Friday, August 29, 2008

The Philadelphia Beer Scene Leaves No Neighborhood Behind

Yes, Jack, this IS a very good thing. From what I saw at Memphis last night, nothing will slow Spanky down. Careful, he might turn the 'S' into a Superman logo. Can't wait to see the new place added along the trail of Bridgewater's, White Dog, Mad Mex, and Dock Street. I can see a certain pub crawl master drawing up plans now. Heck, you could even throw Cavanaugh's in the mix so that you don't dry out along the way. Speaking of no neighborhood left uncovered...The Sidecar (my first visit last night) appears to be doing quite nicely in the not-so-much-'hood-as-it-used-to-be area of 22nd and Christian. Brian, Tim, and Suzanne (along with a few lasses) and a cast of thousands were tossing back perfect glassfuls of rauchbier, dubbel, saison brune, schwarzbier, and one other that I'm counting on someone out there to help me to remember.

Beer Dates in History: September Anniversaries

250 years Samuel Smith The Old Brewery Tadcaster 20 years Great Lakes Brewing

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Iron Springs Rolls Out The Barrels

With the real estate issues behind them and Christian Kazakoff (formerly of Triple Rock in Berkeley) on board, it's full steam ahead at Iron Springs in Fairfax, CA. Check out this article for details on their barrel project currently underway next month (as in, a few days!).

Everybody Drink Sly Fox Tonight, Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

Tonight you can get your Frankie on and drink to the glow of hot pink at The Sidecar with Brian, Suzanne, and the Sly Fox crew. They're promising lots of fun with excellent beer (the likes of which certainly wasn't brewed in Phoenixville in the 80s), neon, music, and food....and maybe even some legwarmers??? The Beer Lass is running things, so the night promises to be a lot of fun...and gentlemen, this is not an IPA-only event! But, I'm betting that some of 'em will be there. Speaking of running... Then, on 9/13, you can run like a fox by joining the Fishtown Beer Runners Club during the River City Festival at Penn Treaty Park along the Delaware River. Now, they may not have a permit for beer during the festival. But, no worries, since (the almost-ready) Yards, Druid's Keep, Standard Tap, and Johnny Brenda's are all just spittin' distance away.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Belgian Answer to the French Dip

On to my next great food and beer pairing. Today at NYC's Ginger Man I found the Ommegang Rouge. This was the inspiration for me trekking to Whole Foods on the Bowery before heading to Blind Tiger before heading to Amtrak before heading to TJs before heading home....are you keeping up? good, because I'm not sure that I am! I had this at Ommegang's BCTC event almost a month ago. Today was the second time. I had ordered a portabello and goat cheese on multi-grain bread sandwich to go with it. I thought it would go well. I had no idea! When Nicole, my bartender, mentioned the word balsamic when I asked her impression of the beer, I had a revelation. Why not try dipping the sandwich into the beer? Of course, no one around me thought that this was a particularly natural thing to do. Then, I took it one step further and poured a bit of the beer over the sandwich. (This was when the level of beer in the glass became a bit too low to make the dipping inconspicuous.) Wow! The sharpness of the beer (yes, Nicole, somewhat like balsamic vinegar...don't we marinate mushrooms in balsamic?) went well with the sandwich, offsetting some of the sharpness of the goat cheese and complimenting nicely the earthiness of the mushroom. The crust and seeds of the multi-grain bread helped to carry away all of the various flavors, cleaning my palate for the next sip and bite. Another great, and unpredicted, beer and food pairing in NYC. Oh, and while I'm on the topic of the Ginger Man in NYC, I should drop a favorable note about an unsuspecting brew from Otter Creek. Yes, the Otter San, brewed with a sake me.

Blind Tiger: I could've had a Pale Ale

I could've had a Bitter, a Bigfoot, a Blonde, a Celebration, a Southern Harvest, an IPA, a Pale Ale, a Porter, or even a Stout, a Schwartz, a Wheat, or a Torpedo. But, when you can also choose from a 20th Street Ale (last year's version of their homegrown Harvest), an Anniversary (this year's), a Barrel-Aged Stout, a Brown (on gravity cask, to boot), a Crystal Wheat, a Pale Bock, a Ruthless Wheat, a Witte, or yes a Debockel Bock.....uh, what was my point? How in the world do I choose? Ah, yes...that was the question. The selection of brews at this annual end-of-summer Sierra Nevada celebration (pun intended? perhaps) at Blind Tiger in NYC is bound to become legendary, if it isn't already. So, in the 90 minutes that I had to spare for this stopover before my train ride home, how in the world did I choose? Well, I went for ones that I haven't tasted before, and I went for the smallest format that they would serve them in. With my experience, the coaching of a couple of new friends (never hard to come by at Blind Tiger), and Mr. Tom Gannon's personal advice (I figured he'd be the first familiar face that I'd see) I opted for ones that I've never come across before, namely the Ruthless Wheat, Debockel Bock, Barrel-Aged Stout, 20th Street Ale, and a beer that I was told ("between you and me") is being discontinued. Since I'm not 100% certain of the terms of "between you and me," I won't be disclosing which specific beer. I was hoping to try the brown ale cask on gravity, but Alan had just driven the tap home and the cask wasn't quite ready for serving. Oh, you want a winner? Guess I would say the barrel-aged stout. It was one of the smoothest, easiest-drinking, while most flavorful bourbon stouts I've tasted. As usual, I left way too early. Too early for having fulfilled my personal satisfaction, but just in time to catch the 6:30pm Amtrak train back to Philly. Perhaps it's a good thing, as I needed to lug my overnight bag, my laptop bag, and a growler (did I mention the growler of Ommegang Rouge?! congratulations if you read through me at TJs tonight for a possible taste!).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Try This Pairing: cask IPA & Watermelon Gazpacho

At Blind Tiger, this was at first a daunting question. The watermelon gazpacho sounded so appealing that I just had to order it. But, which beer to choose to go with it? Turns out the cask-conditioned Cape Ann (of Gloucester, MA) Fisherman's Greenhorn Double IPA poured via gravity was up to the challenge. The near absence of carbonation allowed tasty and fragrant hops to shine in and amongst the fresh garden flavors of pepper, onion, tomato, garlic, and (yes) watermelon. It was like a big fresh harvest. Goes to prove that sometimes the simplest combinations are the best. And, if you're wondering, the watermelon played a background role bringing in just the slightest notion of watermelon rind to knock off a tiny bit of the garlic, onion, and pepper wallop.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beer Calendar: What To Do in September 2008

Is this a crowded Back To Beer Month, or what? What is a sane person to do on the weekend of 9/27...or even weekend of 9/13? on. Philadelphia Thu. 8/28 - Drink Like A Fox@The Sidecar Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Fri. 8/29-Sun.8/31 - Mystery Beer Weekend @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (see website for details) Fri. 9/5 - Cheese & Beer @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $60) Sat. 9/6 - Riverhorse Tasting & Cheese Pairing @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA (5pm-7pm; free) Tue. 9/9 - 25 Years of Chimay in the USA @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA (5pm-7pm; PAYG) Fri. 9/12 - Lord Chesterfield Ale World Draft Debut @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; PAYG) Sat. 9/13 - River City Festival @Penn Treaty Park, Philadelphia, PA (9am-6pm) Sat. 9/13 - Beer Olympics 2008 @Manayunk Brewery, Philadelphia, PA (11am-5pm; $50) Mon. 9/15 - Russian River Day @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA (11:30am-???; PAYG) Tue. 9/16 - The Funky Monk @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $60) Wed. 9/17 - Halfway to PBW 2009 with The Beer Lass @Bridgid's, Philadelphia, PA (7pm-10pm; PAYG) Wed. 9/17 - Tröegs Firkin of Dead Reckoning Porter @Kite & Key, Philadelphia, PA (7:30pm; PAYG) Fri. 9/19 - International Talk Like A Pirate Day @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Sat. 9/20 - Rich Wagner Presents: Philadelphia Breweries After Repeal @Philadelphia Brewing, Philadelphia, PA (2pm; PAYG) Mon. 9/22 - A Taste of Tradition: Chimay Tasting @Morton's Steakhouse, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-7:30pm; $45) Tue. 9/23 - Palm Beer Dinner @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA (7pm-10pm; $55) Wed. 9/24 - Gluten-Free @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Fri. 9/26 - Sprecher Night @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Fri. 9/26 - Stoudt's Brewing & Cheese @Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia, PA (6pm-8pm) Sat. 9/27 - Philly Oktoberfest '08 @23rd Street Armory, Philadelphia, PA ((12pm) 1pm-5pm; $15/$45/$75) Sun. 9/28 - Sippin' By The River @Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, PA (1pm-5pm; $30) Tue. 9/30 - Off-Centered Ales & Ancient Brews @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $60) Tue. 9/30 - Elysian Meet & Greet @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA (5pm-7pm; PAYG) Philadelphia's close suburbs mid-to-late August - Release of Fresh Hop Belgian Pale Ale @General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (details to follow) Thu. 9/4 - Small Plates Tasting @Iron Hill, North Wales, PA (7pm; $35) Thu. 9/4 - Thursday Night Tasting (Ithaca Apricot Wheat, draft) @Goshen Beverage, West Chester, PA (4pm-10pm; free) Fri. 9/5 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (12pm-???; PAYG) Mon. 9/8 - Tröegs Meet The Brewer & Tasting @Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, King of Prussia, PA (6pm-7pm; $20) Wed. 9/10 - Kick The Keg Wednesday Night (Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout & Ithaca 10) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (4pm; PAYG) Fri. 9/12 - Second Friday IPA Varietal Release @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (12pm-???; PAYG) Sat. 9/13 - HopFest @The Drafting Room, Spring House, PA (12pm-???; PAYG) Sun. 9/14 - Jenkintown Jazz and Brewfest @Jenkintown Town Square, Jenkintown, PA (1pm-6pm; $25/$30) Mon. 9/15 - Full Mooner 9 @Blue Sky, East Norriton, PA (7pm-10pm; $20) Thu. 9/18 - Ithaca Promo @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (PAYG) Thu. 9/18 - Thursday Night Tastings (Old Dominion) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7pm-9pm; PAYG) Sat. 9/20 - Oktoberfest 5-Course Brewmaster's Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, West Chester, PA (7pm) Sun. 9/21 - Bike Fresh Bike Local @Victory Brewing, Downingtown, PA (9am-4pm; $35/$40) Sat. 9/27 - Fall Fest @TJs, Paoli, PA (7pm-1am; PAYG) Sat. 9/27 - Fall Fest @Victory Brewing, Downingtown, PA (2pm-9pm; PAYG) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Fri. 8/29 - Cask Ale Night (Lancaster Milk Stout, Celtic Rose, & Hop Hog) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; PAYG) Sat. 9/6 - Port/Lost Abbey Tasting @Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny, Boyertown, PA (3pm; PAYG) Sat. 9/13 - Capital City Invitational Beer Festival @Appalachian Brewing, Harrisburg, PA (12pm-3pm, 4pm-7pm, 8pm-11pm; $15/$30/$35) Sat. 9/13 - Lehigh Valley Brewfest @Scott Park, Easton, PA (2pm-6pm; $5/$30/$35) Thu. 9/18 - For The Love Of Blondes @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA (6:30pm; $30) Fri. 9/26 - Cask Ale Night (Oliver's/Wharf Rat's Strongman Pale, Pagan Porter, Nut Brown) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (4:30pm-6:30pm; pay as you go) Elsewhere Sat. 8/23-Sun. 8/31 - Belgian Fest @Ebenezer's Pub, Lovell, ME (see website for details) Wed. 8/27 - Sierra Nevada Strikes Back @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (2pm; PAYG) Sat. 9/6 - Real Ale Festival @Duclaw Brewing, Bel Air, MD (12pm-4pm; $45) Wed. 9/10 - Sixpoint @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4pm; PAYG) Fri. 9/12 - NY Brewfest '08 @South Street Seaport, New York, NY (5pm-10pm; $50) Fri. 9/12-Sun. 9/14 - GermanFest @Max's Taphouse, Baltimore, MD (TBA) Fri. 9/12-Sun. 9/21 - New York Craft Beer Week @various (see website for details) Sat. 9/13 - Steel City Big Pour @Construction Junction, Pittsburgh, PA (12pm-3pm, 5pm-8pm; $10/$35/$40) Sat. 9/13 - GonzoFest @Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD (3pm-9pm; $12/$15) Sat. 9/13 - Ommefest @Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY (2pm-5pm; a free family event) Wed. 9/17 - Uinta @Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY (4pm; PAYG) Fri. 9/19-Sun. 9/21 - Manhattan Cask Ale Festival @Chelsea Brewing, New York, NY (12pm-12am; no cover, PAYG) Sun. 9/21 - Dogfish Dash @Rehoboth Beach, DE (8am; $15/$20/$25) Sat. 9/13-Sun. 9/14 - Brews on the Bay @SS Jeremiah O'Brien, San Francisco, CA (12:00pm-4:30pm; $40/$50) Fri. 9/26-Sat. 9/27 - Belgian Beer Fest @The Cyclorama at The Boston Center For The Arts, Boston, MA (see website for details) Sat. 9/27 - Oaktoberfest IV @Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles, CA (12pm-5pm; $10/$35/$40) Sat. 9/27 - Pipes in the Valley @Riverfront Plaza, Hartford, CT (11am-10pm; $10/$35/$40)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Belgian Beer Dinner to set the table for 2008 Beer Dinner of the Year

Mr. Home Brew Chef, aka Sean Paxton, just can't get enough of pairing great beer with great food. And, neither can we...or at least I'm going to speak for the collective we. The approach to developing a menu of this magnitude astounds me and I, for one, would love to be there next Thursday at Ebenezer's in Maine. Sadly, it almost certainly won't happen. Though, notice, I said almost. Check out a sneak peak of the beer menu here, then jump over to the full menu of food and beer over here. 10 courses....not a misprint! (If you think Sean's not been busy enough of late, perhaps you'll be impressed with his contributions to The Brewing Network's reworked website and their Beer & Food section) First Course-Saison Dupont Second Course-De Ranke Guldenberg Third Course-Val Dieu Grand Cru 2006 Fourth Course-De Struise Pannepot Fifth Course-Dupont Biere De Miel Sixth Course-De Struise Pannepøt Seventh Course-Rochefort 8 Magnum 2007 Eighth Course-De Dolle Mad Bitch Ninth Course-De Struise Aardnon (Earthnun vs Earthmonk) Tenth Course-Péché Mortel 2006

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Mariage made at Tria

If this coming Wednesday, yes in 2 days, is anything like the Boon Geuze Blending event that I attended at Monk's last year, this should be well worth your time and money. Best yet, you don't need a reservation.
Lovers of tart 'n funky beers: Don't miss this unique opportunity to taste sublime three-year-old Lambic used to blend the famous Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait. Compare two unblended Lambics straight from Casks 17B and 52, then blend them together as would a real Lambic producer! Legendary Belgian beer expert and importer Don Feinberg procured these rare kegs for our enjoyment and will be mingling while sharing his expertise.
  • Tria Washington Square, 12th & Spruce Streets
  • Wednesday, August 20
  • 5:00 - 7:00pm
  • $12½ for a 5 oz. tasting of both beers
  • No reservations-just show up
  • TBL, BB2, and Growing Hops in the Mainstream Media

    Did you see this article in the Philadelphia Daily News back in the spring? Joe Sixpack spotlighted homegrown hops that Adam and his son and I harvested last fall along with a quote from me in his weekly article that he'd written to spotlight DIY hops as the growing season was beginning. Now, with the harvest upon us and brewers beginning to use fresh hops, I thought I'd throw this back out there again for your consumption. Speaking of which, go grab something to consume, come back, and read the article from Joe's archives. Want more links? Start with Adam's collection of hops growing resources and links over at Beer Bits2. It's not too early to start planning for next year's crop!

    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Dogfishery at the Blind Tiger

    Well, I can't make them all. I'll be looking forward to the Blind Tiger/Sierra Nevada event on 8/27 while lamenting being in Texas during this one for Dogfish. Anyone willing to fill in for me? I think it might, kinda sorta sound like it might be an okay time? ;-)
    So, this Wednesday August 20th @ 4:00PM we will be serving six lines of Dogfish Head 90 Min. IPA via six different Randalls - all filled with different ingredients! The List: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Simple Thai (Randall filled with Lemongrass) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Mint Julep (Randall filled with Mint & Bourbon balls) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Summer Fresco (Randall filled with Melon & asst. fruits) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Northern Winter (Randall filled with Pine & Spruce) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Italian Seasoning (Randall filled roasted Pine Nuts & Dried Oregano) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Hoppy Giant (Randall filled with Warrior & Columbus hops) As always, there will be free cheese on hand for your tasting needs… Are you ready?

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Dog Days of Summer 2008: This Year's Version

    The running has been great and the beer tasting even better. This has been one heck of a summer for great craft beer here in Philly...and beyond. But the dog days of summer here in August are doggin' me with a bunch of work that I'm doggedly trying to keep up with. Fortunately, the weather hasn't been as bad as the dog days are normally defined to be. So this weekend looks like a good mid-month breather; you likely won't see me out and about nor much here in this spot until again next week. If you've been one of the many to leave me an e-mail (that has seemingly gone unanswered), this looks like the weekend for me to get caught up on my inbox as well. The last two weeks of the month are going to keep me nice and busy (well, at least busy) so if you don't hear me blathering on as much as you're accustomed to, then just wait 'til September cuz things should be getting real interesting right around then. Good beer...

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    How to Read Beer more Efficiently

    How do you get your Daily Fill Up at The Brew Lounge, or any of the other myriad beer sites out there in the big wide world of the Internet? Well, if you go through a list of favorites, or try to remember to visit them all on a regular basis hoping that you don't miss any, then you're not going about it in the most efficient manner. I could try to describe how to use these tools and why you should, but there's a way better website out there that explains these matters in such an easy manner, that why should I break a sweat doing it? It's amazing how these folks at Common Craft have taken what could be complex topics (to many people) and communicated them in such an easy fashion. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) - If you don't subscribe to my RSS feed, then you might not know what RSS can do for you. - There's a little link over there on the right for my RSS feed. See it? It's labeled, conveniently, "RSS Feed." Look for similar words or the orange symbol on any other website with an RSS feed. - Most/Many sites have an RSS feed that can be subscribed to similarly with just a couple of clicks. - After you watch the tutorial, you'll want to subscribe to my RSS feed and dozens of other sites. - In the end, keeping up with your beer reading will never have been easier. Twitter - Honestly, I tried Twitter and it hasn't yet caught on with me. But, it's caught on elsewhere with brewers and writers alike. Like anything, if you're willing to put in the effort, you might have some fun with it. - Go watch the tutorial, then look for "Beer" feeds on Twitter, follow them follow you (but don't follow me, it'll get you no where), then wait for your tweets - Basic Brewing, Magnolia, Stan Hieronymous, Toronado, Scoats, Flying Dog, and The Brewing Network are great places to start

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Let's GoCycling

    You might think that between Chris LaPierre and I that we had enough to say about Ommegang, cycling, and fitness? Well, I really dropped the ball in one regard. Behind the cycling odyssey to Cooperstown was local cycling and beer enthusiast Jeff Appeltans and his partner Lara Marek. Through all of my postings during their journey, I never once included a link to Jeff's latest endeavor; I've since gone back and fixed that and here's some more about Jeff and what he's up to with GoCycling. Jeff has taken roads for cycling and beer drinking that have crossed way back in the past. For starters, his father was born in the small Belgian village of Kerkom, home to the eponymous brewery that makes Bink beer. In 1983, Jeff was touring through Europe by bicycle and visiting extended family in Belgium and the Netherlands when he tried his first Duvel. He says that he's been hooked ever since. Not convinced? How about in 2006 when he and Lara took a 14,510 mile road trip with mountain bikes & road bikes riding well over 1,000 miles in addition to hiking more than 100 miles? In between they visited over 30 breweries along the route through Canada & the United States. They returned to Philadelphia with over 3 cases of beer and 2 cases of wine stashed under the seats of their Subaru and anywhere else that they could find space. Last year, they did the ride to the Ommegang BCTC festival on their own. In hind sight, Patty recalls talking with them in the gift shop at Ommegang on Friday afternoon. Quite a few others noticed their bikes as well and were interested but apparently not nearly as many as this year, likely due to the additional "celebrity beer" riders along for the ride. Jeff's up to a lot of great things that will help further the education of those who do not yet understand that there is place in a healthy and active lifestyle for the responsible and moderate consumption of fine alcoholic beverages. Keep an eye on his website, where he is currently selling sharp looking cycling jerseys. Over the coming months, you may start to see cycling tours being announced there, and when some of them involve our favorite beverage, well you know I'll be letting you know about them too. Cheers, Jeff & Lara. Keep up the great work!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Three Charities Worth Your Attention

    Pints for Prostates Drinks Journalist Rick Lyke has fought his fight with prostate cancer and come out swinging with a Pints for Prostate charity. You can read more about the objectives of the program over at the Pints for Prostate official website. ALS Benefit- Raise A Glass to Darryl Goss Cambridge Brewing's first head brewer, Darryl Goss, has been dealing with ALS for the last two years. Flat Top Johnny's, next to CBC, is hosting a fundraising event (beer, food, pool, auction) this coming Thursday, August 14th where proceeds will help to cover mobility and other needs of Darryl's that are not covered by insurance. If you are unable to attend the event, contributions are accepted at the address listed on the website. tip: if you find Flat Top Johnny's blog difficult to read, trying pushing Ctrl-A and it may become more readable Rock the Mike: The Mike Freeman Brainefit Long-time employee, Mike Freeman, of Flying Dog has been fighting brain cancer now for several months. Like with Darryl Goss, friends and family are getting together to help raise money to offset some of the uninsured astronomical medical expenses. Check for details of the 8/23 event in Colorado over at the site. Also, you can follow along with his progress over at a site maintained by his fiancée.

    Beer Run at Ortino's Northside

    I'm rounding up. It was a great 7 mile run (6.8 if you really want to be specific, but hey we earned the extra 0.2 mile credit), with no less than five noticeable hills, in a steady drizzle on Sunday. Big props go out to Chad and Kevin for making the long trek out to Ortino's Northside from where they live. Of course, the group could have been larger. But, given the distance of Ortino's from most of the beer runners on my distribution list and the projected weather, I wasn't too surprised. Somehow, we found a break in the weather where it only drizzled steadily on us, which was more of a refreshing drizzle rather than blinding, and we missed most of the wind and lightning. Any of you in the southeastern Pennsylvania area this past Sunday know exactly what I'm talking about. We actually had more friends meet up with us afterwards than there were of us doing the running. This one, that one, the other one, the little one, the big one, and everyone but no one showed up to lend rehydration support at the finish line. We all gathered outside under Northside's patio. And, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Sara (WHO'S your shadow?!) who made sure that we stayed properly hydrated...and that we kept our odor-offensive selves outside and away from other more pleasant looking customers. Oh, and yes gentlemen, Sara still rocks. What a great place this is to gather and while the afternoon away, especially when the afternoon is filled with torrential weather. Hefeweizens, IPAs, chocolate stouts, and imperial something-or-others all went done extremely well, especially when paired with nachos, scallops, and of course John Ortino's signature barbecue. You should be able to pick up on my ringing endorsement of Ortino's Northside. If you haven't been there before--yes, it is a bit of a trek for those of you in the Philly area--I challenge you to get there and try it for yourself. Put up the atmosphere/service, the beer list, and the food against any of the Philly-area's best and tell me if you don't agree.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Fresh Hopping at the General Lafayette

    Heard from Chris last night. The beer's ready to be loaded up into the bright tanks. It looks as if the DIY hop project has succeeded this year and we can look forward to trying some of their new "Belgian-style pale" brew as early as next week. If it's the only reason you're heading to the pub, you may wish to call first to check its availability. Here's a bit of the notes from Chris back in July.
    We at the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery have been growing and harvesting our own Hallertau hops since 1999. This year's combination of intermittent rain and dry, sunny days have contributed to large, abundant hop cone growth. We will be employing them to brew a Belgian-style pale ale some time this week. We do not know their alpha acid content, but they appear (smell, taste) quite mild. So, we will only use them as an aroma addition in our kettle, late in the boil process. Look for our fresh-hop Belgian Pale Ale in mid- to late-August. Cheers, Christopher W Leonard, Brewmaster/Proprietor

    Beer Dates In History: August Anniversaries

    25 years Mendocino Brewing 20 years North Coast Brewing 15 years 75th Street Brewery 1 year Carolina Brewery, Pittsboro

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Good Beer Not A Shore Thing

    I Would Never Think of Going to the Jersey Shore in Search of Good Beer...But, it found me...eventually.

    Farther inland, there's Flying Fish (might as well call it Philly, it's so close to Not Jersey...sorry guys), Triumph and River Horse a little to the north, then the concentration of good beer gets better as you head into the northern half of the Garden State.

    But, down in the southeast at The Shore, things historically have not been and continue to not be so good. Mark Haynie and Lew Bryson indicate as much in their latest book, New Jersey Breweries, a great guide to the brewing scene in New Jersey. It's not as bad as some might have you believe, save for south of Atlantic City, as Mark and Lew shed light on places and happenings across the State that might surprise non-residents.

    On our recent trip to Ocean City, "dry" if you're not aware, we made the prerequisite stop at Circle Liquors in Somers Point for liquid refreshments to take on to the island. I'd brought some goodies from home as well, that'd I been looking forward to some relaxing time to appreciate. Malheur Brut ($23.99), DeuS ($24.99), Super Baladin ($10.99), and Weyerbacher 13th ($?) were some of the treasures I found for decent prices. I mentioned the store after my last visit to O.C.

    During our midweek Big Night Out reminiscing in Sea Isle City at some "typical Shore bars," I encountered a craft beer lover's nightmare. But, like I said in the opening line, it's not like I expected anything spectacular. Just maybe a single solitary Victory, Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, or something widely distributed along those lines. Seems not.

    When the best I could get was a Blue Moon that tasted nothing like it (was it really a Landshark instead?!) and Yuengling Lager, which I've never cared for, I decided I was the perfect candidate for D.D. On the other hand, it was a fun trip down memory lane of cover bands and beach bar debauchery, while at the same time reminding me that I'm not that young anymore.

    So, after finding a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with my excellent seafood dinner in Somers Point (The Inlet) the following night, I continued the Somers Point theme and met up with resident and beer writer Mark Haynie the next day after. I needed a break from the beach and sure wasn't going to spend my day shopping. Plus, I've always said that "when I'm at The Shore, I'll look you up" so I knew I better hold true to that promise before the next Monk's dinner comes rolling around.

    Mark and Mary Lu graciously hosted me for lunch and some of the best beers to be found at The Shore. I took along a very delicious bottle of '07 Gratitude from East End Brewing. Funny, the best beers at The Shore were at a guy's house! We talked about, uh, Beer, life at the Beach, and his book adventures with Lew. Good times for sure...

    I took along a copy of the book with me for beach reading the rest of the week. I'd already finished Don's Philly Beer Guide earlier in the week and it was time for something new. The New Jersey Breweries book, unlike Don's where I was usually finding myself saying things like "tell me something I don't know!", has definitely given me a few new items on my Beer Scavenger checklist for east-of-the-Delaware trips.

    You should pick up a copy of the book as well. See how many of these NJ sites and events you've been to. There will be more book signings in the future, announced so far are at the Marlton Borders on 9/27 and the Deptford Borders on 10/25.

    Friday, August 08, 2008

    Next Union Barrel Works Dinner 8/19/08

    I whispered a few months back to Tom & Amy that it would be interesting to do a regional concept dinner, Pennsylvania Dutch. This dinner is a nod to me and I get a quarter from every seat sold ;-) Union Barrel Works Beer Dinner Tuesday August 19, 2008 ~ Appetizer ~ Corn Pie paired with Pilsner ~ Soup ~ Chicken Corn Rivel Soup paired with Hefe Weizen ~ Interim ~ Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing paired with Pale Ale ~ Pre Entrée ~ Chicken Pot Pie paired with Lager ~ Entrée ~ Ham Loaf with Glazed carrots paired with Uncle Fester ~ Pre Dessert ~ Rice Pudding paired with Dubbel U ~ Dessert ~ Shoo Fly Pie paired with Round Boy Stout Price per person ~ $40.00 + tax and gratuity Reservation required – 717-335-7837 Seating at 6:30pm Note: 3 glasses of wine may be substituted for Beer Please indicate when making reservation

    Upcoming Events @ Monk's

    For those of you planning types, there are some Monk's dinner dates just announced to put on your cryin' that you didn't have enough notice! For the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, non-committing types, there are a couple of PAYG, just-show-up events for you. 9/9/2008 - 25 Years of Chimay in the USA, 5PM-7PM Cash Bar 9/27/2008 - OKTOBERFEST, Time TBD $40 (RIP, Ludwigs) 9/30/2008 - Elysian Meet & Greet, 5PM-7pm Cash Bar 10/14/2008 - Full Moon Beer Dinner, 7PM $TBD 11/11/2008 - TBD Beer Dinner, 7PM $TBD 12/9/2008 - 14th Annual Holiday Dinner, 7PM $TBD

    Thursday, August 07, 2008

    AHA Rally at Iron Hill, Wilmington: 8/8/08

    Do you homebrew? Or are you simply looking for something to do tomorrow night in a way that supports the homebrewing community? If so, then come on out to Iron Hill's Wilmington, DE location along the waterfront for an American Homebrewers Association (AHA) rally. It's open only to existing members and those that intend to sign up for a new membership. If you already have a membership, consider upgrading to a family membership if you have another aspiring homebrewer under your roof. Joining Iron Hill will be Dogfish Head (Milford), Twin Lakes (Greenville), and Stewart's (Bear) for an all-Delaware brewing party. Kind of like, Delaware comes to Delaware. In addition to cool people and fun games, here are the special beers that will be poured for attendees only. Iron Hill Oak Aged Old Tom Barleywine Heywood Dogfish Head Red & White Midas Touch Stewart's 2008 Barleywine Twin Lakes Route 52 Pilsner

    Tuesday, August 05, 2008

    Bottling with Gratitude at East End Brewing in Pittsburgh, PA

    FINALLY! A chance to take Scott Smith up on one of his e-mail requests for volunteers at his East End Brewing in Pittsburgh, PA. We were already in town for the meetup of Craft Beer Radio and The Brew Lounge to complete the surrender of goods from the hockey playoff wager. This occurred later on Saturday the 28th and Scott was looking for volunteers in the early morning hours.

    Seeing the market release of the '07 Gratitude scheduled for 8/9 (important details here) reminded me of the need to get this posted for your consumption. Volunteering at this community-based brewery (not that the community actually owns it, or anything see?) was too good of an experience not to share. Scott's late getting this '07 barleywine out; I'm late getting this message least we're in the same boat. At least in his case, the barleywine ages commentary, not so much so.

    We headed over to East End on that particular Saturday morning for a 9am kickoff of the bottle wrapping project. If you've never seen the finished Gratitude product, this marks the 3rd year running (no, this isn't about beer and fitness, for a change ;-) that Scott has wrapped each bottle completely in recycled paper and wax-topped them to boot. It's a long, time-consuming process that is better performed as a group.

    It's a messy process, too. From wetting the paper with flour-based glue to wrapping the bottle (ensuring all air bubbles are carefully squeezed out) the process takes an average of a couple of minutes per bottle. With 1500 bottles (125 cases, if I divide correctly) to wrap, it took each and every volunteer pitching in on this warm and muggy morning to get the entire inventory wrapped and stacked by mid-afternoon.

    We cut out around noon, giving us enough time to grab some lunch and relax before heading over to Bocktown for our meetup with Jeff, Greg, and the Craft Beer Radio crew.

    Not, though, before sampling some of Scott's gose. For those not familiar with this revived style (okay, maybe it's not completely revived quite yet), it reminded me a bit of a kinder, gentler berliner weisse. As you likely know, the berliner weisse can be quite a tart wakeup for the palate. The gose is too but in a, how shall we say (oh wait, I already said), kinder and gentler way. His first attempt at the gose was unsuccessful, but after a 3 day sour mash Scott was happy enough with this second batch to keep it and keg it. It's appropriately named 'Here It Gose Again' and by now may very likely be a distant memory. It had me thinking that this would make a great citrus-y poolside refresher during hot summer months.

    After some conversation about his conservation efforts, I grabbed a new lid (sported after a beer run, astutely spotted by Scott), a couple of more pictures, and took off. But, not before Scott slipped a couple of unmarked '07 barleywines under my arms for a preview taste.

    During a recent trip to The Shore (to be ready for your reading pleasure very, very soon, I promise...pins and needles, I'm sure), Mark Haynie, his wife Mary Lu, and I enjoyed a bottle. So much so, I'm doubting that I'll be able to resist for much longer opening the second bottle. A little extra time in the bottle has done all that it needs to do to make this ready to drink immediately.

    From some of the chatter in the forums, it looks as if the stash won't last for long as fans are due to sweep in on the brewery this coming Saturday, August 9 for the debut of the '07 Gratitude.

    As to my "community" comment earlier on, I don't think Scott would mind my reprinting of his thank-you note to the volunteers who showed up to help wrap the bottles on 6/28.

    Hey there FOTB,
    I usually don't send a message out after these volunteer projects, but I'm making an exception this time around... and I may have said this before, but it bears repeating: I HAVE THE BEST BREWERY VOLUNTEERS EVER!

    I was thinking we'd get through labeling maybe 300 bottles, but thanks to your generous help and support (and tolerance for heat), we did all 1500 - and I still can't believe it. The labels are drying nicely now, and I'll start the waxing later this week. Look for this beer and some other goodies to be released in our special "late-winter" event, which is slated for JULY - as in next month.

    I'm so happy to have this part done, and I clearly couldn't have done it without you. Thanks again to everyone who came out. You guys rock!



    Monday, August 04, 2008

    Ommegang BCTC 2008

    Picture pages, lots of fun with picture pages

    I will never go to Ommegang's BCTC weekend again....on the Saturday of the 3-day spectacular, that is. Mark my words. If you live, say, more than a couple of hours away, it's near impossible to get to Cooperstown at a decent enough time to get setup, relax, and work your way into a proper festival mood.

    Ah, don't get me wrong. As in past years, I had a blast; this is one of the industry's best all-around beer events of the year. I just would have preferred to be there on Friday to experience the whole weekend, as I'd always been in the past. And, that's exactly how this festival should be appreciated...across the entire weekend.

    Certainly, you can have a blast in the four hours of the festival on Saturday, and go home. But, you'd be missing out on the Friday frivolity, the camping, and the sideshows that go on during the weekend on the Ommegang farm. It's about the 4 hour tasting session on Saturday, but it's also about so much more. Chris LaPierre said it perfectly in his Day 6 notes that I recorded over here.

    If you wonder why all this Monday morning kvetching about not being there on Friday, here's the short story. When we originally bought the tickets, we were due to be at The Shore until Saturday, when we would have left and driven directly to Ommegang. Then, our Shore plans changed and we were "stuck" with Saturday-only tickets. Our usual camping partners decided to take this year off, so Patty and I decided to make a tent camping trip out of this year instead of the RV approach that we've taken in past years.

    Nothing wrong with this approach at all, just different. So, in more ways than one, we definitely experienced BCTC differently this year than any other year. But, never again. Next year it's back to a Friday arrival and, most likely, an RV. Why? In addition to my comments already made about the specialness of Friday, suffice to say that it's just so much easier arriving on Friday.

    Casually pull in during the day, very few others to contend with as we pick out our campsite, leisurely set up the campsite, and begin to crack open some tasty brews as we walk the property and brewery. Stop in at the store to pick through merchandise and beer (get the purchases out of the way before the masses arrive) and maybe even take a nap before dinner begins and the evening unfolds into a celebration of good people and beer.

    And the RV? Well, a campsite and all the necessities (including your own private facility) on wheels makes things just a little bit easier, especially in the case of bad weather.

    Let's see, what can I share with you here to convey the wonder of this year's festival, at least the 21 hours that I was there? Let's start with the nearly 200 beers from around 75 breweries (50, or so, of them domestic U.S.). All beers in and around the various Belgian styles (hm, what's in a style, you ask?!). And, this year may have showcased more Saisons than I've ever seen before in one place. From a style perspective, this is one of my favorites so this, of course, was a very good thing.

    Just have a look at the list for yourself. Not only do you see a Saison here, a Farmhouse there, but the flavors. Take a look at all of the various additional flavors that brewers are working into their brews. Truly cutting edge, if you ask me (more in a few minutes). A very nice tune-up in preparation for Union Jack's Saison Fest in a few weeks.

    My approach to sampling only beers that I'd never had before and my note-taking skills suffered quickly as I made it barely a third of the way around in the first two hours. Trying to make it past a table without running into someone to talk with while drinking the beers became more difficult.

    Then, we cut away to sit down and have some food while listening to some of the live music. We took a stroll around checking out what was going on back at the campsites (not all the action was at the main festival tent). We then returned to realize that we weren't even half way around the tent by 4pm. Much more work to do and many beers had already kicked.

    Fortunately, I wasn't interested in the madness around some of the higher profile breweries (e.g. Russian River). Don't get me wrong, I love me my -tion beers as much as the next guy, but the Supplication and many others didn't make my list of never-before-tasted.

    Remember my comment about the Saisons? I had much work to do. You took a look at the list, right? Dominating the American list this year were words like dry, spicy, tart, funky, orange, coriander, apricot, peach, cherries, currants, molasses, figs, oak, sour, banana, candi sugar, clove, lavender, grapes, saffron, pineapple, sweet gale, yarrow, rosemary, hibiscus, cardamom, ginger, raisins, pear, spontaneous, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, heather, mouth-puckering, Belgo-French, Belgo-Scottish, Belgo-Russian, Fylya, peppery, mint, melon, chocolate...I'm tired, I think I'll stop now.

    Compare this to the menu that I'm looking at from two years ago and you won't find nearly the range of styles, plus the range of experimentation within styles and with varying flavors that brewers are now doing. This has always been a great festival, no doubt, but the words used in describing the beers then were along the lines of wit, trippel, saison, grand cru, a few saisons/farmhouse scattered around, with just a bit of Brett here and there. But, there was not nearly the complexity of flavors illustrated at this year's festival.

    What stuck out to me? Great question.

    Well, like I've already said, I failed miserably in getting to all of the beers that I would have like to sampled. I even dumped glasses of perfectly great beer just so that I could move on to the next sample. Here is a quick list of some of the beer and breweries that made it into my notes and my long-term memory as some of the best that I tasted during Saturday's session.

    American Flatbread of Burlington, VT - How many breweries/brewpubs from Vermont can you name? There are a few that everyone should and hardly any more so than American Flatbread. So much of what brewer Paul Sayler does is masterful and the dry Wilson Saison on Saturday was just another one of 'em. He's made my list in the past with his maibock and pilsner as well.

    Cambridge Brewing of Cambridge, MA - Will Meyers doesn't often get mentioned in "American brewer rock star" terms, but he should. The flavors he works into his beers are as "out there" as they get. Using sweet gale, yarrow, and wild rosemary in the Weekapaug Gruit and the tartness and funkiness of the Cerise Cassee are perfect cases in point.

    Captain Lawrence of Pleasantville, NY - Admittedly, I don't know a whole lot about Scott Vaccaro and these guys. But, what I do know is that every time I taste something from them, especially the Rosso e Marrone on Saturday, I'm usually blown away. This Rosso may not have been the best-est beer I've ever had (though it was jockeying for a position on the podium), but it certainly was one of the more complex and very interesting with flavors of wood, wine, and Brett. This beer was aged for two years in oak, merlot and zinfandel to be exact. A WOW! beer to be sure.

    Honey - Beesting Honey Saison from Bullfrog (Williamsport, PA), Honing Honey Pale Ale from Haverhill/The Tap (Haverhill, MA), Buckwheat honey in the Tiny Tim Ale from Brewer's Art (Baltimore, MD), Aphrodisiac Ale with organic honey, fresh ginger, and dried lavender tips from Empire Brewing (Syracuse, NY), and Great Adirondack's way of saying Quadrupel in the Abbey Dubbel Dubbel were all beers that showcased the use of honey in making beer and proved that we've moved passed the Honey Brown Lagers of the past (not that you miss it, right?).

    Harpoon of Boston, MA - I heard a few snide comments about Harpoon. Why, I say? When they bring a 4.2% Belgian Brown and a 5.5% Wild Hibernian from oak and they taste the way they did, they deserve a good comment or two here. These were my second and third beers at the fest and I couldn't have been more pleased.

    Haverhill/The Tap of Haverhill, MA - Sure, it was the first beer that I had of the day, so it was bound to leave an impression either way, right? Well, it was a good one. The Honing was an easy starter, but one that had just a nice undercurrent of sweet honey to balance with the tickle of Saaz hops.

    Three Floyds of Munster, IN - These hop-crazed folks from the midwest are not new to me, but the Rabbid Rabbit (Saison) was. It was one of my last beers to sample, but one of the best. In between their Fantabulous Resplendance (don't recall the "special twist" on this beer, maybe someone out there does?) and the Gumballhead (ditto the last comment), Three Floyds represented well...and without an Alpha King or Dark Lord to be found!

    Stops along the way that I missed out on, but heard great things about from others around the fest: Albany Pump Station; Boulevard Brewing; Ithaca; and Olde Burnside.

    Then the official tasting session ended, and the real party began. Grills were fired up, piñatas were strung up (Happy Birthday to Chris), frisbee discs and footballs were thrown up, bonfires were lit up, and many more glasses were tossed up. The best weather in my experience with this event provided for one of the best all-around beer fest days that I have encountered in a while. Unfortunately, getting up at 6am, driving through the rain of upstate Pennsylvania, madly setting up camp, and dashing through 4 hours of beerfest sent me to bed by 1am. What happened after that point, I couldn't tell you. But, I'm sure there are many untold stories that will remain, properly, untold. Then, I woke up, it rained, we packed up, and we drove home. Mission accomplished, will try harder next year.

    Picture pages, lots of fun with picture pages

    Biking to Belgium via Cooperstown; An Iron Hill Brewer's Story

    Let's do a bit of a recap here. This week we all have been along for an odyssey courtesy of Chris LaPierre (brewer; Iron Hill-West Chester), who along with Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack) and 4 other cycling/beer enthusiasts (Pete, Jeff, Lara, and Nick), has been pedaling his way to Cooperstown. Did you miss any of it? Here is a recap with quick links for your pedaling pleasure at your leisure.

    Pre-Launch Notes

    Sunday, July 27th - Philadelphia to Upper Black Eddy/Narrowsville, PA (60 Miles)
    Stayed at: Indian Rock Inn
    Day 1 Notes from Chris
    Day 1 bonus pictures

    Monday, July 28th - Upper Black Eddy/Narrowsville, PA to Delaware Water Gap (47 Miles)
    Stayed at: Deerhead Inn
    Day 2 Notes from Chris

    Tuesday, July 29th - Delaware Water Gap to Hawley, PA (78 miles)
    Stayed at: The Settlers Inn
    Day 3 Notes from Chris
    Day 3 Bear Pictures

    Wednesday, July 30th - Hawley, PA to Hancock, NY (71 miles)
    Stayed at: The Hancock House
    Day 4 Notes from Chris

    Thursday, July 31st - Hancock, NY to Andes, NY (48 miles)
    Stayed at: The Andes Hotel
    Day 5 Notes from Chris

    Friday, August 1st - Andes, NY to Cooperstown, NY (50 miles)
    Stayed at: Ommegang Brewery
    Day 6 Notes from Chris

    BCTC '08 Tap List

    One of the most viewed, and at the same time, disturbing pictures ever at The Brew Lounge

    Highlights of Past Years at Ommegang's BCTC event

    Also Mentioned by...
    Larry Horwitz on his Iron Hill blog
    Jack Curtin on his Liquid Diet blog
    Joe Sixpack, prior to leaving
    Foobooz, the fantastic Philly-based food and drink site
    Jeff Appeltans at GoCycling

    Sunday, August 03, 2008

    Ortino's Beer Run

    How's does next Sunday, August 10th, sound for a 6.5 mile run, starting and ending at Ortino's Northside in Zieglerville, PA? I've already got a few runners ready to go; drop a note to me if you like the sound of this. If you don't like the sound of it, feel free to stop by and buy us a beer afterwards. We'll get started somewhere around 3pm. Drop a private note to me at if you're interested.

    Friday, August 01, 2008

    Philly's Cyclists Go To Cooperstown, Day 6

    (Index to The Week of Ommegang)

    I can only imagine how satisfied the crew is now that they've arrived at their destination, cleaned up, and begun to enjoy their weekend in Cooperstown. I'm only disappointed not to have received a picture, Tour de France style, with the riders each holding a goblet of beer as they approached the Arc de Ommegang along les Champs Cooperstown (pardon my, um, er, French).

    Without further ado, here's Chris LaPierre with the 6th installment of his chronicles of the bike trip to Ommegang. See you tomorrow, folks.

    "This is the place." That's what Brigham Young declared when he stopped his carriage in Utah and let his pilgrims know that they had arrived at their destination and ended their spiritual journey.

    Unlike Brigham's followers we knew where we'd end up all along, and there was BEER waiting for us there!

    Today's ride was once again beautiful. Jeff finally got a flat, leaving Pete and Don the only tourists unscathed. Otherwise, it was a great ride with smooth roads, little traffic, beautiful scenery, and relatively (important word) little climbing and cool temperatures. Jeff just has a knack for sniffing out the most bike-friendly roads.

    We arrived at Ommegang where the Beer Lass, Amy from Nodding Head, Bear from Stockertown Beverage, and George and Nancy from Home Sweet Homebrew greeted us with cheers and cameras.

    Of course they also greeted us with beers. After a quick shower and tent placement I dove into the latter. So far I've had offerings from Sly Fox, Stewart's, Ithaca, Cambridge Brewing, Duck Rabbit, and of course Iron Hill. Which brings me to my next digression....

    There are obvious benefits of touring, health and fitness, the outdoors, beautiful scenery etc. And there are obvious benefits of this fest, roughly 200 beers from around 75 breweries in one place at one time. But here are my favorites about each.

    The great thing about touring is that you see and experience things and meet people that you never would from behind the wheel of a car. I could have driven the exact same route up here and said "that was a beautiful drive." But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have seen the bears, or the peeing gnome, or half of the architecture, signs, foliage, or subtleties that I did. I also would have missed out on a lot of conversation. People just don't walk up to you and say "I see you're all traveling by car," or "how's your trip been?"

    Then there's Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. Yes, the fest is great, it's well-run, there's a ton of great beer, and it's one of the only intentionally UNDERsold festivals I've ever been to. But those four hours are nothing compared to the brewing community camaraderie I feel on Friday night.

    One thing I love about being a member of this group is how friendly, tight-knit, and non-competitive it is. With a few unfortunate exceptions, the brewers, brewery owners, salespeople, and beer writers are one big family. We visit each others homes, attend each others events, and even each others weddings and funerals. When we all get together it's a great time.

    Friday night of Ommegang is all about saying Hi to people you haven't seen in a while and appreciating each others artwork. That's where I am right now. Just wandering around the grounds at Ommegang with a red solo cup, visiting old friends and saying, "hey, what are you pouring at your campsite tonight?"

    Well it's almost time for the "VIP" beer dinner. Looking forward to what's on tap tomorrow!



    Chris LaPierre
    Head Brewer
    Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
    West Chester, PA

    (Index to The Week of Ommegang)

    Ommegang BCTC 2008 Event Guide

    (Index to The Week of Ommegang)
    Do you need reading material for your trip to Ommegang tonight or tomorrow? Are you missing this year's event and want to see what you're missing? Would you like a PDF copy of Ommegang's BCTC 2008 Event Guide? This offer is for e-mail subscribers only. Drop a note to me and if your email address is registered as an e-mail subscriber of The Brew Lounge, I'll send the Guide to you. Oh, okay, stop your bellyaching. If you're an RSS subscriber, then you can have it as well...but, be honest! I'm not posting this, so if you want this, you've got to drop an e-mail to me. If you don't currently subscribe to The Brew Lounge, take the opportunity to do it now. Use either the RSS subscription link or the E-mail subscription link over there on the top right of the page under my picture. See? The ones that say: RSS Feed & Join My Mailing List.
    (Index to The Week of Ommegang)

    Who's Thirsty? Ommegang's BCTC 2008 Beer List is Here

    (Index to The Week of Ommegang)
    UPDATED 8/1 & IN SYNC WITH EVENT GUIDE (changes/updates include: Merchant du Vin, Albany Pump Station, Allagash, American Flatbread, Brewery Ommegang, Empire Brewing, High and Mighty, Ithaca, Middle Ages, Olde Burnside, Offshore, Russian River) I'll bet there are some weary cyclists who could use this as the carrot on the end of the stick to get them through the remaining 180 miles. You can either scroll through the list here, or download via this link to a shared Google Spreadsheet. If/When changes come in, I'll update the spreadsheet. Get checking and Enjoy!
    (Index to The Week of Ommegang)

    Philly's Cyclists Go To Cooperstown, Day 5

    (Index to The Week of Ommegang)

    The amount of pictures and the tone of the text quickly indicate that Thursday was a much better day for Team Philadelphia in terms of both riding and beer hunting. They're on their way into Cooperstown, likely as you read this they will already have arrived and be enjoying their liquid lunch. You'll hear all about their last day tomorrow morning; I can't wait to join them for the weekend.

    Much better beer selection tonight and great day of riding today. Also our first day of riding without 25 pounds of gear on our bikes due to our new support vehicle.

    Again this morning we hit a "bridge closed" sign early in the day. As it turns out we were able to walk our bikes across which had a double benefit. We didn't have to turn around and ride back ten miles, and it meant no car traffic for the next ten miles!

    The riding and weather were both beautiful. We even had a tailwind for most of the trip. I usually don't believe tailwinds exist. If I'm cooking right along I usually just attribute it to my strength. Today I couldn't fool myself though. The rows of cornfields that flanked our route demonstrated that the winds were coming from behind. (We are in fact in farm country. Still plenty of woods and creeks but also lots of cows and other eh, livestock.)

    Another unexpected treat came in the form of an artesian well that fed out onto the road. We have come across a few of these in the past few days and the water coming out of them has been delicious. This one came with a twist though. The water was coming from an unusual spigot. I thought this was only appropriate in light of our destination. A little bit La Chouffe and a little bit Mannekin Pis!

    Around 4:00 we rolled into Andes and up to our lodgings at the Andes Hotel. This was the beer selection I could have used last night! Not a beer geek bar at all. Not a 4 star hotel by any means and the staff knows nothing about beer.

    But fortunately for us the owner is a beer geek. Right off the bikes, Jeff, Don and I refreshed with a Hurricane Kitty, still clad in bike jerseys and drawing some perplexed stares from the locals. H Kitty is a hoppy IPA from Kingston New York and it was the perfect post ride elixer. They also had Brooklyn Brown and Saranac on tap, but that's where I stopped paying attention to the draft list. The only thing Belgian about the rest of the beers on tap was the ownership of the brands.

    The bottle list however was great. We started off with Rochefort 10s then moved to a more food friendly Saison DuPont with our appetizers. I had an Orval that turned out to be 2 years old. Looks like the patrons of the Andes often overlook this beer. Fine with me, their loss is my treasure. It tasted great! Of course there's lots of Ommegang available, but there will be plenty of that tomorrow. Check out the hotel's website for the rest of the draft list. Right now, I'm using their WiFi and typing this to a Celebrator.

    That's all for now. We're off to an early start tomorrow. We want a good camping spot at Ommegang. See you there!

    Chris LaPierre
    Head Brewer
    Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
    West Chester, PA

    (Index to The Week of Ommegang)