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© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2005-2017. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rest in Peace 2016 -- Thanks for all the beers

It's time to pull the curtain down on 2016, something that I'm sure not too many will be disappointed to do for at least a few reasons.

Each time this year, I enjoy looking back on the year in many ways, including from the perspective of those we lost. The music industry had its fair share of significant losses this year. And the beer industry had a handful as well. Special thanks to Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack) for his contribution here.

12/17/15, David Hummer, 81, brief illness
  ~ Though in 2015, the passing of Boulder Beer Company's co-founder was not announced until January. [link to Boulder's website]

4/21/16, Mary Horton, 52, bicycle accident
  ~ Any well-studied fan of great beer should recognize Horton's brewery, Fish Brewing Company, that she co-founded in 1993 in Olympia, Washington. [link to The Olympian]

6/19/16, Piero Rodriguez, 34, car accident
  ~ M.I.A. Beer Company has been making waves in South Florida, just outside of Miami, over the last couple of years since opening. Rodriguez was one of the driving forces behind it. [link to Miami Herald]

12/1/16, Jan Alan Zarkin, 73, ALS
  ~ Living near the Art Museum in Philly in the mid-1990s, I quickly discovered one of the solidly reliable restaurants/bars in the family-friendly and walkable neighborhood. Rembrandt's was a young establishment at the time and impressed with its kitchen and bar. Zarkin was an original partner. [link to Philly.com]

If you care to look back on the previous nine years that I've been doing this year-end wrap, consult the links here for: 2015,  2014,  2013,  2012,  2011,  2010,  2009,  2008,  and 2007.

As in past years, I'll repeat a soothing message: Be still sad heart and cease repining; Behind the clouds the sun is shining, Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life a little rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary. ~ Longfellow




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Monday, December 26, 2016

Finding great beer on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day 2016/2017

You over Christmas yet? Turning your party planning attention to New Year's Eve and New Year's Day?

I haven't done one of these in a couple of years. The posting of what's happening on New Year's Eve at some of the best beer spots always turns out to be one of the most popular so, what the heck, let's take a tour around the region and see what's happening. In some way, in my opinion, New Year's Day revelry can be more fun than that of the prior night. Check it out below.

NEW YEAR'S EVE
Allentown, PA
  ~~  12 p.m.-5 p.m.
Hijinx Brewing Company - Tasting Room open

  ~~  5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Fegley's Allentown Brew Works - Kids' New Years Eve Celebration

  ~~  10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Fegley's Allentown Brew Works - New Year's Eve Dance Party

Ardmore, PA
  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

Berwick, PA
  ~~  1 p.m.-12 a.m.
Berwick Brewing Company - Holiday hours

Bloomsburg, PA
  ~~  5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Turkey Hill Brewing Company - The Brewmaster's Dinner

Boyertown, PA
  ~~  8 p.m.-2 a.m.
The Other Farm Brewing Company - New Year's Eve with The Gatsby Quintet

Bridgeport, PA
  ~~  9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Conshohocken Brewing Bridgeport Brewpub - NYE Keg Drop 2017

Bristol, PA
  ~~  12 p.m.-5 p.m.
Broken Goblet Brewery - Holiday hours

Burlington, NJ
  ~~  3 p.m.-2 a.m.
Geraghty's Pub - New Year's Eve

Croydon, PA
  ~~  5 p.m.-2 a.m.
Dog & Bull - New Year's Eve Beer Pairing Dinner and Live Music

Downingtown, PA
  ~~  7 p.m.
Station Taproom - New Year's Eve Beer & Wine Pairing Dinner

Doylestown, PA
  ~~  11 a.m.-12 a.m.
Doylestown Brewing Company - Anti-New Year's Eve

  ~~  10 p.m.
Maxwell's On Main - New Year's Eve

Easton, PA
  ~~  Closed
Weyerbacher Brewing Company - Tasting Room closed

Emmaus, PA
  ~~  All day
The Trapp Door - Brunch and dinner specials

Harrisburg, PA
  ~~  7 p.m.-2 a.m.
Appalachian Brewing Company - NYE Extravaganza: 2016/2017

Hatboro, PA
  ~~  7 p.m.-1 a.m.
Crookey Eye Brewery - The Crooked Eye Band

Hulmeville, PA
  ~~  11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Hulmeville Inn - Holiday hours

Huntingdon Valley, PA
  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

Kennett Square, PA
  ~~  4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Kennett Brewing Company - New Year's Eve 2017 Party

Lancaster, PA
  ~~  11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Fridge - Holiday hours

  ~~  5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Hunger-N-Thirst - New Year's Eve Chef's Table

  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

  ~~  9 p.m.-12 a.m.
Wacker Brewing Company - New Year's Eve

  ~~  6 p.m.
Isaac's Pickle Bar - New Year's Eve Party

  ~~  10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Hunger-N-Thirst - New Year's Eve Party

  ~~  Closed
The Fridge - Closed

Lansdale, PA
  ~~  8 p.m.-1 a.m.
Round Guys Brewing Company - New Year's Eve Prom Party

  ~~  9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Prism Brewing Company - New Year's Extravaganza

Lititz, PA
  ~~  8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
General Sutter Inn - New Year's Eve at The Sutter

Little Egg Harbor, NJ
  ~~  Open
Pinelands Brewing Company - Open for tours and tastings

Maple Shade, PA
  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

Media, PA
  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

Milford, DE
  ~~  12 p.m.-10 p.m.
Mispillion River Brewing Company - Holiday hours

Newark, DE
  ~~  5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Argilla Brewing Company - New Year's Eve Menu

  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

  ~~  5 p.m.-11 p.m.
Two Stones Pub - Ring In 2017, 2SP style

  ~~  8 p.m.
Caffe Gelato - New Year's Eve Dinner

  ~~  5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Argilla Brewing Company - Live Music and Late Night Menu

  ~~  10 p.m.
Caffe Gelato - New Year's Eve Party & Dancing

North Wales, PA
  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

Paoli, PA
  ~~  Closed
TJ's - Closed

Philadelphia, PA
  ~~  10:30 a.m.-12:00 a.m.
Devil's Den - New Year's Eve

  ~~  11 a.m.
Tap Room on 19th - NYE at Taproom

  ~~  12 p.m.
Barcade - New Year's Eve

  ~~  12 p.m.-4 p.m.
Earth Bread + Brewery - Holiday hours

  ~~  4 p.m.-9 p.m.
Hop Angel Brauhaus - 4 course Prix Fixe Dinner

  ~~  4 p.m.-11 p.m.
Bridget Foy's - New Year's Eve Menu

  ~~  4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Standard Tap - New Year's Eve

  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

  ~~  5 p.m.-11 p.m.
El Camino Real - NYE Dinner

  ~~  5 p.m.-2 a.m.
Time - Prix Fixe Dinner

  ~~  5 p.m.
Flying Fish Crafthouse - New Year's Eve Party

  ~~  6 p.m.
Jose Pistola's - Belgian New Year's

  ~~  6 p.m. & 9 p.m. seatings
Tria Taproom - Kiss 2016 Goodbye with Tired Hands

  ~~  6:30 p.m. & 9 p.m. seatings
Monk's Cafe - New Year's Eve Belgian Beer Dinner

  ~~  7 p.m.-2 a.m.
Bottle Bar East - NYE at BBE

  ~~  8 p.m.
Alla Spina - Vetri Family New Years Eve

  ~~  8 p.m.
Strangelove's - New Year's Eve Beer Bash

  ~~  8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Grey Lodge Pub - Another Totally Normal Night of the Year (aka New Year's Eve)

  ~~  8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Interstate Drafthouse - New Year's Eve Winter Draftfest

  ~~  8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Jose Pistola's - Hop & Heavy New Year's Eve Party

  ~~  9 p.m.
McGillin's Old Ale House - New Year's Eve

  ~~  9 p.m.
U-Bahn - Eyes Wide Shut NYE Party

  ~~  9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Brauhaus Schmitz - New Year's Eve Haus Party

  ~~  9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Brü Craft & Wurst - New Year's Eve

  ~~  9 p.m.-2 a.m.
City Tap House-University City - New Year's Eve 2017

  ~~  9 p.m.-2 a.m.
City Tap House-Logan Square - NYE 2017

  ~~  9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Prohibition Taproom - NYE at Prohibition

  ~~  9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Field House - NYE Kickoff 2017

  ~~  9:30 p.m.-1 a.m.
Hop Angel Brauhaus - New Year's Eve Party

  ~~  10 p.m.
Tattooed Mom's - New Year's Eve 2017

  ~~ All night
London Grill - New Year's Eve

Phoenixville, PA
  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

Reading, PA
  ~~  7 p.m.-10 p.m.
Liberty Taproom - Beer Dinner with Firestone Walker

Rehoboth Beach, DE
  ~~  10 p.m.
Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats - New Year's Eve party

  ~~  4 p.m.
Chesapeake & Maine - New Year's Eve dinner

Scranton, PA
  ~~  9 p.m.-12 a.m.
Backyard Ale House - NYE Bash

Sellersville, PA
  ~~  9 p.m.-2 a.m.
The Horse Tavern & Grill - Drink specials and party favors

Toms River, NJ
  ~~  12 p.m.-7 p.m.
Rinn Duin Brewing Company - Irish New Year 2017

Voorhees, NJ
  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

West Chester, PA
  ~~  4 p.m.-1 a.m.
Levante Brewing Company - Special beer releases and food

  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

Wilmington, DE
  ~~  5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - New Year's Eve Celebration Menu

  ~~  5 p.m.-11 p.m.
Two Stones Pub - New Year's Eve Prix Fixe Menu

  ~~  8 p.m.-1 a.m.
Chelsea Tavern - Dinner & Open Bar

  ~~  9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Ernest & Scott - NYE Dance Party


NEW YEAR'S DAY
Allentown, PA
  ~~  Closed
Hijinx Brewing Company - Tasting Room closed

Berwick, PA
  ~~  1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Berwick Brewing Company - Holiday hours

Bethlehem, PA
  ~~  11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Fegley's Bethlehem Brew Works - Blues, Brews, and Brunch

Exton, PA
  ~~  10 a.m.
The Drafting Room - New Year's Day Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Event

Horsham, PA
  ~~  10 a.m.
Iron Abbey - Recovery Brunch

Hulmeville, PA
  ~~  7 p.m.-2 a.m.
Hulmeville Inn - Holiday hours

Kennett Square, PA
  ~~  7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Kennett Brewing Company - New Year's Day with Berddog

Lancaster, PA
  ~~  12 p.m.-8 p.m.
Wacker Brewing Company - Hair Of The Dog

  ~~  1 p.m.-9 p.m.
Federal Taphouse - New Year's Day Pork & Sauerkraut Special

Paoli, PA
1/1/17
TJ's - Closed

Philadelphia, PA
  ~~  10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
North 3rd - New Year's Day Brunch

  ~~  10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Devil's Den - New Year's Day with Yards

  ~~  11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Bridget Foy's - New Year's Day Brunch

  ~~  11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Bottle Bar East - Pliny The Elder Brunch

  ~~  11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Tap Room on 19th - Brunch

  ~~  11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Prohibition Taproom - New Year's Day Brunch

  ~~  11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Johnny Brenda's - First Brunch: A Special New Year's Day Brunch featuring limited releases from Tired Hands Brewing

  ~~  11 a.m.-8 p.m.
London Grill - New Years Day 2017

  ~~  11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Standard Tap - Hair Of The Dog Brunch

  ~~  11:30 a.m.
Brauhaus Schmitz - Good Luck Pork and Sauerkraut Special

  ~~  12 p.m.
Flying Fish Crafthouse - Mummers Party

  ~~  12 p.m.-4 p.m.
Earth Bread + Brewery - Holiday hours, bar only, no food

  ~~  12 p.m.-10 p.m.
Local 44 - 8th Anniversary Brunch all day

  ~~  1 p.m.
Tattooed Mom's - New Year's Day 2017

  ~~  Closed
Martha - Closed

West Chester, PA
  ~~  Closed
Boxcar Brewpub - Closed

  ~~  Closed
Side Bar & Restaurant - Closed




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Friday, December 23, 2016

December 2016: News update, part 2

Let's see what I've got here in the leftover bag for you as we close out 2016. Most of it Philly-related. Here we go....

~ Arthur Etchells says goodbye to Philadelphia Magazine [link to Foobooz/Philly Mag] and hello to Manatawny Still Works. [link to MSW]

~ A nice story/interview about one of Philly's finest - McGillin's. [link to Philly Mag]

~ Scoats is at it again; here's the back story. [link to Philly.com]

~ Thanks to Saint Benjamin, I think I've spotted what I want to do on New Year's Day. [link to Philly Mag/Foobooz]

~ Stable 12 in Phoenixville is canning its beer. [link to The Town Dish]

~ I'll need to head to King of Prussia (after the holidays!!) to check this out. On paper it doesn't seem to be "my thing", but I'll give it a fair shake. [link to Philly.com]

~ I walked by this restaurant in NYC just last week and then randomly came across this review. Has nearly nothing to do with beer, but damn is it a fun read. [link to New York Times]

~ I'm also in favor of banishing these terms, but in this order - 5, 3, 2, 4, 1. [link to the American Homebrewers Association]

~ The last new brewery to Philly in 2016. [link to Philly.com]

~ It'll still be business-as-usual, according to the article, but slightly newsworthy nonetheless. [link to Philly.com]





© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Weekly Beer Event Calendar Update: December 22 - December 31

How is December and the holiday season treating you thus far? Wearing you down? Here are just a few excuses that you can tap into for some R&R. Squirrel! Beer! Beer! Squirrel!

And it's that special gift-giving time of year again, so I'm inclined to remind you again of my book, Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic. To buy, send a note to me for personal signing and delivery, ping Amazon.com, or drop by your local bookstore such as Barnes & Noble.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. They host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Cape May, NJ
Thu. 12/22; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. — Fireside Chat: 'Twas the Night Beer-fore X-mas at Cape May Brewing Company [It’s a meet-and-greet with the guys who started it all at CMBC, as well as a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas at CMBC.  $PAYG]
Fri. 1/6; 5:30 p.m. — Beer Dinner at Cape May Ferry Terminal [Five-course meal served with unique beer pairings from 7 Mile Brewery.  $59]

Gettysburg, Pa.
Sat. 1/21; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. — Hibrewnation at Allstar Complex [Tucked within our 100 hand-selected craft and local brews, you'll find a healthy portion of rare and hard to find beers.  $20-$55]

Lititz, Pa.
Wed. 12/28; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. — St. Boniface Beer and Food Tasting at Bulls Head Public House [A four-course meal paired with St. Boniface's Bulls Head Mild, Berliner Weisse, Mosaic IPA, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Hegemony Stout.  $35]

New Castle, Del.
Fri. 12/30; 12 p.m.-3 p.m. — Scaldis Tap Takeover at Jessop's Tavern [Several high end bottles will be opened for sampling. Finger foods will be supplied.  $PAYG]

Philadelphia, Pa.
Thu. 12/22; 4 p.m.-7 p.m. — Saint Benjamin Brewing Holiday Happy Hour at South Philadelphia Tap Room [We'll be pouring an exclusive firkin of Gingerbread Oatmeal Stout to bring holiday cheer. Rumor has it that Santa Claus and one of his elves might even make an appearance.  $PAYG]
Thu. 12/22; 7 p.m. — Sierra Nevada Celebration at The Bishop's Collar [$3 pints of Sierra Nevada Celebration.  $PAYG]
Fri. 12/23; 5 p.m.-8 p.m. — Festivus Happy Hour at Time [We have a 12 foot festivus pole on our stage and Pete Gaudioso will be singing all your favorite Festivus songs and telling you how he really feels about your performance this year.  $PAYG]
Mon. 12/26; 11 a.m. — Boxing Day Beer Festival at Memphis Taproom [Join us for a truly wonderful day of food, friends, beer, and the true meaning of Christmas. We will be collecting canned goods all day long for our dear friends at Philabundance.  $PAYG]
Mon. 12/26; 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. — Winter Beer Festival at World Café Live [Our festival will give attendees the opportunity to sample over 50 different beers, from over 40 different breweries.  $20-$45]
Tue. 12/27; 4 p.m.-8 p.m. — Local Beer Night at Jerry's Bar [Featuring Yards and Saint Benjamin.  $PAYG]
Tue. 12/27; 8 p.m. — Tuesday Tapping–Duck–Rabbit at Lucky's Last Chance [A night of special beers from Duck–Rabbit.  $PAYG]
Wed. 12/28; 6 p.m. — Debut of Reinheits Boten at Brauhaus Schmitz [Debuting a group of five trend-setting German craft breweries including Distelhäuser, Zoller-Hof, Friedenfelser Brauerei, Riedenburger Brauhaus, and Himburgs Braukunst Keller.  $PAYG]
Fri. 12/30; 6 p.m. — Friday’s Sixtel: Round Guys Hipster Frogger at Grey Lodge Pub [Hipster Frogger is a Belgian style Dubbel, aged it in second use Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels that have been dosed with 1800 Tequilla Soaked Oak chips. Hipster Frogger is Round Guys’ annual love letter to online haters.  $PAYG]
Wed. 1/11; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. — Tröegs First Squeeze Nugget Nectar Release at Kite & Key [Tröegs blew the doors off the truck for last years event, so don’t miss out on what they have in store for us this year.  $PAYG]

Sellersville, Pa.
Tue. 12/27; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. — Tröegs Brewery Beer Dinner at The Horse Tavern & Grill [You will be enjoying four courses of food perfectly paired with four great beers.  $35]

Westmont, NJ
Mon. 12/12 through Fri. 12/23; All day — 12 Beers of Christmas at The Pour House [A new keg of Christmas beer will be flowing every day.  $PAYG]

Wilmington, Del.
Wed. 12/28; 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. — Beach Bash Beer Festival at World Café Live [Come spend your evening sampling over 50 different beers in our beach atmosphere, featuring boardwalk games, limbo, live music, and a beach food themed buffet.  $20-$45]




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Straub Beers for the holidays


I struggled with how to close out the year here with a special feature. I haven't done a year-in-review piece in at least a few years and likewise for future-looking predictive articles. I haven't felt the inspiration for this to be the year that I return to them.

However...

In the last month of beer delivery packages from breweries, my path to bringing a year of beer at The Brew Lounge to a conclusion all of a sudden became clear. One of my favorite "discoveries" while traversing the vast state of Pennsylvania for my Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic book was found in the small western PA town of St. Marys. The town is roughly 2 1/2 hours from both Erie (to the NW) and Pittsburgh (to the SW) and sits along the eastern edge of the Allegheny National Forest.

Straub as been a fixture there since 1872, is seven generations deep into the family-run business, and made a significant financial investment a few years back in modernizing equipment, updating recipes, and investing in sales and marketing. I was taken by their four-story, gravity-dependent brewery, its "Eternal Tap", and the drive-up beer store fronting the brewery.

And, obviously, their beers as well. It's why I choose to feature them here just prior to the holidays. As you go about entertaining during the holidays, equally challenging to providing a meal to a group of people with different preferences is the task of having a variety of beverages.

I covered Straub in the current issue of Ale Street News and coincidentally, they sent a Legacy Sampler along with the seasonal Groundhog Altbier. In it was a crisp, clean, and refreshing Helles Lager (5.5%), a slightly heftier 1872 Lager (5.4%), a roasted malt Dunkel Lager (5.2%), a sweet-tinged Doppelbock (7%), and a malty smooth Altbier (5.4%).


Not only does this lineup of beers satisfy a variety of tastes, but they'll have little problem finding their way onto a beer-food-pairing-friendly table as well. The brewery (and marketing department) is keen to pick up on this. Straub publishes a "Beer & Food Pairing Guide" — a set of recipes and suggested pairings for each of the beers.

One I'm looking to try over the holidays is the "New Year's Sauerkraut with Straub Altbier" recipe with, of course, a couple accompanying Altbiers which I presume should go quite nicely with the traditional meal of pork, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes.


In addition to the Legacy Sampler and the Summer Sampler (Pilsner, Hefeweizen, Vienna Lager, and Kolsch-style), the IPL (once a seasonal) stands out as one of their best year-rounds. As you should be able to tell, I'm bullish on both the history and the rebirth of Straub. It's a brand that, here on the eastern side of the state, we're seeing more of (due to the aforementioned investment in growth) and that is a very good thing. As the amorphous "craft" segement of the industry continues to involve in wild, wacky, and sometimes confounding ways, my hunch is that it will become more important than ever to come home to unapologetically and uncompromisingly well-made classic styles of beer. That's what Straub is putting in front of us.

May your holidays be filled with plenty of great tastes; Cheers!




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Friday, December 16, 2016

Beer books for Christmas - From the Mid-Atlantic to The World, read all about it

(US cover)(UK cover)

There's nothing like a good beer book to gift for those beer friends, and even yourself, at this holiday time of year. I'm sure you expect me to promote mine and I will later down below. But much more significantly is the second edition of the comprehensive second edition of World Atlas of Beer.

I've finally had some time to dig into the World Atlas of Beer, given to me when authors Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb visited Philadelphia two months ago. Of the two covers above, I have the UK version which I actually prefer to the US version.

It had been four years since the first edition was released and, hard as it might be to believe, much has changed in the world of beer since then. Beaumont and Webb took notice in the foreward where Webb acknowledges that "Our greatest challenge has been to present the different types of ale, lager, lambic, and mixed-fermentation beers that populate a beer market liberated from the constraints of uniformity." In the introduction, Beaumont adds that "Today, we cast our gaze upon twice that number, including Switzerland and Poland, China, and Israel - nations that previously merited but a sentence of two and now boast their own sections."

The book then dispenses the requisite definition of beer, its ingredients, and the brewing process. An interesting twist is found on page 35, where beer styles of the world are contained within one table and annotated with six columns comparing the associated "folk origins", "classic status", "extreme credentials", "alcoholic strength", "serious intent", and "historic influence". Webb and Beaumont, no doubt, think about their beer as much as they drink it.

The remaining 200+ color- and fact-filled pages traverse the world by continent, country, and sometimes region/style within country, leaving no pallet unturned. Each section melds discussion of both the styles, breweries, and people sigificant to the beer culture of the area. Here in the northeast, veteran brewers from Yuengling to Allagash, Boston Beer, Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, and Victory are spotlighted as are new breweries in the past five years such as Bluejacket, Double Nickel, Maine, and Tired Hands.

Even when eventually getting to areas of the world with little to speak of beer-wise, "The Rest of the World" captures some nuggets worth knowing in "Israel & The Middle East", "India & Sri Lanka", "South Africa", and "The Rest of Africa".

The book concludes with a useful and comprehensive "Enjoying Beer" section that covers buying, storing, pouring, and pairing beer and even includes a couple of valuable pages concerned with the identification of off-flavors in beer.

It will take me some time to get through the entire book, but Webb and Beaumont as world tour guides have made the journey much more tastefully enjoyable.



Then there's my book — Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic. As you know if you regularly check in here at The Brew Lounge, I've barely slouched at all in promoting it during the last year-and-a-half since it was first released. There's a risk that these kind of books can look dated over time.

I'm quite pleased to say that it now - two years after the manuscript was submitted to the publisher - continues to stand the test of time rather well. While I obviously have no control over openings and closings, I included in the book roughly 320 establishments that I vetted for the sake of being concerned about just this point. Of course, plenty of places have opened and I accounted for those that I knew about in 2013-2015. As we all know, many more have come since then.

As for closures, I'm happy to report that only three places have closed that I included in the book. Baying Hound in Rockville, Md. Gamble Mill in Bellefonte, Pa. And, Nodding Head in Philly. Not too bad if I do say so.

While I claim to have nothing close to any talent in the realm of the guys behind the World Atlas of Beer, my book project represented a similarly ambitious endeavor focused on the beer world of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. I sure hope you have your own copy. If you don't, click here for quick delivery from Amazon, or drop an e-mail to me if you're local to southeastern PA and I'll personally hand off a signed copy to you in time for the holidays.




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Weekly Beer Event Calendar Update: December 15 - December 21

Ah, these first world beer drinking problems. So much to be thankful for this holiday season (at least beer-wise!), so use this list and check it twice for places to show your appreciation. Philly sleeps for no savvy beer drinker. Mistletoe not included.

And it's that special gift-giving time of year again, so I'm inclined to remind you again of my book, Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic. To buy, send a note to me for personal signing and delivery, ping Amazon.com, or drop by your local bookstore such as Barnes & Noble.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. They host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Downingtown, Pa.
Tue. 12/20; 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. — Tired Hands Tap Takeover at The Bottle Room [We plan to really shake things up with this event so come out and meet some of the organoleptic cartographers from Tired Hands and try some of their strange and beautiful beers. Special event glassware designed by the creative crew at Tired Hands will be available.  $PAYG]

Easton, Pa.
Sun. 12/18; 10 a.m. — Yoga at the Brewery at Weyerbacher Brewing Company [Includes the class, a beer cocktail, and some snacks afterwards.  $20]

Lancaster, Pa.
Fri. 12/16; 1 p.m. — Beer Geek Christmas at Hunger N Thirst [We are rolling out some rare kegs once again to celebrate all things craft beer.  $PAYG]
Fri. 12/16; 5 p.m. — Weyerbacher Tap Takeover at Isaac's Pickle Bar [All taps will be from Weyerbacher, December's featured brewery.  $PAYG]

Lititz, Pa.
Mon. 12/19; 6 p.m. — Victory Java Cask Firkin Event  at Bulls Head Public House [We will also be putting Dirt Wolf, Winter Cheers, and Golden Monkey.  $PAYG]

Norristown, Pa.
Fri. 12/16; 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. — Tool Box Draft Event at Capone's [If you like sours this is a must event.  $PAYG]

Parkesburg, Pa.
Sun. 12/18; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Brunch with Santa at Victory Brewing Company [Santa will be here taking pictures with the kids and hearing what they want most for Christmas.  $PAYG]

Philadelphia, Pa.
Thu. 12/15; 4 p.m.-10 p.m. — Star War Rogue One Movie Release Party with Rogue Brewing at The Institute [Come eat, drink, and watch some Classic Star Wars movies on our giant projection screen on the 2nd floor. Then at 9:30pm we treat all the customers that came out for the event to a late night showing of the latest Star Wars movie Rogue One on us. In honor of this event it only seemed right that we do a Rogue Brewing Tap Takeover.  $PAYG]
Thu. 12/15; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. — Mad Elf Night at Hop Angel Brauhaus [The annual holiday rite of passage.  $PAYG]
Thu. 12/15; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. — South Philly Goes to the Movies 3.0 at The P.O.P.E. & The Industry Bar [Includes Allagash, Founders, and Brooklyn beers, admittance to the theater for Rogue One, and a raffle ticket to win nice prizes from the participating breweries.  $25]
Fri. 12/16; 6 p.m. — Friday’s Sixtel: Smuttynose Smistletoe at Grey Lodge Pub [A festive take on Bière de Garde, brewed with sweet cherries, black currants and plums then aged on lightly toasted American oak.  $PAYG]
Fri. 12/16; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. — Penn St. Nikolaus Reserve - 2 Year Vertical at Grey Lodge Pub [This big lager weighs in at 9% ABV. Order a pint of 2016 St. Nik Reserve and get 5oz of 2015 St Nik Reserve for free.  $PAYG]
Sat. 12/17; 12 p.m. — Grand Opening at Brewery Ars [We should have 4 beers on draft.  $PAYG]
Sat. 12/17; 12 p.m.-3 p.m. — Caturday at Philadelphia Brewing Company [Meet Pennsylvania SPCA adoptable kitties in the tasting room.  $PAYG]
Sat. 12/17; 12 p.m.-3 p.m. — A Very Jerry Christmas Christmas Party at City Tap House-Logan [A morning of tunes from The Butchy Band, Philly's best Jerry Garcia tribute, paired with the fantastic beers of Port & Lost Abbey Brewing Co.  $PAYG]
Sun. 12/18; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. — Brunch with Santa at City Tap House-University City [Kids under 10 eat complimentary and pictures of Santa are, of course, included. A $10 donation to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House is suggested.  $PAYG]
Sun. 12/18; 6 p.m.-10 p.m. — Festivus! at Grey Lodge Pub [Once again this will be a traditional, old fashioned Festivus with all the trimmings including the beautiful unadorned aluminum pole. We are still looking for a fruitcake to display (but not eat).  $PAYG]
Mon. 12/19; 4:30 p.m. dinner; 7 p.m. movie — Star Wars: Rogue One, Dinner and a Movie at City Tap House-University City [Two full pints of Victory beer, access to our out of this world pizza buffet, and a ticket to a private showing of Star Wars Rogue One. Movie ticket only, also available  $10.50-$35]
Mon. 12/19; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. — Bottle Shop Happy Hour at Local 44 Bottle Shop [Complimentary tastings and specials on bottle selections of beers from Neshaminy Creek.  $Free]
Tue. 12/20; 7 p.m. — A Very Vegan, Beery Cheery Industry Holiday Celebration at Brigantessa [The lovely Sophia Tran of Hardywood Park Craft Brewing is providing the beer, with pairings for four vegan pizzas. We will also be sipping the very elusive Bourbon Sidamo amongst other Hardywood treats.  $PAYG]
Tue. 12/20; 8 p.m. — Tuesday Tapping–Victory at Lucky's Last Chance [A night of special beers from Victory.  $PAYG]
Wed. 12/21; 3 p.m. — Winter Beer Night at Barcade [Celebrate winter with some rare and special brews.  $PAYG]
Wed. 12/21; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. — Weyerbacher Wednesday: Mellow Monks at Hop Angel Brauhaus [Buy a pint of Weyerbacher, keep the glass. Sean from Weyerbacher will have other goodies too.  $PAYG]
Wed. 12/21; 7 p.m. — Feast of the Seven Fishes Christmas Stroll at Sancho Pistola's [7 Bars, 7 Fishes, $7 Each, and craft beer specials.  $PAYG]
Wed. 12/21; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. — You Buy the Glass Night at The Abbaye [Keepsake glass, raffles, prizes, and giveaways from Tröegs.  $PAYG]

Phoenixville, Pa.
Fri. 12/16; All Day — Third Friday Firkin Fest at Sly Fox Brewing Company [Stop by to see which delicious brews will be on the hand pumps next to our stalwart Chester County Bitter.  $PAYG]

Reading, Pa.
Thu. 12/15; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. — Beer & Brownie Pairing at Liberty Taproom [This will be a four beer flight featuring Oarsman, Java Stout, Double Cream Stout, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Hell Hath No Fury.  $PAYG]

Royersford, Pa.
Sat. 12/17; 5 p.m. — Anniversary Party at Stickman Brews [Tickets include a buffet-style session from Wild Blue Creative Catering in King of Prussia, a concert from The Whiskeyhickon Boys, a free Stickman Belgian pint glass, and first fill.  $26]

Voorhees, NJ
Fri. 12/16; 4 p.m.-7 p.m. — Save the Galaxy Gala Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant [Celebrate the release of Star Wars Rogue One and Iron Hill's Galaxy Far, Far Away IPA. Wear your best costume for a chance to win free tickets to the evening release.  $PAYG]

Wayne, Pa.
Thu. 12/15; 5 p.m. — Toolbox Brewing is Here at Teresa's Next Door [In order to properly showcase their excellence we'll have six on draft.  $PAYG]
Fri. 12/16; 5 p.m. — Teresa's welcomes the new Firestone Walker Rep at Teresa's Next Door [Come out and welcome the new (and slightly louder) Firestone Walker rep.  $PAYG]

West Chester, Pa.
Sun. 12/18; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Brunch w/ Santa, Hops & Sours at The Side Bar [Our draft list will be packed solid with hops and sours.  $PAYG]

Wilmington, Del.
Sat. 12/17; 2 p.m.-7 p.m. — The Darkside Party Multi-Tap at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant [Join us for the Delaware Valley’s premier dark beer event. 16 dark beers on tap from Iron Hill and guest breweries.  $PAYG]
Sat. 12/17; 3 p.m. — Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer Tasting at World Café Live [We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together in unexpected and delicious ways.   $40]
Mon. 12/19; 5 p.m. — 5th Anniversary Party at Ulysses Gastropub [We'll be rafflleing off an awesome basket from an awesome brewery every Thursday for the entire month of December as well as 5 super cool baskets on our actual anny, 12/19.  $PAYG]




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Monday, December 12, 2016

Conshohocken Brewing has a Brewpub in Bridgeport

(The aesthetically pleasing interior of the Bridgeport Brewpug for Conshohocken Brewing Company.)

My first instinct was to apologize for not yet having been to Conshohocken Brewing Company's new brewpub location in neighboring Bridgeport. After all, it'd been open since, what, the late spring/early summer, right?

I was quickly reassured that I could easily be excused since it's only been about ten weeks. Well, whaddya know, I suppose that with its brewery HQ along the Schuylkill River Trail in Conshohocken nearing the third anniversary, my perception of time is a bit askew.

Regardless of the when and how of it all, I was pleased to find myself at the brewpub this past weekend after an invitation from brewery investor (and sports writer and talk radio host, plus Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame inductee) Glen Macnow. Not surprisingly, the friends and family list of Macnow's includes a distinguished list of local notable sports figures, both on and off the field.

But that wasn't the nature of my visit (well, aside from personal pictures with Mike Quick and Ray Didinger - not that it really requires disclosure, rather an FYI, I suppose). I've been a steadfast follower and appreciator of the solid beers that Conshohocken has been putting out in the market. The Puddler's Row ESB has been a past occupant on my kegerator's tap tower at home. Its one of their flagship beers that deserves all the attention that it gets (as well as plenty more that it deserves to get if "true" beer fans open their minds and palates). I went as far to include it on my list of 20 beers that attendees should seek out when in Philly earlier this year for the Craft Brewers Conference.

(A 3-barrel brewhouse (6-barrel fermenters) helps satisfy thirsts in Bridgeport.)

The brewery's collaboration with La Colombe - Tandem "Belgian-style Coffee Ale" - has been a dependable favorite of mine as has Island In The Sun Double IPA (8.9% with fresh pineapple). At the new Bridgeport brewpub, you can expect to find these plus core brands in addition to plenty of experimentation with new beers and styles from the on-site three-barrel brewing system (six-barrel fermenters). It's just large enough to supply the pub and, every once in a while, send some kegs back to the brewery's Taproom in Conshohocken.

The Head Brewer, Andrew Horne, is responsible for both locations as they bounce brewers between the two locations on an as-needed basis. At the Bridgeport Brewpub, the standards flow from the tap but beer lovers will also notice a couple of barrel-aged beers. As of my visit, Ten Ton Hammer (8.6% - bourbon barrel Doppelbock) and My Sweet Shadow (10% - bourbon barrel Baltic Porter) were impressing the crowd as were three others north of 8% ABV. The two barrel-aged beers are also available in a gift pack (plus glassware) perfect at this time of year.

Standouts new to me on the remainder of the draft list included the easy-drinking Ghost Bear Golden Ale (5.4% and available in 16-oz. cans), the roasty and chocolatey Henning's Stout (4.5% with English malts), and Red Eye Red Ale (4.5% deftly combining chocolate and crystal malts with Simcoe, Mosaic, and Chinook hops). Also on the menu, but untried by me, was Horne's first release of a kettle-soured beer - Shot Through The Tart (6.1% with Jarrylo and Mosaic hops). If I do some straight-average math on the non-Imperial draft list, it comes out to 5.5%. Not too shabby in my opinion.

(Welcome to Bridgeport and Conshohocken Brewing's newest location.)

The ambiance, as you should be able to glean from the lead picture here, is quite comfortable. An open, airy two-floor layout has great sight lines that showcase the depth, the height, and generally speaking, space of the brewpub. For those that love the beer, but find the production brewery and its Taproom lacking for food or comfortable space, the brewpub satisfies on both counts.

Did I mention they have a fairly substantial parking lot? That they have something called Burger Mondays and Taco Tuesdays? That they have a kid-friendly menu? That truffle fries (with Pork Belly Bits?!!) scream out from the menu? And that on the 2017 wishlist is an outdoor beer garden with views of the Schuylkill River, which runs adjacent to the parking lot?

Conshohocken has been nicely growing its brewing presence in the region over the last couple of years and I look forward to the team solidifying its position as a go-to local brewery that comes to mind when discussing the best our region has to offer. I owe it to myself to return soon for a fuller experience with the kitchen menu and, naturally, more beer sampling. Until then, I'm interested to hear if you've been there and your opinions.

(Difficult to miss the Conshohocken Brewing Company brewpub building in Bridgeport, PA.)

(A couple Philadelphia sports legends and friends - Mike Quick and Phil Martelli - flank brewery investor Glen Macnow, himself a legend on the Philadelphia sports scene.)

(Just the Bridgeport edge of the Schuylkill River sits the new Bridgeport Brewpub of Conshohocken Brewing Company, with plenty of parking.)

(The Eagles Pep Band showed up to fire up the crowd.)




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Friday, December 09, 2016

December 2016: News update, part 1


Gathered up a few things to share with you here in my twice-monthly update. Quite a bit of new opening activity as we approach year-end.

~ One out near Pittsburgh, in Coraopolis, named Cobblehaus. [Link to The Post Gazette]

~ And another near Pittsburgh, Washington County to be exact, going by the geographically appropriate Coal Tipple. [Link to The Post Gazette]

~ One back here near home in Bethlehem called Bonn Place. [Link to The Town Dish]

~ And an opening next Saturday for Brewery Ars in South Philly. [Link to Philly Beer Scene]

~ Did you hear that Flying Fish Crafthouse opened? [Link to The Brew Lounge]

~ Did you also hear that Fork & Ale is opening softly (pictured above)? [Link to The Brew Lounge]

~ Count me as one not excited to see these beers from Avery go by the wayside. [Link to Draft Magazine]

~ But do count me as one that's very excited to see this 2SP beer in cans. [Link to 2SP website]

~ And, last but not least, I'll be on the radio today at 12:45 p.m. eastern. [Link to The Town Dish]




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Thursday, December 08, 2016

Weekly Beer Event Calendar Update: December 8 - December 14

We've entered the thick of the holiday season and your local breweries and pubs are there to help you keep you hydrated and sane. Check out what they have to offer you over the next seven days.

And it's that special gift-giving time of year again, so I'm inclined to remind you again of my book, Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic. To buy, send a note to me for personal signing and delivery, ping Amazon.com, or drop by your local bookstore such as Barnes & Noble.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. They host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Cherry Hill, NJ
Sat. 12/10; 12 p.m.-9 p.m. — Funky Beer & Holiday Bazaar at Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company [Local vendors and funky/sour/rare beers.  $PAYG]

Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Fri. 12/9; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. — Ugly Sweater Party Multi-Tap at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant [Four of our favorite holiday brews on tap together for a limited time.  $PAYG]

Kennett Square, Pa.
Sun. 12/11; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Brunch with Santa at Kennett Brewing Company [Santa will be here taking pictures with the kids and hearing what they want most for Christmas.  $PAYG]
Tue. 12/13; 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. — Holiday Beer Dinner at Victory Brewing Company [A five-course meal paired with BB#4 Oatmeal Porter, KSQ Smash Lager, KSQ New Zealand IPA, Moonglow Weizenbock, and Java Cask Rye.  $65]

Lancaster, Pa.
Thu. 12/8; 7 p.m. — Tröegs Beer Dinner at Federal Taphouse [A four-course dinner paired with Tröegs' 2015 Vintage Mad Elf, Scratch #257 Dry-Hopped Sour, DreamWeaver Wheat, and Blizzard of Hops IPA.  $40]
Sat. 12/10; 12 p.m. — Scrooge IPA Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant [Join us for the release of this American-style IPA with full malt flavor. Dry hopped with one pound of hops per barrel.  $PAYG]
Sat. 12/10; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. — Weyerbacher Brew Review at Isaac's Pickle Bar [Enjoy a four-course meal paired perfectly with brewmaster picks from Weyerbacher.  $30]

Newtown, Pa.
Thu. 12/8; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. — Allagash Brewing Tap Takeover at Isaac Newton's [A night of beers from Allagash.  $PAYG]

Norristown, Pa.
Thu. 12/8; 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. — Tröegs Draft Event at Capone's [We will have eight vertical years of Mad Elf on Draft — 2009 thru 2016.  $PAYG]

Philadelphia, Pa.
Thu. 12/8; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. — Take a Shine to Shiner at Hop Angel Brauhaus [Shiner's Oktoberfest, Wicked Ram IPA, and White Wing Belgian White. Keep the glass.  $PAYG]
Fri. 12/9; 4 p.m.-11 p.m. — Brooklyn Brewery Tap & Menu Takeover at Pizzeria Vetri-Rittenhouse [A collaboration with four special beers on tap and four special pizzas.  $PAYG]
Fri. 12/9; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. — Christmas Extravaganza at Kite & Key [Santa is back and ready to get his final bender going before he takes to the sleigh. This event is NOT for the kids.  $PAYG]
Fri. 12/9; 6 p.m. — Friday’s Sixtel: Unibroue A Tout le Monde at Grey Lodge Pub [Megadeth teamed up with Unibroue to make À Tout Le Monde, a Belgian style Saison Ale.  $PAYG]
Sun. 12/11; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Breakfast with Santa at Hop Angel Brauhaus [This is an opportunity for the whole family to have breakfast with the big guy. Chef Christine will have a special brunch menu, including a kinder brunch menu for the kids.   $PAYG]
Sun. 12/11; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Flavors Of The Season at Fairmount Park [Join us as the historic houses feature Walter Staib from City Tavern who will be on hand to engage visitors’ culinary curiosities along with samples of holiday delights from local food superstars Shane Confectionery, John & Kira's Chocolates, Yards Brewing Co., and more.  $8-$100]
Mon. 12/12; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. — Bottle Shop Happy Hour at Local 44 Bottle Shop [Complimentary tastings and specials on bottle selections of beers from Yards.  $Free]
Tue. 12/13; 8 p.m. — Tuesday Tapping–Goose Island Sours at Lucky's Last Chance [A night of special sour beers from Goose Island.  $PAYG]
Wed. 12/14; 3 p.m. — Evil Genius Beer Night at Barcade [Join us as we welcome our friends from the neighborhood.  $PAYG]
Wed. 12/14; 4 p.m. — Toolbox Brewing Company Visits at South Philadelphia Tap Room [Their bright and expressive sours had us captivated all year and we can't wait to delve further into their barrel aging program.  $PAYG]

Phoenixville, Pa.
Fri. 12/9; All Day — Anniversary Party at Sly Fox Brewing Company [Details to come.  $PAYG]

Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pa.
Sun. 12/11; 10 a.m. — Jolly Beer Mile at Shawnee Craft Brewing Company [Registration fee includes bib, timed course, long sleeve event shirt, and four cans of beer during run. All runners should wear Christmas flair.  $40]

Wayne, Pa.
Fri. 12/9; 5 p.m. — Kevin Brooks Brings some Shelton Brothers Treats at Teresa's Next Door [A few Shelton Christmas beers, a few of our year round favorites, and a jolly, long haired, bearded gentleman to tell you all about them.  $PAYG]

Westmont, NJ
Mon. 12/12 through Fri. 12/23; All day — 12 Beers of Christmas at The Pour House [A new keg of Christmas beer will be flowing every day.  $PAYG]




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com



Wednesday, December 07, 2016

**UPDATE: Now Open** Fork & Ale opening "very soon" in Douglassville, PA

(Fork & Ale no longer coming soon, now *very* soon in Douglassville, Pa.)

A second soft opening for me in one week? Lots of year-end activity going on around here. (Not sure of what I speak? Check my Flying Fish Crafthouse opening update from earlier this week).

You'll be glad to know the Coming Soon sign is about to be changed to Now Open. The long-anticipated second location for Gary and Melissa Fry — Fork & Ale — has fired up the kitchen, turned on the draft lines, and had a couple of soft openings, one of which I attended last evening.

No specific date has yet been made public for the public grand opening, but you'll want to use your resources — driving by, checking social media, picking up telegrams, etc. — to find out how soon you'll be able to hunker down at the bar on the edge of Douglassville and Birdsboro for a plate of savory food and glass (or three) of exceptional beer from around the area and the world alike.

(A lot of personal sweat equity and touches went into the new Fork & Ale in Douglassville, Pa.)

That last sentence really hits home for me as my youth was split between Douglassville and Birdsboro and Fork & Ale is barely a mile as the crow flies from my Birdsboro house. Other than two breweries — Hidden River (3.6 miles away, I was informed) and Sly Fox (twice as far), and two bars — Liberty Taproom (near Reading), and Union Jack's (farther out near Boyertown) — I'm hard-pressed to think of many other good beer-and-food destinations in the nearby area. (Hopefully, I'm not setting myself up to be burned on that comment.) That should bode well for the Frys.

Another thing that should bode well for Fork & Ale is the proximity to the Schuylkill River Trail. In my upcoming article in County Lines Magazine, I mentioned the recreational trail with a burgeoning beer presence along it. From Manayunk Brewing in Philly out to Conshohocken Brewing to Iron Hill in Phoenixville to Tuned Up Brewing in Spring City, we can now add Fork & Ale to the list. The trail cuts directly along the property line and its trailhead parking lot provides riders, runners, etc. easy access to a year-round restroom facility, a bike repair stand, and now Fork & Ale's bar, restaurant, and outdoor bar convenient for the sweaty set.

But what of the kitchen and bar, you ask? For starters, the sweat equity put in by Gary, Melissa, and their friends and family is immediately evident when arriving through the front doors. There are coolers of beer just like at the sister restaurant — Craft Ale House — adjacent to the bar. The lighting, the handcarved table, the woodwork, and the birch tree branches (perhaps my favorite of the tasteful touches) all combine for a comfortable atmosphere.

(Tuna with roasted carrots.)

Last night, I had the opportunity to dive into a couple of beers and a bunch of plates of food, courtesy of my wife Patty/BPIL (barstool partner in life as I referred to her in my book) and that guy, Matt Guyer, who always seemed to be pushing a plate of food my way. If there was a disappoint on the menu that Gary says will change frequently (more frequently than just seasonally), I didn't have it. Shrimp & Grits, Mushroom Soup, Oxtail Pappardelle, Deviled Eggs, Steak Frites, Cioppino, Tuna...I tried 'em all. If I had time here today, I'd go into detail. But I don't, so I can't. The recommendation to you, though, is to make a mental note to try any of them when you find yourself there.

At the bar, you'll find 15 draft beers (plus, one on nitro) from nearby, around the country, and from overseas. You can expect to see two wines on draft as well. At the soft opening last night, there were also three "craft cocktails" available — one with bourbon, one with rum, and one gin-based.

(A draft board plenty full of goodness at Fork & Ale in Douglassville, Pa.)

Veteran barstool hoppers that know Craft Ale House will see similarities in both the bar and kitchen menus; but yet they're almost entirely different. The decor and layout is definitely different, but otherwise locals will choose their favorite spot. One other difference will be the schedule — Craft Ale House will continue to be closed on Sundays while Fork & Ale will be closed on Mondays in order to take advantage of open hours during Sundays and the expected trail user crowds.

It was a labor of love that played out over the last two years to finally open Fork & Ale. From first impressions, it seems that the blood, sweat, and (were there?) tears, should pay off in short order.

(A lot of personal sweat equity and touches went into the new Fork & Ale in Douglassville, Pa.)

(A lot of personal sweat equity and touches went into the new Fork & Ale in Douglassville, Pa.)

(The birch twigs - one of my favorite touches in the comfortable new Fork & Ale in Douglassville, Pa.)

(Interior of Fork & Ale in Douglassville, Pa.)

(Pappardelle with oxtail and mushrooms)

(Cioppino)

(Deviled eggs)




© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2016. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com