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Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday the 15th of July was a very busy and beery night around Philadelphia

Wednesday the 15th was a very busy night for local brewers and their fans this week. In the 'burbs, Sly Fox was hosted over at The Drafting Room in Exton, where Tim Ohst, Brian O'Reilly, and Suzy Woods (were there others too?) showed up along with a half dozen or so of their Single Hop Project goodies from Phoenixville, including the last month's release, Willamette Pale Ale. The cask of Rt. 113 IPA on the bar made it difficult to resist staying close to home on this evening. However, the city was calling. And some nights are just made for walking and carousing the city. This was one of them. Casey, Gene, Chuck and the Flying Fish crew were unleashed on multiple Philly locations (Swift Half and Varga) to debut the latest release from the Exit Series...Exit 11, which has its tie-in to....oops, said I wasn't going to discuss for fear of implication in...... While Wednesday night treated me very well, it wasn't quite the night I'd originally envisioned. Though, I'm not complaining. It was another great night to be gallivanting through the city.
(wow! Standard Tap even painted the Flying Fish logo on its wall for the event! ;-)
When I caught a later train than expected, it meant that the meet 'n' greet with the folks of Ommegang at Tria Cafe was out the window. So, too, was 3/4 of the special/preview/tasting event for the Flying Fish Exit 11 at Standard Tap. Patty and I walked in for the last 20 minutes or so at Standard Tap to find some of the glitterati still milling around the upstairs bar. Carolyn Smagalski (Bella Online), Lew Bryson (various this's and that's), Arthur Etchells (FooBooz), Casey Hughes (Flying Fish), Steve Mashington (Yards), and Jennie Hatton (superstar PR to the superstars) were just a handful of those that came out to see what the Most Controversial Beer Series in the country had most recently cooked up.
(Lew and Casey looking, um, rather dignified?)
After a quick one at Standard, we meandered the few blocks up the street to the new Piazza at Schmidts project that has cropped up at the former residence of baseball player, Mike Schmidt...or was that the brewery named Schmidts? I'll need to check ;-) Without discussing the other recent headline-grabbing event that occurred there recently, the Piazza appears to be a well-done and ambitious project that seems to think-outside-the-box by Philadelphia standards. With free movies, music, and sporting events on an outdoor large-screen TV in a public commons area, the Swift Half Pub is one of several retail/restaurants laced amongst residential units. Swift Half can be entered both from 2nd street as well as from the interior courtyard area. In one of the pictures below, the courtyard through the large windows is slightly visible in the background. I don't have too many notes or observations about the place since this was my first visit and was definitely taking part more in the social aspect of the evening rather than the detailed note-taking. Basically, though, this looks to be a very inviting pub, simplistic in the decor, smart in the food and drink offerings, and comfortable in both the indoor but particularly the outdoor seating. The service was attentive but not overly nosy. More details to come after my next visit.
(the crowd tunes in to Fox News spotlight on Flying Fish)
So, the beer...what about the beer, right? While I don't believe that Exit 11 is supplanting my favor for the flavor and depth of the Exit 4, getting off Exit 11 to head down the Shore is a perfect way to go this summer. This is a lighter bodied beer, weighing in just a tick over 6% ABV, with a nice dose of hop aroma (thanks double dry hopping!) with some fruit in the middle leading to a fairly clean and dry finish....which all leads to the next sip and the next....perfect for summer, right?
(Bright Lights all around Gene Muller these last couple of weeks)
Better get some soon. With all of the (now) nationwide hoopla surrounding the Exit Series, this installment is almost guaranteed to be gone before you know it. In fact, while we were there we all got to watch the Flying Fish/Turnpike story told on Fox News on the TV above the bar. They turned off the music and piped in the TV audio so we could all listen along. Then the local CBS affiliate popped in to do a short interview with owner Gene Muller and the circus was well underway. We laughed, we drank, we joked that Brian O'Reilly's Route 113 IPA never caused this much commotion.

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