Monthly Archives: July 2015

Gritty McDuff’s

Last time this Gal visited Gritty’s was August 1998. It was one of many stops along the way to Lemonwheel. Gritty’s is a classic after all they’ve been brewing beer since 1988. Years ago they only had the one location in Portland, Maine which was small, welcoming and just a great overall hangout. They’ve grown and now have 3 locations in Maine – Portland, Auburn and Freeport. On this visit I was checking out the Freeport location.It’s extremely easy to access as it’s located on Route 1 and just a mere half mile from Maine Beer Company. By know you know I recommend making it a mini beer crawl sort of day.IMG_2895Upon arrival I couldn’t believe how big the Freeport location is. The Portland location reminds me of an old English pub but this one has more of a Maine lodge feel to it. With large rooms, wood beams and accents and lots of windows allowing the natural beauty that is Maine to shine through. Upon entry there is a dining room to the right, back patio straight  in front of you and the bar area with tables to the left. Naturally, I wanted to sit in the bar area. Although, after having just spent 6 hours in a car bar stools were not going to cut it so we opted for a table. However, I will say the tables in the bar area seemed oddly short. Still trying to figure that out.

Sampler
Sampler

Upon perusing the beer menu I immediately knew I needed to do a taster flight. However, I had another beer stop after Gritty’s plus a bit of a drive a head  (although my companion was doing the rest of the driving) so I didn’t do the full flight (10 4oz beers) and opted for making my own size up. Yup, they are super accommodating. This Gal’s flight consisted of 5 Gritty McDuff’s beers.

Best Bitter 4.8% – Of course, I had to include their flag ship beer and truth be told I do enjoy a bitter. I was happy it was served at the right temperature so the malts and hop bitterness could truly be enjoyed the way the beer gods intended. A classic bitter.

Original Pub Style 4.5%
Over all it was good beer a bit light with not much to back it up but enjoyable to drink. The hops were extremely subtle.
Black Fly Stout 4.7% – You guessed it – this Gal’s favorite of the taster flight. This stout scored a perfect 100 from Beer Advocate Magazine and I understand why. Beautiful creamy head with a rich dark body. Overall it’s a lighter body dry stout that makes for easy, smooth, and enjoyable drinking.
English Wheat – Not much going on with this beer flavor wise but would be good on a hot day after mowing the lawn.
Dark IPA – Yum, malts & hops originally thought it was going to be a Black IPA so this Gal was confused by the medium chestnut coloring. I was happy to find out it’s Dark IPA which seems to be a popular style in Maine.
Mushrooms
Mushrooms
Pork Fries
Pork Fries

My companion enjoyed a mixed drink and we opted to just have appetizers since we had a grilled dinner waiting for us upon our arrival at the Cabin later. This Gal enjoyed Mushrooms with horseradish and my companion enjoyed the Pork Fries. The food menu is both meat and vegetarian friendly offering pub food as well as the local Maine cuisine.

Gritty’s is  Maine institution and with 3 locations it’s worth trying to fit in a visit to at least one of them.

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The Bishop’s Collar

The Bishop's CollarThe Bishop’s Collar
2349 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA
215.765.1616  Facebook  Twitter – @thebishopcollar

Plain and simple The Bishop’s Collar is a neighborhood bar that offers a variety of craft beers on tap and delicious bar style foods. Nothing fancy going on here it’s really just a good place to kick back with a friend and catch up; which is exactly what this Gal did. Meet up with a dear friend to discuss the Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary concert series. (which were awesome!)

The Bishop’s Collar has some patio seating outside overlooking Fairmount Avenue and is just a short walking distance to the art museum. Beings it’s the city you might want to practice your parallel parking since off street parking is the norm. FYI – read the parking signs -you’ve been warned.

bishopsOn this visit my friend and I decided to take up residence at the bar. There’s a long bar to the right of the entrance and table seating in the back. The tap list is on the smaller side for a Philly establishment but the offerings are good and there’s something for everyone. There’s also a nice bottle list as well.

This Gal decided to start with an IPA – you read that right an IPA.

Down to Earth Session IPA  21st Amendment 4.4%

21st Amendement
21st Amendement

Unfortunately, this didn’t hit the mark with me. It seemed green, unbalanced and not what I was in the mood for.

Mushroom Bean Burger
Mushroom Bean Burger

At this point my friend and I decided it was time for some food before moving onto our next beer. I remembered their house made mushroom/bean burger was awesome and served with my favorite on top – Guacamole! So I went for that and it was just as good as I remembered it. My friend had the steak tip sandwich with garlic mayo and I was told it hit the mark.

To accompany my mushroom/bean burger I chose the Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Indeed, I was sticking to the pale ales. Oh how times have changed.

Steak Tip Sandwich and Starr Hill
Steak Tip Sandwich and Starr Hill

Mirror Pond Pale Ale Deschutes 5%
Now this was what I was in the mood for. A good ratio of hops to malt with citrus, hints of pine and earthy bread. Complimented the food perfectly.

Deschutes with side taster of Lost Abbey
Deschutes with side taster of Lost Abbey

Agave Maria American Strong Ale Lost Abbey 13.5% – Just a taste since I had to drive home but holy pooh what a gorgeously smooth sipping beer. The agave is offset y the citrus rinds, roasted malts and dark fruits

Soul Shine Belgian Pale Ale Starr Hill 5.2%
My companion chose the Soul Shine to accompany his lunch and was generous enough to offer me a taste. It’s nice pale ale but didn’t necessarily note the belgian qualities.

Being The Bishop’s Collar is a neighborhood bar in Philly the prices are very reasonable with several of the beers coming in at $5.5 for a pint and worth stopping in if you’re in the area. One can easily make The Bishop’s Collar part of a beer crawl of the Art Museum neighborhood with The Belgian Cafe, Bridgid’s, London Grill all within walking distance.

Tap List

Tap List

Smithville Inn

IMG_2815Recently this Gal took a day off from work to enjoy the day with my wonderful parents.  We decided to spend the day enjoying all that Smithville Village has to offer including lunch at the Smithville Inn.IMG_2816

The Inn itself is beautiful and right away you know you are in for a special treat with good service, excellent food and a cozy historic setting.

I had heard some good things about the beer offerings at the Inn so was excited to see whats what. The tap is small but the bottle list has some wonderful selections: several Chimays, Orval, Dogfish Head, Rogue Maibock & Stout plus 4 different Samuel Smith’s. The bottle beer selection complimented the Old World English feel to the Inn.

Beer List
Beer List

I decided to go for the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. That’s right folks this Gal ordered an IPA and a full pint at that!

90 Minute IPA
90 Minute IPA

90 Minute IPA – Dogfish Head 9%
Loved it! I would not have said this a year or two ago. I would have found it too hoppy but not now. Loved the refreshing, full body combo of malt and hops. Plus, my Mom, a non beer drinker, thought it was tasty as well.

The Inn offers a full service bar and on this day my Dad enjoyed his personal favorite Southern Comfort on the rocks.

Veggie Melt
Veggie Melt

To accompany our beverages I chose the Grilled Vegetable Melt which was delicious and chock full of assorted veggies. The 90 Minute complimented the melt perfectly. Mom enjoyed the Asparagus and Crab Quiche with Fresh Fruit and Dad enjoyed the Pork Sliders with Sweet Potato Fries. The presentation was nice and everyone enjoyed their selection.

After lunch we wondered around the Village exploring the many shops and taking in the quaintness of it all. Smithville Inn & Village is a nice way to spend a day strolling back in time.

IMG_2828
Village Lake

 

 

Garden State Craft Brewers Guild Battleship Beer Festival 2015

IMG_1258Garden State Brewers Festival 6/27/15
Aboard the Battleship New Jersey

This is surely becoming one of this Gal’s favorite beer festivals especially with so many new breweries opening up in New Jersey the past year. This festival provides the opportunity to try the best New Jersey has to offer in one place.

This year saw a bit of controversy with ABC limiting attendees  to 15 tickets each. Some where very upset by this but really folks this is still 5 pints worth of beer. I understand being upset that the change was announced after tickets were sold but it’s the ABC not the Brewers Guild who made the change. For the most part this is a very well organized event considering the last minute regulation changes and the uncooperative weather as in POURING rain. POURING!

In preparation for the tasting I printed out the beer list prior to my departure and highlighted the ones I most wanted to try. Being there were so many new breweries I hadn’t tried yet I knew some of my old favorites would have to take a back seat.

As usual there are just too many beers to review in depth but I’ll give you this Gal’s highlights:

IMG_2864[1]Breweries Most Interested in Trying – this is hard because there were so many breweries I hadn’t tried before. Demented, Flounder, Little Dog, Third State, Forgotten Boardwalk

Beer Most Interested in Trying – Tie Flying Fish Brotherly Suds Philly Pharmhouse brewed for Philly Beer Week by Multiple Brewers and made with pretzels – enjoyable. Tied with Lunacy Rocket Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout – you know this Gal and stouts. Very good but didn’t taste the Peanut Butter.

Most Interesting Beer of the Day Forgotten Boardwalk What the Butler Saw Wit with Orange and Lavender. I’m not even sure how to describe this one but it worked. I’m loving Forgotten Boardwalk and need to pay a visit soon.

Most Surprised by Little Dog Linzer Tart. I’m not big on fruit beers but this kicked butt. Their Steinerweiss German-Style Wheat was fabulous as well.

IMG_2866[1]A FavoriteHearthstone Grille Black Arrow Black Ale – loving the black ales

I really wanted to try the  Carton Dune Fruit but was thoroughly so bummed to find they ran out  before I got to try it. Sour ale made with Prickly Pear Cactus.

Favorite Beer of the Day – for the second year it a row it goes to Kane Brewing this year for their Mexican Brunch. Kane is truly becoming a favorite of this Gal’s

Until next year!

IMG_2865[1]