I hadn’t heard of Arts & Crafts Beer Parlor prior to my visit but I can easily say it has made this Gal’s list of top beer bars in NYC. Yup, I loved it that much.
It’s located in the West Village downstairs in the basement of a building that one could easily walk by – almost did – so glad we didn’t. It’s on the smaller side with a decent size bar to the right and several tables to the left and in the back of the establishment. When you first walk in there’s an electric looking fireplace to the right that adds to the atmosphere of the joint which is rustic, cozy and hip but not in the hipster sort of way. The ceilings are low and there’s lots of wood including a beautiful wood bar.
For the sports lovers there’s a large TV at the one end of the bar and if you’re in need of food a limited snack menu is available. The “kitchen” is located behind the bar. The real star of this place is the tap list – 24 beers and all of them wonderful. The selection rotates on a regular basis and everyday there’s happy hour specials with 4 select beers for $5 each. Looks like they carefully choose which four so there’s a style no matter your taste.
That’s what’s great about the tap list – the diversity of it. There’s truly something for everyone and if you’re having trouble deciding they offer taster rounds in various sizes. 1/4 Flight 6 6.8oz, 1/2 Flight 12 6.8oz, 3/4 Flight 12 6.8oz and “Run the Board” all 24 beers in 6.8oz pours. Granted the full taster will cost $75 but you’d have a lot of fun for the money. You’re welcome to choose the beers for your flight or if you rather you can leave the decision up to the bartenders. I was fortunate enough to witness a couple ask for the bartender’s choosing for their taster round. They only stipulation was no IPAs on the round. Boy, the bartender gave them a great selection Porter, Black Lager, White Ale, Amber, missed the 5th one and finally AVENTINUS (YES! love that he put Aventinus in the round – love the beer and feel it’s highly underrated).
By now you know this Gal loves her taster rounds but on this particular day I was in the mood for a full glass of something special so I went for a 12oz pour of Knee Deep Breaking Bud.
Breaking Bud – Knee Deep, CA 6.7%
Very pleasing beer, coriander with light accents of hops, fruit, pine, wheat and malt. Perfect combination.
Piper Down – Ballast Point, CA 5.2%
Toasted caramel & malts with a subtle hop finish.
Mud Puppy Nitro Porter – Central Waters, WI 5.5%
Indeed! You know this Gal had to go for the Nitro porter and this one is robust with chocolate and hops. Although, I would have preferred it served closer to room temperature. It was a bit to cold for my liking, I had to let it sit for a bit but it was worth the wait.
Cracker White Ale – Cigar City, FL 5%
Orange peels, coriander and saison yeast combined to make a wonderfully refreshing white ale. This beer is giving Allagash White stiff competition as this Gal’s favorite white ale.
Side note – the 2 gentlemen working the day this Gal was there were awesome! Very attentive, know their beer and were happy to pour tasters.
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.
On 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 EarthSession IPA 21st Amendment 4.4%
Unfortunately, this didn’t hit the mark with me. It seemed green, unbalanced and not what I was in the mood for.
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.
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.
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 ShineBelgian 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.
Recently 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.
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.
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 – 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.
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.
Philly Beer Week has grown into such a massive action packed week of beer events one must choose wisely from the extensive list of events taking place. I was carefully studying the list when I saw a Meet the Brewer Night with Oxbow Brewery at U-Bahn. YES PLEASE! I knew right away this was to be my first event of the week. First off Oxbow holds a special place in this Gal’s heart. I first discovered this fabulous little brewery last year while vacationing in Maine (See Oxbow review) and to finally have the opportunity to once again enjoy their wonderful selection of craft beers was an opportunity not to be missed. Second, U-Bahn was high on my list of places to try so this was a win, win situation. Or so I thought.
With a bit more research I decided to visit U-Bahn first and then wonder upstairs to Bru, also on my places to visit list and they were hosting a Half Acre tap taker over.
By now if you read any of my past blog posts you know I love the city of Brotherly Beer, aka Philadelphia. However, I do tend to visit establishments in the outer lying neighborhoods of Fishtown, Art Museum Area, Northern Liberties, etc. I really don’t wonder into downtown Center City too often. Just too many humans, traffic and overpriced parking but I was willing to make the exception for Oxbow. Plus, it was a Sunday night so just how bad could it be? Well…It took almost 2 hours to drive/park (normally a 45 minute task). By the time this Gal’s companion got the car parked I was in dire need of a beer.
We walked the few blocks from the reasonably priced $8 lot to U-Bahn and wondered downstairs. U-Bahn is small and even though the interior is stone, and wood/pallets it had a cold industrial feel to me. Oxbow Brewery has a hippie vibe to it that I love but didn’t really didn’t fit with U-Bahn and the trendy Euro feel it has, then again this Gal didn’t really fit in either.
There’s two bars one large and one tiny, several high top tables and a few nooks to hang out in. There is also a band stage but on this night there was a DJ later on. Just don’t see a need for a DJ for a meet the brewer night but more on that in a bit. First the beer…or so I thought.
I wondered up to the bar and checked out the tap list of Oxbow beers – it was beautiful. Decided to start with the Oxbow Bandolier 5.5%. I requested my selection from the bartender only to be told they weren’t serving beer – yet. Ummm, I turned and looked around to see if there was a hidden camera or something because this made no sense to me. It’s Philly Beer Week, I’m in a beer bar for a beer event and yet No Beer – really? Yes, really. The brewer hadn’t arrived and they wouldn’t serve the beer until he did. OK, I get it’s a Meet the Brewer event and the beer folks are running around like crazy during Philly Beer Week and there’s a good probability that they will run late but if the brewer is almost 1.5 hours late SERVE THE BEER! I kindly explained to the bartender that it took me close to 2 hours to get there and that this news wanted to make me cry but I stayed strong turned to my companion and informed him we’d be eating first. So up the stairs to Bru we went.
Bru and U-Bahn are related establishments with individual entrances from the street with a stairway connecting them inside. As we made our way upstairs we could hear the music from Bru. It was loud, way loud, obnoxiously loud.
Upon entering Bru we were greeted and directed to a high top table. Our server was very pleasant and quickly arrived to take our drink order. Now you know the music is too loud when the server has to start off with “it’s hard to take orders because of the music but I’ll do my best”. Yup that’s how loud it was. Thought – if the servers are having trouble hearing patrons maybe turn it down a tad.
The first beer I ordered had just kicked so I went with the Half Acre Daisy Cutter which complemented my veggie kabob nicely. My companion had the Schnitzel which was large and very good. The food menu showcases the German heritage and offers something for everyone. Considering it’s Center City Philly the prices were reasonable as well. Not only is the food menu good but the tap list is extensive and they offer a very impressive bottle list as well.
Daisy Cutter – Half Acre Beer Company, IL 5.3% – This is a kick butt pale ale, very nicely done with citrus, earthy grass, hops and floral essences all working together to create a fresh thirst quenching beer.
I liked the decor of Bru, in fact, loved the wood and rustic feel but the obnoxiously loud music killed the atmosphere. Overall it just had a trendy hipster vibe to it. Not saying anything’s wrong with hipster just not this Gal’s thing. I’m more hippie than hipster.
I was going to order a second selection from the Half Acre list but decided to forgo it. It really wasn’t fun having to sit/eat in silence because conversing was out of the question. So we paid up and headed back downstairs to U-Bahn. By now the Oxbow brewer had arrived, the place was jumping and the DJ was spinning. You guess it…spinning loudly. For the love of beer don’t others like to be able to hang and talk with their friends while enjoying a beer?
I made my way through the crowd up to the bar and ordered my Bandolier. Guess what? They were having troubles with the keg of Bandolier. I know, I couldn’t believe it either but I was determined to try this beer so I patiently waited and waited and waited. I left my chateau at 5:30pm it was now 8:15pm but finally there if front of me was my pint of Oxbow Bandolier. Yes, it was worth the wait.
Bandolier Oxbow Brewing Company, ME 5.5% This is a springtime farmhouse ale with a rustic earthiness to it that’s complimented by floral hops and bakery fresh bread followed up by hints of citrus. A light, refreshing, full flavor Summer Ale.
By the time I finished my Bandolier it was time for my companion and I to head home. I would have loved to enjoy more Oxbow but at this point it just wasn’t meant to be. The Bandolier would have to hold me over until I visit the brewery in person in just a few short weeks. But wait, guess who stopped me on the way out? Mike, the brewer, from Oxbow. We had pleasant chat and it was nice to meet him in person. I look forward to chatting with him again soon.
If you find your self in center city both Bru and U-Bahn are worth stopping in for their great tap lists just have patience with the parking situation or be willing to pay mightily for a garage.
This Gal decided to take a Sunday inSpring and enjoy a NYC Village Pub Crawl. With list in hand my companion and I made our way via bus and subway to the Village. First stop was to be Jimmy’s No.43 but just a couple of doors prior we came to McSorley’s Old Ale House. This wasn’t on the list since my goal was to hit places I’ve never been to but then again it’s McSorley’s so a stop was required. It’s been years since I last visited and nothing has changed, same saw dust on the floors, same cobwebs and dust hanging from the lamps. The only change seemed to be my furry four legged cat friend was no longer around.
Same beer is available as well. McSorley’s serves two types of beer light and dark. Yup, it’s that simple so, of course, I ordered a round of dark. A round still consist of 2 small mugs of beer for only $5.50. The dark is a smooth tasty dark lager and makes for easy drinking. McSorley’s is an institution with a great atmosphere which is why one visits this historic place.
After my round of dark it was time to visit the first stop on my list Jimmy’s No. 43. However, a bit more planning should have been involved since Jimmy’s didn’t open until 4:30pm and it was only 1:30pm. Strike #1 Sigh…so next up was Good Beer.
Good Beer is really a beer package store with a few taps for enjoying a beer on the spot. However, there is only 1 small table in the corner and it was occupied. This particular Sunday was unseasonable warm for Spring and my companion and I wanted to sit and enjoy our beverages. Since there was no place to sit and apparently no air conditioning we moved on. Strike #2
We had hope things would improve and they did. Several more blocks and we arrived at the #1 spot on my list to try. Alphabet City Beer Co. (ABC Beer Co.) I’ve heard a lot good things about this place and I was hoping it would live up to it’s reputation. ABC is a craft beer store and bar with a cool laid back atmosphere. The bar itself is small and only sits a handful of folks but there’s a large communal table in the back for hanging with friends plus a few comfy high back chairs that just beg for someone kick back with a book and beer. A limited food menu is offered and it appears all the food is made behind the bar. My friend and I decided to grab two seats at the bar and I went to work studying the tap list. There are 12 taps that rotate often so you never know what you may find. The one draw back about the tap list, well, I found it hard to read. At first glance you might thing there were only 6 beers on tap but look closely and you’ll see all 12.
Taster rounds aren’t available but the bar tenders are fine with pouring small sample tastes. I found it helpful that the tap list shows the pricing for half pours, pints and growler fills.
First up: Barrier Beech Street Wit 5.1% – I was so happy to have this beer placed in front me. I was hot and this beer was crisp and refreshing with wonderful wit hints of orange and coriander and just slight undertones of banana.
AleSmith Nut Brown English Brown Ale – 5%
This Gal always gets excited to see a brown ale on tap and wished I would see them more often. This is a well done medium body English brown that’s creamy and offers just the right balance of nuts, malts and whole bread goodness.
Stillwater L’anjub Aloja Farmhouse – Stillwater Artisanal Ales, MD 6.9%
I love Farmhouse ales! Love, love, love! This has the classic cloudy yeasty body associated with this style. Crisp, sour, yeast, fruit, pepper and a hint of saison funk all add up make this an enjoyable Farmhouse ale.
After Farmhouse our stomachs informed us it was time to eat so off to our next and final beer stop for a late lunch and another tasty beer or so we thought. We headed caddy corner across the street from ABC Beer Co. to Zum Schneider. A German beer hall in Alphabet City. We were excited to try this place and extremely disappointed to find out that they were closed for some reason. Normally they open at 1pm on Sunday and here it was 3:30pm but they were closed. Strike #3
We decided to just walk around and see what restaurant caught our eye on the way back to the subway when I spotted a little gem called the Drop Off Service. This looked like my kind of bar! The Drop Off Service is an bar located in an old laundromat building. Now this was EXACTLY what this Gal was looking for – a cool off the grid beer bar with a grungy, laid back, old work feel to the place with lots of bring, wood and iron.
Besides a killer tap list they also offer wine and cocktails but no food. However, one can bring in food from the outside. Now that I had time to relax, cool off and enjoy some beer at ABC Beer Co. it was now time for a stout.
Peg Leg Imperial Stout, Heavy Seas MD – 8%
YES! I don’t care that is was freaking hot out I still love me a stout and this stout had everything I was looking for. Roasted malts, chicory, chocolate and bourbon undertones.
Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison, Moody Tongue Brewing, IL – 6.3%
I wasn’t sure just how strong the lemon would be and hoped it wouldn’t overpower the other flavors. The lemon was pretty strong but the coriander was still there. Still it was a bit too lemony for this Gal.
Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale, Humboldt Brewing, CA 5.7% – Two brown ales in one day? I must be in OZ. This is a very mild creamy brown with earthy flavor accented by roasted nuts and malt. Good but not great still worth trying.
The Drop Off Service offers Happy Hour everyday with $5 craft beers until 8pm. Why is craft beer cheaper in NYC than Central NJ?! The Drop Off Service was the favorite stop of the day! Now it really was time for us to move on in search of some food…until next time NYC.
Memphis Taproom 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.
It’s been at least 8 years since this Gal last visited Isaac Newton’s so figured it was time to check them out again. Isaac’s was one of the first places I know of that offered craft beers and an extensive selection of Belgium Ales long before the craft beer explosion took place. Happy report the tap and bottle lists are still impressive and very reasonably priced.
Isaac’s has always has a large food menu, as well, that offers something for everyone – vegetarians and meatatrians a like. Although, I have to say I’ve never been overly impressed with the food. Portions tend to be on the smaller size and range from OK to tasty. On this particular visit I decided to go for the Kale Caesar Salad. I love me some kale! However, it was underwhelming as it came out in a take-out box. Ummm, what?! Over all it was tasty but obviously loss points on presentation and it was a bit pricey for the quantity.
When visiting Isaac’s I’ve always preferred sitting at the bar or in the bar area which offers a cozy rustic feel to it and a nice sun porch off to the one end. On this particular visit it was decorated beautifully for Christmas. The list of taps, also, celebrated the holiday season with several winter/holiday beer offerings including one of my favorites Delirium Noel.
Big Lushious – Founders Brewing Company 7.8%
Very good dessert beer that would compliment brie cheese nicely. Lots of dark chocolate and hints of tart raspberries. Glad I tried it but just not in the mood for a full pint on this visit.
Delirium Noel – Brouwerij Huyghe 10%
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to me! Full of the holiday spices one associates with the season without being overwhelming. Candied fruit with Belgium yeast and roasted malts add up to a mellow/smooth full body beer.
Velvet Merlin – Firestone Walker Brewing Company 5.5%
Oh so good – smooth with full body flavor and medium body texture. Chock full of chicory, cocoa and hints of hops.
Taste of Chouffe N’ice – Brasserie d’Achouffe 10%
Wish I could have had a full glass but needed to drive so kept it smart. Love this beer – liquid gingerbread cookie without being overly sweet.
With so many beers to choose from it nice that the bartenders are so accommodating with taste samples if you’re unsure about committing to a pint of something. I’ve always have found the bartenders at Isaac’s to provide excellent service and are very knowledgable about the beer they serve.
I’m very happy to have finally returned to Isaac’s Newtons and don’t plan on letting so much time lapse between visits again.
The Challenge Beer + Food + Tip all for $20 in Philly! Challenge Met and Accomplished at the Interstate Drafthouse.
Right away I knew the place to accomplish the $20 challenge would be the Interstate Drafthouse. (See previous review of Instate Drafthouse) Every Tuesday they offer a wide selection of $4 Craft Beer Draft Specials and it also just happens to be Taco Tuesday! Taco Tuesday has become a regular weekly deal around bars in the city of Brotherly Beer that features Tacos and taco related specials. That fact that Interstate Drafthouse offers $4 beers the same day as $1 tacos made this a no brainer.
This Gal was able to enjoy 3 pints of beer, 2 seitan tacos & 2 veggie tacos plus leave a tip of 20%+ all for $20! Interstate Drafthouse offers the choice of 4 different tacos that you can mix and match beef, chicken, veggie and seitan for $1 each. The $4 draft beer selections are indicated by a star next to the beer name and at least half of the draft list (which is all good) had stars next to it so there is a beer style for everyone’s liking.
The tacos were tasty and the beer delish.
I started and finished with a pint of Sly Fox O’Reilly’s Stout and in the middle enjoyed a Shiner Bock with my tacos.
O’Reilly’s Stout – Sly Fox 3.6%
A true Irish Stout in that it’s a light body stout with a creamy/frothy head that makes for easy drinking. The hops are accented by the roasted barley that provides just the right amount of bitterness to the beer.
Shiner Bock – Spotzi Brewery 4.41%
When I saw a Bock was on the tap list I knew at some point during the course of the evening I’d be enjoying a pint. This bock is very smooth with a good balance of malts, caramel & yeast that finishes clean.
A friend was enjoying the Duclaw Anti Venom Pale Ale which I had the pleasure of trying and enjoying – A very refreshing Pale Ale! The hops help to bring out the other flavors, such as mango and orange, instead of overpowering them.
So folks indeed one can go out and enjoy craft beers & a tasty dinner for just $20!
When it came to choosing a place to celebrate Black Out Friday, my new favorite holiday, I chose Kraftwork as the go to place. Kraftwork rates up there as one of my top three beer bars in the city of Brotherly Beer a.k.a. Philadelphia. The other two being The Belgian Café and Memphis Taproom. Also, it finally provided me with the opportunity to officially review this amazing establishment.
Kraftwork is located on Gerard Avenue in Fishtown and most times this Gal finds off street parking pretty easily. On this particular visit I snagged a spot right out front – score! This was my third visit and with each visit I like the place more and more. I’ve always found the staff to be pleasant and very knowledgeable about the beer – just one of few things I enjoy about this place. Some other reasons it ranks up there: inviting rustic atmosphere (think wood and metal), top notch food – many tiers up from your basic bar food and most importantly the beer list is always excellent. Both the beer and food menu change on a regular basis and the beer menu also notes what beers are coming up.
I was meeting up with an old friend that knew nothing about Black Out Friday but was rather excited to tell me upon my arrival about all the stouts on tap and to show me the new Star Wars Movie trailer – this Gal is a geek about many things. Yes, Black Out Friday is a play on Black Friday and means most of if not all the beers at the establishment are dark beers. A dream come true for this Gal.
Beings there were so many wonderful beers to choose from a flight was in order. Flight of any four for $12 including such rarities as the allusive Black Albert!
The first round consisted of:
Beer Geek Breakfast – Mikkeller, Imperial Stout 7.5%
Smells sweet but has funk taste to it and I mean in a good way. There’s the roasted chocolate malts you would expect but counter balanced by herbs, dark fruit and finished with bitter notes of hops and black coffee.
Black Me Stout – Champion, Stout 6%
This was a middle of the road stout. Some malt flavors mixed with a tinge of pepper but not much else going on. Very drinkable but compared to the other black beauties on tap it paled in comparison.
Peche Mortel – Dieu du Ciel, Imperial Stout 10%
WOW! Smooth, creamy chocolate taste with a balance of sweet and bitter up front and strong coffee punch finish…simply divine.
Black Albert – De Struise Brouwers, Russian Imperial Stout 13%
That’s right folks – the allusive Black Albert ON TAP! There is a subtle power to this stout that consist of raisins and other dark fruits soaked in whiskey with hints of caramel coated coffee beans…lovely.
By the end of the flight is was time for some food. Since it was the day after Thanksgiving the food menu was based on Thanksgiving Leftovers; a fun way to mix things up. This Gal enjoyed the Green Bean Casserole Quiche – this had the potential of going either way on the scale of goodness but it landed on the right side. It was simply delish! My friend enjoyed the Thanksgiving theme entree of Egg In A Hole – tasty.
With so many black beauties on tap it was necessary to partake in a 2nd flight which consisted of:
The Dream – Dominion, Schwarzbier 8%
Holy Hops! A bit of hops overload for this Gal. Hiding behind the hops were some citrus and pine flavors but it was hard to get past the hops.
Muddy –Goose Island, Imperial Stout 8%
After The Dream it was a bit hard to note what was going there were hops, of course, as well as, some traces of licorice, anise, dark fruit and the ever present bitter chocolate.
Fade to Black – Lefthand, Baltic Porter 8.5%
A soft creamy body with fully body flavors of roasted chicory and cocao. This is a well balanced beer offering pine/hops with dark yeasty malts.
Midnight Monk – Terrapin, Belgian Black IPA 9.6%
Mild hops with a bit more malt then expected. This style is really growing on me. I found this beer to be very enjoyable without any one any one flavor knocking you over but instead melding together to compliment each other perfectly.
After Flight Two it was necessary for this Gal to head back to Jersery. However, I’m looking forward to visiting December 26th for their annual ‘The Brewery That Stole Christmas’ festivities. This year the featured Brewery is Russian River! Looks like I may be starting another new tradition.
A special someone surprised me with a afternoon drive and a pit stop at The Claremont Tavern in Bernardsville, NJ. It was pretty drive and the little town the Tavern is located in is down right cute. It’s plopped in the middle of a residential area and has the old tavern coziness to it with smaller rooms and lots of dark wood. To be able to walk across the street for a beer on snowy evening would make for a wonderful winter night.
The Claremont Tavern isn’t a beer destination but if you’re up that way it’s worth stopping in for a bite and a beer. It offers a nice tap list although a bit small with only seven craft beers on tap. I could see it expanding over time and there is talk about them hosting some beer dinners in the future.I decided to go for a 4 pour taster round. I was a little disappointed to find that out of the seven craft beers offered all but one was either an IPA or Pale Ale. A bit more diversity in styles would have been welcomed. (there are 5 other beers on tap as well but not crafts) That being said there were definitely going to be some hops in the taster round along with one of my favorite porters – Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. The waiter tried to discourage me from ordering the porter – stating it was a dessert beer since it had a coffee taste to it. I assured him I was fine with it accompanying my meal.
To go with the beer I ordered the Veggie and Hummus Club Sandwich which consisted of fresh summer veggies paired with roasted pepper hummus – delish and enjoyable. My companion went with the personal pizza. The menu is diverse, reasonably priced and the portions large enough that we got both had lunch and dinner out of our selections.
Castaway IPA – Kona Brewing Company, HW 6%
Pretty hoppy so much so really couldn’t taste anything else going on with the beer except the hops. Not doing it for this Gal.
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter – Great Lakes Brewing, OH 5.8%
A rich black body with a tan head. Wonderful aromas rise up from this porter and the taste doesn’t disappoint. Roasted malt with a very slight burnt/smokiness to it that compliments the roasted coffee and nuttiness that leads to a bittersweet finish. Went back for seconds and ordered a full pint of this gem.
Evil Eye IPA – Evil Genius Beer Company, PA 6%
I found this IPA enjoyable and not overly hoppy with a mix of grapefruit, pine and undertones of malts that finished very smooth. I wouldn’t hesitate to order a pint of this IPA.
Terrapin Hopsecutioner – Terrapin Beer Company, Georgia 7.3%
Fruit, malt and hops contribute to this being a well done medium body, easy drinking beer. Terrapin is working it’s way of my list of favorite breweries – they really just do it right.