Friday, March 31, 2006

21st Amendment in San Francisco, CA

Have you visited the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, California?

What is the best thing about 21st Amendment? Its proximity to downtown San Francisco? (business district, Union Square, Embarcadero) Its closeness to the now-named AT&T Park of the San Francisco Giants? (2-3 blocks)

Ok, Ok, let’s get on with this review. As you can already tell, 21A has a lot of good things going for it even before you walk through the front door. As one of the better-known brewpubs in San Francisco (and a hard-to-forget name), 21A has established itself as a destination on anyone’s beer tour of San Francisco. From my research, though, their tap list never seems to be lengthy.

The day that I was at 21A, only 3 beers were flowing. The next day they introduced two more, including a cask-conditioned imperial IPA. But, their website seems to indicate that 5 beers at a time may be their maximum.

Maybe I shouldn’t quibble because what they do present to their thirsty patrons is respectable. The layout of their space is pretty simple. When you enter the front door from the street, you are first greeted by a square bar. It's a bit awkward, though, with really only two sides that are comfortable for sitting. The third side has a higher, deeper bar and is adjacent to the dining room.

In any case, the main dining room of simple tables aligned in rows is overlooked by a balcony of additional dining room seating above the open-air kitchen. For this visit, I immediately jumped into some garlic fries (you can’t avoid these things when in the Bay Area; Gilroy is not far away) and a BBQ Chicken Pizza. These choices went incredibly well with my first brew selection, the E.S.B. This underrated style, the E.S.B., at the 21A was an incredibly delicious, well-balanced, easy drinking beer. Great introduction to their beer.

Now, for seconds, I wanted something a bit more complex with bigger flavors. I was rewarded for said request in the form of the General Pippo’s Porter. Who the general is I never discovered, but his beer namesake was delicious. Dark, full of rich chocolate flavors, and yet still drinkable this was a fine example of a quality porter. While not quite as hopped as some porters, I certainly was not complaining. So, this now makes two excellent porter experiences in the month of March, woohoo!, North Country in Slippery Rock, PA and 21st Amendment in San Francisco, CA.

So, what next? I’m happy to admit that I returned the next day for a taste of the delicious imperial IPA cask placed atop the bar. A very good IPA served at room temperature just as I’d expect. If I’m not mistaken they choose a different cask conditioned ale to serve their customers each Wednesday. Those generous folks, eh?!

As if the beer itself was not enough to bring you in to 21A, the service nicely rounds out the experience. The staff seems to know just how to strike the right balance of being friendly, talkative, and approachable without being overbearing. On my return trip, I made the acquaintance of Brian (uh, maybe that was his name?) who was working the bar and originally from Wynnewood, PA….only approx. 15 miles from my home. As they say, “it’s a small world.”

I feel like I still need to know more about 21A. On one hand, I learned the story of the artwork on the walls (probably not interesting enough to explain in this space…..but, ask me if you’d like to know more). On the other hand, I still do not know who General Pippo is! I don’t know the story of the disco ball in the brewing room. I missed out on the iPod night, where customers bring in their iPods with playlists that are played for the entire bar to enjoy.

I would also have liked to plan my visit more carefully so that I could have met with Shaun the Brewer. What would be better? How about a Wednesday afternoon baseball game watching the San Francisco Giants, then retiring to 21A for an evening of dinner, cask beer, and music? Note to self: Must plan a new trip now! p.s. If you still have not figured out the origin of the brewery's name, click here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Beer Tasting: Sly Fox Cascade IPA

Cascade IPA is brewed by Sly Fox Brewing Company. This was from the tap in Phoenixville, PA. This is 2006's first installment in the annual "IPA Project" at Sly Fox. The Project was started back in 2004 and will probably go through 10 different styles by the end of the year. Brewed with 100% Cascade hops and weighing in at 7% ABV and close to 100 IBUs, this is a fun beer with quick side effects! Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: light copper, thin head Bryan: pale colored beer with small, quickly disappearing head Smell Adam: you get some hops nose Bryan: barely any aroma to warn of what's to come Taste Adam: Wow! 20 times the hops you would expect from the nose Bryan: Extremely hop-forward as I like 'em Mouthfeel Adam: carbonated sufficiently Bryan: full mouth explosion of hops overwhelms any significant texture to the beer; come to think of it...hops are the texture :) Drinkability Adam: yes...if you like a good stiff IPA Bryan: very drinkable as an IPA that west coasters should even appreciate Seconds? Adam: oh yes Bryan: for sure

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh, PA

Some people go to worship at their church on Sunday. Some people go to their church on Saturday. And, then there are some people in the Pittsburgh area who go to church on Saturday evening to drink beer. With apologies to those of you who take the separation of church and beer seriously, this is one fun concept! But, I figure if the lines between church and state can be blurred, then why not church and beer?! (Uh-oh, I didn’t just alienate any of our readers, did I?! :) The vacancy of the former church of St. John the Baptist (circa 1903) paved the way for Church Brew Works to establish itself in 1996. It is located just off the Strip District in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The former church is located across from the (in)famous Pittsburgh Brewing Co. (of Iron City fame). Having never seen this concept undertaken, I wonder if anyone else knows of former churches renovated into breweries, or other such business. On this particular Saturday evening, after a day full of gallivanting across Pennsylvania from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, drinking partners Matt and Dennis accompanied me to Church Brew Works to watch the basketball tournament game between University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University. Original plans to watch the game at Fathead’s in the South Side District were foiled (eh-hem!) Though, we did get to Fathead’s the next day. There’s a decent amount of parking behind the “church”, so this was not an issue. But, once inside, the brewpub was bustling with its typical Saturday night dinner throng. This was my fourth time to CBW and I am still impressed and awestruck when I walk through the doors. Once through the vestibule, you are greeted by a large sweeping view of the inner sanctuary. One can easily imagine how the center aisle, the pews, and the confessional used to be laid out. And, there is certainly no mistaking the former location of the alter. That’s because it is now the location of the brewing operations. Like I implied earlier, this could be sacrilegious to some. Then, when making your way down the aisle to your seats or to the bar, you can turn around, look up, and see the organ pipes still in their original location. I have never asked if they are still operational, but it sure would be cool to hear them booming out a foot-stomping German beer drinking song while sitting at the bar. You are probably wondering if I am ever going to get around to the topic at hand; beer! So, here we go. There are typically the usual suspects on tap: Lager; Dark Lager (“Pious Monk”); Pale Ale; and Stout (“Blast Furnace”). Then, a few seasonal/speciality brews will show up on the menu from time to time. The most decorated beer from CBW, based on medals they’ve won from various festivals, is the Maibock. While I’ve not had the pleasure of the Maibock, the Pious Monk and the Blast Furnace have always been consistently decent. We had these in addition to their Brown Ale also on draft. Though, I do not think I can say I have ever had a beer at CBW that has “knocked my socks off.” This seems to be due, in part, to the thinner body and the lower alcohol content. Unfortunately, the one beer that sounded the most interesting (the Cherry Quadrupel, coincidentally the one with the most alcohol and, presumably, flavor) was only available in 25 ounce bottles for $15. At this point of the night, I was not ready to make the investment or time commitment to drink it at the brewery. Maybe someone cruising through the Pittsburgh area would like to send me a care package ;-) Church Brew has also made a serious investment in the kitchen, which consistently turns out some very decent bar munchies in addition to a solid dinner menu of meats, pastas, fish, and pizzas. The assortment of brick oven pizzas carries a wide variety of toppings and seasonings to provide a perfect accompaniment for the beers. By now, hearing my description above and that I have made my way to CBW four times, you can probably imagine that I recommend a visit to Church Brew Works when you are in Pittsburgh. I would probably go as far as to suggest that you have a meal to go along with 3 or 4 beers as you spend a couple of hours checking out the brewery and its environs. However, you would also be correct that I suggest you do not go there with the expectation of finding your next favorite beer. While the beers are drinkable and not in any way offensive, the real shining stars here are the architectural design and the ambience. Put this near the top of your list when visiting Pittsburgh. p.s. Though I’ve never seen it personally, there is also an outdoor “hop garden” patio for dining and drinking enjoyment on a nice weather evening.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Brewing Process: 101 Ways To Make Your Beer

Well, maybe not quite 101 ways but this should give you an idea of what I am thinking here. Brewing is basic right? A handful of main ingredients, add some water, convert sugars to alcohol, add hops.....that's about it, right? For those of you that are very specific and literal, don't worry I realize I oversimplified a bit. But, here's my point: Go to any brewery's website and chances are good that they have attempted to describe their brewing process. Some go into much more detail than others. Of course, at the end of the day, they are all basically doing the same thing. But, I have always found it interesting to see how breweries will attempt to differentiate themselves from each other in the way they describe their brewing process. Following are examples of just some of the breweries and their stories of making beer. Have you come across any interesting brewing illustrations or stories that breweries put on their websites? 21st Amendment Duclaw Brewing Co. Erie Brewing Co. Goose Island Beer Co. Golden Avalanche Brewing Co. Gordon Biersch Harpoon Brewery High Point Brewing Co. Lancaster Brewing Co. Penn Brewing Co. Port Brewing Co. (Pizza Port) Pyramid Breweries Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Co.) - {Click on 'Brewery Tour'} San Francisco Brewing Co. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner) Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery Triumph Brewing Co. - {Click on 'Beyond the Pale', then click 'How We Brew'} Tun Tavern Restaurant & Brewery Victory Brewing Co. Westvleteren Trappist Yards Brewing Co.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Beer Tasting: Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale (can)

Phoenix Pale Ale is brewed by Sly Fox Brewing Company. This was their and our first foray into canned craft beer. We tried this beer against the Dale's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues, also in a can. Click here to see our companion review. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: nice head disappates to a ring, deeper orange Bryan: pours from can with a light brass color and medium head that sticks around for a while Smell Adam: not appealing, not off putting Bryan: like a dirty lager Taste Adam: like a canned lager beer with tang Bryan: not much upfront flavor; leaves an unpleasant aftertaste Mouthfeel Adam: not thin, well carbonated Bryan: easily slides through the mouth; the best attribute of this beer Drinkability Adam: aftertaste kinda presents Bryan: because of the taste, no Seconds? Adam: only if its up against coors light Bryan: No, stick with the draft version of this decent recipe

Beer Tasting: Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale (can)

Dale's Pale Ale is brewed by Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado. As you'll read below, even though we had some differing opinions on the finer points of the beer, we found this to be a good and likeable beer. And, as the guys at Craft Beer Radio put it, "one of the best beers you can get out of a can....definitely." We tried this beer against the Phoenix Pale Ale from Sly Fox, also in a can. Click here to see our companion review. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: nice head, persistent, orange Bryan: can opens with absolutely no phizz; pours with lighter more straw-colored appearance Smell Adam: nice hoppy nose...not too big Bryan: a sweet, malty aroma greets you immediately Taste Adam: tangy and a little alkaline Bryan: lively malt flavor lives up to the nose; nice Mouthfeel Adam: could use a bit more carbonation Bryan: has a bit of heft to it; nice Drinkability Adam: needs to be a bit cooler Bryan: absolutely Seconds? Adam: eh...maybe not Bryan: sure, maybe even thirds

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Beer Culture: mean Voila! ;-)

How cool is this? Here's a great site called The Beer Escort that helps provide some clarity to how tricky words are pronounced from one language to another. An end to "pronunciation-gate?!" Maybe not, but at least you may now be able to pronounce St. Feuillien and Gueuze and Westvleteren :) Plus, there seems to be quite a bit of other useful content at this site, as well. Let us know if you find anything particularly useful or interesting. Look 1/2 way down the left side and click "How it Sounds" link.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Toronado in San Francisco, CA

What's going on at Toronado? Everything! They've got the beers, they've got the crowds, and they've got the attitude. As one of the premier beer bars in the country...yes, the country...they do not fail to disappoint. My only disappointment is that I did not stay longer :(

I suppose that my first wrong move is that I opted for the 3-mile walk from my hotel in the Union Square area to the bar in The Haight neighborhood. (Healthy, but time-consuming). Anyone around the San Francisco area 30-40 years ago will remember this area. Although, it's become a bit more gentrified over time, it still holds on to some of its free-loving, free-being feel for which it's become famous.

In my short visit to Toronado, I only enjoyed the Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. A classic West Coast hoppy ale. A phenomenal chance to enjoy a beer that is a bit more difficult to find on the East Coast. Then, I met a gentleman named Paul Hayward. I was already planning to head next to Magnolia Pub & Brewery approximately 3/4 mile up the road closer to Golden Gate Park. He was headed there too, so I decided to leave Toronado early and meet up with him there. So, while I did not have the chance to sufficiently sample the beer menu at Toronado, I could immediately sense that they have a great thing going there.

The atmosphere is so relaxed, so unpretentious, but with some of the best beer from around the country and around the world. The draft list numbers approximately 50 and the bottle menu lists around 100 beers including some of the best and hardest to find beers. The decor, as you can see from the picture to the left, is also quite interesting. Signs, tap handles, bottles, bumper stickers, etc. adorn the walls. The service was adequate without being pushy or obnoxious. If you're in the San Francisco area, and do not make the effort to get here then you are certainly missing a great opportunity and experience.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Beer Tasting: Sly Fox E.S.B.

Jake's E.S.B is brewed by Sly Fox Brewing Company. This was from the tap at their Phoenixville location. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: thin head, copper Bryan: a quickly dissipating one-finger head Smell Adam: nothing of note (it was smoky in the dining room) Bryan: faint aromas of malt and hops barely perceptible Taste Adam: bitter tang, lingering bitterness Bryan: malt and hop character much better balanced and easier to identify than in the Sly Fox Red (the beer we had before this one) Mouthfeel Adam: light upfront, clean, carbonated Bryan: well-rounded and fuller flavors than the Red Drinkability Adam: yes if you like ESBs this is a good example Bryan: Yes, and enjoyable too Seconds? Adam: oh, yes Bryan: yes, please!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

San Francisco Knows Good Beer

Over the next few weeks, you will see me writing about my beer experiences in San Francisco, California. I tasted many good beers, but I also learned one valuable lesson: San Francisco knows how to promote good beer.

Case in point; there exists an official San Francisco Brewers Guild. They even publish a guide/map of the member establishments across the city. I'm not aware (though, probably not the best person to ask :) of organizations like this elsewhere in the country. (Plus, in all candor, I'm only aware of what they have done through their brochure and their unfinished website. But, hey, are they not on the right track thinking about the "right stuff"?) Do any of our readers know of these sort of groups around the U.S. or around the world?

So, I'll end at this point because I will have plenty to say (as usual ;-) in upcoming writings about San Francisco beer bars, brewpubs, and breweries. We look forward to hearing from any of our readers with similar experiences in this great city.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Beer Tasting : Erie Brewing Drake's Crude Oatmeal Stout

Drake's Crude is an oatmeal stout brewed by Erie Brewing Company of Erie, Pennsylvania. This bottle was purchased from Fathead's in Pittsburgh, PA. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: dark, like molases with a brown ring Bryan: pours almost like a crude oil (ha!) with just a bit of caramel-colored big bubbled head Smell Adam: grain, malt Bryan: full nose of barley and just a touch of alcohol to the nose Taste Adam: sweet; bowl of oatmeal; very good Bryan: full of sweet and rich goodness; just a barely perceptible hop flavor Mouthfeel Adam: substantial Bryan: full, smooth, but not overbearing Drinkability Adam: nothing at all objectionable Bryan: very drinkable for a hefty stout Seconds? Adam: thirds!!! Bryan: oh yeah, no doubt

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Beer Calendar: What to do in March-April 2006

Here's a list of upcoming events over the next several weeks mostly in the Philadelphia area that look interesting to check out. Let us know if you think you might be heading to one of these events or have been to one of them in the past.

Wed. 3/22 - Brooklyn Night - @Drafting Room, Spring House, PA (5:00pm-??; pay as you go)
Fri, 3/24 - Ale Street News Ultimate Belgian Tasting - @Chelsea Art Museum, New York NY (6:30pm-10:30pm; $87)
Tue. 3/28 - Victory Beer Dinner - @Dilworthtown Inn, West Chester, PA (7pm-9pm; $65)
Fri. 3/31 - Spaten Bock Night - @The Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; pay as you go)
Sat. 4/1 - Annual Open House - @Weyerbacher, Easton, PA (12pm-3pm; free)
Sun. 4/2 - The Brewer's Plate - @Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, PA (4pm-7:30pm; $45/$55)
Wed. 4/5 - Elite 8 Beer Tasting - @Gullifty's, Rosemont, PA (7:30pm-9:30pm; pay as you go)
Fri. 4/7 - Friday Night Beer Tasting (Victory) - @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Fri. 4/14 - Friday Night Beer Tasting (Magic Hat) - @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Sat. 4/15 - Split Thy Skull Barleywine Festival - @Sugar Mom's, Philadelphia, PA (1pm-???; pay as you go)

Monday, March 20, 2006

North Country Brewing Co. in Slippery Rock, PA

Making our way slowly across Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh brings us from Denny's in Clearfield to North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock. Ever since being a young guy, I had to laugh at the name. Still today, I'm not sure exactly what happens in this town other than the university. Now, you can add finely crafted beer to the list. If you're heading across Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania (perhaps from Ohio to New York, for example), North Country should be a must-stop for any beer lover. If you think I'm nuts, go visit Lew Bryson's site, where he went as far as to award it with the tag of "Best New Brewpub in Pennsylvania in 2005." Scroll down on this page and you'll find it. (Two smart guys can't be wrong, eh?!) The brewpub is basically at the crossroads of Main Street and Franklin Street in the center of town. It's hard to miss their building, as you should be able to gather from the picture they have outfitted the front of the building with a western theme.....lots of wood. And, the theme continues inside. The interior was certainly designed to be aesthetically pleasing. First, as I've already alluded to, the wood theme....everywhere! Then, the multiple levels between the entrance, the main bar area, and the restaurant seating area. It is a very comfortable environment. Since we were on a somewhat accelerated time schedule (needed to get to Pittsburgh), Matt and I opted for the 6-variety sampler while Dennis committed to the Firehouse Red . The space at the bar is a bit awkward, especially considering that we could only get waitress service if we were ordering food....huh?! (Unfortunately, we weren't there long enough to really judge the service, but the interaction that we did have was pleasant enough.) Well, anyway, we retrieved our beverages from the bar and dived into a couple of decent brews followed by some very good beers. My favorite, hands down, was the porter. In fact, a growler full of it made it to our hotel room for a nice nightcap to the weekend. Though, I agreed with Matt and Dennis that the ESB and the 5 Rings Ale (a more substantial version of the Red) were also very good. On the other hand, we were surprised by the thinness of the stout. It certainly didn't live up to its nose or its description. The Other One (old ale) was also quite flavorful and the only house brew over 6% ABV. Overall, North Country's handiwork certainly proves that beers do not need to be high in alcohol to be high in quality. For nice weather days, there is a porch attached to the front of the building.....where they are dog friendly too! I could definitely envision relaxing on the porch with some more North Country brews!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

McKenzie Brew House in Frazer, PA - Construction Update 3/19/06

Word from Glen Mills says that the new McKenzie on Route 30 in Malvern will "definitely" be open by last week of April. No grand opening special events planned as of yet.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Event: Sly Fox Brewery : St. Patrick's Day : 3/17/06

This will just be a short posting about last night at the Sly Fox Brewery in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. For a holiday event with so much (10 weeks) hype leading up to it, there were many ways in which this could have been a better night at Sly Fox. Don't get me wrong; I'm not bitter. I'm just disappointed in a night that I thought could have been significantly better. I will still continue to proudly support and promote Sly Fox (to anyone who will listen :) A few humble suggestions on my part: - Live Music; I'm not sure why a culture with so much great music was not celebrated with a band playing live music on St. Patrick's Day. Especially, considering that there was live Irish music weekly at Sly Fox for 10 weeks leading up to last night. - Prize Announcements; Why so quickly? Spread them out over the course of the night. For the 10 weeks that it took to "earn" the raffle tickets (did I mention that the 1st prize was a trip for two to Ireland?), the ceremony for the 15 prizes seemed rushed and without much excitement. Maybe this also was due in part to the prize announcements being made between the two Sly Fox locations? - Specialty Beer; For the last couple of months the rotation of beers has not been what it seems to have been in the past. Maybe because of the head brewer's marriage plans and honeymoon or maybe because of the opening of the second location, the number of different beers being cycled through is down; I'm not sure. However, I might have thought that a "specialty beer" would have been brewed to commemorate the St. Patrick's holiday. Now, maybe I shouldn't quibble, because the Ichor (Belgian Quadrupel) was released in 750ml bottles the prior day. Can't wait to taste it tonight; could be something to cellar for future years! So, with no live music, no significantly new beer, and the prizes completed at 9:15, we had no real motivation to stay. Give us any one of these three and I'll bet we would have stayed until they needed to boot us at closing time. We moved on to the Flying Pig in Malvern for more good beers instead.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I see lots of folks wearing green today. Looking for a place to enjoy a pint? Reflecting on your Irish heritage? Or maybe you're Irish for the day ;-) This day has various meanings to people. No matter if you're Irish or not, to me it's about sharing a pint with good friends. May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

Fat Head's in Pittsburgh, PA

Fat Head’s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Anyone who follows the beer bar scene in the United States has probably heard of Fat Head’s. You may not have been there yet, but you most likely have read of them in a beer paper or heard of them mentioned in a discussion of bars that maintain a consistently well-developed draft list. If you have been there, then you should probably agree with my statement.

In a city with a significant beer history and current scene respected in many circles, the South Side district in Pittsburgh offers Fat Head’s with its approximately 40 draft lines and one cask conditioned offering. Plus, they recently added a second-floor merchandise and 6-pack shop (see picture at bottom).

Accompanying the fine beer list is lengthy food menu serving up everything you would expect in the form of pub grub; from buffalo wings to burgers (very large burgers) to soup and sandwiches and salads. Plus, with TVs within easy viewing distance of practically every seat, Fat Head’s is a destination for watching your favorite sporting event as well. But, back to the beer.

On this particular Sunday afternoon at Fat Head’s, our visit just after noontime still had us waiting approximately 20 minutes for a table of four. The crowd tends to cover all types from young and single to families with children. While we waited we had time to enjoy our first brew.

My drinking buddies and I started with Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale and Rogue Mogul IPA. It was standing room only at the bar, but this could have been partly because the ACC championship (which Duke University won) had just started on TV. We had the chance to enjoy these fine beers and check out the merchandise shop upstairs. Finally seated, we ordered some excellent wings (Cajun Comfort and Garlic Parmesan sauces), sandwiches, and salads.

With our food we ordered the Oatmeal Stout from Erie Brewing Company, the Nugget Nectar from Troegs, the 10 Years Alt from Victory Brewing, and the Troegs Beer Union Brown Ale. No complaints were heard from anyone! The beautiful thing about Fat Head’s is that for starters it has all the makings of being just a “normal” bar. No pretentions, no attitude, no hassle. Then, layer on the good food, ambience, and friendly waitstaff. And, for good measure, add a phenomenal beer list.

Without going into too much wordy detail (see the picture above for current tap list and left for bottle list), the available drafts will always comprise many beer styles from breweries (small, medium, and large) around the world.

In my many experiences at Fat Head’s, the beers are served appropriately and have never disappointed. Though, this time I must say that I was disappointed because I had really wanted to try two different beers which were still on the draft list but had already been sent on their way obviously with other similar beer lovers (For the record, they were Great Divide Titan IPA and Bell's Two Hearted Ale; note to self, keep on the lookout elsewhere for these beers to try!)

Short conclusion here should be obvious. When in Pittsburgh, if you visit one place only (unless you want to visit a brewery like Penn, Church Brew Works, or East End), make it Fat Head’s. You should not be disappointed.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Where In The World Is Bryan? A personal, third-person report

Thanks to all for their concern about the whereabouts of Bryan. It's been reported that he has been sighted doing a combination of work that he gets paid for and work that he toils for the betterment of beer drinkers everywhere. The past week has seen him traversing Pennsylvania from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. Then, cross-country he has popped up in the most respected of San Francisco breweries, brew pubs, and beer bars. And, to think that he just may have generated some revenue along the way for the company for which he's employed! Here is his itinerary, yet to be completed, for the week ending March 17, 2006. He promises to eventually post notes about each establishment, so keep checking back :) Denny's Beer Barrel Pub - Clearfield, PA North Country Brewing Co. - Slippery Rock, PA 3 Sons Suds & Dogz - Wexford, PA Church Brew Works - Pittsburgh, PA Market Street Ale House - Pittsburgh, PA Penn Tap Room - Pittsburgh, PA Fat Head's - Pittsburgh, PA 21st Amendment - San Francisco, CA Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA San Francisco Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA Foley's Irish Pub - San Francisco, CA Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA Magnolia Brewpub - San Francisco, CA Toronado - San Francisco, CA Anchor Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA Rogue Ales Public House - San Francisco, CA Sly Fox Brewing Co. - Phoenixville, PA (Happy St. Patrick's Day!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beer History: Origin of the Growler

So this one is going to be tough. Maybe some of you out there have some input. Beer Advocate is a good place to start I think. The Alström Bros wrote up their take on the Origin of the Growler. Here are some other links that might help paint the picture.

The two prevailing stories are that growlers used to be metal beer pails used to transport beer to workers and or to a person's home and that a certain packaging company created the glass version of the growler. Some mention of the origin of the word being rooted in growling stomachs of hungry workers or growling pails of carbonated beer is discussed as well.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bryan? Are you out there?

Has anyone seen Bryan? Edit: Ok let me clarify...I do actually know where he is. I'm just hoping he'll share it with us all. He's been quite the beer traveler lately. :-)

Beer Tasting: Sly Fox Seamus Irish Red

Seamus Irish Red Ale is brewed by Sly Fox Brewing Company. This was from the tap in Phoenixville, PA. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: orangish red, thin head Bryan: thin head, with slightly reddish hue Smell Adam: nice hint of yeast & malt Bryan: not much of a nose, a hint of hops Taste Adam: slightly tangy with malt to balance it out, again a pleasant yeast flavor Bryan: bittering hops do come through just a bit; not much flavor easy to discern Mouthfeel Adam: sufficiently carbonated Bryan: medium bodied with distracting carbonation Drinkability Adam: yes if you like reds, I would personally try some of the others on tap Bryan: very drinkable, yet maybe too drinkable, not because of the flavor, though Seconds? Adam: Maybe, but, I went to the Cascade IPA. Too many interesting options to stick with just one ;-) Bryan: Probably not, need a more "interesting" beer

Monday, March 13, 2006

Beer Tasting: General Lafayette Olde Curmudgeon

Olde Curmudgeon Old Stock Ale is brewed by General Lafayette Inn & Brewery. This was poured from a growler Bryan shared with me. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: murky brown, no ring, not much head (remember its a growler) Bryan: pours like muddy water; thick consistency; barely any head Smell Adam: smoky, but, that's all Bryan: good roasty aroma with a bit smoke; though, nothing overpowering Taste Adam: taste better paired with smoked meat, slightly bitter Bryan: much smokier than the nose implied Mouthfeel Adam: on the thinner side for an old stock ale Bryan: medium-body; substantial enough malt presence to hold up to cheeses and spicy food Drinkability Adam: needs a little refinement, probably better with food Bryan: yes, smokiness is interesting, but not all night Seconds? Adam: probably not Bryan: Just one more, then I'm moving on

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, PA

Even though this wouldn't be considered by most to be a high quality beer bar, the word 'beer' is in the name of the, what the heck?! This was the kickoff to our Pittsburgh hockey trip to see the Flyers play the Penguins.

Approximately three hours from home to Clearfield, Pennsylvania and we were sitting in front of Troegs Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale. There were also beers from Appalachian Brewing, Guinness, and Smithwick's. So, while the beers here might disappoint many "beer geeks," the food menu here is what steals the show.

You may remember in 2005 a young college woman who finished a 6 pound burger challenge (11 pounds with all the fixings). It was at Denny's where she conquered the challenge.

While we only tackled the 1/2 pound burgers, we can vouch for the vastness and quality of the food menu. Everything is available here from buffalo wings (with at least 20 sauces), to burgers, to salads, to sandwiches, to Italian, to Irish, to Mexican, and the list goes on...... There were many TVs (plus a couple of large-screen as well) to satisfy the sports crowd.

The service on this particular Saturday early afternoon was also quite friendly. In a nutshell, this may not be a beer destination, but if you're passing through North/Central Pennsylvania and are hungry, Denny's is a great place to stop.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Beer Tasting: Young's Winter Warmer

Young's Winter Warmer is brewed by Young's in the UK. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: Deep auburn, caramel colored Bryan: A medium caramel-colored head that lingers a bit; pours a dark color with a tinge of red Smell Adam: Lager, nutty Bryan: Lager-ish; not all that appealing to me Taste Adam: Brown sugar Bryan: Not overwhelming in flavor; a bit of candy sugar (or brown sugar?) Mouthfeel Adam: Well-carbonated and smooth Bryan: A bit on the thin side Drinkability Adam: Very drinkable and refined; nothing objectionable Bryan: Definitely ; but yet doesn't live up to expectations Seconds? Adam: Yes, a good pint Bryan: It depends what else is in the cooler

Friday, March 10, 2006

Beer Term: Bottle Conditioned

I often find myself talking about the difference between bottle condititoned beer and pasteurized beer. Here's a great Wikipedia article about what it means to bottle condition beer. This is one of the topics that comes up often when I talk about beer with friends. I like to compare bottle conditioned beer to what the macro brewerys sell as "natural" and "fresh". It just isn't that easy. In my mind bottle conditioned beer represents a "natural" and "fresh" beer. Remember that just because this Old Stock Ale has been sitting in the cellar for over a year, doesn't mean it isn't fresh. It's probably just starting to peak.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Beer Tasting: Affligem Dubbel

This dubbel is brewed by Brouwerij Affligem in Belgium. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: soft reddish brown...apricot Bryan: a dark reddish-orangish color brew; a soft head that dissappears slowly but leaves a swirly head throughout the drink Smell Adam: inspiring nose, figs, licorice Bryan: a bit of sweet caramel apple, but otherwise hard to pin down Taste Adam: lives up to the nose, complex, not overpowering Bryan: a bit of tartness balanced by nice malt character Mouthfeel Adam: carbonated, light Bryan: a medium body; clean; moderate carbonation Drinkability Adam: like belgian beer? this is a good example Bryan: easy-drinking; a good dubbel Seconds? Adam: yes...mmm Bryan: sure, though two will be enough for one session

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What's in Adam's Fridge..Backroom..Garage?

Ok Ok I can't let you have all the fun Bryan. Interestingly enough I for once have a decent variety. Let's see if I can stand up to Bryan's stash. Many of them are singles that I'm saving for that special time. The Fridge Left Hand XXXmas Ale Troegs Mad Elf 2005 Rochefort 10 Greene King/Morland Brewery Wexfords Irish Cream Ale Victory St. Victorious Black Mountain Brewing Co. Chili Beer Coors Blue Moon Anchor Brewing Co. Our Special Ale Thirsty Dog Imperial Stout Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout A bottle of yeast from a batch of homebrew. Back Room A bottle of my barleywine. Harpoon Winter Warmer Dogfish Head 120 min High Point Wheat Beer Company Ramstein Winter Wheat North Coast Brewery Old Stock Ale Brooklyn Monster Barleywine 2005 Unibroue Ephemere Rogue Santa Private Reserve (not shown) Garage My Wee Heavy & Imperial Stout homebrew kegged.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Thirsty? What's in Bryan's cooler? Part II

Well, it's been a while since I've given you a peek inside my refrigerator. So, c'mon in and let's see what's sitting around and what's yearning to be left out. Anyone?! It's certainly a family affair lately. Let's see, I believe I've spotted a family gathering of Victory (St. Victorious, 10 Years Alt, Weizenbock, and Storm King), Dogfish Head (60 min, 90 min, and 120 min), and Penn (Dark, Gold, and Weizen). Then I see a few winter seasonals just chilling out waiting to see if they make it 'til next year for a vertical. Hm, yes, Bethlehem Brew Works (Rudolph's Reserve 2003; Rude Elf's Reserve 2004), Troegs (Mad Elf 2005), Sly Fox (Christmas 2005, joined by the Saison), Left Hand (XXXmas Ale), Rogue (Santa Private Reserve, joined by the Festivale). And, who can overlook the mighty Belgians? The Chimay family is represented well with the Red, White, and Blue! How about St. Bernardus 12.......ooooh, can't wait for that one. Is that a Rochefort 10 that I spy? Oh yes, it is! And an Affligem Dubbel to round things out from our Belgian friends. How about a few other odds and ends from Long Island (Southampton Publick House Saison), Brooklyn (Monster Barleywine 2005), Ohio/Maryland (Thirsty Dog Imperial Stout), and Canada (Unibroue Maudite). The remaining is a grab bag of Corona, Rolling Rock, and Amstel Light for our less adventurous friends. Phew, I'm tired....but, boy that was fun....and it made me thirsty. Oops, where did that Affligem go ;-)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Beer Tasting: Victory Storm King

Victory Storm King Imperial Stout is brewed by Victory Brewing in Downingtown PA. Have you tasted this beer? Let us know what you think. As a suggestion, try to keep the review as brief as possible for each of the following: appearance; smell; taste; mouthfeel; and drinkability. Appearance Adam: brownish black with a tan head Bryan: black as night with a thin-to-medium coffee (with cream) colored head Smell Adam: good dose of hops warning you of what's to come Bryan: not a big and full but a nose pleasant enough to tease you Taste Adam: roasted, hoppy bitterness with a slight sweetness and some alcohol...I love it Bryan: copy that Adam; the taste is the highlight of this beer...great roasted flavor, good dose of hops but not overpowering, tinge of alcohol in the finish Mouthfeel Adam: carbonated and substantial Bryan: pleasing carbonation; body of the beer coats the mouth as it passes through Drinkability Adam: if you like imperial stouts then, "Yes". This is a great example of the style. Bryan: Easy drinking, but careful, this is still a "big boy" drink ;-) Seconds? Adam: not if you are driving ;-) Bryan: Yes, please, bring a few more

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tria in Philadelphia, PA

Here, there, and everywhere Tria seems to be getting good press and reviews. Finally, I needed to check it out. They've been in business now for a couple of years and originally, if I'm not mistaken, started with a strong wine and cheese reputation. Located just off of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia (one of the wealthiest addresses in Philly), they also quickly attained quite a trendy following. Interestingly enough, the space that they occupy was formerly an ice cream stand. Somewhere along the way, they also became quite a beer destination. On an unassuming street corner, when you walk in through the front doors the first thing that you immediately notice is the "clean" atmosphere. In other words, a no-smoking policy. What a pleasure! I'm not sure there's anything quite as annoying as trying to actually taste your beer or wine (or food, for that matter) with billows of smoke wafting directly across your face. (I think this may actually be a subset of Murphy's Law!) Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a fine cigar now and then, but there's an appropriate time and place for smoking. Happily, they understand this at Tria. On this night that we stopped in, the draft list included: Heavyweight Lunacy; Allagash White; Yards Pale Ale; Victory Braumeister Pils; Sly Fox Helles; Ommegang Three Philosophers; Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA; Rogue Chocolate Stout. Quite a respectable list, I must say. In addition, they also feature a bottle list of somewhere around 20-30 brews from around the world.....Germany, Canada, England, Belgium, and the U.S. are all adequately represented. As you can see, they've paid attention to both the local and international beer scenes. The menu featured tasty treats along with a well-rounded list of cheeses, also from around the world. As you'll see from the cheese list at their website, their offerings are categorized from 'clean' to 'luscious' to 'stinky' to 'approachable' to 'stoic' to 'racy'. The service. Hm, what to say about the service? I think I can best sum it up by saying that the service was polite without being friendly, courteous without being extremely helpful, and crisp enough but not overly attentive. For example, when I inquired about the belgian tripel that I had never had before, the answer from the waitress was "oh, that's a really good one." Then, when I asked if she had any suggestions for a cheese pairing, the answer was once again a noncommittal "that's just the kind of beer that'll go really well with anything." I think the website kind of gives a hint at the overall customer service. For example, click on the 'General Information' link. It's no-nonsense. They definitely seem to be pushing the trendy factor. How do I feel about all of this? I definitely recommend a visit, especially if you're in this area of town. Would I go out of my way to visit Tria? Not at this point. Philadelphia has so many other locations that are much more well-rounded in their beer business. However, I think it will take at least another visit (perhaps a mid-afternoon visit) to understand if this place is just another bar/restaurant trying to capitalize on trendy beers, wines, and cheeses. Or, if they are a place run by and staffed by people who really care about the product they are selling. In my mind, the best places are the less pretentious establishments owned and operated by people who have a passion for the product. My visit this time concluded that they have some great products being served in a place that's trying to cater to the high-end clientele. P.S. For what it's worth, on this particular Saturday evening, I would estimate that approximately 2/3-3/4 of the customers were drinking wine.

Friday, March 03, 2006

General Lafayette Brewery in Lafayette Hill, PA

Hello? Is anyone still out there? Ok, I think I may have heard a noise....or maybe it was my own browser answering. Well, anyway, we've been up to some other work over the past week and have seriously neglected our posting duties. So, let's get this thing rolling again.

To kickstart, I have some notes for you from last Saturday's (Feb. 25th) Vertical Barleywine tasting at the General Lafayette. The General Lafayette Inn & Brewery in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania has been pouring quality brew for approximately ten years. It's reputation, under the guidance of Chris Leonard and Russ Czajka, has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. And these barleywines being showcased give a peek to the uninitiated into the good things going on at the General.

What does a vertical barleywine tasting look like? Well, take a cask conditioned barrel of each of the last five years of barleywine and sit them up on the bar....tap 'em and they shall come. And come they did. By the time that I arrived around 2 p.m., it was standing-room only. But, by some stroke of luck, there was one barstool sitting open in front of the taps. I had been painting doors and doing household chores all morning, so I was happy to sit front-and-center.

With a lineup of good brews on tap and five years' worth of barleywine to choose from, it was a difficult decision. Chris made things easy on me by spreading a placemat in front of me and serving up 6 ounces each of the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 barleywines.

Hopefully, you will be able to read the tasting notes provided on the placemat in the picture to the left, along with the IBUs and ABV measures. Now I was set for the next 2 hours :)

Since I was by myself for this tasting, I decided to act the beer geek role, complete with notepad and camera on the bar. Unabashedly, I began to scribble away. But, the notes got carried away, so I've distilled them down here for you. Instead of the traditional notes on each beer, and for the sake of brevity, I've ranked the five barleywines with a brief note of the most distinguishing feature to me of each beer.

2003 McGlynn's Ghost - A moderate nose, that explodes into a fully-packed flavor bursting of rich malts, alcohol, and very noticeable and present, but not overwhelming, hop flavor
2002 Lafayette's Revenge - An extremely well-balanced beer of malt and alcohol flavors that is reminiscence in mouthfeel of a good-bodied port; very similar to the 2003, just a 1/2 step down in "wow factor"
2004 The Phantom - A softer and thinner brew with faint citrus flavors; therefore, a bit faster drinking than the preceding two
2001 Barley Standing - A bit like the '03, but with noticeable tartness; some grapefruit flavors
2005 The Phantom - A cloudy caramel colored beer with a heavy alcohol aroma and not an extremely long-lasting flavor; the alcohol brings a "warming" feeling for sure :) Young and not quite that well-rounded, but give it time!

By the end of my afternoon, I made a few new friends and enjoyed The Grim Reaper Imperial Stout (recommended). And, oh yeah, a growler of The Olde Curmudgeon Old Stock Ale made its way home with me to share with Adam (recommended, but only a pint's worth).

p.s. Hopefully, the gentleman to my right had better fortunes after his stop at the bar. He was only there because his broken-down car was towed to the service station across the street! Couldn't talk him into a barleywine or anything more adventurous than the Pale Ale.....but at least he did enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Brew Pubs & Beer Bars

Philadelphia, PA
    - The Belgian Cafe - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed (brief) January 2008
    - For Pete's Sake - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed June 2007
    - Marathon On The Square - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed (brief) May 2007
    - Zot - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed (brief) April 2007
    - The Foodery - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed January 2007
    - South Philadelphia Taproom - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed May 2006
    - Tria - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed March 2006
    - Bridgid's - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed March 2006
    - Monk's Cafe (Pizza Port & Russian River dinner) - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed January 2006
    - The Black Door - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed November 2005 [Now Closed]
    - The Foodery - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed November 2005
    - Independence Brew Pub - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed November 2005 [Now Closed]
    - Ludwig's Garten - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed November 2005 [Now Closed]
    - Grey Lodge Pub - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed October 2005
    - World Cafe Live - Philadelphia, PA - reviewed September 2005
    - Monk's Cafe (St. Feuillien dinner)- Philadelphia, PA - reviewed September 2005

Suburbs of Philadelphia, PA
    - TJ's Restaurant & Drinkery - Paoli, PA - reviewed December 2008
    - Vidalia Marketplace - Lansdale, PA - reviewed January 2008 [Now Closed]
    - Teresa's Next Door - Wayne, PA - reviewed (brief) June 2007
    - Stewart's Brewing Company - Bear, DE - reviewed June 2007
    - Cosimo - Malvern, PA - reviewed (brief) May 2007
    - Destiny Brewing Co. - Phoenixville, PA - reviewed June 2006 [Now Closed]
    - Which Brew - Easton, PA - reviewed April 2006 [Now Closed]
    - General Lafayette Brewery - Lafayette Hill, PA - reviewed February 2006
    - Victory Brewing - Downingtown, PA - reviewed January 2006
    - Sly Fox Brewery - Royersford, PA - reviewed November 2005
    - Flying Pig Saloon - Malvern, PA - reviewed November 2005
    - Bethlehem Brew Works - Bethlehem, PA - reviewed October 2005
    - Firewaters - Glen Mills, PA - reviewed September 2005
    - Iron Hill Brewery - West Chester, PA - reviewed August 2005

New York City, NY
    - Blind Tiger Ale House (with liquor license) - New York, NY - reviewed July 2007
    - The Collins Bar - New York, NY - reviewed December 2006 [Now Closed]
    - Essex Ale House - New York, NY - reviewed December 2006 [Now Closed]
    - Blind Tiger Ale House - New York, NY - reviewed September 2006
    - Stout, NYC - New York, NY - reviewed September 2005
    - Heartland Brewery - New York, NY - reviewed September 2005
    - The Ginger Man - New York, NY - reviewed September 2005
    - Standings Bar - New York, NY - reviewed September 2005
    - Burp Castle - New York, NY - reviewed September 2005
    - Hop Devil Grill - New York, NY - reviewed September 2005

Washington, D.C. and metro area
    - Dave Alexander's R.F.D. - Washington, D.C. - reviewed December 2005
    - Dogfish Head Alehouse - Gaithersburg, MD - reviewed December 2005 * Dogfish Head Addendum
    - The Brickskeller - Washington, D.C. - reviewed August 2005

Boston, MA
    - RedBones BBQ - Somerville, MA - reviewed May 2006
    - John Harvard's - Cambridge, MA - reviewed May 2006
    - Cambridge Brewing Co. - Cambridge, MA - reviewed May 2006 [Part 1] [Part 2]
    - Beer Works - Boston, MA - reviewed May 2006 [Part 1] [Part 2]
    - Linwood Bar and Grille - Boston, MA - reviewed May 2006 [Now Closed]
    - Brasserie Jo - Boston, MA - reviewed May 2006
    - Harpoon Brewery - Boston, MA - reviewed May 2006

San Francisco, CA
    - The Irish Bank - San Francisco, CA - reviewed July 2006
    - 21st Amendment - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006
    - Anchor Brewing - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006
    - Gordon Biersch - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006
    - Johnny Foley's Irish House - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006
    - Magnolia Pub & Brewery - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006
    - Rogue Ales Public House - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006
    - San Francisco Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006
    - Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006
    - Toronado - San Francisco, CA - reviewed March 2006

Other California
    - Barclay's Pub - Oakland, CA - reviewed February 2008
    - Father's Office - Santa Monica, CA - reviewed February 2008
    - Casey's Irish Pub - Los Angeles, CA - reviewed January 2007
    - T.H. Brewster's (at Sheraton Four Points LAX) - Los Angeles, CA - reviewed January 2007; return visit February 2008
    - Bonaventure Brewing Company - Los Angeles, CA - reviewed January 2007
    - Bo's Barbecue & Catering - Lafayette, CA - reveiwed December 2006
    - E.J. Phair - Concord, CA - reviewed December 2006
    - Anderson Valley Brewing Co. - Boonville, CA - reviewed September 2006
    - North Coast Brewing Co. - Fort Bragg, CA - reviewed September 2006
    - Russian River Brewery - Santa Rosa, CA - reviewed September 2006
    - Iron Springs Pub & Brewery - Fairfax, CA - reviewed September 2006
    - Marin Brewing Co. - Larkspur, CA - reviewed September 2006
    - Moylan's Brewing Co. - Novato, CA - reviewed September 2006
    - Half Moon Bay Brewing - Princeton-by-the-Sea, CA - reviewed September 2006
    - Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing - Santa Cruz, CA - reviewed September 2006
    - 99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall - Santa Cruz, CA - reviewed September 2006


    - Elevator Brewing - Columbus, OH - reviewed October 2008
    - Great Lakes Brewing - Cleveland, OH - reviewed September 2008
    - La Cave du Vin - Cleveland, OH - reviewed September 2008
    - BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse - Addison, TX - reviewed August 2008
    - Central Market - Dallas, TX - reviewed June 2008
    - Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse - Grapevine, TX - reviewed June 2008
    - Five Points Grill - Birmingham, AL - reviewed September 2007
    - Ale Asylum - Madison, WI - reviewed September 2007
    - Dave's Pub - Birmingham, AL - reviewed August 2007
    - Twain's - Decatur, GA - reviewed (brief) June 2007
    - Gibney's Pub - Atlanta, GA - reviewed (brief) April 2007
    - Max Lager's - Atlanta, GA - reviewed April 2007
    - Big River Grille & Brew Works - Lake Buena Vista, FL - reviewed November 2006
    - Selin's Grove Brewing Co. - Selinsgrove, PA - reviewed July 2006
    - Barley Creek Brewing Co. - Tannersville, PA - reviewed July 2006
    - Great Dane Brewing Co. - Madison, WI - reviewed June 2006
    - The Old Fashioned - Madison, WI - reviewed June 2006
    - Willimantic Brewing Co. - Willimantic, CT - reviewed May 2006
    - Otto's Pub & Brewery - State College, PA - reviewed May 2006
    - Johnstown Brewing Co. - Johnstown, PA - reviewed April 2006
    - Brick Store Pub - Decatur, GA - reviewed April 2006
    - Vortex Bar and Grill - Atlanta, GA - reviewed April 2006
    - Old Harbor Brewery - San Juan, PR - reviewed March 2006
    - Church Brew Works - Pittsburgh, PA - reviewed March 2006
    - Fat Head's - Pittsburgh, PA - reviewed March 2006
    - North Country Brewing - Slippery Rock, PA - reviewed March 2006
    - Denny's Beer Barrel Pub - Clearfield, PA - reviewed March 2006
    - City Steam - Hartford, CT - reviewed October 2005
    - The Brewer's Art - Baltimore, MD - reviewed August 2005