Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beer Calendar: What To Do in March 2010

Around Philly, Beer Themes in March include: "I'm-Not-Philly-Beer-Week"...Cask-Conditioned Ale...Pliny the Younger craze

The ales of March. The hearty ales and events of March. Once we get through them, there are brighter days ahead in the warming month of April. For now, let's hope we get through the month with no more big, nasty snowstorms and enjoy the calendar of events.

Oh, did I mention, Don't-Call-Me-Philly-Beer-Week is upon us? Let's call it Philly Beer Weekend. At least that's how the Powers that Be have finally coalesced.

Look for a separate schedule later in the week on PBW. And, if you'd like to go for a short run with me to/from Dock Street, you might want to check this out...then drop a note to me.

If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know.


$20 and under, down to and including FREE...Pay As You Go (PAYG) also included here

Philadelphia
Mon. 3/1 - Stoudt's Karnival Kölsch Release & Sampling @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free)
Mon. 3/1 - Monk's Mad Monday (Russian River) @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA (11:30pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/4 - First Firkin Thursday (March's Selection: Sly Fox Chester County Bitter) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/4 - Ithaca Brewing & Yelp Movie Club Nite @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/4 - Free Tastings (Victory) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; Free)
Thu. 3/4 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (March's selection: Nuit de Folie) @Triumph, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/5 - First Friday Firkins (March's selection: Yards) @Prohibition Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG)
Sun. 3/7 - Oscar Night: Jeff Bridges @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (8:00pm; PAYG)
Sun. 3/7 - 2nd Annual Oskar Blues Pajama Party @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG)
Tue. 3/9 - March Madness Kick the Sixtel (Victory versus Flying Fish) @Varga Bar, Philadelphia, PA (9:00pm; PAYG)
Wed. 3/10 - Sly Fox Beer Sampling @The Abbaye, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; $10)
Wed. 3/10 - Victory Beer Sampling @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free)
Wed. 3/10 - Lancaster Brewing Night @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG)
Wed. 3/10 - Flying Fish Exit 16 Firkin @Good Dog Bar, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/11 - Free Tastings (Penn) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; Free)
Thu. 3/11 - Sly Fox Firkin of Gang of Agley @Good Dog, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/11 - Flying Fish Exit 16 Firkin @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/11 - Lefthand Arm Wrestling and Tap Takeover @South Philadelphia Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/12-Sun. 3/14 - Big Wood Weekend (a stop on the Craft Beer Express Bus) @Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG)
Fri. 3/12-Sun. 3/14 - IPAs Greatest Hits (a stop on the Craft Beer Express Bus) @The Sidecar Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG)
Fri. 3/12 - Can't Get Enough of Founders Night @South Philadelphia Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (4:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/12 - Furthermore Night @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/12 - Bethlehem Brewing Night @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG)
Sat. 3/13 - The Craft Beer Express Begins... @8 different bars, Philadelphia, PA (11:00am-7:00pm; $15, tickets available via Johnny Brendas website)
Sat. 3/13 - Feats of Strength & Weakness @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (8:00pm-11:00pm; PAYG)
Sat. 3/13 - Bam Bam Bill's Barleywine Bonanza (a stop on the Craft Beer Express Bus) @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG)
Sat. 3/13 - The Craft Beer Express Bus Stops Here! (Ommegang, Duvel, and great cheeses) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG)
Sun. 3/14 - Bell's Beer Brunch @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (10:30am; PAYG)
Mon. 3/15 - Flying Fish Exit 16 Release @McGillin's, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG)
Tue. 3/16 - Sam Adams Sampling @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free)
Wed. 3/17 - Flying Fish Exit 16 Firkin @Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/18 - Free Tastings (Ommegang) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; Free)
Fri. 3/19 - Duvel Green Tasting @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (8:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/19 - Sly Fox Beer Tasting @Campbell's Place, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/19 - 2nd Annual Starkbierfest @Bridgewater's Pub, Philadelphia, PA (details TBD)
Sun. 3/21 - Sierra Nevada & Anchor Collaboration Sampling @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; stay tuned for more details)
Tue. 3/23 - Victory Keep the Growler Night @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/25 - Sly Fox Beer Tastings @For Pete's Sake Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/25 - Keep the Pint Night (Tröegs) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:30pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/25 - Free Tastings (Southampton) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; Free)
Thu. 3/25 - Munich in Mayfair: Optimator Night @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG)
Sun. 3/28 - Oyster & Stout Festival @Triumph, Philadelphia, PA (details TBD)


Philadelphia's close suburbs
every Wed. through 3/10 - St. Patrick's Day Boot Camp @Sly Fox, Phoenixville & Royersford, PA (5:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/4 - Firkin of Exit 4 on the 4th @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/4 - Nick's Birthday Blowout @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA ('til Nick says it's finished; PAYG, gifts optional!)
Thu. 3/4 - Brewery Promo Night (Unibroue) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/5 - Firkin Fridays of March (Rudolph's Return) @Iron Hill Brewery, Media, PA (5:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/5 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (all day; PAYG)
Fri. 3/5 - Ithaca Night @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA (PAYG)
Fri. 3/5 - Friday Night Tasting (Ithaca) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free)
Sat. 3/6 - All Cask-All Day @TJ's, Paoli, PA (all day, all night; PAYG)
Sat. 3/6 - Tomme Arthur Day @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA (PAYG)
Tue. 3/9 - Sierra Nevada Glissade @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA (PAYG)
Thu. 3/11 - Craft Brew Night (Flying Fish) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA (PAYG)
Thu. 3/11 - Allagash Extravaganza @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/12 - Friday Night Tasting (Flying Dog) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free)
Fri. 3/12 - Friday Night Tasting (Southampton) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free)
Sat. 3/13 - Double IPA Fest @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (12:00pm; PAYG)
Sat. 3/13 - Phoenixville St. Patty's Pub Crawl @Nine Participating Bars, Phoenixville, PA (PAYG)
Sun. 3/14 - Stone Brunch @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA (PAYG)
Tue. 3/16 - St. Patrick's Day Eve with Yards @High Street Grill, Mt. Holly, NJ (7:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/18 - Blues Brews 'n' BBQ @Ron's Original, Exton, PA (PAYG)
Fri. 3/19 - Brewers' Reserve Barrel-Aged Beers @Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, PA (5:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/19 - Friday Night Tasting (Victory) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free)
Sat. 3/20 - Pliny the Younger Tapping @TJ's, Paoli, PA (see website for details; PAYG)
Thu. 3/25 - Craft Brew Night (Ommegang) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA (PAYG)
Thu. 3/25 - Brewery Promo Night (Yards) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/26 - Friday Night Tasting (Stoudt's) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free)
Tue. 3/30 - Sly Fox Beer Tastings @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA (6:00pm; PAYG)


Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania
Wed. 3/3 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (March's selection: Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale) @Triumph, Princeton, NJ (6:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/4 - Jolly Pumpkin @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA (4:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/5 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (March's selection: Uber Pilsner) @Triumph, New Hope, PA (6:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 3/12-Sun. 3/14 - Big Cask Ale Festival @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (12:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG, no entry fee)
Fri. 3/19 - Guest Brewery (Tröegs, featuring Nugget Nectar) @Iron Hill, Lancaster, PA (5:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG)
Thu. 3/25 - Meet the Brewer and the Owner @Craft Ale House, Limerick, PA (6:00pm; PAYG for several Dock Street beers on tap, as well as a firkin of their Sexy Beast Imperial Stout)


Elsewhere
Wed. 3/3 - The Defiant Event @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4:00pm; PAYG)
Wed. 3/10 - An Evening with Carol Stoudt @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4:00pm; PAYG)


Events Over $20

Philadelphia
Thu. 3/4 - DiBruno Bros. & Victory Beer & Cheese Tasting @The Irish Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:30pm; $35)
Sat. 3/6 & Sat. 3/20 - Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese Tour @Old City, Philadelphia, PA (3:30pm-5:30pm; $45)
Mon. 3/8 - Stoudt's Beer Dinner @Amada Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; $65)
Mon. 3/8 - 150 Minutes for 150 Years @McGillins, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; $45)
Tue. 3/9 - Yards Beer Dinner @Parc Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm)
Tue. 3/9 - Breaking Out: B.United Presents Italian Prison Brews @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $50)
Sat. 3/13 - Iron Hill Beer Dinner (with Paul Rutherford of the Lancaster location) @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; $55)
Sun. 3/14 - Beer Geek Brunch @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (12:00pm-2:00pm; $20+PAYG, see website for details)
Sun. 3/14 - Brewer's Plate @University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, PA (4:00pm(5:00pm)-7:30pm; $55/$65/$115)
Mon. 3/15 - Brooklyn Beer Dinner @Barclay Prime, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-9:30pm; $125)
Tue. 3/16 - Victory Beer Dinner @terra Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm & 9:00pm seatings; $55)
Sun. 3/21 - Philadelphia Real Ale Invitational @Yards Brewing, Philadelphia, PA (12:00pm(1:00pm)-5:30pm; $50/$60)


Philadelphia's close suburbs
Tue. 3/2 - Mardi Gras Beer Dinner @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA (6:00pm-9:00pm; $50)
Thu. 3/4 - Raise the Roof, Rock the House @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA (5:30pm-7:30pm; $35)
Wed. 3/17 - Celtic Beer Dinner @Iron Abbey, Horsham, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; $tbd)


Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania
Wed. 3/3 - Winter Beer Dinner @Iron Hill, Lancaster, PA (6:30pm-9:00pm; $60)
Tue. 3/9 - Hitochino Beer Dinner @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA (7:00pm; $60)
Wed. 3/10 - Meet The Brewer Series Presents… (Chimay) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (7:00pm; $60)
Wed. 3/10 - Wine Dinner (beer may be substituted for wine) @Union Barrel Works, Reamstown, PA (6:30pm; $45)
Thu. 3/18 - Yards Beer Dinner @Simon Pearce, West Chester, PA (6:00pm; $65)
Sat. 3/20 - The Great Allentown Brew Works Cask Beer Festival @Allentown Brew Works, Allentown, PA (3:00pm-6:00pm; $20/$25)
Fri. 3/26 - Beer Dinner @Stoudt's Brewing Co., Adamstown, PA (7:00pm; $35)


Elsewhere
Sat. 3/20-Sun. 3/21 - Atlantic City Beer Festival (Celebration of the Suds) @The Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, NJ (see website for details)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Monk's Café Beer Dinner with The Lost Abbey: 2/23/10

Flashback almost exactly two years. Bad weather, smooth train ride in, early morning flight next day. Wow! How similar the Monk's Beer Dinner this week featuring The Lost Abbey and Tomme Arthur was to the last one almost exactly a year ago. The beers were fairly different, but the gastronomical end result was much the same. In terms of wow experiences at Monk's and its beer dinners, this one ranks right up there. That may surprise you given that I'm not going to give out many awards here in terms of food and beer pairings. But, sometimes it might just not be the most important element of the night. During Tuesday night's dinner, the crowd (filled with many of the Usual Suspects) was humming, the food was delicious, Tomme hit his stride about midway through and was taking questions from the crowd, and the beers were excellent. Funny thing was, I wasn't due to go to this dinner. Part of the reason was an early morning flight the next day that would get me out of bed at 4:30am for a connecting flight to Omaha, Nebraska. But, then, some seats opened up and Jodi called to ask if I was interested. Mrs. Brew Lounge had just asked the day before why we were not going...considering she's a fan of the beers herself, the fact that we were not scheduled to go was at least a bit disappointing. So, my answer to Jodi became, I suppose, a no-brainer. At least it seemed like a no-brainer until we got home at 11:30pm and I still needed to pack a bag for the next morning's flight. Anyway, you didn't come here looking for travel advice...at least not in this posting. Seated at the bar, we had to keep a careful watch on our backs, given that a certain mischievous retail beer distributor was seated behind us. The two of us were seated at the bar in between two fun groups of people. To the right, a couple of pilots on 24 hour furlough in Philly. Chuck and Judd if I recall their names correctly. One of whom was very interested in the beer, particularly the Angel's Share and the other who just could barely care less about the beer or the food. But, he was still a kick in the pants to hang out with and hear of his wild stories. To our left a couple of locals, Aaron and Veronica if memory serves correctly, who were as in to the tastes, the sights, and the sounds as we were. Had a conversation with Aaron that left me at least one step closer to buying a newer and better camera. Many of you would probably agree that this decision is way overdue! With some new friends made, let's get around to the spectacular food and beer that Eddie was serving up to us from behind the bar. I began with a Cantillon Gueuze to awaken my palate. Funny, because the Amuse Bouche course and Red Poppy, that really wasn't necessary; they would have done the job on their own. Though, I kept the Gueuze around until three hours later after dinner and it was just as good to finish the evening's festivities with...I was even thinking it was better than when it was first poured! So here's the thing. I mentioned earlier that I didn't come up with a bunch of clear-cut pairing winners in this dinner. That's fine. Because in this case, when the food is right and the beers are right, they don't always need to be perfect together to make for a memorable evening. But, what were the winners? The winners were big-time winners, like... Ten Commandments with Osso Bucco. Osso Bucco, when done right with a good cut of meat, is one of my favorite carnivore plates. The tender meat, braised and simmered for hours in broth and vegetables was a perfect match for the big Ten Commandments beer, filled likewise with many big flavors like of raisins and chocolate. As is my practice at these such dinners, I hold on to at least a couple of swallows of each beer for each subsequent course to see if I can find a better pairing on my own during the remainder of the dinner. I held on to the Ten Commandments purposefully thinking it would go great with the chocolate dessert. It did, in fact, go pretty well. But, one interesting note came out. During Tomme's description of the Ten Commandments, he mentioned the addition of rosemary to the brewing process. I didn't recall that this had been done in previous batches and really couldn't detect it while drinking it alongside the Osso Bucco. But, with the chocolate cake? Boom, goes the rosemary! okay, maybe not Boom!, but definitely noticeable. Then, the pairing to end all pairings (echoed across the room elsewhere...and when I say echo, I mean that people were in agreement...not referring to Guyer's voice echoing...but, that is yet another note for another day) was the Stilton cheese and Angel's Share beer. For crying out loud, if you don't yet understand how beer and cheese can be such an otherworldly combination compared to wine and cheese, then get thyself in front of some strong beer and strong cheese. Though, come to think of it, you likely wouldn't be here reading this if you didn't already have some inkling on this topic. The creaminess, the pungency of the Stilton....the strength, the brandy sweetness, the smoothness of this expensive beer was a match made in heaven...or wherever Lost Abbey beer is inspired by and made. An honorable mention goes to the GABF award-winning Carnevale, the dry-hoppped saison that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and the salmon tartare served with caviar and crème fraîche. The bottles poured for us came from the same bottled batch that was sent to Denver last year and is seasonally made to be released right around the Lenten Season of the Christian calendar each year. The most well-decorated beer of the Tomme Arthur family is the Cuvee de Tomme. While I didn't think that the dessert pairing worked out all that well, it's worth noting the presence of this beer because, well, just because this beer is just so good and deserved of its 5 GABFs, 2 WBCs, and 3 USBTCs. The floodgates were opened to the general public and it wasn't long before we were whisked out the door into the night for our train ride home. Of course, it meant meeting up with some other dinnergoers at 30th Street Station and having that One Last Once More at Bridgewater's Pub (the country's best train station beer bar). Did you think that my run-in with Belgian beers for the week might end once I got to Omaha, Nebraska? Then, you might not know about the Midwest brewing wonder that is Upstream Brewing Company in the Old Market neighborhood of downtown Omaha. I met them a couple of years back at GABF and was excited to check them out on their home turf. More to come next week... Amuse Bouche Lost Abbey Red Poppy ~with Smoked Duck Pate First Course Lost Abbey Carnevale ~with Salmon Tartare, crème fraîche, and caviar Second Course Lost Abbey Framboise ~with Stuffed Quail, merguez from D'Angelo's, wild rice, and barley Third Course Lost Abbey Lost & Found and Lost Abbey Ten Commandments ~with Osso Bucco and potato ravioli and glazed baby carrots Fourth Course Lost Abbey Veritas 007 and Lost Abbey Angel's Share Grand Cru ~with Forsterkase (Swiss) and Colston Bassett Stilton (English) Fifth Course Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme ~with Molten Chocolate Cake and cherry sauce

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: February 25th-February 28th

Gonna go with a half-week calendar (though not weak, mind you) here for you to round out February and be back this weekend with March's monthly calendar. For the remaining 4 days of February, this is still a pretty healthy looking calendar. Check out the entire February 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. Call them tastings, Call them events @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 2/12 (continuing through 2/28) - Winter Olympics at the Den (6:00pm; PAYG for gold, silver, and bronze) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 2/25 - Meet the Brewer, Keep the Pint Glass (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG to shoot the breeze and drink some beers with Dogfish Head founder and owner Sam Calagione) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 2/26 - A Night with the Glimmer Twins (PAYG; the band is playing down the street. This event is a Pre-party with us before and hang out with the band after the show. We'll try to have some Stones themed beers including Port Hot Rocks and Lagunitas Brown Sugga. Other fun too!) @Iron Hill Brewery, Media, PA--- Fri. 2/26 - Firkin Fridays of February (5:00pm; PAYG for some delicious Russilicious from the cask) @Philadelphia Brewing, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 2/27 - Philadelphia Brewery Tour Revisited (2:00pm; free tasting samples plus an historical view of Philadelphia's Brewing Scene by historian Rich Wagner) @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 2/25 - Meet the Brewer Night with Cask Conditioned Ale (7:00pm; PAYG for some Tröegs Nugget Nectar) Food, Glorious Beer @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 2/26 - Beer & Cheese & Meat: Fermentation Three-Way (6:30pm-8:00pm; $55 for an instructor-led class of meats from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats and beers from some of the best in the land) With events like these... @Capone's, Norristown, PA--- Sat. 2/27 - Presenting Pliny the Younger (11:00am; PAYG for Pliny Mayhem and a whole bunch of other great beers) @The Sidecar Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 2/25 - Three Sheets to the Wind (PAYG for seafood delights, shanties, and sailor songs...oh, and great beer from Ballast Point, including cask-conditioned Sculpin IPA) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville & Royersford, PA--- every Wed. & Thu. through 3/11 - St. Patrick's Day Boot Camp (5:00pm; PAYG until you get to St. Patrick's Day) @Stoudt's Brewing Co., Adamstown, PA--- Sat. 2/27 - Winterfest (7:00pm-11:00pm; $35)

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Time-out for college basketball

It's my turn to give a shout-out to my alma mater, Philadelphia Textile (er, Phila U). This past weekend, men's basketball coach Herb Magee tied Bobby Knight's wins record at 902. (the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on it yesterday morning) One more win tomorrow night at home in the East Falls neighborhood against Goldey-Beacom will put him past Knight atop the all-time NCAA coaching wins list. With this his 30th season of at least 20 wins, being a great role model on and off the court for young men, and surrounding himself with some of the best local basketball talent, it goes without saying that Herb Magee is a true Philadelphia Sports Legend.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Jersey IS a Situation...and Yards at The Institute....and New Holland at Teresa's....and it's been a long weekend...good night

I'd add creative captions to go along with all of these pictures, but seriously?! I think they pretty much stand on their own. Having not yet seen a single episode of Jersey Shore, I still can't use the word 'situation' in a sentence (did I get that right? nothing dangling there, right Jack?). But, getting to New Jersey for me always seems to present some sort of its own situation. Last time, it was torrential rains and flooded roadways. This time, it was an overturned vehicle on the Schuylkill Expressway (shocking, you say, eh?) So, I swung all the way around the PA Turnpike and came in from the north on I-95 and across over into Jersey. Probably an extra 10-15 miles, but at least I was cruising. But, then I gotta say. Do New Jersey residents know where they are going? I find the road system confusing enough over there on that side of the river. Coupled with those pale yellow plates on cars that don't seem to know where even they themselves are going, I definitely gather a bit more angst when navigating around the endless commercial districts along their roads and circles (thankfully, those roundabouts are disappearing). Anyways, on to the matter at hand. Or The Situation...at Iron Hill in Maple Shade. I swear I still don't know what all the fuss is about and still refuse to check out what even the most diehard fans of the show call a train-wreck of televised "acting." Yeah, sure, maybe I am one of those anti-TV snobs. Nonetheless, it provided for more hilarity than I've seen recently at a beer event. Sporting fake tans, big hair, and outrageous getups, the beer hoperati were playing the part. Truly worthy of a Philly Beer Week event...in February, go figure. The cold and lingering snow must be getting to everyone. Let's see if I can get to a point here sometime soon. So far, I've spent too much time ranting about driving in New Jersey and trying to figure out what exactly The Situation is...and not doing a great job at either. So let's move along if we can... The pictures I have for you here above look much like the others that you may have already seen on Facebook and other places around the world wide web. So, I probably have nothing new in that regard. New, though, to Iron Hill spigots were The Situation ("not a barleywine"), a Dark Situation (a firkin, on the bartop, of blended R.I.S. and "not a barleywine" Situation), and The Digression (a Belgian IPA). Those creative types at Iron Hill continue to get more creativer. Then, back to safer grounds in Philly. Seriously. My heart rate and blood pressure went down a few ticks when back on Philadelphia Terra Firma of its city streets. Continuing my weekend theme of checking in on old friends (EB+B on Thursday, Capone's on Friday), I stopped in at The Institute to see what Heather, Charlie (proprietors) and the Yards crew were cooking up with the Pork, Pints, and Yards event that they were running from lunch to dinner. They packed in a solid crowd both downstairs and up of people who anxiously drained a bartop firkin of George Washington Porter and the regular stable of beers from Yards. With the way these two stops went, I lost time for stopping at Devil's Den to sip on the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and needed to get home for the dogs. Alas, these things tend to come back around I'm sure. Sunday's brunch event at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne was going to get its own space here, but things kind of backed up here at the end of the weekend so I'm just going to sandwich it in here at the end. Dr. Joel (Armato) of New Holland Brewing was on hand to showcase the Black Tulip, Charkoota Rye, and Dragon's Milk with a variety of brunchey foods. Throw in The Poet as a "welcome" beer, and at $25 this became of the best deals in recent memory. A bunch of beer geeks turned out for this Sunday brunch event, including Joel's mother...who herself admitted that the foodie gene skipped her generation and was fortunately, for New Holland, picked up by her son. In the last picture below, you'll see that Teresa's is geared up for what should be a memorable "I'm-not-Philly-Beer-Week."

A Good Thing to do tonight without leaving home

One of my Sunday night habits that I try not to break too often involves sitting at my desk, cleaning up odds and ends and preparing for the week ahead of me. It almost always includes having The Brewing Network Sunday Session streaming live in the background. (they podcast it up for their website within 24 hours) Tonight (at 8pm eastern time), Stan Hieronymus will be their guest discussing the industry and his new book, "Brewing With Wheat." Stan's respected for his long, well-written career in the beer brewing industry and should provide for good listening tonight. Grab a beer and comfortable chair. Or download it tomorrow morning.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Boaks with some good blokes at Capone's

(Brian Boak, left, and Matt Capone)
As with Earth Bread + Brewery when I mentioned that I don't get there nearly enough, the same could be said of me and Capone's outside of Norristown. Heralded by some as one of Philadelphia region's best beer bars, there are at least a couple of events there every month to complement the stellar selection in the rear bottle shop. Feeling a need to revisit Capone's and to finally (after over a year of being available in PA) taste some of this beer by Brian Boak, I stopped in for dinner and a couple of brews last night. In addition to the Two Blind Monks (Dubbel, very nice with the wild mushroom spring rolls) and the Monster Mash (a Russian Imperial Stout dessert-type beer that should have been enjoyed after my ham and brie sandwich, but nonetheless a very good beer), Brian brought along something a little extra special. Earlier in the week, he'd taken his Two Blind Monks and added some oak chips and vanilla beans (one, actually, I believe if I heard correctly) soaked in Jack Daniels whiskey and threw them into the sixtel for a little extra dimension to the beer. It didn't add a whole lot, but as the beer warmed in the glass, a touch of vanilla and hint of whiskey did come through. Whether you detected it or not, it was nice to see Brian take this step of doing something a little extra for this tasting night at Capone's. Brian also shared with me (admittedly, I haven't known much about his northern New Jersey-based beer...brought to PA by Stockertown Beverage) that his bottle labels include everything from the basic stats (ABV, IBU) to color, style, and availability specifications to, get this, food pairings. I complimented him on how brilliant this is, particularly for helping newbies to the wide world of craft beer find beers that can work with their dinner plans, BYOB dinners, etc....in a very approachable and non-intimidating way. Just another night during Philly Beer Year.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Iron Hill at Earth Bread, Sly Fox at The Drafting Room....And Much More

As further evidence that Philly Beer Week is really just a bit of an exaggeration of what happens around these parts on a weekly basis throughout the remainder of the year, I've been pointing to the first two weeks of March...the former home to Philly Beer Week. But, let's take a look at a week of 8 days (because we are calendar-challenged around here), the one that began last night (Thursday)...in Exton at The Drafting Room and over in Mt. Airy at Earth Bread + Brewery. I started off by checking in on the festivities at EB+B where Tom & Peggy were playing host to the Iron Hill Crew. I lost count of the number of IH brewers at 10, counting the big guy Mark Edelson too. Bob Barrar's acceptance speech was of heartfelt gratitude for what he considered the most humbling award ever. But, instead of just another tacky medal, the kicking of his Bourbon Porter before any of his colleagues' kegs kicked earned him a crown of dough (unfortunately, not of the monetary type). Earth is a place that I'm so happy exists but rarely ever get to myself. And, I think that's the way it's meant to be and should be. I wish that Philly had 20 more places like EB+B. Places meant to service the community within a 10-20 block radius, not a 10-20 mile one. Granted, they're happy to see people like me make the trek to come and visit them, but I'm not their bread and butter. They bring quality food and beverage to their customers in a family-friendly neighborhood gathering spot kind of way that weaves them into the daily fabric of life in their community. These are places where usually the only place to find their beer and their food will be under their own roof. There should be at least one of these in each of Philadelphia's ever-so-distinct neighborhoods. I got the word that Brian O'Reilly and Corey Reid, among a few other stalwarts, were still holding court at The Drafting Room in Exton. At the same time the IH/EB+B event kicked off 30 miles away, Brian and The Drafting Room were spilling as many as 10 Sly Fox beers from the draft system. It sounds like it was quite the scene earlier in the evening. I strolled in for an hour and a bit of kibitzing before finally calling it quits for the night. So, that's quite a night of beer events, albeit just two, in the Philadelphia region right? Rather worthy of being called PBW events, I'd suggest. Then picking right up where Thursday left off, Friday rolls out Jose Pistolas hosting a Tröegs Beer Lunch in Center City Philly and Capone's out in Norristown throwing a 2nd Anniversary party for Boak's Brewery from New Jersey and some of their favorite beers. Saturday? Oh boy, Saturday. Take your pick. Start in Maple Shade at Iron Hill's Mug Club Membership Drive that doubles as a release party for The Situation. Hilarity is sure to ensue. In the City, the Institute is throwing a 5 hour affair of Pigs, Yards, and Pints. If you feel like walking, there's a Walking Beer & Cheese Tour of Old City. And, the Beer Olympics continue at Devil's Den with a beautiful vessel of Edmund Fitzgerald Porter from Great Lakes Brewery. I need to get confirmation of whether this is cask-conditioned...which I thought I'd heard somewhere. There's no need to roll out of bed early on Sunday, because Dr. Joel of New Holland Brewery reppin' fame is hosting a Brunch at Teresa's Next Door and they dropped the timed sitdown aspect of it. So now, roll in whatever time you'd like and order up some great Sunday morning/afternoon beer and food. Tomme Arthur gets the lay of the land on Monday at Memphis Taproom, which will serve as a warmup for his Lost Abbey/Port Brewing dinner on Tuesday night at Monk's. Thirty miles west on Tuesday, Victory is getting together with DiBruno Bros. Cheese for a pairing event at Avalon Restaurant in West Chester. Craft Ale House closes out the week with a Night of Stone Verticals that will include Barleywines, Russian Imperial Stouts, Vertical Epics, and Double Bastards. This sounds like a 'designated driver' kind of night. And, just because we're a bit calendar-challenged around here (do recall that Philly is the Beer Week that set the beer week standard at 10 days), Earth Bread + Brewery, not content to rest on the success of the Iron Hill night, will bring in some guy named Sam Calagione on the 25th to talk about his little known Dogfish Head beers. This rounds out just another 8 days of good beer-drinking time in Philly. See what I mean? Any given week can be Philly Beer Week in Philadelphia.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Running into Philly Beer Week 2010

It's difficult to believe that we're getting ready for the 3rd installment of Philly Beer Week. The move from March to June will ensure that this year's Philly Beer Run will be the warmest one on record...unless Global Warming has anything to say about it (ha, you wanna get controversial? use the words Global and Warming in the same sentence!) In 2008, we did a simple point-to-point run...no frills. Last year, we did a point-to-point run with some trivia thrown in the mix. Combination scoring took into account both running speed and memory recall. Prizes were handed out to a few winners amongst almost 60 runners that came out for the passion of great beer, food, running, and camaraderie. This year, the game is being taken up yet another level. Plans are still taking shape, so I'm not ready to share this all with you yet. But, here's what you Need To Know Now. There will be 3 "lead-in" runs to Philly Beer Week. One in March. One in April. And, One in May. Points will be earned for all those participating in these lead-in runs. Therefore, the final scoring will not be based solely on your participation on the day of the "big event" during PBW, but also on your participation in these 3 runs ahead of time. The more you play, the better the chance of pay! The first lead-in run will be held in two weeks on Saturday March 6th. We will meet at 11:30am and be off by 12:00pm. This will be a fun and casual run starting and ending at Dock Street Brewery at 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Everyone participating in the run will bank points and there will be additional opportunity for earning points once we've returned back to the pub after the run. The other two lead-in runs are tentatively being scheduled for Saturday April 3rd and Saturday May 8th. More details to come later. Please RSVP to me at Bryan@BrewLounge.com for the 3/6 run no later than 2/27 to allow for adequate staff planning at Dock Street.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: February 18th-February 24th

More rescheduled dates this week and more good stuff happening around town. Enough to get me to shut up about San Francisco for a while. This coming weekend, especially. Check out the entire February 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. A Taste of the Good Life, some ride for free others pay as you go @Capone's, Norristown, PA--- Fri. 2/19 Rescheduled from 2/12- Boaks' 2nd Anniversary Party (6:30pm-9:30pm; PAYG for Boaks Monster Mash R.I.S., Two Blind Monks, Three Blind Monks, and to meet Brian Boaks) @Goshen Beverage, West Chester, PA--- Sat. 2/20 - Friday Night Sampling on Saturday (1:00pm-4:00pm; free tasting samples of Weyerbacher) @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 2/23 - Dark Horse Tuesday Nights (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG to meet & greet the brewers & beer reps & to taste the beers) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA--- Thu. 2/11, Rescheduled from 2/11 - Craft Brew Night (6:00pm; PAYG for a night of Ommegang brews) @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 2/18 - Meet the Brewer Night with Cask Conditioned Ale (7:00pm; PAYG for a firkin of Southampton Publick House Saison and complimentary hors d'ouevres) Tastings, with a little something extra special @Craft Ale House, Limerick, PA--- Wed. 2/24 - Get Vertical with Stone (6:00pm; PAYG for Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine '06, '07, '08, '09 and Double Bastard Ale '06, '07, '08, '09 and Stone Imperial Russian Stout '06, '07, '08, '09 and Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale on draft) @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA--- Thu. 2/18 - Sly Fox Night (6:00pm; PAYG for a lineup including Amarillo Pale Ale, Argentinean Cascade, Columbus Pale Ale, Schwarz Bier, Incubus Tripel, Odyssey Imperial IPA, Gang Aft Agley Scotch Ale, Keller Pils, Dunkel Lager, and a “Firkin” of Odyssey) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 2/18 - King of the Iron Hills (4:30pm-12:00am; PAYG for a beer from each Iron Hill location and what will look like an IH corporate meeting...beers include: Newark's R.I.S., Maple Shade's Caprice, North Wales' Wee Heavy, Phoenixville's Roggenbier, West Chester's Cherry Dubbel, Wilmington's Cannibal Nocturnum, Media's Bourbon Porter, and Lancaster's Abbey Fault) @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, PA--- Mon. 2/22 - Meet the Brewer Night (Tomme Arthur) (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for a draft lineup that will include Mongo Double IPA, Older Viscosity, Hop 15, Wipeout IPA, Gift of the Magi ('08) and Carnivale in addition to some super limited edition surprises. $1 off for bald guys with glasses!) Iron Hill might need to start paying for their own space here @Iron Hill Brewery, Maple Shade, NJ--- Sat. 2/20 - The Situation Release Party (1:00pm-5:00pm; PAYG to witness the Release Party for The Situation) @Iron Hill Brewery, Media, PA--- Fri. 2/19 - Firkin Fridays of February (5:00pm; PAYG for Hopilicious vs. Wee Heavy, a 2007 WBC Silver Medal winner) Who needs Philly Beer Week when you have events like these @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 2/12 (continuing through 2/28) - Winter Olympics at the Den (6:00pm; PAYG for gold, silver, and bronze) @Jose Pistola's, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 2/19 - Loaded Lunches (11:25am-4:25pm; PAYG to drink of the Tröegs) @Local 44, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 2/20 - The Foodery Beer Class (3:00pm; $15 to sample 12 different beer types and learn how to describe their flavors with the Foodery’s own beer pros.) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville & Royersford, PA--- every Wed. & Thu. through 3/11 - St. Patrick's Day Boot Camp (5:00pm; PAYG until you get to St. Patrick's Day) Food, Beer, Beer, Food, Beer, Food, Food, Beer...repeat until you can't take it anymore! @Avalon, West Chester, PA--- Tue. 2/23 - Victory Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $50 for a Four Course Guided Beer & Cheese Dinner with DiBruno Brothers & Victory Brewing) @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 2/20 - Pork Yards Pints ($40 gets you in for the roasting of a pig, doing all kinds of things with sweet taters, and serving up some great beer from our buds at Yards! Among things, a firkin of GW Porter--done special just for us. Brawler, ESA, IPA, and PPA on draft!) @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 2/23 - Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Dinner (7:00pm; $75 for the typical mayhem that ensues from wonderful beer dinners at Monk's...and throw in Tomme Arthur for good measure) @Ron's Original, Exton, PA--- Thu. 2/18 - Blues Brews 'n' BBQ (PAYG for legendary BBQ from Ron's in Frazer and the usual great beers from Ron's) @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA--- Sun. 2/21 - New Holland Foodie Brunch (open seating ; $25 for a 3-course brunch served with Black Tulip Belgian Tripel, Charkoota Rye Smoked Dopplebock, Dragon's Milk. Also available will be Mad Hatter IPA and a cask conditioned version of the Poet Oatmeal Stout on the handpump.) @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA--- Sun. 2/21 - Chili Challenge (12:00pm-3:00pm; event is free to taste and to vote for your staff pic for the People's Pepper. Chili Challenge is free, just bring your tasting skills; beer is PAYG) Get out of town if Philly doesn't have enough going on for you @Brickskeller, Washington, D.C.--- Tue. 2/23 - Winter Strong Ale Tasting Extravaganzee (6:00pm; $35 to sample the regions strong winter ales) @The Cyclorama @ The Boston Center For The Arts, Boston, MA--- Fri. 2/19-Sat. 2/20 - Extreme Beer Fest (see website for details)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anyone around Philly gonna be busy in March?

Do you realize a couple of weeks back that I tried to bring attention to what was shaping up to be a pretty nice looking calendar of events for the first couple of weekends of March? I mentioned something like don't-call-me-Philly-Beer-Week? Scratch That! What is happening is downright....well, it's downright something. Stupefying!? Here's the thing, I'm not sure that we really need a Beer Week in Philly anymore. Say what? We'll put on what some are saying will be 1000 events during 10 days in June? Big deal. It's pretty obvious that Philly does this type of thing year-round. I've heard other cities say that a Beer Week for them is a chance to have a bunch of events to draw attention to themselves. Heck, Philly's publicans and breweries are drawing attention to themselves year-round. Check out the Brewing News calendars. In any given month, does any other region's calendar overflow the way the Mid-Atlantic's does? And, a majority of it comes from the Philly Metro area. Philly Beer Week is really just a hallmark event that brings world-wide attention to what we've already known around here for quite some time. We're awash in great beer and that means both homegrown and imported from elsewhere. And, our pub scene and publicists do a great year-round job of marketing this. Should we just call March Philly Beer Month? Or the I'm-not-'Philly Beer Week'-ends? Oh, I've got an idea! It's time to call Philadelphia "The Best Beer-Drinking City"...er, wait. Here's the best I can do (at this point in time...of course, it will probably double in size by the end of the week) to pull together most of the events that are taking place during the first half of March. And, I threw in 3/20 and 3/21 just because these, like all of the other events listed here, are not your ordinary type of events. Like I said, March is shaping up to be Philly Beer Month. How's your beer budget looking? Don't forget to save some for June! Friday March 5, 2010 - Ithaca Night beer and food pairings at Teresa's Next Door (that is, if the joint has recovered from throwing the 'Nick Johnson Birthday Party just the night before...sheesh, anything for a party, eh?!) Saturday March 6, 2010 - Philly Craft Beer Festival, $10/$45/$60 , 12:30pm-4:00pm --- 6:00pm-9:30pm Saturday March 6, 2010 - All Cask, All Day at TJs, 12:00pm-12:00am, PAYG Saturday March 6, 2010 - Tomme Arthur Day at Teresa's Next Door Saturday March 6, 2010 - Glenside Pub Crawl, 12:00pm-10:00pm, PAYG Saturday March 6, 2010 - Look for an announcement, from let's say me!, about a Philly Beer Run lead-in to PBW, 11:30am, free Sunday March 7, 2010 - Allentown Brew Works Cask Beer Festival, $20/$25, 3:00pm-6:00pm Sunday March 7, 2010 - Stoudt's Beer Tasting at Hawthornes, 3:00pm-5:00pm, PAYG Sunday March 7, 2010 - Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary collaboration release party at Hawthornes, 7:00pm-9:00pm, PAYG Sunday March 7, 2010 - Oskar Blues Pajama Party at The Institute, 8:00pm-12:00am, PAYG Monday March 8, 2010 - Old Ales at McGillin's Olde Ale House with Yards' Tom Kehoe, $45, 6:30pm Tuesday March 9, 2010 - Tasty Tuesday with Sierra Nevada at Teresa's Next Door 5:00pm-7:00pm Wednesday March 10, 2010 - Victory Sampling at Hawthornes Wednesday March 10, 2010 - Guinness Beer Dinner at Sands Casino in Bethlehem, $50, 6:00pm Thursday March 11, 2010 - Beer Brunch with Allagash's Rob Tod at Jose Pistola's 12:00pm-2:00pm Thursday March 11, 2010 - Meet and drink with Allagash's Rob Tod at Teresa's Next Door 5:00pm-7:00pm Friday March 12, 2010-Sunday March 14, 2010 - Lititz Cask Beer Fest, PAYG, 12:00pm-10:00pm daily Saturday March 13, 2010 - Michael Jackson-A 20th Anniversary Celebration, hosted by Randy Mosher, $50/$60 , 1:00pm --- 3:30pm --- 6:00pm Saturday March 13, 2010 - The Craft Beer Express (Bus), 11:00am-7:00pm, $15 + PAYG, check out the deets below Sunday March 14, 2010 - The Brewers Plate, $55/$65/$115, 4:00pm-7:30pm --- 5:00pm-7:30pm Sunday March 14, 2010 - Beer Geek Brunch at Hawthornes Sunday March 14, 2010 - Stone Brunch at Teresa's Next Door Saturday March 20, 2010 - Pliny the Younger and Friends at TJs, 12:00pm-10:00pm, PAYG Sunday March 21, 2010 - Real Ale Fest at Triumph...I saw this printed somewhere, made a note of it, and now can't find any details about this. The Bars and Events of The Craft Beer Express: ~ 2nd Annual Stout Brunch at Johnny Brenda's ~ Standard Tap's Big Wood Weekend ~ The Institute will be pouring a beastly-good line up of Barleywines all day ~ Brauhaus Schmitz will feature Carol Stoudt's newest creation "Karnival Kölsch" as well as many other great Stoudt's and German beers ~ "Around the Clock" with Dogfish Head at the Kite and Key where you can get 60, 90, and 120 minute IPA on draft along with other DFH surprises. ~ Devil's Den is boasting a new chef to compliment its already top notch beer list ~ Jose Pistola's always has something great going on and this day is no exception

Monday, February 15, 2010

Beaumont, Beer, and The Brew Lounge on the Rhine

Patty and I had been working on the planning of a "big trip" for the year, when Stephen Beaumont posted this over on his site. A river boat cruise down (as in, the Netherlands in the North to Switzerland in the South) the Rhine River through a handful of European countries....Brew on the Rhine, as it's being called. "Hey Patty," I said, "Isn't this the same trip that we were looking at the other day? Well, guess what? Now it can be a beer vacation too!" So, on the day that my SF trip cancellation became official, we decided to finalize this trip to Europe. I guess you could say that helped assuage the letdown of missing SFBW. I don't have much else to say about this at this point, other then you can imagine how we were anticipating this trip even before it was planned. Now, with even more of a beer angle than it had to begin with, the 8 months wait will be tougher. Talking with both the booking company and Stephen the other day, it sounds like the boat has filled up quickly. If you want to join in on the floating fun of frothy fermentation (sorry), you'll need to, as they say, act now!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

SFBW Day 4: An Alternative to San Francisco Beer Week

Today was to be my last full day in San Francisco. I wasn't planning to overdo it, considering my flight back East was departing at 6:00am Monday morning. Plus, the Celebrator Anniversary Party was going to inflict enough damage on me for one day. I figured the day might start off nicely with Brunch over in Oakland at Barclay's with Beer Chef Bruce Paton. His dinners have a legacy that's rarely matched. Recently, he's been uprooted from the Cathedral Hotel (which was demolished) and he's in the process of looking for a new home for his beer dinners in the Bay Area. The menu and the beer selections looked incredible. Then, I figured I might hop back to Humphry Slocumbe for some beer ice cream if I hadn't already been by there. Or the City Beer Store for some "to go" goodies for my friends back home...Vanberg & Dewulf is having an event there during the afternoon. But, the biggie was going to be the SFBW 2010 finale, Celebrator's Anniversary Party at Trumer in Oakland. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are still heading there, I presume, with tickets they'd already purchased. I'm figuring to receive at least a picture that I can share with you all here. With most all of the expected breweries participating and magazine staff members in full party mode, this is one party that no one attending SFBW should miss. Alas... My Sunday certainly won't be as big and crazy as it would have been out West. Patty and I rarely do anything too special for Valentine's Day. It's looking like we'll hunker down with a day of relaxation and home cooking. Beers of choice will likely include The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery in Oregon (first time ever tasted was two years ago at Celebrator 20th Anniversary Party), Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment (still one of my favorites of the past several months), and Moylan's Old Blarney Barleywine (with fond remembrances of stopping in with Jay Brooks several years ago to meet Arne Johnson of Marin and James Costa at Moylan's). All big beers, yes. But then again, tomorrow is a work holiday and after the last week of digging out from snow, I'd say that we're all due for a little r'n'r around here. (Plus, I hear that we've got another handful of snow inches coming our way???) The one thing I actually do like about cross country plane travel is the ability to disconnect. No phones, internets, household chores, or other distractions. It means that I can take the 5-6 hours to catch up on reading and listening to podcasts. Maybe I can carve out an hour or two at home today to get some of this reading stack conquered. Well, my friends. I'm not sure how many of you are checking in from California this week, given your preoccupation with SFBW '10. But, I do really appreciate the hospitality that was being offered to me in advance and the ability to plan an event with you and the knowledge that the SF Beer Community is one of the best in the country that really knows how to come together for a solid 10 days of Beer Week. See you in Philly in June. Cheers!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

SFBW Day 3: An Alternative to San Francisco Beer Week

(A bit colder here in Philadelphia than San Francisco)
After weeks of working with Brian Yaeger and Derrick Peterman, we finally got a Beer Run organized to start at Magnolia Brewery in San Francisco's Haight District. The Haight is a fun neighborhood, in some ways still oozing the same vibe as 40 years ago and in some ways moving on. With the incredibly wonderful beers (especially cask-conditioned beers) that Dave McLean, Ben Spencer, and the crew are pouring (not to mention the new kitchen's endeavors), it was a no-brainer. Dave was particularly accommodating, Beach/Park Chalet not as much so. We'd envisioned a run that would end at the ocean in the "back yard" of Beach Chalet brewery and restaurant. This didn't work out, so I'm anxious to hear back from Brian and Derrick how the run from Magnolia through Golden Gate Park and back to Magnolia went. To continue my weekend of not being in San Francisco, I'll do likewise and join my fellow runners in spirit. I went out for a run today. It was close to 4 miles; I believe they did around the same. They had some beer afterwards; I did the same. They wore light clothing; I, on the other hand, did not. The temperature in SF was around 60f and here in the Philly area it was 30 degrees, or so, colder. Their choice of beers at Magnolia ranged from Strong Beers (Month) to Saison de Lilly (the one I was gonna be huntin' down) to California Kölsch (Derrick's choice). Here, on the sunporch, I had some thirst-quenching Victory Prima Pils. So, I dunno, I guess it was pretty close to a tie, except that I ran solo here at home. The remainder of my day was going to be spent down the street from Magnolia at Toronado where I would sop up the atmosphere of barleywine, hundreds of kindreds, and maybe sausage or pizza from either neighbor of Toronado's. After getting a proper shower, I'd planned to head out for the night with no particular plan except knowing that Elysian's Dave Buhler is going to be at ChurchKey, which is not from the Rogue Ales Public House and La Trappe. Over in Oakland at The Trappist, Vanberg & Dewulf is pouring such tasties as Saison Dupont, Foret, Avec Les Bons Voeux, and Witkaps. And, if the big beers of Toronado's Barleywine Festival didn't completely blow my mind and palate, then heading over to 21st Amendment for a taste of Strong Beer Month might have been in order. Today back here in Philly Town will be a bit more lowkey for me, I'm thinking. Not sure exactly what this night will bring for me, but it will probably involve cooking a nice meal and having a few good beers and trying to let my body heal. After a week of shoveling, sledding, traveling, sitting (at work), and running....my quads, calves, hammies, glutes, delts, tris, bis, lats, and heck my brain all are fatigued. Last day of SF Beer Week tomorrow. Let's see how I can match things here on the East Coast.
(Just rewards after a good run)

SFBW '10: My friends really are missing me!

The soothing healing has begun, but as if the letdown wasn't enough, I get this ever-so-kind message from Steve Shapiro (Beer by BART) in San Francisco. Steve was going to be on of my main wing men while out there for SFBW; obviously that didn't work out this time. So, he sent along a little picture here of some of his friends that will apparently miss me! I haven't told him which of "my friends" he won't be seeing and will stay in my cooler until next time :-p

Friday, February 12, 2010

SFBW Day 2: An Alternative to San Francisco Beer Week

(the Locals Only board at TJs continues to grow)
(Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA-cask conditioned)
As I mentioned yesterday, in lieu of being in SF Proper, I'm embarking on an East Coast version of San Francisco Beer Week. In some ways, I'll try to mimic some of the events and beer drinking that I would have done on the Left Coast. Today in SF, my plans had me careening around the city from Humphry Slocumbe where Jesse Friedman was collaborating with them on beer, ice cream, and photography to The Front Porch for Drake's Belgian Trippel release to a late night rendezvous at Triple Rock over in Berkeley for some IIMAX. In between, I was going to hop on BART to San Leandro where Drake's is hosting a Tribute to (journalist) Bill Brand. I shared a table and dinner with Bill Brand the night of his fateful accident last year during SF Beer Week and I was really looking forward to some of his favorite beers and the Tribute Beers that were brewed in his honor/memory and the gathering of friends and family that are sure to show up. So I'm thinking that since I was going to be hitting up some of the Bay Area's finest establishments and drinking some of their great beers, that I would head to one of the Philly Area's finest in Paoli...TJs. Have a dinner and drink a mix of beers. I'm thinking the night will begin with Sierra Nevada Glissade, since I was hoping to meet up with Terence Sullivan and others from Sierra Nevada. Then, some other beers from California like Lost Abbey's Angel's Share and a great cask-conditioned Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. Since there was a double IPA festival last weekend at The Bistro in Hayward, the Brooklyn Blast (DIPA) makes sense to also dip into tonight as well as Cantillon's Vigneronne (think: Sour Fest at Triple Rock) and Yards Olde Bartholomew (think: Toronado Barleywine Festival). That should get me through tonight and I'm sure make all you SFers jealous....y'think?
(Yards Olde Bartholomew at TJs)
(Polishing the night off with Russian River's 10% Consecration is best done in the safe confines of home)

Devil's Den, Great Beers every day amongst Ilanaaqs

Beginning tonight at Devil's Den, here is an event that will test your endurance and promises a taste of gold, silver, and bronze, yet without flying to British Columbia or being in any form of athletic shape. This looks like someone has a nice handy list of medal winners and put some thought and planning into this "event." The idea is that they'll be tapping at least one medal-winning beer a day for the duration of the 16 day Winter Olympics. The corresponding GABF and WBC awards are listed below. At Devil's Den with a fireplace, great food and beer, this seems like a swell way to cheer your national curling team on to victory! Fri, Feb 12 - Tröegs Troegenator (Gold '09 & '07, Sliver '06, Bronze '06 & '08) Sat, Feb 13 - Bear Republic Racer 5 (Gold '99 & '09, Sliver '04 '05 & '06, and Small Brewery of the Year '06) Sun, Feb 14 - Ommegang Hennepin (Gold '04, Silver '06, Bronze '04 & '06) Mon, Feb 15 - Steamworks Colorado Kölsch (Silver '07 & '08) Tue, Feb 16 - Great Divide Old Ruffian (Gold '06, Bronze '05 & '09) Wed, Feb 17 - Allagash Triple (Gold '06, Silver '08 & '09) Thu, Feb 18 - Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown (Gold '00, Bronze '96 '02 '03 & '06) Fri, Feb 19 - Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel (Silver '08) Sat, Feb 20 - Great Lakes Edmond Fitzgerald Porter (Gold '91 '93 & '02, Silver '98 & '07, Bronze '96 & '04) Sun, Feb 21 - Ithaca Cascazilla (Silver '08) Mon, Feb 22 - Dogfish Head Midas Touch (Gold '04, Silver '04 '05 '06 & '07, Bronze '08 & '09) Tue, Feb 23 - Blue Point Toasted Lager (Gold '06, Silver '04 '06 & '07) Wed, Feb 24 - Southampton Double White (Sliver '07, Bronze '06) Thu, Feb 25 - Dark Horse Scotty Karate (Silver '07) Fri, Feb 26 - Stone Levitation (Gold '07) Sat, Feb 27 - Sly Fox Pikeland Pils (Gold '07, Bronze '03) Sun, Feb 28 - Flying Dog In Heat Wheat (Silver '03, Bronze '06 and Mid-Size Brewery of the Year '09) & Flying Dog Raging Bitch Other Medal Winning Beers available in bottles: Bethlehem Brew Works Rude Elf, Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron (Bronze '08), Brooklyner Schneider Hopfenweisse (Silver '09), Flying Fish Exit 4 (Gold '09), Ballast Point Sculpin (Silver '09), Lost Abbey Carnevale (Gold '09 & Small Brewery of the Year '07), Dogfish Head Red & White (Gold '08), Lakefront New Grist (Gold '06, Silver '07 & '08), Sprecher Shakparo (Bronze '07), and Stone Pale Ale (Bronze '06 & '08) Also look for these medal winning beers on draft as well: Bell’s Double Cream Stout (Silver '07), Allagash Four (Bronze '07), Elysian The Wise ESB (Gold '03 '04 & '07, and Large Brewpub of the Year '99 '03 & '04), Summit Extra Pale Ale (Bronze '07 & '08), Great Divide Old Yeti (Silver '05 & '09, Bronze '08), Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber (Gold '04 & '05, Silver '06 & '08, Bronze '07)

A Tasty Secret from Joe Sixpack

Buried inside of Joe's weekly update was this little nugget: "Psst... Captain Lawrence is coming to Philly soon. You heard it here first."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SFBW Day 1: An Alternative to San Francisco Beer Week

In the past 24 hours, I've been asked many times if I'm mad or upset about the San Francisco Beer Week trip falling apart due to Mother Nature's folly here in the mid-Atlantic. Funny how I've convinced hardly anyone that, while a bit let down, I'm really not upset about it. Don't get me wrong, all of the build up, the planning, and especially the Beer Run event that I co-planned to occur on Saturday at Magnolia Brewery has caused me to feel really disappointed and let down...yet not mad. Life is full of this sort of thing; to be mad would be wasted emotion. So, what am I gonna do instead? Well, let's see. I'm going to find a way to celebrate SF Beer Week here in the Philly Metro area over the next four days. I was expected to be out in SF last night enjoying perhaps a taste of Anchor at Pi Bar, Lagunitas at Toronado, or some leftover beer from the Beer Dinner at Monk's Kettle. They were featuring the SFBW Collaborative Brew called Imperial Common, one that I was really, really looking forward to trying. Today, I was hoping to bop around the city getting some good tastes from Pi Bar again, this time with a 5-year vertical of Drake's Jolly Roger Holiday Ale. Then, a quick stop for a sampling from Bear Republic at Zeitgeist before heading off to dinner. Tonight, the plan was to partake in yet another decadent dinner with The Home Brew Chef, Sean Paxton, and Alan Shapiro of SBS-Imports. He had 8 courses of food planned to go with 9 beers from the De Proef Brewmaster Collection as well as Firestone Walker...a dinner that was to be capped with the FW XIII Anniversary Beer. If I had any energy left over after dinner, I was hoping to check out Beerlesque at Paradise Lounge (you just know Shmaltz Brewing had to be involved with this one!). This, instead, is how I'm celebrating my first day of SFBW. I stopped off at The Drafting Room in Exton for a growler fillup of Blind Pig IPA from Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA. If you haven't followed closely enough, then you don't know that this is one of my favorite straight-ahead (west coast) IPAs in this country. It's a beer that's been around for quite a while and at 6.0% ABV and 72 IBUs, it's such a tasty beer that doesn't blow your palate and that you can drink most of the night long. In fact, I'm sure that Patty and I will have no problem polishing this off tonight. Otherwise, it will be a low-key night as we recover from all of the bailing out of our house we've done over the past week. 42 inches of snow has a way of wearing down the body, but not the spirit. We won't eat as extravagantly as I would have tonight in SF, but perhaps will save that for tomorrow night or Saturday.

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: February 11th-February 17th

Love is in the air and with some rescheduled beer dates, this second week of February looks as delicious as ever. Check out the entire February 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. Sometimes just a Taste is all you need @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 2/14 - Hang with A Raging Bitch on Valentine's Day (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for an event where the name says it all) @Dock Street Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 2/11 - Sexual Chocolate Release and Meet the Brewer (6:00pm-8:00pm; free tastings and free conversation with Ben Potts) @Goshen Beverage, West Chester, PA--- Fri. 2/12 - Friday Night Sampling (4:30pm-6:30pm; free tasting samples of Victory) @Iron Hill Brewery, Media, PA--- Fri. 2/12 - Firkin Fridays of February (5:00pm; PAYG for Bourbon Chocolate Porter, wow) @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 2/16 - Dark Horse Tuesday Nights (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG to meet & greet the brewers & beer reps & to taste the beers) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA--- Thu. 2/11 - Craft Brew Night (6:00pm; PAYG for a night of Ommegang brews) Beer and Food, cupid strikes @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 2/14 - Valentine's Dinner (6:00pm; $60 for a 3-course meal, see website for menu) @Iron Abbey, Horsham, PA--- Wed. 2/17 - Brooklyn Beer Dinner & Joe Sixpack (7:00pm-9:00pm; $40 for 5 courses of beer, food, joe...need more info?) @La Terrasse, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 2/16 - Yards Beer Dinner (6:00pm; call the restaurant for details) @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 2/14 - Valentine's Dinner (all night; $69/couple see website for menu) @The Belgian Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 2/17 - Smoke 'em if you got 'em! (all day; PAYG for a celebration of smoked brews and smoked foods made with smokey beers) @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA--- Sun. 2/14 - Valentine's Day Beer Dinner (5:30pm & 7:30pm seatings; $75/couple for a 4-course meal at the brewery) It's all Fun 'n' Games @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 2/12 (continuing through 2/28) - Winter Olympics at the Den (6:00pm; PAYG for gold, silver, and bronze) A What? @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 2/13 - President's Day Weekend White Sale (PAYG for a lot of Belgian style white beers on tap, in bottles, and in cans like Allagash White, Ommegang Witte, Southmapton Double White, Boulder Sweaty Betty, Philly Walt Wit, Kira, Dock Street Bubbly Wit on draft, and Wittekirke in cans) Fall in beer lovers @Sly Fox, Phoenixville & Royersford, PA--- Wed. 2/10-Thu. 2/11 - St. Patrick's Day Boot Camp (5:00pm; PAYG until you get to St. Patrick's Day) Big Things Poppin' by the Bay...and in Boyertown @San Francisco Bay Area, CA--- Fri. 2/5-Sun. 2/14 - San Francisco Beer Week (see website for details) @Union Jack's, Boyertown, PA--- Sat. 2/13-RESCHEDULED from 2/6 - Strong Ale Fest (11:00am; PAYG to choose from Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, Lost Abbey Angels Share, Heavy Seas Hang Ten Weizenbock, Green Flash Barleywine (2008), Manayunk Wheat Wallop, Manayunk Nokdechilloff Barleywine (2007), Spring House Raspberry Quad, Founders Black Biscuit Barrel Aged Porter, Founders Wheat Wine, Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2006), Russian River Consecration, and Bells HopSlam)