Wednesday, January 22, 2020

96 Hours in Wisconsin as seen from the barstool at 15 breweries and 2 distilleries

Click the picture for a tankful of beer, brewery, and brewpub pictures in Wisconsin

Let's talk Wisconsin beer. My travels around the world and through this life have taken me to some pretty incredible beer destinations. Back in September, I visited Madison and Wisconsin for the third and fifth times, respectively.

From a beer perspective, you may be forgiven if all you know of the State is New Glarus Brewing Company and Great Taste of the Midwest beer festival. Both continue to be longtime favorite fixtures in the regional beer scene. But like much of the rest of the country, there's more than ever to be discovered and consumed.

Enticing me back to Wisconsin this time were longtime friends and residents of Madison, Mark and Susan, and the Thursday Night Football game between the Eagles and Packers at legendary Lambeau Field. What Mark and I did with the remaining time was a simple agenda that took us to no less than 15 breweries and 2 distilleries.

Here's what I saw, learned, and tasted along the way presented in chronological order of visit. Clifs Notes style. Oh, and take my notes with a grain of salt, since I had no more than two beers at any one stop and each visit was made only once. Hey, I may fancy myself a pretty astute observer, but still I acknowledge that my view of these places was but a narrow window into what locals see there every day.

Ale Asylum- the only establishment on this entire list that I'd previously visited. Last time I was there, they were in the much smaller space now occupied by Karben4 (see below). Now, it's a much larger and impressive space with still plenty of room to grow the brewery. It's located less than a mile from the Madison airport exit. So after Mark picked me up, it was mere minutes until I had my thirst quenched by an excellent Oktoberfest and hunger sated by an Asylum burger (with smoked gouda, smoked bacon, IPA-caramelized onions, dark beer reduction sauce, and garlic aioli!)

Alt Brew- Admittedly, I don't know much about gluten-free beers, nor have been to a gluten-free brewery. But that's their game at Alt Brew and if their Kölsch is any indication, not only can gluten-free beers be very good, but Alt Brew could be a perfect place for you, too, to discover well-made gluten-free beers. Oh, and you know who else agrees with that? The judges behind the World Beer Cup competition, where Alt Brew was awarded a bronze medal for its Copperhead Copper Ale in 2018.

Karben4- Sure, it's been 12 years since I was at the old Ale Asylum - now the new Karben4, but I really have a difficult time envisioning it as Ale Asylum. Did it have less ambiance? Is it because the pool table is gone? Either way, now there's Karben4 (get it? carbon. four.?) They make a mighty fine Smoked Porter and will add CBD oil to any beer for $2 a "dose". Can't say I've seen that anywhere else before.

Arriving into Madison half way through Wednesday meant just three stops on the first day before having some quality friend time with the family back at the home base. Plus, couldn't flame out on the first day with the big Eagles/Packers game looming the next day - Thursday Night Football.

Badger State- The drive from Madison to Green Bay is just a shade over two hours. Once there, the football and community scene is unreal and I'm guessing dramatically different than any other professional, or perhaps even collegiate, game day experience. This isn't a sports blog, so I'll leave it at that. Since the last Packers game I attended in Green Bay in 2007, Badger State Brewing opened. Just a few "blocks" from the stadium and the brewery's outdoor space opens up into one of the municipal parking lots. So there's plenty of spillover between the brewery, the tailgating, and the stadium. Seriously, game day in Green Bay is all football, everywhere, all the time. In addition to the requisite brats from the grill, the brewery impressed with a very well made Coffee Brown, a Smoked Jalapeno Porter, and good ol' fashioned Red Ale, and of course the ubiquitous Hazy IPA. Ok, I lied. Here's a brewery where I had more than two beers. I had to carb up for the big game!

Next Door- Back in Madison the next day (Friday) from Green Bay, it was time to explore what more was new and tasty in the city since I last visited. The day started with brunch at Next Door. Next Door to what? Honestly, I never asked and therefore I still do not know for certain. What I do know is that their Poutine goes tremendously well with the Oktoberfest and the Livacious Lavender Saison was a standout as well.

One Barrel- I'm inclined to leave this "review" stand here with just the following words - Dam Pepper Ale, Kolsch, Landjager, and Pickled Eggs. I think that should suffice. Nope, sorry, no can do. The pepper beer was one of the cleanest with most distinctive chili pepper flavors I've had in quite some time. And, the meat stick was tremendous at the bar, during the car ride, and again the next morning as a breakfast appetizer. Really a nice and unassuming surprise stop.

Parched Eagle- Nothing here particularly wow'ed me, like in an over-the-top kind of wow way. But, in an atmosphere that'd I'd almost describe as a living room atmosphere with darts, the ESB and Mosaic IPA were both rather nice.

O’so Madhouse- The last stop of the day before heading back to home base for dinner was O'so. I've known of these guys only by name in the past and was never aware of their far-reaching distribution. For example, the following month we were in Hilton Head, SC and Savannah, GA, both where O'so beers are available. Back at their tasting room satellite spot in Madison (the production brewery is Plover, which is north from Madison, actually closer to Green Bay), a bustling atmosphere with friendly and knowledgeable service made our all-too-short visit that much better. The beers, like the one I had - Goldilocks Revenge - were mostly "big" beers (big on alcohol and more importantly big on flavor) and very good beers. So much so that two came home with me. The name? Dare I ask? I did and was humbled when the bartender said "yeah, you know, like these beers are oh so good"! Duh, right?

New Glarus- After way, way, way too many years of drinking beers from New Glarus (plus, four visits to its home state, the only state in which it is distributed....still!) I finally made it to this significantly important brewery. For its awards, for its excellent brewing styles before their time, and for its reputation as both an exemplary employer and landmark brewery, this 23-year-old brewery belongs on every traveling beer geek's itinerary. You can take an extensive - complete with tastings - tour or a very well constructed self-guided tour. We opted for the latter and got to see everything except for the "un"-clean brewing down the road. The outdoor beer garden atop the hill overlooking the town of New Glarus and the valley made for a perfect backdrop to enjoy an Oktoberfest and their fruit bomb that has stood the test of time - Wisconsin Belgian Red. I could go on for at least a few more paragraphs, but that's for another post.

Delta Beer Lab- This was something different. On the backside of a low-rise industrial park with an industrial and chemical theme as the name might suggest. Madison is a progressive place, which definitely helps it standout in the midwest. But I don't believe I came across any other stop on the this 96-hour tour that was more intentional about advertising inclusivity, right down to the restroom doors which you can see pictured in my gallery that I've included here. Beer-wise, the Helles lager and "regular" IPA were so very much spot-on, just like you'd hope a beer lab would achieve. But if you like more than just a "regular" IPA, they version it as well into all shapes and sizes of IPAs to your liking. I love the science theme here and, as they remind you, "yes, beer *is* a solution".

Funk Factory Gueuzeria- Next up on this epic Saturday was a stop at this place, this thing, that I've only occasionally heard of in passing - this Funk Factory Gueuzeria. A gueuzeria, you say? Oh boy, this is right up my allay. It sports a small tasting room manned by a friendly and knowledgeable bar staff. The sours, barrel-aged in a back barrel room larger than the tasting room, are excellent enough in person that I brought two home to share. The "backyard" has outdoor seating, a one-hole disc golf setup, cornhole, and plenty of space to enjoy the beers with friends. The wort comes from Octopi and one other place (whose name either escapes me at this point, or of which I never heard) and the Funk is pure Factory Gueuzeria.

Working Draft- My recollection of the beers is limited to my memory alone, which says that I enjoyed them. But, for some reason, my notes only speak to the creative short list of very good food options, amongst them the ones that I ordered - a Vegan Banh Mi (shiitake) and Shishito Peppers that were both out this world and went merrily along with a German Pilsner and a Brown Ale.

State Line- I don't write about spirits and my vocabulary is rather limited in this regard. However, I really like gin and, therefore, State Line, just a few blocks from Working Draft, is an excellent place to have gin a number or ways, including my favorite, simply with tonic.

Giant Jones- The beers here certainly puts the Giant in the brewery's name, where a current review of the available beers show most beers over 8% ABV. That certainly dictated a one-beer visit and, for me, that was the very big and very delicious Grand Tripel. Also its a brewery described as "an independent, women-owned certified organic craft brewery" and that's worth paying attention to as well.

Old Sugar Distillery- Again, the world of spirits. If you like rum, as I certainly do, Old Sugar Distillery will work quite well for you as it did for me in their take on the Brazilian Caipirinha, Honey-Cap, that was served up to me.

Tangent/Vintage- Vintage is the brewery; Tangent is the restaurant/bar. They sport a full menu and serve as the official restaurant for the brewery. Was a little confusing to me at first, but was cleared up with a Kölsch, an Altbier, and plate of poutine. Hey, no hiding that we're in Wisconsin!

Union Corners- Because I can't leave town without that one more beer, just before my midday flight back to Philly, Mark and I had brunch at Union Corners, part of an ambitious new live/work community called Union Corners still under development. So this definitely qualified as the youngest brewery (est. summer 2019) in my 4-day visit to the state. And, yet again, the brewery impressed, here with an Oktoberfest (I really hit the perfect time of year to visit this region, replete with a solid German beer history) and an American Pale Ale. Equally ambitious is the brewery, which routinely sports at least a dozen of their own beers on tap in addition to other guest tap for neighboring brewery friends. “Community brews” is something important to the brewery as a way to form relationships with area homebrewing clubs. For food, I was somehow lured away from the tempting Porchetta sandwich and steered instead to the excellent brunch Brisket & Biscuits that made for a perfect final stop on an incredible 96 hour tour of Wisconsin.

For bonus points, technically my last beer was a New Glarus Moon Man Pale Ale a scant 100 feet or so from my gate at the airport with about 10 minutes to spare until boarding time.

An epic trip of football, friends, and beer. One that, if done again when the Eagles yet again play the Packers in Green Bay for an almost unheard of back-to-back years, could include a whole other set of breweries and distilleries. Life is short!

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2020. 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

Monday, January 20, 2020

Rest In Peace 2019 - Thanks For All The Beers

As I do each year, it's time to look back on those individuals that we lost in 2019 and their significant contributions to the industry. 2019 certainly saw a unusually high number of our younger beer buddies leave us.

First up, however, is one that I missed in 2018.

6/24/18, Lynn Hoffman, 73, throat cancer
  ~ A writer of good things beer and wine, in the beer world he taught courses and added the book The Short Course in Beer. [link to Chestnut Hill Local] and [link to his book on Amazon]

2/5/19, Jim Parker, 58, stroke
  ~ The beloved Oregon publican left his mark in Portland and beyond. [link to Ezra Johnson-Greenough's column at The New School with plenty of other industry quotable memories] and [link to The Oregonian recalling Parker's "Totcho"] and [link to The New York Times where he is referenced and quoted]

2/20/19, Herb Lindtveit Jr., 46, heart attack
  ~ With a resume that includes Boston Beer Works and Jack's Abby Craft Lagers, it's easy to see the significant mark he left on the industry both personally and professionally. [link to Eagle-Tribune] and [link to Norm Miller's column at Metrowest Daily News]

3/23/19, Matt Bonney, 45, cancer
  ~ One of Seattle's finest was associated in his beer bar career with Bottleworks, Brouwer's, and Toronado. His impact cannot be overstated. [link to Don Scheidt's column at The New School] and [link to Iron Horse Brewery's remembrances] and [link to The Northwest Beer Guide's reflections] and [link to Jay Brooks' recent birthday announcement]

4/5/19, Joel Manning, 52, heart attack
  ~ He was a fixture on the Ontario beer scene for many years, taking up brewmaster positions at Amsterdam Brewpub and Mill Street Brewery and once the president of Ontario Craft Brewers. [link to Ben Johnson's beer blog]

6/16/19, John Mitchell, 89, pneumonia
  ~ Another fixture in Canadian brewing, to the west in Vancouver, Mitchell is credited with being at the dawning of the British Columbia (even North American) craft brewing scene in the early 1980s with Horseshoe Bay Brewing and Spinnaker's brewpub. [link to Georgia Straight]

7/31/19, Donovan Bailey, 46, undisclosed
  ~ He was just getting his Down The Road going with the less-than-two-year-old Everett, MA brewery. [link to Brewbound]

If you care to look back on the previous 12 years that I've been doing this year-end wrap, consult the links here for: 2018, 2017, 2016, 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, 2020. 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

Friday, August 16, 2019

Staying local at Monk's

I've been at this thing for almost 14 years now, officially on the record, that is, with The Brew Lounge, etc. These Monk's dinners which were once a standard, reliable nearly on a monthly basis for a while, are much more infrequently spaced out during the year. But, the excellence remains.

So while Monk's has maintained its standing in the city's (and country's) beer scene, there's just one thing I can boast as having improved on my end - the pictures. Well, actually, I suppose I have nearly nothing to do with it. It's all in the technology. Think about the St. Feuillien dinner that I referenced the other day that dated back to my first piece here in September 2005. No smart phones. And digital cameras were just growing up.

The pictures never did neither the food nor the beer any respect. I think this batch here from Tuesday night earlier this week at Monk's shows just how far we've come in this area. But, I is my tendency. Tom Peters kicked off the dinner in everyone's favorite back room at Monk's by thanking all who came and the local food and beer providers behind the dinner's all-local theme.

In the past, the local beers to select from were much less in number and, well, some in quality. That number, as we all know, as skyrocketed and the choices are limitless, except for some still with quality issues which can be discussed elsewhere.

For this meal, Tom and his team settled on an excellent lineup that included Sterling Pig Shoat Pilsner to begin the evening, followed by Second District's Rustic AF, Brewery Techne Haiku, Tired Hands Gatherer, and Yards Bourbon barrel-aged Thomas Jefferson Porter. Stoudts rounded out the meal pairing its new Sauer Sauce with the dessert course. Peaches, baby!

I've gone on for paragraphs in the past carefully detailing each course and yada, yada, yada. But, since I've lost any rhythm that I used to have here with regular postings, I'm just gonna get these pictures out to you of each course and pick a winner. Not one pairing disappointed, not even in the least. But when forced to pick my favorite of the evening, it had to be the sweet and savory Bone Marrow Bread Pudding (with apricot and pluots) served along with Brewery Techne's Haiku, which had been kettle soured with Montmorency Cherries. Think about that for a second and then go to your kitchen and see what you can round up for dinner tonight. Cheers!

(Shoat and Cantaloupe Gazpacho)

(Rustic AF with Jersey Golden Tilefish)

(Haiku with Bone Marrow Bread Pudding)

(Gatherer with Organic Chicken)

(Washington Porter with Birchrun Blue and Finger Lakes Gold Reserve cheese plate)

(Sauer Sauce with Peach Ice Cream & Shortcake)

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. 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

Monday, August 12, 2019

Back to Monk's Cafe for dinner

Let's see if this thing still works. In all probability, I put too much "material" on social media that could instead make for better-reading blog posts here. But I'm beyond apologies; it's the way these days, it seems.

Enough hand-wringing. Let's talk about Monk's Cafe. Let's talk about how tomorrow, Tues. 8/13, will not only be the day that would mark my father's 96th birthday (!), it will also mark exactly 13 years and 11 months since I got things going with my first post here on The Brew Lounge.

It happened to be an epic beer dinner at Monk's with Dominque Friart and her St. Feuillen brewery in Belgium. By all accounts, it was the typically excellent beer dinner that Monk's had been and is known for in pairing foods and beers. My writing, on the other hand, was a bit raw now in hindsight. But it led to better writing, networking, embedding myself in the industry, writing for numerous print and online outlets, including my Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic 416-page book covering the best of the region.

I bring this up because tomorrow night sees Monk's putting on another display of carefully considered beer and food pairings -- this one, featuring all things local on the plate and in the glass. Beers to be featured will come from Brewery Techne, Second District, Sterling Pig, Stoudts, Tired Hands, and Yards.

Beer dinners had reached, oh five or so years ago, the point of being a dime a dozen. Everyone wanted a piece of the action, though the best stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Some of the most usual suspects doing it well, like Monk's and all Iron Hill locations, have let these special, fixed price dinners mostly fade from the event calendar. At least, let's say, they're no longer held on a regular basis. Suppose it's just a sign of today's consumer preferences, but I'll still miss them and helps me look even more forward to what awaits at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.

I was in the back room at Monk's this past Saturday late night for the dessert course of a progressive dinner around the city. The pecan pie and Firestone Walker Parabola had me instantly anxious to return in three nights. If I do things right, you'll be able to check back later with my breakdown of Tuesday evening's tastes, sights, and sounds.

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. 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

Monday, June 03, 2019

Philly Beer Week the 12th hits its stride early

The first three days of Philly Beer Week 2019 are in the rear view mirror. I concur with the feedback I heard from many on both sides of the tasting tables that the 2300 Arena as a venue worked well for Opening Tap, utilizing both indoor and outdoor (under I-95) space to facilitate the flow between tasting tables and other amenities like axe throwing, photo booth, food, and live music. Other than not being easily accessed by public transportation, save for a couple bus routes that could get you in the vicinity, the feedback was positive.

Here's a gallery of pix that I collected along the way.

According to the official events calendar on the PBW website, there are 259 events remaining in the next 7 days. I took some time to de-dupe and remove recurring events, we're a bit closer to 200. Here are a few highlights that jump out to me and where you may see me partaking.

Mon. June 3
  ~ I'm not doing anything official today, but let's say for argument sake I was, I might have brunch with 3 Floyds at Jose Pistola's, then quaff some quality beverages with The Beer Lass at City Tap House, help Matt Satten and Varga raise some charitable funds for the Chemowarrior cause, see who brews the best homebrew at Jose Pistola's, and then maybe drive out of the city by way of Hop Angel for some German beers from the source and German-style beers from Sly Fox. Instead, unless I take a wrong turn and wind up in Philly tonight, it's on to Tuesday planning.

Tue. June 4
  ~ Not sure I can handle the crowd expected at Monk's for the Maine event. I'll check it out, but be ready to move on because there'll be oysters at Johnny Brenda's, oysters and clams at Bru, hungry hippos at Memphis Taproom, and chocolate at Iron Hill. Blume is hosting Burley Oak, Capone's has Hidden River, Jose Pistola's is featuring The Rare Barrel, The Belgian Cafe brings the brewery formerly known as Draai Laag, and The P.O.P.E. is pairing The Futurist and 2SP. The Grey Lodge is hosting a pretty clever sounding Jersey event and the feature spotlight event of the night discusses the intersection of package art and beer.

Wed. June 5
  ~ Now things get really interesting. Crossing the midway point puts on a solid showing of events on days 6 and 7. In the suburbs, Capone's is doing double duty bringing in a local (Imprint) and an out-of-towner (Zero Gravity) to feature on Wednesday. Back downtown, Second District Brewing is hosting a CBD beer dinner which sounds mighty enticing, not to mention relaxing. Goats are not on the menu but will be making an appearance at Bar. The goats of Sly Fox's Goat Races, that is. King Pin is another annual ritual not to be missed. It happens quickly at Standard Tap, so be sure not to miss it. Up the road a bit at Memphis Taproom are three heavy hitters - Lawson's, Industrial Arts, and LIC Beer Project. Finally, there's a dose of beer and religion at Fergie's. But the devil is not be outdone where, over at The Belgian Cafe, we can close out the night with "Late Night with the Devil" that brings together Duvel and La Cabra. Hey, that's another goat reference!

Thu. June 6
  ~ Food events are catching my eye on Thursday's slot in the calendar. Pierogies at Grey Lodge. Pork at Royal Boucherie. Ice Cream at Iron Hill. As for beer features, we'll find Jersey-based breweries at Brickwall, Pizza Boy at Bottle Bar East. And, 3 Floyds at both Barcade and Tria Taproom. If you want some smarts with your beer, check out the Jeopardy fun at Evil Genius.

Fri. June 7
  ~ Despite the best intentions, I've still never made it to the annual event at Good Dog featuring Sly Fox and pinewood (sorry, canwood!) derby car racing. I even have two from when I was a Cub/Boy Scout as a yute. Maybe I can modify them and bring them along. Otherwise, a bunch of featured breweries sound interesting to check out including 2SP and a barrel full of collaborations (Varga), Tired Hands and Equilibrium (the P.O.P.E.), Lawson's (Jose Pistola's), and The Alchemist (Teresa's Next Door). TND, that is, if I missed The Alchemist earlier in the week at Monk's.

Sat. June 8
  ~ One of the few events with perfect attendance since 2008 - Ladies Beer Tea - is happening again at The Belgian Cafe. I'll leave that one to the ladies; it's almost always a sellout and I expect it will again this year. I, instead, will look for my liquid refreshment and frivolity at some combination of Tria Taproom (for an Almanac-themed event), the P.O.P.E. (Rar Brewing and friends), City Tap House-Univ. City (Grateful Dead themed fest), and a brunch at Blume that could start the whole day. They're featuring "blenderies" (did I just make that up? nope. just googled it.) including The Rare Barrel, Referend, and Form. Blume is the rebranded Cinder. There's also a Dunk A Trump event at El Camino Real and, let's just say, I did very well at that challenge (for ALCU charity of course!) and may feel even more motivated this time around. Then, also, back in the 'burbs near home is where Teresa's Next Door and Troegs will play host to their annual beer garden during the Wayne Music Festival.

Sun. June 9
  ~ For the last day of beer week, the past has typically presented Russian River at Local 44, Music Fest at Dock Street, or running events that I coordinated. Sometimes the TUD at Fergie's if staying out that late made sense. Now, a new standard seems to have emerged and it's just a few miles from home for me. La Cabra (winner of this year's PBW collaboration brew with Duvel) is again hosting the Suburban Love festival, complete with 10 other suburban breweries. Last year was excellent and I expect no different this year. If I do make it into the city, Sour Sunday at Devil's Den with Free Will is carving out its own place on the annual PBW events calendar.

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. 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

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Rest up tonight Hammer of Glory, your big day is tomorrow

(HOG shenanigans in 2017 with Allagash's Rob Tod, Suzy Woods, and Katie Tella)

Remember that detailed itinerary for the Hammer of Glory I referred to the other day? Found it. Thanks to Mr. Scoats and Ms. Dowd for forwarding along to me.

25 stops in 9 hours. Looks like we'll finally get a break in monsoon season and a great weather day to kick off PBW 2019. Can you keep up?

Stop #1 10:00-10:13 AM Hop Angel Brauhaus 7980 Oxford Avenue [event listing link]
Stop #2 10:43-10:56 AM Grey Lodge Pub 6235 Frankford Ave [event listing link]
Stop #3 10:58-11:11 AM Chickies & Petes 4010 Robbins Ave [event listing link]
Stop #4 11:31-11:44 AM Bonks Bar 3467 Richmond Street [event listing link]
Stop #5 12:02-12:15 PM Philly Brewing 2440 Frankford Ave
Stop #6 12:33-12:46 PM Evil Genius Lab 1727 N Front St [event listing link]
Stop #7 12:56-1:09 PM Garage Fishtown 100 E Girard Ave [event listing link]
Stop #8 1:10-1:23 PM Johnny Brendas 1201 Frankford Ave [event listing link]
Stop #9 1:33-1:46 PM El Camino Real 1030 N 2nd St [event listing link]
Stop #10 1:50-2:03 PM Standard Tap 901 North 2nd Street [event listing link]
Stop #11 2:17-2:30 PM Yards 500 Spring Garden St. [event listing link]
Stop #12 2:56-3:07 PM BRU 1316 Chestnut St. [event listing link]
Stop #13 3:08-3:19 PM Tradesmans 1322 Chestnut St. [event listing link]
Stop #14 3:21-3:34 PM Time & Bar 1315 Sansom St.
Stop #15 3:35-3:48 PM Fergie's 1214 Sansom Street
Stop #16 3:58-4:09 PM Varga 941 Spruce Street [event listing link]
Stop #17 4:21-4:34 PM 12 Steps Down 767 S. 9th Street [event listing link]
Stop #18 4:41-4:52 PM Chick's 1804 Washington Ave [event listing link]
Stop #19 4:59-5:10 PM Devil's Den 1148 S 11th St [event listing link]
Stop #20 5:16-5:27 PM Garage Passyunk 1231 E Passyunk Ave [event listing link]
Stop #21 5:34-5:45 PM POPE 1501 E Passyunk Ave
Stop #22 5:55-6:06 PM Pistolas Del Sur 1934 E Passyunk Ave [event listing link]
Stop #23 6:13-6:24 PM 2nd District 1939 S Bancroft St
Stop #24 6:34-6:45 PM Brewery ARS 1927-29 W Passyunk Ave [event listing link]
Stop #25 7:00 PM Opening Tap - 2300 Arena 2300 S Swanson St [event listing link]

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. 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

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Time to get back on the Philly Beer Week wagon

I could not have been more proud of the work I did during Flagship February. So much so that I left it up here for the last three months while I collected myself and tried to determine where to go next. Well, I drank some good beers here, there, and everywhere. Did my social media bit and wrote some for Ale Street News.

Now it's time to move on to Philly Beer Week, the 12th edition. (The official website says 11th, but who's counting?! All those beers apparently make it difficult to keep track.) It kicks off this coming Friday, May 31. And while I don't believe for a second that there will be "nearly" 200 establishments putting on 2,000+ events during the 10-day stretch (quoted from the press release), what I do believe is that there will be plenty of opportunities to drink newly released beers, OG beers, regular beers, weird beer, go to some familiar joints and some new spots, meet some fun people, and have some memorable times while doing it. As of this evening, there are 303 events (up from 210 on May 22 and 258 two days ago) listed on the official calendar, though that number does include some duplicates, a bunch of recurring daily events, and even some without an establishment listed.

I have yet to determine just how much PBW 2019 my personal and professional lives can handle, but it will be able to handle, at least, the first three days. In my honest and humble estimation, no one other independent beer writer has covered each of the 11 previous years of PBW. Content from some of the early years contain still some of my most trafficked content. In that spirit, I continue again this year. Here's what I have on my mind and where you and I might cross paths if you choose to do the same.


(the Hammer of Glory will, once again, be making it's trek around the city on the way to Opening Tap. once I track down a detailed itinerary I'll be able to determine if/where I'll cross paths with it.)

Philly Beer Week Kickoff - 2 p.m. - Uptown Beer Garden
  ~ they're advertising a Sly Fox Bay 6 Pils Keller Pilsner and that seems like a mighty fine place to start

Beer Week Begins with Burley Oak - 4 p.m. - Interstate Draft House
  ~ I typically only see Burley Oak when passing through on the way to/from OBX. And I really like Interstate as a neighborhood hang.

Ommegang Kickoff Happy Hour - 4 p.m. - BRÜ Craft & Wurst
  ~ I've done this "kickoff" event for a beer or two from Ommegang and that usually goes quite well, so I'll do it again. Plus, they're scheduled to be pouring the Duvel/La Cabra collaboration, so that could turn out to be my first taste of it.

Fonta Flora Debuts in PA - 4 p.m. - Monk’s Cafe
  ~ a spectacular brewery that I've had the pleasure of only from a distance and when traveling in NC. This could be way too crowded for a quick stop, but I'll give it the ol' college try.

Yards Brewing “The Chinook Of Mormon” - 5 p.m. Good Dog Bar
  ~ Brotherly Suds is back and seems like a nice quick stop on the way from Monk's

Toppling Goliath Launch - 6 p.m. - BRÜ Craft & Wurst
  ~ just had a few King Sue's when up in NYC last week. Renewed my interest in this event. Maybe some will be on tap while I'm there for Ommegang earlier in the day and can double-dip? Something has to drop from this overly ambitious afternoon list; hope it's not this.

Opening Tap 2019 - 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. - 2300 Arena
  ~ way down yonder in South Philly is where this year's Opening Tap will be held. Should be interesting as the most remote venue since 2008 when the official kickoff was held in East Falls. Always a great sampling a beer, music, and fun.

Post Opening Tap Party with Pat Finnerty's Live Band Karaoke - 10 p.m. - Fergie’s Pub
  ~ because Fergie's. because upstairs. because the party ain't over until you get to Fergie's.

Opening Tap After Party with Allagash and Rob Tod - 11:15 p.m. - Pub on Passyunk East (P.O.P.E.)
  ~ of course, the description says 10 p.m., the event posting says 11:15 p.m., either way, it's Allagash, the P.O.P.E., and Tod. Tough to beat as a close-out for Friday night. Unless it's off to the back room at Monk's...hhmmm.


Hair of the Dogfish Head Brunch - 11 a.m. - Fergie’s Pub
  ~ if I don't make it to Fergie's the night before, brunch on Saturday with DFH would be a great way to begin.

It's A Firkin Riot! - 11 a.m. - Johnny Brenda’s
  ~ can't say I've ever missed this fine event in past years so I don't think I'll pick this year to break the pattern

The Referend Comes To Interstate - 11 a.m. - Interstate Draft House
  ~ I could see the Burley Oak on Friday falling victim to logistical issues in my travels around the city. But, I've heard a lot of good stuff about Referend in NJ, so I'll try not to miss this one.

Urban Village's Birthday Party - 11 a.m. - Urban Village Brewing Co
  ~ I did this last year to kickoff of the first Saturday and that went quite well, so I have it at the top of my list again this year.

Root Down Brunch - 11 a.m. - Standard Tap
  ~ one of my favorite suburban breweries at one of my favorite city restaurants. book it.

Heavy Medals - 2 p.m. Iron Hill - Center City
  ~ the new IH location is central to so much, including the trains, so this event seems like the right time to pass through here.

Dog Day Afternoon - 1 p.m. - Pub on Passyunk East (P.O.P.E.)
  ~ Fat Head's has a track record of dog-related events and bringing in KOP's Workhorse brewery and Lord Hobo too to make it even more of an event with Morris Animal Refuge, one of the city's finest.


Puppy Pageant - 12 p.m. - Devil’s Den
  ~ I wonder if my 8-month-old pup is ready for this?

Roy-Pitz Sour Sunday & Barrel House 2nd Anniversary Party - 12 p.m. - Roy-Pitz Barrel House
  ~ these guys are part of a growing beer destination neighborhood and this kind of event is a good time to check them out.

Sunday Funday with Singlecut, Burley Oak, Referend, Tonewood, Une Annee, Brix City - 12 p.m. - Memphis Taproom
  ~ Memphis perennially hosts some of PBW best events. Case in point here.

Yards Dunk The Brewer - 3 p.m. - Garage – Passyunk
  ~ fundraiser for PAWS and dunk tanks. hard to say no to that.

Brunch Bingo with Firestone Walker - 12 p.m. - Brickwall Tavern
  ~ don't even need to hear what FW beers are being poured. count me in. the bingo is almost secondary.

Cider Sunday - Meet The Owners & $5 Drafts - 2 p.m. - Blume
  ~ do I dare make room in PBW for a cider event? I know, it doesn't make sense, being beer week, but I'll roll with it. I like the ones that are being poured.

Allagafternoon - 4 p.m. BRÜ Craft & Wurst
  ~ because you can never have enough Allagash.

2SP Brewing Presents Industrial Arts Brewing Co. - 5 p.m. - Good Dog Bar
  ~ haven't had a run-in with IA and Chief in much too long, so Good Dog seems like a good place to rectify that

New York Breweries Bring-Your-Own-Vinyl Takeover w/Singlecut, Foreign Objects, Barrier, and more - 7 p.m. - Prohibition Taproom
  ~ let's see what vintage vinyl I can dig up for this. solid breweries represented too.

Late Night In Brussels with De La Senne, Oxbow & Liquid Riot - 9 p.m. - Monk’s Cafe
  ~ oh my, this almost warrants a hotel room.

A Late Night In Brussels Part Duex - 10 p.m. - Jose Pistola's
  ~ if Monk's didn't do me in, Pistola's most certainly will.


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