Friday, April 30, 2010

Ebenezer's in Pictures

When I was at Ebenezer's Belgian Beer Dinner last summer...y'know, the beer dinner cooked up by Home Brew Chef Sean Paxton, and Chris Lively...did I adequately describe why, in fact, Ebenezer's should be considered a top 10 beer bar in the United States? I've probably not said enough my last time around? If not, the folks at Brewpublic have put together some video evidence to support this claim of mine. They've gone as far as to say "on Earth". Enjoy it in two parts: "In Ebenezer's Cellar"...and..."Best Beer Bar on Earth".

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: April 29th-May 5th

As Philly Beer Week quickly approaches, this week's calendar is a great representation of the quality beer scene in and around Philadelphia. Big events/beers, small events/beers, free tastings, sit-down dinners...and farm-raised goats, of course! enjoy Check out the entire May 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. Samplings and Tastings @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/30 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Heavy Seas with Joe Sixpack) @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 5/5 - Dark Horse Sampling (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for a lineup of Dark Horse beers from Michigan) @Triumph, Princeton, NJ--- Wed. 5/5 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (6:00pm; PAYG for May's selection still TBD) Block Party all night long, er, all afternoon @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 5/2 - IPA Block Party (3:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG where drink tickets will be the norm, $4 gets you a pint of a tasty IPA of your choice! Live entertainment by The Suntones.) @Union Jack's, Boyertown, PA Wed. 5/5 - Cinco de Tröegs (4:00pm; PAYG for Sunshine Pils, Java Head Stout, Dreamweaver Wheat, HopBack Amber, Troegenator, Pale Ale, Flying Mouflan, Scratch #TBA, Scratch #TBA, Nugget Nectar) Food, Beer, Eat, Drink @Iron Hill, Wilmington, DE--- Thu. 4/29 - Spring Beer Dinner (6:00pm; $50 for a Four course dinner paired with Vienna Red Lager, Sasquatch, Cherry Dubbel, Munich Dunkel, Russian Imperial Stout) @Old City, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 5/1 - Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese Tour (3:30pm-5:30pm; $45 for a 2-hour adventure including 8 craft beers and 4 artisanal cheeses) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA--- Wed. 5/5 - Meet The Brewer Series Presents… (7:00pm; $40 for a night with Great Lakes Brewery) And, yes, the Running of the Goats @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA--- Sun. 5/2 - Annual Bock Festival & Goat Races (10:00am-6:00pm; PAYG for an annual ritual that must be experienced in order to be appreciated) And, while we're discussing animals @General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA--- Sun. 5/2 - Suds for Buds w/PSPCA (3:00pm-6:00pm; $25 to bring your dog, eat, drink, and frolic...and people can do the same)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More details on the sale of Anchor Brewery

Jay Brooks puts in a yeoman effort transcribing notes from lunch with Keith Greggor about the upcoming sale of Anchor Brewery in San Francisco, CA. Good details; Nice reporting. Leaking stories is no way to build trust, but I'd be naive if I pretended that happens from time to time.

Beer in Grocery Stores....do you care?

As a preview to the poll over there --->>>, you may like to check out a mini-debate of sorts that Lew Bryson was recently included in during a 10 o'clock newscast on the Philadelphia local affiliate of the Fox Network. (once you land on the Fox29 page, click off the Photo tab and on to the Video tab to see a replay of the five minute debate.) I'd put up a little poll thing-a-ma-thing, but maybe I'll just ask you to comment below. Er, that may not go so well. So feel free to comment down below, but if your time is limited, then just click one of the poll buttons over there to the right instead. I'm interested to know just how important Pennsylvanians think it is to be able to buy beer in a grocery store, gas station, and the like. I'm only talking about availability of retail licenses, not about the 'Case Law', 'Brand Registration', and other points of the law. Rather just merely about point-of-sale availability. Is the ability to purchase beer not convenient enough for you today? Are prices prohibitively high in today's system of beer distribution? Pick the answer that suits your opinion best.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Iron Hill goes the distance for Awards and Beer Dinners alike

(As the weather perks up, the West Chester location of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will more resemble this picture)
in Chicago, IL This year's Craft Brewers Conference and World Beer Cup occurred simultaneously this year in Chicago a couple of weeks back. I hadn't yet been back here to properly congratulate and recognize Iron Hill for their outstanding accomplishments. Along the way, Chris LaPierre put up a handful of fun pictures and highlights over at his Maple Shade-based blog. Over in North Wales, Vince Desrosiers had some to say about the doings as well. And, Larry Horwitz down in West Chester, had a little less, but a few words nonetheless, to say about their big trip to the Windy City. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jack Curtin weighed in with some conjecture about next moves for the successful brewing company. You didn't click any of those links, did you? Against my better judgment, I'll spell it out for you if you didn't already know and you didn't bother to click any of those links above: Iron Hill was awarded the 2010 Large Brewpub/Brewmaster at this year's World Beer Cup. in West Chester, PA And, now......oops, before I begin, this is officially, I must state, my "my camera sucks so much that I need Suzanne Woods to recommend a new camera for me. I bear no responsibility for the quality of the pictures to follow" posting)
(The brains and talents behind Iron Hill's beer and food: Larry Horwitz; Anthony Young; Jean Broillet)
And, now...I have a dinner to add to the story as well. For many months (or, probably more correctly stated....years), I've put off an invitation to join the Iron Hill crew at one of their dinners that they host on an almost monthly basis at one or more of their--now 8--brewpubs. On paper, the dinners always look like winners; the pairings, thoughtfully planned out.
(some of Victory's finest brewers got the night off: Max Pfeffer; Whitney Thompson; Nate Olewine)
Why I've never made it to one before? Hard to say, exactly. They always came highly recommended by those who have. Nonetheless, here I was finally at West Chester with Larry, Jean, and a few other brewers from McKenzie Brew House and Victory, as well as about 15-20 other patrons, some of them regulars who have come to expect a grand slam at these type of prix-fixe dinners.
(Jean Broillet, Iron Hill brewer at West Chester, introduces the first course)
The dinner was comfortably setup in the back room where a long table for 20-25 people was set. After a bit of kibitzing over some of the Saison that I'd raved about just a week earlier to start the evening we all settled down for a brief introduction by head brewer Larry Horwitz. He welcomed everyone and quickly turned it over to his brewing partner-in-crime Jean Broillet. I could go on about the impressive path that we've witnessed Jean take from his early days as a cellarman at Weyerbacher, but I think if you don't already know of his brewing talent, you'll hear bits and pieces of it come out as I rave about this dinner that he and Anthony Young in the kitchen collaborated on.
(Jean Broillet, right, chats with guests as brewers, Gerard Olson and Ryan Michaels, from McKenzie Brew House look on)
The dinner courses were spaced out nicely enough that we had a couple of quicker-paced servings (well, not that quick...you get the point, I trust) followed by enough time between other courses to mingle around and stretch the legs a bit. The nice thing about dinners in the back room is the extra space both for interlopers as well as room for us diners to move around more freely than at some more, shall we say cramped, beer dinners that I've attended. Not that Iron Hill wouldn't have appreciated having the back bar open for the regular Friday night crowd (though, I have no idea where the financial breakeven point would have been), we all appreciated the extra space for a comfortable dinner.
(a gathering of some of the region's more interesting beers)
Comfort continued to be the theme as we got into the dinner. No course was overwhelming in portion size and when added together, the sum of the parts did not leave us feeling overfed by the end of the three hour dinner. Nor thirsty from the generous amount of beer being poured. I'm already a few days behind in getting this out to you, so without taking the time to regurgitate (should that word even be allowed in a dinner review?!) the entire menu and each pairing, here were some of the highlights. Wood-aged beer- every beer on the menu spent some time in wood barrels from Chaddsford Winery, which is just down the road a piece (does anyone say that anymore?!). The barrels that they use are a combination of Hungarian, Western Pennsylvanian, and French Oak. This program of wood-fermenting and wood-aging beers began around ten months ago and continues today in the brewhouse in the twelve stacked barrels that they currently have (if you peer in, you can see them from the streetside window). Mix and Matching- Max Pfeffer from Victory reminded me of one of my own Beer Dinner Guidelines: "Always save a few small swallows of each beer for later courses. Don't trust that the dinner planners know your palate better than you do. What more fun is there than finding a pairing that pleases you better than the one that they initially planned on the menu for you?" Unfortunately, he'd reminded me of this after I'd gone and swigged my D'Armand. Du Armand- speaking of....This was my third (I think?) run-in with what I'm still calling one of the top 10 new beers in my book of 2010. In a nutshell, it's a 5.5% Belgian beer that incorporates a strain of Brettanomyces unique to former Belgian brewer, Armand Debelder, of Drie Fonteinen. You say More Ferments equals More Alcohol?!- The Cherry Dubbel underwent two fermentations before being subjected to a third fermentation while in a pinot noir barrel for nine months. Birthed from that barrel was a beer that was put in a keg for the dinner with a little extra sugar, whereupon it underwent a fourth fermentation. Or not, but I think I scribbled all of those notes correctly. What resulted was a very finely made beer that masked its 10.5% ABV so very well. Almost too well, if you know what I mean. Cheese- put cheese on a plate next to a glass of beer and you've got my attention. A cheese plate is something that I believe more beer dinners should end with. Iron Hill put a generous piece of French Bleu d'Auvergne and a slab of Devon Cheddar from England on a plate with almonds and honey. Wash this all down with a Belgian Tripel named Au Ciel and I challenge you to find a better way to end a beer dinner. There were no losers- trying to compare dishes, trying to compare beers, trying to compare pairings and declaring a best of the evening would be as difficult as it was to write this sentence. The only winners were the 25 of us in the room last Friday evening. Not every pairing nor any individual item was the best or the worst of the evening, but there certainly were no stinkers amongst the bunch. They all stood on their own merits both by themselves and together with their food companions. (okay, okay...fine. Pork Belly: best individual food item; du Armand: best individual beer; Scallops and Barrel #9 Saison: best beer and food pairing; Cherry Dubbel: most interesting beer that I must try again...there. are you happy?!) I can't leave off here without asking the critics of Iron Hill: Is this what you think of when you say that Iron Hill is not "interesting enough for you?"
(First course of seared Ahi Tuna and barrel-aged d'Armand, a Brett-fermented Belgian Ale)
(Second course of braised Pork Belly and barrel-aged Self Titled, a 3-month aged IPA)
(Third course of Sea Scallops and Barrel #9, a Brett-fermented Saison-widely regarded as one of the best pairings of the evening)
(Fourth course of Lamb T-bone and barrel-aged Cherry Dubbel)
(Fifth course of Crème Caramel and Au Ciel, a 3-month barrel-aged Tripel)
(the "other" Fifth course of artisanal cheeses and barrel-aged Tuff Ghost, a rye saison)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dock Street Cream Ale comes to the Suburbs

If I was the tweeting type, I'd chirp that Dock Street's Cream Ale is on tap at TJs in Paoli, PA. This is significant for two reasons. First, that it was actually brewed as a nod to its role in Philadelphia's Craft Brewing History of the past 25 years. (I'd rather link you back to my original story for you, rather than retell it here...yeah, lazy I know.) Second, this is one of only three kegs that made it out from the West Philly brewery into retail accounts. So, unless you've had the fortune of tasting this fine, easy-drinking brew (stop reading "easy-drinking" as substandard) at the source, you've got this one chance at TJs. One other chance has already passed at Grey Lodge and the other chance for growler fills is an unconfirmed one at the Plymouth Meeting Whole Foods store.

Something New is Brewing at Anchor in San Francisco

Obviously, this is a very fresh story...and we're too far away from April 1st for this to be a joke. Until more news surfaces, I'll simply link you over to::: Beer & Nosh Jay Brooks (with interesting perspective and questions well worth asking) Beer Advocate

Beer Calendar: What To Do in May 2010

One more month of hum-drum beer events to get out of the way prior to Philly Beer Week, in June, when the onslaught of events begins yet once again. (where's my winky icon? ;-) In addition to all of the fun stuff going on below, if you'd like to get in on a pre-PBW Beer Run with me to/from Resurrection Ale House, then you might want to check this out...and 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 Sun. 5/2 - IPA Block Party @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (3:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG) Wed. 5/5 - Dark Horse Sampling @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 5/6 - Meet the Brewer Night (Yards) @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 5/6 - First Thursday Firkin (Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 5/7 - Free Tastings (Flying Fish) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free) Fri. 5/7 - Fleur De Lehigh/Fleur De Mere @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; PAYG) Wed. 5/12 - Anchor, Ithaca, and Tröegs Sampling @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG) Wed. 5/12 - Dock Street Growler Night @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 5/14 - Free Tastings (Great Lakes) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free) Sat. 5/15 - Sly Fox Promo @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm-11:00pm; PAYG) Tue. 5/18 - Free Tastings (Mikkeller) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-6:00pm; Free) Fri. 5/21 - 1st Annual Half Way to Turkey Day Day @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (all day; PAYG) Fri. 5/21 - Beer Academy @ Bella Vista Distributing, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-7:30pm; $5) Fri. 5/21 - Beer Sampling (Southampton) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free) Sat. 5/22 - Liters for Litters @Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, PA (Opening-6:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 5/27 - Free Tastings (Victory) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free) Fri. 5/28 - Beer Sampling (Wheat Beers) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free) Sat. 5/29 - Liters for Litters @Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, PA (Opening-6:00pm; PAYG) Philadelphia's close suburbs Sun. 5/2 - Annual Bock Festival & Goat Races @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (10:00am-6:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 5/6 - Craft Brew Night (Victory) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 5/7 - Friday Night Tasting (Harpoon) @Civera's Deli, Drexel Hill, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free) Fri. 5/7 - Friday Night Tasting (Lancaster Brewing) @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free) Fri. 5/7 - Friday Night Tasting (Flying Dog) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free) Fri. 5/7 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (all day; PAYG) Thu. 5/13 - Brewery Promo Night (Bell's) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 5/14 - Friday Night Tasting (Magic Hat) @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free) Fri. 5/14 - Friday Night Tasting (Sly Fox) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free) Thu. 5/20 - Saison Event @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (PAYG) Thu. 5/20 - Blues Brews 'n' BBQ @Ron's Original, Exton, PA (PAYG) Thu. 5/20 - Craft Brew Night (Stoudt's) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 5/21 - Friday Night Tasting (Long Trail) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free) Fri. 5/28 - Friday Night Tasting (Victory) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4:00pm-7:00pm; Free) Fri. 5/28 - Friday Night Tasting (Flying Fish) @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free) Sun. 5/30 - Run for Victory 5k @Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA (1:00pm; $20/$10) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Wed. 5/5 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (May's selection: Ginger Beer) @Triumph, Princeton, NJ (6:00pm; PAYG) Wed. 5/5 - Cinco de Tröegs @Union Jack's, Boyertown, PA (4:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 5/6 - Charity Cask Night (Dave’s Drummin IPA) @Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA (5:00pm; PAYG) Sat. 5/15 - Beer Sampling and Case Swap @Frank Smith Beverage, Pottstown, PA (PAYG) Wed. 5/19 - New Holland Beer and Calkins Creamery Cheese pairing @Craft Ale House, Royersford, PA (6:00pm; PAYG) Sat. 5/22 - Summer White Party @Iron Hill, Wilmington, DE (12:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG) Events Over $20 Philadelphia Sat. 5/1 & Sat. 5/15 & Sat. 5/29 - Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese Tour @Old City, Philadelphia, PA (3:30pm-5:30pm; $45) Thu. 5/6 - Yards Beer Dinner @Gypsy Saloon, Conshohocken, PA (6:00pm-9:00pm; $55) Wed. 5/12 - Bell's Brewery Loves Cheese @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $50) Wed. 5/12 - Yards Beer Dinner and live performance by Mason Porter @World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; $50) Wed. 5/19 - Go Play in the Yards @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $45) Thu. 5/27 - Meet Your (Cheese) Maker @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $48) Philadelphia's close suburbs Sun. 5/2 - Suds for Buds w/PSPCA @General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (3:00pm-6:00pm; $25) Sat. 5/15 - The Brandywine Valley Craft Brewers' Festival @Iron Hill, Media, PA (1:00pm-5:00pm; $40/$45) Tue. 5/18 - St. Boisterous Beer Dinner @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA (6:00pm; $50) Wed. 5/19 - Unibroue Beer Dinner @Iron Abbey, Horsham, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; $50) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Wed. 5/5 - Meet The Brewer Series Presents… (Great Lakes Brewery) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (7:00pm; $40) Tue. 5/11 - Scandinavian Beer Dinner @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA (7:00pm; $65) Wed. 5/19 - Victory Beer Dinner @Bones Grille, Lansdale, PA (6:00pm; $TBD) Thu. 5/20 - Third Thursday Beer Dinner (Weyerbacher) @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA (6:30pm; $45)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday night to-do list...Football, Beer, Food

If you're out and about in northern Chester County tonight, you can get your sports, your beer, and your food fixes served tonight....just as I'll be doing. Good thing I'm not in the witness protection program as I'm telling you exactly where I'll be tonight. It's only because I recommend that you do the same. First, start things out (unless you don't have a day job, which in that case your happy hour might start at lunch) with happy hour at Winner's Circle along route 100 in Exton, PA. Now, I hear all my beer friends out there scratching their heads--yes, I can hear the scratching. "Winner's Circle? I thought you were a beer connoisseur?" Now c'mon my fine, frothy friends...let's not be snobbish about it. Yes, they are a tried-and-true sports bar complete with personal speakers on every table to tune to your choice of TVs. And, yes, they carry much of the type of beer that many of us do not reach for first. But, they also carry a smattering of Victory, Flying Fish, and Sam Adams. So, while I'm there that will be more than just fine for me. Plus it will be a nice contrast to what I'll be drinking later. Oh wait, and why will I be at Winner's Circle? Glad you asked, and I'll bet you're glad that I finally got around to it. My longtime, good friend Lloyd Vance (NFL Insider and Senior Writer), will be a guest on the Matt Lombardo Sports Talk show (WCHE-AM) at 5:00pm. With all of the Phillies and Flyers success of the past few weeks (whither the Sixers...har!), the Eagles are creating some of their own buzz with the 2010 Draft currently underway. Lloyd and Matt will be breaking down what they think it all means to Philadelphia and the NFL and will be taking calls as well. Join in person, or by phone at 610-701-WCHE (9243). After that, I'll be heading off to West Chester and (believe it or not) my first Beer Dinner at Iron Hill. This one, on paper, looks to be a great one. This morning, I was informed that they are still a couple of seats shy of a sold-out dinner. Not sure how that can be, given the menu and that each of the beers being served have either been fermented in and/or aged in wooden barrels from Chaddsford Winery. With the cellar master from Chaddsford also due to be in attendance, it should make for a great night around the dinner table in West Chester. Here is some paraphrasing of the dinner menu that you can find in more detail over at Iron Hill's website. Five Course Spring Beer Dinner @ 7:00pm $75 pp including gratuity. Reservations required. 610.738.9600 Executive Chef Dan Bethard will be kicking out Rare Seared Ahi Tuna, Spiced Braised Pork Belly, Diver Sea Scallop, Roasted Lamb T-Bone, Crème Caramel, and then some Artisanal Cheeses to finish things off. This smart looking menu will be paired with Larry Horwitz's and Jean Broillet's creations from the brewhouse including D'Armand, Self Titled, Barrel #9, Cherry Dubbel, Au Ciel, Tuff Ghost.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: April 22nd-April 28th

Taxes are done. Mother's Day isn't for another couple of weeks. What else are you gonna do? Get out there and find a good beer event, coming now to a bar/brewery near you. Check out the entire April 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. Tastings, samplings, free, PAYG, and the like @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/23 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Belgian Ales with Joe Sixpack) @Bridgid's, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/22 - Earth Day (5:00pm; PAYG for beers from Long Trail Brewing) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/22 - Taste of Europe with Wetten Imports (7:00pm; PAYG for Draft & Flight Specials available from Eggenberg Brewery's Samichlaus & Belgian Favorites like Delirium from L.Hyughes & Lucifer from Het Ankers) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 4/28 - Left Hand Brewing Night (7:00pm; PAYG for the magic of Dan Conway and his beers from Left Hand) @London Grill, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/22 - The Whole 9 Yards (5:00pm; PAYG for 9 drafts on tap as Yards and London Grill will be espousing the virtues of Earth Day.) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA--- Thu. 4/22 - Craft Brew Night (6:00pm; PAYG for Breckenridge's Agave Wheat, Oatmeal Stout, and 471 IPA) Funk, yes! @Triumph, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 4/25 - Funk Fest (12:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for traditional and untraditional beers from the likes of Dock Street, Dogfish Head, Earth Bread + Brewery, Fegley's/Bethlehem BrewWorks, General Lafayette, Iron Hill Maple Shade, Iron Hill North Wales, Iron Hill Phoenixville, Iron Hill West Chester, Manayunk, Nodding Head, Triumph Philly, Triumph Princeton, Victory, Yards) Hops, yes (too)! @Manayunk Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 4/24 - Hopfest 2010 (1:00pm-5:00pm; $45 includes all of the same local breweries as usual and many more) Because Beer Drinkers can not live by food alone @Iron Hill, West Chester, PA--- Fri. 4/23 - Spring Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $75 for 5 courses of food paired with D'Armand, Self Titled, Barrel #9, Cherry Dubbel, Au Ciel, and Tuff Ghost) @Union Barrel Works, Reamstown, PA--- Tue. 4/27 - Beer Dinner (6:30pm; $40 for a 5 course meal paired with Kölsch, Uncle Fester, Pilsner, Brugge Bastaard, Lager, Mai Bock, and Round Boy Stout)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Run the Beer Week, part 3: One more run before PBW '10

Here comes your last chance to earn points prior to Philly Beer Week's "The Amazing Philly Beer Race" brought to you by The Brew Lounge and Dock Street Brewery. We ran in March to/from Dock Street and in April to/from TJ's in Paoli. Now, on May 8th, let's get together one last time before Philly Beer Week and run to/from Resurrection Ale House on Grays Ferry Avenue. This is the newest of the three pub offspring of Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida. Many of you may not have yet been there, so why not take this chance to get in a run and check off a new pub? I have a nice 5.5 mile run mapped out through the city streets and on the Schuylkill River Trail. We'll meet at 11:30am on 5/8 outside of Resurrection Ale House at Grays Ferry Avenue and Catherine Street. This, as usual, is not a race but a fun run where you'll add points that have been accumulating toward the big event in June during Philly Beer Week. Drop a note to me at Bryan@BrewLounge.com so I and the Resurrection crew can plan accordingly. Still have questions? You should likewise e-mail.

Last Call at Sly Fox....until such time

I'm gonna let the pictures do the majority of the talking here to describe the emotions at the closing of Sly Fox's original location. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the south side of route 113 on the outskirts of Phoenixville. Droves would probably best describe the number of people that streamed in over the afternoon to see the Phillies, the Flyers on TV, and the Giannopouloses and the O'Reilly in person while tossing back a few beers. One Brew Lounge regular described to me how bittersweet the move to the north side of route 113 will be for him personally. He mentioned numerous life events from marriage to birth of children to birthdays that were celebrated at Sly Fox's original location. He hopes that the new location will retain some of the unique charm that he felt the old location had/has instead of taking on a more determined strip mall, antiseptic design quality. My guess is that it won't take long for the Sly Fox regulars to break in the new location and give it some of its own unique charm. And, until then....there's always the Royersford location should you need to fill your Sly Fox need for fresh beer.
(Current location with the new location hiding behind the sign in the background)
(As seen from the course of the annual Goat Races)
(Always was, always will be craft brewed in Pennsylvania)
(Coming soon to a beer cooler near you)
(The sly and foxy fox)
(Can't imagine what riled Mr. Doherty so much that the camera shook)
(C'mon Mr. Foley, smile, it's not that bad is it?!)
(I'd come up with something snarky to say about this...but, I must say it's just a mighty fine picture of the Big Dan and the elusive Mr. Curtin....er wait, does that qualify as snarky?)
(The usual suspects times a lot)
(This could be a contest of "who knows more people in this picture?")

Monday, April 19, 2010

Green Yards on Earth Day and Year-Round

I'm on an event-plugging binge these past few days, but I'm only giving you the best of the best...and here's another one...direct from Yards website.
Yards Earth Day Empty Case Extravaganza 12:00PM-7:00PM In honor of Earth Day, Yards Brewing Company - Pennsylvania's Greenest Brewery - is inviting you to bring your empty cases or six-packs to Yards, fill them up with your favorites and go home a few bucks richer. That's right, you can come to Yards, reuse your cases and six-packs and we can all be greener together. Six-packs save you $1. Cases save you $3. We'd prefer that both are Yards, but really any brand will do. So stop by, say hi and we'll say thanks for helping to reduce waste. Limit four six-packs per customer and two cases per customer. You can combine the two, but you can't exceed $10 in discounted value. Offer only available from noon to 7 PM on April 22. Yards Brewing Company - Pennsylvania's 1st 100% Wind-Powered Brewery.

Work, play, Work

I expect that we should hear more this week from Lew Bryson as he finished up his notes on the Pennsylvania legislative hearings that took place on April 13th. Seeing as how some of the core subjects most interested and involved in the hearings (Maida/Hartranft, Russell, Bryson) all took off immediately after for Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp, it doesn't surprise me that we haven't heard more details yet. With a cross-country flight home to sort it all out, I'm betting that it won't be long now before we can find an update in the usual spot for such things. (trusting, too, that they've brewed a nice--registered--beer to bring home for us all to taste...and prove that they were indeed still doing some form of "work" while out there in CA ;-) Until then, Jack Curtin linked us all in to a Scranton-based article that skimmed the surface.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Funk Fest at Triumph, has it already been a year?

This event rocked last year, so I'm glad to plug here again this year. Details courtesy of Patrick Jones of Triumph in Old City Philadelphia. He may provide some more details before next weekend, but even if not...take my word based on last year (seriously, read that...it's a fine piece of writing if I do say so!) that it will be worth your mouth-puckering time.
Funkfest on April 25th. Here are the breweries that are confirmed: Dock Street Dogfish Head Earth Bread + Brewery Fegley's/Bethlehem BrewWorks General Lafayette Iron Hill Maple Shade Iron Hill North Wales Iron Hill Phoenixville Iron Hill West Chester Manayunk Nodding Head Triumph Philly Triumph Princeton Victory Yards At least 4 more are still maybes at this point. Also, some of the confirmed breweries have more than one beer to offer. I will say that the current line-up is better than ever. It includes beers that I was unable to procure a year ago.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Today/Tonight in Plymouth Meeting....maybe

I haven't been to the new(ish) Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting yet--seen it from the road--but it may make the cut tonight if they don't call a rain delay until tomorrow. Then, if so, I may just find myself there tomorrow. Tough to say at this point. All I did was copy this from their website; kind of feeling lazy right about now, s'pose.
Rooftop Grand Opening! Friday, April 16th (rain date Saturday, April 17th) 12pm-9pm FREE Join us for an all-day grand opening celebration of Plymouth Meeting's coolest new spot: The Whole Foods Market Rooftop Cafe! We cannot wait to share our fantastic space with you and your family! 12pm-2pm: Cake cutting, grilling and music. 3pm-4pm: Healthy snack making for kids and fun with the Elmwood Park Zoo. 4pm-5pm: Children's craft activity, yoga for kids and fun with the Elmwood Park Zoo. 6pm-9pm: Beer and food sampling for adults 21+. Now is your chance to try that seasonal brew you've been eyeing in our Cold Point Pub. Make sure to have your ID ready, and pick up a punch card at our Whole Foods Market table so you can keep track of all the beers you have tried. Turn in your card at the end of the evening to receive a souvenir Plymouth Meeting mini beer mug.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: April 15th-April 21st

Tax Day is about to pass us by. If you're done with them, then come on out and celebrate with your refund or drown your debt repayment in a good beer. If you're not finished yet, get to work! Check out the entire April 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. Tastings, samplings, free, PAYG, and the like @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA--- Fri. 4/16 - Friday Night Tasting (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of Weyerbacher's Hops Infusion, Slam Dunkel, Blanche, Maybe more.) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/16 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Steven's Point) @Bridgid's, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/15 - IPA and Firk the IRS (7:30pm; PAYG by the good folks at Sierra Nevada) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/16 - Taste of Belgium (7:00pm; PAYG for a bunch of Belgian beers by way of Global Imports) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/15 - Keep the Pint Night (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG to hang out with and taste Victory) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/15 - Free Tastings (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free tasting samples of Weyerbacher) @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA--- Thu. 4/15 - Long Trail Brewing Night (6:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG for...well, the title says it all) @Ron's Original, Exton, PA--- Thu. 4/15 - Blues Brews 'n' BBQ (PAYG for beer by Ron's and BBQ by Jimmy's) @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA--- Tue. 4/20 - Mead Tasting (PAYG for mead courtesy of Stonekeep Meadery in Birdsboro, PA) Spring Festivals of Beer are Fun @Blue Monkey Tavern, Merchantville, NJ--- Sat. 4/17 - Spring Beer Festival (5:00pm-9:00pm; $30 gets you in to sample new brews from the many craft beer makers that will be on hand.) @World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 4/18 - Belgian Bierfeesten (1:00pm-4:00pm; $20/$50/$65 for 30+ Belgian breweries in attendance plus a special Belgian food menu) Got a nice refund? Here's some bigger ticket suggestions to reinvest in @Chifa Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/15 - Tax-Free Dogfish Head Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $65 gets you a double rock star, 4-course beer dinner paired with 90 Minute IPA, Midas Touch, Red & White, and Theobroma) @Iron Abbey, Horsham, PA--- Wed. 4/21 - Dogfish Head Beer Dinner (7:00pm-9:00pm; $50 for a five course beer dinner paired with Aprihop, Red & White, Indian Brown, Burton Baton, and a 'surprise' beer for dessert pairing) @Iron Hill, Media, PA--- Tue. 4/20 - Spring Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $65 for a five course beer dinner paired with Belgian Wit, Hefeweizen, ESB, Abbey Dubbel, and Honey Do Wit) @Iron Hill, Phoenixville, PA--- Wed. 4/21 - Spring Beer Dinner (6:30pm; $65 for a five course beer dinner paired with Roggenbier, Raspberry Wheat, Ginger Tripel, Belgian Strong Ale, Abbey Dubbel, and Chocolate Stout) @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/16 - Everybody must get Stone (6:30pm-8:00pm; $48 gets you in the room with Lee Marren as he shares Stone’s hop-tastic lineup including Ruination IPA, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, the new Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and some things we’re not allowed to mention yet. 2 standing-room tickets remain) And, then there are those 'oh boy, this could spell trouble' events @The Drafting Room, Spring House, PA--- Sat. 4/17 - Hopfest (12:00pm; PAYG for Green Flash West Coast IPA, Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Founders Double Trouble, Rock Art Belvidere, Port Brewing Wipeout, Bear Republic, Spring House Beyond the Gates, Southern Tier, Ithaca Ground Break, Lilja's Hop Nest Monster, Flying Fish Exit 16, Duvel Green, Brooklyn Blast, Green Flash Imperial IPA, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Tröegs Nugget Nectar, Elysian Avatar – Jasmine, Brew Works Hop’solutely, a cask of Victory Yakima Twilight, Manayunk "The Hive", a firkin of Manayunk California Dreamin) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 4/20 - Everybody must drink Stone (5:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for more Stone. It's 4/20 and you know what that means...it's the official local kick-off tapping of Stone Sublimely Self Righteous, plus Stone Smoked Porter on tap, and much more. Lee will have Stone gear for sale at cost.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sierra Nevada, the anniversary collaborations kickoff with Anchor

A tour of Anchor Brewery still ranks as a top 10er on my list of all-time beer "accomplishment" list. The history, the personalized tour, the people, and the tastings (oh my, the tastings) in Potrero Hill south of downtown San Francisco is something that I'm about due to get back and do again very soon. (take a tour of Anchor courtesy of 'Beer and Nosh' if you've never taken one in person.) With the 30th Anniversary brews that Ken Grossman has embarked on this year with other historical luminaries of the industry, his Sierra Nevada brewery is paying homage to some that have brought craft beer brewing in the U.S. to where it is today. The 4-part series kicked off last month with the release of an imperial stout brewed in collaboration with Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing. What I would have given to be in San Francisco on April 1. There sure would not have been any snowfalls to thwart my efforts in getting there. Anchor's brewhouse was the backdrop for a dinner to celebrate the release of this beer. Ken and Fritz played host to beer aficionados (industry and non, alike...see how many you can spot in the pictures) that came to pay tribute to the brewing legacies of Sierra Nevada and Anchor, Ken and Fritz. In exchange, they provided an extravagant feast of food, beer, and brewing stories of old and new. The food, the beer, and the pictures of Jesse Friedman in San Francisco is enough to link to him. That he covered this dinner is all the more reason. A link to Jay Brooks and his own review is a wise link to make as well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

WBC @ CBC: Are you staying up for Best Picture?

I don't know if I'm on a personal text exchange or at the end of a mass distribution, but I see from The Brew Lounge Insider stationed at the World Beer Cup award ceremony that Tröegs has pulled down Gold for its Troegenator in the Traditional German-style Bock category. Minutes later...this just in. Iron Hill scored two more to add to its trophy case: Lambic de Hill gets Bronze in Belgian-style Sour and Abbey Dubbel also gets Bronze in Belgian-style Dubbel. Minutes later...more struts across the stage from the Fertile Crescent: Weyerbacher takes a Bronze in Belgian-style Tripel for its Merry Monks. And, that's not all Johnny...Yards pulling down yet another Bronze for the Philly region...this one in the ESB or Strong Bitter category for its Extra Special Ale. Nice. Iron Hill, not content to rest on two brings home one more Bronze and a Silver (British-style Imperial Stout) for good measure. And, the City is not to be denied yet another as Nodding Head pulls up with a Silver in German-style Sour with their, you guessed it, Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse I'm sorry, did you say you want more Gold? Than how about the Raspberry Torte for...wait for it...Iron Hill again! The Insider also has words of high praise for Sean Paxton, the Home Brew Chef, who has put out, reportedly, the largest beer dinner ever...roughly 2,000 guests times 5 courses. I'm not staying up all night, and considering that Chicago is an hour behind the East Coast...if I hear of any more awards germane to the Philadelphia region before I crash, I'll be sure to pass them along to you....that is, if you're actually still awake, actually online and see this, and/or if you actually care about such things. There's likely to be a typo in what you just read..seeing as how I transcribed from text messages that I was receiving. If you care about an accurate and complete list, just head on over to the official spot for such things. Congrats to all. How many more walks across the stage you guys have in you tonight?
(if you're happy and you know it...)

Friday, April 09, 2010

5 Months to 5 Years: Is it really 'Just a Beer'?

Really? Is that what we should think...? ...say? ...write? There seems to be an uptick recently in various stops around the Web (I've lost track of the number of places) that it is, in fact, how we should treat beer---as "just a beer." Occasionally, I have a difficult time discerning whether this is merely a curmudgeon-like tone that I'm hearing or if there really is truly some fact-based foundation for these concerned voices. I could have commented over at Jack's (It's Only Beer), Stan's, or The Beer Nut's (Beer Doesn't Matter) sites. (Or most recently, as of yesterday, Stephen's site.) Plus, doing the search-and-link thing, I traversed my way back through time and found other references going back quite some time...take another entry by Stan (It Is Only Beer), for one example. But, this issue is not something necessarily new but one that has pestered me since before any of them addressed it. Some of my feelings are also fed by, not only by folks entrenched in the industry, friends and family who when talking about the beer writing that I do, talk to me in a condescending tone that suggests...yup, you guessed it---"it's only beer." So, I figured my thoughts instead deserved their own spot here with appropriate links back to their material on the subject instead of burying them in the comments section on someone else's. Here's the thing: I'm just not buying it. What if the Mesopotamians had said, "that's good enough"? Or the Babylonians or Sumerians or whomever else might take credit for the first malted grain beverage. What if the German Reinheitsgebot edict was carried across the globe as the standard for beer making and it led to a downstream effect of everyone saying, "ah, don't go crazy...after all, it's just beer"? What if the Belgians and English didn't try to do anything different with their beers because, of course, there was already a 'standard' and, don't worry, "it's just beer"? (it actual reminds me of that southern legislator in Alabama a couple of years back...remember? "What's Wrong with the Beer We Got? I mean the beer we got drank pretty good, don't it?"....heheh, that one never gets old for me) Or Pierre Celis...or Fritz Maytag...or what if Garrett Oliver said "why bother trying to figure out which foods go best with which beers---it's just beer, we're not supposed to do that with beer"? I'm going a bit far here in exaggeration (though I don't think anyone would/could dispute my analogies thus far), but the point that I'm trying to get to is that beer is a many splendid and much wondrous beverage and, I think, we all know that already. So then why are some so quick to relegate it back to the class of "just beer?" I don't get it. Why are some so quick to dismiss their work in writing and talking about beer as "not important?" (sidebar: in a Philadelphia City Paper article yesterday, I see that the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team alone has attracted more than 60 blogs dedicated to their topic of baseball....is baseball more/less important than beer? ponder, but not too hard...because there likely is not a right or wrong answer) Don't misread me, though. I think that very few of the folks that I read across the Web are trying to downplay beer to the point that they don't respect it or wish to promote it above other beverages. Some of it, I'm sure, has been fueled by the über-geek brewers and consumers that have been fomenting a rage amongst the geekerie to a level unseen and unheard of in (almost?) forever. And further, before I go any farther, I should also stop and say that to a certain point, I agree. To a certain point, I said. I agree that just about the only things that really, truly matter in life are things pertaining to life, death, war, and peace---things that can directly affect the well-being of individuals. Medicine, the military, etc. Oh, then maybe in that case I should be throwing in the judicial system...something that really matters, affecting and protecting our well-beings; then, you need to call in the legislative system as well, with all of its warts, because that flows right on through to the judicial system. How about food and food safety? That's pretty important too, since what we put in to our bodies pretty close to directly affects our lives, our deaths, our well-beings. Hold up then. Is beer a food product? Depends upon whom you ask, I suppose. I think we all agree around here in 'The Lounge' that it is. And, here comes the primary reason why I think that the beer industry---its products, the players, and, yes, including the writers---matters. It is a multi-billion dollar industry full of people who risk all they have to start up businesses to make products that they believe in with the hope that consumers will buy them (of course, there are the money-chasers too, but this is a special industry which seems to have a disproportionately smaller number of them compared to those with a passion and a zeal for creating something special and sharing it with the world with the hopes of making a modest profit). If we get specific to the craft beer segment of the industry, it's an industry where people like you and me own small breweries, brewpubs, distributors, and bars that make, promote, and sell what we all think of as beer better than most of the other 94% of beer sold in the United States. When we look at these beers--these products--that these good people make and sell, they represent "not just beer." At least "not just beer" as many beer drinkers in the United States have become conditioned to believe all that beer can be or should be. They represent creativity with a beverage that we believe is more than "just beer." They represent jobs and they represent livelihoods that you would never wish anyone to lose. But, yet at the end of the day, in some way we do want it all to still be "just beer." Or do we? Going deeper into this conversation and comparing the merits of 10% Triple IPAs versus Helles Lagers on the other end of the taste and color spectrum is not something I had wished to do under this heading, but I realize that it is a part of this conversation that will unavoidably get called up. It's just not one that I feel should be the end-all (or catch-all) for this debate about what beer is and whether it's "just this" or "just that." I say let the brewers experiment with high alcohol and low alcohol...lots of hops and hop substitutes...smoked malts and adjuncts...fruit and yeasts. This is what makes the world of beer so unbelievably interesting. And, it's what makes the jobs of the people in the industry so important. So, to boil it down to "just a beer" is a bit of an unfair reduction of the importance of the jobs that these folks put so much blood, sweat, and tears in to. By saying "it's only beer", I feel that we're reducing the beverage to a pedestrian one, and undercutting the creativity and the growth potential for the brewers who make the beverage that we profess to love so much. Do we want beer to be approachable and democratic? Yes. Do we want people to feel intimidated or left out? No. Do we want a six-pack of beer in the fridge that we can easily reach for at the end of a hard day's work and share with friends around the picnic table without getting into heady esoteric talk about the beer characteristics? Sure thing. But, do we want beer to be exclusively this? Do we want to clip the creative wings of these brewing artists? Do we truly know what beer is and what its potential is? Likely not to all three questions. As someone who is nearing his five year anniversary of maintaining a website dedicated to talking about and promoting this craft beer industry, I'm prouder than ever to be spending my time and money supporting the people and the products involved in keeping the industry growing. Growing in some ways that are obvious and sometimes predictable. Growing in other ways, oft times unpredictable and surprising---rewarding because of it. I'm interested to hear feedback from any and all...but, would be especially interested to read viewpoint(s) from brewers and the like to hear if your beer being referred to as "just a beer" gets under your skin at all. In some ways, I would argue that writers, bloggers, podcasters, and the like play a very important role in sustaining the industry. Don't get me wrong; I understand that it is not necessarily of vital importance that I do it, or he does it, or she does it, but having documented history of the industry from Michael Jackson down to little ol' me and everyone in between is very much important. It may be impossible to quantify the benefit, impact, and influence that writing about beer has on the industry and its consumers. But, until someone comes along and tells me that I'm not doing at least a better-than-average job or convinces me that there's no point to it, I'm gonna keep on... With this, I'm kicking off "5 months to 5 years". In 5 months, I will "celebrate" (maybe "achieve" would be a better word?) 5 years of The Brew Lounge. Because I don't consider this to be fall under the category of excessive navel-gazing (but it surely stands the chance of turning into this!), I'm going to share with you 5 different perspectives of what I do here at The Brew Lounge---past, present, and future. One installment per month until September. They will all be from my perspective so, of course, I can't be wrong :) Cheers to Wonderful Beers and the Friendships and Jobs that they create!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: April 8th-April 14th

If you follow the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News' calendar of events, you'd see that they had quite the overload of events in this past e-mail edition. While this is nothing new around these Philly parts, this is becoming a much more common phenomenon elsewhere from D.C. to New Jersey to Central PA. We're gonna keep rolling with it around here and bring you a week's worth of events. Hopefully, you can handle this bite-size version. enjoy! Check out the entire April 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. A sample a day... @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/9 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Sierra Nevada) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/8 - Keep the Pint Night (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for the not-so-easy-to-find-round-these-parts Berwick Brewing) @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 4/13 - Pinkus Organic Brewery Sampling (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free tasting samples) @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA--- Thu. 4/8 - Pin of Dock Street Sexy Beast (6:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG to get some sexy) @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA--- Fri. 4/9 - Firkin of PBC Rowhouse Red (6:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for some firkin fun) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA--- Thu. 4/8 - Brewery Promo Night (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for a bunch of goodies from Left Hand) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA--- Thu. 4/8 - Craft Brew Night (6:00pm; PAYG for a bevy of brews from Weyerbacher) This sounds pretty special @Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 4/13 - Meet & Greet (8:00pm; PAYG for some delicious Schneider Eisbock from a wooden cask) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 4/13 - Meet & Greet Happy Hour (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG as Peter Drexler starts here before heading off to Brauhaus Schmitz) Just one beer dinner this week? really? @Doc Magrogan's, West Chester, PA--- Thu. 4/9 - Roy Pitz Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $25...call restaurant for more details) Miscellaneous Good Stuff @Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 4/10 - 2010 Stiftungsfest (6:00pm; $10/$12 for lots of Gemuchlichkeit) @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 4/10 - Beer Gone A-Rye (2:00pm; PAYG for a big lineup including Nodding Head's Fava's Revenge, Nodding Head Double Rye IPA, A Firkin of Dock Street Rye IPA, Founders Red's Rye, The Bruery's Rugbrod, Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, 2 Brother's Cane and Ebel)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Michael Jackson, continued...

I'm typically pretty good about checking in on Carolyn Smagalski's beer writings over at Bella Online. I must have missed this one. She provides unique insights into Michael Jackson's background which then, in turn, reminded me to check in over at The Beer Hunter movie blog to see how that project is coming along. Rosemarie Certo, of Philadelphia's Dock Street, had been moved to pay some tribute at the blog. They're both quick reads...You might find any or all of this interesting.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Prohibition spawns Victory

Seems the folks at Victory have something of a mystery going on tomorrow. I don't really have the details (all I was given was a link and a secret password with the hope that I would share it the 7 of you), but I believe that's the point...you need to figure it out for yourself. Go check out the website.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Beer around the Web, in not exactly the most usual places

I had my own deeply personal beer moment this weekend, but just a bit more personal than I feel like getting right this minute. In the meantime, check out the following non-beer podcasts that I subscribe to and find... ...P.W. Fenton at Digital Flotsam put together a bunch of beer memories in the form of old jingles and a very personal one that he calls his 'most memorable beer'... (a 23 minute audio podcast) ...and the Museum of the American Gangster is featured at Rocketboom and discusses the intersection of booze and gangsters of the 20s and 30s (a 3 minute video podcast)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Beer Running yesterday at TJs, just one of a hundred things to choose from yesterday

~ Split thy Skull at Sugar Mom's ~ HopFest at Union Jack's ~ 5k at Great Valley HS...5k run on Kelly Drive...and a few others around the region ~ an Iron Hill event in Delaware ~ Devil's Den and Grey Lodge both throwing beer events on the day before Easter ~ Lawn and Garden projects ~ Easter Egg Hunts ~ Backyard pre-summer picnicking ~ traveling with the family for the holiday/spring break There was any number of things you might have taken up yesterday, most of them out of doors, I presume. So, I was pleased to see 10 show up for the 2nd stop on the 2010 Amazing Philly Beer Race, which will conclude June 5th during Philly Beer Week '10. We ran something around 4.66 miles to and from TJs in Paoli. Big props to Dave Casmay who helped push me on to the finish of the 10th annual 5k Butterfly Run in Malvern earlier in the morning. Even bigger high-fives to Kevin Mudrick who continues to encourage me to schedule more of these runs. Seems that between the Fishtown Beer Runs and mine, he can't get enough of proving "the Professor's" hypothesis. Kevin remains the only runner to have come to every one of the Beer Runs that I've conducted over the past 2+ years. And, Pat...friend of The Brew Lounge...who came out to meet up with us and to check out what goodies were on tap from Dock Street. Unfortunately, nothing in the sixtel cooler had kicked recently enough to get either the Cream Ale or Bubbly Wit from Dock Street on tap that we'd arranged for the day. No worries, check back within the next few days to TJs tap list and you should stop in to check it out. P.S. Did I mention...the outdoor dining is now ready for your alfresco enjoyment?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Winemakers won't be happy with this one-two punch

First, I read on through to an excellent link from Don Russell to a column by an assistant winemaker about the true costs of making wine, even "very good" wine. A very good and enlightening read; Highly Recommended. Now today Don carries on, where as Joe Sixpack, he claims that wine can be made by monkeys! Don't believe?-- go and read it for yourself. Actually, it's a nice primer on sake...just the reference to winemakers that made me laugh. While on the topic of sake and rice, I'll figure that it's a good place to link to a recent interview on The Brewing Network where they talk with Trevor Schaben of Thunderbird Brewing in Kearney, NE about brewing with adjuncts, particularly corn.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: April 1st-April 7th

Which month is it that supposedly comes in like a lion? For the sake of the Philly Beer Calendar, I'm gonna say it's April. Read more to find out why. If you'd like to go for a run with me to/from TJs in Paoli this Saturday, you might want to check this out...then drop a note to me. Check out the entire April 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. Get your samples, get your tastings, there's some for all @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/2 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Otter Creek/Wolavers) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA--- Fri. 4/2 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Sierra Nevada) @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 4/7 - Beer Sampling (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free tasting samples of Tröegs) @McGillins, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/1 - Java Head Stout debut (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG the City's debut of this year's Tröegs Java Head Stout) @Triumph, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 4/1 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (6:00pm; PAYG for April's selection Über Pils) @Triumph, New Hope, PA--- Fri. 4/2 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (6:00pm; PAYG for April's selection Barrel Aged Scotch Ale) @Triumph, Princeton, NJ--- Wed. 4/7 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (6:00pm; PAYG for April's selection Honeymoon Braggot) Better set your alarm clocks before heading out to these events the day before Easter @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 4/3 - 2nd Anniversary Party (2:00pm; PAYG to enjoy a selection of rare & limited drafts and a free delicious buffet) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 4/3 - Stout Season Opens (all day; PAYG for the first of 13 weeks of Beer (and Trout) Season) @Iron Hill, Wilmington, DE--- Sat. 4/3 - The Dark Side Release Party (12:00pm; PAYG for the newly-released Dark Side as well as Bourbon Oatmeal Stout, American Stout, Dark Situation, Oompa Loompa Chocolate Stout, Schwarzbier, Smoked Porter, Black IPA, and Bourbon Russian Imperial Stout) @Sugar Mom's, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 4/3 - Split thy Skull (1:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG for a lineup including Duck-Rabbit Barleywine, Flying Fish Exit 16, Nøgne Ø Andhrimnir, Ballast Point 3 Sheets, Lagunitas Olde Gnarlywine, Sly Fox Ichor, Heavy Seas Below Decks, Great Divide Old Ruffian, Yards Old Bartholomew, and Lancaster Boss Hog) @Union Jack's, Boyertown, PA--- Sat. 4/3 - Easter Hopfest (12:00pm; PAYG, reservations required for a lineup including Russian River Pliny the Younger (Supplication back-up), Bells HopSlam, Stone Ruination, Steamworks Conductor Imperial IPA, Avery Maharajah, Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, Coronado Idiot, Ballast Point Sculpin, Ithaca Flower Power, Founders Double Trouble, Manayunk California Dreamin', Victory Hop Wallop, Bear Republic Apex, Fegleys Brew Works Hop'solutely, Tröegs Nugget Nectar, New Holland Imperial Hatter, Otto's Double D IPA, Southern Tier Gemini, Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly, and Moylan's Hopsickle) Don't forget the firkins @Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA--- Thu. 4/1 - Charity Cask Night (5:00pm; PAYG for Fresh Strawberries infused with our Belgian Wit) @Craft Ale House, Royersford, PA--- Thu. 4/1 - Fool for Firkins (6:00pm; PAYG a firkin of dry-hopped Double Simcoe from Weyerbacher as well as their '09 Heresy and Insanity to compare to this years batch (all on tap), as well as Merry Monks Belgian Triple and their Slam Dunkel) @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA--- Thu. 4/1 - Firkin of Flying Fish Farmhouse (PAYG for what the title says) @Prohibition Taproom, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/2 - First Friday Firkins (7:00pm; PAYG for April's selection of Gritty's ESB) Drinking makes you hungry, Eating makes you thirsty, ergo... @Old City, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 4/3 - Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese Tour (3:30pm-5:30pm; $45 for 2 beers, 4 cheeses, 8 beers) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA--- Wed. 4/7 - Meet The Brewer Series Presents… (7:00pm; $TBD for a night with Manayunk Brewery) @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 4/6 - Flying Fish Beer Dinner (7:00pm-10:00pm; $55 for a 4-course meal paired with Farmhouse Ale, Exit 4, Exit 16, and Exit 1) @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA--- Tue. 4/6 - Cask Beer Dinner with Ron Fischer (7:00pm; $65 for 5 courses and 5 casks including Harviestouns, Burton Bridge, Thornbridge, and a pin of JW Lees Port) @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA--- Sun. 4/4 - Easter Brunch (10:00am-2:00pm; $20/$10 for a classic brunch buffet including assorted breakfast items, omelet station, waffles, carving station, desserts and a chocolate fountain) Hey, I forgot these events...where do they go? @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 4/2 - Monster Max (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for a tapping of a sixtel (or two) of Brooklyn Monster Barley Wine) @McGillins, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 4/7 - Anniversary Celebration (6:00pm; PAYG for rollback pricing on drinks and food, hand out free "fireplace-roasted" potatoes and dedicate a plaque commemorating the anniversary. $1.50 mugs of Victory Throwback Lager & McGillin's 1860 IPA, by Stoudt's for the anniversary) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA--- Fri. 4/2 - Incubus Friday (all day; PAYG for a keg of Incubus Tripel 'til it kicks)

Truly SHOCKING News out of Exton, PA

Press Release.....News can be found at ExtonBeverage.com In a day full of pranks, this news release is truly shocking. I knew that Greg always dreamed of something "more" and is highly accomplished in the outdoors arena, including all-star/championship disc golfing, but this was a bit unforeseen I must admit.

Busted by Uncle Jack, always one step ahead

I noticed a lot of abnormal website activity overnight and now I think I've figured out what was going on. The intrepid Uncle Jack Curtin has unveiled on the Beer Yard website my plans to launch a Flash Mob Beer Run today. He must have been digging around my unpublished drafts and found the sketches for what should prove to be a memorable, dare I say even trendsetting, event. He got the location a bit wrong though, as the run is planned to begin in Exton....but, like Forrest Gump, I may end up in Malvern....Paoli....Philadelphia....who needs the R5 anyway?! Join me if you'd like after you thrash about trying to get Ommegang BCTC tickets.