Telling the stories behind the passionate pursuit of great beer since 2005.
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Sunday, October 30, 2005
Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA
So, a funny thing happened on the way to Nodding Head Friday night! Adam and I went to the Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philly (Mayfair) instead. The original goal was to taste the last of the gold-medal winning "George's Fault" brewed by Nodding Head Brewery and inspired by George Hummel of Home Sweet Home Brew.
But, it struck us that maybe we should call before we drive all the way into Center City to fight for a parking spot. As we get to the Manayunk exit on the Schuylkill Expressway, we learn that the sixtel of George's Fault has already expired (tapped at 3pm).
So, plan B......head up to Grey Lodge instead.......great decision!! It was a great decision because, for both us, it was the first time paying a visit to this beer destination. Also, across the region, Grey Lodge is known as a place to find beers on tap that you likely won't find in many other establishments. They also have a moderately impressive selection of bottled beer as well.
Perhaps the most striking thing about this location is the fact that it's in the most unlikely of places. This isn't Center City....this isn't Old City.....this isn't Manayunk.....this isn't really a neighborhood where you'll find any tourists and, let's be honest, even people from the Philly area would admit venturing into.
People of Mayfair please don't take that the wrong way; afterall, I grew up visiting my aunt and uncle on St. Vincent and walking "the boulevard" (Frankford Ave.) with my uncle and appreciate the area for what it is.
But, I digress.... After scoring a great parking spot out front, Adam and I walked in and immediately started with Southampton Double White Ale. Although not quite as fully-rounded, complex, and delicious as the bottled version that I had from Beer Yard, this was still a very good beer with a noticable, yet understated, apricot nose. Adam picked up on this more than I did; I attributed that in part to what I thought was a smoky environment.
Our second choice of beers was the cask-conditioned Flying Fish Grand Cru. The beer poured even more flat that we expected it to. And the taste itself was fairly unmemorable. What I do remember, though, is that it had a strong malty flavor upfront that disappeared quickly into a nondescript finish. That should be a reminder to me why I should be using my new leather bound pocket notebook to record my thoughts immediately. Hm, sorry Patty...(it was a gift from my wife). I'll use it better next time!
Our second beer would've been our last, if it hadn't been for the subpar experience with the Flying Fish. So, our last beer now became the Cricket Hill Col. Blide's Bitter. Good move on our part :) Neither of us had experience with any of Cricket Hill's beers. It was a tough choice amongst some strong competition on the draft list.....Rogue, Brooklyn, Sly Fox.....and a couple handful of great bottles. But, we wanted to try something that we haven't seen much of before. This is a very drinkable beer, with moderate hop content balanced between bitter and floral (my comment), and a biscuity finish (Adam's comment).
A few comments about the place itself. Apart from the average environs at Grey Lodge, the restrooms must be seen for the wall art. You'll know what we mean when you see it. Ah, nevermind, here's a picture! And, the upstairs has a bit of more relaxed scene, with tables and more loungy feel, than downstairs.
The downstairs has two dartboards, a jukebox, an area for live music, and a typical bar scene. Sorry for the length....hope through all the words I made it clear that we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit in the 2 hours that we were there and will be headed back as soon as possible, and would recommend that you do the same!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Making Beer: Altbier...revisited
Brewing Beer: Misc - Kolsch, Altbier mmm, New Site
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
New York City Pub Tour : Stop #5; Burp Castle
Now things are on the upswing to finish out this Pub Tour through Manhattan :) It didn't take long to realize that Burp Castle was next door, so I finished my beer at Standings and we walked out the door and made a quick right turn into Burp Castle.
I wish I had taken a picture of the exterior, because it really is very easy to walk on by and miss the front door....and walk into Standings....hm, sounds like I'm speaking from experience! They don't appear to have a website and I couldn't seem to track down any pictures online; but, in any case I've put up some interior pictures for you here. (p.s. I believe there is some type of "relationship" between Standings and Burp Castle, I just didn't ask and wasn't able to determine for sure)
Ah, now this is better! Just take a look at the picture of one of the murals that line the walls here. It gives you a bit of an idea of the ambience of Burp Castle. Then, look at the tap list. One of the neat things about this place is the ambience. The size of the bar area was really not much different than Standings, but between the lighting, the murals, the woodwork, and the friendly staff it all serves to make you feel relaxed and ready to put down a few quality brews. They also have a small, caged-in outdoor area to sit and enjoy the beer. But, we preferred to stay inside.
We happened to be the only customers there at the time, so we had the full attention of the bartender. She was very pleasant and we traded stories about the gentrification of city neigborhoods, the search for good beer in NYC, and the nightlife at Burp Castle. The bar rotates through their kegs fairly often and always maintains a good mix of Belgians, Germans, and local microbrews. I had a Six Point Otis (of Brooklyn) and Patty had a Leffe Blonde. The Otis is an extremely tasty full-bodied stout with distinctive roasted coffee and nut flavors.
Of course, I wanted to stay for more, but Hop Devil Grill was calling next. I would be very anxious to return to Burp Castle later in the evening to experience it with the late night crowd. You should obviously be able to tell that I highly recommend this be on anyone's short list of must-go-to beer bars in Manhattan. p.s. oh, and as I mentioned in previous posts, for those of you inclined to care about these kind of things, the restrooms were quite clean and adequate......a good place to stop for a beer and nature's duties as well ;-)
Lake Placid: Ubu Ale & 46’er I.P.A.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Site Changes: Brew Lounge
http://beerbits.blogspot.com/...but, you can also find us here...
Hopefully that will make it easier to remember us.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Philadelphia Eagles: We won! Yards, Victory, Flying Fish
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Brew Pubs: City Steam Hartford, CT
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Brewing Beer: Keg the Black Altbier
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Bethlehem Brew Works in Bethlehem, PA
Brewing Beer: Quick update
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Dogfish Head on the Cape May Ferry
Hey, good job on the supporting the local guy with some nice advertising at the Cape May Ferry, but why no Dogfish Head available at the bar. At least that's what the bartender said. He didn't know why, but assumed that perhaps it's just a once-and-a-while beer that they serve.
Let us know...
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Tasting: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Making Beer: Barley Wine, Altbier & Kolsch Brewing
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Personal: Homebrewer's Blues
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
New York City Pub Tour : Stop #4; Standings
After a little stroll over to Grand Central Station and a nice walk through the grand building, we hopped on the 6-train down to Astor Place (and, yes, we again skipped the Oyster Bar at GCS....but, once again, for no good reason! We WILL stop there....someday)
So, we find ourselves next at Standings Bar. It's directly next to Burp Castle and down the street from McSorley's. This is on 7th street on the edge of Greenwich Village and East Village. It was at this point that we hit a bit of a lull.
Hear me out on this before you call us lightweights! Up early in the morning, drop the dogs off at the kennel, pack the car, drive 2 1/2 hours to NY, check into the hotel, take the LIRR into NYC, hit 3 bars in the first 2 hours, walk, and take a subway to our 4th bar. And, it's only just coming up on 5pm. (Sorry, just a bit of sympathy, please??? :)
All of this was to say that Patty took a pass on beer here at Standings, I ordered an Avery, and neglected to take any notes or pictures. We were, as you can see, in a bit of a funk here. I'm not even sure of the style of Avery that I ordered.
Although, I may have also been slightly thrown off by the bartender, who poured me a glass of water from a half-full bottle of spring water. Was this is personal bottle of water? Did he find it in the back room and didn't want to dump it out (for conservation reasons, or course)? Or was this the special "house water"? In any case, I didn't ask, didn't want to know, and therefore didn't drink it!
Ok, back to the topic at hand. Standings is the kind of place that you probably don't make a destination. But, when strolling through the area, you'll probably want to stop off and catch some sports action on one of the several TVs, a quality brew, and some easy-going and pretention-free atmosphere. Contributing to the name is the mostly standing-room only theme. There are just a couple of tables in this smaller-than-average bar.
The rest of the area is a combination of high-top tables and the one bar with 10-15 seats around it. There are several TVs with sporting events usually on them and a lot of sports-themed decor (pennants, etc.) The bathroom, once again for those who care about these kind of things, is about as basic as you can get. Barely a hole in the wall, with a door, and not much else. I can definitely see this as a place that later in the night becomes a big hangout to watch some games on TV with your buddies and drink good beer. I'm guessing it's not a huge pickup scene with the ladies....but, I could be wrong. I promise the last two places on our tour are impressive and worth the wait. And, fortunately for us, we moved from Standings to next door at Burp Castle.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Birthday Weekend in Review
Big Beer: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Brew Pubs: The Sly Fox - Rauchbier
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Making Beer: Altbier to the Secondary Fermenter
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Making Beer: Das Altbier & Barleywine
Jeder Mensch der liebt nunmal stolz sein Heimatland Darum lieben wir, ganz klar, unseren Rhein´schen Strand Wo der Alte Schloßturm steht da sind wir zu Haus´ Weil es ohne Bier nicht geht rufen wir ganz schnell heraus:
[Chorus] Ja, sind wir im Wald hier? Wo bleibt unser Altbier? Wir haben in Düsseldorf die längste Theke der Welt, jajajaja Ja, sind wir im Wald hier? Wo bleibt unser Altbier? Wo ist denn der Held der mit seinem Geld die Runde bestellt?
Machen wir ´ne Herrentour an die schöne Ahr Trinken wir Burgunder nur, das ist sonnenklar Spätestens um Mitternacht ist die Sehnsucht groß Nach dem Glas vom Altbierfaß und der ganze Verein singt dann los:
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Making Beer: The Fermentation
- Placed them in warmer places in the house so that the wort temp would rise to just over 70 degress F. Warmer temperatures help get it started. Had to cool it down later once it started.
- Shook up the fermenters about 3 times each to make sure that the wort was aerated enough.
- Stared at the air lock a lot.
Making Beer: Barleywine...popped off again!
Making Beer: Altbier & Barleywine Update
Sunday, October 02, 2005
New York City Pub Tour : Stop #3; Ginger Man
As I promised, we moved on from our first two average stops at Stout and Heartland to Ginger Man. We only had to walk a couple of blocks to 36th street between 5th and Madison. This is one of those bars that could be the one and only destination in many pub tours!
They usually carry close to 75 beers on tap and cover the world from local microbrews to high quality beers from Germany, Belgium, England, and other countries. Also at the bar, the number of bottled beers run well over 100 and several reputable scotch and whiskey selections are also available. So how can I boil this all down to a review that you can use? I think that all I need to say is that this place is a winner that hardly comes up short in anything they do.
There are 4 locations in the country; this is the only one outside of Texas. In Texas, there's a Ginger Man in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. I've been to the Dallas and Austin locations, but ran out of time on my way to the airport in Houston. While the ambience varies a bit from city to city, the overall theme is protected....the theme being a large selection of interesting, high quality beer.
In NYC, the location is in block which feels a bit secluded from other life in the city. While it's not in Times Square, it's not in a neighborhood either. It's kind of an "in-between" place, where the street scene is not all that interesting. But, of course, we go there to be inside with the beer, right?!
As you can see in this one picture, recent additions to the tap list include Geary Autumn Ale, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, Victory Prima Pils, Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale, and cask conditioned Victory Hop Devil. Patty had the Prima Pils and I had the Bear Republic. By this time, we started to work up a bit of an appetite and need to get a base going for the next several hours :)
The food menu basically is a sufficient list of appetizers and bar-style sandwiches. Each time I've been to Ginger Man before, I always fall for the soft pretzel. Hard to say why, but with a limited food menu, the pretzels seem to be any easy choice. And, for a couple bucks you get a decent sized pretzel, with lots of salt and a honey mustard dipping sauce.
A little more on the place and the staff. The interior is fairly large and airy with a mixture of bar seating, low tables with comfortable seating, and separate lounge-type room in the back. The staff is knowledgable and willing to lend themselves for opinions on beer, or to provide as many samples as you need to make a good choice, or to just to make small talk while business is slow. I've found these observations to be consistent at each of the locations that I've visited.
Earlier in the summer when I was at the Ginger Man, a few interesting brews that they had on tap included: Boulder Sweaty Betty; Six Point Diesel Stout; Schneider Edel Weisse; Einbecker Mai Bock; Redhook Sunrye; Cooper's Extra Stout; and Blue Point Hoptical Illusion. The picture above is a little dark and hard to make out the tap handles; however, I hope that from my descriptions you can see that the Ginger Man should also be included in any beer drinking plans when in Dallas, Houston, Austin, or New York City. Oh, how badly I wanted to stay for another one, or 10, beers! But, next, we're taking the subway to the East Village/Greenwich Village.