Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Philly Beer Week 2010: Day 4 Wrap-Up

Link to Day 4 Pictures Link back to Day 3 ----- Link forward to Day 5 (Building on yesterday's parenthetically-preposterous posting, here's one more that I meant to cover yesterday. As I meandered down Germantown Avenue, Fairmount Avenue, and Girard Avenue, I tested out the PBW iPhone app. True to specs, as I made my way from one block to one neighborhood to the next, the "Closest" feature that lists the nearest current events to your determined GPS location worked extremely well. Not sure exactly how many people are truly using this feature in practice, but the concept alone is pretty cool and appears to work as designed.) Onward to Day Four! Day Four of Philly Beer Week 2010 brought my day job back into the picture. Gotta work hard to play hard, or something like that, right? But, the Beer By BART duo (Steve and Gail) was coming out of the City to see how we do things in the western suburbs. Between Teresa's Next Door in Wayne and TJs in Paoli, they were able to do a bit of 'Beer By SEPTA' research in case they're ever looking to expand their website service :) After a bunch of backing and forthing, texting and messaging, toing and froing if you will, we settled finally on stopping in first at TJs with a second, longer stop at Teresa's Next Door. The concept at Teresa's was pretty simple. A text message from Andy Dickerson before 9am said that he was braising Veal Cheeks in Kriek after they'd been soaking overnight. Oh boy, I thought, this is gonna be a do-not-miss. At 5pm, food and beer pairings were to be made available. Then between 6:30pm-7:00pm, Armand Debelder of the celebrated Drie Fonteinen in Belgium was to appear and talk shop with what would be expected to be a full house. Down the road a piece at TJs, owners Jeff and Teri were due back from their annual vacation to Aruba just in the nick of time for their slightly more complicated evening event. Well, complicated only in the sense that they were expecting to see a large contingent of folks from the likes of St. Somewhere, Cigar City, 12% Imports, Voodoo, Boulder, Ballast Point, and Stillwater. Unfortunately, based on this timing, the brewers and reps were long gone by the time that we and others were arriving after our day jobs. Not to say they didn't leave their beer behind for us to enjoy. I got to know Stillwater, a new brewery out of Maryland, by way of its Cellar Door Saison. Nice, dry, and a light snappy tartness made this a nice early pre-dinner beer. Apparently, Stillwater has just begun flowing in Pennsylvania within the past few months and isn't much older in the brewhouse. I'll look forward to catching up with some more Stillwater in the near future. But, since the "brewers" that we thought we'd be "meeting" were gone and our ultimate dinner was to be at Teresa's Next Door, we opted for one beer and then the door and took the Beer By BART crew (Steve Shapiro and Gail Williams) along with us to meet up with Armand Debelder of Drie Fonteinen Belgian beer brewing and blending fame. He was accompanied by Dan Shelton's importing/distributing team and the restaurant/bar was filled nicely (though, it doesn't take much to quickly make TND feel crowded) with folks looking to taste some of Armand's artfully blended and aged lambics. After almost an hour of kibitzing and tasting, we sat for a dinner that made us all happy with our decision to spend most of the night at Teresa's. The veal cheeks? So very well worth the overnight soaking and early morning braising. So tender and so tasty in their gravy and paired with a slightly creamy barley risotto side accompaniment. And a side by side comparison of '05 kriek and '08 kriek made for a perfect experience, with the '05 predictably bringing a softer tartness than the newer, more bracing '08 version. But first we'd started with a nice salad of slightly underipe apricots, blue cheese, and light greens doused with a pleasantly tart vinaigrette. Which of course you'll say went perfectly with the Doesjel, right? I said so as well! So much so, I had two glasses of it. All this great eating and drinking came on the heels of chatting for 10 to 15 minutes with Mr. Debelder who shared his passion for the brewing, the aging, the blending of his beer. He has been more than pleased to watch a younger market and demographic taking an interest in lambics and the type of mind-opening beers and processes that he creates. After Patty stole the show with her Day 1 pictures, I've continued for yet another day a string of disappointing pictures. However, this time, it's not necessarily the quality of the pictures...no, this time it's that the "people pictures" are on Gail Williams camera (Beer By BART) and I'll be waiting for a while I'm sure until she gets back to San Francisco and begins to sort through her hundreds of pictures from hers and Steve's PBW trip to Philadelphia. Something inside of me said, "she's already got her camera out and is snapping away; instead of overwhelming Armand and the bar crowd with multiple cameras and flashes, I'll just get copies of the pictures from her later." Brilliant, kid, simply brilliant. Then again, I'll have another opportunity for people pictures on my own camera ready to share with you tomorrow after tonight's Lambic Dinner at Monk's Cafe. As usual, it promises to be a memorable night on 16th Street.

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