Sunday, October 30, 2011

Healthy Reminders

Seeing this healthy reminder over at Jay Brooks' site reminded me of signs I snapped a couple of months ago at a local watering hole favorite. As serious as their message is, I couldn't help but get a little chuckle out of them and snap their picture to share here. Plus, they're tagged from the PLCB...say what you will about that.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Don & Wendy (aka Vanberg & Dewulf): 30 years of finding great beer

Vanberg & Dewulf is celebrating 30 years of finding great (mostly Belgian) beer and bringing it to the States.

Nearly 150 establishments across the country have signed up to help them celebrate with a Coast-to-Coast Toast promotion on November 15.

If you don't know how some of your favorite Belgian beer, like Saison Dupont, gets to your bar or your table, I strongly recommend reading Lew Bryson's piece over at as a primer.

Around the Philadelphia area, you'll find better beer bars like Monk's Café, Eulogy, Tria, and Teresa's Next Door partaking in the festivities. I'd imagine in the next two weeks, we should see a couple more handfuls joining the party.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beer Calendar: What To Do in November 2011

There'll be plenty to be thankful for in November 2011. Near the top should be the display of great beer put on by Philadelphia-area bars, brewers, and distributors.

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

Kicking things off here, though, I should first mention that on Tuesday, November 15, around the Philadelphia area at participating bars like, Monk's, Tria, Eulogy, and Teresa's Next Door will be participating in a noteworty event. Vanburg & Dewulf is celebrating its 30th Anniversary of importing great Belgian beers with an event called Coast-to-Coast Toast. Check out their website for all the details and if you like Belgian beer, you'll want to consider participating in the evening of great beer.

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

Thu. 11/3 - Keep the Pint (Great Lakes) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:30pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 11/3 - Yelpl Movie Club Night (Beer: Ommegang, Movie: Zoolander) @The Institute, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 11/4 - Free Sampling (Great Lakes) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:00pm-6:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 11/4 - Beer Tasting (Yards) @Trolley Car Diner, Philadelphia, Pa. (5:30pm-7:30pm; $Free)
Fri. 11/4 - Funky First Friday (Sierra Nevada Ovila Saison) @The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG)
Sat. 11/5 - Oktoberfest 2011 @Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm; $10/$12 admission, food and drink $PAYG)
Sat. 11/5 - Guy Fawkes English Beer Day @The Farmers' Cabinet, Philadelphia, Pa. (11:30am-2:00am; $PAYG)
Sun. 11/6 - Savage Sixtel Sunday @Kite and Key, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 11/11 - Free Sampling (Beers of the South with Joe Sixpack) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:00pm-6:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 11/11 - Sixpoint Lounge @City Tap House, Philadelphia, Pa. (8:00pm; $PAYG)
Sat. 11/12 - Craft Beer Express @12 participating bars in Philadelphia, Pa. (11:00am-9:00pm; $10 to ride the bus, $PAYG at participating bars)
Tue. 11/15 & Wed. 11/16 - Beer Table Take Over Dinners @Beer Table (NYC) & The Farmers' Cabinet, Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Thu. 11/17 - 3 Years of Mad Elf @The Side Car Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Thu. 11/17 - Keep the Pint (Dark Horse) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:30pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 11/17 - Victory Brewing Night @Resurrection Ale House, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 11/17 - Keep The Glass Night (Radeberger) @Hop Angel, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm-8:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 11/18 - Free Sampling (Tröegs with Joe Sixpack) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:00pm-6:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 11/18 - Third Friday - Jodi's Firkin @The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, Pa. (5:00pm-8:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 11/18 - Tröegs Mad Elf Night @The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Sun. 11/20 - Sunday Football Brunch @Jose Pistola's, Philadelphia, Pa. (10:30am; $PAYG)
Thu. 11/24 - Thanksgiving Specials @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 11/25 - Everything Went Black @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 11/25 - Free Sampling (Founders) @Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:00pm-6:00pm; $Free)
Wed. 11/30 - Philly Beer Week Raffle @City Tap House, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm; $PAYG)

Philadelphia's close suburbs (within 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Wed. 11/2 - Micro Wednesday with Left Hand @Iron Abbey, Horsham, Pa. (8:00pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 11/3 - Free Sampling @Whole Foods, Devon, Pa. (5:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 11/4 - Firkin Friday (Pumpkin Coffee Stout) @Iron Hill Brewery, Media, Pa. (5:00pm; $PAYG)
Tue. 11/8 - Tasty Tuesday: Sierra Celebration @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, Pa. ($PAYG)
Thu. 11/10 - Flying Fish Tasting @Pinocchio's, Media, Pa. (7:00pm-9:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 11/11 - Special Pin Tapping (Manayunk's Manayunk Dreamin' DIPA) @Pinocchio's, Pa. (4:30pm; $PAYG)
Sat. 11/19 - Struise and Mikkeller Draft Event @Capone's, Norristown, Pa. (11:30am; $PAYG)
Sun. 11/20 - Russian River & Taco Bonanza (and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network fundraiser) @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, Pa. (12:00pm; $PAYG)
Tue. 11/22 - Tasty Tuesday: Victory Harvest @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 11/25 - Bottled Reserves Tasting @Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, Pa. (6:00pm-8:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 11/25 - Black Friday Fest @Capone's, Norristown, Pa. ($PAYG)

Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania / Other (beyond 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Thu. 11/3 - Charity Cask Night (featuring Green Tea ESB to benefit WDIY, Public Radio) @Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, Pa. (5:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 11/4 - Firkin Friday (Vanilla Pumpkin Ale) @Iron Hill Brewery, Phoenixville, Pa. (5:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 11/4 - The Real Black Friday @Two Stones Pub, Newark, Del. ($PAYG)
Fri. 11/4 - Beer Tasting (Weyerbacher) @Washington House, Sellersville, Pa. (5:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 11/4-Sun. 11/6 - Cask Ale Fest @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, Pa. ($PAYG)
Sat. 11/5 - Farmer Showdown @The Longview Center, Collegeville, Pa. (12:00pm-5:00pm; $PAYG)
Tue. 11/8 - Cooks Showdown @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, Pa. (6:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG)
Wed. 11/9 - St. James Brown Ale release @Iron Hill Brewery, Lancaster, Pa. (11:00am; PAYG)
Fri. 11/13-Sun. 11/15 - 2nd Anniversary Weekend @Side Bar & Restaurant, West Chester, Pa. (5:00pm-7:00pm; $PAYG)
Mon. 11/14 - 15th Anniversary Party @Iron Hill Brewery, Newark, Del. (6:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG)
Wed. 11/16 - An Evening of Unique Beers from Artisanal Imports @The Drafting Room, Exton, Pa. (6:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 11/18 - Oldies but Goodies @Iron Hill Brewery, Newark, Del. (5:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG)
Fri. 11/18 - Lightening in a Bottle @Iron Hill Brewery, Lancaster, Pa. (5:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG)
Sat. 11/19 - Fifteen Firkins for Fifteen Years @Iron Hill Brewery, Newark, Del. (12:00pm-5:00pm; PAYG)
Tue. 11/22 - Pre-Turkey Day Bash with Heavy Seas @High Street Grill, Mount Holly, NJ (7:00pm-11:00pm; $PAYG)
Sat. 11/26 - Hopfest featuring Harvest Ales @The Drafting Room, Exton, Pa. (12:00pm; $PAYG)
Sun. 11/27 - Pizza Pies and Pints @Iron Hill Brewery, Phoenixville, Pa. (3:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG)

Events Over $20

Wed. 11/2 - Monthly Beer School (Lambics) @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, Pa. (12:00pm; $25)
Wed. 11/2 - Pecan Harvest Festival @Percy Street Barbecue, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm; $50)
Sat. 11/5 - Beer Tasting for PAWS @Hudson Beach Glass, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm-9:00pm; $40)
Tue. 11/8 - Harvest Dinner @For Pete's Sake Pub, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm-10:00pm; $55)
Tue. 11/8 - The Great Pumpkin Beer Dinner @Hawthornes, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:30pm-8:30pm; $65)
Tue. 11/8 - Stillwater: Beer-Inspired Cocktail Dinner @The Farmers' Cabinet, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm-10:00pm; $TBD)
Tue. 11/8 - Ancient Ales Dinner @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm-9:00pm; $70)
Thu. 11/10 - Continuing Lager Education: Legal Refreshment for Attorneys @Offices of Flaster/Greenberg at 4 Penn Center, Philadelphia, Pa. (5:00pm-8:00pm; $225/$265)
Sat. 11/12 - Turkey Roast @City Tap House, Philadelphia, Pa. (8:00pm; $35/$40)
Thu. 11/17 - Iron Chef/Craft Brewer's Dinner Series (Ithaca Brewing Co.) @Chifa Restaurant, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm-9:30pm; $65)
Thu. 11/17 - Pints for North Light @Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm-10:00pm; $50/$60/$75/$80)
Thu. 11/17 - Italian Fall Beer Dinner @LaScala's, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm-8:00pm; $45)
Sat. 11/19 - Stout & Chowder Festival @Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, Pa. (5:00pm-8:00pm; $60)
Sun. 11/20 - Grilled Cheese & Craft Beer @World Café Live, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:00pm; $35)
Sat. 11/26 - Winter Beer Fest @Union Transfer, Philadelphia, Pa. (1:00pm & 6:00pm; $10/$33)
Wed. 11/30 - Stoudt's Beer Dinner @McCrossen's, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:30pm; $TBD)

Philadelphia's close suburbs (within 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Sat. 11/5 - Advanced Techniques: Lagering @Keystone Homebrew Supply, Montgomeryville, Pa. (6:30pm; $60)
Thu. 11/10 - Beer and Cheese Pairing @Iron Hill Brewery, Media, Pa. (6:00pm-10:00pm; $30)
Fri. 11/11 - Introduction to Brewing Class @Keystone Homebrew Supply, Montgomeryville, Pa. (6:30pm; $40)
Tue. 11/15 & Wed. 11/16 - Brewmaster's Winter Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, Pa. (6:00pm-9:00pm; $65)
Tue. 11/15 - Homebrew Celebration Dinner @Kaya's Cuisine, Havertown, Pa. (7:00pm-9:00pm; $40)
Wed. 11/16 - Allagash Beer Dinner @Iron Abbey, Horsham, Pa. (7:00pm; $60)
Sat. 11/19 - Introduction to Brewing Class @Keystone Homebrew Supply, Montgomeryville, Pa. (6:30pm; $40)
Sat. 11/26 - Introduction to Brewing Class @Keystone Homebrew Supply, Montgomeryville, Pa. (6:30pm; $40)

Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania / Other (beyond 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Tue. 11/1 - Introduction to Brewing Class @Keystone Homebrew Supply, Bethlehem, Pa. (6:30pm; $40)
Wed. 11/2 - New Holland Beer Dinner @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, Pa. ($TBD)
Sat. 11/5 - Big Brew @Keystone Homebrew Supply, Bethlehem, Pa. ($TBD)
Sun. 11/6 - The Pairings @Bank Street Annex, Easton, Pa. (4:00pm-7:00pm; $75/$80)
Thu. 11/10 - Red Hot Beer Dinner @Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, Pa. (7:00pm-10:00pm; $60)
Thu. 11/10 - Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner @The Drafting Room, Exton, Pa. (6:30pm; $65)
Sat. 11/12 - Brewphoria 9 @Canal Street Pub, Reading, Pa. (6:00pm-10:00pm; $40)
Wed. 11/16 - Explore the World of Italian Beer @Sabatini's, Exeter, Pa. (7:00pm; $49.95)
Wed. 11/16 - Taps and Tapas Brewmaster's Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, Wilmington, Del. (7:00pm; $65)
Fri. 11/18 - Autos and Ales @AACA Museum, Hershey, Pa. (6:00pm-10:00pm; $15/$35/$40)
Sat. 11/19 - Fall Chocolate Festival @Allentown Brew Works, Allentown, Pa. (5:00pm-8:00pm; $15/$20/$25)

Philly's (and surrounding areas) Best Bars

I'm not generally moved one way or another by Best and Worst Of lists. Unless there's such a stupefyingly crazy inclusion or exclusion, I tend to take them with a grain or two of salt and a chuckle. They tend to be fun and sometimes open my eyes to something I've neglected over time.

Philadelphia Magazine compiled and released its 85 Best Bars earlier this week.

My western Philly suburbs fared well, I suppose, particularly given that it was Philly's best bars, but that's another matter. Teresa's Next Door, McKenzie Brew House, Flying Pig, Victory, and Pickering Creek Inn all wound up on one of the sub-category lists.

Following are some random interesting observations of mine. Of course, my observations about these "best bars" in their various categories will drift toward those with a better beer bent.

In the Best Craft Beer Bars category, of the best craft beer bars to drink at, the Tom Peters/Fergie Carey family did well, placing Monk's, Grace, and Belgian Café as three of the twelve best.

Pineville Tavern, one of the best? I had no clue, but from the looks of things, I might like to get one.

Silk City. Now there's a good tip. I've spent enough late nights and early mornings there, but none since they upped their craft beer cred. Will need to rectify that soon and see what's what.

Ah, and the St. Pauli Girl reference with regard to Brauhaus Schmitz. Fun, perhaps unnecessary, and I suppose they could have done worse.

Neighborhood Haunts: one of my favorite type of bars. Just a few doors away from Brauhaus Schmitz is Percy Street Barbecue. If I had a can of beer for everytime I've swung and missed in my attempt to finally get to Percy Street, I'd probably have as many six-packs of cans as they stock at this fun barbecue joint on South Street.

In the Best Gastropubs division, I scratched my head a bit over Flying Pig being categorized as such and lumped in with some of the city's best and Teresa's Next Door in Wayne. A fun spot and very convincing city-like corner neighborhood pub/joint. But, did they confuse The Spotted Pig in NYC (often referred to as the country's first gastropub) with our local Malvern joint? I wouldn't have thought so ;-)

And, Coco's. Oh no, really? I can remember stopping by Coco's when I worked in the Old City area 10-15 years ago. "Dive-gone-gastropub", eh? I definitley recall the dive-y part of that equation. Sounds like it might be worth peeking around the corner from Chifa next time.

In the Best Cocktail Bars category, I can't pass up the chance to point out the comment about The Farmers’ Cabinet that I've heard variations of since they've opened earlier this year from more than just a few customers and industry folk alike. "It’s one of the strangest and most amazing places to have a drink in Philly right now." Or, as I explained to an inquiring beer geek recently, "you have to go and experience it to understand it and, even then, you might have to go back again to make sure you understood what you saw the first time".

Last, but certainly not least, the Dive Bar bucket of best bars. If you've been to McGlinchey's before, you've got to love the comment. And even though I never have and still don't smoke, many of you know where I stand on this issue of smoking bans. (And, no, it still does not make me a liberatarian....nor a librarian!) "The waitstaff here is surly as hell—and sometimes that’s exactly what we want to be around. Also, it doesn’t hurt that you can smoke inside, because it makes the place feel like an actual bar rather than some fake, politically correct appletini theme park."

In other rankings-related news, Philly gets mixed reviews at Travel + Leisure.

The sun may now continue to revolve around the Earth ;-)

As soon as this debate dies down, you can be sure that Foobooz' annual Top 50 Bars will whip up its own angst-filled fervor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 27 - October 31

And now to close out October 2011. Last week had over 30 beer events of every different flavor, shape, and size scheduled around the Philadelphia area. Guess what? The next five days are no different. Go figure...

Check out the entire October 2011 calendar over here.

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

Special Tastings, Brewery Promos, and Samplings
@Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Fri. 10/28 - Free Sampling (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of winners from this year's Great Americian Beer Festival)

@Capone's, Norristown, Pa.--- Thu. 10/27-Sun. 10/30 - Fresh Hop IPA weekend (PAYG all weekend for nine of the freshest wet-hopped beers on draft and maybe more to come)

@Goshen Beverage, West Chester, Pa.--- Thu. 10/27 - Free Sampling (5:30pm-7:30pm; Free tasting samples of Boxcar Brewing's beers)
@Goshen Beverage, West Chester, Pa.--- Fri. 10/28 - Free Sampling (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Tröegs beers)

@Isaac Newton's, Newtown, Pa.--- Sat. 10/29-Sun. 11/6 - Stone's "Most Arrogant Bar in America" contest (PAYG for different Stone-related events each day in support of their quest to win Stone's contest)

Just a few more of these pumpkin things
@Devil's Den, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Mon. 10/31 - Pumpkinpalooza (7:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG for a list that includes Arcadia Jaw Jacker, Bavarian Barbarian Grumpy Pumpkin Porter, Cisco Pumple Drunkin, Dogfish Head Punkin, Flying Dog The Fear, Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela, Rock Art Pumpkin Spruce, Smuttynose Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumking, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, Wild Onion Pumpkin [firkin], and Williamsburg Pumpkin)

@Iron Abbey, Horsham, Pa.--- Thu. 10/27-Sun. 10/30 - 2011 Pumpkin Fest (PAYG all weekend for a weekend of at least a dozen pumpkin-themed beers beginning with a Southern Tier Pumpking 2010 vs. 2011 tasting on Thursday night and a costume contest on Friday night)

@Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, Pa.--- Fri. 10/28 - Pumpkin Beer Month (5:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for four pumpkin ales from Iron Hill and two from Elysian)
@Iron Hill Brewery, West Chester, Pa.--- Sat. 10/29 - Gathering of the Gourds (2:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG for all things pumpkin from Iron Hill (pumpkin- and squash-inspired food features, Ichabod Imperial Belgian Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Punktoberfest, Bruce Camp-ale, Pumpkin Berliner Weisse, and a ginormous pumpkin fIlled with pumpkin ale), Elysian Brewing (PK 47 Pumpkin Malt Liquor), and Cambridge Brewing (Dark o' the Moon Pumpkin Stout and The Great Pumpkin Ale))

@Standard Tap, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 10/27 - Pumpkin Head (4:00pm-7:00pm; $15 for as many pumpkin beers, served out of your own personal mini gourd, as you can handle)

And a bunch of dinners and a festival
@Chifa Restaurant, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 10/27 - Founders Beer Dinner (7:00pm-9:30pm; $75 for a four-course meal paired with Breakfast Stout, Red's Rye, Backwoods Bastard, and Harvest Ale)

@High Street Grill, Mount Holly, NJ--- Sat. 10/29 - Halloween Autumn Beer Brunch (12:00pm-3:00pm; $35/$40 for a four-course meal paired with Erdinger Octoberfest Wheat, Sixpoint Autumn Nation, Weyerbacher AutumnFest, and Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin)

@Iron Hill Brewery, Maple Shade, NJ--- Wed. 10/26 & Thu. 10/27 - Brewmaster's Fall Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $65 for a five-course meal paired with American Brown Ale, Oktoberfest, The Cannibal, Rauchbier, and Imperial Pumpkin Ale)

@Somers Point Volunteer Fire Company #2, Somers Point, NJ--- Sat. 10/29 - Somers Point Craft Beer Fest (12:00pm-4:00pm; $35/$50 for a relatively-small festival (read: comfortable) pouring at least 30 beers from over a dozen breweries)

@Tavern 17, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 10/27 - Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner (6:30pm-9:00pm; $40 for a four-course meal paired with Pale Ale, Tumbler Brown Ale, Northern Hemisphere Harvest, Torpedo, and Oliva Abbey Dubbel)

@Varga Bar, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 10/29 - Up In Smoke Pig Roast (1:00pm-8:00pm; $25 for choice of Suckling Pig, Free-Range Chicken, or Organic Lamb and two side dishes. PAYG beer Scarlet Fire, Otto, and Smoked Belgian Ale provided by Victory.)

A Homebrew contest for good measure
@Elks Lodge #583, Downingtown, Pa.--- Sat. 10/29 - Chester County Homebrew Fest (4:00pm-7:00pm; $35 for a catered buffet-style dinner, a custom-printed event pint glass, live musical entertainment, and to vote for the best homebrewed beer)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Almanac Beer and "I Could Use Your Help"

I suppose it's rather ridiculous that here in The Brew Lounge I've never really made as big a deal as I should of the column I write in the Communities section of The Washington Times. After all, it's called After Hours at The Brew Lounge and was originally intended to be some sort of an extension of this thing here.

Been doing it for over a year now. Haven't even put up a handy link over there on the right side of this page. Come to think of it, I write and assemble....assemble and write. I've only truly been embracing the social media stuff more fully in the past several months. As for the maintenance and administrative upkeep around here, I come up rather short. Though, it really should be mostly about the content, anyway, right? But, that's a bit of a different story, I suppose.

I bring this up because the traffic to my column is decent at TWT, but not great. Anyone with half a kernel of sense in my shoes would write the column, do all the social media linking and whatnot, and then come back here and post a link notification that I wrote something that I'd like you to read. Sometimes I forget that the Venn Diagram of all my web instances is not a bunch of overlapping circles.

I did a beer review the other day -- something I attempt to publish each Sunday -- and within in an hour, thanks to StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, it went straight to the number one read position and since fallen back drifting between three and four.

Almanac Brewery is new to the San Francisco Bay Area and is about to embark on their second beer brewed in accordance with the seasons of the year and emphasizing northern California farming and brewing. I reviewed their first beer, a blackberry ale, and their second beer, a plum ale, is being released in November 2011.

The only other tasting notes column that went to number one was that of Saison Dupont.

So, here's what I'm going to ask that you help me with -- and not so casually.

Every time I write something over there at TWT, I'm going to post a link here to it. Please click the link (similar to the one below -- matter of fact, why don't you go and do that now before you forget?).

Use the Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, E-mail, and Google+ sharing links if you like the article and are so inclined to tell others.

By clicking and sharing the article and links, you'll be helping create page views which are aggregated and tracked very closely. This, in turn, helps me. Who knows, you might even create a few more nickels in my take-home pay and, in the process, you'll be showing TWT that you enjoy reading about beer.

Because, really, if it wasn't for food, beverage, and travel writing at TWT, we'd be left with a whole bunch of political writing and posturing. And, there really should be a limit on that, shouldn't there? ;-)

Link to a Review of Almanac's Summer 2010 Blackberry Ale, Sun. 10/23/11

Jolly Pumpkin in October

For those of you looking to celebrate Christmas in October today, look no farther than Teresa's Next Door in Wayne where they'll be hosting Jolly Pumpkin for a Halloween celebration with barely a pumpkin in sight, save for the brewery's name and La Parcela.

A half dozen drafts like: La Parcela ['10]; Luciérnaga; Madrugada; Noel de Calabaza ['10]; Oro de Calabaza; and Weizen Bam Bière. Vintage bottles will be for sale as well.

These are beers from one of the country's most sought-after breweries. Should be a good night -- or, day, if you decide to cut loose from work a bit early.

Friday, October 21, 2011

And yet one more beer that I don't have to search out when I travel

Maui Brewing is coming to the East Coast, so reports

To me, it's a double-edged sword. Here's a brewery that makes great beer, Great--Local--Beer.

On one hand, don't get me wrong, the ability to buy it so close to home is, according to the greedy consumer in me, great. Bikini Blonde, Big Swell, and, yes, CoCoNut Porter will all find their way into my cooler after my next trip to Maryland/DC/Virginia...but of course.

But, on many other hands, it just feels wrong. It's a Great--Local--Beer. Local to Hawaii -- to Maui. It's just one more thing that makes traveling to Maui more interesting. The lush landscape, the luaus, the aloha....and the beer from Maui Brewing Company.

Sure, it'll still taste fresher, and presumably better, when visiting the 50th state. Fortunately, of course, their brewpub will always have plenty more other beers that never make it off the island. Knowing, though, that I can get some of them on the East Coast will take just a bit of the thrill out of drinking them in Hawaii.

Brewery-building through the years at The Brew Lounge

As Iron Hill in Phoenixville threw down for its 5th anniversary celebration last night (as the company's sixth location), it got me thinking to an area of The Brew Lounge to point back to that many of you may enjoy: Construction Updates. There was a bit of recent buzz about it over in the Twitter-verse, particularly related to Tröegs, so I thought I'd share a bit of the bigger picture here to the bigger audience :)

I've always kept a "log" of all construction updates that I've recorded over the years. It wouldn't surprise me if many of you have never seen it or know of it. But, of late, it has been getting quite a workout again with the recent activity from McKenzie Brew House in Devon/Berwyn, to Tired Hands in Ardmore, to Forest & Main in Ambler, all the way out to Tröegs in Hershey.

So, here you go. Check it out and take a walk down memory lane. See the sleeping construction worker at Iron Hill as it was being built; I particularly get a good chuckle out of that one. There are 14 establishments in total, if I correctly count.

And use it to keep up-to-date on the happenings of the more recent brewery construction projects.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 20 - October 26

October marches on with cooler temps and hotter beer events.

Check out the entire October 2011 calendar over here.

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

Special Tastings, Brewery Promos, and Samplings
@Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/21 - Free Sampling (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Belgian Beers with Joe Sixpack)

@Capone's, Norristown, PA--- Sat. 10/22 - Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout Bottle Release (11:00am-2:00pm; PAYG for a Founders Draft that gives you a raffle ticket for the chance to purchase 1 of the 12 Bottles of CBS. Must be present; we will start pulling names at 2:00pm sharp. One entry per person.)

@City Tap House, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/21 - Omme-Dog-a-Gash Happy Hour (4:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG for a full lineup of beers from Allagash (Big Little, Black, Curieux, Hugh Malone, Tripel, White, and something very special from Suzy Woods), Dogfish Head (60 Minute, 90 Minute, Black & Red, Burton Baton [2010], Chateau Jihau, Festina Peche [2010], Hellbound on my Ale, Indian Brown, Namaste, Punkin, Sahtea, Theobroma, World Wide Stout [2010]), and Ommegang (Abbey Dubbel, Adoration, Aphrodite, BPA, Chocolate Indulgence, Gnommegang, Hennepin, Rare Vos). And, the 3 ladies -- Domurat, McGuire, and Woods -- from each representin'.)

@Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/20 - Lancaster Brewing Promo (4:30pm; PAYG to join brewmaster Bill Moore for the tapping of a special firkin of Shoo-Fly Porter, or enjoy one of the other Lancaster beers on draft.)

@Iron Hill Brewery, Lancaster, PA--- Thu. 10/20 - Great Pumpkin Harvest Party (4:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, and pumpkin beers on tap including Pumpkin Ale, Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Great Pumpkin Stout, Punktoberfest, Pumpkin Patch Porter, Bourbon Pumpkin Patch Porter, Bourbon Pumpkin Dubbel, and Belgian Harvest.)
@Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, PA--- Fri. 10/21 - Pumpkin Beer Month (5:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG to participate in the battle of Media's Belgian Rye IPA versus North Wales' Pumpkin Ale for title of Pumpkin King)

@Rams Head Bar & Grill, West Chester, PA--- Fri. 10/21 - Johnny Cask (7:00pm-11:00pm; PAYG for Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA, aka Johnny Cask, and live music provided by The Dylan Maguire Band)

@South Philadelphia Taproom, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/25 - Pumpkin Carving and Pumpkin Beers on Tap (6:00pm-9:00pm; Gift Certificates for pumpkin carving winners plus PAYG for pumpkin beers on tap like Dogfish Head Punkin', Manayunk Yunkin', Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela, Southern Tier Pumking, and more)

@Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA--- Tue. 10/25 - Jolly Pumpkin Halloween (PAYG for several Jolly Pumpkin beers on tap. Vintage Jolly bottles will be on hand for sale as well.)

@The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/21 - Third Friday - Jodi's Firkin (5:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG to drink from the firkin of Smoothoperator. It's not "special" but Smoothoperator can be elusive and it's awesome. Jodi will be on hand.)

@Total Wine, Claymont, DE--- Thu. 10/20 - Beerrelevance: The tastiest history lesson you've ever had (6:30pm-8:30pm; $15 gets you beer selections, tasting sheets, take home educational materials, and discounts on the beer presented in class.)

@Washington House, Sellersville, PA--- Fri. 10/21 - Beer Tasting (5:00pm; PAYG for a night of Pumpkin Beers)

Oktoberfest isn't over until Stoudt's says it is
@Frontier Saloon, Folsom, PA--- Sat. 10/22 - Octoberfest (1:00pm-5:00pm; $15/$20 for this "bottle only event, but there is no sample limit so it is an insanely good deal".)

@Healthy Bites-to-Go, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/20 - Oktoberfest & Beer Pairing (6:00pm; $55 for a four-course dinner, complimentary wine or beer paired with each course, and a keepsake glass.)

@Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Sun. 10/23 - OktoberFest (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG as gates open at noon, music from 2pm to 6pm, and food available from 1pm-5pm)

Some charity and some beer
@Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA--- Thu. 10/20 - Charity Cask Night (5:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG as a triple-hopped IPA is featured to benefit Northeastern Pennsylvania American Diabetes Association)

@Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/25 - Doughnuts & Local Beer (11:00am-2:00am; PAYG for this unique beer and Krispy Kreme doughnut flight that will be offered for $10. The pairing will be available all day and $4 from each one sold will be donated to PAWS-Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society.)

@Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/20 - Harpoon for Philabundance (7:00pm; PAYG for a food drive, Harpoon-based food specials, special limited Harpoon bottles, and drafts including UFO, Pumpkin, IPA, Leviathan Triticus, and Docesna 100 barrel series Czech Hop Harvest)

Some food and some beer
@Blue Pear Bistro, West Chester, PA--- Thu. 10/20 - Sugar Hill Cooks with Harlem Brewing Company (7:00pm; $TBD for a four-course meal paired with beer cocktails made with Harlem's Sugar Hill Golden Ale.)

CANCELLED@Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ--- Sat. 10/22 - Beer versus Wine (7:00pm-11:00pm; $75/$80 for 15 American craft breweries, 15 American wineries, all complimenting Atlantic City’s finest restaurants.)

@High Street Grill, Mount Holly, NJ--- Sat. 10/29 - Halloween Autumn Beer Brunch (12:00pm-3:00pm; $35 in costume or $40 if not for a four-course brunch paired with Erdinger Octoberfest Wheat, Sixpoint Autumn Nation, Weyerbacher AutumnFest, and Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin)

@MidAtlantic Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/25 - Women of Beer (6:00pm-10:00pm; $150 for an eight-course meal paired with Victory Festbier and Otto, Ommegang Aphrodite and Hennepin, Allagash Hugh Malone and Curieux, Dogfish Head Midas Touch and Hellhound on My Ale, Stoudt's Apple Pie beer and London Porter, and Rogue Ales Chocolate Stout)

@Side Bar & Restaurant, West Chester, PA--- Fri. 10/21 - Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner (5:00pm-7:00pm; $TBD for a five- to seven-course meal paired with Tumbler, Ovila Saison, Jack & Ken's 30th Anniversary, and others)

@Spring House Brewing Co., Conestoga, PA--- Sat. 10/22 - Pig Roast (1:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for Pulled pork sandwiches, chips, and beer.)

@The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/22 - Victory Village Breakfast (10:00am-1:00pm; PAYG as they pair their weekly brunch menu with Victory's Village coffee/brown beer, Sunrise, Otto, and HopDevil)

@World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 10/23 - Grilled Cheese & Craft Beer (4:00pm; $35 for grilled cheese five different ways paired with Voodoo Pilzilla, Lakefront Eastside Dark, Boulder Sweaty Betty Blonde, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, Rogue Dead Guy Ale)

Festivals and other tastings of note
@Allentown Brew Works, Allentown, PA--- Sat. 10/22 - Bourbon, Beer, and Bryson II (5:00pm-8:00pm; $25/$45 for all of the great Bourbons and food selections from last year’s fabulous event – plus more. Bourbon-beers provided by Allentown Brew Works, Bethlehem Brew Works, Yards, Weyerbacher, and Hammersmith Brewing.)

@Iron Hill, Phoenixville, PA--- Thu. 10/20 - 5 Year Anniversary (5:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for a celebratory night of Wee Heavy and special features from our original menu. Complimentary beer and cheese pairings for Mug Club members.)

@Mugshots-Brewerytown, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/20 - Nano Brewery Fest (6:00pm; Free + PAYG for beers from the likes of Worstbrewing and St. Benjamin Brewing Company, as well as Yards Brewing Company. The night will be dedicated to the education of regular beer drinkers, pairing their typical beers with all different varieties of coffee beans supplied by Counter Culture Coffee. There will be coffee stouts, coffee cakes, and of course, all the beer you could imagine.)

@Newtown Swim Club, Newtown, PA--- Sat. 10/22 - Newtown's Original Brewfest (12:00pm-5:00pm; $10/$40/$70 to taste from over 175 different beers & wines, 8 local eateries--including bar fare, Jamaican specialties and a pig roast. This year will feature a Special Home Brewers Tent which will consist of local home brews. The home brewers will be judged by event attendees as part of our Peoples’ Choice Awards.)

@Pinocchio's, Media, PA--- Sat. 10/22 - Sour Fest (10:00am; PAYG for Bockor Cuvee Des Jacobins, De Proef/Sly Fox Broederlijke Liefde, Dogfish Head Festina Peche, Fegley's Brew Works 007, Iron Hill/Ithaca Dark Humor, Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela, Kasteel Rouge, Liefman's Cuvee Brut, Ommegang Aphrodite, Rodenbach Grand Cru, St. Louis Gueuze and a few additional draft rarities like: Founders Backwoods Bastard, Founders Breakfast Stout, Founders Harvest Ale, Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild, Lost Abbey Angel's Share Bourbon, Russian River Damnation)

@Pizzadili Vineyards & Winery, Felton, DE--- Sun. 10/23 - Delaware Wine & Beer Festival (12:00pm-5:00pm; $25/$35 for unlimited sampling from 16 Mile Brewery, Dogfish Head Brewery, Fenwick Wine Cellars, Fordham/Dominion Brewery, Evolution Brewing Company, Nassau Valley Vineyards, Pizzadili Vineyards & Winery, Stewarts Brewing Company, Twin Lakes Brewery, and Unplugged & Uncorked -- Sonata Wines)

@Station Taproom, Downingtown, PA--- Wed. 10/26 - Tröegs Tap Takeover (6:00pm; PAYG to keep the pint glass and drink Scratch 45 (IPA), Scratch 47 (Witbier), Scratch 48 (Festbier), Flying Mouflan, and a Firkin of Pale Ale)

Learn about Homebrew
@Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/22 - Beer Barons to Homebrewers x(1:00pm; $25 for a tour of burial sites of brewers interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery and continuing with a tour, tasting and reception at West Laurel Hill Cemetery.)

@Sun Inn Preservation, Bethlehem, PA--- Tue. 10/25 - Next Step Brewing Class (6:30pm; $40 for this class geared toward the new brewer who has brewed some beer kits and is ready to learn the next step in homebrewing.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kehoe helps the mayor pay up

Here's a little news nugget from earlier today about Yards' Tom Kehoe helping Mayor Nutter and the Phillie Phanatic to ship off some Yards beers to the mayor of St. Louis for that little postseason debacle you may recall from a couple of weeks back.

According to Ops Manager Steve Mashington, representing Philly honorably in defeat were Yards' Philadelphia Pale Ale and Brawler. I can only hope that, if the tables were turned, Philly might have received something comparable from St. Louis.

[City of Philadelphia blog]

JoBoy's Authentic Southern BBQ and Hand-Crafted Beer in Manheim, Pa.

Imagine yourself on the Pennsylvania Turnpike heading east or west somewhere between Harrisburg and Reading. You're hungry and want to make a pit stop along the way. You're near the Lebanon/Lancaster exit and decide to head south on Route 72 in search of food.

You smell something good (refrain from making Pennsylvania farmland jokes here). It could be beer or it could be barbecue. Chances are, it's both.

Within six miles, you'll find yourself in the heart of Manheim and at the doorstep of JoBoy's Brew Pub. You likely will not smell the beer being made from too far away, considering the brewpub's system is one of the smallest in the region.

Jeff Harless, co-owner, brews on a 1/2 barrel system in the kitchen and must brew near continuously on the small system in order to keep up with demand at the bar. What all that hard work means is that you're even more guaranteed to have more fresh beer made more often mere feet away in the not-too-small, yet cozy, brewpub.

Jo Harless, wife of Jeff and co-owner, was behind the bar when I stopped in along my way home from Hershey and the sneak peek at the new Tröegs brewery. Reports of the couple's friendliness did not go unnoticed from the moment I walked in the door and sat at Jo's bar. She started me down the road to gustatory delight with a review of the food, beer, and wine (mostly Tamanend and Waltz wineries) menu.

Jeff brought his barbecue recipes from his native North Carolina to use in the former Summy House which he and Jo opened on 4/1/10 as JoBoy's Brew Pub. Fascinating artifacts of the building's history hang on the walls and contribute to the comfortable feeling at this small town brewpub.

The beers I tasted were all quite good and satisfying. The average appears to fall in the 5.0%-5.5% ABV range which is nice for a few reasons. For my own selfish reason, I still had nearly an hour to drive home. But, the main advantage I see is that at this "sessionable" level (let's see if anyone comments to dispute my sessionable tag!), the beer can be very good yet not too much to get in the way of the incredible food on the plate.

The beers cover many of the basics from Hefeweizen to hoppy IPAs and peaty Scottish ales to Porters. Throw in a Pale Ale, a Blonde, and the very popular and dependable Manheim Red along with an occasional Barlyewine, Russian Imperial Stout, and fruit beer to make things interesting as well.

I'm not sure that they need to make the claim they state on their menu, since it almost sounds apologetic and, after tasting several of their beers, I don't think they need to make apologies. "While we make no claims to brewing the best beer you ever had; we can promise hand-crafted beer that focuses on quality and that pairs well with our barbeque." Well, as debatable as the first part of the sentence may be, perhaps more importantly, at least the second part of that sentence accurately resonates from the kitchen to the table.

But, the food. Oh my, the food. Even though I wasn't famished, in my effort to pick "just the right food" for this one initial trial visit to JoBoy's, I landed on the overflowing Smoked Sampler Platter complete with a generous 1/2 rack of ribs, beef brisket, chicken, and pulled pork, two sides, and complementing sauces for the meats. I'm not sure why I skipped the Atomic Buffalo Turds (smoked jalapenos stuffed with bacon and cream cheese), collard greens, baked beans, hush puppies, mac-n-cheese, or cornbread. But, I opted for the equally-pleasing slaw and fried okra. All for twenty dollars!

The best beer to pair? The porter was pretty decent, the Manheim Red was malty enough to do the trick, and the IPA not too shabby in its attempt to work with the various meats, slaw, and fried okra. Pulling in a close second as the best JoBoy's beer to pair with any of the barbecue items was the Brown Belgian Abbey with its noticeable but mild spiciness and strong roasted malts. But across the board (or, I should say, platter), the Scottish Ale with its mild smokiness was just the right beer for the job.

I was a day too early for the unveiling of a 10-month-old aged Russian Imperial Stout. After bringing some leftover ribs home for Patty and hearing her reaction to the food, we may be returning much sooner than I expected and may have a shot at trying this beer.

Asking around, I was a bit surprised by an under-awareness (both from industry folk and consumers alike) of JoBoy's. What about you, my fine guest at The Brew Lounge? If you've been to JoBoy's, what was your reaction? And, if not, how long will it be before you test out my observations?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tröegs is super duper in Hershey, Pa. — aka Construction Update

[Quick Link to my Tröegs pictures posted at Picasa.]

(John and Chris Trogner, brothers and co-owners)

Am I allowed to say Sooper Dooper? Will I find myself in hot water if I say that The Sweetest Place on Earth is about to get a whole lot sweeter? There are a lot of trademarks around the city that has a little something to offer for almost everyone.

What do family and friends like to do in Hershey that you get dragged along for the ride? Outlets shopping? Amusement Park? Hotel and Spa getaway? Minor league hockey? Concerts at the stadium? Theatre? Golf? Gardens?

Actual, many of those sound pretty appealing to me, but now there's something for you to help sweeten just a bit more the trip to Hershey.

There are many ways in which to describe Tröegs and what, to me, currently is one of the East Coast's most interesting and exciting brewery projects.

(Entrance from Hersheypark Drive)

Mad Elf (and lots of it; shouldn't be any supply-side worries) has already been brewed at the new brewery, formerly the site of the Hershey Meats and Commissary grocery distribution center.

There's seating for indoor and outdoor tasting, free self-guided tours, and a view of brewing like many of us have never seen before.

I'll have a lot more to share with you of the incredible Tröegs story unfolding by the day in Hershey, Pa. But, for now, all you really need to know is that the Retail Store opens today (for those of you reading this on 10/17/2011) and, if all goes as planned, the tasting bar will open next Monday the 24th.

On top of that, three special grand opening events are being planned for the public in November. Most likely, they'll occur on the first three Saturdays with plenty of food, beer, and live music.

And, all you really need to see are the pictures that I've posted up at Picasa.

I was invited out to the Hershey home of Tröegs to get a sneak-peak at the brewery (well, actually, it was more than just a peak and more than just a few sips) last week.

(View of the Tasting Room from the brewing platform)

What I saw surpassed the incredible impression that I'd already cobbled together from the many words and pictures I'd seen across the Webs.

And when you visit for the fist time, I think you'll feel the same way.

All this calls to mind a fun video (the second one below), which not so surprisingly outranks the first video on YouTube by, oh, nearly 4.5 million views — shocking :)

Enjoy.....and much more to come.

Tröegs Video contestant #1

Tröegs Video contestant #2

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Exton Beverage loves its customers

I don't recall going to the beer distributor with my father on a Friday night to be fed food, be given beers (well, of course not at that age, that'd be ridiculous, right?!), and listen to live music.

Exton Beverage has done it again. For the second time this year, they've put together a customer appreciation-type of event with food, beer, and live music. This time it was Holt 45 on stage, beers and reps from 1/2 dozen breweries, and food from four local restaurants. I'm wondering if this is the highest off the floor the band has ever played.

Not too shabby for a Friday night in Exton at the beverage distributor. Good times all around with a bunch of friendly faces. Dad would be proud :)

If you're on the book of Faces, you can follow this link for a bunch of great pictures by Andrew Seymour.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yards Smoke 'Em if Yous Got 'Em: 9/23/11

We had 'em smoked every which way at Yards. Quick jump over here for 40 pictures from the event.

(Excellent glassware as always at Yards events. And, guess what? Attendees don't smash them at the end of the session!)

A little late with this wrap-up (yeah, like nearly 3 weeks, let's get on with it, eh?!), but must do my part here to reiterate the claim for this event as a top 10'er every year in the Philadelphia region. A destination beer event, if you will. One that you take the afternoon off from work to attend. Maybe include a stop at Standard Tap just a few blocks away.

(Rolled barbecue at fahrenheit 225)

This year's Smoke 'Em If Yous Got 'Em event was much like the previous ones: smoked meats of every type; smoked beers ranging from where's-the-smoke to Holy-Smoke!; live music; and great times with like-minded folks. You should hear what we say about the unlike-minded folks.

(Collin Flatt, judge)

The only difference this year was that there was more. More meat (a dozen amateur competitors, plus Percy Street, Brauhaus Schmitz, and The Smoke Truck), more beer (nearly 20 breweries worth of smoked beers in varying intensity). And I, as one smoke-beer, smoke-meat lovin' guy, couldn't have been happier.

There are a few pictures here; the remainder are shared over at Picasa via this link.

I stopped in with Adam The NonConFermist courtesy of an invitation from the brewery. That, as you should come to expect by now, in no way influences my opinion of events at Yards. My affection for smoked beers is well-documented. And, well, Yards has the right facility for hosting large events in a space that comfortably accommodates the throngs of beer lovers.

(Master Basters at work putting on a show of great barbecue)

Master Basters justifiably took first place. If there was a prize for most creative name, they likely would have won in that category as well, but perhaps only narrowly over Grill on Grill Action.

Finally, I shouldn't close without recognizing The Smoke Truck. The already much-lauded Smoke Truck gets a few more points for hooking up Mrs. Brew Lounge, who drove through the torrential downpours to pick me up on the way to The Shore. A bowl of sauce to accompany a mound of succulent pulled pork and a large bone of meat. Made the late-night trip to The Shore just a little easier. Easy on the double entendres kid.


And one last beer event, a freebie at Exton Beverage

Well, this is an embarrassing omission from The Brew Lounge's monthly calendar.

The closest great beer distributor to me, and the one I write a newsletter for - go figure, is having another one of those kick-ass Customer Appreciation/Fall Fest events. Similar past events have been wildly successful.

If you're in Northern Chester County this afternoon, be sure to stop by between 4pm-7pm. They're located on Route 30, directly across from the Exton Square Mall.

It'll be hard to miss, what with the free beer samples, free food (Station Taproom and The Drafting Room), the usual Friday afternoon crowd plus some, and the live music (from Holt 45).

See you at Exton Beverage.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Suzanne Woods: taking Allagash all the way to Washington DC, woo-hoo!

(sorry, that was the most clever Washington/Politics reference I could come up with today)

Ms. Woods is a downright likable beer personality. You'll hear me saying that about so many in the "craft" beer industry; but, then again, it's true and also what makes covering the industry, the happenings, and the people so darn interesting and fun.

So as Suzy moves on from Sly Fox to Allagash, where she'll be covering the latitudes from Philadelphia down through DC and Northern Virginia as their mid-Atlantic Sales Manager, Resurrection Ale House threw a little "going away" party for her a couple nights back.

As a testament that Woods is not only likable to those such as me on the middle-to-outer rings of the beer circles, some fine representation from her old and new employers showed up in support.

Since it's always better to quote than to have you listen to me. So here are some words from Suzanne:

"Long live the cans. I am so proud that Sly Fox is the MidAtlantic pioneer of the craft can movement. I had too much fun selling it! After five years I moved on to another amazing brewery. I'll be drinking my weight in White from Philly down to DC. I don't think I have a day off 'til Thanksgiving but that's alright. I am honored to be welcomed into such a wonderful company."

In the picture you see here, and it's nearly impossible to say left-to-right, so I'll trust that you either know who's who, or maybe don't care. Brian O'Reilly (head brewer), Tim Ohst (Brewer and Head of Brewing Ops), and Corey Reid (bartender, Sales Guy, and Kan Jam Koordinator) all showed up from Sly Fox. From Allagash, Naomi Moore, National Sales Manager and Woods' new boss, was in attendance. Strangely absent (given his propensity to be found year-round in these parts!) was Rob Tod. Just kidding...sort of.

Brendan Hartranft (owner, Resurrection Ale House), Sean McGinnis (bartender at RAH), and Jim Meiers (craft manager at Origlio) are also in the picture.

Suzanne works as hard, if not harder, than many at bringing the message of great beer to "the people". Sly Fox will miss her and Allagash should surely benefit. You may see a little less of her around Philly, but that'll be a good thing for Baltimore and DC. Plus, it'll mean seeing Corey Reid a little bit more and that's alright too.

Continue following Suzanne wherever her travels take her via

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 13 - October 19

Such a light looking calendar of 7 beer days here, do you think?

Check out the entire October 2011 calendar over here.

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

Special Tastings, Brewery Promos, and Samplings
@Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/14 - Free Sampling (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of Flying Dog beer)

@Capone's, Norristown, PA--- Sat. 10/15 - Hill Farmstead (11:00am; PAYG for a draft and bottle list still TBD)

@Hobbs Coffee House, Swarthmore, PA--- Thu. 10/13 - Flying Fish Beer Tasting Class (7:30pm-9:00pm; $30 for this program that will walk you through the process of making beer from grain to glass, the region’s brewing history, and today’s vibrant local beer scene. There will be a sampling of several Flying Fish beers to demonstrate the many styles not available to consumers. Each beer will be paired with a specially selected cheese to wake your palate up to the wonderful opportunities of combining these two great food products.)

@Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, PA--- Fri. 10/14 - Pumpkin Beer Month (5:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for cask-conditioned Pumpkin/Honeycomb Ale)

@Khyber Pass Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 10/19 - Tröegs Tap Takeover (6:00pm; PAYG for a night of Tröegs including Scratch 45 - IPA, Scratch 46 - Naked Elf, Scratch 47 - Belgian Wit, Scratch 48 - Fest Bier, Scratch 49 - Wet Hop IPA, Flying Mouflan Barleywine, Dead Reckoning Porter, Sunshine Pils, Hopback Amber Cask, Hopback Amber CO2, Pale Ale, Troegenator Double Bock, Dreamweaver Wheat, Java Head Stout, Mad Elf, a firkin of Java Head, and a Firkin of Deliciousness to be named later)

@Percy Street Barbecue, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/18 - Yards Cerebus Release Party (7:00pm-11:00pm; PAYG for the triple wet hop pale ale and other Yards beers including Cerebus Amarillo, Cerebus Citra, Cerebus Chinook, Cape of Good Hope, Macdougals Smoked Ale, Bourbon Thomas Jefferson, and Philly Pale Ale)

@Pinocchio's, Media, PA--- Thu. 10/13 - Chimay Event (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free+PAYG for Chimay Cinq Cents and others)
@Pinocchio's, Media, PA--- Fri. 10/14 - Special Pin Tapping (4:30pm; PAYG for the dry-hopped Manayunk California Dreamin')

@Union Jack's on the Manatawny, Boyertown, PA--- Sat. 10/15 - DogFishFest (1:00pm; PAYG for a crazy Saturday of Dogfish Head beers including Sah'tea, Burton Baton, 120 Minute IPA, Black and Red, Black and Blue, Theobroma, Chateau Jiahu, Hellhound on my Ale, Palo Santo Marron, My Antonia, Namaste, Punkin Ale, and Pangaea)

@Wegmans, Malvern, PA--- Fri. 10/14 - Dark Devil Sampling (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of Victory beer)

Oktoberfests and Fall Fests continue
@American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/15 - Smörgåsbeer’d: A Beer Tasting (4:00pm-7:00pm; $25 to sample local beers and decide which goes best with Swedish (or non-Swedish) food. Experts from Yards, Triumph Brewery, The Bottle Shop, and McKenzie Brew House will be there to talk about their various brews.)

@Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/15 - Thirstoberfest (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG as they will be pouring more than 25 flagship and limited release beers from our favorite local and stateside craft breweries along with a few super rare international goodies. Special THIRSTOBERFEST dogs will be served from the truck all day!)

@South Street betw. Broad & 17th, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/15 - Blocktoberfest (12:00pm-8:00pm; Free admission + PAYG for food and drink tickets for food from neighborhood vendors and food trucks, a wide selection of beer by craft breweries from around the country showcased by Bella Vista Beer Distributors, and multiple stages of live music featuring nationally recognized and emerging local acts.)

@Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Sat. 10/15 - Microfest (12:00pm-4:00pm & 6:00pm-10:00pm; $35 for beers from confirmed breweries like Stoudt's, Union Barrel Works, Fat Heads Brewery, Lancaster Brewing, Great Lakes, Riverhorse, Thirsty Dog Brewing, Prism Brewery, Intercourse Brewing, Boxcar, Troegs, and more to come)
@Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Sun. 10/16 - OktoberFest (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG as gates open at noon, music from 2pm to 6pm, and food available from 1pm-5pm)

Food and Beer Events
@Caffe Gelato, Newark, DE--- Sun. 10/16 - Wooden It Be Nice Dogfish Head Beer Dinner (6:00pm; $69 for a five-course meal paired with beers yet TBA)

@Iron Abbey, Horsham, PA--- Wed. 10/19 - Flying Dog Beer Dinner (7:00pm-9:00pm; $55 for a five-course meal paired with Tire Bite Golden Ale, Doggie Style Pale Ale, Raging Bitch Belgian IPA, Gonzo Imperial Porter, and The Fear Imperial Pumpkin)

@Iron Hill Brewery, Media, PA--- Sun. 10/16 - Kegs and Eggs (10:00am-1:00pm; PAYG for a brunch featuring Coffee Stout made with Ethiopian Harrar coffee beans from Burlap and Bean. Gift basket raffle with items from Burlap and Bean and Iron Hill.)
@Iron Hill Brewery, West Chester, PA--- Thu. 10/13 - Brewmaster's Oktoberfest Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $65 for a five-course meal paired with Phightin Phils Pils, Altbier, Munich Helles Lager, Oktoberfest, and Chocolate Weisse)

@Nectar, Berwyn, PA--- Mon. 10/17 - A Feurious Night, Beer Lovers Delight (6:00pm-9:00pm; $65 for a four-course meal paired with Harvest Pils, Fists of Feury, Moonglow, and V12)

@Square 1682, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 10/16 - Cheesesteak Challenge (3:00pm-6:00pm; $20 for our block party with beer provided by Victory, cheesesteaks, and competition. Ticket holders will determine the "People's Choice" award and be entered in a raffle to recieve dinner at one of the participating restaurants. All proceeds will benefit the Philadelphia Academies.)

@Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA--- Tue. 10/18 - Harvest Beer Dinner (6:00pm; $55 for a five-course meal paired with Harvest Pils, Moonglow, Harvest Ale, Otto, Village Brown)

Celebrate Homebrew
@The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/14 - Home Brew Legalization Day (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG to help commemorate Home Brew Legalization Day. Homebrewers, bring some of your beer to swap with other brewers.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

McKenzie Brew House, Construction Update #2

McKenzie Brew House, 324 Swedesford Road, Berwyn, PA 19312

Quick Notes. Stopped by when no one was around and found progress poking along. The exterior façade and sidewalk are undergoing a bit of reconstruction. The interior has been roughed-out and the brewery is in place.

No word yet on an official target date for opening, but that's the good thing about having two other locations to enjoy the fine award-winning products of Mr. Ryan Michaels until such time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tired Hands, Construction Update #2

Tired Hands Brewing Company, 16 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, Pa 19003

Quick Notes. Jean Broillet and his team continue to rip away at the old building, finding beautiful brick, stone, and glass that was previously covered. Look for a just-after New Year opening, if all continues apace.

I'll be reviewing a bottle of their FarmHands coming up soon.

Forest & Main, Construction Update #2

Forest & Main Brewing Company, 61 N. Main Street, Ambler, Pa. 19002

Quick notes. Should be opening in November, let's say by Thanksgiving so we don't get too anxious? We all know how these things can bog down in the final (often bureaucratic stages). They seem, though, to have all the right people in Ambler pulling for them and working with them, so that's a good sign. They're nearing the end and things are looking good, particularly as the brewhouse has come in-house and is ready to be assembled.

I've got three of their beers here at home with me that I'll be reviewing for you soon. Underground Brown, Kinch the Knifeblade Double IPA, and Poor Yorick Dark Ale will be playing a somewhat regular role in the operations at F&M and I think you're gonna like what you see.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Free Press for anyone who buys or sends a birthday beer for me

You know how I've got this thing about not effusively going on about the packaging, doodads, and geegaws that breweries tend to send? Though, must say they don't seem to send like they used to — probably just me.

Well, it's my birthday this weekend and 21st Amendment sent some Fireside Chat...and a pie...and a USB thumbdrive with "stuff" on it. Not that it was actually for my birthday, but it showed up two days prior, so that's cool.

Further more cool is that most packages arriving from 21A contains some sort of unique packaging. Last time, the Hop Crisis had whole leaf hops sprinkled generously throughout the packaging so that even without opening the box, you could smell fresh hops. The delivery guy must've loved that.

This time, a pie to go with the winter spiced ale. Very clever. And a video introduction from Nico and Shaun, owners, on a brewery-branded USB thumbdrive.

Oh, and the beer? Well, I certainly wouldn't be writing this if every beer I've had from this Bay Area brewing beast wasn't top notch, or pretty damned close.

This goes back 6 or maybe 7 years to my first visit at the pub...and, over the years, my summertime affection for the Hell or High Watermelon Wheat.

And GABF has noticed over the years as well. This year, they took home two medals: a Gold for Hqt and a Gold for Amber Waves.

Who's next with a beer for me? The shameless birthday plug will not end until the weekend ends. Or maybe until we officially celebrate in Belgium next May.

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 6 - October 12

After this weekend, you should see me begin to come out of my slowdown-of-sorts. As we get into the fall season and I begin my fifth decade of this wonderful life, the beer calendar offers us all plenty of opportunities to get out there and enjoy some tasty treats.

Check out the entire October 2011 calendar over here.

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

Two more chances to catch David Dye and WXPN's Broadcaster Brown Ale
@Derek's, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/6 - PBC’s limited-edition David Dye/World Café Broadcaster Brown Ale (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG)

@McMenamin's, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/6 - PBC’s limited-edition David Dye/World Café Broadcaster Brown Ale (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG)

Special Tastings, Brewery Promos, and Samplings
@Bell Beverage, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Free Sampling (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of New England Beers with Joe Sixpack)

@Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA--- Thu. 10/6 - Charity Cask Night (5:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG and featuring triple-hopped IPA to benefit Northeastern Pennsylvania American Diabetes Association)

@Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/6 - Philadelphia Brewing Promo (4:30pm; PAYG for a night of guest beers, prizes, & you can keep the pint glass from Philadelphia Brewing Company)

@Global Beer Distributors, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Free Beer Tasting (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of Victory beers)

@Iron Hill Brewery, Phoenixville, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Firkin Friday (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG for cask-conditioned Vienna Red Lager, a GABF 2011 bronze medal winner)
@Iron Hill Brewery, West Chester, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Hop Attack! (12:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for 8 Hoppy Beers-Rye IPA, Hopkowski, Kryptonite (3:00 Release), JPA, Hell Track IPA, Hopdiculous, Kamikaze IPA, and Rising Sun)

@The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Funky First Friday (6:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG for at least one extra-funky beer on tap)

@Trolley Car Diner, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Beer Tasting (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of beers from Tröegs)

@Wegmans, Downingtown, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Free Beer Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; Free tasting samples of beers from Philadelphia Brewing)

Special Events with a Little Something Extra
@Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/7-Sun. 10/9 - 3rd Anniversary Celebration (PAYG for beer and food specials and surprises all weekend long. Actual anniversary is Sunday the 9th.)

@Resurrection Ale House, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/11 - Sly Fox & Allagash Night (PAYG for a Suzanne Woods send-off beer list that includes: Allagash Blonde, Allagash Dubbel, Hugh Malone, Tripel, and Big Little and Sly Fox's Route 113 IPA, O'Reilly Stout, Pikeland Pils, and Abbey Extra. Plus, something special on the Engine.)

@Sly Fox, Royersford, PA--- Sun. 10/9 - Closing Time/One Last Pint (PAYG as they serve 'em up one last time before officially moving the Royersford brewery location to Pottstown.)

@Varga Bar, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/6 - Weyerbacher Sick Lineup (7:00pm; PAYG for a lineup including Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Pumpkin, Harvest Ale, AutumnFest, Imperial Pumpkin, Old Heathen, Blithering Idiot, Diamond (IPA #6), and Romeo. "Black and Orange" specials, which is an Imperial Pumpkin/Old Heathen mix)

Oktoberfest and Fall Festivals für Alle
@downtown Bethlehem, PA--- Sat. 10/8 - Bethlehem Harvest Festival (11:00am-9:00pm; Free admission, $20/$25 for beer samples 1pm-4pm)

@downtown Kennett Square, PA--- Sat. 10/8 - Kennett Brewfest (12:00pm-1:30pm, 2:00pm-6:00pm; $40/$65 to sample beers from over 60 local, regional, and craft breweries)

@Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Pumpkin Beer Month (5:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG for cask-conditioned Pumpkin Ale)

@Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA--- Sat. 10/8 - Oktoberfest (12:00pm-3:00pm; $30 for a glass mug, Isaac's Oktoberfest t-shirt, authentic German buffet, 2 draft beers, live accordion music, chances to win some cool prizes, and great people to hang out with.)

@Nodding Head, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/8 - Nod-toberfest (3:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG for German-Style and German-Inspired beer, food specials and some sort of thematic silliness. Beers to include: Festbier, Keller Pils, Altercation, Lead Pipe Lager, and Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse)

@Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/8 - OktoPBRfest (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG as the interior and sidewalk café will be converted into a beer garden stocked with more than a dozen locally-produced German-style craft beers as well as a collection of freshly brewed favorites from the old country.” Food offerings will include: Steamed Bratwurst, Knockwurst, Bauernwurst, Currywurst, Drei Im Weckla, Fasnacht, Schnecken, and soft pretzels with beer mustard.)

@River Horse Brewery, Lambertville, NJ--- Sat. 10/8 - Oktoberfest (1:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG for food, live music, and beer as they pour Lager, Special Ale, Tripel Horse, Hop A Lot Amus, Hop Hazard, Hipp O Lantern Imperial Pumpkin, and their new Brewer's Reserve, Batch #008 - Dunkelweizen, a German style wheat beer for the fall.)

@Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Sun. 10/9 - OktoberFest (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG as gates open at noon, music from 2 to 6, and food available from 1-5pm)

Charity and Beer
@Hawthornes, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/8 - Ales 4 Tails Outdoor Block Party (4:00pm-9:00pm; cash only-$5 admission donation, PAYG $5 beers. 20 Draft Beers, Street Food, Live Music.)

@Various locations, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/8 - Brews for Boobies (12:00pm; $25 + PAYG and see website for all locations and details)

Food and Beer
@Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Local Autumn Harvest Dinner with Weyerbacher (6:00pm; $85/$97 for a five-course meal paired with Verboten, AutumnFest, Harvest Ale, Merry Monks’ Ale, Double Simcoe IPA, and "Black & Oranges", a blend of Imperial Pumpkin and Old Heathen)

@Mill at The Stone Barn, Kennett Square, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - A Harvest Dinner pairing of Local Food, Beer, & Wine (7:00pm-11:00pm; $125 for this fundraising event for Historic Kennett Square)

@Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA--- Wed. 10/12 - Trappist Beer Dinner featuring Chimay (7:00pm; $65 for a four-course meal paired with Chimay Premiere, Chimay Cinq Cents, Chimay Grande Reserve, and Orval Trappiste.)

@Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA--- Tue. 10/11 - Victory Cooks' Showdown (6:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG to cheer on Victory’s talented employees as they battle eachother in our Cook’s Showdown.)

@Washington House, Sellersville, PA--- Fri. 10/7 - Oktoberfest Beer Tasting Dinner (5:00pm; $59 for their annual tradition to sample nine German beer styles in three flights of three 6 oz pours. This year they will be offering a special four-course meal to complement them as well. Order the flights individually or enjoy Chef Andrew's Oktoberfest dinner pairings with all three.)

@Keystone Homebrew Supply, Montgomeryville, PA--- Tue. 10/11 - Next Step Brewing Class (6:30pm; $40 to brew up a Keystone beer kit, which is extract based with specialty grains, fresh hops, and liquid yeast. We will taste and discuss your homebrews and ours, so be sure to bring some.)
@Keystone Homebrew Supply, Bethlehem, PA--- Tue. 10/11 - Introduction to Brewing Class (6:30pm; $40 for the first-time brewer who will learn the basic equipment needed to homebrew and how it works. Participants will get hands-on experience brewing, bottling, and tasting homebrew.)

@The Farmers' Cabinet, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/8 - Terry's Beer Fest & the Iron Homebrewer's Finals (11:00am; PAYG for 26 draft lines of our own Brew House beer, by Terry Hawbaker, and the guest judging for Iron Homebrewer Competition.)