Local 44 – Philadelphia, PA
I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with a friend in Philadelphia for a nice lunch and beer outing. We were trying to pick something different for both of us and we quickly found that several of the beer places we had in mind don’t open until 4pm on weekdays. We narrowed the list to Local 44 and Kraftworks. Since both of us had only been to Local 44 once upon its opening a few years ago that became our go to place. I thoroughly enjoyed it on my first visit and quickly was reminded why upon entering this great beer establishment the 2nd time around.
This is a neighborhood craft beer bar (lucky neighbors) not far from Drexel and U of Penn. The décor is rustic (wood & brick) and the atmosphere relaxed and laid back. There is nothing pretentious about Local 44, right away you feel welcomed and know you are at a place you can kick back and enjoy yourself.
The bartender, darn I forgot to write down her name, was incredible. She was very knowledge about the beers, making recommendations to anyone that asked without being overbearing and knew the food menu too. She was attentive, friendly and kept the bar clean. Always a plus in my book. She quickly informed us of any beer substitutions from what was written on the chalkboard beer menu.
The beer list at Local 44 is so nice and inviting I felt it best to drink half pours so I could try more beers. Of course, deciding which was going to be the first pour was the hard part. There were so many wonderful beers to choose from that I struggled at first with my decision but then I remembered the bartender stating there was a Saison on tap and I do love a Saison. I find it’s highly under represented on most tap lists. So when I heard there was one on tap, let alone one I hadn’t tried yet, I knew this was my first selection of the day.
State Side Saison – Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Maryland 6.8% Farmhouse Style Ale
This ale is a nicely done U.S. Saison that put me in the mood for the Spring Beer Season. It’s not as complex as some Belgian Saisons but it still has the fun yeasty, skunky and slight sourness to it that I associate with a good Farmhouse Ale. It pours a nice golden hue with just a tinge of cloudiness and just a wee bit of bubbles. It’s a nice light body ale with hints of grapefruit, lemon & complimentary floral herbs & spices and ends with a slight peppery taste. This Saison was a winner and would pair lovely with so many foods.
Great Lakes Conway Red – Great Lakes Brewing Co. 6.5% Irish Red Ale
I do enjoy a fine Red Ale and have found anything Great Lakes brews is a winner. This beer pours a nice crisp amber/copper color with beautiful full head. It’s an easy drinking medium bodied beer with slight hop taste that adds to the experience but doesn’t overpower the toasted malts and fruits that finished with just a hint of bitterness. Over all a very well done Irish Red Ale.
Monchshof Schwarzbier – Kulmbacher Brauerei AG 4.9% Schwarzbier
Nice mocha color with chestnut highlights and a dense creamy head that leaves a velvety feel in the mouth. The nuttiness hits your nose prior to tasting it. This beer is a delightful mouth full with light roasted flavors of bitter coffee, malts, nuts and fresh out of the oven crusty bread. Even though this is a more full body beer it’s crisp and easy to drink.
Rounding out the afternoon at Local 44 was the Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Stout. I noticed this beer right away when I was pondering my beer choices upon arrival and knew I would be finishing the day with this savory delight.
Chocolate Indulgence Stout – Brewery Ommegang 7.0% Belgian Dark Ale
This stout sits so pretty in the glass with rich dark chocolate coloring and a frothy cream colored head. With roasted barley, sweet malt, toffee and bitter chocolate undertones it is a very palate pleasing stout. The chocolate really is very subtle and had essences of banana in the flavor as well. It’s not a very bold stout but true to its Belgian Dark Ale style.
I was able to try sips of the following beers courtesy of my beer companion:
Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA (on engine) – Belhaven Brewery Company 5.3% English India Pale Ale – Smooth not overly hoppy, nice British IPA
Duck-Rabbit Hoppy Bunny American Black Ale – The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery 7.3% American Black Ale
Nice deep rich black ale with hints of coffee, cocoa and hops
Lavery Rauch Lager – Lavery Brewing 7%
Nice smokey flavor without being overpowering
The food menu at Local 44 is a nice size with offerings for vegans, vegetarians and meatarians. Plenty to choose from without being overwhelming. I enjoyed the vegetarian Reuben which was delish and an ample portion that I was able to take home the other half for dinner that night. My companion had the Beef on Weck which I was told was “very, very, tasty”. Sandwiches come with either a side salad or fries, always nice to have options. Oh and they have Kale on the menu, I LOVE a menu that includes Kale! Between the variety of food and beer selections it’s easy to pair your food selection with a complimentary beer. Something I like to take into consideration when ordering.
A nice ending touch was the “Good People Drink Good Beer” postcard attached to our check. It truly is the little things that makes one smile. Some lucky beer friend will be receiving this fun little surprise in the mail shortly.
There is a bottle shop next store which, unfortunately, I forgot to check out prior to my departure. This alone will require me to visit Local 44 again. Local 44 is the sister bar of one of my top favorite places in Philly, Memphis Taproom, which I plan on visiting in another week or two. Super excited about that. I still need to check out the other two sister locations Strangelove’s and Resurrection Ale House. All four locations made my Geeky Beer Gal’s Philly Pub Crawl List. Hopefully you’ll get to try all 4 Bars!