Philly Beer Week – Day 3

The events of Philly Beer Week are too numerous to account for everything there is to do, or everything we would want to do. But two events stuck out for us on day 3, and they involved a fairly new brewery that has started distributing in PA, and some classic breweries from the northern regions of Pennsylvania.

After a hearty breakfast, we headed over to Capone’sin Norristown for a meet the brewer event with Patrick Rue of The Brueryin Orange County, CA. This small craft brewery is located in Orange County, CA and the name comes from a fusion of the word “brewery” and the family name “Rue”. They create unfiltered, non-pasteurized beers that are made with a unique combination of ingredients and only bottle conditioned.

We enjoyed samples of three beers, and purchased glasses of the others:

  • White Orchard– a Belgian-style witbier spiced with coriander, citrus peel and lavender. The brewery also reports that a spicy, fruity yeast strain is used to add complexity, and rolled oats are added for a silky texture (5.7% ABV)
  • Black Orchard– a Belgian-style black wheat beer brewed with chamomile, coriander and citrus peel (5.7% ABV)
  • Saison de Lente– a spring saison that the website describes as hoppy and light; fermented with brettanomyces and house yeast from the beginning of fermentation (6.5% ABV )
  • Saison Rue– a farmhouse ale brewed with malted rye. It is described by the brewer as having spicy, fruity yeast notes, biscuit-like malt backbone, and a slight citrus hop character (8.5% ABV)
  • Hottenroth Berliner Weisse– a tart German-style Berliner Weisse fermented with lactobacillus and brettanomyces for a traditional sour quality (3.1% ABV)

Next, it was back to Memphis Tap Room to make sure everyone got a chance at the Dorado. Unfortunately for us (but not the lucky people who were part of the event) there was a vintage beer event going on, so we couldn’t get any food service. Their food and pourings looked extremely interesting. We did enjoy our pints, and brought a few of our own snacks out to hold us over.

Our next stop was the Grey Lodge Public House where Lew Bryson and Scoats were hosting a full line-up of beers that don’t normally appear in the Philadelphia marketshare. Lew gave a nice speech including a brief history of the brewery business, and some current updates on the brewing scene in State College, Williamsport, Berwick and Wilkes-Barre. The beers included:

  • Bavarian Barbarian Square Feet Wheat Dunkelweizen
  • Bullfrog Beesting
  • Elk Creek Belgian Strong
  • One Guy Atomic Punk IPA
  • Stegmaier Holiday Warmer – spice holiday ale aged in Chardonnay barrels
  • Stegmaier Porter
  • Yuengling Bock Beer – a new beer to the PA market

Our next stop was Teresa’s Next Door. Our friends were attending the New Holland Beers from the Vaultevent, and highly recommended going there for dinner. Teresa’s was a terrific choice for a satisfying and interesting meal.  We started with a trio of lovely cheeses, bread and fruit – all at half-price on a Sunday. I had the Crocus & Cream mussels made with saffron, diced tomato, white wine, shallot and cream paired with the very best wood-roasted green asparagus that I’ve ever had. D had the Cassoulet, made with white beans, duck confit, veal sausage, and chicken.

The beer choice was Duval Green on it’s US debut, only on draft. I would take the time to talk about it, but the rest of my party is itching to get back to Philly Beer Week (day 4) events, and it’s already been said.

At Home with the Hollands

Many thanks to Scott and Vickie for hosting us during Philly Beer Week, and for breaking out some great things to share! Six of us sat around last night until the wee hours of the morning enjoying:

and perhaps more (I started to fade around 1:30 AM…)

Despite the short sleep we got, it was a great time with Fejj, Brandi and our hosts. And with a great breakfast by D (bagels, smoked salmon, omlettes, scrapple, fruit, yogurt and cappuccino by Scott!) we were able to start the day right.

Now on our second night, who knows what the end could be. But for now, we’re enjoying:

It’s hard to say if this is the end for us tonight, but I’ll try to keep it all posted.

Philly Beer Week – Night 2

It was a short night around the world, but especially for those of us beer traveling in Philadelphia.

Memphis Tap Room is a fabulous example of a the Philly corner beer bar, and the owners make sure that the beer list is always outstanding. There are at least eleven taps, each with a superb draft available, and this week –  to make it more special – they are doing a “No Repeat Beer Week”. When one kegs kicks, they replace it with something new, with the attempt to go through about 100 different beer. They are featuring Belgians, lagers, black beers (including porters and stouts), American IPAs, hop monsters, session beers, cask ale and beers “in a league of their own”!

On Saturday afternoon we had such a great time there, that we’ve returned on Sunday (it also has free wi-fi, so a great place to blog!) On Saturday, a tap kicked while we were there, and at our request, Brendan replaced it with Ballast Point Dorado (a double IPA at 9.6% ABV) – one of our favorites in this category. D and I also enjoyed the beef pasties (which were more like pulled beef empanadas) and fried okra. We’ve returned today for our friends to get Dorado, and right now I’m taking in an Avery Ale to the Chief (Imperial IPA; 8.75% ABV).

From Memphis Tap Room, we crossed town to 44th and Spruce to meet up with friends at Local 44. To be expected because of the shared ownership with Memphis Tap Room, this is also a great corner pub with an outstanding tap list.

I was ready for a coffee, but not long after, ordered a Bear Republic Racer 5 on cask along with the shared order of plantain-encrusted fish tacos (I can’t get enough of these!) Local 44 was packed with people, so we were lucky to have a table. And Leigh, being her usual personable self, took time out to chat with us and give us advice on a few things to do while we’re in town, as well as put in a plug for her event next Sunday, which I’m not sure I can miss. From the website:

One BIG Afternoon of Russian River Beers on Tap

Be here at 11:30am on Sunday, March 15 for the tapping of more Russian River beer that we’ve ever seen in one place, outside of Santa Rosa.

We’ll be pouring both Plinys, Blind Pig, Consecration, Damnation and Salvation. All at once. We’ve got a limited amount of each, when they’re gone, they’re gone!

It was a great time, but we needed to move on, so we headed over to Dock Street Brewing in West Philly for a few beers and cannoli. It was a great night to sit outside and enjoy the warmer weather before heading to the ‘burbs (Paoli) to find Scott and Vickie at TJ’s Drinkery and head back to their house for a great (late) night of bottle tasting. This long night would have been fine, were it not for a combination of Daylight Savings Time and early-bird D going out to the grocery store, only to lock himself out! He woke us all up trying to get back in, and attempted to make up for it by cooking a super breakfast.

Obviously we’re having a great time taking in the Philly Beer Week experience. Still hoping I can keep up with recording all of the fun!

Philly Beer Week – Day 2

It’s Day 2 of Philly Beer Week, and I can honestly say I am BLOWN AWAY by the hospitality of this city.

D and I woke up from our cushy accommodations at the Crowne Plaza (we were fortunate to get this, as we were scheduled to stay on an air bed on the floor of an apartment that no longer became available…), and we headed out to meet Ffej and Brandi at Johnny Brenda’sin Fishtown. There was a stout brunch being held (advertised as 10 stouts, but with the cask, it was really 11!)  We had a terrific meal – my oyster stew and grilled asparagus were outstanding! – and a series of fabulous stouts.

I started with Dock Street Satellite Stout (which was a great substitute for my morning cup of coffee!) and a Philadephia Brewing Company Shackamaximum Stout (which was a beautiful stout that tasted like it was infused with Nestle Quick!) I also tasted from D’s O’Reiley’s Irish Stout and Yard’s Love Stout. We really enjoyed ourselves there – the windows were open to let the fresh warm “spring” air in, and the food was really enjoyable along with the excellent collection of stouts.

Next we headed to Mephis Tap Room(which is where I’m blogging from, but might not complete my notes…), and passed by a vacant lot on Frankford Street. I just happened to look over and see Philadelphia Brewing Company stenciled on a brick industrial building that looked just about ready to topple over.

We decided to go around the block – just to check it out – and found that the “toppled over” area was a very nice courtyard, and the brewing company was just beginning a three-hour first anniversary celebration! We walked right in before the crowd really gathered, and found that a person could enjoy all of the free beer and food they cared for!

The courtyard, downstairs bottling line, upstairs brewing area and taproom were all outlets for beer (although there was a special line for the one-ticket-per-person Shackamaximum Stout). Around the bottling area was a full buffet of pizza, soft pretzels, chili, rice, cheese, pepperoni and ring bologna. And out in the courtyard, the Choptank Osyter Companywas shucking the biggest, sweetest farm-raised Chesapeake oysters I’ve ever had (YUMMMM!) There was a really fun band in the taproom, too. What a TREAT to stumble upon! We are really thankful to the Philadelphia Brewing Company for throwing such a great party – it just might be the treat of the week.

So now we’re sitting in the Memphis Tap Room – one of the best beer bars in the city and sister to our other favorite place, Local 44. We came in “just because”, but are so pleased that we stayed. It is No Repeat Beer Week, and Brendan did us a real favor by putting on Ballast Point Dorado.

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to stop here because…well, I’ve been enjoying the beers AND our food just came… More soon???

Philly Beer Week – Day 1

We kicked off the 2nd Annual Philly Beer Week by stopping off at Capone’s in Norristown. We always love a visit there, and enjoyed a pint each with:

  • Philadelphia Joe Porter(5% ABV) made with 50 pounds of Peruvian coffee
  • Weyerbacher ECHO(6.8 ABV) – a rye winter IPA made with 30% rye malt, Simcoe and Centennial hops

Traveling down the Germantown Pike, we arrived in Mt. Airy where we easily found parking in the municipal lot tucked between McMenamin’s Tavernand Earth Bread + Brewery. Had we known we were going to wait so long for our companion, perhaps we would have gone to McMenamin’s – touted by author Don Russel as one of the most diverse pubs in the city. We instead sat at the bar, drinking and chatting with the bartender. He was very knowledgeable about he selections of beer and wine, and we enjoyed everything we had. We started with three beers at the bar:

  • EB+B Destiny’s Mild(3.6% ABV)
  • St. Bernardus Wit(5.5% ABV)
  • EB+B Ed Bear Stout(4.4% ABV)

We paired it with a Seed “bread” (the breads here are more pizza than flatbread, but very good none-the-less.) When our friends arrived, we were seated upstairs and shared a house beer – the EB+B Ober Spliner Pils(6.8% ABV) – which was absolutely delicious! It was more like a Belgian blonde, and I couldn’t get enough of our shared glass.

Next we wandered into Southeast Philly on a mission to attend a couple of beer events, specifically those being held at Pub on Passyunk East (P.O.P.E.) and Devil’s Den – a fairly new beer bar in the area, but both places were simply packed, so we wandered over to the South Philly Tap Room, where they were handing out glasses of New Glarus Belgian Red to the first 40 customers. There were far more than 40 people there, so there must have been some kind of code word, and we unknowingly used it. Three glasses came to our table, so we were a happy lot! In addition, we had

  • Arcadia Cocoa Loco
  • Newbold IPA on cask (Philadelphia Brewing Company)
  • Voodoo White Magic

For our last stop, we found the 1601 Bar, where it appeared they were playing “last tap standing”. There were three empty taps, and five full when we arrived, and it sounded like things were all pretty good that evening. Our friends closed the place, and saw a few more go off. Several of  us tried the Yuengling Bock (a little boring overall, but pretty bold considering the brewery!) and our friend Josh had Walt Wit (Philadelphia Brewing Company.)

It was a pretty nice night, considering our real lack of planning, and D & I ended up getting a room at the Crowne Plaza in Center City for just $50 on Priceline, so that really made things great!

We’re now on to Day 2, and I’m trying to keep up…keep checking in and we’ll see what happens!