Coming Full Circle

First off – I know – it’s been forever and a day since I last posted. Life has taken me many different directions and the writing fell by the way side, my apologies. Geeky Beer Gal is is very active on social media so please take a moment to follow me on FB, Instagram @geekybeergal and Twitter @geekybeergal.

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Brasserie d’Achouffe N’Ice Chouffe

Coming Full Circle. One recent Friday all I could think about, while trying to survive the work day, was how much I wanted to kick back later and enjoy a beer. As you know, I love beer but what you probably don’t know is that I actually don’t drink it as much as one might think. I enjoy and savor it when I do. My decision wasn’t whether to have a beer or not but wether to pick one from my beer frig at home or to go out and have something on tap. Home was winning until my brother texted me a pic of himself enjoying a Brasserie d’Achouffe N’Ice Chouffe at Uno Hamilton. Decision made! This Gal loves N’Ice Chouffe.

Unfortunately, our schedules didn’t match up so I missed having a beer with the World’s Greatest Brother. As I was enjoying my Chouffe it hit me….after all these years of traveling round, enjoying a variety of craft beers and my beer taste changing (next blog) in the end this Gal enjoys Belgian beers the most. So much so I once had an amazing cat name after the beer Chimay!

I enjoyed Belgian beers long before microbrews and craft beer became a thing. Back then the only place to really get them around my area was Isaac Newton’s in Newtown. They still have a nice selection of Belgian beers on tap complimented by a variety of craft beers. I find myself in need of a visit every Christmas season. For what ever reason Christmas screams Belgian beer time to me. Not sure why – it just does. Not that I don’t enjoy them year round, I do, just Christmas time I enjoy them even more. Part of my Christmas tradition is going to NYC to see the tree and enjoy a few beers at BXL Cafe…this Gal’s fav Belgium bar. It’s not Christmas until I sit at the BXL bar with a Delirium Noel!

Thing is it doesn’t matter if the beer is hoppy, malty or, in the case of a Framboise, fruity…I enjoy them all. They have such a rich, smooth quality to me that is meant to be savored and respected. I still love craft beers to the moon and back but Belgian beers will forever be my first love.

Some of this Gal’s fav places to find Belgian beers on tap: BXL Cafe, The Belgian Cafe, Monk’s Cafe, Uno Hamilton, Isaac Newton’s, and Bridgids.

Some of this Gal’s favorite Belgium breweries and beers: Chimay, Leffe, Delirium, Duvel, La Chouffe, Rodenbach Grand Cru, St Feuillien, Leifmans, Westmalle, Tripel Karmeliet, Westvleteren, Orval, Duchesse De Bourgogne, Arabier, Rochefort Trappistes 10, Cantillon and Lindeman’s to name a few cause really there are just too many to name. Cheers!

 

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Philly Beer Crawl II

38411873_883480391850916_9147237638384648192_o Ladies market your calendars South Jersey GPO and Geeky Beer Gal are teaming up again and adding our friends Central Jersey GPO for another Philly Beer Crawl. You can join us for the entire duration or join us at any of our stops along the way. Stay tuned for the list of bars/breweries we’ll be visiting…

Don’t forget to follow this Gal on Facebook for all the latest beer happenings.

Philly Beer Crawl

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South Jersey GPO and Geeky Beer Gal are teaming up for our 1st Philly Bar Crawl! We’ll be perusing through the Fishtown section of the city at 5 of the best craft beer bars or breweries. You can join us for the entire duration or join us at any of our stops along the way.

12:00PM-1:00PM Fishtown Brewpub
1101 Frankford Ave

1:15PM-2:15PM Barcade
1114 Frankford Ave

2:30PM-3:30PM Garage Fishtown
100 E Girard Ave

3:45PM-4:45PM Bottle Bar East 
1308 Frankford Ave

5:00PM-? Urban Village Brewing Co
1001 N 2nd St

There is street parking available off of Girard (Day and Crease St) and off N 2nd St near Urban Village. Parking can be limited so public transit is encouraged. You can take PATCO in to the city and Uber/Lyft to the Fishtown area. You could also carpool! Put the area or meet-up point below in the comments. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes as we will be walking to each bar, bring cash to use at each bar (easier for quick purchase), event will be rain or shine, no cost for the Bar Crawl itself and ladies only please! The last stop at Urban Village will be till whenever – take time to drink water, eat some food, etc. PLEASE REMEMBER TO ENGAGE RESPONSIBLY! Have a DD or a travel plan in place.

Where are the Browns?

For the longest time I felt two styles were missing from tap lists – sours & browns. Well, as we all know, sours are everywhere now but where are the browns? Why is this style overlooked again and again? I’m perplexed as to why folks don’t appreciate this style more. I get so excited when I see a brown ale on a tap list and there are some really good ones out there. Brooklyn Brown and Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale helped me fall in love with craft beer. Right now I have Weyerbacher Easton Brown & Down and Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale in my beer frig.

Perhaps browns aren’t complex enough for folks but isn’t it nice to sometimes just enjoy straightforward drinking beer with a solid taste? I love the nuttiness to browns, the malt and subtle hops all combine to make a really smooth easy beer. Whenever I see a brown ale on a tap list you can count on this Gal ordering it. I once wished for more sours and my wish came true. Fingers crossed my wish for more browns comes true.

Brewers PLEASE brew some browns.
Drinkers PLEASE give the browns a chance.

Hoppy Holiday Bazaar – Drafts & Crafts

This Gal has two exciting Geeky Beer Gal Events coming up.

First up is the 3rd Annual Hoppy Holiday Bazaar at Flying Fish Brewery Dec. 3. This year there will be more vendors, a food truck and always delish beer from Flying Fish Brewery. Get your Holiday shopping done and enjoy a beer.

holidaybazaar3Next up is the 2nd Annual Drafts & Crafts Bazaar at UNO Hamilton Dec. 10. Unique vendors selling their wares to help you get your  shopping done while you enjoy the 12 Beers of Christmas!
DraftsCrafts

Trails 4 Tails

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This Gal will be hosting the Geeky Beer Gal Beer Garden featuring Weyerbacher Brewing at Trails 4 Tails. Ruff Life and the Bucks County Triathlon Club are co-hosting Trails 4 Tails the inaugural fundraiser race, October 22, 2017, for It’s A Ruff Life Rescue an all breed dog rescue.The race is a 5K, 5K with dogs, 15K and Double Dog (5K & 15K).

A fun event for the entire family both 2 and 4 legged. Meet the Ruff Life pups available for adoption, play some corn hole, drink Weyerbacher beer and hang out and have fun!

Want to run? You can register at www.trail4tailnjpa.org

Hope to see you there!

Follow Trails 4 Tails on Face Book

Event Page 

The Future of Craft Beer

I’ve read a lot of articles about the future of craft beer but since I keep getting asked, “Is the craft beer bubble about to burst? Is there a future for craft beer?” here’s my thoughts on the future of craft beer.

Trends come and go but craft beer is here to stay. The “It” folks, you know the ones who have to be part of the latest cool craze, are moving on from craft beer and personally that makes this Gal happy. At the same I know quite a few folks who are just discovering the joy of craft beer and it’s been fun to see their taste and knowledge of beer blossom.

Is craft beer still the new cool kid on the block? Nope, that title now belongs to distilleries. They are popping up left and right just like breweries once did and that is one of the differences you will see as the craft beer world settles fewer breweries opening. Fine by me. We don’t need one on every corner and frankly, far too many have opened that never should have. It will be survival of the fittest. If you brew good beer, take care of your customers, offer reasonable prices and have a sound business plan then you should be ok.

I do, however, feel a shift in the craft beer world has started and will continue…#drinklocal.  Folks want to see more local brews on tap at restaurants and beer bars. Yes, folks will still enjoy beer from across the country but see the value in supporting their local breweries. I think the acquisitions of craft breweries by mega corporations like Anheuser-Busch is a factor in the #drinklocal movement. Beer lovers want their local breweries to be successful but not by the big guys taking them over but rather from customer and community support.

However, I also see a return to Belgium beer. I think we are going to be seeing them pop up more on tap list and more craft breweries brewing Belgium styles. Belgium beers were this Gal’s first love so I don’t mind at all.

So to recap craft beer will be sticking around
Some breweries will close
Fewer breweries will be opening
More acquisitions of craft breweries by big corporations
Lots more distilleries popping up
#drinklocal
The Return of Belgium Beers

Edgy & Veggie: A Vegan Beer Dinner

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Chef Scot Seher & Head Brewer Josh Ervine

I recently had the pleasure of the attending the Iron Hill Brewery (Mapleshade) Edgy & Veggie: A Vegan Beer Dinner and it was out of this world delish from start to finish. Since I usually can’t eat most food offerings at beer dinners I tend to skip them. So it’s been many years since this Gal had the pleasure of enjoying a beer dinner. The dinner sold out quickly and many of those in attendance weren’t vegan or vegetarian but enjoyed themselves immensely. Each course was expertly paired by Head Chef  Scot Seher & Head Brewer Josh Ervine. Following is the menu. My personal favs the 3rd Course Artichoke “Crab”Cake paired with the Galaxy Quest IPA. The citrus of the beer with the artichoke and spices of the “Crab” Cake was perfect together. Fortunately I had some of the Galaxy Quest left and tried it with the Intermezzo Blood Orange-Parsnip Sorbet which were incredible together and I was told a happy coincidence.
My other fav was the 4th Course Southern Fried Tofu paired with Out of the Gate IPA.  The course was solid yummy comfort food at it’s best and the caramel malts from the beer brought out the herbaliciousness of the seitan gravy.

 

 

FIRST COURSE
Zucchini Carpaccio
candied meyer lemon, pickled lavender buds,
pistachio paste and cashew milk ricotta
Paired with Phightin’ Phils Pils

SECOND COURSE
Yucca Tostones
shaved vegetable slaw and charred tomato coulis
Paired with Ziggy Star-Bock

 

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Artichoke “Crab” Cake

THIRD COURSE
Artichoke “Crab” Cake
micro watercress, pesto and white balsamic drizzle
Paired with Galaxy Quest

INTERMEZZO
Blood Orange-Parsnip Sorbet

FOURTH COURSE
Southern Fried Tofu
green tomato, black bean puree,
grilled corn-potato puree and sawmill style seitan gravy
Paired with Out the Gate IPA

 

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Southern Fried Tofu

FIFTH COURSE

Harissa Marinated Cauliflower Steak
chickpea couscous, roasted tomato and grilled spring onion chimichurri
Paired with Trubbel with Monks

SIXTH COURSE
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
banana chips and macadamia-almond ice cream
Paired with Vanilla Coffee Porter

 

They also offered a Non-alcoholic dinner option as well which I think is great and I saw several folks who went for this option.

Great beer, fabulous food, wonderful company – overall a fun night out.


Band of Brewers V

 

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Philadelphia Brewing Company

I often am asked my what’s my favorite beer, depends on  my mood and what I’m eating, what’s my favorite bar, depends on where I am, and what’s my favorite beer event – easy – Band of Brewers without a  doubt. Yup, Philly Beer Scene’s Band of Brewers is my all time favorite beer event. It combines two of my favorite things beer and music.

After all music, more specifically the Grateful Dead, is what got me into craft beer. Deadheads would bring beer from their home state on the road with them to sell in the parking lot of Dead shows. At the time it was really one of the few ways to try new beer. It was in the parking lot of Dead show that I first tried Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Heck at the time I had never even heard of it (let that sink in). It got to the point not only couldn’t you wait for the Dead to tour for the music but also to see what new beer you would have the opportunity to try. So yeah music and beer two of my favorite things.

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Trophy

Band of Brewers was started five years ago by Philly Beer Scene. Different local breweries let their inner Rock Star come out to play and compete against other local breweries for the bragging rights and the chance to bring home the Band of Brewers trophy for 1 year. Each member of the brewery band has to be an employee of the brewery. Last years winners, Stainless Maiden – Broken Goblet, was a take on Iron Maiden but the range of music covered during a show is vast. Anywhere from Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl to Hendrix to Marilyn Manson to Metallica to original music. It’s freaking awesome!

img_7092-1The competition takes place at World Cafe Live in Philly and is only $15 for 4 hours of kick ass entertainment – pay as you go for the beer. During the February show I had the pleasure of enjoying Neshaminy Creek Dank Hill Wheat Double IPA 9% and Forest & Main Tape Neck IPA 5.5%.

The list of brewery participates have grown to the point that this year’s competition has had to be split into 2 rounds. Each band plays 5 songs and provides 2 beers to be on tap at the venue. The first round was in Febraury with Forest & Main, River Horse, Victory, Philadelphia Brewing Co. and Neshaminy Creek competing to move on the finals. Round two will take place June 25 with the Vault, Broken Goblet, Crime & Punishment, Yards, Iron Hill and Troegs going at it. The finals will take place September 24th at The TLA. Personally, I would have loved to see them keep the finals at World Cafe Live. It’s a great space and easy access via transit or by car but not matter where it is I plan on being there.

Just so you understand how much I love this event the 2nd round, June 25, happens to be the same day Dead & Co. are playing in Camden. Of course, this Gal has a ticket for the Dead but you better believe I’m going to make it work and squeeze in Band of Brewers too.

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Fear of a Craft Beer Plant live from Band of Brewers

A panel of judges and the audience pick the top three from each round to move onto the finals. Moving on from Round 1 are NCBC, PBC and Forest & Main.  Can’t wait for Round 2! Do yourself a solid and get your tickets

Courtesy of Philly Beer Scene – Past winners:
Year 1: Yeast Factory (Yards Brewing Co.)
Year 2: Brewtallica (Philadelphia Brewing Co.)
Year 3: HuemanGroup (Forest & Main)
Year 4: Stainless Maiden (Broken Goblet)
Year 5: TBD

 

Beer of the Week 1/30-2/5 & 2/6-2/1

Beer of the Week 2/6 – 2/12
16640843_609438812588410_8618271836311279521_nThe past week was a close one between New Belgium Brewing Citradelic and Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale. If I had to choose…you know what I don’t have to choose. They were both fun beers that caught me by surprise.

New Belgium Brewing Citradelic 6% – The tangerine is up front and helps to calm down the hops while be ever so refreshing.

16807321_609438815921743_8525973011396026945_nFlying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale 7% – The citrus is not as prominent in this one but still there with hints of pineapple, spices and malt that end with some bitterness from the hops.

I look forward to pairing them with some spicy Thai in the near future.

Beer of the Week 1/30 – 2/5 – This weeks top pick goes to a classic and one of this Gal’s 16426300_605033963028895_2896893489365179195_nfavs Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue). Not only do I love this beer because of the dark fruits, caramel, and malts topped off with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg but also it’s sentimentally a favorite of mine.

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Chimay

This Gal names her fur babies after beer and it all started with my cat/dog Chimay. A dog stuck in a cats body and one of the coolest cats around. Cheers Chimay!