaster Brewing Co. Lancaster, PA http://www.lancasterbrewing.com Name: Oktoberfest Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest Batch Size: Serving Formats & Distribution: Date Expected in the market: Other related info:
McKenzie Brew House Chadds Ford & Malvern, PA http://www.mckenziebrewhouse.com Name: Oktoberfest Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest Batch Size: 13 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft at both locations only Date Expected in the market: 9/15 Name: Pumpkin Ale Style: Fruit Beer Batch Size: 2x 12 bbl @ Chadds Ford; 1x 17 bbl @ Malvern Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft at both locations only Date Expected in the market: 10/15 What else is happening: We are also introducing new 750ml bottles in October for sale through the holidays. They will include Saison Vautour, Wee Heavy, Saison De Luxe (super saison), Abbey 8
Nodding Head Philadelphia, PA http://www.noddinghead.com Name: Harvest Ale Style: Fresh-hopped red/amber pale ale Batch Size: 7 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft at brewpub only Date Expected in the market: by end of September Other related info: fresh-hopped with Cascade; approx. 5.5% ABV Name: Wet Chinook Double IPA Style: Fresh-hopped double IPA Batch Size: 7 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On Draft at brewpub only Date Expected in the market: early October Other related info: A reprise of final entry in last year's 'Single-Double' series; single fresh-hopping with Chinook; approx. 8.5% ABV
Philadelphia Brewing Co. Philadelphia, PA http://www.philadelphiabrewing.com Name: TBD Style: Wheat Wine Batch Size: 30 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: ½ barrels for draft in the city and a few sixtels for the suburbs Date Expected in the market: should be out by mid-to-end of September Other related info: Brewed in July, aging since then in medium-toast french oak; 40% Wheat; 19 OG; 9% ABV; Styrian Golding and Mt. Hood hops Name: TBD Style: Fresh-Hop Harvest (maybe Doppelbock-ish) Batch Size: yet to be brewed; hops yet to be picked Serving Formats & Distribution: keg distribution Date Expected in the market: targeting late fall (Nov-Dec) Other related info: 10 varieties of Kensington-grown hops (5 varieties in their second season); targeting 16-17 OG; plan to craft a great, hoppy character backed up with some toasty malt
Roy Pitz Chambersburg, PA http://www.roypitz.com Name: Ichabod's Midnight Ride Style: Belgian-style Pumpkin Ale Batch Size: Serving Formats & Distribution: growler fills at the brewery; 1/6, ¼, & ½ bbl kegs Date Expected in the market: early fall Other related info: pumpkin spice flavors; approx. 6.5% ABV Name: Ludwig's Revenge Style: German Smoked Lager Batch Size: Serving Formats & Distribution: growler fills at the brewery; 1/6, ¼, & ½ bbl kegs Date Expected in the market:9/18/08 Other related info: based on recipe from one of Chambersburg's first breweries; approx. 5% ABV What else is happening: Their signature brew, Honest Ale (6% ABV), will be available through December.
Sly Fox Phoenixville & Royersford, PA http://www.slyfoxbeer.com Name: Oktoberfest Style: German Märzen / Oktoberfest Batch Size: 20 bbl x 7 (100 bbl of draft, 40 bbl bottled) Serving Formats & Distribution: 22oz bottles and 1/6 and 1/2 bbl kegs throughout NY, NJ, and PA Date Expected in the market: 8/18/08 Name: Dunkel Lager Style: German dark lager Batch Size: 20 bbl x ? Serving Formats & Distribution: available in 1/6 and 1/2 bbl kegs, and 12oz cans (6 & 12 packs, and our brand new 24 can suitcase) throughout NY, NJ, and PA Date Expected in the market: 9/15/08 Other related info: Available through the winter until some time in March Name: Black Raspberry Reserve Style: Fruit Wheat Beer Batch Size: 20 bbl x 3 (20 bbl of draft, 40 bbl bottled) Serving Formats & Distribution: 750ml bottles and 1/6 and 1/2 bbl kegs throughout NY, NJ, and PA Date Expected in the market: 10/1/08 Other related info: over 1 lb. of red and black raspberries per gallon of beer
Stewart's Bear, DE http://www.stewartsbrewingcompany.com Name: Dunkel Rico Style: Munich Dunkel Batch Size: 7 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On Tap only at the Pub Date Expected in the market: Now ‘til mid to late September Other related info: GABF Bronze 2006 Name: Smoked Porter Style: Smoked Porter Batch Size: 7 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On tap only at the Pub Date Expected in the market: Now ‘til maybe early-to-mid October Other related info: GABF Bronze 2001 & 2006 Name: Old Percolator Style: Coffee Porter Batch Size: 7 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On tap only at the Pub Date Expected in the market: approx. 9/5 Name: Oktoberfest Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest Batch Size: 14 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On tap only at the Pub Date Expected in the market: After the Dunkel; approx. third week September Other related info: GABF Bronze 2003, Silver 2007 Name: Mischief Night Pumpkin Ale Style: Fruit beer Batch Size: 14 bbl Serving Formats & Distribution: On tap only at the Pub Date Expected in the market: Not brewed yet, expected mid-October Other related info: Brewed with about 200 lbs of real pumpkin and lightly spiced compared to most What else is happening: Not really a fall beer, but the return of our WindBlown Blonde (2008 WBC Gold; Kolsch); 14 bbl will be ready approximately 9/10/08
Triumph Princeton, NJ & New Hope & Philadelphia, PA http://www.triumphbrewing.com
Tröegs Harrisburg, PA http://www.troegs.com Name: Tröegs Dead Reckoning Porter Style: American Porter Serving Formats & Distribution: 12 oz. bottle and 1/2 bbl kegs Date Expected in the market: August - October Other related info: Alcohol by Volume: 5.8%; Hop Bitterness (IBUs): 53; Color (SRM): Brown to Black; Availability: Seasonal; Malt: Pilsner, Caramel, Roast, Black; Hops: Vanguard, Chinook; Yeast: Unfiltered Ale What else is happening: Sitting in the tanks slated for a late October market splash is Mad Elf...we are brewing away at it getting ready to hit it hard this year!
Union Barrel Works Reamstown, PA http://unionbarrelworks.com What’s Happening: Uncle Fester (Oktoberfest) coming soon (in time for the October Beer Dinner); No specific plans for other fall seasonals as of now; Mango Wheat is still available to beat the last of the summer heat
Victory Downingtown, PA http://www.victorybeer.com Name: British Porter Serving Formats & Distribution: CO2 and cask-conditioned Date Expected in the Market: mid-to-late September Name: ESB Serving Formats & Distribution: CO2 and cask-conditioned Date Expected in the Market: mid-to-late September Other related info: made with Fuller yeast Name: Centennial IPA Serving Formats & Distribution: CO2 and cask-conditioned Date Expected in the Market: mid-to-late September Name: Harvest Pils Batch Size: 25 bbls Date Expected in the Market: Victory FallFest (9/27) Name: Harvest Ale Batch Size: 50 bbls Date Expected in the Market: Victory FallFest (9/27) Name: Wiesen Lager Style: Oktoberfest beer Other related info: 5.9% abv
Weyerbacher Easton, PA http://www.weyerbacher.com Name: Harvest Ale Style: Fresh Hopped ale Batch Size: 3 batches Serving Formats & Distribution: 500 cases and 40 ½ bbl kegs; PA distribution only Date Expected in the market: by mid-September Other related info: Hops harvested from 1500 hops plants grown on brewery’s hop farm Name: Bravo (Brewers Select Series) Style: Red Wheat Batch Size: Serving Formats & Distribution: kegs distributed to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh markets; 40 cases available at brewery store Date Expected in the market: 8/30 Name: Imperial Pumpkin Style: Fruit beer Batch Size: Serving Formats & Distribution: Date Expected in the market: by mid-September
Yards Brewing Philadelphia, PA http://www.yardsbrewing.com What’s Happening: Brewing has begun on North Delaware/Columbus Ave.; No “fall seasonals” to speak of, but the “regular lineup” will be out in the market over the course of the fall season.

Monday, September 08, 2008

River City Festival at Penn Treaty Park

Keep it Local this coming Saturday. A 5k run with the Fishtown Beer Runners. Food and fun for young and old. Live music. And, you'll be in the neighborhood of Druid's Keep, Standard Tap, Yards, and a few more blocks to Johnny Brenda's, Memphis Taproom, and Phila. Brewing. Check out the River City Festival activities over here.

Steak & Beer, it's what's for dinner

Tonight in King of Prussia, PA, join Tröegs (Chris Brugger, Nick Johnson, and Whitney Thompson) at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse from 6pm-7pm. Then do the steakhouse thing again at Morton's Steakhouse in Center City Philly two weeks from tonight on 9/22 when they'll be matching three Chimay beers with their food. Both events look to please with tasty morsels of steakhouse food to pair with excellent beers. At Ruth's Chris tonight with a $20 admission fee, they'll be serving up light steakhouse fare along with choices of Dead Reckoning, Troegenator, Hopback, and Dreamweaver Wheat. Plus, they'll throw in a Tröegs pint glass to take home with you. At Morton's on the 22nd, Chimay's "Red", "White", and "Blue" will be served along side tuna tartare canapés, petite filet mignon sandwiches, sliced smoked salmon, and Morton's Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake. A $45 entry fee covers it all from 6pm-7:30pm. Nice to see a couple of steakhouse venues getting on board with beer and food pairings. EDIT: The Chimay event is scheduled at various Morton's locations all across the country over the next couple of months. If Philadelphia is not convenient for you, check out their website to find a Morton's near you.