Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This is how Wooden Barrels look on the Bar at Victory

The pooches thank you for your contributions...and I thank Victory for some wonderful St. Victorious from the bartop on Saturday. Only question I had was if this was SPCA benefit, where was the SPCA information table? Perhaps some puppies on site that could use a good home? And this is how an Ommegang Christmas Eve looked at my house....just in case you were wondering. Furthermore, if you really wondered...the '05 Abbey stole the show, followed closely by this years Biere de Mars. The Three Philosophers was not too shabby but for a change paled in comparison. And the Hennepin? At a couple of years old, it just didn't "sparkle" and seemed past its prime.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Cask for the Holidays

I was going to post the tap list from The Drafting Room in Exton, PA but I figured that all you really need to know is that the Racer 5 is on the hand pump. Unless you don't like hops, then feel free to skip the Bear Republic offerings (Grandma's Ale, Black Bear Stout, and Hop Rod Rye). Then, you can instead skip to the Anchor Holiday or Rogue Yellow Snow...oh wait, that's an IPA. But wait, if Parkerford Brewing was partaking in the cask, it seems like a sign that all was good with the Racer 5. There was a 1/2 barrel of the Racer 5, and while it won't be kicked tonight it doesn't look like it will last for much longer judging from the number of pints being pulled from it tonight. A bunch of the usual suspects were there doing damage to the keg, including a certain, um, gentleman who participated in a Germantown Avenue pub crawl today and curiously thought that Germantown Ave. ran through Chester County.

Grab a Beer and Enjoy New Year's Eve 2008/2009

NEWLY ADDED (12/30): 21st Amendment; Barcade; Beer Table; Birreria Paradiso (both locations); Boston Beer Works (Fenway); Captain Lawrence Brewing; Church Brew Works; D.B.A. (Manhattan); Duclaw Brewing (all locations); Fat Heads; Father's Office (both locations); Firewaters (Concord); Half Moon Saloon; High Street Grill; Hop Devil Grill; Magnolia Pub & Brewery; Rivertowne Pour House (Monroeville); Rock Bottom (King of Prussian); Spuyten Duyvil; Teresa's Next Door; The Brewer's Art; The Publick House; Union Jack's on the Manatawny NEWLY ADDED (12/29): Bridgewater's Pub; Cosimo; Dawson Street Pub; Dock Street Brewing; Earth Bread + Brewery; For Pete's Sake; Mad Mex (Philly); Maia; Prohibition Taproom; Quotations; Sugar Mom's; The Institute; Yards Brewing; Zot NEWLY ADDED (12/26): Brick Store Pub; Flying Pig Saloon NEWLY ADDED (12/24): Alison Two; America Bar & Grille; Barley Creek; Brickside Grille; Capone's; City Beer Store; David Copperfield's; Ebenezer's Pub; Fergie's; Grace Tavern; Gullifty's; Heartland Brewery (all locations); Isaac Newton's; Jose Pistolas; Lancaster Brewing; McMenamin's (Philly); Nodding Head; Otto's; Rattle 'n' Hum; Spring Street Lounge; Stewart's Brewing; Ten Stone; The Drafting Room (both locations); The Foodery (both locations); The Gate; The Map Room; Tria (both locations); Trinity Brewhouse; Union Barrel Works; Zum Schneider NEWLY ADDED (12/23): Allentown Brew Works; Bethelehem Brew Works; Philadelphia Brewing; Russian River Brewing; Stoudt's; The Khyber; Triumph Brewing (Philly) NEWLY ADDED (12/21): Exton Beverage; Ginger Man (NYC); Goshen Beverage; Jack's Firehouse; Johnny Brenda's; London Grill; McGillin's; Michael's Deli; The Tiedhouse; The Belgian Café NEWLY ADDED (12/20): Ale Asylum; Brugge Brasserie; City Steam; Hop Leaf; Memphis Taproom; Riverstone Café; Sly Fox; Standard Tap; The Brazen Head; Willimantic Brewing Say what you will; it's not only "amateurs" that go out on New Year's Eve. Plenty of responsible revelers are going out on the last night of the year and looking for good food, good drink, and great times. My listing of various places around the country and their events was one of the most sought after postings last year at this time. Obviously, people are looking for things to do at this time of year; they're not looking for esoteric readings ;-) You want to go out this year? I say find a good beer establishment and be of good cheer. And be safe along the way. Here is a rundown of places where you can find a decent brew on New Year's Eve, starting here in Philly's Delaware Valley spreading out as far away as the Pacific NW. I've only just begun with what's listed here. Over the next several days, I'm sure to be adding to the list. If you know of something interesting going on in the world of good beer to usher in 2009, let all of us know by dropping a note below.
Bridgewater's Pub - Kitchen open until around 4pm; bar closing around 6pm
Bridgid's - 8pm-2am; includes all drafts, some bottled beer, call liquor, giveaways, food buffet, and champagne toast at midnight; $80/pp; call restaurant for tickets
Dawson Street Pub - Open for Business As Usual with live music; no cover
Dock Street Brewery - 8pm closing time
Earth Bread + Brewery - Our kitchen will be open to 11pm and late night snacks will be on the bar until closing (1am). There'll be a sneak peak of our newest beer De Raine Pore to welcome the new year.
Fergie's Pub - Open for Business As Usual
For Pete's Sake Pub - Open for Business As Usual with some drink specials
Grace's Tavern - Open for Business As Usual
Grey Lodge Pub - Ring in the New Years at our gala Brew Years Eve Party . For just $60, you get beverages, lots of tasty special food, hats, and noisemakers from 8:30pm to 1am.
Jack's Firehouse - Ring In New Years At Jack's With All Of Your Friends With An Open Premium Bar To 1am And A DJ And Dancing Until 2am. We Start At 9pm. Tickets - $60 Per Person. It's A Great Party - Get 20 Of Your Friends To Come Over. We Only Sell 150 Tickets Which Makes Jack's Really Festive - But Not Overly Packed.
José Pistolas - Open for Business As Usual
Johnny Brenda's - Upstairs Just $5! Cheap funtimes!!!! Downstairs: Dress Up and Make-out! No cover
London Grill - 5pm-11pm; Regular Menu And $45 Fixed Price Menu Available $80.00 with 4 wine pairings favors, free champagne at midnight and Times Square on HD TV; Earlybird Kid's Menu; Bar Snacks till midnight
Mad Mex (University City) - Special $35 Dinner for 2 (one appetizer, two entrées, one dessert, and two glasses of champagne); 1/2 price happy hour as usual and "big-azz" margaritas all day
Manayunk Brewery - Join us Wednesday, December 31st for a premium 4 hour open bar from 8pm to 12am, heavy hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast at midnight, live music by Pub Rally downstairs, live DJ upstairs, party favors and more! Tickets are $90.
McGillin's - McGillin's is the place to SING in the New Year with karaoke, party favors and more! $5 cover.
McMenamin's - No food, but champagne toast, music, and cover
Memphis Taproom - Our chef is putting to gether some spectacular New Years Eve dinner specials, including Beer-Battered Caviar, Oyster Stew and Surf & Turf, AND we'll ring in the new year with a Cantillon toast at midnight! No reservations are necessary. Stay late or come early the next morning for New Years day! We'll be serving BRUNCH (and nursing hangovers) from 11am-3pm
Monk's Café - The late seating (9:30pm) will be a six course extravaganza. Tom will pull out a couple of gems from his basement collection of aged beers. Some very special beers will be served. Our crack kitchen crew will create a feast to pair with these amazing beers. Of course, we will have a midnight toast with Malhuer Brut. Hats & noisemakers for everyone. The early seating (6:30pm) will be a four-course (and 5 beers or wines) dinner.
Nodding Head - Open for Business As Usual, perhaps with a champagne toast.
Philadelphia Brewing - Open for beer sales 9am-1pm.
Prohibition Taproom - $55; 8pm to 12 Midnight; open bar and a champagne toast.
South Philadelphia Tap Room - Open for Business as Usual until 2am; join the SPTR for early morning reveling on New Year's Day and the Mummer's Parade
Standard Tap - A firkin of Yards and specially-priced Golden Monkey and Mad Elf...DJ, too
Sugar Mom's - Open for Business As Usual from 8pm-2am; Free Sandwiches plus $25 bottles of champagne; no cover
Ten Stone - Closed for a Private Party
The Belgian Café - 4 course dinner and beer/wine pairing: -first seating 6:30PM, $55, --- second seating 10PM, $75 ---(vegetarian menu also available) --- call 215-235-3500 for reservations
The Foodery (2nd/Poplar) - Open for Business As Usual until 12 Midnight
The Foodery (10th/Pine) - Open for Business As Usual until 10pm (or later, depending upon business)
The Institute - No cover; $3 Walt Wit plus many other craft beer specials during the night; Wii Booths are NOW OPEN! Normally $15 per booth on New Year's Eve will be $20 per booth and cost includes a pitcher of either PBR or Yuengling.
The Khyber - Come Celebrate With The Khyber As We Usher In The New Year Start 2009 Off With Your Old Friend The Khyber. With Help From No Tight Pants; DJ Lexx; DJ R'N'G Moshpit Rainbow; DJ Vertigo Headbanger; DJ Jesse Merlin Stakeout 9 pm; $10
The Tiedhouse - Join us for New Year's Eve 3-Course Prixe Fixe Dinner for $39.95!!! Add a paired beer flight for $10 Add a paired wine flight for $15
Tria (both locations) - Open for Business As Usual, perhaps with a few menu specials
Triumph Brewery - Make your plans now and celebrate this year at Triumph with DJ Bizz and a four hour open bar from 9:30-1:30. Package includes beer, wine, house liquor and a champagne toast (sorry, no shots). Ticket price is $75. Bottle service will also be available in our VIP lounge. Hope to see you there.
White Dog Café - $60 per person plus tax and gratuity for late seating (after 8:30pm). A la carte early seating (6:00pm-7:45pm). Strolling Violin Duet Davis & Diane Barnett, 8:30pm - 12:00am Sing-Along Piano in the Piano Parlor, 9:00pm - 2:00am Dancing to Oldies, 12:00am to 2:00am
Yard's Brewing - Will likely be out of beer by 12/31 and no one will be at the brewery after 5pm on New Year's Eve; but stop by 12/29 or 12/30 to buy some ESA or whatever's left of currrent inventory
Zot - $45 & $65 priced dinners for 6:30pm & 9:30pm seatings, respectively. Beer Tasting Menu available as well. Otherwise open for Business As Usual.

Philadelphia Metro
Alison Two - $75 seating 5pm-7pm; $85 seating after 7pm
America Bar & Grill - Open for Business As Usual with 10pm last dinner seating; probably some form of entertainment until closing; no cover
Brickside Grille - Come join in the fun New Year's Eve. Make a reservation for dinner or stop in for live music with "Lord Jive" starting at 10:00 p.m. Free champagne toast at midnight, party favors; plus a free chocolate fountain all night long.
Capone's Restaurant - Open for Business As Usual until 10pm; bottleshop until 12 Midnight
Cosimo Restaurant - Open for Business As Usual with a special dinner menu
Exton Beverage - 9pm closing time
Firewaters (Concord) - $199/couple package deal includes hotel room, buffet (9pm-11pm), open bar (9pm-12:30am), DJ, and party favors)
Flying Pig Saloon - Open for Business As Usual
General Lafayette - 6pm and 9pm seatings for a 3-Course Prix Fixe; $44.95 per person; Call 610-941-0600 for Reservations. Salad/Appetizer, Entree, Dessert, Champagne Toast Add a flight of specially selected paired wine for $15 Add a flight of brewmaster paired beer for $12
Goshen Beverage - 9pm closing time
Gullifty's - 9pm closing time
High Street Grill - Open for Business As Usual with a New Year's Eve Special Menu.
Isaac Newton's - 9pm closing time
Maia - Open for Business As Usual with a champagne toast at Midnight
McKenzie Brew House - 4 Hour Premium Open Bar, Stellar Buffet, Hotel Packages Available, $55 in advance / $65 at door. Call 610-296-2222 for Details.
Michael's Deli - 9pm closing time
Quotations Pub - Open for Business As Usual
Riverstone Café - Special Menu examples include Elk Tenderloin, Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Salad, Southwest Buffalo Filet, Brined Crispy Calamari, Butter Poached Lobster, Miso Shrimp Cocktail Complimentary Champagne Toast at Midnight Beer selections include from the following, among others, Victory, Piraat, Samuel Smith, Chimay, Unibroue, Magic Hat, Samuel Adams, Hoegaarden, Guinness, Young's, Rogue
Rock Bottom (King of Prussia) - Open for Business As Usual with kitchen hours 'til 10pm and bar 'til 2am.
Ron's Original - On New Year's Eve you can either prepay for $20 or pay at the door for $25 for a fabulous buffet plus two tickets each for your first drink (either house wine, draft beer or well drinks). SubLegend will be here to entertain you all night long as well as giveaways throughout the evening. You can park at the Comfort Suites, call Ron's and we will have a shuttle come pick you up. At then end of the night, the bus will take you back to the hotel and you can let Comfort Suites know you came from Ron's and they will give you a SPECIAL DISCOUNTED rate for the evening! Call Ron's and ask to speak to a manager or just Nardo and we will be happy to help you plan this evening!
Sly Fox - Royersford location closes at 3pm; Phoenixville kitchen closes at 9pm, bar at 10pm
Teresa's Next Door - Open for Business As Usual.
The Drafting Room (Exton) - Open for Business As Usual
The Drafting Room (Spring House) - 3 course beer dinner from 4:30pm-10:00pm on New Years Eve. Your choice of 3 appetizers, 3 entrees, and 2 desserts for $35.00. Beers include Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, East End Monkey Boy, Brooklyn Savior Faire, Ommegang Witte, Wintercoat Vildmoseol, and Allagash Grand Cru. The full dinner menu is available as well. Then stick around to ring in 2009! There will be live roots, rock, and reggae from the fantastic local band "The Mighty Manatees" beginning at 10pm. Special tappings of North Coast La Merle and North Coast Old Stock 2007 @ midnight and a complimentary toasting of a Methusula of Duvel. There is no cover for this event. Ring the New Year in in style!
TJs - Kitchen closes at 9pm; Bar closes at 10pm
Victory - 11:30am-6:00pm (Bar with a limited menu and Retail Shop only)

Other PA/NJ/DE
Allentown Brew Works - Join us in HIGH GrAvitY for our New Year’s Eve GAY-la! HIGH GrAvitY at Allentown Brew Works “Happy Trails Are Here Again” High Powered Dance Music, Champagne Toast, Balloon Drop, Continental Breakfast and VIP Bottle Service DJ starts at 10:00pm ; NO COVER!! 21 & over only Also… (for our straight guests) at the Main Bar… Balloon Drop and Champagne Toast
Appalachian Brewing/Harrisburg - Doors Open at 6:45pm for our awesome NYE bash! Tickets include dinner buffet from 7-10pm (salad station, Andouille sausage stuffed chicken breast, roast pork loin with apple walnut stuffing, baked haddock w/crab imperial, jambalaya, Prime Rib carving station, dessert station), 2 ABC draft pints, and a champagne toast at midnight with party favors.
Barley Creek Brewing - We're ringing in 2009 with a reservations-are-a-must-dinner in our Onyx Bar room that will be limited to 90 people and closed off to everyone else. Reservations are brisk so don't get shut out. Here are the details: Hors d'ouvres: 7:00pm-8:00pm; dinner: 8:00pm-9:30pm; carving station, buffet extravaganza, party favors, live music with Joe O'Malley, a midnight buffet and a cash bar. Make your dinner reservations ($29.95) now by sending an email to
Bethlehem Brew Works - Join us on New Year’s Eve 2009 and celebrate the New Year! Featuring: -DJ Soulja in the Steelgaarden from 10pm-2am -Midnight Balloon Drop and Champagne Toast -Bottle Service -Drink specials and giveaways with Skyy, Bacardi and Grey Goose. NO Cover Charge! 21 & over only Bethlehem Brew Works “New Year’s Eve Black Party” - dress in your most impressive black attire.
Bube's Brewery - New Year's Eve Dinner served in Alois, the Bottling Works, and the Catacombs (reserve early!). New Year's Eve Party in the Bottling Works with DJ Kerry-come dance! Dine here and admission to the party is free! $5.00 cover gets non-diners into the party.
Bullfrog Brewery - 10pm-1am; $5 Cover Charge. A great high energy musical steamroller featuring Colin Beatty/Bass, Willi Ort/Guitar, & Shaun Gilmour/Drums, and Jimmy Lovcik/keyboards!
Church Brew Works - Open until around 1am; Two 3-course prix fixe menus, $32-$42; appetizer/soup-salad/entree; desserts are a la carte.
Dogfish Head - fun, food, festivities... and great beer! This year we're offering two seatings: 6pm at $65 per person 9pm at $85 per person (second seating includes a champagne toast at midnight and live music by Nate Meyers and The Aces). MENU Truffled Butternut Squash Soup - Paired with Punkin Ale Warm Lobster Salad - Paired with Midas Touch Seared Foie Gras and Lingonberry Jam on Brioche Toast - Paired with Vintage Black and Blue Prosciutto Wrapped Beef Tenderloin - Paired with Palo Santo Marron Brown Honey Tiramisu - Paired with Vintage World Wide Stout Make your reservations today by calling 302-226-BREW or e-mailing
Fat Heads - Closing time of 6pm for both restaurant and bottle shop
Half Moon Saloon - Open for Business As Usual with some special chef selections.
Lancaster Brewing - 9pm closing time
Otto's - Open for Business As Usual
Rivertowne Pour House (Monroeville) - $40/pp, $75/couple; 9pm-2am; Prime Rib dinner, open bar, champagne toast, DJ
Selin's Grove Brewing - Closed 12/24 & 12/25, 12/29/08- 1/1/09 Have a Great Holiday!!
Stewart's Brewing - Open for Business As Usual
Stoudt's - Call (717) 484-4387 for more details.
Union Barrel Works - Open for Business As Usual with a champagne toast
Union Jack's on the Manatawny - Open for Business As Usual with live music and a Surprise Dinner Menu.
Zeno's - Zeno’s is pleased to have the Screaming Ducks for a New Year’s Eve bash. $5 American will do it. 10:30 'til close

Other Northeast
Barcade - Open for Business As Usual with a Top 200 Barcade Songs Countdown.
Beer Table - Open for Business As Usual until at least 1am with a special "Past", "Present", and "Future" beer (hint: the future beer is a new one hailing from Sixpoint
Blind Tiger Ale House - Blind Tiger’s New Year’s Extravaganza party will be from 9:00PM to 2:00AM and is limited to only 80 people - so we can maintain a comfortable atmosphere for all. The cost for each ticket will be $120.00 per person, which will include the following: All draught beers (with some very special selections) All cask beers (which includes a gravity keg and wood pin) All wines, sake and Prosecco A special Blind Tiger buffet (which will be replenished throughout the night), which will include: cheeses from Murray’s Chesse, fresh bread, seasonal green salad, an all white baked ziti, Swedish Meatballs, Italian Sausage and Peppers, and a fresh fruit salad. A New Year’s Prosecco Toast New Year’s Party Gear (silly hats and whatnot) And, as always - a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere To place a reservation, or if you have any questions, please contact us at, call 212-462-4682, or talk to your favorite Blind Tiger bartender.
Boston Beer Works (Fenway) - Open for Business As Usual.
Cambridge Brewing Co. - You get to stuff yourself to your hearts desire, imbibe 5 of the finest micro brews around, dig on the sounds of Cambridge's own Gypsy Schaeffer, be one of the first people to taste the 2008 Blunderbuss Barleywine and party your ass off! That's a value of $107! Add in the free gifts and That's a value of $150. Originally we were going to sell the tickets for $120. But after thinking it over, we wanted to give you a better deal. So we knocked it down to $100. We figured a 33% discount was quite generous.
Chelsea Brewing Company - **CANCELLED** 9pm-2am; $110/$150(VIP); DJ, Dancing, Hors d'oeuvres and Buffet with Open Bar; Special Celebration Brew & Champagne Toast at Midnight; Party Favors; Giveaways; Coat Check; Live Feed of Times Square Ball Drop VIP gets private room overlooking river with premium open bar and bottle of champagne for each group of two.
City Steam - Comedy; prix fixe menu; Countdown to New Year's event, and much more...see website for details
David Copperfield's - Open for Business As Usual with a champagne toast
D.B.A. (Manhattan) - Ring in 2009 at d.b.a. w/Serrita, Dee, Kreaux, Jack & Ryan. Nigel will greet you @ the door (I.D. is a must for entry)w/ hats,& tiaras. Fruit, cheese, champagne at 12 Midnight, music, fun, and NO COVER! Open til 8am----so Bartenders, come on over after work!
Ebenezer's Pub - Open for Business As Usual
Ginger Man (NYC) - We will be offering tickets for $100 for open bar from 9pm - 2am including over 100 beers, call liquor, and wine. With a Chimay (or Champagne) toast at Midnight. We will be open for regular business from 11:30am - 2am.
Heartland Brewery (all locations) - Open for Business As Usual
Hop Devil Grill - Go to the Hop Devil Grill for a "Devilicious New Year's Eve Party"! What is different about this New Year's Eve event from others around the city? First, who has a better beer selection and better food? Nobody in New York City, or maybe event the country! Second, no, let me repeat that NO cover charge! No open bar. No crappy buffet. How much do you realistically expect to drink and eat, anyway? $150 of beer or drinks and food? Heck no. Pay as you go. Drink and eat what you like. Buy no tickets. Hop Devil Grill, and our adjoining lounge, is spacious! Room for you and all your friends. Get there early, though. Stay late too. Our new sound system will be pumping out the best new sounds, and watch the ball fall on our big screen TVs. At Midnight. Enjoy a champagne or beer toast as the balloons drop all around. Kiss your loved one. Meet a new loved one. Have a "Helluva Time!"
Rattle 'n' Hum - Open Bar 10pm-1am; food buffet; champagne toast; $100
Southampton Publick House - 5pm-10pm; 3 course dinner, $40/pp; diners get free entrance to party in the taproom, all others $10; DJ Dory, Party Favors, Midnight Champagne Toast
Spring Street Lounge - Open for Business As Usual
Spuyten Duyvil - Open for Business As Usual
The Brazen Head - Generous Champagne Toasts; Featuring The Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band from 9 PM to Midnight; No Cover - No Minimum
The Gate - Open for Business As Usual with a champagne toast
The Publick House - Open for Business As Usual
Trinity Brewhouse - Open for Business As Usual
Willimantic Brewing - a Special Dinner menu, a DJ, party favors, and a midnight champagne toast. Don’t forget the Party in the Pub starting at 9PM. For more info call 860-423-6777.
Zum Schneider - Free party; Doors open at 9pm Included: DJ Volka Racho spinning your favorite party songs Karaoke: German and other hits Champagne toast at midnight Watch the Ball drop on the big screen On the menu: Special NY's Eve Menu Midnight soup Champagne bowl and homemade Glühwein (mulled wine)

Other United States
21st Amendment - Open for Business As Usual
Ale Asylum - Open for Business As Usual; perhaps special food and discounted beers from 10pm-close (still unplanned)
Birreria Paradiso (both locations) - Open for Business As Usual until 11pm
Brick Store Pub - Champagne toast at midnight & party favors. No better place to usher in the New Year than your neighborhood pub... See you there!
Brugge Brasserie - Open for Business As Usual
Captain Lawrence Brewing - We will be open from 2–5pm…….For Growler Fills Only!
City Beer Store - Closed
D.B.A. (New Orleans) - 11pm- $15; w/Walter Wolfman Washington & the Roadmasters
Duclaw (all locations) - Open for Business As Usual
Falling Rock Tap House - Come join us for New Year's Eve @ the Falling Rock, NO COVER as always & Complimentary Champagne toast & Midnite.
Father's Office (both locations) - Closed New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Hop Leaf - Open for Business As Usual
Magnolia Pub & Brewery - New Year's Eve Dinner Extravaganza, $45 with beer pairings. Ronnie will be continuing our Wednesday beer dinner menus with his first one landing auspiciously on New Year's Eve. Here's the menu with beer pairings: Shrimp and Scallop Bisque X (our Belgian single) Strawberry Mountain New York Strip with Bone Marrow and Potato Gratin Out with the Old Ale Magnolia Stout Sundae (with Stout of Circumstance Ice Cream) Stout of Circumstance On New Years Eve, we'll release a new edition of Out with the Old Ale, our sour-mash old ale first brewed this past spring. It'll be the feature beer in our special dinner that night, as well. Then, on New Year's Day we'll release In with the New IPA, commemorating the changing of the kitchen guard as well as the arrival of '09. It's an English-style IPA with a very traditional hop profile. We'll be closing a little early on New Year's Eve (kitchen closes at 10:00pm) but we will turn around and open for a rare mid-week Brunch on New Year's Day.
RFD/The Brickskeller - No Cover, DJ, and a fantastic selection of spirits, kegged and bottled beers from around the world!
Russian River - Ring in the new year with a free party at the RRBC with Phatty!!! They have a very cool "old school funk" sound with their wildly entertaining 7-piece ensemble. Bring your dancing shoes to boogie-woogie and get down on it! Free Show!!! All Ages! Call (707) 545-2337 for more information
Sierra Nevada - Tickets: $100 • On sale: 12/6/2008 in the pub. New Year’s Eve. The Big Room. Gourmet dinner. Jazz to dine by. Great music to dance to. Way too much fun…almost. Limited tickets. Reserved seat tickets only. Hats, horns, balloons and all the trimming you’ve come to expect from the Big Room. A complete filet mignon dinner (and other wonderful options).Appetizers, salads, killer desserts and complimentary champagne just before the midnight balloon drop. (Fingers crossed here). Doors at 7 PM. Dinner from 7 PM until 9 PM with live, easy listening jazz to help with digestion. And then…Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps out of L.A. come out to rock the house
Stone Brewing - 11am-5pm, Specialty Growler Fills - 2008 Old Guardian, 2008 Imperial Russian Stout, 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale, 2008 Double Bastard Ale, 2008 Sawyer's Triple
The Brewer's Art - Open for Business As Usual with a champagne toast; kitchen open an extra hour later
The Map Room - Open for Business As Usual with a champagne toast
The Monk's Kettle - A four course meal paired with four different beers from the Belgian brewery Malheur. Throughout the evening, to pair with each course, we will have the Malheur 10 (a Tripel), Malheur 12 (a Quadrupel), Malheur Brut (a Biere de Champagne), and Malheur Dark Brut (a dark and chocolatey version of the Biere de Champagne). There will also be another special one for the New Year's midnight toast. Details will be posted to our website on the events page about the food courses. The four course meal will begin at 9:00, and each course is designed to pair well with the beer served. Our resident beer expert Nick will discuss each of the beers served, and our chef Kevin will speak about the dishes. The cost of the dinner is $95 plus tax and gratuity. There will also be a happy hour between 8 and 9 before dinner starts, during which all beers will be offered at half price. To reserve a space, please call the Monk's Kettle at (415) 865-9523, or email Nat Cutler at
The Old Toad - New Year’s Eve Beer Dinner 2008 ~ Lobster Bisque with Reissdorf Koelsch ~ Breaded Goats Cheese with Ommegang Hennepin ~ Charcuterie Plate with Unibroue Blanche de Chambly ~ Ephemere Sorbet ~ Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown ~ Wild Salmon Gratin with Brooklyn Local 1 ~ Lamb Shank Braised in Leffe Brune with Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale ~ Corn Cakes with Smoked Tomato Coulis with Schlenkerla Helles ~ Ice Cream Trio of British Classics (Lemon Meringue, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Rhubarb Crumble) with Southern Tier Crème Brulee ~ Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Torte with Victory Storm King ~ Cheese Plate (Triple Cream, Vintage Cheddar, Shropshire Blue) with Weyerbacher Insanity
Yard House - Many locations west of the Mississippi, two in Florida. Come as you are. Party favors. Midnight Champagne Toast. No reservations needed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Beer Calendar: What To Do in January 2009

Can January keep up with its festive predecessor's calendar in December? It'll be tough to beat for sure, but let's see what's cooking. As in the past, I'll continue to break out the events between those over and under $20. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. Enjoy! Under $20, down to and including FREE...Pay As You Go (PAYG) also included here Philadelphia Thu. 1/1 - 20 Stouts On Tap @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA (sometime after 12 noon; PAYG) Thu. 1/1 - Charity Fundraiser @Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA (4pm-close; PAYG) Thu. 1/1 - Grand Opening @Local 44, Philadelphia, PA (5pm; PAYG) Thu. 1/8 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (Mystery Beer)@Triumph, Philadelphia, PA (6pm; PAYG) Wed. 1/14 - Weyerbacher Night (Fireside Ale) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (7pm-9pm; PAYG) Thu. 1/15 - Keep The Pint Night @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:30pm; PAYG) Fri. 1/16 - Friday Night Sampling (Victory) @Bella Vista Beverage, Philadelphia, PA (5pm-7pm; free) Fri. 1/16 - Dock Street Frankford Ave Intersection Night @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; PAYG) Tue. 1/20 - 120 on 1/20 @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (10am 'til it's gone; PAYG) Wed. 1/21 - IIPA Tappings (at least 4 or 5 of 'em) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Fri. 1/23 - Hook and Ladder Chutes and Ladders Night @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; PAYG) Sat. 1/24 - Rich Wagner presents: The Breweries of Kensington @Philadelphia Brewing, Philadelphia, PA (2pm; free) Wed. 1/28 - Firkin o' Joe @Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-11pm; PAYG) Philadelphia's close suburbs Fri. 1/2 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (all day; PAYG) Thu. 1/8 - Maredsous 6 & 8 Night @Union Jack's, Glenside, PA (8pm-10pm; PAYG) Fri. 1/9 - Hops Project Day 2009 (Varietal Release #1: Boadicea) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (all day; PAYG) Wed. 1/14 - Russian River Night @Union Jack's, Glenside, PA (8pm-10pm; PAYG) Fri. 1/16 - Friday Night Tasting (Tröegs Nugget Nectar) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free) Fri. 1/23 - Robbie Burns Birthday Bash @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (6pm-???; PAYG) Sat. 1/24 - Belgium Comes to West Chester @Iron Hill, West Chester, PA (1pm-???; PAYG) Thu. 1/29 - Nugget Nectar & Others from Tröegs Brewery @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (5:30pm; PAYG) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Wed. 1/7 - Meet the Brewer Night (Southern Tier) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (7pm; $45) Wed. 1/7 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (Grand Cru)@Triumph, Princeton, NJ (6pm; PAYG) Thu. 1/8 - Stone Brew & Pizza @Villa Capri, Doylestown, PA (9pm; $10) Fri. 1/9 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (Jewish Rye)@Triumph, New Hope, PA (10pm; PAYG) Tue. 1/20 - Beer Connoisseurs Tasting (Unibroue) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (6:30pm) Wed. 1/21 - Winterfest '09 Kickoff (Winterfest Cheer Barrel Tapping)@Triumph, New Hope, PA (7pm; PAYG) Fri. 1/30 - Cask Ale Night (Dogfish varieties 60 Minute, 90 Minute, Indian Brown) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; PAYG) Elsewhere Sun. 1/25-Sat. 1/31 - Stone Winter Storm @Stone World Bisto & Gardens, Escondido, CA (see website for details) Tue. 1/27 - Brooklyn Brewmaster Reserve Night with Garrett Oliver @Bar Great Harry, Brooklyn, NY (6pm; PAYG) Thu. 1/29-Fri. 1/30 - Russian River 'TION' Night @O'Brien's, San Diego, CA (PAYG) Events Over $20 Philadelphia Thu. 1/8 - Weird and Wonderful with Tom Baker @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $45) Sat. 1/10 - Winterfest Beer Tasting @World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA (1:00pm-4:30pm; $30) Tue. 1/20 - Tom's "Home Coming" Dinner @Jose Pistola's, Philadelphia, PA (7pm; $100) Fri. 1/23 - Strong & Soul-Warming with Lew Bryson @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $50) Sun. 1/25 - Beef & Beer @South Philadelphia Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (3pm-6pm; $40) Philadelphia's close suburbs Wed. 1/21 - Victory Beer Dinner @High Street Caffé, West Chester, PA (6:30pm; $45) Sat. 1/24 - Mugs, Microbrews, & Music! @Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA (7pm-10pm; $24) Sat. 1/31 - High Street Grill Winter Brew Fest @High Street Grill, Mount Holly, NJ (one hour tastings beginning at 1pm, 2:15pm, 3:30pm; $20 per session) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Fri. 1/16 - Victory Beer Dinner @The Olde Greenfield Inn, Lancaster, PA (6:30pm) Sun. 1/18 - Victory Beer Dinner @Yardley Inn, Yardley, PA (6:30pm; $65) Mon. 1/19 - Beer Dinner @Stoudt's, Adamstown, PA (6:30pm (tour at 6pm; $35) Wed. 1/28 - Tröegs Beer Dinner (5 courses, 6 beers) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (6:30pm; $55) Elsewhere Fri. 1/16-Sat. 1/17 - Great Alaska Beer & Barleywine Festival @Egan Civic & Convention Center, Anchorage, AK (5pm-10pm, 6pm-10pm (Sat:2pm-5pm Connoisseur); $30/$40) Sat. 1/17 - Shmaltz Beer Paired Lunch @Steinbeck's, Decatur, GA (12:30pm & 3:00pm seatings) Sun. 1/18 - Stone Brew & Cheese Pairing @Stone World Bistro & Gardens, Escondido, CA (2:30pm-5:00pm; $30) Sat. 1/24 - Blue Point Cask Ale Festival @Blue Point Brewery, Patchogue, NY (1pm-5pm; $35) Mon. 1/26 - 2nd Annual Dogfish Head Beer Dinner @Birreria Paradiso, Washington, D.C. (6:30pm & 9:30pm seatings; $TBD)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Amazing Weekly Philly Beer Calendar of December 2008, week 5

Time to wrap up this amazing month of beer events here in the Philadelphia region. Most events are taking a back seat to New Year's Eve. But, The Drafting Room pulls out an intriguing tasting on Tuesday, perhaps as a good tuneup for New Year's Eve? And, there are a few New Year's Day events for those that boycott New Year's Eve...or want to be pros and do both. Here goes...week five...December 29th-January 3rd 2008 At Spring House's Drafting Room, they're wasting no time getting back into the special events calendar after Christmas. Check them out for a Bear Republic tasting on the 30th after 5:30pm and find Racer 5 (cask conditioned); Black Bear Stout; Hop Rod Rye; Grandma's Homegrown Ale. Across the sun dial, in Exton, they'll be pouring the same. Except instead of Grandma's elixir, they'll have the Wet Hop Harvest Ale on tap. For New Year's Eve, you can get dressy or not so dressy. (The undressed events, you'll have to look elsewhere for...) Here are a couple in the Philadelphia area. ~ Brew Year's Eve Party @Grey Lodge ~ New Year's Eve @Monk's Café For a full listing, head over here for the beer-y events. For a yet fuller listing, check out Foobooz for food, beer, wine, dancing, and general partying type of listings for New Year's Eve in and around Philly on December Thirty One. Even New Year's Day promises to be a great beer day in the Delaware Valley. In Philly, check out Jose Pistolas, South Philly Tap Room, or McGillin's for Mummers Parade mummery. Elsewhere in the city, Memphis Taproom is doing brunch, Local 44 is opening its doors for the first time at 5pm, Monk's will have a whole buncha stouts on tap, and Standard Tap is hosting a very worthwhile benefit. Later tomorrow, for those of you already looking past December oh-eight, the January calendar of events will be posted here.

A Photo is Worth a Beer

A picture is worth a thousand words...and 40 pictures (out of over 500) were worth some generously donated prizes. In my case and my close-up picture of a split hop cone, it was worth 2 weizen glasses from Widmer and a t-shirt. Thanks to Alan and Jeff for again running the contest. If this thing gets any bigger, they'll need to outsource it next year! By the way, congrats to local beer ambassador Joel Armato (of GrainBill and more recently New Holland fame) for his two award-winning pictures. Check them out over here and all of the entries and prize-winning photos here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 12/27/08

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.

On Draft as of 12/27/08
Avery Old Jubilation
Brasserie Dupont Moinette Blond
Brouwerij Affligem Noël
Corsendonk Christmas
Founders Breakfast Stout
Founders Backwoods Bastard
Lancaster Brewing Milk Stout
Ommegang Three Philosophers
River Horse Hop-a-lot-amus
Southern Tier Old Man Winter
Stoudts American Pale Ale
Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale
Victory Bags Packed Porter (cask)

And the usual suspects...

Blanche De Bruxelles Witbier
Chimay White
Coors Light
Guinness Stout
Harp Lager
Plzensky Prazdroj Pilsner Urquell
Smithwick's Ale
Stella Artois Belgian Pale Ale
Victory HopDevil
Yuengling Traditional Lager

Try This Pairing: Victory's Abbey 6 & Spicy Glazed Ham

Should I be freaked out? What am I becoming? Or vice versa? I go to Victory for a growler fill (for dinner pairing) and glass of Yakima Twilight (I support, I mean he supports my's a mighty fine brew) during the wait on Christmas Eve. Jack goes there on the day after Christmas and does same. Er...anyways... A growler of Abbey 6 from Victory on Christmas Eve made for the perfect holiday pairing for our Christmas Day dinner. Patty had found a recipe for a ginger glaze that had a good dosing of ginger, garlic, and dark molasses, along with a mild undercurrent of habanero pepper. Covering the juicy and tender ham with this sweet and spicy glaze and pairing it with the Belgian fruitiness and dry finish of the Abbey 6 made for the perfect dinner combination that I just couldn't get enough of. Not tipping the ABV scales at around 6.5% also made this a winner and easy-to-finish growler. If you're interested in the recipe for the glaze, let me know. I'm thinking now maybe another growler of it to go with leftover ham sandwiches this weekend? Thoughts?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Puppies & Pilsners, oh my!

Since getting to UPenn & Joe Sixpack's event does not look likely for me on Saturday (that'd be tomorrow), I just may decide to keep my drinking local and support a good cause while I'm at it. from Victory's website...Mugs for Mutts at the Victory Restaurant. Sit and enjoy a beer with friends, Stay local & do some Good this holiday. Stop by Victory on Dec. 27th and help support the Chester County SPCA. We’ll have an oak barrel each of St. Victorious Doppelbock and Hop Wallop Ale. Victory will donate $2 from the sale of each glass poured that day to the CCSPCA.

What are you doing New Year's --- New Year's Eve?

Alrighty boys and babes of beerland, now your thoughts of holiday partying turn to your New Year's Eve plans. I know, I know...some of you won't be caught dead anywhere past your front lawn. That's just fine. I've included hours of local Philly breweries and beer distributors where you can get your "to-go" beer from. For those of you wanting to search out an establishment that will take care of all of the bells and whistles for you (and clean up the morning after), you may wish to consult the Coast-to-Coast Directory that I put together. Currently, it has almost 100 establishments (going up every day) and is broken out across the following categories for easier searching. Check it out. Philadelphia Philadelphia Metro Other PA/NJ/DE Other Northeast U.S. Other United States Farewell to 2008. It's high time for a new year, a new direction, and a new attitude.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Drink Locally from Victory on Christmas Eve

The crowd is growing at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA today. If you're nearby, you may wish to stop in and get some fresh beer to go. Judging from years past, this is the time to go. By 1, 2, 3 o'clock, the bar will be packed. (Well, actually at 3pm they'll be closed.) And, most of them will be enjoying a beer or two while getting one or eight growlers filled. It's one of the heaviest growler business days that they do during the year. Today will tell if the growler filling station investment that Bill & Ron made pays off. Just before noon, there was a 3-5 growler deep line at the station that grew to almost a steady stream of 10 by the time I left. The kitchen's closed, so don't expect food. But, do expect a great lineup of beer...and most likely a short wait to be served. But, they're staffed well with an energetic bunch of bartenders to make your wait as pleasant as possible.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Dinner at Monk's Cafe: 12/16/08

I do these things not to brag, merely to inform. Therefore, I must tread carefully in matters of these Monk's Beer Dinners. When weather interferes, not everyone is fortunate enough to attend (seems I may have been faced with a similar message to communicate in the past). In this spirit and out of deep respect, I will simply pass along what has transpired with nary a boastful word...all of this to engender good will and to leave undisturbed the sensitive souls of those who could not attend. Hopefully, having waited a week to post this will ease some of the pain of those who could not attend. Also, the only pictures I post here will be those taken with artificial light to show the naysayers that my camera's flash does still, indeed, work. Otherwise, just the facts. - George kicked off the evening with an obligatory and festive greeting - Tom and Fergie mingled - Adam and the kitchen crew presented another above-average dinner (oops, was that too much?) - My dining mates (Mark, Mary Lu, Tony, Larry) and I cleaned every plate and, but of course, every glass How am I doing? At the risk of sounding too pleased with myself on this trip, here's a quick run down of notable notes from last Tuesday. - Del Frisco's is truly the visual feast for the eyes that you've heard about. Only stopped in for a peak, not a pint...not even sure if they do those sorts of things. Spotted some generic bottles of beer floating around. Some people who oozed money, and many more who wanted to appear as if they did. - Nodding Head's O-Tay is a good full of flavor drinker and highly recommended On to the dinner... - Can never get enough of the Cuvée de Fleur - The foie gras lightly-seared was a nice preparation - The blend of flavors from the salmon and sake glaze mixing with the justa toucha sour, earthiness, and fruit of the Jolly Pumpkin made this not only my favorite beer, but also pairing of the evening. - If forced to take sides, would have to take the Baladin over the La Moneuse with the rosemary and lamb. - The duck, how to discuss the duck? It was a, uh, large serving. Sort of reminded me of the rack of wild boar at the Lost Abbey dinner earlier this year. And, the beer? No twisting of arms here; thought the Gouden Carolus (one of my holiday faves) went perfectly while the porter just didn't cut it for me. - The Italian cow's cheese (and its funk) went best with the Scaldis. - The 3-piece dessert had three components that were all stellar on their own, yet didn't really come together the way I'd expected...but once again if I had to take sides on the pairing, it would be the Brooklyn. - A very good night to be at Monk's to be sure, but yet not the best beer dinner ever. Perhaps that will take some of the sting off of not being there? 10 Glasses of Beer...7 Plates of partridge, pear tree, or other festive nonsense... ~ Salad of micro greens, mango, & crab meat (citrus dressing, crispy capers, & warm tapenade toast) w/Southampton Cuvée de Fleur ~ Seared foie gras (sour cherry gastrique) w/Ølfabrikken Kloster Jul ~ Grilled salmon (sake/mirin glaze served on braised watercress) w/Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza ~ Lamb lollipop (rosemary scented jus) w/La Mouneuse Special Winter Ale & Birra Baladin Noel ~ Braised duck (shipwreck & bourbon sauce, maple glazed winter squash, and christmas rice, raisins, and walnuts) w/Aracdia Shipwresk Oak Aged Porter & Gouden Carolus Christmas Noel ~ Cheese selection (robiola di bosco (cow-italy); majorero (goat-spain); ford farm clothbound cheddar (cow-england)) w/Scaldis Prestige 2006 ~ Bûche de Noël w/Tröegs Mad Elf & Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout 2007

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 12/22/08

What's on tap at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA as of 12/22/2008?

Abita Christmas Ale
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
Corsendonk Christmas
East End Fat Gary's Brown Ale
Harpoon Rauchfetzen
Stoudts Pilsner
Tröegs Mad Elf
Victory HopDevil
Legacy Brown Aled Girl
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Legacy Midnight Wit
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Lindemans Framboise
Amstel Light

Looking 2009 squarely in the face and saying Bring It On

A new joint (sponsored by the fine folks at Memphis Taproom means that this should be a very good thing) opening on New Year's Day at 5pm could have us jumping off the train home from NYC and heading into West Philly. Local 44 is the name and the intersection of 44th and Spruce is the location. Another new place focused on all things craft, but much farther west looks to be opening on December 29th. Limerick, PA is the place, Craft Ale House is the name and portends great things as well. And, finally, Teresa's Next Door may finally start pulling in some business now that they have a website. All the anguish from those who think an establishment can't thrive today without a website take note. And, I'll stop publishing tap lists for them, since they now appear to be doing it regularly. Who said Decembers are slow?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Amazing Weekly Philly Beer Calendar of December 2008, week 4

This year, December's Beer Calendar in the Philadelphia Region is not planning to take a back seat to any other month of the year. With a festive calendar of events planned, I'll post a little preview of each week's events. With at least an equally long list of social events and to-do lists, you'll want to make sure that you take in at least one or two events during the month...y'know...just to keep a good life balance...and low stress...or whatever other excuses you might need to employ to avoid unpleasant tasks or obligations ;-) Here goes...week four...December 22nd-December 28th 2008; a bit of a slow down from the prior weeks of this month, but still enough to keep things festive, I'd say. Gotta stay lubricated during these holidays. You've got some tasting events to get you through the week at various locations around the region. Check out the following, for example: ~ Not wanting to miss a beat and never one to shy from their own unique events, Spanky, Leigh, and the Memphis Taproom crew will celebrate Boxing Day with a Beer Festival of sorts on the 26th (and don't forget your charitable contributions for a discount) ~ But, first, on the Eve of Christmas Eve (that'd be the 23rd), he and Leigh will be clearing the taps to make way for the Boxing Day Beauties by offering up all remaining taps at $3 each. ~ How about on Christmas Eve, to help get you to sleep before Santa arrives, you head on over to Standard Tap for some whiskey-laden Ten Fidy? I had some of this fine elixir at Falling Rock back in October and can't wait to try it again. No more festive way to wake up on Christmas morning than with pleasant memories of this beer from the night before. A handful of special events and dinners look worth checking out. They include: ~ It's so close to Christmas, how about we do this on the 25th? Well, Victory's Holiday Dinner is actually on the 23rd, but I'll bet the festivities will rival Christmas Day. It's sold out; you should still call and see if you might sneak in on a vacated reservation. But, the big one is on the 27th. ~ Clear your calendar for a post-holiday "reset" with Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack), and a bunch of his Christmas Beers, & Winter Warmers @University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archeology and Anthropology For the full December list, you know where to go.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Spin Around the Web, This Time it's in Video

Last week, I took you on a wordy tour of the web. Many of you appeared to enjoy the articles...or at least you followed the links. This week, I'll make things a bit easier on you. The links here are to videos of beer-related stuff. Grab a beer, sit back, and enjoy. Several are just a few minutes, but none are longer than 30 minutes. They all come courtesy of NPR's Science Friday. Now I'm by no means a scientist but I am drawn to the topics and have a desire to learn as much as possible. And being beer and food related makes the learning more palatable, so to speak. Phew, more room on my desktop cleared...I know that many of you out there are dealing with crappy weather (depending upon your definition of crappy, though) across much of the country today, so hopefully these videos will be useful today, or with your morning coffee tomorrow. enjoy How brewing works Distilling Spirits Urban sustainable environments Beer and Good Head Why Beer Bubbles Cheese from Hendricks Farm (Telford, PA) - watch for the Chimay bottle; take that, Wine (link to Hendricks) An Interview with Wisconsin Brewers

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sixtels Aplenty at Exton Beverage in Exton, PA

There's a room in northern Chester County across the street from the Exton Square Mall where people travel sometimes great distances to step foot in. It's a refrigerated room and people aren't just heading there in the summertime to stay cool. It's the cold box at Exton Beverage on business route 30. Greg Ramirez, owner of Exton Beverage as of October 2007 (manager since October 1996), has been steadily increasing the amount of sixtel inventory over the past few years. So much so that this summer he built racks for an extra wall of storage within the room. The holiday season seems the right time of year to pickup a sixtel or two of beer for all of your dinner and party guests. Quick tutorial to bring you up to speed. A beer barrel (or bbl, abbreviated) is 31-ish gallons of beer. Therefore, a half-barrel (or half keg) is 15.5 gallons and the standard size when the "average" person asks for a keg of beer. A quarter-keg is half of that or around 7.75 gallons. We could talk about other sized vessels like pins and firkins but let's save that for another day. A sixtel then, still using the 31 gallons as the starting point, is just a shade over 5 gallons of beer (or around 40 U.S. pint glasses, more depending upon head size)---also the typical size of most homebrewing batches of beer. There's not much to wax on eloquently about when it comes to the sixtel cold storage at Exton Beverage. I mean, it's a refrigerated room with beer. Even I can't get all that wordy about it. So, instead, we'll approach it from an interview style angle. Suffice to say, it borders on a wow moment when you open the door. Let's allow Greg to share the rest of the story with you. The Brew Lounge ~ Was there a particular point in time or event when you said, "I've got to start focusing on these sixtels?" Greg Ramirez ~ I would say my Eureka moment came when Victory started making 1/6 kegs available to us several years ago. I am not sure of the time frame but I’m thinking it had to be at least 8 years ago if not more. When Victory Brewing started 1/6 kegs they actually had the shorter and wider looking 1/6’s back then. I remember that they had made an initial investment in these particular style 1/6 kegs. These kegs are still around but eventually Victory went to the taller 1/6 kegs. The first time I saw these kegs I immediately thought that these were the perfect size kegs that folks with home draught systems. My thinking was that size and quantity of the 1/6 keg made buying craft beer affordable and convenient for consumers. Personally I’ve had 1/4’s and 1/2’s of better beer on tap and it seems to take forever to get through all that beer. With a 1/6 keg, which is about 55-12oz servings, it doesn’t take as long to kick and this in turn keeps the beer’s freshness. TBL ~ Could you say which is the most popular brewery or specific beer in terms of sixtel sales at your place? GR ~ I would say for Exton Beverage, the most popular brewery in terms of 1/6 kegs would be the local breweries. Victory would take top honors as far as number of kegs. Victory HopDevil, Prima Pils, and Lager are the best sellers for Victory. We also sell quite a bit of Sly Fox beers in 1/6 kegs as well. Stoudt’s, Yards, Flying Fish, Tröegs, and Sierra Nevada all do well. TBL ~ Why do you think people are drawn to sixtels? GR ~ As I mentioned, 1/6 kegs hold about 55-12oz serving or 2 and 1/3 cases of beer. This amount of beer certainly makes it affordable. Typically 1/6 kegs average about $60-$70. When comparing prices of cases versus 1/6 kegs there is definitely saving in volume. Another draw for 1/6 kegs would be the actual size of the keg itself. Since these kegs are tall and narrow they allow one to actually store more than one 1/6 keg in their draught unit. TBL ~ How much additional equipment does one need to tap and serve from a sixtel? Do you sell or rent this equipment? GR ~ Just about all 1/6 kegs use the same tapping system. This would be the standard ‘D’ Sankey coupler which is used on most domestic 1/4’s and 1/2’s. Exton Beverage has all the equipment to dispense beer from all kegs. Picnic pumps are available for use with 1/6 kegs. There is a $50 deposit for the tap itself. Exton Beverage does not charge a rental fee for taps, deposit money is refunded upon return (given a reasonable amount of time). We also offer draught services which include refurbishment and conversions. This includes adding addition draught lines to an existing system. Depending of the space a beermeister or kegerator, one could add as many as three spigots. Imagine the envy of friends when they see three great beers on tap. TBL ~ What is the most commonly requested beer in a sixtel that you can't get? GR ~ The most commonly beer asked for that is not available is probably Yuengling. We also get people asking for Miller Lite, Heineken, and Corona. I find the Corona request funny myself. Corona is not available on draught anywhere but I’ve had people tell me that they have most certainly had Corona on tap! Most of the beer found in 1/6 kegs is craft/micro breweries. There are a few European beers available as well, like Pilsner Urquell and Chimay. TBL ~ If you only got access to a single unit of a particular sixtel that you would keep for yourself and not put out on the floor for sale, which would it be? GR ~ The one beer I would keep for myself? Tough question! As a Hophead I would say Russian River Blind Pig. Pliny the Elder or Younger would be nice too but a bit too strong for me to have on tap, after all I do like to get up early. These past couple of years I was actually able to secure a 1/6 keg of each Sly Fox Anniversary IPA that was released every month. I actually kept these for myself. These beers were single hop IPAs and enabled me to really learn about different hop characteristics. TBL ~ What else should we know about sixtels and how you sell them? GR ~ Over the last several years, Exton Beverage has seen a steady increase in 1/6 keg sales. The larger the selection has brought more sales. This past summer we actually had to expand our cooler space for several reasons. The first was logistics. We had so many kegs stuffed in our keg room that it was virtually impossible to get anything in or out. Kegs were buried and became a bit unmanageable. We purchased a use walking cooler for all our ¼ and ½ which allowed us to dedicate the existing cooler to 1/6 kegs. We finished our last 1/6 keg rack to complete the cooler. On July 1st we were ready for the big 4th of July holiday weekend. We believe we have the largest inventory of 1/6 kegs for retail sales in the Philadelphia area. I have believed that to be successful we need to be a beer destination, not just another beer store. Our website had been a valuable tool in drawing customers to our store from far and wide. We keep a list of 1/6 kegs in stock and update it regularly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 12/17/08

What's on tap at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA as of 12/17/2008?

Corsendonk Christmas
Founders Breakfast Stout
Harpoon Rauchfetzen
Roy Pitz Ludwig's Revenge
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale The Drafting Room's 14th Anniversary (Tröegs)
Tröegs Mad Elf
Victory HopDevil (cask)
Victory Golden Monkey
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Legacy Midnight Wit
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Lindemans Framboise
Amstel Light

Monday, December 15, 2008

From Hoppy to Sour to Coffee, the Weekend was Full of Flavor

It was a good weekend. It started with the IPA Project at Sly Fox (Galena, Amarillo, and that order, my three favorites...with the Galena far ahead) and ended with Firebird Coffee Porter (coffee beans thanks to Steel City Coffee House, just down the street) and Honey Saison (honey courtesy of Exton Bee Company) at Iron Hill in Phoenixville. In between, there was copious lambic sampling at Iron Hill's Media location (needed to rehydrate after walking dogs in Ridley Creek State Park...of course...something wrong with that?!) By the way, I'm not sure if there's a better brewpub tap list at this particular moment than in Phoenixville at Iron Hill. That Firebird Porter? After the festival on Saturday night, much of the small batch was gone, but a few drops of this smooth wonder still it's another story of get some while you can. A very, very nice balance of roaster porter and coffee---real good coffee. The honey saison? Not sure if it was the bees and what they ate, but the saison has very nice (and real) floral flavors. Along with a dubbel, an IPA, a winter warmer, an altbier, a russian imperial stout, and their usual house beers, Iron Hill sure has the spectrum spanned this week in Phoenixville. On Saturday the 13th, Mark and company were pouring lambic and other treats in the Media brewhouse while mixed boxes of Bob Barrar's lambics and other numerous bottled goodies were flying out the door. Were they gifts for others or for the buyers themselves? Hard to say, but suffice to say that bottled products are running low at Iron Hill, with Mark reporting that they are beginning to sell out of some stop in (perhaps call ahead to ensure availability) and get some bottled Iron Hill beer while you can. Price? If you've never bought bottled product from Iron Hill before...Don't think twice; it'll be worth the few extra greenbacks, particularly the lambics, the Old Ale, and the Russian Imperial Stout.

It's 5:56am, do you know where Mark Edelson is?

In bed, of course. What are you thinking? This was recorded maybe a month ago and surfaced the other day on ABC's local Philly affiliate just before six in the morning. Mark discussed their recent Triple Bock bottled release. enjoy...

The Amazing Weekly Philly Beer Calendar of December 2008, week 3

This year, December's Beer Calendar in the Philadelphia Region is not planning to take a back seat to any other month of the year. With a festive calendar of events planned, I'll post a little preview of each week's events. With at least an equally long list of social events and to-do lists, you'll want to make sure that you take in at least one or two events during the month...y'know...just to keep a good life balance...and low stress...or whatever other excuses you might need to employ to avoid unpleasant tasks or obligations ;-) Here goes...week three...December 15th-December 21st 2008, where every day's a holiday, and every night is a Saturday Night. The low-cost and free tasting events are still plentiful here in the third week of the month. Find one that you haven't tried before and check 'em out. ~ Tracy gets crafty all over the Grey Lodge again on Tuesday the 16th, beginning at 5pm; the first time was a blast, get there this Tuesday for some homemade last-minute gifts...and a beer ~ On the 16th and 17th, you'll have 3 chances to meet Joe Sixpack and get a signed copy of his Home Sweet Home Brew, at Devil's Den, and at The Irish Pol ~ Also, the 16th and the 17th have a two-fer at Teresa's Next Door. The 16th plays host to the Maredsous Blonde debut and the 17th brings Tracy and the Victory crew with some special and not-so-usual suspect Victory brews ~ The Grey Lodge stays abuzz with an anniversary party for Sly Fox on the 19th ~ And, then, just for good measure Victory has one more Tasting Night @Bones on the 19th ~ Stop by for the monthly installment of firkin fun on the third Friday of the month at Phoenixville's Sly Fox...this month it's the 19th and the beer is the wonderful oatmeal stout ~ Jack's tickled about his celebrating their 20th anniversary. I recall it only in its pre-rehabbed days when we were both a bit younger. ~ This tasting is actually Union Jack's holiday party on the 21st where you'll be able to put the '07 and '08 Mad Elves from Tröegs up against each other...along with a bazillion other typical goodies that Union Jack's typically carries. Then, two heavyweight events line up for your holiday dollars in the middle of the week (no, not Heavyweight, the beer, silly) ~ On Tuesday the 16th, check out the annual Holiday Beer Dinner @Monk's Café; their reservation list is currently full, but be sure to get on a wait list ~ Thursday the 18th finds Rob Tod of Allagash over at Tria Café for an event entitled A Revolution Is Brewing; this is sold out as well, but once again...waiting never know For the full December list, you know where to go.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Around the Web We Go

I read a lot. Or perhaps better stated, I read and browse a lot. As I read, browse, and stumble my way around traditional and "new" media, I drop notes into my notepad (yes, the actual paper and pen device), drop shortcuts on to my desktop (that'd be the electronic thing), print hard copies of longer material for quiet uninterrupted reading (sitting on the tarmac is great for this, esp. at PHL), and make these notes of connected neurons (not usually a great idea) to revisit something later. Over the past several months, there have been a handful or so of news links that haven't made their way into any particular posting of mine. Not that there's anything wrong with the article; it just didn't find a natural fit into anything specific that I've had to say at a particular time. Okay, you got me, some of these also slipped through the cracks just lying around waiting for me to find them again. In the spirit of end of year cleanup, I'll do a bit of a dump here for your reading pleasure. They are all relatively short, for those of you with the short attention span syndrome, but very interesting. Now that I've done this, I've got a bit of new room to fill on my desktop. Here's the most recent headliner, the unfortunate near-shutdown of the Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh, PA. The search for a new site continues while the beer will be contracted out of The Lion in Wilkes-Barre, PA. A disheartening story, especially for those laid off, anytime of the year but particularly during the holiday season. And a few more from previous months... ~ Vinnie Cilurzo on CHOW ~ Terrapin Brewery on CNN ~ Charles Bamforth at UC Davis in the LA Times ~ Italian Craft Beer surge in the San Francisco Chronicle ~ Jim Koch from some brewery called Boston Beer Co. in the NY Times ~ Kim Jordan of New Belgium in Colorado Biz Magazine And, here's an oldie from a year and a half ago. ~ Getting a Zamboni DWI in New Jersey? not so fast

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great Beer Pics - - - Great Beer Prizes

Jeff Bell, proprietor, at Stonch's Beer Blog and Alan McLeod, head wordsmith, over at A Good Beer Blog are helping to make 2008's Yule and Christmas Beer Blog Photo Contest better than ever. Anyone can participate; yes, even you. Do you have beer-related pictures? Uh, let's that you'd be willing to submit to a public contest? There are tons (probably by now, tons would be accurate) of great prizes being donated by beery-type businesses. Jeff first wrote about it at his site, and Alan has his own introduction to the contest. The entries are piling up and the deadline is this coming Sunday the 14th at 4pm eastern time (9pm London time)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who says beer is expensive?

Beer & Rising Prices? Not at these two local joints in and around Philly. First up is Capone's on Germantown Pike near Norristown, PA. This Thursday the 11th, the bar is pouring free bottled beer.....for three hours. Think of this as a brewery sampling night, but at a bar where they normally sell beer. Well, they'll still be selling full glasses of draft beer, but you catch my drift I believe. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Well, wait until you hear the lineup. Sly Fox Christmas, Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux, Scaldis Noel, Chimay (Cinq Cents, Première, and Grand Réserve), Kasteel (Tripel and Rouge), Gulden Draak, Piraat, Corsendonk Brown, Ommegang Abbey, Allagash Dubbel, Van Steenberg Flanders, Lindemans (Framboise, Kriek, Pêche, Pomme, and Cuvée René). Then, to keep the crazy theme going, head over to Memphis Taproom on Christmas Eve's Eve. That's right, December 23rd, the night before Christmas Eve. From 4pm 'til closing, the bartenders will be pouring every beer remaining on the draft list for $3 per glass. This is to kick the kegs and make room for all of the phenomenal beers coming on line for their Boxing Day Celebration on the Day after Christmas, December 26th. If you want to see what's on tap currently at Memphis, head over here. So how about the tap list for Boxing Day? Some of the best seasonally-appropriate beers around will begin pouring at 8 (EIGHT!) in the morning, that's 0800 folks. Shake off those sugar plums and check it out. Brouwerij Het Anker Gouden Carolus Noel, Brasserie DuPont Avec Les Bon Voeux, Corsendonk Christmas Ale, Tröegs Mad Elf Ale, Sly Fox Christmas Ale, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, La Rullés Noël Du Coeur, N'Ice Chouffe, Great Divide Hibernation Ale, Maredsous 6, Taras Boulba, Mahr's Christmas Bock, Weissenohe Monk’s Christmas Ale, Brasserie Ellezelloise Hercule Stout, Victory Old Horizontal ’06...and a firkin of Harvey’s Christmas Ale. And, who knows, if there's some empty room already on 12/23, you might even see one or more of these go on line early. Never can tell... Indeed, 'Tis the Season for gift giving. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

East End Firkin at The Drafting Room Beats Running

At least this Thursday it does; when faced with running in 35 degree weather, darkness, and the threat of showers on the leading edge of a nor'easter, I'm choosing The Drafting Room in Exton instead. They've got a firkin of East End's Big Hop on the bar this coming Thursday evening (as does their sister location in Spring House). East End is a small brewery in Pittsburgh that only gets out to the eastern side of the state (heck, even out of Allegheny County is an accomplishment) once in a while. The beer is usually top notch, so I don't want to miss this treat. Plus, I can't recall that I've ever had anything cask-conditioned from East End in the past. This IPA should be an excellent introduction. I can always run on the weekend.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Amazing Weekly Philly Beer Calendar of December 2008, week 2

This year, December's Beer Calendar in the Philadelphia Region is not planning to take a back seat to any other month of the year. With a festive calendar of events planned, I'll post a little preview of each week's events. With at least an equally long list of social events and to-do lists, you'll want to make sure that you take in at least one or two events during the month...y'know...just to keep a good life balance...and low stress...or whatever other excuses you might need to employ to avoid unpleasant tasks or obligations ;-) Ready for week two?...December 8th-December 14th 2008 How about some cheap or free tasting events to stay hydrated this week? Check out the following, for example: ~ A Firkin of Victory Night @Standard Tap on the 10th ~ Earth Bread + Brewery keeps the sampling going on the 11th with a Sly Fox Meet the Brewer/Keep the Glass Night ~ Christmas Beers will be pouring and Don Russell will be caroling (well, only if you buy him enough beer) at Isaac Newton's on the 11th ~ Both Drafting Room locations will be pouring firkin-served East End Big Hop Harvest from the bar top on the 11th ~ There's another Victory Keep the Pint Night this time at Gavin's Tavern on the 11th ~ Free beer at Capone's on the 11th ~ Writing? Imbibing? Combining the Two? Only at the Grey Lodge, of course, on the 12th with the next wacky installment of beer promotions - OMG! Ommegang! and Authors A'Plenty #6 ~ Shopping? Imbibing? Combining the Two? Only at Sugar Mom's on the 13th. Sheesh, these guys are just trying to one-up each other - 15th Annual Holiday Arts & Crafts (& Beer) Show ~ New Holland's popping up everywhere nowadays...with no small thanks to Dr. Joel. This time it's a Friday Night Tasting out in West Chester @Goshen Beverage on the 12th ~ Did you miss the bottled lambics in Wilmington last week? Not to worry, get thyself to Media on the 13th for another Bottled Lambics Release Party @Iron Hill ~ In case you're not firkin-ed out (is that possible?), head a little farther out still from the city to Union Jack's on the Manatawny on the 13th for another Sly Fox Firkin Night A handful of special events and dinners look worth checking out. They include: ~ B.United Importers will help you rest comfortably when they present you with A Beer Geek's Winter Dream with Matthias Neidhart @Tria Café on the 9th. ~ It's a little farther out of the city, but one that's worth checking out. The Wild Game & Beer Dinner will keep the holidays from boring you at Union Barrel Works on the 9th. (menu over here) Now, for the biggy. It's an annual must-do in Phoenixville. Don't you go missing it...unless you don't like hops...then, well, forget it until next year when they kick off a Session Pale Ale Project. ~ Fri. 12/12 - IPA Project Day 2008 @Sly Fox; show up anytime after 11:30am and before last call. All the party people will be there at some point I'm sure. For the full December list, you know where to go.