Saturday, May 29, 2010

Capone's will be closed for two days....with a twist

While the bottle shop at Capone's will remain open for both Sunday and Monday of this Memorial Day weekend (pretty standard for Capone's on holidays), the restaurant/bar will be closed. That's not necessarily the news nor the twist. The twist is that he'll fill growlers for you from the restaurant via the bottle shop and if you call ahead, they will be pre-filled for you to reduce your wait time once you're there. Maybe I haven't paid attention in the past and perhaps that is also SOP, but nonetheless, I thought it would be worthwhile to share this news with you...since, I know there's always some sort of mad scramble around on holidays to find beer at just the time you need it. By the way, while plugging Capone's here, I might as well go ahead and share with you a new Beer Week: Capone's Beer Week....and it just so happens to coincide with Philly Beer Week ;-) Here's the lineup: (Visit their site for all event details) Fri 6/4 (6:30pm-9:30pm) Old Dominion. Meet all the Brewers Keep the Pint Glass! Sat 6/5 (11am to 2pm) Cigar City Meet Joey The Head Brewer Sun 6/6 (11am-3pm) Brunch w/St. Somewhere Sun 6/6 (3pm-6pm) Meet owner and founder Tim Suprise of Arcadia Ale's and Rick Suarez Mon 6/7 (1pm-3:30pm) Boon Brewery Meet Frank Boon Mon 6/7 (4pm) Dogfish Head Brewery on Draft Tue 6/8 (4pm-6pm) Ayinger Meet Brewer Franz Tue 6/8 (7pm-9pm) Meet 12% Imports Brian Ewing/ also Brian from Stillwater & and at least Three other Belgian Brewers Wed 6/9 (7pm-9:30pm) Meet the Brewer From Weyerbacher Thu 6/10 (4pm-7pm) Meet Rob The Head Brewer from Prism Brewing Thu 6/10 Founders Night Meet Dave the owner and Mike Bell Fri 6/11 (2pm-4pm) Odell's Meet the Brewer 1st time on East Coast Does all of this make Matt Capone the hardest-working or most accommodating publican around these parts? Well, surely you know I would never go that far! (It'd be too unfair to many others doing the same.) But, we can safely say that Matt is going beyond the call to uphold his end of the deal. Well, I guess that's not necessarily news to most of you either.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Beer Calendar: What To Do in June 2010

Maybe all this June 2010 calendar needs is one entry: PHILLY BEER WEEK 2010. There's no way in the world that I'm going to list out every event here, so here's... ~ A link to The Brew Lounge spreadsheet Calendar of Events...and, ~ A link to Beer Valley's transformation of the Spreadsheet into a Google Calendar...and, ~ A link to the Official Philly Beer Week Website...and, ~ A link to the *new* ~ A link to The Brew Lounge's Daily PBW Time Capsule (coming June 2nd) So, that means that anything on the official PBW calendar from June 4th-June 13th will not appear below. Otherwise, let's see what we can dig up to do that's either not during Philly Beer Week or not (technically) a part of Philly Beer Week. (Though, let's admit, we're ALL a part of what makes Philly Beer great, whether we're on the official calendar or not) 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 Wed. 6/2 - Victory Tröegs and Old Dominion Sampling @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free) Sat. 6/11-Mon. 6/14 - World Cup Action @Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Fri. 6/18 - Beer Sampling (Brooklyn Brewing) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free) Wed. 6/23 - Weyerbacher Sampling @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free) Thu. 6/24 - St. Jean-Baptist Day @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (10:00am-10:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 6/25 - Beer Sampling (Yuengling) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free) Philadelphia's close suburbs Wed. 6/2 - Specialty Keg Wednesday (Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 6/3 - Brewery Night (Bear Republic) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 6/3 - Brewery Promo Night (Boulder) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 6/4 - Friday Night Tasting (Founders) @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free) Fri. 6/4 - Old Dominion @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (6:30pm-9:30pm; PAYG) Fri. 6/4 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (all day; PAYG) Sat. 6/5 - Cigar City @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (11:00am-2:00pm; PAYG) Sun. 6/6 - Brunch with St. Somewhere @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (11:00am-3:00pm; PAYG) Sun. 6/6 - Uinta @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (3:00pm-5:00pm; PAYG) Mon. 6/7 - Boon @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (1:00pm-3:30pm; PAYG) Mon. 6/7 - Dogfish Head @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (4:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG) Tue. 6/8 - Ayinger @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (1:00pm-3:30pm; PAYG) Tue. 6/8 - Flying Fish @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (3:30pm-5:00pm; PAYG) Tue. 6/8 - 12% Imports @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Wed. 6/9 - Weyerbacher @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (7:00pm-9:30pm; PAYG) Thu. 6/10 - Founders @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 6/10 - Founders @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 6/11 - Odell @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA (2:00pm-4:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 6/11 - Friday Night Tasting (Rogue) @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free) Thu. 6/17 - Blues Brews 'n' BBQ @Ron's Original, Exton, PA (PAYG) Fri. 6/18 - Friday Night Tasting (Bear Republic) @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free) Fri. 6/25 - Friday Night Tasting (Old Dominion) @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Events Over $20 Philadelphia Sat. 6/5 & Sat. 6/19 - Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese Tour @Old City, Philadelphia, PA (3:30pm-5:30pm; $45) Philadelphia's close suburbs Sun. 6/20 - Beer Dinner with Dad @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA (4:00pm; $50) Thu. 6/24 - Bangin' BBQ, Blues & Brews @Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast, West Chester, PA (6:00pm-9:00pm; $50/$85) Wed. 6/30 - Victory Beer Dinner @Bridgets Steak House, Ambler, PA (6:30pm; $TBD) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Tue. 6/1 - Summer Picnic Beer Dinner @Union Barrel Works, Reamstown, PA (6:30pm; $40) Wed. 6/2 - Meet The Brewer Series Presents… (Twin Lakes Brewing) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (7:00pm; $40) Fri. 6/18 - Lancaster vs North Wales Cask Challenge @Iron Hill, Lancaster, PA (5:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Tue. 6/22 - Brooklyn Beer Dinner @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA (7:00pm; $55) Thu. 6/24 - Third Thursday Beer Dinner (Victory) @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA (6:30pm; $35)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 27th-June 3rd

This weekly calendar will take you right up to the doorstep of Philly Beer Week, which begins on June 4th. Check out the entire May 2010 calendar over here.... or the June Calendar over here. Free Tastings and PAYG sampling @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA--- Fri. 5/28 - Friday Night Tasting (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free tasting samples of Flying Fish) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA--- Fri. 5/28 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of Victory) @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 6/2 - Beer Sampling (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free tasting samples of Victory, Tröegs, and Old Dominion) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA--- Wed. 6/2 - Specialty Keg Wednesday (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for Dark Horse's Sapient Trip Ale) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA--- Thu. 6/3 - Brewery Promo Night (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for a lineup of Boulder Beer from Colorado) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 5/27 - Free Tastings (6:00pm-8:00pm; Free tasting samples of Victory) Beer and Food go together like Food and Beer @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA--- Wed. 6/2 - Meet The Brewer Series Presents… (7:00pm; $40 for a night with Twin Lakes Brewing) @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 5/27 - Meet Your (Cheese) Maker (6:30pm-8:00pm; $48 for Birchrun Hills Farm’s cheeses and an all-local lineup of quaffable brews) @Union Barrel Works, Reamstown, PA--- Tue. 6/1 - Summer Picnic Beer Dinner (6:30pm; $40 for a 5-course meal paired with Uncle Fester, Kölsch, Hop Knockers IPA, Mai Bock, Wobbly Bob, Hefeweizen, and Brugge Bastaard) After it's all done, go burn some calories @Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA--- Sun. 5/30 - Run for Victory 5k (1:00pm; $20/$10...the run is currently sold out)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Beer, University City (Tap House), Cheese, Craft Ale House, New Holland Brewing.....or.....I can't come up with a better title for this

Closing the book here on a couple of odds 'n' ends from last week. Though, nothing so odd about them at all. Unless you consider odd seeing Dr. Joel Armato of New Holland Brewing two consecutive nights...which I understand is just as many times as you can count on seeing him during Philly Beer Week. Or odd having a 70 tap setup of mostly good craft and imported beer in University City....okay maybe that's one is a little on the south side of odd. Or if you think that beer and cheese together is odd...which in that case, you'd best get paying attention and studying up. City Tap House Tuesday night saw Patty and I hop the train for Center City to take in a private showing of the new City Tap House. From best I could gather, the city's latest entry into what has seemed to be a steady stream of new bars over the last year or two already opened to the public---and had a soft opening---and now this past week played host to a friends/family/media type of private event. Not sure how traditionally linear of an approach this was but, no matter, in a nutshell City Tap House is open and they are pouring many fine domestic craft and imported beers, one after another on numerous (6?) draft towers, interrupted only occasionally by one of "those beers" that many of us here around The Brew Lounge don't particularly care for.
(on the terrace at City Tap House)
A rough count of a hundred or so media folk, brewers, publicans, sales reps, distributors, and the like turned out just as the rainy weather was clearing for the evening. It was slightly cool outside, so the open firepits on the "green" rooftop patio were a welcome part of the ambiance for many. I can see this becoming prime real estate in the cooler weather. Approaching CTH (yes, yet another acronym has been introduced!) from Walnut Street, there's not much indication of the restaurant other than from a glance upward to the patio where you can see the tips of the dancing flames. A walk through a simply marked door and then a short ride up an elevator gets you in to the bar.
(night falls over the firepits at City Tap House, a nice addition to the al fresco city landscape)
Inside, a tasteful mix of wood and industrial metal (hey, I never claimed to be an interior designer!) provide for a real comfortable session at the bar or in the restaurant. The press release says that they're shooting for a mountain lodge feel; I suppose I can get with that, though it's not the first striking reaction that I have when I look matter.
(clipboard menus of very good beers spanning the flavor spectrum)
A long rectangular bar allows bartenders to circle the bar to reach all of the six (I believe it is six...or seven?) draft towers. A clipboard menu of the pretty decent looking draft menu allows patrons to thumb through and make sense of the Saison Duponts, the Harpoon Single Hop ESBs, the New Holland Black Tulips, the Sly Foxes, Victorys, Yardses, and on and on. I think you get the picture.
(one stall in the cold box per draft tower...keeps things nicely organized)
Along with several others, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the cold box storage for the draft beer delivery system. It's not often that you see such meticulous care taken in the organization of the kegs and their draft lines. Basically speaking, the cooler has one "stall" for each set of taps on a draft tower. Lines are zip-tied and labeled, dials are clearly postitioned to monitor beer flow pressure (didn't see any spelling errors, in case the PLCB is still worried). With around 70 taps, organization becomes an even more important thing. Not too shabby! And, if the concept of this level of choice is too much for and you'd like to remember what you've enjoyed in the past, CTH has a system for logging your purchases into a database for your future reference---should we trust that the privacy policy here is stronger than at Facebook?! ;-o

I didn't inquire much into how this works, but I suppose that any given point you should be able to get some sort of report at the bar of what you've had in the past. To be able to check it out online at home with an account would be useful too. I can't recall that I've ever seen or heard of another bar doing something like this.

(private tasting room can be reserved for you and your bestest beer drinking friends)
One other unique feature at CTH (did I mention the firepits?!) is the private tasting room. Say you want to get together the team from the office, maybe 15 or 20 of you. You have the idea to make it beer-centric and help introduce your co-workers to your favorite beverage. Behind the reception desk at CTH, there's a private room with a set of unique taps that can be setup to your specification for your private event. There's room to mingle and have light bites to eat while you're sampling from your specially-selected beers. Before we headed back to the train out of the City, we cabbed it over to Brauhaus Schmitz for a taste of the qualifying round for the Philly Beer Geek competition. Turned out it was much less pomp than I was expecting. In fact, the winner had already cleaned up and claimed his spot in the semi-finals...which I see were held just last night and in which he moved on to the finals....which did I mention I'll be donning a robe for as a 2010 PBW Finals Judge? Yes, you read that correctly. Nonetheless, we had an hour to kill so that allowed me to dabble in both a Gose and a Beliner Weisse....i.e. Prost! Did I mention that we had one time for one last once at America's Best Train Station Beer Bar? (plug) New Holland, Cheese, and Craft Ale House Calkins Creamery from above Scranton, PA. New Holland Brewing from Michigan. Last Wednesday, Craft Ale House in Limerick served as the meeting place for the two and their respective cheeses and beers. Jay Montgomery from Calkins Creamery made the trip down the turnpike to share some of his cheeses with one of its most pairworthy relatives: beer.
(Joel Armato, New Holland Brewing, and Jay Montgomery of Calkins Creamery show off their favorite tasty treats at Craft Ale House to a roomful of barley and dairy lovers)
This actually formed the basis of my dinner for the evening. Seriously, beer+cheese+bread = dinner, am I right? And while I didn't settle on any "awards" for best beer and cheese pairings of the evening (though the Golden Cap Saison and the Skinner Falls Basket-style Tomme was pretty damned near close to perfect), I believe I found a new "it" beer of the least from New Holland, that is. El Mole Ocho!

I thought previously that Charkoota Rye was one my favorite 'most interesting' beers from this brewery. The Ocho blew it away. Complex layers of a little roast, a little smoke, a little pepper, a little chocolate, all created a lot of interesting flavor and aroma. A very pleasing beer to say the least and one that I better find more of before it's too late!

(at Craft Ale House in Limerick, PA...cheese from Calkins Creamery and beer from New Holland Brewery)
This made for a very pleasant way to grocery shop at Wegmans in Collegeville on the way home. I've never mentioned the beer selection at Wegmans; I'm beginning to feel like, at least around southeastern Pennsylvania, it's more noteworthy to talk of places NOT serving the kind of beer that we all enjoy. In other words, as many of you already know, this particular Wegmans has a very impressive selection of bottled beer for sale to go. Makes me curious as to the Wegmans that will very soon open less than 1/2 mile from our house in Malvern.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Philly Beer Week, buy a real nice shirt for a great cause

Brad Hosbach has put together a real sharp looking t-shirt design and made it available to you at a great price. It's the kind of thing you'd want to be seen in during Philly Beer Week as well as beer events during the rest of the year. Drop a note to him, get a t-shirt, and help support a great cause. Instead of putting any more of my own spin on it, here's the concept in Brad's words:
If you are in need of a fresh t-shirt, buy this one to represent "America's greatest beer drinking city" and 3 dollars will be donated to Alex's Lemonade Foundation (to fight childhood cancer) - shirts come in 3 styles; add $2 for xxl, xxxl, $3 for xxxxl - Hanes Beefy Tee $10 (sizes are pretty true) - American Apparel soft tee $15 (run a bit tight, but not hipster tight) - Alt Apparel Girl fitted tee $15 (a bit snug, order a size up if needed) - links for each are below if you want more sizing specifics - all shirts will be navy or royal blue with white ink. - if you really want a specific color, request it and I'll try to make it happen. - shirts can be shipped for an extra $3 - I accept paypal, check, pesos, etc. - to order reply with size(s) and let me know where to ship or if you want to pick up. thanks in advance for your support, Brad.¤tColor=¤tColor=

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Monday, It's a PBW update-Hear ye, Read all about it, Now Get Planning

Welcome back to your desk job and to this, your Monday Morning Productivity Killer. Though, to be fair, everyone defines productive just a little bit differently. The official calendar over at Philly Beer Week's website is reportedly "locked." However, I wouldn't rule out last minute changes. I'll keep an eye on it, but I'm releasing this latest update to you with the anticipation that it won't change much. I'm looking to lock down my own schedule. It's a busy time of year, but I'll look to squeeze as much in as possible, though it certainly will be less than in each of the last two years. I'm going to continue to point you over to the original page where the link to the spreadsheet is contained. I've rearranged a couple of the columns. Also, I've completed reseeded the spreadsheet. We're now up to 10 printed pages. Over the past week, there have been enough additions, deletions, changes/edits that it was just easier to do a fresh load of the calendar. Hopefully, this doesn't screw too many of you up...those of you that have been planning for a couple of weeks now. So, go get it. Take some time...focus...Check it out. Maybe look at just one day at a time...narrow it down Free/PAYG versus big ticket versus versus evening versus late night...everyone has their own method. ===>And now there's a Google Calendar to go along with it, courtesy of Jake Ludwinski at As you peruse, you may find interesting things along the way as did I. You may even give out some preliminary awards, as also did I. For your enjoyment...or, if for nothing else, to continue the erosion of your Monday Morning Productivity. Your boss can thank me later, preferably with a beer at a PBW event. Best and Longest Event Names (plus a gratuitous nod to profanity for good measure): Fergie's Best well-deserved Dig against the PLCB: Memphis Taproom's Brunch Best non-brewer to have an event named in his honor: Sparks Most ambiguous event name: British Invasion....paired with a blank description, this is not a good way for me to reconsider my years-long personal boycott of Elephant & Castle Worst non-textbook Marketing: any of the roughly 50 "events" that have very little to the name and absolutely no description. In amongst almost 900 events, I'm not even giving a sideways glance to these while looking down the list...fact is, they get lost for lack of any details. Worst example of proofreading: perhaps I'm nitpicking, but sixtle is spelled sixtel...Oscar is Oskar...and not only is Franzeskanner, Franziskaner...but heffe is hefe...and Tria is located in PA, not NY (oops, nevermind, I see that's now been fixed) Most represented brewery: I didn't scientifically count each occurrence of an event for these guys, but I saw a heck of a lot of Sierra, Victory, and Voodoo on the calendar. The "what's up with Afternoon Delight?"award: Don't know if there was any coordination to these events, but I seemed to notice a handful, or so, of events named along the lines of "...Afternoon Delight..." Don't know what it means, but if it's an inside secret, maybe someone will let me in on it. The older but wiser award: Lord Chesterfield better have taken his meds, 'cause this guy is putting in some serious time during PBW. The We Try Harder award: Can't wait to see how all of these brewers and reps are going to cover all of these bars over all of these days. Better be a reliable car's an amazingly staggering lineup of events for these folks to cover in 10 days. Name that Target Market award: Delilah's, Le Bec Fin, Four Seasons, Jose Garces...maybe the traditional hard core beer geek crowd is considered played out. This year, more than ever, "non-traditional venues" are hosting beer events. If it's part of a year-round education and foray into better beer, then it's probably a good thing. Biggest unanswered question: How will a June-based PBW go over with the masses? I'm going into it cautiously optimistic, but I've heard from numerous who have already mentioned that their available time for PBW this year is going to be reduced simply because of too many other commitments at this busy time of year. We shall see. Any observations from the calendar that you'd like to share?

Friday, May 21, 2010

The 3rd Annual Philly Beer Run: June 13, 2010

It's back again for a third straight Philly Beer Week, this year with an extra twist. The Brew Lounge is once again teaming up with Dock Street Brewery to conduct a run through the City and a post-run celebration at the restaurant. This year, there will be live music and a cookout at Dock Street. The big twist to the run this year can be found in the notes below. These notes should give you a starting idea of whether you wish to join in with us or not. Last year, we had around 60 participants and a blast afterwards hanging out with excellent pizzas and beers at Dock Street. Give these notes a read-through, then RSVP or drop a note to me if you have additional questions. ---Philly Beer Run Quick Notes--- the 'Date': June 13, 2010 the 'Time': meet between 12pm-12:30pm the 'Where': City Hall, northeast "apron" the 'What': Pick your own route through Center City (this is not a group run), finish at Dock Street at 50th/Baltimore the 'Twist': Make 4 stops along the way to complete a task/challenge (these will be very basic and involve no special skills). You will learn more later about these stops. the 'Why': Even though the route you choose to these stops and eventually to Dock Street will take up to 6-7 miles, these stops provide both a break as well as the chance to earn more points the 'What are these points anyway?': Points will be accumulated by the runners and totaled at the finish as the basis for awarding prizes!! the 'Anything else?': There will be live music and a cookout awaiting the runners at Dock Street the 'Why are we doing this?': Because after 9 days of Philly Beer Week, this is a unique event that will help you to burn off some of those extra calories that you've put on during PBW and have fun at the same time! After you RSVP, more details will be forthcoming...including details about the post-run festival at Dock Street.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 20th-May 26th

Philly Beer Week edges ever closer and we can see bars and breweries scaling back a bit in their extracirriculars here in the last couple of weeks prior in anticipation. June 4th-June 13th will be crazy packed with events. You better get planning now---take your choice of the official PBW calendar over at its website or the Brew Lounge Spreadsheet Calendar of Events which is simply the PBW calendar put into a user-friendly spreadsheet. Until then, if you need something to sooth your soul and palate, you'll find a handful of events below to get you by. Check out the entire May 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. For a great cause, try this... @Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 5/22 - Liters for Litters (Opening-6:00pm; Buy beer, Buy raffle tickets...50% of proceeds go to Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) Try a new beer, you might even get it for free @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 5/21 - Beer Sampling (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Southampton beer and chatting with Joe Sixpack) @Bella Vista Distributing, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 5/21 - Beer Academy (6:00pm-7:30pm; $5 for a class and samples related to New Holland Brewing from Michigan) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA--- Fri. 5/21 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Long Trail) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 5/21 - 1st Annual Half Way to Turkey Day Day (all day; PAYG for Thanksgiving Food Specials, Flyers Frivolity, and leftover Fall and Oktoberfest Beers) Big events with a lot of great beers @Capone's Restaurant, Norristown, PA--- Thu. 5/20 - Saison Event (PAYG for over 15 very special saisons and twists on the theme) @Iron Hill, Wilmington, DE--- Sat. 5/22 - Summer White Party (12:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG for the Belgian Wit Beer Release Party up on the deck) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA--- Thu. 5/20 - Craft Brew Night (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for a free buffet and pint specials of Stoudt's Double IPA, Fat Dog Stout, and Heifer-In-Wheat) @Ron's Original, Exton, PA--- Thu. 5/20 - Blues Brews 'n' BBQ (PAYG for Blues, Brews, and yes Jimmy's BBQ) All this beer is bound to make you hungry @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA--- Thu. 5/20 - Third Thursday Beer Dinner (6:30pm; $45 for a unique dinner event with Weyerbacher Brewing)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Iron Hill's Brandywine Valley Craft Brewers' Festival: 5/15/2010

This is mostly the "picture edition."
As you can see, my biggest dilemma from Saturday's Mayhem in Media was figuring out which pictures to use of brewer Bob Barrar pouring from the two methuselahs, one of Double Red and one of Russian Imperial Stout (mighty fine beers to be gracing the 6 liter bottles!)
Back to the beginning.
Mother Nature must have been compensated well, because I'm not sure this festival has ever seen a better combination of temperature, humidity, and wind. Plus, with crowd estimates between 1,000 and 1,200, it's nice to see Iron Hill keeping this festival from growing (out of control) into something they don't want it to become. There were only but a few congested chokepoints around the festival grounds adjacent to the Iron Hill building, waits in port-o-pot lines never seemed to get too lengthy, and lines to get a beer were quite reasonable...except perhaps for the Dogfish Head line which never seemed shorter than the width of the street.
All told, this has become a very pleasant festival where most local breweries are included. Added that just about every brewery brings something just at least a little bit different than their "standard" brews and that Iron Hill takes it yet a step farther...hence, the methuselahs this year...I think you get the picture.
Hey, speaking of pictures, let's go to the pictures. Enough of my words.
Oops, no not yet.
Just a few more words first that I promised I'd throw out there for your consumption. Real quick, like... ...according to Iron Hill, roughly $75,000 has been donated over the years to local charity
...this year's beneficiary again was the Media Youth Center.
...Fegley's Brew Works Kriek. Whouda thought I'd start the day with a Kriek? Well, it was fruity, pleasantly but not disarmingly tart, and a nice refreshing way to kick things off.
...speaking of refreshing, how about that Berliner Weisse from Nodding Head? Yeah, you know!
...I chewed on some recently smoked malt that will become the basis for Yards Grodziski (Polish Smoked Wheat). It was smoked last week at Percy Street Barbecue.
...Maibock from Stewart's, like always.
...Saison Vatour and Biere de Garde from McKenzie never gets old. I could base a festival around these beers.
...beers from Iron Hill like Imperial Pumpkin (trick or treat!) and Cherry Dubbel (yes, again, I love this beer) were just a couple of the host's wonderful brews
...I don't see John Rehm nearly enough and enjoy every time I do. I haven't written much about Philadelphia Brewing recently and that will change soon, I informed him, when I talk about this great 6-pack of Fleur de Lehigh hanging out in my fridge.
...Carolyn Smagalski might have been the hardest-working non-brewer in attendance on Saturday!
...though, Joe Sixpack was pulling his own weight by raising awareness and funds for Philly Beer Week. The Hammer of Glory made its rounds too. That's in pictures down below too.
......okay, I promise, to the pictures---->
(Bob Barrar held center court, literally, with his methuselahs of big beer)
(Carolyn Smagalski and William Reed, Standard Tap/Johnny Brenda's, discuss PBW preparations)
(Bill Moore, brewmaster, pours his Lancaster Brewing beers)
(William Reed carries a big hammer)
(Dockta D & The Infirmary play for the crowd---and to the crowd with the Flyers jersey)
(Chris Walsh, owner of River Horse Brewery, and his wife Jill poured the wonderfully tasty Double White)
(Mark Edelson, co-owner Iron Hill, opens the beer while Bob Barrar, brewer, directs traffic to the center stage)
(Jennie Hatton, Profile PR, and Philadelphia Brewing's John Rehm)
(Flying Fish came with some nice beer, but more impressively a new jockey box)
(Ric Hoffman, brewer at Stewart's Brewing Company, pours for Scott Holland)
(ain't no beer scene complete without buds Casey Hughes, award-winning Flying Fish brewer, and Jen Hatton, Profile PR and PBW Secretary and Promoter extraordinaire)

American Craft Beer Week is back again!

Bars are opening across the country today on the first day of American Craft Beer Week (that's actually a relief to type out after way too much recent typing of Philly Beer Week!) With nearly 20,000 "likes" on its Facebook page, ACBW is back for another even bigger year just as the House of Representatives has taken up the cause with an official resolution recognizing ACBW and "supporting the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week". Around here in the Philly area, a handful of breweries, stores, and bars are participating. You can find them as well as any in your own neck of the woods by checking out their events database. I've used ACBW as an excuse in past years to stop in at Rock Bottom in King of Prussia, something I do all too infrequently. They've got some special stuff going on this week, so this may again be another perfect excuse. Cheers to a continually evolving and exciting industry!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The (unofficial) Philly Beer Week Calendar is now Available for Download!

4 days and counting...... I heard you North Carolina; you too, California. Even New Jersey and New York, but especially all of my phaithful Philadelphians (sorry, using 'ph' is a pet peeve of mine, yet somehow---). Yes, I've heard scores of you clamoring for the 2010 version of the Philly Beer Week Calendar of Events. I'd begun monkeying with the setup earlier last week and picked up the pace this weekend after receiving another couple handfuls of requests. Actually, they've been quite kind in nature, not demanding. Most realize what a lot of work it is to transform the data from the PBW website into a usable spreadsheet. So, here it is in all of its glory. I believe the only changes from last year are the inclusions of a phone number and a website address for each event. ===>Link to the 2010 Philly Beer Week Calendar of Events<=== (via Google Docs---click the "Download" link) (Last updated: 5/10/2010) (Last updated: 5/12/2010) (Last updated: 5/15/2010) (Last updated: 5/16/2010) (Last updated: 5/22/2010) While my attention to detail and data integrity is usually pretty high, I'd be remiss if I didn't add the standard disclaimer: "While this information is only as good as the source,, lists it, The Brew Lounge can not be held responsible for any misrepresentation of the event listings. If any doubt exists, please always refer to Philly Beer Week as your ultimate source." Mitigating this disclaimer, though, I've added a column (column 'A' to be precise) that shows the last time each event was edited in my spreadsheet. I will continue to monitor the PBW site making updates to the spreadsheet as often as practical and possible. There will always be a 'last updated' notation at the top of the spreadsheet. If reports are true, we can expect this spreadsheet to triple in size over the next few weeks. OH, and by the way, please feel free to send comments my way, including suggestions for improvements.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tomorrow at Iron Hill in Media, PA

Iron Hill in Media, PA. Saturday the 15th. Home of one of the region's most decorated brewers, Bob Barrar. One of the regions most-anticipated May beer events. Brandywine Valley Craft Brewfest. Most local breweries are in attendance every year. There actually are just a few handful of tickets remaining. (oops, as of last night, strike that last comment...head to the secondary market or hang around the front gate to find people looking to get rid of tickets they can't use) Interesting beers are usually the order of the day under most tents. Then, not to be outdone, Iron Hill takes it to the next level. Bob Barrar will be pouring Methuselahs (those are the really big bottles :) As in, the equivalent of eight 750ml bottles. Methuselahs at 2:30pm and 4:00pm. Stop by for a sample pouring. I hear Bob's been working out at the gym a little more to make sure he's up to the task. Just follow the flash mob scene to Iron Hill's tent. (Hint: if that doesn't really appeal to you, that may be the best time to check out other tents that would ordinarily have longer lines.) One more insider tip...well, not really an insider tip for any of you that have attended in the past. With your VIP/Mug Club Membership, you'll have access to special beers (Very Interesting Pourings) that the general admission crowd will not. And, if I'm not mistaken, Iron Hill--being the ever-enterprising folks that they are--will even take your application for Mug Club Membership on the spot. From my experience (which obviously can differ from others, many mug clubs favor the establishment far more than they benefit the consumer...this Iron Hill Mug Club is one of the best that I've seen) Here's what your Mug Club Membership gets you this year: Dr. Drie (yes, this is still as good as I've been saying all along); Cherry Dubbel (look out, this one packs a flavor and ABV some for me!); Bourbon Imperial Pumpkin Ale; and Orange-Ginger Honey Saison (haven't tried this one yet...but, it's a saison, so I think I already know how I deal with this one). Beer Details down below. And, all of that is on top of their "regular beers" under the Iron Hill big top: Raspberry Wheat; Pig Iron Porter; Ironbound Ale; Hefeweizen; Saison; Maniac Alt; Chi-Town Brown; Abbey Single; and a firkin of "something tasty". See you there... Dr. Drie We’ve managed to lay our hands on a very special strain of Brettanomyces that seems to be found only in the family brewery at Fonteinen. We used it to barrel ferment a beer made from a blend of high dried and pale malts in heavy toast French Oak. Despite the simple recipe, the beer is un-endingly complex, explosively fruity with the aromas of tangerine and musty wildflower honey. The finish is dry with a touch of oak and caramel. O.G. 12.3P (1.050), IBU: 20, ABV: 5.5% Cherry Dubbel 2008 Silver Medal Winner GABF Wood and Barrel Aged Sour Beers. This beer starts out life as our award winning Abbey Dubbel. This base is a Trappist inspired beer that is rich, raisiny, and Burgundian. After primary fermentation it gets a second with one pound per gallon of dark sweet Oregon cherries. The cherry adds obvious fruit character, increases the alcohol content and begins creating natural acidy. Next the beer is racked with the wild yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis into second use medium toast French oak Pinot Noir barrels where it ages for over 6 months. Strong and explosively fruity with aromas of cherry pie, a touch of wood, vanilla, fresh grass, raisin and other dark fruits. 19°P, IBU: 28, ABV: 8.1% Orange-Ginger Honey Saison Traditional Belgian farmhouse-style ale brewed local orange blossom honey (NJ) and popular L'chouffee yeast, lending a nectarous honey note and a crisp, champagne-like effervescence. Finished beer was aged on fresh ginger root and california naval orange zest, and a leaf of basil. O.G. 1.063, IBU: 33, ABV: 6.5% Bourbon Imperial Pumpkin Ale Our Pumpkin Ale’s big brother. Brewed to a higher gravity with additions of molasses and Belgian candi sugar in addition to the pumpkins and spices then aged in a used Bourbon barrel. O.G. 1.089, Color: 20 IBU: 25 ABV: 9.5%

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 13th-May 19th

Taking a break from the PBW calendar and focusing on just the next week here. Even if you were to fall into a long sleep during PBW, you'd probably do just fine hitting up an event or two over the next week. After all, it's just one high-quality week of events after another around here. 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. Try a new beer, you might even get it for free @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA--- Fri. 5/14 - Friday Night Tasting (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free tasting samples of Magic Hat) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA--- Fri. 5/14 - Friday Night Tasting (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of Sly Fox) @Frank Smith Beverage, Pottstown, PA--- Sat. 5/15 - Beer Sampling and Case Swap (PAYG for an event I know nothing about except that Joel Armato and New Holland are involved) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA--- Thu. 5/13 - Brewery Promo Night (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for a night of Bell's Beer) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 5/14 - Free Tastings (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of Great Lakes) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 5/18 - Free Tastings (5:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Mikkeller) @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 5/15 - Sly Fox Promo (7:00pm-11:00pm; PAYG, details still TBD) These are the opposite of free, but you get plenty of great beer and food @Bones Grille, Lansdale, PA--- Wed. 5/19 - Victory Beer Dinner (6:00pm; $TBD) @Craft Ale House, Royersford, PA--- Wed. 5/19 - New Holland Beer and Calkins Creamery Cheese pairing (6:00pm; PAYG for beer from New Holland and several offerings from Calkins Creamery) @Iron Abbey, Horsham, PA--- Wed. 5/19 - Unibroue Beer Dinner (7:00pm-9:00pm; $50 for a 5-course meal paired with Ephemere, Chambly Noire, La Fin du Monde, Maudite, and Terrible) @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 5/19 - Go Play in the Yards (6:30pm-8:00pm; $45 for a unique night. Tom Kehoe will show how brewers use Bourbon chips, varietal hops, and other secret ingredients as we make a cask ale together during the class. The one-of-a-kind cask will be tapped in June during Philly Beer Week!) @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA--- Tue. 5/18 - St. Boisterous Beer Dinner (6:00pm; $50 for 5-course meal at the brewery paired with Prima Pils, Festbier, Helios, St. Boisterous, and Baltic Thunder) And last, but certainly not least @Iron Hill, Media, PA--- Sat. 5/15 - The Brandywine Valley Craft Brewers' Festival (1:00pm-5:00pm; $40/$45 gets you tastes from almost 30 local breweries and great VIP/Mug Club beers from Iron Hill)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Results are in: Philly Beer Runners are ready for Philly Beer Week 2010

The weather forecast only delivered the strong winds on Saturday, not the thunderstorms. Those drifted a bit to the north instead and we were left with a bright and pleasant day to meet at Resurrection Ale House and go for a 5+ mile run through the City. If you've been keeping up with these things around here, you should be able to piece together that we crazy folk that enjoy running and good beer (and typically in that order) have met up in March (Dock Street), April (TJs), and now May (Resurrection) and embarked on runs that have earned points that are being banked for Philly Beer Week. On Sunday, June 13th I'm again (for the third year) conducting a big Run that will end at Dock Street Brewery. Last year, almost 60 runners turned out for a memorable Dock Street-to-Dock Street Scavenger Run. A twist this year is that there will be a cookout and live band awaiting the runners finish at the brewery. Many more points can be earned by coming out to this final run and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in terms of accumulated points. But, back to the present. Most of you don't have the bandwidth, I'm sure, for conversations about running, so I'll leave it at: we came, we ran, we ate lunch and drank beer, and socialized. I'll focus on the latter, because I think that's why most of you stop by here, eh? I'd previously been to Memphis Taproom and Local 44, the older siblings of Resurrection Ale House. This was finally my first stop in at Resurrection. Situated on the corner of Grays Ferry Avenue and Catherine Street across from the (Toll Brothers) Naval Square residential development, Resurrection is a much-welcome addition to a neighborhood that has been slowly taking on a new-and-improved reputation. The bi-level restaurant is cozy with room for ten or so seated around the bar and, wild guess, 25-30 (?) at dining room tables. But adding a sense of space to the place is not only the tiered dining room, but also the large folding windows that open out to Catherine Street, giving a view of the Grays Ferry Avenue street scene. I put away a nice and hearty post-run frittata with peppers, asparagus, and parmesan for a steal at ten dollars. As a matter of fact, hardly anything goes above the $10-$12 range on either the brunch, lunch, or dinner menus. All draft beer on the menu seemed to fall between the $4-$5 range per pint. I opted first for a lighter bodied, lighter carbonated (on the hand pump) Uncle Teddy's from Victory before moving on to a Yards Saison (keeping it local and tasty). After a couple of hours of running, eating/drinking, and talking PBW, PLCB/Law reform, running, and the Phillies, we split up and I walked back to 30th Street Station to catch a train home. Which reminds me of a tip: Anyone taking the train into the City to get to Resurrection Ale House, (on a nice weather day) you'd be cheating yourself if you didn't walk along the Schuylkill River Trail to get to's approximately 1 mile, but oh-so-scenic and relaxing. Plus, it takes you past charming Fitler Square and Grays Ferry Avenue co-conspirator Grace Tavern along the way.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Exton Beverage (and the Brewsletter) goes to Beer Camp

I haven't touted this too loudly since I'd begun over six months ago and that's my fault. No one ever accused me of being a self-aggrandized marketer! Not to say, though, that I shouldn't have told you about the work that I've undertaken with Exton Beverage Company to produce a monthly "Brewsletter." While the physical newsletter has all sorts of interesting content (what else did you expect?!) for retail customers (pick one up at the checkout counter) of the Exton Beverage Center, the short article that I include in each month's is posted up on Exton Beverage's website. The bonus in the May issue is that the owner, Greg Ramirez, wrote an article about his recent experience at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, CA. He was part of the Philadelphia-based contingent that comprised Sierra Nevada's most recent Beer Camp in April 2010. The beer that they produced is intended to be unveiled during this year's Philly Beer Week. Enough from me, go over to Exton Beverage's website and check out what Greg has to share...including a few pictues of the work...and play that took place.

I'm not a big fan of Boston (Bruins, that is).... you can imagine even more particularly so now during the NHL Playoffs. But, Cambridge and its Brewing Company....whoa nellie, that's a whole nutha story! Take, for example, what they've got going on this weekend as they "turn legal!" Are you in Boston, or going to be? This should be near the top of your to-do list. A visit to CBC and Will Meyers still ranks as one of my top 10 brewpub visits.
From their email update: "This weekend CBC turns 21! Yup, we’ve been around a whopping twenty-one years. And as such we’ve got some serious partying to do and some beer to drink. And we’ve got plenty for you too! You see, many moons ago, right before another CBC birthday celebration, CBC founder Phil Bannatyne challenged Brewmaster Will Meyers to put one beer on tap for each year old we were. And the challenge still stands! 21 Years! 21 Beers! We’ll have 21 of our own handmade, locally brewed beers pouring beginning at 5pm on Friday the 7th, and we’ll keep those taps rockin’ until we close Saturday night the 8th. Vintage beers, new beers, crazy beers, rotating beers. Now, as good at making delicious malt beverages as Will Meyers may be, apparently he’s not so good at good ole fashioned arithmetic. You’ll notice his beer list (below) adds up to a grand total of 31 frickin’ brews! He’s got hoppy ones, malty one, dark ones, light ones, tart ones, herbal ones, spicy ones, roasty ones and a few downright funky ones. And of course you can expect Chef David to come up with some amazing food, though twenty-one specials may be a bit too much to ask. No pressure, Chef! Music on the patio Saturday night will be provided by bluesy string band sounds of the Matt Berlin Duo. The weather is guaranteed to be awesome (If we make the assumption that 31 brews will make any weather 'awesome' ;-), so come enjoy the fab Cantabridgian Springtime and help us celebrate another landmark! Beerfully Yours, Chris **************************************************** CBC 21st Anniversary Party Friday and Saturday May 7th and 8th 5:00pm to 1:00am 21 Years ~ 21 Beers Music (Saturday Only) by the Matt Berlin Duo **************************************************** Beers at the Main Bar: 1) Regatta Golden 2) Cambridge Amber 3) Tall Tale Pale Ale 4) Charles River Porter 5) Spring Training I.P.A. 6) Three Rings 7) Red God 8) 2009 YouEnjoyMyStout 9) 2009 Cerise Cassée 10) 2009 Tripel Threat 11) Benevolence 12) Big Man Ale 13) Cask Spring Training w/Sorachi Ace 14) 2008 Bannatyne’s Scotch Ale 15) Oakquinox 16) Biere de Miel 17) Bad Knees barrel-aged English Old Ale Beers on in the Beer Garden: 1) Regatta Golden 2) Cambridge Amber 3) Spring Training I.P.A. 4) Three Rings 5) Sgt. Pepper 6) 2009 Heather Ale 7) Red Barn Espresso Stout 8) The Black Ryder Beers On Deck (to be rotated in) ~Arquebus 2010 ~2008 Blunderbuss Barleywine ~The Colonel ~2009 Reckoning ~2010 Kriek de Cambridge ~2007 Resolution All subject to slight changes as the event necessitates. Cheers!"

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 6th-May 12th

Four weeks to go until Philly Beer Week kicks off. Fortunately, as is my wont, I've got a nice and tidy calendar here for you to reference to get you through the next week. And, fear not, The Brew Lounge will kick into high gear with PBW Calendars that you can actually use for PBW planning. More to come tomorrow. Check out the entire May 2010 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. Samples and Tastes, Free and Cheap @B&B Beverage, Doylestown, PA--- Fri. 5/7 - Friday Night Tasting (4:30pm-6:30pm; Free tasting samples of Lancaster Brewing beer) @Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA--- Thu. 5/6 - Charity Cask Night (5:00pm; PAYG for glasses of cask-conditioned Dave’s Drummin IPA to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society....Phillies tickets auction too) @Civera's Deli, Drexel Hill, PA--- Fri. 5/7 - Friday Night Tasting (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of the newest Harpoon 100 BBL series--Single Hop ESB--as well as Leviathan Imperial IPA, Raspberry UFO, and the all new Belgian Pale Ale) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 5/6 - First Thursday Firkin (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG for Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA--- Fri. 5/7 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Flying Dog beer) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 5/7 - Fleur De Lehigh/Fleur De Mere (6:00pm; PAYG for Fleur de Lehigh on tap and in the bottle....lovely for Mother's Day) @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 5/12 - Anchor, Ithaca, and Tröegs Sampling (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG and get free samples from these three great breweries) @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 5/12 - Dock Street Growler Night (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for the beer, get the growler for free; a tasty spread of food too) @Pickering Creek Inn, Phoenixville, PA--- Thu. 5/6 - Craft Brew Night (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for Victory beers and a coloring contest and prizes with Tracy) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville & Royersford, PA--- Fri. 5/7 - Incubus Friday (all day; PAYG for this Tripel now at both Phoenixville and Royersford locations) @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 5/6 - Meet the Brewer Night (7:00pm; PAYG for cask conditioned ales from Yards paired with complimentary hors d'oeuvres) @The Foodery, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 5/7 - Free Tastings (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of Flying Fish beer) Food meet Beer, Beer say hello to Food; You're gonna like each other @Gypsy Saloon, Conshohocken, PA--- Thu. 5/6 - Yards Beer Dinner (6:00pm-9:00pm; $55 for a 4-course dinner paired with Brawler, Saison, IPA, and Tavern Porter) @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA--- Tue. 5/11 - Scandinavian Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $65 for a 5-course meal paired with 3 drafts, 1 cask, 1 bottle including Mikkeller, Haandbryggeriet, Nøgne Ø, Wintercoat, and Brockhouse) @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 5/12 - Bell's Brewery Loves Cheese (6:30pm-8:00pm; $50 for a cheese pairing with seven of the famed craft brewery’s most iconic bottles including Oberon, Two Hearted Ale, and Expedition Stout) @World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 5/12 - Yards Beer Dinner and live performance by Mason Porter (7:00pm; $50 for a 5-course dinner paired with Philadelphia Pale Ale, Brawler, ESA, Saison, and Vanilla Porter)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Beer Run Reminder this weekend at Resurrection Ale House

This is the last tune-up run before Philly Beer Week. If you've followed closely enough, you know that these tune-up runs over the past two months have given you the chance to earn points prior to PBW. These points will be accumulated with points you earn on June 13th, the date of the scheduled PBW Beer Run to Dock Street Brewery. In a few days, on May 8th, come out to Resurrection Ale House at 11:30am for a 5.5 mile run and then some grub and grog at the tavern. This will be my first visit, finally!, to RAH and I know it will be for a few of you as well. Click through here for an RSVP as well as more details if necessary.

Hey Philly, It's May 5th, Do you know where your Beer Week is?

In one month, around these Philly parts, we'll be kicking off the third consecutive annual Philly Beer Week. And more than in either of the last two years, at least as of this morning, I have very little idea what I'll be doing for the ten days that follow June 3rd. I had a long (trust me, it was...and still is...lengthy) well-reasoned argument of my own that sought to substantiate and extend Jack Curtin's argument that the Philly Beer Week website is suboptimally and inefficiently designed. Then, I figured, why write for you a lot of the same observations twice? Just go and read what he wrote if you already haven't. I'm saving the full version rant for a few more weeks if nothing changes to improve the site's visit experience. (As of this morning, Joe Sixpack promises "a couple cool, new features at the web site." The jury will remain out until at least such time.) I'll basically say at this point that I wholeheartedly agree with Jack's keen observations. For a third straight year, for those interested in planning to attend more than one event on more than one day, the exercise in using the PBW website calendar will be an exercise in frustrating productivity loss. I can only speak for myself when I say that I don't have time to deal with slow website response time to still then have to dig through layers of a cumbersome and inefficient calendar of events just to figure out what to do during Philly Beer Week. My hunch is that I'm not alone (or that Jack and I are not alone in this frustration). So, for the third consecutive year, I will put together helpful tools/aids for you---the target market of Philly Beer Week---to figure out where and how your Philly Beer Week will be celebrated this year. I am one of the city/region's biggest boosters; I support Philly Beer and its Week as much, and sometimes, more so than most others. In the world of beer, we do 98%, or at least 96%, of what we do generally in what can be described as--the right way. But, that shouldn't stop us from calling out the shortcomings...particularly when the same shortcoming rears its head for three straight years on our biggest international beer stage, as if nothing's been learned from the past two years. I tried to be the kind, but squeaky, wheel in year one. That got me no where. Last year, I tried to be a bit more aggressive in my suggestions that the site/calendar was not everything it could be. This year, what the hell, it's time to start being a bit more direct and loud. After suggestions I'd made in the past two years basically fell on deaf ears, I'm finished with trying to sugarcoat it. (I'm not just talking about suggestions made via TBL, but made directly in person and directly via email to the people who should be responsible for organizing and managing such things....isn't that, I believe, why there's a committee of members acting as a "board," right?) The 3,300 downloads of the spreadsheet calendar that I created at The Brew Lounge last year speak volumes: Something needs to change in the development and the management of the PBW calendar and website.

Sly Fox Bock Festival & Goat Races: What has this thing become?!

(Bock, Bock, Doppelbock and a few ales thrown in for good measure)
Basically, I was off The Brew Lounge clock on Sunday. It didn't stop me from heading to Sly Fox's Bock Festival & Goat Races anyway, but I was not in much shape to be your Brew Lounge correspondent. I more or less went to Sly Fox as an interested consumer, hoping I'd pop a few pictures that I could put up to show you as evidence to the continued greatness of this festival. (ah, who am I kidding...I'm always on the clock) After finishing an exhausting 10-mile Broad Street run, I headed home to indulge in some protein, pasta, and water while putting the feet up for about an hour and then showering (everyone would thank me for that later).
(Brian O'Reilly, brewer and master of ceremonies, prepares the crowd and the participants)
Maybe it was partly because I was physically exhausted from the race, maybe it was because I knew that Sly Fox would easily put on another great show of Bocks and Goats (redundant, I know) albeit it in a new venue, maybe....
(The goat race course swept and ready for contest)
(No media was harmed in the racing of the goats)
You can go back and read more at length my experiences in 2008...and again back in 2007. They're not that much different from what I'd write this year, just with more people this year. I'd estimate a few thousand, while I've seen other unofficial counts put the number closer to 5,000...though, that seems a bit exaggerated and not exactly scientific nor close enough for government work.
(Jack Curtin, center, and Lew Bryson each make their case for a new blog reader)
You could go over to Jack Curtin's Liquid Diet (which will probably take you on to either the Beer Yard's and/or Sly Fox's websites) to read in more detail about this year's festivities, the winning goat, and the eventual bock named in honor of said winning goat. Anyone listening closely enough to me on Sunday probably heard me exclaim at least a half dozen times, "my goodness, what has this become?!" In a nutshell, Sly Fox's Bock Festival & Goat Races has continued their growth into a top annual East Coast beer event, perhaps even a top 10 national event. That latter designation may take some time, but I think they could be well on their way. I don't have pictures of the goat races (never can get close enough to the action, it's in the blazing sun, and there are always other sites/newspapers to whom I can link to for their much better pictures)...I don't have reviews/impressions of any of the beers (didn't search out the winning maibock...."Dax Maibock" for the second straight year, by the way)... So what good am I? Great question. Here are a few things that I can report. ~ My first post-race beer, a Sly Fox Helles, like many post-race beers was one of the most tasty and refreshing beers in recent memory (since at least last week!) ~ Matt Guyer of The Beer Yard is either the most generous and kind human or a shameless promoter of his business. Either way, I had a few canned Sly Fox beers courtesy of Mr. Beer Yard and even one to take home to drink during last night's Flyers playoff game. ~ If I could muster up one criticism, it would be of the food and beer sales management. Each year, for an event so large, I'd not expect lines where waiting an easy 15 minutes for a beer or sandwich is not uncommon. ~ While I didn't specifically do much for Brew Lounge business on Sunday, what I did was talk beer, running, and whatever else came up along the way (like giving Lew Bryson the business for not seeing any sort of details as of that time of the Pennsylvania State Legislature hearings that he attended on the infamous Beer Raids/Debacle of 2010...glad to see that he's since taken care of that). It was an afternoon spent in a parking lot of families, dogs, live German music, goat races, food, beer, and friendship. That, I must say, is not too shabby of a way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Congratulations to Sly Fox for continued success. Next up for me and Sly Fox: I need to stop in and test out the new facility, its bar and restaurant. I'll report back when I do.
(Yours Truly and Dr. Joel Armato of New Holland Brewing)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Iron Hill reopens in Newark, DE

(a spiffed-up Iron Hill on Main Street in Newark, DE)
It's pronounced New-Ark...all these years, I'd never known. Eh well, whatever. So, I finally get to Iron Hill's New-Ark location and I'm told I'm pronouncing it wrong and that the locals in no way want to be affiliated with New-erk (as in, New Jersey). Guess I can't say I could blame them for that.
(the long dining room capped by the kitchen on the far end)
Ah, so what was I doing there you ask? Thanks for asking and keeping me honest. Iron Hill had recently completed a very expensive makeover on their original location, just on the doorstep to the State's University of Delaware. Hm, West Chester (university)...Lancaster (Franklin & Marshall College)...and Newark (U of D). Let's leave it at, 'things that make you go hmmm'.
(a Belgian Tripel awaits)
You're probably beginning to wonder if every paragraph will end in a distracting tangent. Maybe I'm still a bit crazed from yesterday's hazy, hot, and humid Broad Street Run chased by Sly Fox's Goat Races. In any case...
(it could be a framed picture, or actually award-winning brewer, Justin Sproul, in the Iron Hill brewhouse in Newark, DE)
Iron Hill invited a variety of media folk to Newark to show off their almost completely redone digs. Justin Sproul, brewer, showed where the renovations ended---at his brewhouse wall. These guys sure know how to undertake a project. According to the guys, they only had to close for roughly 4.5 days...that's four point five, not forty-five...(with almost round-the-clock work filling the time in between) to complete the demolition and remodeling. Gone is the square, Cheers-like bar...the cramped dining...and the outdated feel. Since I had no baseline to compare the newly renovated restaurant against, all I was left with was the striking resemblance to the sharp corporate image that most of the locations and their respective ambiances fall in line with. Looking now most like the Phoenixville location, the space still architecturally boasts long lines and great feelings of "space" like all other seven locations.
(l-r, Business Partners Mark Edelson, Kevin Davies, and Kevin Finn toast Newark's reopening)
The three owners (the Kevins and The Mark) were present to do a "first pour" of nitro-poured dry stout at the bar and then mingled with those from the press as well as other regulars that were beginning to file in for Happy Hour. Just a minor-league warm up for the Methuselahs that I hear are coming to Media for the Festival on the 15th...more to come on that later, for sure. Last up on my Iron Hill octological tour: Lancaster...Paul, I promise it will occur before the summer ends.
(Lettuce Wraps, with chicken, got dinner off to a great start)
(a dinner special of Penne with Blackened Chicken, perfect pre-Broad Street Run "carbing" material)
(Happy messages on the dining room wall at Iron Hill)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Tour Belgium with Belgian Beer Me!

I met Stu Stuart in his real life incarnation for the first time last year during Philly Beer Week. He came across as a guy you'd probably like to take a trip to Belgium with. Guess what? He does that sort of thing with his Belgian Beer Me! tours. Lucky for you. I can't speak from experience, but am happy to suggest that you check out his upcoming 2010 trips. There's one Ardennes-based tour in June that has passed its signup deadline, but if a couple of seats remain as they did last week, you might still be able to get in on them.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Toronado, Beer, Home Brew Chef, Food...and lots of it

This might become an annual cry around these parts...not the rally kind of cry, rather the bawling type. The cry begins when the event is scheduled and it ends when I see the posting by someone the likes of Jay Brooks, replete with pictures (I believe they call this Beer/Food Porn). It also gives me a chance to plug yet once again for Sean Paxton, mister Home Brew Chef dot com extraordinaire, who one day will be brought to Philadelphia.