Saturday, April 11, 2009
Making a good Friday great
It was better than a typical Friday, even better than good. After a morning's worth of work, I meandered down the road to talk beer with Greg Ramirez at Exton Beverage. A little of this 'n' that, talk of his good fortune with Ommegang VIP tix, some of my help to clear his shelves of a case of Anderson Valley (there are some other wintertime goodies that you may wish to stop in and grab as well, while you can), and we got on the topic of my next stop, Wegmans....the impact that changing laws and grocery store sales will have on businesses such as his. Remember, there's good and bad in most everything that happens in life. Off to Wegmans just a couple of miles down the road to grab some more of this 'n' that and observe the "border" that's being installed to properly keep the evil alcohol sales area separate from the rest of the more wholesome side of the store (hopefully, the snark came through perfectly clear). By the way, the beer is due to cross the check-out line at the Downingtown Wegmans on April 23rd. Hopped across route 30 for a few supplies from Home Depot, and then figured that while in the neighborhood, a visit to Victory would be quite the prudent thing to do. Of course, the swarms of familiar faces could waylay me for the remainder of the afternoon, never to see daylight again until Saturday. Surprisingly, not a familiar face was to be found during my short stay. Though, I did find two things that continue to confound me at Victory: the overly cold serving temperature of beers like the Abbey 8 (good, but I prefer the Abbey 6, if you must know), and the idea that it would be appropriate to sell a bottle of, not room but, high-hat temperature beer. The V-series bottles advertised as room temperature that are just a bit more than room, due to their positioning under said high hat lighting. I figured they must be for display purposes only, right?...I'd advise for the coldbox-kept beer to go instead. So, after a near-miss with Richard and Rob in the parking lot, a V-12 accompanied me up route 113 to Sly Fox for the next leg of the journey. How I resisted the call of Ron's Original...well a guy's gotta exercise some restraint. Into Sly Fox I crept, figuring if Richard had already passed through here and done his damage, whom else could I run in to? Ha, silly question. The man in the tie to my left surprised me as none other than Mr. Cask Ale who was quickly flanked by Mr. Dan and his lovely wingwoman. I'd have to agree and disagree with what Kindly Mr. Curtin said; agree regarding the use of words such as "beer of choice" and "rich" to describe the Prometheus, but disagree on the "subtle" part of his description. This smoked porter fell, to me, at just the right point on the smoked beer curve...to the left of the truly subtle ones like Stone's, but certainly to the right of ones like Alaskan's. This is one that many may very well enjoy, try it yourself and weigh in with your own opinion. Well done to Brian's and Tim's crew, well done indeed. Against the advice of several others, I skipped the cask Liberty (latest in the Hops Project) and stuck to my plan of only one beer per stop. Hopefully, it'll be around a bit longer and can see what all the cool kids are talking about. And, alas, I left Sly Fox without one of the main intentions of my visit, to bring home some Saison Vos bottles for the weekend. All out, I was told, so it was only a growler of the Abbey Dubbel to go. Let's see, that means that by the end of spring, a very doable (given the appropriate transport services of a willing friend) beer run could start or end in Downingtown with Wegmans (lunch and a beer) and Victory (a cask and a slow pour Pils) continue up to Ron's for a comfy barseat or just beer to go. Ron's is roughly 5 miles from Victory, straight shot up route 113. While at Ron's, The Drafting Room is just a stone's throw south on route 100...be a mistake if the "crawl" didn't include a stop at TDR. Continue up 113 for a stop-in at Sly Fox, and probably time for another small bite of food. If you did this on a Friday, it could include a Hops/Pale Ale Project release (second Friday), a firkin (third Friday), or an Incubus (first Friday). Cross route 23 on 113 and into the Borough of Phoenixville you'd find yourself on the doorstep of a half dozen decent watering holes, none more so than Iron Hill at the far end of Bridge Street, where a dinner could make sense. It might be crazy talk to suggest that you could keep heading north into and passed Collegeville where within a few minutes in several directions you could find Capone's, Ortino's Northside, and Brother Paul's just to name a few. But, then, since when was the word crazy not on the table? Before you know it, I'll be throwing Craft Ale House and Union Jack's on the table, right next to crazy. I'm not the first to propose such a venture, but it sure is fun to write and talk about. Who's ready?