Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Michief Night: Do you know where the lovely ladies of lascivious libations are?

Well, they might be with Mr. Casey Hughes, celebrating his 32nd birthday tonight...they might be in South Philly at Devil's Den...or both of these might occur together. Check 'em out tonight in South Philly. Plenty of beer from all 3 breweries (Sly Fox, Dogfish, Ommegang) and a firkin of Chester County Bitter from Sly Fox. Certainly has all of the makings of mischief!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 29th-November 4th

The beer events get bigger, hotter, and not just a bit scarier, just in time for the cooler weather settling in for November. Check out the entire November 2009 calendar over here. Some tastings, some free, some PAYG @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA--- Fri. 10/30 - Cask Ale Night (October selections: White Marsh Brewing's Daily Crisis IPA, Something Red, and EJ's Pumpkin Ale) (5:00pm; PAYG) @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/29 - Duck Rabbit Firkin Chocolate Insanity (7:00pm; PAYG for a firkin of Duck Rabbit Brown Ale packed full of some specialty hops. On tap also will be the Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. Oh, you'll get a chocolate truffle demo too.) @The Khyber, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 11/3 - PBC Release of Harvest from the Hood (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG for this new wet hopped ale with entirely local hops from Greensgrow Farm) One last hurrah for the fall season before the warmer beers of winter move in @Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, PA--- Fri. 10/30 - Pumpkin Ale Release Party (6:00pm; PAYG for Pure Evil Pumpkin Porter tapped from a huge pumpkin. Also on tap: Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Plus a Halloween Costume Contest with prizes!) Beer, it's what's for dinner @High Street Caffe, West Chester, PA--- Wed. 11/4 - Yards Beer Dinner (7:00pm-9:00pm; $45 for five courses of High Street food with Yards beer selections including Brawler, Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale, Pale Ale, George Washington’s Tavern Porter, Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale) @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/29 - Left Hand/Terrapin Beer Dinner (6:00pm; $65 for a 6-course meal including beers from Left Hand: Haystack Wheat; St. Vrain Triple; Juju Ginger; and Imperial Stout and from Terrapin: Rye Pale Ale; Substance Abuse; Big Sloppy Monster; and Midnight Project/Depth Charge collaboration) Trouble with a capital T @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/30 - Mischief Night with the Ladies (7:00pm; details TBD) @Jose Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/31 - The Halloween Extravaganza (PAYG for a whole bunch of badass rock 'n' roll, beer, and Welcome To My Face!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let's Go Phillies Love Tröegs

Gotta hand it to the good folks at Tröegs in Harrisburg, PA. The farther west from Philadelphia you go, the more likely you are to find fans of the Baltimore variety. Not at Tröegs. Or, at least they know who their most prized target market is. Way to go guys and represent. The only better picture that could have been used to scare the Yankees into submission might have been this picture. Imagine one of these on every pallet! LET'S GO PHILLIES!!

Philadelphia: Home of Great Beer and Great Baseball (this one's about the Baseball)

Other than occasional notes about running, traveling, and sports, I don't bother you with a whole lot else about me outside of beer. I figure, more often than not, that this is okay with you. Sometimes, I think it would be fair for you to know more about the person that's giving you all of this wonderful Brew Lounge material to sate your taste for great beer. Therein lies the motivation to tell you a little about me and my baseball ponderings as the World Series gets set to kickoff tonight. For all of you concerned as well, get ready for some late nights and lost sleep in the time zones of Philadelphia and to the East. (All of you Left Coasters and lucky you are!) I am happier than I was last year around this time. Now don't get me wrong; I was ecstatic to see the Phillies break our city's long drought of championship years. But, c'mon it was the (Devil) Rays of Tampa. Seriously? How can we be taken seriously if we beat Tampa? (I realize that many of you are now screaming something like 'who cares?' at your computer.) I have this thing about beating the best, who are playing their best at the time, to be considered the best. The Rays got there last year and deserved a little pat on the back for their achievements, but really? Who were they and how much respect did we really get for beating them from the sporting community? We may be listed in the record books as World Series winners for 2008, but who really referred to us as undisputed champions? Even Game 5 needs an asterisk to explain how the Series-clinching game was won. I felt the same way a few years back when I didn't think the Eagles exactly had the regular season performance deserving of a championship. Sure, if they'd beat the Patriots, they'd have a Lombardi in the Trophy Case today. But (trust me, I know this makes me odd), I would rather win convincingly in the playoffs and championship after a championship-level season than sloppily back into winning a championship either by attritional luck or by the other team playing more poorly than ours. I know, I know...a lot of kvetching, but I seem to do that fairly well. Where does that leave me? Screaming "bring on the Yanks!" Allow me to throw out another mental twister for you: I don't hate the Yankees the way most of you do. I don't even really dislike them all that much. Sure, I can understand how you might be able to hate them the way you do; I'm just not with you on that side. During the years when baseball, and professional sports for that matter, mattered the most to me (my youth, that'd be) Major League Baseball was organized into 4 divisions and I had one favorite team in each. Of course, the Phillies ruled as my favorite team over and above all. In the NL West, it was the Braves (of Atlanta....c'mon, I'm not that old!), the AL West it was the A's of Oakland (not KC or Philly), and in the AL East it was...yes...the Yankees. I admired their ability to attract the best talent to a team steeped in talented history to play in a city as magnificent as New York City. Their play got even bigger in the postseason and even more recently when Curt Schilling made reference to 'aura' and 'mystique' not being dancers in the Bronx, he couldn't have been more correct. But, you'd have to be a jingoistic homer not to see the Yankees for what they are---one of professional sports most dominant and successful teams/brands, with some of the game's most talented players ever to have put on the uniform. Perhaps, though, it's not the team and the players you hate so much as the city and the fans. Eh, once again I'm nonplussed; but, maybe that's just me. I happen to think that the City of New York is one of the world's best and the people not that much different than those of Philly (I'll bet that analogy goes over well in NYC). It's a well-conceived statement to make that Philly has everything that New York has, just on a smaller scale. Then again, is that really something to criticize? Some of the ridiculous comments made in the New York media this week really seem like a baseless stretch. It sounds more like an inferiority complex that points to other issues when you think merely size is a measure of greatness. When it comes to arrogance, I personally have seen it worse coming out of Boston and don't think that Philly can even begin to compare to. How about those deep Yankee pockets that everyone likes to criticize? Who cares? I'll bet if it's the owner of your team, wouldn't you also be happy that they'd have the ability to attract the best talent money can buy? We do realize that this is just another business, do we not? But maybe all of this hatred coming in and out of New York is really about their recent history. I was at Game 3 of the 2001 World Series in New York. What an amazing game and time in baseball history. After that World Series homestand, the Yankees went on to lose to the very young Arizona Diamondbacks, barely show up in 2003 against the Florida Marlins, and since then bow out early in successive years from 2005 to 2007. The New York fans and media will do well to remember that it is they that are facing the Defending World *** Champions. The onus is on the Yankees to beat the Phillies, the first team to reach consecutive World Series since...wait, who was that??? In 1993, when the Phillies overcame the Braves to reach the World Series, I couldn't have been more overjoyed...partying our way down from Manayunk (back in its heyday) to Center City after Mitch (y Poo) Williams finished off the game. (Pitchers Pub was where I was, by the way, for that memorable game.) And, I'll have no trouble reveling in the Phillies success this time against another of my all-time favorite teams, the Yankees. Trust me, though, when I say that this is no conflict of interest and that this sort of thing can be put aside in the spirit of the Phillies winning the trophy for a second year in a row...this time in six games. You heard it here. Oh, where will I watch the games? Unfortunately, a beery rendezvous tonight at Nodding Head appears to be falling through as this day slips by, Game 3 could either be at Victory or South Philly Tap Room, and the rest at home...unless this one potential ticket source comes through for any of the Philly games. We shall see... In the meantime, here is a quick sampling of some interesting reading related to Philly, New York, and the World Series. CBS Sports NY Post Bugs and Cranks Phila. Inquirer

Finding Exit 1 from New Jersey in Pennsylvania

It looks like my plans to get to the quasi-official pre-kickoff of Flying Fish's Exit 1 oyster stout tonight in Center City are about to have the Curtin dropped on them. Since Casey feels a bit shut out of The Brew Lounge's monthly calendar that was just published here earlier this morning, this one's a nod to the Big Man of Cherry Hill. There are sure to be many places where this new beer (Bayshore Oyster Stout) in the Exit Series will show up across the region. Here is just a sampling of some of the preferred places to find Exit 1 from Flying Fish during the next week. All events are PAYG (no cover; pay as you go). October 28 (that'd be TONIGHT) Exit 1 Kick-Off @Sansom Street Oyster House, 1516 Sansom St. Philadelphia 6pm-8pm Exit 1 Kick-Off @Standard Tap, 901 North 2nd St. Philadelphia 7pm October 29 Exit 1 Firkin @Good Dog, 224 South 15th St. Philadelphia Tapping at 7pm November 3 Exit 1 @Raw Dawgs Saloon, 1700 South 2nd St. Philadelphia Begins at 5:30pm November 4 Exit 1 Firkin @Swift Half, 1001 North 2nd St. Philadelphia Tapping at 7pm November 5 Exit 1 Firkin @Hulmeville Inn, 4 Trenton Rd. Langhorne Tapping at 6pm Exit 1 Firkin @Varga, 941 Spruce St. Philadelphia Tapping at 7pm

Beer Calendar: What To Do in November 2009

And the drum beats on with incredible beer events in and around Philadelphia. 2009 has been a memorable year and these many establishments associated with great beer are bent on making a few last stamps on this calendar year before heading off to 2010 (unbelievable, eh?) If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know. $20 and under, down to and including FREE...Pay As You Go (PAYG) also included here Philadelphia Thu. 10/29 - Philly versus NY Brewery-Off @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA (during all World Series Games; PAYG) Fri. 10/30 - Drinking the Dead @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Sat. 10/31 - Halloween Party & 4 Year Birthday Party @The Sidecar Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG plus Prizes) Fri. 10/31 - Halloween: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Tapping @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Mon. 11/2 - Monday's Sixtel (Harpoon Leviation Saision IPA) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Tue. 11/3 - PBC Release of Harvest from the Hood @The Khyber, Philadelphia, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; PAYG) Tue. 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 11/24 - Coronado Tuesday Nights @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 11/5 - Meet the Brewer, Keep the Pint Glass (Bethlehem Brew Works) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:30pm; PAYG) Thu. 11/5 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (November's selection: Baby Boy Bock Beer) @Triumph, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 11/5 - Firkin of Exit 1 @Varga Bar, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG) Mon. 11/9 - Monday's Sixtel (Manayunk Hop Phanatic Imperial Amber) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Tue. 11/10 - Victory Night @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA (3:00pm-close; PAYG) Thu. 11/12 - Meet the Brewer, Keep the Pint Glass (Great Lakes) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:30pm; PAYG) Fri. 11/13 - Friday the Firkinteenth #21 @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Sat. 11/14 - Battle Royale of Michigan Breweries @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA (2:00pm; PAYG) Mon. 11/16 - Monday's Sixtel (Weyerbacher 14) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Wed. 11/18 - Cigar City Brewery Night @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG) Wed. 11/18 - High Gravity @The Sidecar Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Thu. 11/19 - Exit Night @Bridgid's, Philadelphia, PA (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 11/19 - Yards Firkin @The Bards, Philadelphia, PA (9:00pm-11:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 11/20 - Goody, Goody Two Shoos @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Sun. 11/22 - Yards Tailgate Party @The Kite and Key, Philadelphia, PA (4:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG) Mon. 11/23 - Monday's Sixtel (Great Divide 15th Anniversary Ale) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Tue. 11/24 - Great Lakes Brewery Night @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG) Wed. 11/25-Thu. 11/26 - Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Night: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Tapping @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Thu. 11/26 - Tap a keg of Southern Tier Pumpking @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; PAYG) Mon. 11/30 - Monday's Sixtel (Manayunk 2007 Knockthechilloff Barley Wine) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (PAYG) Philadelphia's close suburbs Thu. 11/5 - Firkin of Exit 1 @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA (6:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 11/6 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (11:30am 'til it kicks; PAYG) Fri. 11/6 - Friday Night Sampling (Victory Brewing) @Exton Beverage, Exton, PA (4:00pm-6:00pm; free) Thu. 11/12 - Victory Takes Over the Taps @The Pour House, Westmont, NJ (PAYG) Fri. 11/13 - Hops Project 2009 Varietal Release: Amarillo (a firkin, then CO2) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (11:30am 'til it kicks; PAYG) Thu. 11/19 - Blues Brews 'n' BBQ @Ron's Original, Exton, PA (PAYG) Thu. 11/19 - Follow the Liter @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 11/20 - Cask Ale Series (November's Selection: Naked Wheat) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (all day; PAYG) Fri. 11/20 - Belgian Beer Promotion @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (6:00pm; PAYG) Fri. 11/27 - Friday Night Tasting (New Holland) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5:00pm-7:00pm; free) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Fri. 10/30 - Cask Ale Night (October selections: White Marsh Brewing) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (5:00pm; PAYG) Wed. 11/4 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (November's selection: Honeymoon Braggot) @Triumph, Princeton, NJ (6pm; PAYG) Fri. 11/6 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (November's selection: Winter Bock) @Triumph, New Hope, PA (6pm; PAYG) Sat. 11/7 - Grand Opening Party on Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day @Artisan Homebrew, Downingtown, PA (time to be determined, RSVP requested) Wed. 11/18 - Thursday Night Tastings (on Wednesday) (Tröegs) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 11/19 - Victory Night @Villa Capri, Doylestown, PA (8:00pm-10:00pm; $10) Thu. 11/19 - Homebrewers' Challenge @Iron Hill Brewery, Lancaster, PA (5:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG) Thu. 11/19 - Imperial Coffee Porter Release Party @Iron Hill Brewery, Lancaster, PA (6:00pm; PAYG) Sat. 11/21 - Allagash Extravaganza @Union Jack's, Boyertown, PA (1:00pm-'til they kick; PAYG) Wed. 11/25 - Twas the Night Before Christmas Beers @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (6:30pm; details TBD) Wed. 11/25 - Cask Ale Night (November selections: Flying Dog Doggie Style, Gonzo, and Snake Dog) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (5:00pm; PAYG) Elsewhere Events Over $20 Philadelphia Thu. 11/5 - Victory Beer Dinner @Chifa, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; $55.00) Tue. 11/10 - Great Lakes Beer Dinner @The Belgian Café, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; $50) Mon. 11/16 - The Naked Pint Book Release Party @Fork, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm; $55) Tue. 11/17 - Victory Beer Dinner @World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm; $40 or 2 for $65!) Sat. 11/21 - Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese Tour @Old City, Philadelphia, PA (3:30pm-5:30pm; $45) Philadelphia's close suburbs Fri. 11/6 - Brewmaster's Beer versus Wine Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, West Chester, PA (7:30pm; $70) Mon. 11/9 - Fall Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, Phoenixville, PA (6:30pm; $60) Wed. 11/11 - Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (6:00pm; $69.99) Wed. 11/11 - Yards Beer Dinner @High Street Caffe, West Chester, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; $45) Tue. 11/17 - Brewmaster's Fall Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, Media, PA (7:00pm; $65) Wed. 11/18 - Brewmaster's Fall Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, Maple Shade, NJ (6:00pm; $60) Wed. 11/18 - Yards Beer Dinner @Iron Abbey Gastro Pub, Horsham, PA (6:00pm-9:30pm; details TBD) Thu. 11/19 - Stoudt's Four-Course Beer Dinner @The Pour House, Westmont, NJ (details TBD) Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania Wed. 11/4 - Meet The Brewer Series Presents… (Stone Brewing) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA (7:00pm; $40) Mon. 11/16 - Brewmaster's Fall Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, Wilmington, DE (7:00pm; $60) Tue. 11/17 - Italian Street Fair with Italian Beers @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA (7:00pm; $65) Elsewhere Tue. 11/10 - Brewmaster's Fall Beer Dinner @Iron Hill Brewery, Newark, DE (7:00pm; $60)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quench your Thirst with Great Beer Dinners

Here are some menus that will help you decide between some of the best-looking beer dinners to come over the next couple of weeks. This should fulfill my beer dinner advertising quota for the next month. Don't take that the wrong way; I wouldn't post a menu (basically as free advertising) unless I would gladly put down greenbacks and attend myself. Of course, this is not always possible, so now I must make my own decisions. Bon Appetit and Cheers! Left Hand/Terrapin Beer Dinner at Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA Thursday, October 29th, 2009; 6:00pm $65.00 includes tax 215-545-7005 for reservations Welcome Left Hand Haystack Wheat First Course ~ Baby Octopus with Terrapin Rye Pale Ale Second Course ~ Shrimp w/Orange Gastrique with Left Hand St. Vrain Triple Third Course ~ Maple Glazed Acorn Squash stuffed with wild rice, walnuts, craisins, etc. with Left Hand Juju Ginger Fourth Course ~ Smoked Seafood & Bleu Cheese Savory Tart with Terrapin Substance Abuse (2006) & Left Hand Imperial Stout Fifth Course ~ Pork Loin w/Apples & Juniper with Terrapin Big Sloppy Monster (2006) Sixth Course ~ Left Hand/Terrapin Depth Charge & Midnight Project - Collaboration dessert
Yards Beer Dinner at High Street Caffe in West Chester, PA Wednesday, November 4th, 2009; 7:00pm $45.00 plus tax and gratuity 610-696-7435 for reservations First Course ~ Brewer’s Plate: Smoked Alligator Sausage $ Elk & Pear Sausage with Cheddar and Gruyere Cheeses with Brawler Second Course ~ Harvest Soup with a Pumpkin Creme’ Fraiche with Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale Third Course ~ Crawfish Etouffee with Philadelphia Pale Ale Fourth Course ~ Porter Braised Pork Tenderloin with a Sweet Potato & Apple Hash with George Washington’s Tavern Porter Fifth Course ~ Homemade Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream with Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale
Victory Brewing Beer Dinner at Chifa in Philadelphia, PA Thursday, November 5th, 2009; 7:00pm $55.00 plus tax and gratuity 215-925-5555 for reservations First Course ~ Hiramasa with aji Amarillo leche de tigre, passion fruit and roasted corn with Prima Pils Second Course ~ Octopus Ceviche with purple olive and avocado with WildDevil Third Course ~ Grilled Thai Sausage with tamarind chile sauce and jasmine rice with Golden Monkey Fourth Course ~ Smoked Rib Eye with revuelto de chorizo and huacatay chimichiri with Yakima Twilight Fifth Course ~ Coconut Tapioca with semisweet chocolate cremeux and quinoa chicaronnes with Baltic Thunder
Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA Wednesday, November 11th, 2009; 6:00pm $69.99 plus tax and gratuity 610-363-0521 for reservations Passed Appetizer ~ Mascarpone and Crispy Pancetta Stuffed Date, Aged Balsamic jus, Fried Sage with Sierra Nevada Brown Saison First Course ~ Applewood Roasted Kennett Square Mushrooms, Shaved Goat Cheese, Toasted Brioche, Oven Dried Cherry Tomatoes, Watercress Pesto, Micro Greens with Sierra Nevada Edge of Darkness (from Beer Camp #12, attended by TDR Owner Howard Weintraub--It's an India Brown Ale ranging around 5.5% ABV and 55 IBUs) Intermezzo ~ Belgian Ale Poached Shrimp, Lemon Sorbet, Charred Lime Relish, Lavosh Crisp, Triple jus with Sierra Nevada Belgian Triple Second Course ~ Locally Grown Butter Braised Pumpkin, Herbs & Crispy Bacon; Lancaster County Barley Cured Pork Loin, Apple Butter Caramelized Onion Bilini, Pear and Fig Chutney with Sierra Nevada Estate Harvest Ale Dessert ~ Toasted Almond and Autumn Scented Blintzes, Barleywine and Blackberry Jam, Sweet Cider Crème Anglaise, Sun Dried Cranberry Relish with Sierra Nevada Bigfoot [2008]

Monday, October 26, 2009

Iron Hill, Flying Fish, and New Jersey---Perfect Together?

And George Washington thought he had it tough. Crossing the Delaware River this past Saturday was no easy feat. Maybe I should have instead picked Iron Hill's West Chester event to attend. Eh, no matter, it became more of a challenge. Close to 90 minutes to get there and almost the same on the return. The way over was plagued by accidents on every major roadway imaginable. The return trip had us confronted by a storm wall that seemed to scream "stay out" as we tried to cross back into Pennsylvania (though, hasn't that always been the message from PA to NJ...joking folks, joking). Alright then, enough of the dramatics. This is all about the beer, right? This was supposed to be all about finally getting to see Chris "Lappy" LaPierre in his new brewery and Casey Hughes on his turf over in New Jersey. 'Two great tastes that taste great together' would probably not be an appropriate description of the day at Iron Hill, but it would be an accurate description of the beers that were being passed over the bar to a solid crowd. How about we just say that Gene Muller (owner) and Casey brought some great beers from Flying Fish to officially welcome Kevin Finn (co-owner) and Chris (and also, brewer, Jeff Ramirez) to the New Jersey neighborhood. This included the curtain call (not be confused with the evasive Curtin) for the Exit 4. Of course, we arrived more than 14 minutes after the official start of the event and after the exiting of the Exit 4, so we'll just need to look ahead, instead, to the Exit 1 later this week. As hosts of this, their regularly-occurring Brewers' Reserve, event that doubled as a Pride of New Jersey event, Iron Hill rolled out some mighty tasty treats as well. With the Flying Fish crew hot on the trail to releasing the next in the line of the imaginatively-created Exit Series, they brought some Belgian Imperial Mild, the aforementioned Exit 4, and Grand Cru to Saturday's festivities. Iron Hill returned the favor to the throngs of craft beer lovers from both sides of the river with Golden Barleywine, Brett Barrel-aged Quadrupel, and Totally Inappropriate cask...or shall I say a cask full of beer called Totally Inappropriate. Winner of the day? Well, I didn't drink much (given an 18 mile run looming the next morning, not to mention a 40 mile drive home), but if I had to pick one...without waffling, equivocating, or otherwise remaining neutral, it would likely have maybe been too close to a tie to declare the Quadrupel from Lappy's brewhouse a resounding success. Even though it perhaps should have been the one to be called inappropriate, in a roomful of great beers on this Saturday afternoon, this one stood out by a nose...just one of the distinctive things about it. The distinct layers of identifiable funk and sweetness co-mingling with dry roastiness and just a wee bit of alcohol (weighing in at approx. 9-10% ABV, if I heard Chris correctly, though I suspect that might be a bit light) were enough to make me wish for a designated driver. If you have the opportunity at any future events to check out this beer, please do yourself a favor. A Great People Pic can be found, with everyone posing nicely, over on Chris' Iron Hill Blog. There you go, my first so-called "assignment" since returning from Hawaii. Hopefully, this turns into more of a habit again?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Will I be at Iron Hill today?

Will I cross the river to the Jersey side this afternoon (that'd be for the Iron Hill event in case you weren't sure)? Dunno. After the way in which this week has gone, I'm not making any bets. Though, my intention is to be there. It sounds like many of you will as well. If New Jersey is too far for you to travel, you could always try West Chester, whose Iron Hill location is having their Fall Gourd festival event thing-y today as well. Wasn't I the one that said earlier this week that The Brew Lounge was now returning to its regular schedule? Ha! That was before: - jet lag from the Hawaii-inbound flight took a toll on me - late nights of Phillies playoff games took a toll on me (plus, being there in person on Wednesday night) - donating platelets/plasma mid-week drained its own piece of me for the next 24 hours - heavy workload (yes, that day job thing) exacted its own toll - trying to get back into my marathon training program routine did its own number in beating up on me So, here I am with great beer stories to tell and hopefully one to experience later today. But I do have an 18 mile run to do tomorrow and my fingers are already a bit sluggish after banging this little thing out to you. We shall see... In the meantime, enjoy whatever this weekend brings for you, and I promise to get be getting back to you very soon with some beer tales of the Hawaiian Islands. p.s. You should still be able to taste a little of the remnants of last nights Lost Abbey/Port Brewing event at The Drafting Room in Exton. Lots of people there, but didn't seem like half of them were there for the "event." So, go forth and drink up the remains. p.p.s. Did anyone catch a nice little Yuengling profile this morning on ABC's Good Morning America? Dick and Daughters both got camera time. Didn't learn anything new myself, but thought it was a nice Saturday morning piece for the uninitiated.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 22nd-October 28th

If I said October came in like a lion, then it's going out like killer whale devouring everything in its path. Okay, forget the stupid analogy and start figuring out where you're gonna spend your beer bucks over the next seven days. Check out the entire October 2009 calendar over here. Some tastings, some free, some PAYG @Craft Ale House, Royersford, PA--- Wed. 10/28 - Ommegang & Cheese (PAYG for some good beer and good cheese, they go well together I hear!) @Drafting Room, Exton, PA--- Fri. 10/23 - Lost Abbey & Port Brewing tappings (6:00pm; PAYG for a bunch of southern California goodness including Port Brewing's High Tide Fresh Hop, Panzer Imperial Pils, & Wipe Out Ale and Lost Abbey's Red Barn, Devotion, & Angel's Share as well as Russian River's Blind Pig and Cask Conditioned Nugget Nectar from Tröegs) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/22 - Meet the Brewer, Keep the Pint Glass (6:30pm-8:30pm; PAYG for tasty treats from Ommegang) @Iron Hill Brewery, Maple Shade, NJ--- Sat. 10/24 - Brewers' Reserve with Flying Fish (1:00-5:00pm; PAYG for the likes of: Heywood Tripel; a Cask of Barleywine 2004; and a Cask of Totally Inappropriate from Iron Hill and Exit 4; Belgian Imperial Mild; and Grand Cru from Flying Fish) @Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA--- Mon. 10/26 - Monk's Mad Monday (11:30am 'til they're gone; PAYG for a selection of 6 Allagash Drafts & 11 Allagash Bottles and lunch specials of lobster rolls & Maine steamer clams) @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/27 - Great Lakes Tuesday Nights (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG for a rotating draft selection and will be discounted between 8pm-10pm every Tuesday in October) @The Sidecar Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/22 - A He'brew Jewbelation (PAYG) Beer Dinners Galore, plus a musically-inclined one as well @Jose Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/23 - Lunch with Sierra Nevada (11:30am; PAYG for lunch and Sierra's Belgian Style Triple, their Estate I.P.A., Wet Hopped Harvest Ale, and The Debut of The Limb and Life) @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA--- Fri. 10/23 - Jazztoberfest (5:00pm; PAYG for 6 traditional german brews on draft; 3 domestic german-style brews on handpump; 3 gravity pour brews including: wooden barrel of Schneider Edel-Weisse; wooden barrel of Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810; Uerige Doppelsticke....lots of German food & live Philly jazz) @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA--- Tue. 10/27 - Autumn Harvest "Comparison" Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $75 for Six Courses each paired with both a Belgian and English beer) @The Pour House, Westmont, NJ--- Thu. 10/22 - Lagunitas Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $40) @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/22 - Cheese 101 (6:30pm-8:00pm; $45) @Tria Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 10/28 - Wild for Weyerbacher (6:30pm-8:00pm; $45) @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA--- Tue. 10/27 - Harvest Beer Dinner (6:00pm; $50) Last Call for Oktoberfest @Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Sun. 10/25 - Oktoberfest Sundays (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG Every Sunday in October gates open at noon, music from 2 to 6, and food available from 1 to 5) Pumpkins & Gourds @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/22 - Pumpkin Fest (7:00pm; details TBD) @Iron Hill Brewery, West Chester, PA--- Sat. 10/24 - The Gathering of the Gourds / Pumpkin Ales (2:00-5:00pm; PAYG for zaniness including Pumpkin Beers from Iron Hill (Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Boom Sticke Pumpkin Alt, Bruce Camp-ale and Punktoberfest) and Guest Pumpkin Beers from Elysian Brewing Company, Cambridge Brewing Company, and Stewart's Brewing Company. Join them at 5:00pm for a Special Tapping of a ginormous pumpkin filled with Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale...."Guerilla" Costumes too!!)) These seem potentially like too much fun? @Jose Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA--- Mon. 10/26 - Ten Yards with Tom Kehoe Tailgate (5:30pm-11:00pm; PAYG for 10 yards, 5 tailgate foods, Monday night football with the Eagles & Skins) @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA--- Sun. 10/25 - Last Year's Barleywines (PAYG)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Brew Lounge now resumes its regularly scheduled programming

Hey there fellow Loungers; I'm back! If we're friends over at Facebook, you may have noticed that I've been gone (i.e. Off the East Coast) for over two weeks. If the trip was primarily beer-related, I'd have shared it with you here. But, this was a week's worth of work on Oahu. Patty joined me and we were able to add an extra week of vacation time on Maui. Oh, in case it wasn't clear, this was the State of Hawaii and a severe case of Aloha! I had plenty of material waiting to fill in some of this two week gap so that I wouldn't need to continue writing while away and that you would continue to get all the freshly brewed content. Well, those best-laid plans only sort of worked out with just a few postings during the last 17 days. Fortunately, I never hold myself to any sort of posting quotas, so I wasn't too concerned. But, the big wheels of Philly Craft Brewing kept on rolling during these last couple of weeks and there's lots to catch up on. I was, still, able to keep up with all the happenings back home in Philly Town and beyond. For the sake of catching us all up around here and in the spirit of brevity, here's a bit of what's been happening in the craft beer world during the first half of October 2009 that's come to my attention that seems worth sharing: --Greg Noonan, craft brewing visionary in Vermont, passed away suddenly. Stan Hieronymous has a well-written tribute to a man that I wished I could have met while we were at his Pub less than two months ago. --Sierra Nevada regional sales rep, Patrick Mullin, dropped a note to remind me of a Beer Lunch that he's hosting at Jose Pistolas on this coming Friday, October 23rd from 12pm-3pm with Best of Philly winner, Casey Parker --Joe Sixpack positioned real nicely the direct and indirect benefits of the numerous regional Beer Weeks that are popping up all across the country, thanks to the overwhelming success of the Original Philly Beer Week --I apparently just missed Lew Bryson at SFO. He's been covering WhiskeyFest and thus could go a long way in explaining why the Anchor pub was closed by 8:30pm when we passed through on the way home from Hawaii --The next of the Exit Series, Exit 1, is ready for release from Flying Fish and parties are being readied in Philly on Wednesday, October 28th from Standard Tap to the recently reopened Oyster House (makes s --Speaking of Flying Fish, Iron Hill's newest location in Maple Shade is throwing them a Welcome to the State Party. All sorts of special beer will be available and promises to be a great reason to stop by the Garden State's newest brewpub in over a decade. Expect beers the likes of: Heywood Tripel; a Cask of Barleywine 2004; and a Cask of Totally Inappropriate from Iron Hill and Exit 4; Belgian Imperial Mild; and Grand Cru from Flying Fish (and a sneak peak of Exit 1???) --Jack Curtin reports on what sounds like another successful Kennett Square Brewfest, as well as a trip down memory lane for him. Sounds like the liver-starving VIP session may have gone off well enough afterall. Jack also reports that Pennichuck is closing. I haven't searched around for more information on this one yet, but this seems like a head-scratcher...that large format bottle that I have will now perhaps have a bit more significance when I decide to crack it open. --A couple of hot events are planned at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA. First one up is this coming Friday with a bunch of great beer from Lost Abbey and Port Brewing (including more than a few thimblefuls of Angel's Share). Some Blind Pig and Nugget Nectar are also on deck for this event. They've also got a Highland Park Scotch Dinner planned for the 29th, as well, if that's your sort of malted thing. And, finally, I'll have more soon on the upcoming Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner (November 11th). --Memphis Taproom (rotating specials at all 3 of their locations) and Jose Pistolas (Sly Fox and Ithaca specials) are just two of the city's better beer bars that are getting in on the Phillies postseason run, with big screens and big specials --I kicked off the Official Press Release of Artisan Homebrew's Grand Opening. Now it's time for me to plan out my next recipe and stop in to see Mike. --Suzanne Woods, the Original Beer Lass, reminded me of her upcoming "SlyDogGang" event that she's putting together with Wendy Domurat of Dogfish Head and Megan Maguire from Duvel Morgaat USA. Stay tuned here and there for more details as they worked out. What we do know as of now is that there should be plenty of all three breweries beers, including firkins, food pairings, and decorations/costumes---it is Mischief Night afterall, right? --And, can someone please explain to me what the heck is going on with the lawsuit against Rock Art? I got all sorts of emails, RSS feeds, and other screaming headlines that I haven't even begun to look into yet. I can only imagine... --Other than trying to keep up on everything back home, while still trying to relax on vacation, I was able to finally get through about a 10-inch high stack of reading material that dates back to as far back as the early part of this year when I brought reading material home from San Francisco Beer Week. Those long plane rides and beachside loungings are great for that sort of thing. What a great and relieved feeling to have got through such a backlog of reading. Now, whether I'm any wiser for any of it only the future will tell. Over the coming days, you can expect to see me sharing some of my beer run-ins while in the great State of Hawaii. Warning, there are some, but not many.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 15th-October 21st

Did I warn that October would be a busy month, or did I warn you? The drumbeat of great beer events continues through the middle of October, as visions of autumn beers fade and winter seasonals begin to arrive. Check out the entire October 2009 calendar over here. Some tastings, some free, some PAYG @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/15 - Meet the Brewer, Keep the Pint Glass (6:30pm-8:30pm; PAYG for tasty treats from Lancaster Brewing) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA--- Thu. 10/15 - Thursday Night Tastings (Great Lakes) (7:00pm-9:00pm; PAYG to come out and talk to the brewery rep, get samples, and free stuff. You're encouraged to stay for HAPPY HOUR (10pm to 12am). That is when domestic pints go to half price) @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/20 - Great Lakes Tuesday Nights (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG for a rotating draft selection and will be discounted between 8pm-10pm every Tuesday in October) @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA--- Thu. 10/15 - Sly Fox Showcase (3:00pm; PAYG for 3 casks and 6 drafts) Get your big beer face on @TJ's, Paoli, PA--- Sat. 10/17 - East Coast/West Coast Throwdown (7:00pm; PAYG for West Coast taps from Stone (IRS; Veritcal Epic 09.09.09; Cali-Belgique; Ruination), Coronado (Hoppy Daze; Islaner IPA; Red Devil), Sierra Nevada Estate Harvest, and Moylan's Hopsickle VERSUS East Coast from Ithaca (Flower Power; Eleven; Cold Front; Cascazilla; Outdoor Harvest Ale; alpHalpHa (CASK)) and Southern Tier (Pumking; Mokah; Creme Brulee; Unearthly; Cuvee II; Harvest)) A new and fun series begins @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA--- Fri. 10/16 - Cask Ale Series (all day; PAYG for October's selection of Chester County Bitter) Because we can never have enough cask-conditioned beer @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA--- Sat. 10/17 - 2nd Annual Cask Festival & Pig Roast (12:00pm-5:00pm; PAYG for 10 casks from brewers including Allagash, Southern Tier, Blue Point, Tröegs, Sly Fox, Duck-Rabbit, Sixpoint, Terrapin, Smuttynose, Dogfish Head) Food and Beer will sustain us @Firecreek, Downingtown, PA--- Wed. 10/21 - Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $65 for a 5-course meal with Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, Kellerweis Hefeweizen, Harvest Wet Hop Ale, Torpedo Extra IPA, and Stout) @Iron Hill Brewery, North Wales, PA--- Tue. 10/20 - Fall Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $50 for a 5-course meal including beers of Oktoberfest, Saison, Munich Dunkel, Belgian Wit, Black Cherry Stout, and Pumpkin Imperial Porter) @Ron's Original, Exton, PA--- Thu. 10/15 - Blues Brews 'n' BBQ (PAYG for a menu filled with Jimmy's BBQ and Big Brews to match) @Triumph, Princeton, NJ--- Tue. 10/20 - Gambrinus Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $65 for a five-course, five beer pairing dinner in honor of King Gambrinus) Fun 'n' Frollicking @Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA--- Thu. 10/15 - Follow the Liter (6:00pm-8:00pm; PAYG for all the gemuchlicheit you can handle) More festivals continue @Hugh Moore Park, Easton, PA--- Sat. 10/17 - Lehigh Valley Brewfest (12:30pm-2:00pm, 2:00pm-6:00pm; $5/$30/$35/$75 for a couple of dozen breweries) @Iron Hill Brewery, Phoenixville, PA--- Sat. 10/17 - Oktoberfest Brewers' Reserve (2:00-5:00pm; PAYG for TEN German Beers on tap...German food and German music...Free T-Shirts for the first 50 Mug Club members...Double Points for Mug Club members) @Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Fri. 10/16-Sat. 10/17 - Microfest ($30, see website for more details) @Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Sun. 10/18 - Oktoberfest Sundays (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG Every Sunday in October gates open at noon, music from 2 to 6, and food available from 1 to 5)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Press Release: Artisan Homebrew Set to Open in Two Days

Hot News off the Press for suburban Philadelphia Homebrewers (Downingtown, PA)---Artisan Homebrew will open its doors for the first time on Thursday, October 15 in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The homebrew store is located at 128 East Lincoln Highway in the heart of historic Downingtown and occupies the former Samovar Tea Shop. For Mike Hamara, proprietor, the opening represents more than just months of securing the location and preparing the site for a retail homebrewing business. Hamara realized over 4 years ago that the suburban Philadelphia areas of northern Chester County and western Montgomery County lacked the presence of a homebrewing shop. "I couldn't believe," Hamara says, "that for an area so rich in craft breweries, quality beer & wine bars, and beer distributors, no homebrewing shop was there to service the needs of the area's homebrewers." Mike has worked at Exton Beverage for the past 9 years (and previously at Spaz Beverage and Mr. Bottle) which has given him insight into the industry. "Customers would come into the beer distributor and share with me stories of mail ordering for homebrewing supplies," he says, "or driving as many as thirty-plus miles just to get the ingredients or equipment needed to get a brewday going. If their brewing session had begun and they had forgotten something, they were out of luck. At that point, I knew that I should do something about it." His new shop will stock homebrewing supplies for both beginners and advanced brewers. "For less than $100, a new homebrewer can come in to Artisan Homebrew and get all of the equipment and ingredients needed to brew their first batch of beer. But, the most advanced all-grain homebrewer will also find what they need as well." The home winemaker can also find equipment and ingredients needed to turn out batches of wine at both beginning and advanced levels of technique. Once up and running, Hamara expects to hold special events at the shop to encourage homebrewers and winemakers to share their creations and share their homebrewing stories. “My goal is to try to bring together individuals who share the passion for making great beer and wine.” Artisan Homebrew will be open Tuesday thru Friday 11am to 7pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12pm to 5pm. For more information, contact Mike Hamara directly at the store at 610-873-HOPS(4677) or email at

Friday, October 09, 2009

Won't you please be Philly Beer Week's friend?

In an apparent marketing effort to get people to once again proclaim their love and friendship for Philly Beer Week, they're asking you to re-friend them again or become fans or whatever the terminology is on Facebook. Seems to have been a little glitch that makes this all necessary. I think I recall something similar happening with BeerAdvocate friends earlier this summer as well. Ah, this new fangled technology. Maybe we should all go back to make real, not virtual, connections again. Enough of my blathering, go do it. Be friends with Philly Beer Week; share the love. I'm sure you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 8th-October 14th

Big wheels keep on turning this week as the Phillies enter the 2009 playoffs, Earth Bread turns 1, and no less than a couple of dozen beer events dot the Philadelphia Beer Drinking Landscape...check 'em out. Check out the entire October 2009 calendar over here. Some tastings, some free, some PAYG @Jose Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/8 - A Night with Boulder Brewing (5:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG for a bunch of Boulder including Nitro Cold Hop English Style Pale Ale, The Hazed and Infused, and The Single Track) @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/13 - Great Lakes Tuesday Nights (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG for a rotating draft selection and will be discounted between 8pm-10pm every Tuesday in October) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA--- Fri. 10/9 - Hops Project 2009 Varietal Release: Columbus (a firkin, then CO2) (11:30am 'til it kicks; PAYG for the Pale Ale initially on the hand pump until it kicks. Once that happens, the beer will immediately start serving via traditional draft) @Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Sun. 10/11 - Oktoberfest Sundays (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG Every Sunday in October gates open at noon, music from 2 to 6, and food available from 1 to 5) @Swift Half Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 10/11 - Swift Eagles Firkin (1:00pm-5:00pm; PAYG for a firkin of ESA for the Philadelphia Eagles football game and $4 pints of Thomas Jefferson and $2 "Swift Halves") @Villa Capri, Doylestown, PA--- Thu. 10/8 - Yards Beer Tasting and Pizza (9:00pm; $10 gets you samples of IPA, ESA, and Philadelphia Pale Ale eached paired with a different slice of pizza) My Brewer wants to Party All The Time... @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/9 - 1st Year Anniversary Party (5:00pm; PAYG with Earth T-shirts for sale, anniversary pint glasses and growlers for sale! Eleven of Tom's beers will be on tap!) And other miscellaneous fun reasons to drink great beer @Kennett Square, PA--- Sat. 10/10 - Kennett Brewfest (12:00pm-1:30pm, 2:00pm-6:00pm; $10/$35/$60, currently sold out, so beg anyone, search the forums for stray tickets) @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/10 - Bake Sale in the Side Lot (10:00am-3:00pm; PAYG at the bar and outside ALL PROCEEDS get donated at the end of the sale to Share Our Strength) @Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY--- Sat. 10/10 - Waffles & Puppets (12:00pm-5:00pm; There is no admission fee to attend this event, though food and beer are vended separately. This includes the Brewery Release of Adoration Special Winter Ale '09.) @River Horse Brewery, Lambertville, NJ--- Sat. 10/10-Sun.10/11 - Oktoberfest 2009 (12:00pm-5:00pm; no cover, PAYG for Food, Live Music, and RH beer) Is Bigger Better? @The Pour House, Westmont, NJ--- Thu. 10/8 - Stone Takes Over the Taps (PAYG for IPA, Pale Ale, Smoked Porter, Ruination, Levitation, 13th Anniversary, Vertical Epic 09, Cali-Belgique, Arrogant Bastard, Oak-Aged Arrogant Bastard, plus more!) @The Sidecar Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 10/14 - High Gravity (details TBD) @Union Jack's, Boyertown, PA--- Sat. 10/10 - Wood? Barrel-aged Beer Fest (all day; PAYG for Stone Red Wine Barrel Aged Old Guardian, Allagash Interlude, Ommegang Rouge, Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire, Saint Somewhere Lectio Du Chene, Founders Backwoods Bastard '07, Terrapin Substance Abuse, Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster, New Holland Dragons Milk '07, Left Hand Oaked Imperial Stout, Russian River Consecration, Founders Hand Of Doom, Le Trou Du Diable La Claymore Cerise, Le Trou Du Diable Brandy Barrel La Buteuse, A Firkin Of Harviestoun Ola Dubh 12, and more to be announced) Ring the Beer Dinner Bell @Jose Pistolas, Philadelphia, PA--- Fri. 10/9 - Lunch with Ithaca Brewing (11:30am; PAYG for Ithaca beers including a Firkin of The Flower Power) @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/13 - Oktoberfest Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $50 for a dinner of very traditional Sauerbraten & Kartoffel Klosse as the main course along with interpretations of Oktoberfest classics. We will be serving a variety of German and locally made German-style beers) @Tap and Table, Emmaus, PA--- Thu. 10/8 - Birrificio Pausa Café (7:00pm; $25 for 3 Brews & 3 Italian Plates with possibly a fourth brew--Tosta, Chicca, Tacquamari)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Top 50 Bars according to Foobooz and The Brew Lounge

I'm not always a big fan of piling on to the "hot" topic while it's still warm. Sometimes it's more fun to let a topic heat up, cool off a bit, then stoke it back up again. A couple of weeks ago, Foobooz finally published the Top 50 Bars in Philadelphia with input from people like me and a couple of dozen others. We were requested to give a "...list of your top 10 bars in order" and that " doesn't have to be inside the city limits. The suburbs and New Jersey count as well." This was a daunting request, indeed. Not only did casting the net over the entire region make it more difficult to commit to a list of ten, I wasn't sure that I wanted to commit at all to ranking an order of ten of my favorite bars. Do I even have ten favorites? How do I compare city bars to suburban bars? Plus, was it beer bars or bars in general? That could be another important distinction. I chose to focus on Top Bars from almost exclusively a beer bar angle. I figured, too, that even bars that didn't make my Top 10 cut would get caught by others and thus included in a Top 50. I couldn't feel too badly, then, for what would comprise my Top 10. I hadn't planned to share my personal top 10 with anyone but Arthur at Foobooz, but then I thought---"of course, I will"---it only makes for good conversation and a bit of lively debate, right? Plus, I threw the blanket disclaimer out there and will do so again here that "all subject to change tomorrow...that's my disclaimer ;-) I'm not even sure I agree with my own rankings now as I read back over them one last time, ha" What follows is an abbreviated version of the ranking that I sent to Foobooz. I have absolutely nothing to hide or be ashamed of in naming a Top 10 and sharing with you. But, you may differ. Any that you would kick out of your own personal top 10? Any that you think I'm absolutely crazy for missing?
One of my biggest comfort factors in a bar has nothing to do with the beverage or food menus or the service. It's the layout. Take for example, For Pete's Sake...much as I like the place and location, you walk in and can see every table in the joint. The place can be small, I'm okay with that, but it's gotta have some curves, some creases, some nooks. So a place like Grace Tavern could jump up on to my list above For Pete's Sake because of the curve to the floor plan. And, a place like Monk's goes higher even quicker for its hidden back room. And, Grey Lodge for its upstairs...etc. Here goes... 1) SPTR---love the newer side room, the neighborhood, out of the way, feel..great food, drink...and reasonable prices. A good place for sports, too. Was the place that I was watching the Phillies get washed out of winning the World Series on the Monday night debacle 2) Standard Tap---brunch, pulled pork...local beers, original in a turnaround neighborhood with staying power 3) Druid's Keep---the jukebox, the backyard, and the beer in the shadows of i-95...come as you are, zero pretension, bring your own food adds to the experience, imo 4) Bridgid's---an "old reliable" still doing it right...partly sentimental ranking...partly because they've still got it going in the face of newer, trendier places....horseshoe bar creates intimacy....upstairs for dinner can be nice and private away from the front door 5) Monk's---The special beer dinners, the industry luminaries and the beers they bring that pass through earns this place its world-class ranking. Pretension, arrogance? well, that debate could fill a few more pages, I'm sure. 6) Grey Lodge---nobody tries to compete with Scoats in his neighborhood b/c he's nailed it. He keeps it real with honest food, beer, and prices in a no-nonsense, but yet comfortable, atmosphere. The, uh, unusual events make for some of every year's best beer experiences. 7) TJs---best in the burbs, and accessible by train which makes it very appealing. One of the first in the 'burbs to fully integrate beer into its mission. Some of the friendliest staff around 8) Johnny Brenda's---food, beer, live music, and multi-level make this a more unique beer experience than most 9) Iron Hill---could go for food alone and it would be worth a trip. Add some good standard house beers, and some usually excellent non-standard and one-off beers...festivals that include outside beers...great, knowledgeable staff make any of the 8 locations a sure-fire winner...if brewpubs aren't allowed on the list....then put.... 9a) Memphis Taproom---friendly staff, reasonable priced food and beers, owners not afraid to try new neighborhoods and will go to any lengths to make happy customer....get rare beer, have kid-friendly days/atmosphere....a yard sale with homemade goods....very unique and very welcoming 10) Teresa's Next Door---From fastidious approach to spotless glassware, to stellar lists, and's a must-stop for any beer geek traveling through the area. Some nights, Main Line & Beer Snobbery meet up for a classic showdown. Honorable Mentions a) McGillin's---has always "been there" for me, and I'm probably taking it too much for granted nowadays b) Tenstone---haven't been for a while, but the chalkboard menu, the side room, and the neighborhood feel, plus close to Grace and soon Resurrection make this end of South Street much more appealing that it used to be c) Grace Tavern---only been there once during PBW, but from the friendly service to back room that doglegs right, it seems to be the kind of place I'd like to get to more often and don't d) Doobies---only been there once during PBW, but could see myself whiling the night away quietly in the corner where no one else in the world could find me...not even google or gps. e) For Pete's Sake---true neighborhood gem with good street/sidewalk traffic watching aplenty. one of the top places in the city to catch a Philly game on TV and drink good beer. f) Irish Pub...just kidding. (there was a place and time for that...and that time for me has passed.) If I was making a list of non-beer bars, the Rose Tatoo would jump immediately to mind. Used to live around the corner and was there a lot in the mid-90s. Got to learn about and love Chilean and Argentinean wines way before their time came to the spotlight. The floral arrangements, friendly service, inviting atmosphere, interesting dining all make for a memorable experience...even only when stopping in for after work drinks along the walk home.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 1st-October 7th

Lots of chances over the next week to get out and get some tastes of the best beer around. Plus, an opportunity to stop by Teresa's Next Door tonight to congratulate the Tröegs team on their 3 GABF awards this year. Check out the entire October 2009 calendar over here. Some tastings, some free, some PAYG @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA--- Fri. 10/2 - Friday Night Tasting (5:00pm-7:00pm; Free tasting samples of Victory's beer with Tracy) @Devil's Den, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/1 - First Thursday Firkin Tapping (7:00pm; PAYG featuring Coronado's Idiot IPA and other great selections from Coronado) @Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/1 - Meet the Brewer, Keep the Pint Glass (6:30pm-8:30pm; PAYG for Clipper City) @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/1 - Stoudt's Pumpkin Night of the Living Firkincorn (PAYG for four different firkins of Stoudt's Pumpkin, each with a different level of peppercorning, from mild to inferno) @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA--- Tue. 10/6 - Great Lakes Tuesday Nights (8:00pm-10:00pm; PAYG for a rotating draft selection and will be discounted between 8pm-10pm every Tuesday in October) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA--- Fri. 10/2 - Incubus Friday (11:30am 'til it kicks; PAYG for the Belgian-style Tripel pours until the keg kicks, usually by 7pm) @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, PA--- Wed. 10/7 - Meet The Brewer Series ($40 for Rob Tod and his Allagash beers) @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA--- Sun. 10/4 - Fifteen Hoppy Beers (PAYG for a selection of double IPAs and beyond) @The Institute, Philadelphia, PA--- Sat. 10/3 - Charlie's Pumpkin Patch (all day; PAYG for 10 Pumpkin Beers on Draft...Flight Specials...Special Brews from Yards and Founders...Special Pumpkin Menu!!!) @The Khyber, Philadelphia, PA--- Wed. 10/7 - Ryes Above (5:00pm; PAYG for All night discounts on Rye Ales, RyePAs, American Rye Ales, Rye Whiskey, & Rye Vodka!! Look Out for Founders, Sixpoint, He'brew, Terrapin, Boulder, & More!!) @Triumph, Philadelphia, PA--- Thu. 10/1 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (6:00pm; PAYG for October's selection of Oktoberfest) @Triumph, New Hope, PA--- Fri. 10/2 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (6pm; PAYG for October's selection of Sour Apfelweizen) @Triumph, Princeton, NJ--- Wed. 10/7 - Brewer's Reserve Barrel Tappings (6pm; PAYG for October's selection of Grand Cru) @Wegmans, Downingtown, PA--- Sat. 10/3 - Autumn Harvest--Beer and Food Pairing (11:00am-3:00pm; Free to enjoy a taste of some of our favorite pairings, meet brewery reps, and mingle with our own culinary experts at this exciting event!) Some events are just a bit bigger than others, like... @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA--- Thu. 10/1 - Tröegs Day (PAYG for any of 15 different beers from the state capital: HopBack Amber, Pale Ale, Dreamweaver, Sunshine, Troegenator, Rugged Trail, '08 Mad Elf, Scratch 19 (Double Espresso Oatmeal Stout), Scratch 21 (Naked Elf), Scratch 23 (Fest Beer), Java Head Stout, Dead Reckoning and Java Head Firkin on the Hand Pump and gravity pouring from the bar, Nugget Nectar) Oktoberfest isn't over until Stoudt's says it's over @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA--- Sat. 10/3 - Oktoberfest (12:00pm-4:00pm; $25 includes 2 Draft beers, Shirt, Oktoberfest Mug, Live Accordian Music, and Delicious German Fare) @Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, PA--- Sun. 10/4 - Sippin' by the River (1:00pm-5:00pm; $35/$40 includes wines, foods, and approximately 25 breweries) @Stoudt's Brewery, Adamstown, PA--- Sun. 10/4 - Oktoberfest Sundays (12:00pm-6:00pm; PAYG Every Sunday in October gates open at noon, music from 2 to 6, and food available from 1 to 5) @The Buck Hotel, Feasterville, PA--- Sat. 10/3 - Bucktoberfest (12:00pm-4:00pm; $10/$40/$45 for 30 unique beers and Octoberfest-inspired food) The second brewery from the first state @Stewart's Brewing Co., Bear, DE--- Fri. 10/2-Sat. 10/3 - Cajun, Blues, & Brews (all day; PAYG to enjoy Cajun food features and fantastic beer all weekend, with free live blues band entertainment at night!) Beer Dinners for your Soul @Georges, Wayne, PA--- Wed. 10/7 - Victory Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $65 for a 4-course meal including: House Made Smoked Salmon with Prima Pils; Pan Seared Halibut with Festbier; Duck Magret with Moonglow Weizenbock; and Apple Spiced Cake with Baltic Thunder) @The Pour House, Westmont, NJ--- Thu. 10/1 - Sly Fox/Dogfish Head Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $50)