Monday, March 31, 2008

Planning for a Great 2008

Is 2008 looking great here in the Philadelphia region, or what? We got the year off to a great start with Philly Beer Week. You may have heard of it! I've drudged up my old Brew Pub Watch page and updated it with links to everything you need to know about the new and returning players to the Philly Brewing Scene. Keep up, things change fast 'round these parts. I'm sure it won't be long before someone jumps in with something I've missed, right? Coming soon to Philadelphia is the re-emergence of Yards Brewing and their familiar ESA, Saison, Love Stout, IPA, Pale, and the Revolutionaries. This will mark the return of Tom Kehoe and his team, including Tim Roberts, formerly of the suddenly-shuttered Independence Brewing and Dock Street (first edition). Following closely behind (or don't quote me on the exact's not an exact science) will be the glamorous and newly renovated Victory in Downingtown and Ron's Original in Exton/Uwchlan Township. Earth, Bread, + Brewery in West Mt. Airy shouldn't be too far behind these two renovations. And, later in the summer to early fall should be the (don't call it the "General Lafayette") Tied House in my old Fairmount/Art Museum neighborhood. Good times...good times

New Brew Pub Watch

Tröegs Brewing Company in Hershey, Pa.
10/13/11 - Nearing completion
July 2011 - Summer 2011 update

Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, Pa.
10/1/11 - Update #2
7/2/11 - First full day of property ownership
7/1/11 - Announcement

McKenzie Brew House in Devon, Pa.
10/1/11 - Update #2

Forest & Main Brewing Company in Ambler, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
4/9/12 - Grand Opening Notice
10/1/11 - Update #2
8/11/11 - Pix at Facebook
8/11/11 - Update #1

Victory Brewing in Downingtown, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
5/7/08 - Opening Day
3/31/08 - Last Day for the Old Bar
3/22/08 - Nearing shutdown
2/24/08 - Continued Progress
2/8/08 - More Pictures
1/21/08 - Early Progress Update
1/3/08 - Ramp-Down Notice
11/27/07 - Initial Announcement

Ron's Original in Exton, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
4/28/08 - Soft Opening Underway
4/3/08 - Projected Tap List at Re-Opening
3/22/08 - Construction Update & Reminder that they're still open for business
1/21/08 - Construction Update

Yards Brewing in Philadelphia, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
4/24/08 - Construction Update & Pictures
3/29/08 - Construction Updates and a Brewer's Blog
12/21/07 - Ybor Brewing System
8/5/07 - Initial Words from Tom Kehoe

Earth Bread + Brewery in Philadelphia, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
4/2/08 - Construction Moving Along
3/28/08 - Pictures from Tom Baker
12/17/07 - Connection to Collins Bar/Blind Tiger?
12/7/07 - Words from Tom Baker
12/6/07 - Initial Announcement

(General Lafayette) Tied House in Philadelphia, Pa. - Late Summer/Early Fall 2008 Grand Opening [Since Closed]

Union Barrel Works in Reamstown, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
4/6/07 - Now Open!
12/29/06 - Construction Update

11/29/06 - Opening Update
8/30/06 - Construction Update

Triumph Brewery in Philadelphia, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
4/1/07 - Opening Update is 4/6/07

Blind Tiger Ale House in New York City, NY - NOW OPEN!
3/29/07 - Tap List for Grand Re-Opening Party on 4/2/07
3/11/07 - Opening Date Announced (3/15/07)
3/7/07 - License Approved!

11/19/06 - Closure Notice (until liquor license is obtained)
9/30/06 - A 'pre-Ale House' review
8/14/06 - Neighborhood Issues
4/27/06 - Construction Update

Iron Hill Brewery in Phoenixville, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
10/2/06 - Grand Opening Date, 10/3/06
9/29/06 - Soft Opening Dinner review
9/27/06 - Grand Opening & Soft Opening Update
9/1/06 - Construction Update
8/11/06 - Construction Update
7/17/06 - Construction Update
4/9/06 - Construction Update
1/22/06 - Construction Update

McKenzie Brew House in Malvern, Pa. - NOW OPEN!
4/6/06 - 1st Night Review
4/5/06 - They're open for business
4/3/06 - Meet us there
4/3/06 - Opening announcement
3/19/06 - Construction Update
2/11/06 - Construction Update
1/9/06 - Construction Update
12/10/05 - Construction Update
11/25/05 - Construction Update
11/10/05 - Construction Update
11/7/05 - Construction Update

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 3/31/08

Thanks to CaskAleKev for the heads-up on the tap list this week.

What's on line as of 3/31/2008?

Avery Maharaja
Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster's Reserve Extra Brune
Fuller's ESB
Otter Creek Sea Otter Baltic Porter
Sierra Nevada ESB
Tröegs Nugget Nectar
Victory St. Boisterous
Weyerbacher Heresy
Yards Philly Pale Ale
Victory Hop Devil (cask)
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Legacy Midnight Wit
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Lindemans Pomme
Amstel Light

But What About Victory Over Prohibition Day?

I can only imagine what it was like hanging at Victory's fabled long bar from opening to closing time yesterday (3/30/08).

Other than those oh-so-necessary biological breaks, there was one man (you all know who he is) who filled his usual spot at the end of the bar.

Friends came and friends left; Richard remained. Pipes were donned (video courtesy of Richard hisself), Polaroids were snapped (talk about nostalgia), and serving tanks were drained.

I had my growler filled with Storm King before and also did my part with a Hop Devil and Uncle Teddy's while mingling with the celebratory crowd.

I didn't stay for the locking of the doors, but I'm sure more than enough did with plenty of goosebumps and maybe even a few tears to go around.

According to the sign on the door, take-home beer will still be available to go fresh from the brewery during April. See you soon...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yards Construction Updates

"Damn it, Skippy, get to work!" "Dayamn, that's some good beer Skippy!" "Damn Skippy you know it is!" "Skippy, when you gonna get that posting up online?" Looks like we've got some activity over at Yards as their progress continues to an opening hopefully in the next couple of months. They've got a blog to post construction, brewing, and other miscellaneous updates. Apparently, they flip a coin (or some other democratic process) for who gets to pen the entry under the name "Skippy." That way, anyone can be blamed or likewise take credit. Wanna know what's going on? Check out the blog, or e-mail to them via this link for more information.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 3/28/08

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 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 3/28/08
Arcadia Cocoa Loco Stout
Bell's Third Coast Old Ale
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru
Brasserie de Silly Scotch Silly
Brouwerij Bavik Petrus Winter
Philadelphia Brewing Walt Wit
Sly Fox O'Reilly Stout
Sly Fox 113 IPA (cask)
Smuttynose Hanami
Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale
St. Feuillien Brune
Summit Maibock
Tröegs Dead Reckoning

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

Gettin' Rustic in the West Village

Some of the woodwork at Blind Tiger Ale House comes from New England. So, it makes some sense that they put together a little Tuesday & Wednesday Vermont-themed event with these fine breweries and plenty of good cheese (surprised?!) from the state of Freedom and Unity. Here's a rundown of just some of what they were serving. And yet again, plenty of strange looks as I brought a plate full of cheese onto the train (again, "no sir, the service car is not having a wine and cheese event!") Alchemist - first time for me; the Beelzebub Impy Stout (chocolatey) and Heady Topper (great hops, malt too) were so very nice. Though, I was a bit confused and put off by the overly grape-ness of the Bacchus Wild Grape Ale (grapey yes, but not so wild in the way in which I was expecting) American Flatbread - only had these guys previously at Ommegang's BCTC; Paul's a great guy/brewer and my tasting of his Wheat IPA (the 'Centennial') was one of the softest, easiest IPAs ever tasted Long Trail - got lost in the shuffle, skipped Magic Hat - had too many of these in the past, so skipped as well McNeill's - wow! fortunately, well-traveled, beer loving Rich sitting next to me suggested I try any of them...he's had them all...he wasn't wrong. The Imperial Stout (quite nice and dry, roasty, yet somehow rich feeling too), the Pullman's Porter (a perfect porter? pretty close) were very nice. Unfortunately, the ESB was kicked and I had no room for the scotch, the amber, or the IPA. Keeping these guys on my radar for sure. Otter Creek - the gravity poured baltic porter looked great, but only from afar....ggrrrr Wolaver - love finding organic beers, but alas not this time Did I mention the randal-poured 90 minute from Dogfish was also on tap?! Also, Weihenstephaner Weisse, Ommegang Witte, and Bear Republic Racer 5. Too bad.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nothing smokes more than Music, BBQ, and Beer at Bo's BBQ in Lafayette, CA

Now that Philly Beer Week is officially over, I can resume some of my missing California chronicles.

Bo McSwine knows BBQ. Have I said this before? Most likely. But it's always worth saying again. When in the Bay Area, make sure you either take a drive or the Pittsburg BART line east to Lafayette for dinner, beers, and live music at Bo's BBQ. This is just what I did again on this most recent trip. Though most of our beer events were centered on San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, I took the time to introduce Patty to Bo's for the first time. We went with her sister and brother-in-law and a couple of their friends.

I'd be redundant to again describe the beer selection and the non-vegetarian food choices. Just check back here for comments from previous comments. Also, Joy the Restaurant Whore does a wonderful job describing similar highlights from a visit to Bo's and the SF Chronicle has a nice review/biography from a few years ago as well.

What made this trip stand out was when my brother-in-law, Mike, insisted that we speak with Bo. He looked relaxed enough for a conversation so we engaged him for 15 minutes or so. I was impressed by not only his handle on beer, wine, food, and the restaurant industry, but likewise his passion and concern for arts, culture, children, education, family, and general community matters.

What also stood out was the phenomenal soulful sounds of The Black Diamond Band with Layce Baker. So much so that I picked up a CD of theirs for enjoyment at home and on the road. Oh, and someone else, I won't say whom and fortunately for this person I don't have any pictures, enjoyed the night so much that they made a Port Brewing Old Viscosity look like a great chugging beer...straight from the bottle...just saying :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PBW 2008 - And One Last Word

Jack getting in his last words reminded me that I still had this in the hopper. So, without further ado, I hereby present my last words (promise!) on PBW 2008.

I know, I know...what more could I possibly say that hasn't been said. Let's break it up into two categories: more reactions from around town (check here from the first half of the week's commentary); and my overall impressions and suggestions for a better PBW 2009.

- Who wasn't at the "Kill the Sixtel"? Who wasn't amazed at the efficiency and enthusiasm of the crowd moving through the sixtels from bar to bar

- Utopia at Beaumont's/Monk's Expensive Beer Dinner. Say no more.

- Nice comments came in regarding various events at Jose Pistola's, Aspen Street, Johnny Brenda's, and For Pete's Sake

- Where was Lew when he was due on the mic at Triumph? unanswered questions...

- Speaking of where were.....Where were the shuttles due to get people around town? More than a few people have told me they were looking for them, but couldn't find them even hiding around the corner

- will be posting video recap of the finals night at Johnny Brenda's

- Lot of interest in doing more beer runs

- Bobo from Chimay made quite the splash with guys and gals alike

- Scoats continued with more successful oddball (all affection intended) events

- The Ladies Beer Tea sold out and was a rousing success; no tea to be found, I was told

Sssooooo, how to make next year even better? I give the overall 10 day event, eh, something like a B+, which means there's room for improvement. Here's a few suggestions for how:

- plan, plan, plan, organize, organize, organize...more and sooner

- on the more and sooner point, planning sooner and wrapping in hotel and airline/rail packages can help attract more out-of-towners

- get transportation more involved (SEPTA, complimentary shuttles, historic trolleys, rickshaws, etc.); the area's too big to expect people to get around on their own via bus or cab - more suburbs; include them early and earnestly.

Philly Beer is about way more than just Philly Proper. Plus, not all locals from the hinterlands can get downtown as often as they may like to. Give them the option to do more in the 'burbs. - more diversity; Meet 'n' Greets and Special Tastings are great, but how about more homebrewing events/competitions (isn't this where many professionals started?), more dinners (aka food/beer pairing events), and more specialty events (I'll leave it at that since I've got some more ideas).

- more promotional creativity (once again, leaving it at that since I've got some unique ideas here too); make people WANT/NEED to take off an entire week of work to attend as much as they possibly can

That said, I'm signing off of PBW until later this year. I had a great time and hope that you all did too.

A Weekend of This 'n' That

I guess you could say that I wasn't really in the mood for a skull splittin' on this Saturday. My original intention was to do the whole barleywine thing at Sugar Mom's on Saturday, and that's about it. But, with the way I'd been feeling lately, it got pushed back a little in priority. Plus, I'd been wanting to get to the new Philadelphia Brewing Company in Kensington. With Rich Wagner there doing a presentation and all four of their new brews pouring, I figured I could squeeze it in and instead only do a half-session at Sugar Mom's.

So a train ride, then subway takes me to within a couple of blocks of PBC. It was an incredible day for walking the city; I'd have considered getting off one stop sooner and walking if it wasn't for the rest of my afternoon schedule.

I'd arrived early enough to kibitz with Nancy Barton and Dean Browne about the new operation and near-term plans. Also got in a few words with Rich before he kicked off his presentation about the history of PBC...the name. Didn't know there was history behind the name, now did you?

I sampled one of each of the new brews. I'd found the Kenzinger and Walt Wit around town during Philly Beer Week. So, it was a pleasant conquest to finally catch up with the Rowhouse Red and Newbold IPA. My recommendation still holds. The Kenzinger will become a local fave as an easy drinking, lawnmower-like, beer with a great local name. (Matter of fact, they've done a tremendous job on the marketing end...names, design, tap handles, etc...haven't they?) But, drink it either on its own or before getting into "bigger beers" as the Kenzinger's wonderfully delicate flavors get lost amongst higher ABV or more complex flavored beers. No matter, still a great session-y beer.

I cut out of PBC halfway through Rich's presentation (don't think he noticed me leaving behind the 70+ in attendance...congrats PBC on a nice first Saturday event) and headed back to Old City for Split Thy Skull (now in its 13th attempt to ruin your Easter Sunday plans) at Sugar Mom's. The crowd, as expected, was already fully lubricated on these big beauties. Indeed, three had already been kicked (Flying Fish, Stoudt's, and Founders). But, I still had the chance to appreciate the tasty bourbon-aged beer from Porterhouse and several others.

But, while I ran into some great people and sampled some very decent beers, I was longing for some easier drinking beers in an easier atmosphere. I love the subterranean atmosphere at Sugar Mom's, but just couldn't get myself into the proper STS mindset. Fortunately, I'd caught wind of a meetup of sorts over at Triumph. The couches in the back of the first floor, lower key atmosphere and good convo, a Schwarzbier and a Kellerbier were just what I needed to soothe me before catching the train back home.

I debated this last picture, but he I present it to you for your indulgence.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gotta Take the Good with The Bad

This was a great quote from a movie I watched while laid up the other day. While I wondered what to do with some of this disheartening material that I've read over the past several days, the quote reminded me that, as in all of life, there'll always be some bad to balance out the good. I figure as long as the world of better beer continues to grow in quality and interest, we can take some of the bad too. Price Gouging - if it wasn't prevalent before (likely), it is bound to become more so (more likely)...but we also have folks, like Andy, diligently watching now to put bar owner, wholesalers, and distributors on notice Sobering Numbers - Bill Brand reminds us that no matter how many friends you surround yourself with that drink the beer you drink and make their own beer, this country (world?) has a long, long way to go to realizing that most of the beers on these lists have such little taste and character Help Yourself...why, thank you - But then Stan digs up a new place for me to look for next time I'm in the Atlanta area...if you can tear me from my seat at Brick Store Pub. Though, I haven't verified the quality of tap handles at this sports bar joint. Cleanup in Aisle 24 - And Jack reports progress made in potential Pennsylvania approval for beer in grocery stores Another BJCP category - Finally, Vinnie gives his suggestion for another uniquely American beer category. I believe that puts today's score in favor of the good guys. More to come, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Luck of the Irish continues into April at Union Barrel Works

As you work your way through Easter Brunch, consider the next beer dinner scheduled on April 8th at Union Barrel Works in Reamstown, PA. Here's a sneak peak at their expected pairings for that evening's Irish-themed dinner.
Appetizer Bangers and Mashed Potatoes ~Paired with Dubbel U(nion)~ Soup Irish Lamb Stew ~Paired with Pale Ale~ Interim Strawberry Pilsner Sorbet ~Paired with Pilsner~ Pre-Entrée Shepherd’s Pie ~Paired with Uncle Fester~ Entrée Salmon with an Apple Scallion relish, with colcannon potatoes ~Paired with Wobbly Bob~ Pre-Dessert Rhubarb Crumble ~Paired with Double Barrel ~ Dessert Chocolate Stout Cake ~Paired with Round Boy Stout~ $40.00 plus tax and gratuity; Reservation required @ 717-335-7837 Seating at 6:30pm

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ron's Original (Schoolhouse): Open During Construction

Continuing my criss cross county tour yesterday, I stopped in to find what is poised to be the next destination beer bar in Chester County. Ron's Original (aka Ron's Schoolhouse) has always been a good stop for a meal and a beer and/or perhaps some takeout. But, now with a 20-ish seat bar going in and 16 tap handles, I can see us all now jamming in there for happy hours, special events, and the like.

I had a chance to see behind-the-scenes yesterday. The comforting stone work is shaping up nicely, the new takeout area is completed, the tap lines have just been run to the cooler, and work looks to be on schedule for a mid-to-late April unveiling. According to management, we should look for a big weekend blowout in April re-introduce Ron's. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures that they're keeping up-to-date on their website.

Victory: Not Quite Open During Construction

As Victory prepares to shut down for the month of April to complete renovations and upgrades, the exterior is nearing completion as work inside continues. Check out the size of that new sign! Look for a reopening in early May. Check out the updated pictures that Victory keeps at their website.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What's On Tap at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 3/21/08

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 3/21/2008?

Allagash Grand Cru
Avery Maharaja
Harpoon Firth of Fourth Scottish Ale
Philadelphia Brewing Kenzinger
Rogue Double Dead Guy
Speakeasy Big Daddy
St. Bernardus 12
Tröegs Nugget Nectar
Victory Abbey 6
Weihenstephaner Vitus Weizenbock
Victory Hop Devil (cask)
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Legacy Midnight Wit
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Lindemans Framboise
Amstel Light

What's On Tap at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 3/21/08

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 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 3/21/08
Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale
Bell's Third Coast Old Ale
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru
Brouwerij Bavik Petrus Dark
Castle Brewery Eggenberg Samichlaus
Clipper City/Heavy Seas Weizen Doppelbock
Sly Fox O'Reilly Stout
Sly Fox 113 IPA (cask)
Smuttynose Hanami
Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale
St. Feuillien Brune
Tröegs Dead Reckoning
Weyerbacher Quad

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

More Potpourri, then I'm caught up...maybe

Tacking on to stuff I posted yesterday, here's some more odds and ends floating around out there. - Nothing odd about this. Continuing his way-excellent beer reporting in Philly, Joe Sixpack puts out this video in conjunction with - Don, er I mean Joe, put together a set of links that he's compiled thusfar related to Philly Beer Week. I'd mentioned to him at The Brewer's Plate that it would be great marketing for next year to show a melange (barrage?) of media related "stuff" from PBW 2008. Glad you took my advice Don ;-) By the way, Don, I'm still waiting to see the beer-stained proclamation. - Brewers Association announced their '75 Years of Beer' promotion taking place at various participating places across the country. Check out their website for something interesting to do near you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Potpourrific Catch-up

While I've been away, I've collected a few things to share with you. During Philly Beer Week, I came across some new friends whose sites need to be shared with you: - Kevin of CaskAleKev; bringing you all the current cask ale in the Delaware Valley. Is he missing something? Let him know. He's working to make this into Cask Central for the area. - Andrew & Joe of Philly Beer Club; bringing you the sights and tastes of Local Philly Beer. Plus, a great group picture taken at Dock Street of the first running group to arrive after last Saturday's (inaugural) Philly Beer Run. - Dr. Joel of The Grain Bill blog; bringing you more of the written word, but also audio (check out the Adam Avery interview), of the Philly Brewing Scene I've also come across some exciting and, unfortunately, some disturbing news: - Jay reports on some unsettling news coming out of California. Seriously, I thought Cal-ee-forn-i-a is where I'd find all of the cool and sensible folk in this country. Get a grip guys. I'll be following this story closely. - Good things continue to happen at Russian River, according to Vinnie. Looks like a trip to, where was that again?, Cal-ee-forn-i-a will be in order if some of these bottles don't make it to Penn-syl-van-i-a. (why do I keep doing this?)... - ...Oh, and check out the related pictures that Jay posted. - Don posted a link to a freakin' hilarious YouTube video about Jesus Beer, which contains a character that looks an awful lot like my cousin, but that doesn't concern you! Don't know where it came from and didn't bother to check it I send you there to see it for yourself. - Our fine lass, Suzy, has done a yeowoman's job in catching up with all of her missed writings over the past two weeks in just the past couple of days. Go get caught up with her and give her a pat on the back, and liver, for a job well done. - hm, there's more around here somewhere, but that's all the scraps of paper that I can find right now.....go digest all of this for now...I'll be back with more later, after I finish off this Local 1 from Brooklyn - Church Brew Works and John Harvard's, both in Pittsburgh, are celebrating their 1000th brews, with an Amarillo Black Ale and Trippel, respectively - Union Barrel Works has an upcoming dinner on April to be announced soon.

Tap List at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA - 3/20/08

For those who have not made their way to Teresa's Next Door, here's the tap list as of 3/20/08. 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.

Brasserie Cantillon Classic Gueuze
Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont
Brouwerij De Ranke Guldenberg
Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat Maredsous 8
Chimay White
Hoegaarden Witbier
Kulmbacher Brauerei Eisbock
Leffe Blonde
Lindemans Peche
Ridgeway Blue
Rogue Imperial Red
Rogue Double Dead Guy
Rogue Charlie 1981
Scaldis/Bush Noël
Sprecher Abbey Triple
St. Bernardus Tripel
Stone 11th Anniversary
Stone Double Bastard ['06]
Stone Ruination
Stone Imperial Stout ['06]
Stone Old Guardian
Stoudts Gold
Tröegs Naked Elf
Philadelphia Brewing Newbold IPA (hand)
Lancaster Milk Stout (hand)
Sly Fox Stout (nitro)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Split thy Skull 2008 at Sugar Mom's, beers announced

So much for taking the week off around here. But, some things you should know. Plus, this is easy. Get an e-mail, tell you about it. With Union Jack's having their hopfest, this could help you decide between the events. Except for the ambitious of you trying to do both events. Here goes...Split Thy Skull on Saturday 22nd at Sugar Mom's in Old City Philadelphia. Starts around 1pm if I'm not mistaken. Here's what's going on the bar. Enjoy! Flight One -- Arcadia Cereal Killer Barleywine; Breckenridge 471 IPA; Sly Fox Ichor Quadrupel; Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine Flight Two -- Founders Devil Dancer Strong Ale; Stone Old Guardian Barleywine; Stoudt's Old Abominable Barleywine; Thomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine Also Serving... Flying Fish Applejack Eis-Grand Cru Iron Hill Quadfather Quadrupel Porterhouse Old Buck Old Ale

Monday, March 17, 2008

Philly Beer Week Index

With PBW 2008 now behind us, I'm bumping this "index" to the top of the page for the next week. I'll be taking some time off to recover, both physically and mentally. Until then, catch up with some of what you may have missed during Philly Beer Week. God help you if you actually tried to read all of this stuff as I posted it every day and night.

My hope is that we'll be able to dig this out next year and refer back to it as we plan for PBW 2009. Will it be another IMPERIAL Philly Beer Week like this year?

With Philly Beer Week fast approaching, you should have noticed by now that I have been putting together profiles of local breweries and brewpubs every few days or so. For some of you locals, much of what you read in the profiles may not be new news. But, hopefully for those of you a little farther out (geographically, I mean), whether you are attending a PBW event or not, this information may be helpful....especially, the list at the bottom of each profile of "Where you can find during PBW."

I'll keep an index here of PBW-related topics at The Brew Lounge, as well as a link to various forms of PBW calendars that are floating around out there.

Daily Events & Where to find The Brew Lounge & Post-Mortem Wrap-ups
Friday, March 7th; Day 1 Wrap-Up
Saturday, March 8th; Day 2 Wrap-Up
Sunday, March 9th; Day 3 Wrap-Up
Monday, March 10th; Day 4 Wrap-Up
Tuesday, March 11th; Day 5 Wrap-Up

Mid-Term Report

Wednesday, March 12th; Day 6 Wrap-Up
Thursday, March 13th; Day 7 Wrap-Up
Friday, March 14th; Day 8 Wrap-Up
Saturday, March 15th; Day 9 Wrap-Up
Sunday, March 16th; Day 10 Wrap-Up

End of Session Wrap-Up

Run Philly Beer Run - Updated 3/4/08
Rain Date Invoked for Beer Run - Updated 3/8/08
Real Ale Cask List Finalized - Updated 3/13/08

Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant [Profile]
Flying Fish Brewing Company [Profile]
General Lafayette Inn & Brewery [Profile]
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant [Profile]
Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant [Profile]
Nodding Head Brewery [Profile]
Philadelphia Brewing Co. [Profile]
Sly Fox Brewing Co. [Profile]
Stoudt's Brewing Co. [Profile]
Triumph Brewing Co. [Profile]
Victory Brewing Co. [Profile]
Yards Brewing Co. [Profile]

11 more brewery profiles from the Philly Region

A Profile of Joe Sixpack

Official Philly Beer Week Calendar
The Brew Lounge's spreadsheet-formatted PBW Calendar
The Beer Yard's PBW Calendar
Google-based PBW Calendar (thanks to David)
Event Details for March 12th @ TJ's in Paoli, PA
Running for Beer...A Beer Run on March 8th from the Art Museum to Dock Street Brewery

PBW 2008 - Day 10 Wrap-Up

Day 10 Report

Last Day of PBW 2008

Background: There was no doubt that this would be a busy, but memorable, last day to PBW 2008. In some ways, it was a relief that the frenetic pace of the last 10 days was coming to end. In another way, it was a bit of a melancholic feel, like as a kid at the end of summer camp. This first ever Imperial Philly Beer Week (not your standard 7 days), was an unparalleled and unquestioned success and this last day should have been no exception. Looking back, it seemed so hard to believe that The Brewer's Plate was only 7 days prior. Or, that Johnny Brenda's was less than 72 hours.

Where to: Taking the train into the city, I actually skipped(!) Bridewater's and hopped the El to 2nd street where I popped into Campo's for a cheesesteak (a great base!), then to The Khyber to kill some time before heading into Triumph for the real ale festival. Later it was on to Nodding Head, Monk's, and Fergie's.

Why: It was tough to decide which events to hit up on the last day of PBW 2008. Initially, I'd wanted to do a brunch at The Drafting Room in Exton, but when I realized that PA's Sunday laws prevent serving (alcohol, that is) before 11am, I knew that a stop there was out of the question. And, there was no way I was going to get to Fork in Old City early enough to do the brunch there before hitting up Triumph. And, there was certainly no way that I was missing the cask ale festival, but it meant that Drie Fonteinen had to get bumped. Fortunately, I was able to bump into Armand at Monk's dinner later. But, with the Monk's dinner and the Last Call at Fergie's, it meant the canned beer at Aspen would have to be sacrificed. A day of many decisions...not necessarily a bad position to be in, eh?

What to drink: Blue Point Toasted Lager at The Khyber; many, many different cask ales to choose from at Triumph; a lovely (yes, I said lovely) Berliner Weisse at Nodding Head; a handful of special beers, including Westy 12, tied to the memory of Michael Jackson at Monk's with the six-course dinner; then the Cricket Hill's Colonel Blide ESB as my last T.U.D. at Fergie's.

Who to share a drink with: Wow, where to begin?! From the first guy named Tom that I saw at The Khyber (also killing time before Triumph) to the last guy that I saw (Tim Ohst, whom we gave a lift back to Wayne after Fergie's), there were many of the same as well as some new faces that I hadn't yet seen during PBW. Some of the new faces included Kevin (cask ale Kevin), Paul Pendyck (what a wonderful treat to see him and family swing through Philly for a few beers and food (and a fix to the beer engine at Nodding Head!), a guy named Woody dressed like a monk (hm, where have I seen him before?!), Karen (aka BA mughugger and aka Woody's traveling companion!), Jack Curtin (whose path I had not really crossed yet for a prolonged period of time during PBW), and Bruce Nichols (Museum Catering Director and PBW planner).

Reaction: There were no out-and-out disappointments at the Real Ale Festival. The folks from Yards and Triumph did a wonderful job organizing and pulling off the event and the servers with both the food and the beer kept things humming nicely. Nodding Head provided a nice pitstop to put back a recently brewed Berliner Weisse and throw some darts. The Monk's dinner lived up to the high standard that they've set a long time ago. And the wrap-up at Fergie's? Wow! I can't tell you how relaxed so many people looked who had put in such long hours trekking around the city and suburbs for the past 10 days. Their hard work had paid off, creating a successful event that has the rest of the country on notice. Congratulations to all of you...I'm sure the party went well into the early morning hours....again! The drinks were flowing, the karaoke was (sometimes) melodic, and the vibe was pulsing like it would never end. It doesn't have to. Only 5 days 'til Split Thy up!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

PBW 2008 - Day 9 Wrap-Up

Day 9 Report

Background: All worked out well with taking off Friday night, though the happy hour at Nodding Head sounded as special as I expected. It was for the best, since a 6 mile run was ahead of me, after-run beers at Dock Street, and the Grey Lodge Ides of March event at night time. Fortunately, I nixed the MJ Museum event and caught a few hours sleep before Grey Lodge.

Where to: Dock Street hosted our after-run party with pizza and beer; Grey Lodge later found me hunkered down upstairs with Big Dan, amongst many other party people

Why: The running came about from me and Suzy wanting to put on a unique PBW event, one that tells the rest of the world that beer drinkers are not one-dimensional. Rosemarie at Dock Street hopped right on board, offering her place as our destination. On all fronts, this worked out very well.

The Grey Lodge event? Ha, I'm not sure what it is precisely that convinced me that it was worth waking up from a nap, getting re-dressed, and driving back in to the city. It's the Grey's another event thrown and titled in typical Scoats-fashion (Beware the Ides of did check the calendar, right?)...this is precisely the kind of event that will turn out all types of folks from across the beer community...there were buses running from center city bringing patrons. Those are just a few of the reasons that told me to get mine arse to northeast Philly.

What to drink: At Dock Street, phew boy, the pitchers were flying fast and furious. There were multiple pitchers of every available style floating around the thirsty runners and their entourages. Satellite Stout, Rye IPA, Gold Stock, Bohemian Pilsner, St. Albans, and Illuminator Double Bock each offers a little something different.

At Grey Lodge, it was time to put back another couple of Biere de Mars from Southampton, Harpoon Hibernian, and Tröegs Troegenator Double Bock. Other tasties on the menu that I needed to skip included (gravity-poured) Boulder Planet Porter, Weyerbacher 12, and Sly Fox Rauch Bock.

Who to share a drink with: A whole bunch of great people I'd never met before, but now have shared a good run and good beer with. But based on the many comments I received, we may be doing this on a regular basis. Stay tuned...

At Grey Lodge, you name 'em, chances are they were there. Apparently, I just missed Mr. Lager and his lovely; there's a picture to prove it, so I believe it. Brewers, distributors, salespeople, and too many other fun beer folk to mention were all bestowed with homemade crowns courtesy of Scoats.

Too much fun as usual...

Reaction: Don't think I would've had nearly as much fun if I hadn't scored a few hours of nappy time at home. While I would've enjoyed the Museum tasting (and the Malheur???), the nap saved me for the Grey Lodge and Sunday and I wouldn't have it any other way. Just another stellar day in what has shaped up to be a wildly successful first installment of Philly Beer Week. Let's close this thing out now with one last big day! Brunch anyone?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Tradition Continues at General Sutter Inn

While we're counting down the hours to Philly Beer Week's real ale festival, I'll pass along some notes here from Paul Pendyck, the host of monthly Cask Ale Night in Lititz, PA. If you haven't made it to the General Sutter Inn yet for one of the last Fridays of the month tastings, you owe it to yourself and the tradition of real English ale.

1st Anniversary of Cask Night!

That's right, one year of cask nights. I am sure you will agree we have had some great beers. Last month was a great success, we moved into the ballroom and I am sure you will agree the extra space was a necessity.

Also, repeating the beers gave some of you the opportunity to realise the beauty of real ale. A friend of mine, Ray Daniels, who used to organise the Real Ale Festival in Chicago and was a true pioneer of real ale in the US, wrote an interesting paper entitled "The Perfect Pint". The pretense is that because real ale is constantly changing there will be times that you manage to catch cask ale at its peak condition and have that perfect pint. It is a fleeting moment. In January, for me, Ridgeway was a perfect pint. This month after spending another 3-4 weeks in the cask it had lost its edge. It was still superb but not quite as good. That isn't to say that less time in the cask is always better, it depends on the strength of the beer and how it is kept. In fact, for someone else maybe the extra month improved the Ridgeway.

Anyway, less rambling.

This month to celebrate our anniversary we are doing three things:
1. Meet the brewer. Steve Jones, Oliver's Brewer will be here featuring Anniversary Best Bitter, OG 1043, 4.3% ABV. This is an exact replica of the first beer Steve brewed 14 years ago and is the first time it has been brewed in the US. Using Maris Otter pale ale malt, roasted barley, crystal malt and malted wheat. Hops include East Kent Goldings and Fuggles for bittering and East Kent Goldings for the finish. It is a smooth, well balanced Amber bitter, nice body with a lingering Kent Goldings finish.

Steve will also be bringing "Red Flag Ale", OG 1046, 4.4% ABV. Malts used - Halcyon pale ale malt, crystal, dark crystal, chocolate malt, torrefied wheat and amber malt. Bittering hops - Challenger and 1st Gold. Finishing - Bramling Cross and 1st Gold. The malt really asserts itself in this brew with the hops providing balance. Deep red/brown in colour with the crystal and chocolate malt providing hints of toffee and licorice, finishing with a slight sweetness.

2. The first 48 people will get a commemorative pint glass marking the occasion.

3. I will be going to England on a research trip.

Have a great time. Sorry to miss it but the Liverpool-Everton game is too big a draw.

Paul Pendyck

Cask-conditioned beers, often referred to as "real ale", are brewed from only traditional ingredients and allowed to mature naturally. This allows the rich flavours of malt and hops to be fully experienced. For more information on cask ale visit Cask Ale Info.

Join me for good cheer and good company. Be a part of an exciting new tradition in downtown Lititz.

Cask Ale Friday takes place on the last Friday of every month at the General Sutter Inn in downtown Lititz.

Friday, March 14, 2008

PBW 2008 - Day 8 Wrap-Up

Day 8 Report

Background: I knew before today that I was on the fence for tonight's events. Though, I'm sure to hear about how kick-ass the happy hour at Nodding Head was, I needed to get ready for Saturday's run and relax a bit before the chaos of the last two days of PBW 2008 descended.

Where to: Cosimo Restaurant for a tiny happy hour, then home for dinner.

Why: Believe I already splained.

What to drink: Allagash White at Cosimo; Two homebrews while making dinner; and a phenomenal, out-of-this world Calabaza Blanca from Jolly Pumpkin with dinner.

Who to share a drink with: Mrs. Brew Lounge

Reaction: The quiet before storm, no doubt.

PBW 2008 - Sunday March 16th Schedule

Here is a slimmed-down view of just the events scheduled for Sunday the 16th. It's one last opportunity to change your mind! I will also denote where I will attempt to be during the day.

I've taken liberties to modify the descriptions for each event to conserve space. As always, refer to the official schedule of record over at PBW 2008 website for complete details.

** Where to find The Brew Lounge on 3/16:**
  • Drafting Room Belgian Brunch in Exton
  • Real Ale Festival
  • Monk's Dinner
  • T.U.D.
  • Would like to, but won't be able to make it to Drie Fonteinen or ZoT's mussel-eating competition

  • 10am beer PAYG brunch buffet $15.95
    Belgian Beer Sunday Brunch @ Drafting Room (both locations)
    Join us for a Belgian Beer Sunday Brunch Buffet while we pour Belgian beer from De Proef (Flemish Primitive), Blaugies (La Moneuse), Duysters (Loterbol Bruin), De Graal (Hector Tripel). While drinking fine beer our buffet will be enhanced with Belgium menu items like: Mussels in a lager beer broth, waffles served with a cherry lambic syrup, Belgian cheese fondue, roasted garlic steak frittes with garlic chive aioli, carved maple porter glazed pork loin, and stout-spiked chocolate cake.

    11am-3pm PAYG
    Stone Brunch @ Teresa’s Next Door
    Featuring local rep Scott Sheridan and many rare Stone kegs such as Double Bastard ’06, Imperial Stout ’06, 11th Anniversary Black IPA and more to come from the cellars of Stone Brewing!

    11pm-3pm PAYG
    Sunday Morning Brunch @ South Philadelphia Tap Room
    Wake up Sunday morning with discounted Bell's Java Stout and brunch.

    12pm-2pm $35
    Pennsylvania Brunch @ Fork
    Join Fork in welcoming nationally-noted beer writer Lew Bryson for a special brunch featuring a breakfast variety of local beers from his book Pennsylvania Breweries.

    12pm-3pm PAYG
    Brunch @ The P.O.P.E.
    Featuring Flying Fish Apple Jack Grand Cru Beer on draft until last call.

    1pm-4pm $50
    Real Ale Festival @ Triumph Brewing
    Co–hosted by Yards Brewing and Triumph, this fest will feature traditional cask-conditioned ales and participation by over 20 local breweries. A few surprises and special guests are also in the works.

    1:30pm $45
    Winter Adventure Tour of Eastern State Penitentiary and Early Beer Dinner with Stoudt's Brewery @ London Grill
    Meet at London Grill and owner Terry McNally and Stoudt’s Brewery owner Carol Stoudt will first take you to Eastern State Penitentiary for a tour of this historic site. Back at London enjoy a three-course dinner with Stoudt’s beers.

    Meet the brewer: Chris the Enabler of Philadelphia Brewing @ Good Dog
    Chris “the enabler” Morris of Philadelphia Brewing will join us to impart his wisdom on why Kölsch is the beer of the future, and other smart things.

    2pm $35
    Drie Fonteinen Tasting with Armand Debelder @ Monk's Cafe
    We'll be serving Armand's Gueuze, Kriek, Schaersbeek Kriek, Homage (frambozen), and a straight lambic. Armand is a traditional lambic blender who now brews his own lambics for blending. A small snack will be served.

    3pm $25
    Ladies Beer Tea @ The Belgian Café
    There will be unique beers, including a special surprise, paired with a twist on high tea with savories, tea sandwiches, and dessert complimenting the beers.

    5pm $20 entrance fee
    Mussel Eating Competition. @ ZoT
    $100 gift certificate to ZoT for the winner. Half the profits donated to the Red Cross.

    5pm PAYG
    Authentic German Menu @ The Blue Ox

    6pm $85
    Highlights from 10 years of Dinners with Michael Jackson @ Monk’s Café
    Our dinner will feature six of our favorite pairings from the past 10 years of dinners with Michael Jackson. We are donating $15 from each ticket sale to the National Parkinson's Foundation to honor Michael's lifetime of contributions to the world of beer.

    7:05pm no cover; PAYG
    T.U.D. - The Last Huzzah of Philly Beer Week @ Fergie’s Pub
    Karaoke party with local and transient brewers and the ladies of In Pursuit of Ale. Plus special guest bartenders from the brewing profession serving $3 imperial pints of craft brews on tap. Say Goodbye to all the beer madness with that T.U.D. (Totally Unnecessary Drink)

    9pm-1am PAYG
    Who Loves It In The Can-Fest 2008 @ Aspen Restaurant
    Canned offerings with something for everyone, from Sly Fox Phoenix Dunkle to Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale to good old PBR.

    PBW 2008 - Who Is Steve Robeson?

    Since I played the suburban sissy and went home early last night, I'm relying on the good lass, Suzy, for notes from her perspective on the Philly Beer Geek championships at Johnny Brenda's. She's not had much waking time (at least quiet and coherent time) to write on her own site, so I'm honored that she took the time to write this for all of you here. This may get posted on the official site eventually, but 'til then hear what she has to say. Enjoy...

    Steve Robeson truly is Philly's Beer Geek. Jason Harris said it best with "We're all Philly Beer Geeks." It's true everyone in the room could admit such. Steve, a Telford native, is a regular at Iron Hill in North Wales. He is BJCP certified and an avid homebrewer. I actually don't know what he does for a paycheck, but it should be stand up comedy.

    Beer Geeks were selected based on their beer knowledge including technical and pop culture questions, their ability to tell a beer joke, take a beer out on a date, and general enthusiasm and pride for beer as it relates to Philadelphia.

    There was also an open forum question that the judges could ask the contestants. I asked Steve to pair a three course meal with local beers. Unfortunately they ran short on time, and had to omit the tasting portion.

    Carolyn Smagalski and Jason Harris were great hosts and were much more organized than I could've been. The panel of judges were a humorous and seasoned group for the most part (I've only been in the scene for 5 years now). Bruce Williams of Scotland was hysterical. And I think he was in love with Dell until Dell blew the joke portion of the event.

    The Rolling Boil Blues Band was a great end to the night, as Tom Dalldorf of Celebrator and his crew sand spoof songs about our favorite beverage. Johnny Brenda's was the ideal venue (it always is;) for the Beer Geek competition.

    Some of the questions included..
    1. What mashing procedure is typically done by German Brewers
    2. How many notches does a standard 26 mm crown have?
    3. Young and old lambics blended together are called?