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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Breaking in the New Year 2010 with ease

After a great New Year's Eve in the neighborhood drinking a plethora (a plethora, you say?!) of great beverages from local craft brew to mulled wine to champagne to toasting with Firestone Walker's 10th Anniversary (holding up quite well after 3+ years) at Midnight, I looked to follow up with a back end of a doubleheader on New Year's Day. After sleeping in and cleaning up around the house, we were off into Philly on the train a little later than expected. The quick trip down the old Pennsylvania Railroad was made much easier with my chosen hair of the dog, Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment. Yes, I splurged on a case of these cans ($55...not a typo) and they are worth every penny for this sipping pleasure. And, yet another place where cans are just a little bit more convenient than bottles---trains. After strolling Broad Street a bit to take in some of the Mummery of the annual Philadelphia tradition called the Mummers Parade (it sounds so much better in person), we thought we might check out the kick off of McGillin's 150th Anniversary, well at least 2010's kickoff...since technically, the anniversary kickoff began mid-summer last year, 150 days prior to the anniversary date. But, the scene was just way more than we were looking for. We've seen McGillin's during a St. Patrick's Day parade and this was much the same mess, complete with a police cruiser being sprayed with beer, while the officer sat inside. Yes, this also was not a typo. We moved on across Broad Street to Monk's where the crowd was a bit thinner, a bit better behaved, and the suds a bit heftier and tastier. 19 Stouts and 1 Lambic is how Monk's promoted their New Year's Day. We saw a sub-chapter of the Usual Beer Crowd at Monk's before we moved across town and to the south to the H&H party (at the house of Hughes and Hatton, not Horn & Hardart, in case there was any confusion). Original Buddy held court for a while; I was not coerced, paid, or otherwise to call him Original Buddy. We skipped out on the 2 Street Revelry, which as many of you know continues into the wee hours of January 2nd every year. We opted, as some of the others did, to do our part on the firkin and some dinner at Devil's Den. Yards was continuing their 10-day Blowout of Olde Bartholomew Barleywine firkins. This was Day 2 and continues on through January 9th at the P.O.P.E. Check out their website to find some of this smooth and deceptively drinkable 10.3% brew out of the firkin. It'll be on CO2, of course, as well at many places in the city and 'burbs. But, the firkin is the one place that you should make an effort to have it from. In the coming days, you'll be hard-pressed to come up with an excuse not to. I'd hoped to start 2010 the way I did 2009, with a trip to Local 44...only this year to celebrate their 1st Anniversary instead of their grand opening. With the amount of time we had already spent gallivanting the city, the amount of calories consumed, and a holiday season that was just about to put its final stake in us, we opted instead for the train back home. That only postpones my visit to congratulate them in person; the wishes are nonetheless the same. Of course, that should mean one last T.U.D. at Bridgewater's Pub at 30th Street Station. That would not happen this time 'round, since they determined it was better to be closed on New Year's Day than put up with traveling mummer-ites. In a year where (just a few changes listed here) the Brendan & Leigh family grew 300%, Sly Fox began the process of moving its home location, Victory significantly expanded the brewhouse footprint and capacity, and the beer scene witnessed the losses of Zot, the tiedhouse, and Maia, it leaves us wondering what surprises and disappointments 2010 has in store for us.

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