Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Better Way to Stay In Touch

FINALLY! You now have the ability to stay current with a discussion here at The Brew Lounge, long after you've left a comment. I don't know about you, but one of my biggest pet peeves in the past at TBL (and other such sites...some might call them "blogs" ;-) is the inability to remember where I left a comment and the frustration trying to keep up with whether anyone has jumped in with more commentary.

Now, take a look at the picture here. When you leave a comment and put in your Google account credentials, make sure you check the little box that will trigger an e-mail to you every time there is additional comment activity in the future on that particular posting. How cool, eh?

So, have a go at it folks...let the comments fly and let's stay in touch.

Magnolia Still Blooming

One of the places to see, of many must-sees, when visiting San Francisco is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. With Tea Leaf Green and other friends joining the party, this looks to be one heckuva great time to visit Dave and company at Magnolia and Alembic in San Francisco. Consider this your tip of the month :)

Southern Tier Pumking - All Treat, No Trick

Yes, it IS the great pum-king Charlie Brown. What better way to watch this classic last night on TV, than to pour Southern Tier's attempt at a fall seasonal all spiced and hopped up into a smooth delicious treat. All the rave I've heard so far for this beer appears to be right on the money.
  • Pours very smoothly, producing minimal head even with a vigorous pour
  • Orangish-brown color (appropriate, me thinks)
  • Aroma of pumpkin spices, graham cracker crust, burnt hints as well
  • Taste of Pumpkin, Taste of Pumpkin Pie Spices (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon), and Taste of solid malty and pumpkin base; amazing combination done well allowing individual flavors to still be identifiable
  • When swirled throughout my mouth, it reminds me of how a dollop of whipped cream on top of a piece of pumpkin pie can make for an even smoother, richer texture
  • Real pleasant little hop kick late in the finish
  • Aromas and flavors come out best when cooler serving temperature; that shouldn't be a problem given how good this is, you'll drink it quickly...though, watch the 9% ABV sneak up on you if you have more than one
I haven't raved like this about a beer for quite a while. Looks like this one will be making the Wow Beer List of 2007 for me. Pour yourself some of this treat tonight while waiting for the doorbell to won't be sorry.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beer Calendar: What To Do in November 2007

Wed. 10/31 - Hop A Wallopween Party @Victory Brewing, Downingtown, PA (5pm-close; pay as you go)
Thu. 11/1 - Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Debut @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (6pm-8pm; pay as you go)
Fri. 11/2 - GTV Almrausch Schuhplattlers' Bavarian Oktoberfest @Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, Philadelphia, PA (8pm-12am; $8.50/$10.00)
Fri. 11/2-Sun. 11/4 - Cask Ale Festival @The Brazen Head, Brooklyn, NY (all day; pay as you go)
Fri. 11/2 - Sierra Nevada Night @TJs Everyday, Paoli, PA (6pm-8pm; pay as you go)
Mon. 11/5 - Harvest Beer Dinner @Stoudt's, Adamstown, PA (7pm-10pm)
Thu. 11/8-Sat. 11/10 - NERAX North 2007 @The Tap, Haverhill, MA (6:30pm-10:00pm (Thu., Fri.), 1pm-7pm (Sat.); $10 admission, individual beers pay as you go)
Thu. 11/8 - The Return of Victory Brewery with Di Bruno’s Cheese @Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia, PA (6pm-8pm; $45)
Sat. 11/10 - Allentown Brew Works Craft Beer Festival @Di Bruno Bros., Allentown, PA (12pm-3pm, 4pm-7pm; $25/$35)
Sat. 11/10 - Brewphoria @Canal Street, Reading, PA (6pm-10pm; $30)
Sat. 11/10 - HopFest @Union Jack's, Glenside, PA (all day; pay as you go)
Sat. 11/10 - Zeno's Belgians @Zeno's, State College, PA (all day; pay as you go)
Mon. 11/12-Tue. 11/13 - Northwest Beer Dinner @Redbones BBQ, Somerville, MA (7:00pm; $50)
Tue. 11/13 - Wild Game Dinner @Union Barrel Works, Reamstown, PA (6:30pm; $35)
Tue. 11/13 - Brewmaster Gourmet Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, PA (7pm, $49.99)
Thu. 11/15 - Third Thursday Beer Tasting (For The Love Of Stout) @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA (6:30pm; $30)
Fri. 11/16 - Tröegs Mad Elf 2007 Draft Debut @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; pay as you go)
Sat. 11/17 - Brewers' Reserve Night-Cask Conditioned Ales @Iron Hill Brewery, Newark, DE (all day; pay as you go)
Sat. 11/17-Sun. 11/18 - Great Brews of America @Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony, PA (1pm-5pm; $23 +$50 for beer/food dinner)
Sat. 11/24 - Great Brews of America @Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony, PA (1pm-5pm; $23 +$50 for beer/food dinner)
Sat. 11/24 - Thanksgiving HopFest @Union Jack's on the Manatawny, Boyertown, PA (all day; pay as you go)
Fri. 11/30-Sat. 12/1 - Strong Ale Festival @Pizza Port, Carlsbad, CA (1pm-4pm (Fri. VIP), 4pm-11pm (Fri.), 11am-11pm (Sat.); $25 for 8 tasting; plus $1 for additional tastings)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Brew Lounge Marathon

Someday, we'll all need to get together and do a Brew Lounge (drinking) Marathon. I've got a bit of cooler cleanout to do. In the meantime, I'm off to run in a Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon to be exact. While my focus is 100% on the marathon, I'll see if I can squeeze in 0.5% on the D.C. beer scene. You've probably noticed me absent here the last couple of days and that will continue for the next few. In the meantime, go check out what any of my friends have to say about the big wide world of craft beer. Stay tuned, there's much more fun stuff coming from The Brew Lounge! Cheers!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Latest Homebrew Adventure - An Imperial Pale Ale

Fresh off a reasonably happy experience with my first homebrew (brown ale), I was anxious to make some adjustments to equipment and technique and do another batch. I still have around 30 bottles left of the brown, but they should be gone by the time the winter is over.

In the meantime, I decided to try my brewing hand at a recipe (page 92, if you're interested) from Sam Calagione's book, Extreme Brewing. But, first, there were some tweaks I needed to make in the kitchen. First off, I wanted to add a grain sack (with grains in it, of course!) to the pre-boil stage. I had purchased a floating thermometer to help me judge when (170F) to pull out the grain sack.

Then, the sanitation. You may recall I swore never to use bleach again. Iodophor, mission accomplished. Some additional components in the recipe included gypsum (for water hardening) and irish moss (for clarity). I didn't intentionally use these, rather the recipe called for them, ergo...

In the primary fermentation stage, the recipe called for light brown sugar to be dissolved into the fermenting wort. This was new to me as well. In the secondary, I'll be doing some dry hopping to add even more hop aroma to this IPA. Once again, new steps, though not very intimidating at all.

The Results
> I was very happy using crushed grains to help add additional flavor and body to the beer. Submerged in the water, with the temperature rising, it began to fill the kitchen almost immediately with a mashed grain aroma. Just one more step closer to going all-grain!

> Who wouldn't be happy with significantly cutting sanitation time? Using Iodophor was a no-brainer and something I should have done from my very first homebrew day. Some people are fine with bleach, not me.

> Adding brown sugar to the primary fermenter was simply just an additional step. So, a bit of sanitation (piece of cake, thanks to Iodophor again), boil water and 1/2 cup of brown sugar, incorporate it into the beer, and what did I have on my hands? Why nothing less than a vigorous fermentation for almost 48 hours, slowing for the next 24 hours, and finally coming to stop about 24 hours after that. For the first 48 hours, I even threw a towel over the bucket in case the airlock blew off.

> Poppin' the top on the primary revealed to me that the fermentation was a success (see picture above...or below). The gravity reading at this point was 1.014. A little taste test tells me that this baby might just turn out real nice! Next up is doing some dry hopping and letting it sit for another week or two. I'll report back later with the outcome.

What would I like to do next time? For staters, I've got to get the logistics of the various steps more organized. That will take some additional planning. As for the actual steps themselves, I'd like to experiment with a yeast starter, introduce real fruit into the secondary fermentation step, and use a homemade wort chiller. Baby steps, right?!

(is this picture with a flash better?)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Who's Blogging Now?

By now, the more diligent of you have probably introduced yourselves to Don Russell's (aka Joe Sixpack) newest addition to his family....a blog. Perfect for those of us who can't get enough of his writings from one Friday to the next in the Philadelphia Daily News.

McKenzie Brew House's Gold Medal Saison Vautour

How are you all making out with the Saison Vautour over at McKenzie Brew House? It's currently on tap only at the Malvern location. I had a chance to try it on Saturday night. It's one of my all-time favorite styles, regardless of the season of the year. And, in my opinion, it's one of the most food pairing-worthy styles out there. Now, admit it (I can). After the dismissal of Scott Morrison (The Dude) late last year, most had written off McKenzie Brew House as any kind of serious, uh, brew house. Though, wasn't its beer reputation based largely (solely?) on Scott's handicraft anyway? But, it looks like the apple fell somewhere in the vicinity of the tree here. So when Ryan Michaels goes off to Denver this year and wins two GABF medals, who wasn't just a little shocked? It certainly got my attention and had me revisiting MBH exclusively for beer for the first time (save for a baby shower and a going away party) since last December. It took a bit of digging, but I did find that a mention of the medals actually did make it onto the corporate website. While I'm not a certified judge and far from an expert, this attempt is one heck of a decent Saison. It brings the flavorful spice, some smoothness, light tartness, and overall memorable drinkability. Oh, and isn't vautour French for vulture? (Still trying to figure the deeper meaning, if there is one) Go get some for yourself while it lasts.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Last Call (in a manner of speaking)

I'm joining Jack on the wagon (at least for this week) as I come down the home stretch for next Sunday's Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Figured my last beers should be of noteworthy quality. Therefore, where better to do this than at the Exton outpost of The Drafting Room? In lieu of yesterday's originally scheduled Baltic Thunder event, Patrick pulled out a handful of goodies from the cellar to keep the rowdies satiated. I'd say he brought up his end of the deal. When I arrived later in the evening, there was still plenty of Pliny still remaining. So, it was a Pliny, Gonzo, and R&R to send me off on my dry week. Not a bad way to go, if I do say so. The next decision will be how to reintroduce my palate to the wonderful world of barley, hops, and yeast.

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 10/20/07

The Drafting Room in Exton, PA has a decent web presence and quite a huge reputation preceding them. Their beer turns over quite quickly. So, in the spirit of service, whenever I get to The Drafting Room, I'll post the current tap list.

What's on line as of 10/20/2007?

Russian River Pliny the Elder
Ommegang Ommegeddon
Arcadia Jaw Jacker
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin
Weyerbacher Raspberry & Rye (R&R)
Dogfish Head Punkin
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter [2006]
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale
Sly Fox Black Raspberry Reserve
Sly Fox Incubus
Legacy Midnight Wit
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Victory Hop Devil (cask)
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Lindemans Framboise
Amstel Light

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Brewer's Plate 2008 - Double/Imperial Your Pleasure

This is from a White Dog correspondence today. I'm happy to see the Reading Terminal is still involved and that the popularity and visibility of this event continues to grow. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Save the Date!: The Brewer's Plate 2008 Sunday, March 9th This year's Brewer's Plate fundraiser will take place during Beer Week 2008, a week celebrating all of the wonderful regional and hand-crafted beers available in the City of Brotherly Love. The location of this Brewer's Plate will be the Independence Visitor Center, located between the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center. Moving the event to this beautiful venue, with its 50-foot high vaulted ceilings, will allow us to involve even more restaurants. What's more, there will be plenty of room for you to peruse the dozens of stations of gourmet food and craft beer to taste the delicious combinations. For those of you who love the Reading Terminal Market as the Brewer's Plate location, no worries, we're holding a Brewer's Plate again there in September of 2008. That's right, two Brewer's Plates per year! We wouldn't want you going hungry or thirsty now, would we? Stay tuned for updates by visiting which we'll be launching in the next couple weeks.

Better Have a Stronger Padlock on the Hops Door

Lost Laptop Reward: Beer For Life

Blind Tiger likes to Drink Local, Run Local

Should I just give up and move to Manhattan? Great beer, great running. Or wait, I'd be moving away from the country's best overall beer scene. So, who's up for a Brew Lounge Running for Better Beer Club? See recent news from them for more details... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I think people have a notion that beer drinkers are pot-bellied, lazy slobs with simple tastes that involve ploughing through cases of Old Style and soiling one’s self with buckets of cheese puffs, wings, hot dogs and any other food substance that’s neon in color and/or of questionable origin. Throw into that mix sports, sex, and the occasional car talk (only occasional because we live in NY, mind you) and this is what the world at large thinks of the American beer drinker. All of the aforementioned acts are perfectly respectable in my mind, even wiping out entire cases of beer in one sitting; just not that beer. However, to prove everyone wrong, which we are known to do here at the Tiger, I’m starting a running club and we will be known as “Team Tiger: Drinkers with a Running Problem”. So if you don’t want to turn into one of those paunchy bloated beer hounds, or maybe if you already are, Team Tiger is here for you. We will meet on Monday evenings, time to be determined on location, which will vary. As the good drinkers we are, we will always finish our run at a bar, just to make sure no leg cramps set in. All levels of runners/walkers are welcome and encouraged. If just being cool and running with “Team Tiger” isn’t incentive enough for you, we will be offering beer specials for those who participate. And as much as I love a good joke, dirty stories, great recipes and pictures of kittens, don’t email me with any of that crap. If you do, you will find yourself in the south Bronx for our “Yankee Stadium run” and you will be solo, running for your life. Our first outing will be Monday, October 15. We will leave the Tiger at 7:30 pm and head to the path on the Westside Hwy. If you need to change your clothes at the bar, please do so beforehand so everyone is ready to go on time. To make things simple, we will do an easy “out and back” 30 minute run. What this means is when we get to the path everyone heads north for 15 minutes, turns around and heads back south, completing 30 minutes total. This way all levels of runners finish at the same time. We will then head back to the Tiger where delicious ale awaits. I look forward to hearing from you – Go Team Tiger! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And here was the result... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Team Tiger rocks!! All I can say is that the Team Tiger kickoff on Monday was a huge success. Thanks to all that participated both I running and imbibing. For those of you who couldn't make it, don't get me angry. Just kidding, you missed out and we hope you can join us next week. Speaking of next week, here’s the scoop: Monday, October 22 Blind Tiger 7:30 pm (we leave to run – if you need time to change or a pre-run beer, come early) We will run the West Side Hwy again, this time heading south, 40 minute total out-and-back. Post run drinks at the Tiger, as if I even need to mention that. Once again all levels of fitness welcome and encouraged. For all who participate with Team Tiger, you will receive happy hour prices on Sundays – all day and night – now that’s what I call carbo-loading! See you next week, you –

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cast Your Vote for Iron Hill

Happy for our regional faves and their success at this year's GABF, but still baffled by the near shutout of Iron Hill, I made a pit stop there the other day and found some intriguing brews coming up in the next couple of weeks. Chris and Jean were putting the wraps on a nicely done, straight-ahead Saison. Got a chance to taste it and it's just as it should be. It'll likely be on line by the time you read this. (They accepted my write-in vote.) Then, over the next few weeks they'll be taking this Saison and readying it with chamomile from Egypt and Chester County honey for, you guessed it, a Honey and Chamomile Saison. They anticipate having them both on at the same time for side-by-side comparison. How excited will I be if this winds up in the neighborhood of Cuvee Des Fleurs (from Southampton)??? Even if it's only down the street... Also coming on line very shortly is an enticing-sounding Cherry Vanilla Porter. The cherries were flown in from the Pacific Northwest (I believe they said Oregon?) and the vanilla beans come from somewhere (Madagascar could be a good bet?) that I don't have in my notes. So, go to the brewery and find out for yourself! Betchya won't be sorry.

Of Drinking Beer & Running in Washington, D.C.

In just 10 short days from now, on Sunday October 28, I'll be running in my first hour of the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in Washington, D.C. In case you missed it, this was originally written as a guest column for Hop-Talk. With the MCM fast approaching, I thought it would be worth publishing it again here at my site, especially for those who may be in or around D.C. in the near future. Or, if you're planning to be at the MCM, let me know and maybe we can meet up for a post-marathon beer.


There has always been a close relationship between runners and their love for beer. Cyclists too. In fact, it is not unusual for a certain amount of beer to be part of an athlete's diet. Often you will hear of cyclists enjoying a beer or three after a stage of the Tour de France.

Many cyclists also are sporting the team colors of breweries like Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Iron Hill, and Victory. I (though, I'm certainly not attempting to lump my lumpy self in with these world-class athletes) will occasionally have a beer with a large pasta meal the night before a big run. The other night, it was a German Pilsner from Iron Hill in West Chester, PA with about a 3/4 pound serving of pasta to fuel up for my 18-mile run the following day.

I digress. Let's get this back on track. This article is about the MCM which starts and ends in Arlington, VA. Almost 11 miles of the course takes place in Northern Virginia, while the remainder of the 26.2 mile course meanders through the power streets of downtown Washington, D.C.

Dotting the course along the way are statues, historic sites, and halls of political power that define "inside the beltway" and provide a scenic backdrop for the runners and spectators alike. The METRO train system helps the spectators move around (but, not the runners!) to keep up with the runners. But, to the savvy beer traveller, the MCM course provides easy access to at least a handful of the D.C metro area's better beer scene.

Let's take a tour of the MCM course and see where spectators are able to stop off along the way as they wait for their runner to come by

Miles 0.0-4.5 Arlington Dr. Dremo's Taphouse - 2.25 miles; 1/2 mile south of course
>>This used to be Bardo's in the 90s, right? According to their website, they're closing down in a few months, so I may want to stop in there one more time. Whole Foods Market - 2.75 miles; 1/3 mile south of course
>>In states where they can carry beer, Whole Foods typically does an above average job of getting at least a few quality brews to make it more than respectable for a grocery store chain. Rock Bottom - 3.00 miles; 1 mile south of course
>>Some Rock Bottom's are better than others. I've never been to this particular location.

Miles 4.5-9.5 Georgetown Birreria Paradiso - 9.00 miles; 1/8 mile north of course
>>Number one on my hit list of places that I haven't been to in the D.C. metro area. Check out their site to see why. Very good chance you can find me here at some point during marathon weekend in D.C. Whole Foods Market - 9.00 miles; 1 1/3 miles north of course
>>More from the grocery chain. (If you need more, there's yet another location at 14th/P streets.) Garrett's - 9.25 miles; 1/5 mile north of course
>>I believe that their beer selection has gone downhill over the years, but it's been around for what seems like forever and it was where I had my first Foggy Bottom (RIP). The Brickskeller - 9.50 miles; 7/8 miles northeast of course
>>A D.C. classic and must-stop on any beer-lover itinerary. Michael Jackson's (also, RIP) been here, you should be too.

Miles 9.5-14.0 Downtown, statues, White House, Mall, Capitol Capitol City Brewing - 12.00 miles; 3/8 mile north of course
>>Not a must-stop, but yet a decent place to grab a stylish dinner and some decent least when I was last there 5 or 6 years ago. Gordon Biersch - 12.25 miles; 1/2 mile north of course
>>I haven't been to the D.C. location of this heavyweight (primarily) lager chain. But, the west coast spots turn out some solid pilsners, bocks, marzens, and the like. District ChopHouse & Brewery - 12.50 miles; 3/8 miles north of course
>>Part of the Rock Bottom family. Haven't been to it, but central in D.C. to many tourist locations. Dave's RFD - 12.50 miles; 2/3 mile north of course
>>Sister establishment to The Brickskeller and, likewise, a must-stop. In this outsider's opinion, I like this Chinatown venue better than its crosstown affiliate. Capitol City Brewing - 12.75 miles; 2/3 mile northeast of course
>>Yet another clone of the D.C./Virginia mini-brewpub chain.

Miles 14-20 Tidal Basin; East Potomac Golf Course; 395 bridge to the Pentagon/Crystal City
>>Swinging out through the southside of D.C., there's nothing much beer-y to report.

Miles 20-26 Crystal City; Pentagon; Arlington Cemetery; Iwo Jima Memorial
>>Wrapping back to the cemetery from Crystal City, there's not much to report here, either.

Out of range, but would like to check out one night for jazz and beer is Bohemian Caverns (up at U street/Vermont) I'm not often in the practice of recommending what to avoid, since taste and service (well, definitely taste) can be a matter of highly subjective opinion. But, in this case, I've had enough bad experiences with service, selection, and atmosphere at more than one Elephant & Castle location, that I must advise to avoid the one in downtown D.C....or anywhere for that matter.

The opinions expressed here are solely that of The Brew Lounge and Hop-Talk bears no responsibility for the words or drinking actions of any entity affiliated with The Brew Lounge. Thought Al would appreciate this :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pursuing Better Beer and the Stanley Cup

As some of you are probably aware, Finnigan's Wake had taken over the space formerly known as Red Bell at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA. Perhaps this end result isn't really all that newsworthy, good or bad. More likely indifferent. The beer selection when it was this thing called Red Bell ('thing' could be the best way to describe it, as a result of years of soap opera-like business dealings...detailed quite nicely over here, you'll need some time to read through it and keep the actors straight) was not all that great, but occasionally better than other macro muck floating around the arena. Last night, I got to my first Flyers game of the season and had a chance to check out some of the revamped drinking and dining options in the Center. I had not been to a game since before the strike season, when I dropped my share of a season ticket plan. The most interesting beer to be found in my quick tour through the lower level concourse was Red Hook's ESB and IPA. They were getting $7.00 and $7.50 for these two beer, respectively. Other beers found at Finnigan's Wake and elsewhere included: Bare Knuckle Stout; Grolsch; Bud Light; Hoegaarden. Finnigan's Wake had their "own" Red Lager on draft. This presumably is an A-B SPG branded beer for them, but I did not confirm. Flyers hockey is back in South Philly, and given the way that they're playing, so too perhaps will be playoff hockey. These guys are looking much sharper than last year. Now if we could only get a better beer selection in the Wachovia Center, more along the lines of Citizens Bank Park across the street, all would be just swell (not swill). Or else I'll need to bring my own. Hm, I wonder what a certain well-known local publican that I spied across the crowd was drinking?

At Dock Street, what was old and new is once again new and old again, maybe

With this Dock Street shuffle making its way around the news circuit today, I have a certain Harry Chapin song in my head....something about circles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

When the Thunder doesn't Roll

What to do when there's no significant Monday release party at Victory? Why, it means that I should probably invite some neighbors over for Monday Night Football, Baseball Playoffs, and Refrigerator Cleanout. See, I've had these two mini-kegs of wheat beer, one from Paulaner and one from Bell's just taking up space in the kitchen (sacré bleu!) refrigerator. Though, they did a nice job of keeping the milk, wine, and radishes in good company! Not only are they taking up space, but the "season" is kind of running out on these wheat beers. And, I certainly had no plans of aging them until next year.

I bought these mini-kegs from Exton Beverage earlier in the summer and they hold around 1 1/3 gallons (that works out to roughly 14 twelve ouncers). Plans to polish them off during a summer party didn't work out. Neither did my plans for a marathon fundraiser picnic/party. So, last night it was round 1. The Bell's Oberon was drained to leave about one beer remaining for tonight. I'd like to see how it holds up after have been opened 24 hours prior. Adam and I put in yeoman-like efforts and Patty contributed too. The other neighbors...not so much so! But, we definitely enjoyed this smooth wheat beer which still had mildly crisp and subtly spicy nature. It turned out to not be such a bad way to enjoy a cool fall evening watching football and playoff baseball.

Next up, the Paulaner.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blind Tiger likes Local Beer

With this sort of lineup, I'm not sure if there are any tap handles left for non-Brooklyn beer....oh, maybe that's the point! Party on, you crazy Tigerites... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This Wednesday Oct. 17th at 4:00PM, the Blind Tiger will be tipping our hats to a true New York local... Brooklyn Brewery! The List: Blanche de Brooklyn Brooklyn Oktober Fest. Brooklyn Saison Brooklyner Schiender Hop Weissen Brooklyner Weisse Brooklyn Lager Brooklyn Smoked Dunkel Weisse Brooklyn D' Achouffe Brooklyn Abbey 2004 Brooklyn Abbey 2007 Brooklyn Monster (vintage) Brooklyn Pennant Pale Ale Brooklyn IPA Brooklyn Blast (cask and keg) Brooklyn Brown Brooklyn Antwerpen Ale Brooklyn Fortitude Brooklynette (the Chouffe version of Blast) Brooklyn Special Ale (a blend of Pilsner Brooklyn Oktober Fest Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout Brooklyn Pilsner If that’s not enough… We will be turning out some great cheese, and hosting the Brewmaster himself…Garrett Oliver. I will see you Wednesday…

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 10/14/07

On an attempted regular basis, I'll post the tap list here to the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA. I have no affiliation with the establishment other than living within 2 miles of it and appreciating the usual quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop me a note.

On Draft as of 10/14/07
Ayinger OktoberFest-Märzen
Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest-Märzen
Weihenstephaner Festbier
Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
Breckenridge 471 Double IPA
Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat
Sly Fox Royal Weisse
Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard
Brouwerij De Musketiers Troubadour Blond Ale

Saturday, October 13, 2007

GABF 2007 Wrap-Up

Congratulations to everyone winning awards at the 2007 GABF this weekend. Very happy for Port Brewing/Lost Abbey & Tomme Arthur, recipient of the Small Brewery/Brewer of the Year Award and whose beer we've been enjoying more and more of here in Pennsylvania over the last year! The votes were tallied and 140 different breweries/brewpubs won an assortment of awards across 75 categories. In the spirit of analysis (hopefully, not paralysis), here's a little breakdown that I did after combing through the award winners. Further down the page, I focused a bit closer on the awards earned in the group of states stretching from Northern Virginia to New York. Interesting note: least amount of entries in a category (8; Gluten Free Beer) and most (120; American Style IPA) Most awards by brewery/brewpub location (at least 4) 7 to Miller Brewing Co. 6 to Gordon Biersch 5 to Firestone Walker 5 to Red Rock 4 to Marin Brewing 4 to Pabst Brewing Co. Delaware (2)
    Dogfish Head
  • SILVER - Midas Touch in the Specialty Honey Ale Or Lager category
  • Stewart's Brewing Co.
  • SILVER - Oktoberfest in the German-Style Märzen/Oktoberfest category
Maryland (5)
    Clipper City Brewing Co.
  • GOLD - BaltoMärzHon in the Vienna-Style Lager category
  • BRONZE - McHenry Lager in the American-Style Lager category
  • Rock Bottom Brewery-Bethesda
  • GOLD - Brown Bear Brown in the Scottish-Style Ale category
  • SILVER - Firechief Ale in the German-Style Brown Ale/Düsseldorf-Style Altbier category
  • BRONZE - Right On Rye in the Rye Beer category
New Jersey (n/a) New York (6)
    Captain Lawrence
  • GOLD - Cuvee de Castleton in the American-Style Sour Ale or German-Style Sour Ale category
  • Chelsea Brewing
  • BRONZE - Hop Angel I.P.A. in the Cellar or Unfiltered Beer category
  • Olde Saratoga Brewing
  • BRONZE - Kingfisher Premium Lager Beer in the German-Style Pilsner category
  • Blue Point
  • SILVER - Toasted Lager in the American-Style Amber Lager category
  • Southampton Publick House
  • SILVER - Double White Ale in the Belgian- & French-Style Ale category
  • BRONZE - Saison in the French- & Belgian-Style Saison category
Pennsylvania (11)
    Stoudt's Brewing
  • SILVER - Weizen in the South German-Style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier category
  • BRONZE - Oktoberfest in the Vienna-Style Lager category
  • Iron Hill Brewery-Media
  • BRONZE - Kriek de Hill in the Belgian-Style Sour Ale category
  • McKenzie Brew House
  • GOLD - Saison Vautour in the French- & Belgian-Style Saison category
  • BRONZE - Wee Heavy in the Strong Scotch Ale category
  • Rock Bottom Brewery-King of Prussia
  • GOLD - Broad Street Barleywine in the Aged Beer category
  • Sly Fox Brewing Co.
  • GOLD - Pikeland Pils in the German-Style Pilsner category
  • BRONZE - Instigator in the German-Style Strong Bock category
  • Victory Brewing Co.
  • GOLD - Festbier in the German-Style Märzen/Oktoberfest category
  • SILVER - Prima Pils in the German-Style Pilsner category
  • Tröegs Brewing Co.
  • GOLD - Tröegenator Double Bock in the Bock category
Virginia (northern) (2) Number of awards to groups of restaurants/brewpubs 9 to the Rock Bottom group 6 to the Port Brewing/Lost Abbey/Pizza Port group 4 to the BJ's Restaurant group 1 to the Iron Hill group 1 to the Ram Restaurant/Big Horn group 1 to the Great American Restaurant group

GABF - NewsFlash! This Just In

Consumer Print Media - Marnie Old (doin' Philly proud!) Consumer Electronic Media - Jessie Sweet Trade & Specialty Media - Julie Johnson Bradford Craft Beer Distribution - Monarch Distributing Pro-Am Competition - Chris Bowen & Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works (Gold)

GABF - A New Event Announcement

SAVOR - 5/16 & 5/17 - Washington D.C. - A Food & Beer Brewer's Association event

Philly Beer Week 2008 - Let's Get It Started

The official site is live, though still lacking much content. So, use this as the opportunity to block the dates on your calendars for what promises to be more than a week of Philadelphia beer pride and celebration. More, much more, to come....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Great American Beer Festival - The Excitement is Building

This year's Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is off and running. Another year that I'll miss. It will probably be at least two years before I can fit it into my annual travel/vacation plans. Until then, I will continue to follow from afar and enjoy the medal-winning brews when the brewers return home. The Brewing Network is providing audio coverage to those of us who cannot be there. Jeff Bearer of Craft Beer Radio is making his first trip and covering the 3-day festival and events like a man possessed. Rick Sellers of Pacific Brew News is doing likewise. And, Joe Sixpack reminded this morning in his weekly column that Michael Jackson will continue to cast a long shadow over the festival for many, many years to come. This year, a staggering 474 breweries have entered 2,832 beers in 75 categories. The IPA category alone has 120 entries. On the festival floor, 40,000+ attendees will have 408 breweries from which to choose samples. Between the festival and all of the "sideshows" that take place around the Denver area, this is one event that should be on everyone's list of must-do's at least once. Here's a link to my recap from last year's GABF festival and Here's a quick rundown of the breweries representing the PA/NJ/MD/DE region. Predictions, anyone? Pennsylvania Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works Iron City Brewing Company Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant-Media Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant-West Chester Lancaster Brewing Co. McKenzie Brew House Nodding Head Brewing Co. Penn Brewery Rock Bottom Brewery-King of Prussia Rock Bottom Brewery-Pittsburgh Sly Fox Brewing Company Stoudts Brewing Company Tröegs Brewing Co. Triumph Brewing Co. Victory Brewing Company Yards Brewing Company New Jersey Basil T's Brewery & Italian Grill Flying Fish Brewing Co. Long Valley Pub & Brewery Triumph Brewing Co. of Princeton Uno Chicago Grill and Brewery Maryland Clipper City Brewing Co. Coastal Brewing Company Hook & Ladder Brewing Company Rock Bottom Brewery-Bethesda Wild Goose Brewery Delaware Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant-Newark Stewart's Brewing Co. Twin Lakes Brewing Company

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Head to the Source for Fresh Hops

Anyone from the East Coast up for a spur-of-the-moment swing out to the Pacific Northwest for what looks to be a hoppy delight?! Or choose from one of these. Anyone from the West ever take a spin through one of these festivals?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monk's Beer Dinner 10/9/07 : Nørrebro Bryghus & Dogfish Head

One could say that things certainly were not going my way yesterday. Here's a recap of what was a mixed-bag kind of day for me. ~ An extra bag search by a TSA agent at TF Green airport in Providence, RI ~ An extra slow boarding process due to folks trying to cram their obnoxiously oversized carry-on baggage into the overhead compartments ~ Delayed in Providence sitting on the plane for roughly 3 hours due to a "ground stop" at Philadelphia International ~ Cancelling my Monk's dinner reservation for a highly anticipated beer dinner and leaving my friend Mark in the lurch ~ No on-board food service (nothing, nada, no nuts for you) ~ Circling Philadelphia waiting for clearance to land ~ Being informed that the plane, after landing, was 36th in line just to simply reach the gates ~ After an hour of sitting and taxiing on the tarmac, waiting another 15 minutes or so for the jet bridge operator to meet the plane ~ Learning that the pilot had "gone to the wrong gate" (thus eliciting about 32 WTF's throughout the main cabin) ~ SEPTA's scheduled airport service mysteriously missing = cab ride...more expensive, but faster and more comfortable NO! These are not a 'few of my fav-or-ite things.' But, they did unfortunately contribute to the way my day went after about 2pm eastern time. Once I completed a pleasant cab ride from PHL and walked through Monk's doorway at 264 South 16th Street, things brightened up (that is, all except for the skies!). Now, these are certainly more along the lines of my favorite things! ~ being greeted warmly by Tom Peters and company at Monk's upon my arrival ~ graciously being seated for the last 2 courses of the meal (happened to be Anders Kissmeyer's seat, but who am I to argue when I'm told to sit!) ~ an incredible cheese plate, chocolate dessert for dinner...who can argue?! ~ sampling some of the beer from Anders' Nørrebro brewpub in Denmark (an IPA, a porter, and a coffee stout) ~ tasting the recent batch of Pangaea, a spicy mouthful of malty, ginger beer ~ being wowed by the softness (and sneaky potency) of the World Wide Stout from Dogfish Head (and a 2003 version, at that!) ~ hearing Sam work the crowd, bringing his message of love from LoDel ~ spending 60 minutes in the presence of great food, beer, and people...somehow it made the day alright in the end Unfortunately, Anders never showed since he encountered the same issues I did with travelling into Philadelphia, though probably worse. He was rerouted to D.C. So, since the "collaboration beer" that he and Sam Calagione brewed was his travelling companion, it never showed either. I'll be hopeful to try some if and when it ever makes it way to Monk's. Though, considering TSA and baggage handlers and the whole issue of rerouting, there's a chance it may never be heard from again! As usual, here follows a transcript of the event's food and beer pairing. I hear the food and pairings were great, particularly the pairing of Pangaea and Scallops. 1st Course Dogfish Head Festina Peche - Amuse Buche; Beet Salad 2nd Course Dogfish Head India Brown Ale - Quail with Lentils 3rd Course Dogfish Head Pangaea - Pan Seared Diver Scallops with a Chowder Sauce 4th Course Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA & Nørrebro North Bridge Extreme - Lamb Shank Confit with Shiitake Mashed Potatoes and Bitter Greens 5th Course Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre & Nørrebro Skargaards Porter - Stilton, 3-year Cheddar, and Taleggio Cheeses with Fruit Compote 6th Course Dogfish Head World Wide Stout (2003) & Nørrebro La Granja Espresso Stout - Chocolate Cheese Cake

Tap List at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA - 10/8/07

I celebrated my birthday with Patty at TND before leaving on a quick business trip to Providence. Dinner and a Celebrator seemed fitting for the occasion!

For those who have not made their way to Teresa's Next Door, here's the tap list as of 10/8/07 and it's fairly typical of the quality and diversity that can be found there. Keep in mind, that these are the drafts. The bottle selection is just as good, but ten fold. I hate living in this region.

Affligem Blonde
Allagash Victoria
Allagash Four
Anderson Valley Boont (fka Belk's) ESB
Ayinger Celebrator
Brouwerij Slaghmuylder Witkap Pater Tripel
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck Brigand Ale
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck St. Louis Framboise
Chimay White
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head Punkin
Legacy Hedonism
Mahr's Ungespundet Hefetrüb
Paper City IPA
Penn Kaiser Pils
Ridgeway Oxfordshire Ale
Rodenbach Grand Cru
Sly Fox O'Reilly Stout
Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale (hand)
Sly Fox Saison Vos
Southern Tier Jah*va Stout
Thomas Hooker Munich Helles Lager
Tröegs Naked Elf
Unibroue Maudite
Yards ESA (hand)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Upcoming Dogfish/Nørrebro Bryghus dinner at Monk's Cafe

U.S. beer from Dogfish Head. Danish beer from Nørrebro Bryghus. Extra $15 to benefit National Parkinsons Foundation (in memory of Michael Jackson). Something new to try in a familiar place....Monk's....with an old friend, Mark (frequent reader and contributor here at TBL). I'm there; come join us!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Kennett Brewfest at a Crossroads?

Congratulations to the fine folks behind the planning and execution of the annual Kennett Brewfest. In ten years, it has grown in to a highly anticipated festival that beer lovers put on their calendars as soon as the date is announced and buy tickets as soon as they become available months before the October event. (Here's a link to last year's wrap-up.)

The fact that ticket sales benefit the local organization, Historic Kennett Square, adds to the feel-good local nature of the event. And, of course, more attendees means more money to charity.

But, there has to be a limit. In my estimation, they've hit the limit and are at a crossroads. This event has become wildly popular, probably even beyond the organizers' expectations when they chose the current location two years ago. The relatively small space, the outrageous number of attendees, and poor signage (i.e. no "program") all contributed to an uncomfortable environment. Oh, by the way, I'm speaking of the general session and not of the connoisseur tasting. More on the latter...later.

If I had not attended the connoisseur tasting, I'd probably have been really annoyed. During the 4 hour general session (of which I stayed for an interminable 90 minutes, and had all of about 2 samples...that I actually waited in line for...the other 3 were the skip-to-the-front-of-the-line type of samples), upwards of 50 breweries were entertaining lines of 30-40 folks waiting to get 2 ounces of beer of untold style. I say untold because not only was it not always easy to decipher which brewery was under which tent (when standing at the back of the line), there was no clear signage as to which beers were being poured. Signs hanging high from the tent (the front of the tent) would be a preferred approach.

Sorry, but here comes a personal pet peeve (this isn't the first time you've heard this from me), how about some sort of directory/program/guide/map, whatever you want to call it? Something that gives people a clue about where to find what as it's spread out over the festival grounds. With so many people in attendance (though, I certainly don't think number of attendees should dictate a "program"), and lines stacked upon lines, there was no way anyone could get around to get a full inventory of the breweries in attendance and which beers they were serving. When the lines were as long as they were, it was safer just to pick a line, any line, and get into it hoping that you find a beer at the front of the line that you liked or haven't had before or wanted to try. Just a simple checklist....doesn't have to be fancy.

On the plus side, it seemed that the bathroom lines were shorter than in the past. Apparently, they added approximately 25 more this year, so that probably helped.

Back to the beginning. In the beginning, there was goodness in the form of the connoisseur tasting. Reportedly 300 tickets sold, close to 20 breweries pouring around two dozen beers, and good food included. I could quibble about the 90 minute duration, but I'll let that go for now. This session had a nice feel to it. Room to move about, never more than a few person wait for a beer, and very good quality food to choose from local business Talula's Table. While almost all of the beers are available to some degree on the 'open market,' the session provided a very comfortable environment to chat with brewery staff and other festival-goers while enjoying interesting beer and great music (Carl Filipiak Group, pictured above btw).

Since I'm not a festival planner (there are far smarter people out there than me for that kind of stuff) I'll only offer a couple of suggestions from my perspective. This is the crossroads that I refer to in the title line above. Many such events experience these growing pains. Ommegang, as one example, last year addressed such the delight of most who attended this year's version.

First, this festival has outgrown its current location. My solution would be to either change venue, limit ticket sales, or create a second general session. The current grounds simply cannot hold as many people as attended yesterday and provide a quality festival experience at the same time.

Second, I would like to see the connoisseur tasting priced as a separate event. In other words, I could pay to go to the connoisseur tasting, the general session, or both. Fifty dollars is too much to pay for the connoisseur session alone, and if the general session like yesterday is repeated I wouldn't want to stay for it again. So, the connoisseur session could be priced just a bit less, extended at least a half an hour, and it would probably at the same time drop a couple of hundred people from the general session crowd and everyone could feel like they came out of it getting their admission's worth.

Oh, hello there, are you still reading? Or are you tired of what inadvertently turned into a rant? Really, it didn't start out that way. I did, on a whole, enjoy myself. It only turned out that there were several more notes of concern that presented themselves to me than I expected.

Well, I should mention my most pleasing finds of the day. It was brews from Vermont's talented Shaun Hill, formerly of The Shed. They were serving up a few beers that impressed and definitely put him on the map when touring through upstate Vermont. Paper City of Massachusetts was also a nice new discovery of the day. They were pouring the Blonde Hop Monster and Cabot Street Wheat. I heard nice comments about the new Oatmeal Stout from Julius at Dock Street in Philly, but did not have a chance to try it. Good reason for a trip into West Philly. The Harvest Pils from Victory impressed, as expected. So sorry that you had to wait 'til the very end here to get some tasting notes from the day. Next time I'll try harder!

p.s. while I was putting this together earlier, this response was posted at Beer Advocate to some of the postings of the same tone earlier in the day. I'll be interested to see how these concerns are addressed in the planning of next year's installment.

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 10/5/07

On an attempted regular basis, I'll post the tap list here to the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA. I have no affiliation with the establishment other than living within 2 miles of it and appreciating the usual quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop me a note.

On Draft as of 10/5/07
Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale
Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Märzen
Ayinger OktoberFest-Märzen
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
Breckenridge 471 Double IPA
Brouwerij Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale
Weyerbacher Scotch Ale
Lancaster Oktoberfest
Paulaner OktoberFest-Märzen

Friday, October 05, 2007

Union Barrel Works Beer Dinner - 10/2/07

It was a great sight to behold earlier this week in Reamstown, PA. Union Barrel Works hosted their first "official" beer dinner and a group of over 40 beer lovers were there to experience it. The back portion of the main dining room was filled with the noisy chatter of a happy crowd. In less than six months, or thereabouts but who's counting, UBW has gone from an eagerly anticipated Lancaster County brewpub to a well-run establishment that's ready to host events. Not too shabby, I'd say.

Cohort Dennis and I made our way out to UBW for the 6:30pm dinner, making a stop at Stoudt's along the way for a pre-dinner beverage. John Matson and the folks at Stoudt's are readying the Scotch Ale for release any day now and making preparations to get the Winter Ale, a porter, started. A portion of it will be ready in the cooler weather while some will be stashed away in whiskey barrels (a la Old Abominable & Fat Dog, circa 2006) to be pulled out at a later date.

Wait, let's get back to topic here. I'll need to do a separate Stoudt's run, which is obviously long overdue.

We were greeted warmly by UBW owners Tom and Amy Rupp, who appeared relaxed and ready to host their first beer dinner. Son David Rupp (Executive Chef) was also milling around as he was overseeing the kitchen operations for the dinner. The tables filled quickly and things were underway just shortly after 6:30pm. I've posted the menu before and it stayed the same as advertised. Go further down the page here to see it again.

The first course got things started with fireworks. The mini Kobe burger was everything it's supposed to be. Not that I'm any kind of a Kobe expert, but wow! It was a very nice burger with plum ketchup and mustard on the side. It brought out a honey note in the maibock that it was paired with. The only thing wrong with it was its size. Oh, I guess that's why they called it 'mini.' The nice thing is that the full size Kobe burger is on the regular everyday menu which means I can get the big boy version next time I have dinner there.

Courses 2 & 3 and 4 & 5 were interrupted by a sorbet and a lemon jelly, respectively. The sorbet had a refreshingly sweet tangelo flavor and the tart lemon jelly was drowning happily in a hefeweizen foam.

Bookending these intermezzo courses were a cheddar ale soup, a cod plate, and a pork tenderloin dish. Each was well done in their own right, though I think we all agreed that the perfectly tender and flavorful pork, paired with ultra smooth and creamy mashed potatoes, stood atop all of the others. The cod, to me, didn't quite measure up as the broth that it sat in helped make it "wet", but didn't help so much with the flavor. I'm glad to see that the cheddar ale soup also regularly appears on the dinner menu, as this is something worth having again....and again.

Many of my beer dinner reviews (most coming from Philadelphia's Monk's Cafe) conclude with glowing comments about the final course. It's usually a decadently sweet, often with chocolate, dish. They obviously got the word in Reamstown too! Paired with the Round Boy Stout and some of the best ice cream (from Udder Choice in Ephrata) that I've had in quite a while, this course nearly stole the show. And, that would be a bad thing, because why???

But, in the end it was the first course with the maibock that I considered to be best pairing of the evening. The burger and beer just worked naturally together as perfect complements. Following closely behind in a dead heat was the pork pairing with the doppelbock and the dessert course...but, of course!

Tom, Amy, David, and staff (Mark Brenner & sous chef Ian Newman in the kitchen) seemed so well prepared for this dinner. Astounding me more than the dinner itself was just how smoothly everything went. Sure, they've been in business now for around 6 months or so (though, Tom's been "in the biz" much longer than just at UBW). But, the table service and timing was just so.....right. I can't be any more descriptive than that. Watching the servers, their demeanors and interactions with the rest of us, it just appeared effortless (at least in the "front of the house"). Maybe the story was different in the back?

In fact, the Rupps have said that they were quite pleased with the night and are already planning for next month's beer dinner installment. That's great news for all of us. For those who wanted to wait and hear how the first one went, you're in for a treat next month. On 11/13, they are planning a "Wild Game Dinner." There will be a menu released in the coming weeks, but I'll leave you with one course, elk, as a teaser. The other meats that are being discussed I'll leave for when UBW publishes the menu. I think you'll be pleased. Will you be there?

Mai Bock
- Mini Kobe Burgers with stuffed plum tomato & maibock mustard

Pale Ale
- Cheddar Ale Soup

- Kolsch mandarin orange sorbet

- Cod Tempura with steak fries & pea puree

Wobbly Bob Doppelbock
- Pork Tenderloin with rosemary pan jus & double cream potatoes

Hefeweizen with lemon foam

Round Boy Stout
- Chocolate lava cake with stout syrup

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Did I mention the Brickskeller is turning 50?

The Brickskeller's 50th anniversary was already on my "anniversary list" that I published yesterday. Here's some more details from the man himself. Looks like they're not gonna let this mark pass without recognizing it. Yowzah, just check out some of the draft beers to come over the next few weeks! If you're in the D.C. area, this seems to be something that you owe it to yourself to stop by and check out. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sunday October 7th is the Brickskeller FIFTIETH anniversary! We’ve tried to ignore it but it’s swallowing us up whole. From the dictionary. fiftieth - position 50 in a countable series of things. As we proudly reach position 50 we offer a special menu and the beginning of an incredible lineup of kegs from our vault. SUNDAY OCTOBER SEVEN FROM OPENING AT SIXPM TIL WE SAY GO HOME, ONE NIGHT ONLY SPECIALS! From the kitchen we’ll be offering a special one night menu featuring items from the original 1957 menu including frog’s legs, onion soup, a dish we called halfchicken/halfribs and pie a la mode. We’ll also offer some items we’re known for and associated with at specially discounted prices. From the bottle list we will have a selection of beers WE HAVE BEEN SELLING FOR FIFTY YEARS!!!!! Now offered at turn back the cost of living discounted prices (while they last people. while they last.) Additional discounts available for those paying with real American 1957 vintage silver dimes and quarters! See Dave! These imports we’ll offer for $1.75 a bottle (plus tax) - Asahi, Bass, Carlsberg, Fosters, Guinness, Heineken, Kirin lager, Kronenbourg, Labatt’s, Molsons Ale, Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, San Miguel and you know it from the US’o’A for $1.50 (plus tax) in longneck bottles - Budweiser and Miller High Life. Let’s talk TAPS! We’ll take this opportunity to begin draining our vault. Ladies and Gentlemen please start your droolers. For the remainder of the year we will be designating several of our taps to the incredible list of craft brewed giants you’ll find below. Outrageous beers I’ve been stashing in the cold box under tons of stacks of vintage beer cases for a longlong time! I can promise you we’ll have several heretofore though extinct gems in bottle and keg as well as a whole rack of weirdo’s I’ve been trying to hide from the staff! When I can dig my way to them, we’ll print out table cards of the taps and cases offered almost that soon I promise. I apologize to our buddies in faraway places for putting this list in front of them. Surely we will lift a glass to those unable to sample for themselves. If we think of it at the time. We’re NOT going to be able to tell you what beer is online when because you gotta drink ‘em to change ‘em! Fortunately for you lucky craft beerios they are all just plain unbelievable super rare you gotta be kidding gems. Here is the nearly accurate list of kegs fighting for taps from our in house aged keg cold storage. All are examples of the finest beers the craft beer revolution has produced. As many special beer tasting guests can attest, England’s JW Lees aged Harvest Ale ages into the flavor profile of a vintage port. Many of the crafties age just as well. I have more but I need to dig deeper into the piles to find them! The other taps will be offering the best of what’s out there too like the incredible strong golden lager, Krusovice for starters. Here is the Brickskeller nearly complete almost accurate FIFTIETH Anniversary keg dumping program. Beers poured in order of which are closest to the cooler door. ALLAGASH Curieux, Four ANCHOR Old Foghorn 01, 02, 04 ANCHOR Xmas 01, 04, 05 BELL’S Hopslam, Batch 8000 CLIPPER CITY Hang Ten, Holy Sheets DOGFISH Burton Baton 06, Chateau Jiahu DOGFISH HEAD Raison d'eXtra 05, 06 DOGFISH World Wide Stout 05, 06 DOGFISH HEAD 120 Minute IPA 06 GREAT DIVIDE Old Ruffian Barleywine HE'BREW Genesis 10:10, Lenny Bruce R.I.P.A. JW LEE Harvest Ale (regular keg) JW LEE Oak Barrel Vintage Harvest Ale 1999 in real oak cask PORT BREWING Old Viscosity PORT BREWING Older Viscosity ROGUE Hop Heaven RUSSIAN RIVER Perdition 05 RUSSIAN RIVER Temptation 05 SAMICHLAUS 04 SIERRA NEVADA Bigfoot 01, 05 STONE 11th Anniversary STONE Double Bastard STONE Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard VICTORY Old Horizontal 03, 04 And of course we always have 3 or 4 Belgian Ales on tap as well. On another note: The casks of real ale are going to be arriving from England very soon. Many we have not had before and are anxious to try! When they arrive we’ll start prepping them for sale. It takes a several days to properly bring a cask into condition so we’ll begin the process the day they arrive. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two Years of The Brew Lounge...and counting

The end of The Brew Lounge's second year and beginning of its third was marked by a 50% reduction in its workforce. Adam took half of the interns with him over to BeerBits2 and I was left with the other half. They're a loyal bunch, I'll tell ya. But, I left August sorta slip by (okay, okay....September, too....y'know, that running thing that I talk about once in a while) without much mention of my second anniversary here. With Adam embarking on a new road, I took the opportunity to get acquainted with having the controls all to myself. It'll be odd for a while, but I'm starting the third year here by firmly stating that "The Show Will Go On." Let us take this opportunity to look at what has been and what will be of The Brew Lounge. Two Years of The Brew Lounge In Adam's farewell note, he wrote of the many things we had done over the first two years. No need to repeat them again here. But, you know the dinners, tastings, events, festivals, reviews, calendars, tap lists....even a video cast from our backyard. My one year anniversary wrap-up last year resonates much the same. Basically, this all means that The Brew Lounge continued through the second year delivering much of the same content to which you all had become accustomed. A poll taken earlier this year seemed to reinforce that we were on the right track. Plus, readership and subscription levels continued to rise month after month, so we took that as a confirmation that The Brew Lounge had carved out a nice little place in the world of craft beer. The Next Year of The Brew Lounge I hope it is obvious that I thoroughly enjoy what I am building here at The Brew Lounge. I certainly cannot pay any bills with the proceeds of Google ads and I have never asked for any type of donations, except maybe some beer :) I have a day job (much to the surprise of some) and this is strictly a least until someone comes along and wants to provide me with a cushy job to drink beer and to contribute my thoughts. Here is what I will focus on throughout Year Three: - search out great beer bars, brewpubs, and events/festivals and pass along my opinions...... - ......with a heavy emphasis on people and places. This is one thing that Michael Jackson taught us. While the beer is at the core of what this is all about, at the end of the day, who the people are, what they're doing, why and how they're doing it is what makes an even more compelling story - raise topics of interest and concern within the beer industry; mostly as they affect craft brewing - do something that creates more of an interactive experience at The Brew Lounge (still in the works, so don't ask me yet what it is) So, that's it for now. Thanks for all of your continued interest and support in The Brew Lounge. Please always feel free to pass along comments, suggestions, etc. Now let's all go get a beer!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Shmaltz takes Lenny bi-coastal tomorrow

If you've read closely enough in the past, you already know what I think of the Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing of California (if you haven't, just know that I think highly of it). Well, they've stepped it up a notch and threw it into a rye whiskey barrel and are serving it up tomorrow at Elixir Saloon in San Francisco and at Blind Tiger Ale House in New York City. They're also tapping the Origin Pomegranate Ale and maybe even some vintage Jewbelation. Sounds like fun. Will you be in either of these spots tomorrow? If you are, let me know how it goes. According to Shmaltz's website, anyone attending both locations drinks for free. Hm, a challenge.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Beer Dates In History: October Anniversaries

100 years Dixie Brewing 50 years The Brickskeller 15 years Capitol City Huntington Beach Brewing 10 years Concordia Brewery at the Kennedy School (McMenamins) Milwaukee Ale House

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 9/30/07

The Drafting Room in Exton, PA has a decent web presence and quite a huge reputation preceding them. Their beer turns over quite quickly. So, in the spirit of service, whenever I get to The Drafting Room, I'll post the current tap list.

What's on line as of 9/30/2007?

Legacy Midnight Wit
Rogue Glen Ale (John Locker Stock series)
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Southampton Pumpkin
Summit Oktoberfest Marzen
High Point/Ramstein Octoberfest
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne
Lindemans Framboise
Lancaster Brewing Porter
Allagash Four
Victory Hop Devil
Troubadour Obscura