2331 E Cumberland St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
215.425.4460 Twitter – @MemphisTaproom1
I have often mentioned my top 3 beer places in Philly are Kraftwork (previously reviewed), Memphis Taproom and The Belgium Cafe. Well, I’m finally sharing with you why Memphis Taproom ranks in my top 3. I’ve been a fan of Memphis Taproom since they first opened. It’s has the wonderful feel and look of a neighborhood hangout that is most definitely a destination spot as well. There’s nothing pretentious about Memphis Taproom yet it has every right to be with a top notch tap and bottle beer menu that is amazing, list some rare finds and is constantly rotating (changed in the middle of this visit) and a wonderfully diverse food menu that ranks up there with the best in tasty offerings. So much so that this place was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives food show.
Memphis is located in a neighborhood with off street parking but this Gal has never had a problem finding a spot. The staff is always welcoming and very knowledgeable about both the beer, wine and food menu offerings. For you none beer people their wine list is pretty kick butt as well.
On this particular visit I was meeting a friend to celebrate this Gal’s 7th year of being cancer free. Woohoo! That’s right this place is special enough to celebrate such a fabulous occasion at. (fyi – if you ever have an appt you’re dreading just plan a fun outing for right afterwards…it makes the day one to look forward to instead of dreading.)
Upon entering Memphis, which is located in what appears to be an old house, you walk into the bar area with a couple of high top tables to the left and a long classic wooden bar to the right. When you walk towards the far end of the bar you step up into the dining area which has a cozy yet roomy feel to it.
Since I arrived right at noon on a workday it was pretty empty with the exception of Brendan Hartranft (one of the owners) and the bartender. Truth be told I love having a bar to myself. Brendan is a delight to talk to and so very knowledgeable about beer without being overwhelming about it. He also owns several other establishments worth visiting in the city Local 44 (previously reviewed) and Stranglove’s and is in the works of opening two more Clarkville & Coeur. What a great influence/addition he has been to the beer scene in the City of Brotherly Beer.
After perusing the on tap beer menu which is split up into 3 sections International & Rare, The Domestic Situation, Local & Regional I requested a beer that unfortunately, was no longer on top. However, Brendan recommended and so glad he did, the Ridgeway Lump of Coal from the Rare Section.
Lump of Coal – Export Stout, Ridgeway Brewing UK 8%
Holy pooh this beer is smooth and strong with a sweet malty scotch essence to it.
My friend arrived while I was in the middle of enjoying the Lump of Coal and I insisted a taste be tried – yup enjoyed by the IPA/Pale Ale lover as well.
My friend started with the:
Zinnebir X-Mas – Belgian Pale Ale, Brasserie de la Senne 6.5% which was a nice yeasty Belgium ale full of dark fruit and toasted nut flavors accented by hints of bitterness.
By this point in the visit it was time to accompany our beer with some grub. A Jack Fruit Cake Po’ Boy for this gal – an amazing vegetarian delight with a kick that complements just about any beer style. My friend enjoyed the Slow Roast Pork sandwich which I’m told is always a winner.
Next up off the Domestic Section of the beer menu:
Maracaibo Especiale Wild Brown Ale – Jolly Pumpkin, 7.5%
Oh how I love me a brown ale and this didn’t disappoint. The nuttiness one associates with a brown ale plus touches of caramel, fruits and roasted cocoa with a hint of cinnamon.
Tast of Bluebird Bitter (On Cask) – English Bitter, Coniston Brewing Co. UK 4.2%
A style I rarely order but love to taste and can appreciate. This particular bitter offers a well rounded balance of malts, hops and a earthiness consisting of pine and floral with just the right ending of bitterness.
De Dolle Oerbier – Belgium Strong Ale, Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers 9.5%
I so enjoy De Dolle Oerbier and so rarely get to partake in its deliciousiness. An incredible combination of rustic flavors including roasted nuts, wood ambers and yeast with hints of tart fruits and cocoa accompaninied by warm spices.
Taste of Santa’s Little Helper – Quad, Mikkeller 10.5%
I’ll miss these killer beers come warmer weather. Holiday spice combo accompanying flavors of figs, plums, caramel, roasted coffee and chocolate that ends with a kick of aged bourbon. Warms you from the inside out.
My friend and I ended the visit with split pint from the Local & Regional Section of the beer menu.
Gose – Victory Brewing Company 5%
Not to take away from this beer but after such a rich selection of hearty beers this was probably to light a note to end on. Not the most solid Gose I’ve had but still enjoyable.
In nicer weather Memphis Taproom has an outside beer garden to kick back and enjoy a beer in. I have yet to visit the beer garden so, of course, I’ll need to go back for that. In the meantime I hope you add Memphis Taproom as a must on your places to visit in the City of Brotherly Beer.