Category Archives: Beer Events

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

 

“My Other Place”

61550_199932580205704_2079334166_nLast I posted was about “My Place” UNO’s Hamilton but this time around I want to talk about “My Other Place” Trenton Road Take Out also known as my go to beer store. For the most part I prefer shopping at Mom & Pop stores as I find the experience to be more pleasant and personable. Mega stores and their mega parking lots can leave this Gal feeling frazzled. One time I decided to do my grocery shopping at a mega grocery store and was handed a map upon entering the store. A MAP! When a map is required to navigate a store I know the place is not for me.

No map is required at Trenton Road Take Out but do allow yourself plenty of time to shop. For a small store they are fully stocked with great beer and you want to make sure to explore each and every shelf. BTW, TRT is the only store this Gal shops at on Black Friday. Yes, they have Black Friday specials and folks line up early for them. They also offer gift certificates which were a big hit with this Gal’s family last Christmas.

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Some of my purchases

The beer selection at TRT is outstanding and it would be very wise to follow them on Facebook since SMAS updates it regularly with new items, arrival days and where to find them in the store. There’s even a Facebook Rack which is where I usually head to first. That is after I get my beer to drink. Yup, they have 6 beers on tap for filling growlers and are also available to enjoy at the store. I love sipping on a great beer while beer shopping it’s so relaxing and enjoyable. The tap list changes frequently, again it’s updated regularly on Facebook and offers a nice variety of styles to choose from. The staff is great about offering sample tastes and they have printout sheets for each beer with ratings and descriptions.

 

14053892_10154059613483124_4313425747331550357_oJust because they are small don’t think they don’t get the limited releases. However, unlike some other establishments TRT keeps is very fair and doesn’t price gauge. This is a big deal to this Gal. Once I missed out on making the List, more about the List in a moment, and had to go to a big box store for KBS. I was blown away with how much they jacked up the price per bottle. I get they’re in business to make money but ripping off the customer – well – that just isn’t cool. TRT keeps the prices real and the List policy fair. List Policy per TRT  – “List are started on FaceBook for beers that are allocated by my distributors and there is a very limited amount to be had. When I start a list on Facebook for a certain brew, you just have to say in any way you want, that you want to be on the list, I will then like your post to show that I saw it and you are now on the list.  Lets say if it is a 2 case allocation of 22 oz bottles and you are in the top 24 you will have a bottle waiting for you, if you are out of the top, you will be put on the backup list and if someone backs out, you then move up the list.  Once the beer comes in and the list is posted, you have 2 full weekends to pick it up, unless you ask me for more time. If beers are left after 2 weekends then they will be released to the people on the back up list. On very rare beers that are highly wanted, I will sometimes hold a lottery to see who gets one.” – more than fair! Mike, the owner, is always thinking about his customers.

13680302_10154027046768124_8208465923326233063_oMike refers to himself as Evil SMAS but truth be told there’s nothing evil about him. Besides a great sense of humor he has a heart of gold and takes great pride in and is incredibly supportive of the community. He, his staff and customers are big supporters of It’s A Ruff Life Rescue and this Gal is continually blown away for all they do to help the pups.

Personally Mike and the crew at TRT have come through for this Gal more 11427236_386785641520396_5937872426991981547_nthan once helping me to find beers needed for guest appearances on very short notice.  On a few occasions he’s stopped what he was doing to go around his store taking pictures of beers and messaging me to see if I could use it or not. It saved me a ton of time and made things so much easier for me. No one is better at customer service than SMAS.

So next time your in need of beer I recommend heading over to Trenton Road Take Out where you’ll be greeted with smile and can enjoy a beer while shopping for beer and there’s a good chance you’ll run into this Gal there.

1521783_10151966438813124_365892336_nTrenton Road Take Out
http://www.evilsmas.com/
Facebook   Twitter @trt1024
1024 Trenton Road, Fallsington, PA

*with the new PA laws TRT will be selling wine in the near future!

“My Place”

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It’s A Ruff Life Fundraiser

This Gal is all about exploring and trying out something new. I’m not one to order the same thing at the same restaurant, I prefer trying whats local to the area over what I know and I definitely appreciate good service. As much as I like trying out new places there are times I want to go to “my place”. You know what I mean – the place close to home that has good beer, friendly service and they greet you by name when you arrive. There are two such places for me. Ok, three but Mama Rosa’s is BYOB and I’m talking about “my beer places”.

What I love about the area I live in, Mercer County, is the location. In just 40 short minutes I can be in Center City Philly, 1.25 hours to NYC and the nearest beach is only 45 minutes away – location, location, location. Which also, means I have some of the best beer places available at all times. This Gal feels very lucky to have all this at her finger tips but there are those days when I want to go out without really leaving the area. That’s when I head to “my place” – UNO’s Hamilton. Yup, UNO’s. Yes, UNO’s. Really, UNO’s.

I’m asked a lot what my go to beer place is and when I say UNO’s Hamilton I always get the same response – Really? The one near the movie theater? – YES! They have an amazing tap list that is right up there with some of the best lists both Philly and NYC have to offer. Bonus – it’s mere minutes from my house and right around the corner from where I work.

I too was surprised when I first heard about the beer being served at UNO’s. Fortunately, my brother and his co-workers clued me in pretty quickly. They have been enjoying UNO’s beer and lunch special offerings for a while now and were kind enough to let me in on the “secret” soon after the great beer started flowing. One of my favorite things in life is meeting my Hop Head Brother there for a beer. (It’s the little things)

They offer 30 beers on tap with all but a few being craft and the beer is FRESH with fast tap 13244836_1278671632143775_1169056652351891532_nrotation. If you hear of a beer on tap you want you best get there sooner rather than later. They offer growler fills, taster rounds and now have a Crowler machine. By the way all which can be enjoyed on the new outside beer patio that is dog friendly!

Besides the great beer they have a lot of fun beer related events and I strongly encourage you to follow them on Facebook so you’re kept in the loop and don’t miss out on the tap takeovers, beer dinners, beer breakfast and even a super fun Beer for Pups charity event during Philly Beer Week. You know how this Gal feels about beer places giving back to the community – awesomeness at it’s best and the UNO’s team and Weyerbacher rocked the event for It’s A Ruff Life Rescue.

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NCBC The Shapes of Hops to Come

Speaking of Philly Beer Week they were one of the first places in the burbs to start participating in PBW and their events are pretty amazing. So much so that the past two years I’ve participated in more PBW events at UNO’s than Philly. (no worries I still always make a few events in Philly as well). This past year they rotated through 157 different beers during Philly Beer Week. That’s a lot of great beer in a very short time. Told you it’s fresh and goes quick.

Besides kicking it during PBW they also participate in this Gal’s favorite holiday – Black Out Friday and have even made football enjoyable for this Gal. Now if you been following my blog for a while then you might remember my first post was about Football Sunday at UNO’s. It’s a win win for me and my football loving partner. I get to enjoy great beer and beer specials while he can watch all the games and enjoy his favorite food in life – pizza. Bonus, your movie ticket stub from the theater next door acts as a coupon – 10% off your food purchase. UNO’s also offers discounted movie tickets for the theater. I always like to see businesses working together in the area it’s a win for everyone.

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Maine Beer IV

So yes “my place” is UNO’s Hamilton and I hope to see you there soon.

Stay tuned my next blog will be about “my other place” Trenton Road Takeout this Gal’s go to beer store….

Broken Goblet’s Hoppy Halloween 2 Beer Fest

FullSizeRender5By now you know how this Gal feels about Broken Goblet Brewery and if for some reason you don’t check out my review of the Goblet.

Everything this brewery touches is fun from their beer to their festivals.  Fun, fun and fun! Naturally, this Gal had a ton of fun hanging out at the Hoppy Halloween Beer Fest and, sit down for this one, I don’t even like Halloween. That’s right folks this Geeky Gal isn’t and never has been a fan of the “spooky” holiday. Please do not ask me to dress up in costume for any sort of party or you’ll just get the death stare followed by “why?”. However, I do understand many of you enjoy the costume parties and other festivities that are a part of the Ghoulish Holiday and I have to say attending a beer fest where so many dressed up in costume was pretty cool.

FullSizeRender7Having been too Broken Goblet many times I wasn’t sure how they would pull off a beer festival onsite but they did it. The festival was set up utilizing the Goblet parking lot and beings they are located in an industrial park there was plenty of parking for guests. There were at least 20+ breweries, bars and meaderies pouring samples along with a few food trucks, and several vendors such as Beer for Babes, Philly Tap Finder and more. Plus, live music! I couldn’t believe they only charged $25 for this event ($30 at the door). Designated drivers only paid $10 and that included free water, ice tea and soda. It’s nice that thought was given to DD’s.  This really ranks up there as one of the best buys in the NJ/PA area for beer festivals.

The festival itself was well organized and laid out. There were plenty of tables and chairs for folks to kick back and relax at. The stage was as the far end so you could enjoy the music but still converse with your friends. Also, there was plenty of space in front of the stage to set up your own chairs and enjoy the show or , should you desire, you could hang out in the hooka lounge near the stage. Favorite thing I saw was kegs of water throughout the parking lot for rinsing glasses and/or drinking. THANK YOU!  It’s the little things that mean the most. Oh and yes real glasses. I understand why festival now a days hand out plastic tasting cups but it was so nice that at the Hoppy Halloween Beer Fest you were given a real glass and a pretty one at that.

Unfortunately, there was a down side to the evening and that was the bathroom situation. Many, many, many more port a potties were needed as there was always a long line at the ones provided. However, the Goblet is aware and has assured festival goers they are working on a solution.

The time of the festival was a bit unusual running 4 to 8pm instead of the normal 1 to 5pm. I for one loved the timing. It allowed you time during the day to get things done and provided for a fun relaxing evening. Of course, the evening hours added to the overall Halloween atmosphere and it was cool to see so many in attendance dress up for the occasion. I was also excited to try many beers I had never had before from breweries I’d never heard of. That alone  is a great reason to pick a couple of beer festivals each year to attend. You’ll have the opportunity to try new beers from new breweries. After all with so many new breweries opening up it’s hard to visit them all. A festival is one stop sipping.

FullSizeRender8I can’t say I had a particular favorite beer so many were good (I think I only disposed of 2) but I was excited I had the opportunity to sample The Shape of Hops to Come Imperial IPA from Neshaminy Creek Brewing and Broken Goblet’s  All Goblets Have Spirits a Scotch Ale (love Scotch Ales) with Maple Syrup and Gala Apples. I had heard good things about both and was glad to finally sample them. They did not disappoint. I was also supper happy that Saint Benjamin Brewing brought their Koffee Kolsch a favorite of this Gal’s. FYI – tried mixing it with their Little Peat stout and it was wonderful. Remember don’t be afraid to experiment with your beer.

Crazy Cat Lady
Crazy Cat Lady

Overall a ghoulishly good time was had and if they host Hoppy Halloween 3 next year I recommend going and suggest getting your tickets early since space is limited and tickets sell out.

Terrapin/Lagnuitas Tap Takeover – Philly Beer Week Part 2

IMG_2766The burbs rocked it this year for Philly Beer Week! No need to travel more than a few minutes from home if you wanted to participate in Philly Beer Week but not make the the trek into the city. Spoke with several participants who agreed. Heck, even Philly Beer Week sent out a post stating something similar.

So one night after work my brother, nephew and I met up for a Philly Beer Week event at the Uno’s Hamilton featuring a tap takeover by Terrapin Beer Company and Lagunitas Brewing Company. I honestly don’t know how the staff of the various participating venues kept up with the ever changing taps during Philly Beer Week; it had to be overwhelming.

Prior to arrival I took a few minutes to prepare for the evening and study the posted tap list; with my choice flight sample lists in hand I headed over. I arrived before the rest of the gang and took a seat at the bar.  Where I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a fellow beer enthusiast, Jimmy and a wonderful beer conversation ensued. Thanks Jimmy!

Terrapin Taster L to R: Liquid Bliss, Maggies, Wake n Bake, Naked Bliss
Terrapin Taster L to R: Liquid Bliss, Maggies, Wake n Bake, Naked Bliss

I chose to start with a Terrapin Taster Round:

Liquid Bliss Peanut Butter Porter – Terrapin 6.10%
So good, a true favorite of this Gal’s. This is one of those beers that should not be served cold and improves as it warms up. As much as I love Sweet Baby Jesus this tops it with the perfect balance of chocolate to peanut butter.

Maggies Farmhouse Ale – Terrapin 6% I need to come clean and state I do NOT like any thing flavored with peach except a peach itself. It’s truly one of things I loath but I do love Farmhouse Ales so went for it.  Well, it was just a little to peachy for me. However, it did have a true Belgium quality to it.

Wake N Bake Imperial Stout – Terrapin 9.4%
Holy breakfast stout! Right away you can taste the chicory and oats with hint of dark fruits. I also noted a underlying smokiness to it.

Naked Bliss Porter -Terrapin 6.10%
This is the Liquid Bliss minus the peanut butter but with the bonus of raspberries. Yum!

Lagunitas Taster L to R: Sucks, Scary City #2, Hairy Eyeball, Scary City #3
Lagunitas Taster L to R: Sucks, Scary City #2, Hairy Eyeball, Scary City #3

Lagunitas Taster Rounder:

Sucks  Imperial IPA – Lagunitas 7.85%
That’s right folks this Gal chose an Imperial IPA and indeed it was real hoppy. Not a favorite of this Gal’s but enjoyed it just the same. Then again I’m really starting to enjoy the refreshing citrus IPAs offer.

Scare City #2 Rye Cocoa Porter – Lagunitas 10.19%
Lately this Gal has been enjoying the rye beers. Well, black ryes that is. They just have the perfect combination of hops to malts and this was no exception. The color was a gorgeous black silk and a medium body that combined cocoa, roasted chicory & malts, dark fruits  all rounded out by the rye. Very enjoyable.

Hairy Eyeball American Strong Ale – Lagunitas 9.4%
Loved the copper color of this ale and it’s low carbonation smoothness. There’s  subtle hop notes in the background with roasted malts, raisins and brown sugar in the forefront.

Scare City #3 Imperial Stout – Lagunitas 12.1%
Oozy woozy bourbon beer. This beer is to be sipped, savored and enjoyed at room temperature from a snifter style glass. I was pretty floored when I saw it being poured as a full pint! Alrighty then. Bourbon, toffee, malts, chicory and vanilla combine to make a delightful boozy sipper.

Not only was the beer selection amazing but the free swag was a plenty. A very successful Philly Beer Week event in the Burbs.

Swag
Swag
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More Swag

Bru & U-Bahn – Philly Beer Week Part 1

BruPhilly 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.

UBahnWith 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.

Bru Tap List
Bru Tap List
Veggie Kabob
Veggie Kabob

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
Daisy Cutter

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
Bandolier

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.

 

 

 

Sly Fox Brewing

IMG_2740Sly Fox Brewing Fox Trot – May 30, 2015
331 Circle of Progress Drive, Pottstown, PA 19464

One of this Gal’s goals for 2015 is to run all 3 Great American Brewery Runs Races or at least walk all three. Last year a couple of my gal pals and I participated in the Flying Fish 5k which happened to take place on one of the HOTTEST days of the year yet, we still had such a good time we decided try for the trilogy this year.

Now allow me to clear up any misconceptions you may have that I’m a runner. I am not…at all! Ok, I have run a couple of 5K’s and mud runs in the past but it’s been a while since I ran so from the time I registered for this race I had plans to walk it. I enjoy challenging myself but I also want to have fun and I was in this for the fun and the beer. That’s right each racer gets a special race glass filled with beer at the end of the race! Oh and the races raise money for charity –  a win for all!IMG_2738

First up on the Great American Brewery Runs schedule for 2015 the Sly Fox Brewing Fox Trot at the Sly Fox Brewery.  I had only ever been to the Sly Fox Brewhouse in Phoenixville, PA and not to the Brewery itself so I was excited to finally  be able to check it out. After being to both I prefer the atmosphere and character of the brewery.

Race Day! Believe me when I say after last year’s ungodly heat at the Flying Fish race I was watching the weather closely. It was scheduled to be hot but thank goodness cloudy. At least the sun wouldn’t be blaring down on us. The brewery was a solid hour and fifteen minutes away so an early morning start was required. We arrived at the brewery on schedule, 8:30am, to pick up our race packets and to get a feel for the lay of the land.

IMG_2739The brewery is located in an industrial park not far from houses and surprisingly a fair amount trees and grassy areas. Right next to the brewery parking lot was a large grass field where the band and food trucks for the event set up. It made for a great place for people to kick back and relax after the race.  That’s right this is a relaxed party atmospher – you just have the pesky race to run first.

After picking up our packets and pinning on our bibs it was time to check out the brewery. Outside there are several picnic tables with umbrellas to sit and inside there are also a few picnic tables plus a long bar. On this day there were no bar stools but I’m not sure if that’s the norm or because of the large event. Besides their beer they also offer a small food menu with flatbreads, salads and nachos. I didn’t try any of their food but it looked tasty.

After checking things out we choose a picnic table outside to sit and relax at until race time. Folks came around prior to the start of the race to place our 21+ wrist bands on so we wouldn’t have to wait after the race for an id check to get our beer. As we sat waiting for race time the food trucks started arriving and setting up. The three of us were hungry so with each food truck arrival we got excited and couldn’t wait to get something to eat after the race.

Race Time! Finally it was time to make our was to the start line. It was hot but fortunately still cloudy out. Until just a couple of minutes before the race started then the clouds parted and the BLARING sun shown in all it’s blazing glory. NOOOOO! Immediately the temperature rose and every one started sweating just standing there. Oh this race just became so much longer. Suddenly we were off!

The Course – now if you’re thinking because it’s a brewery run the event planners choose a flat easy course you are wrong. This course was full of hills, lots of hills and road kill. Seriously folks clean up the road kill prior to the race. It’s not like these poor critters had just passed it was obvious they had been there a long while – eww.

Slowly I made my way up every hill and was ecsatic when I reached the water station which meant I was have way through the race and closer to beer! Whoo hoo cause by this point it was stinking hot.

Finish Line! There it was the finish line and water.  I crossed the line and asked for two bottles please. Hey, I was toward the back so must folks already received their water and they had plenty left for those behind me and well, I needed two. The guy informed me I could always refill my bottle at the water refilling station.  Yup, I was aware of the filling station prior to the start of the race but I was also aware this station was set up right next to the port a potties and the location was gross and the set up not really sanitary.  So I wanted two bottles and enjoyed them both immensely.

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Special glass each runner receives

The Party – I met up with my friends, they’re runners so they finished way before me, enjoyed my first bottle of water and headed over to the beer line. The line was long but moved supper quick. Not only did each racer get a beer but we also received a cool koozie. If you registered as a team of 10 or me you also received a growler.

Each racer received a glass of Grisette Working Class Ale 5.6% (2014 GABF Gold Medal Winner). Super psyched that it was a farmhouse ale they were serving. Perfect style for an end of race beer. This one had the farmhouse standards that I love, earthy bread, coriander and citrus.

Koozie
Koozie

Next we needed food, only we no longer found the different food truck options as appealing as we did prior to the race. We were hot now and heavy, rich food just wasn’t going to cut it. Plenty of folks enjoyed the pork parfait,  fried cheese curds and such but the three of us opted for a quinoa chickpea patty. It was good, not heavy and filled us. Luckily there were plenty of spots in the shaded picnic table area for us to relax at and enjoy our sandwich.

It was also time for another beer. I chose the  Abbey Extra Belgian Pale Ale 5.7% – clean, crisp malty beer with hints of spice and fruit. Normally I would prefer a little more body to an Abbey but this was perfect for the hot day.

After finishing up our beers it was time to head back home. Unfortunately, the brewery wasn’t allowing any take out purchases on this day understandable but disappointing. However, overall a fun day!

Next up the 2015 Flying Fish 5K and I hope they announce a date soon for the Yard’s Dash!
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Side note: So far I’ve found these Great American Brewery Runs to be well organized with plenty of water, bananas and pretzels at the end of the race course and a sufficient amount of port of potties for the racers to use.

Washington Crossing Brewfest

11170346_862296180503737_7407487984248921207_nWashington Crossing Brewfest
May 2, 2015 – Washington Crossing, PA

2015 marked the 5th year for the Washington Crossing Brewfest but this Gal’s first year to attend. Truth be told I just always figured it was rinky dink little festival. However, I stand corrected and admit I was very wrong.

With 64 breweries on hand serving at least 2 beers each plus, Isaac Newton’s had a booth pouring several different beers it’s no wonder this Brewfest sells out in advance each year.  The list of breweries was impressive – to name just a few: Avery, Allagash, Ballast, Bullfrog, Clown Shoes, Firestone, Flying Dog, Founders, Heavy Seas, Ommegang, Southern Tier, Stone and Weyerbacher. Truly just the tip of the ice burg.

11205012_862297230503632_1943157952283000694_nNot only is the list of breweries impressive but the setting for the festival is beautiful. It’s held outside under a canopy of trees along the banks of the Delaware of River. This particular year the weather was gorgeous and the trees provided not only a nice breeze but plenty of shade as well. It’s a spacious setting with ample room for the 2600 folks in attendance. Three things that stood out to me about the planning of this festival: 1. A brochure was provided to each person clearly marking which breweries were located where along with a full festival grounds map. 2. Each and every brewery tent was clearly marked. 3. (and this is a big one) Each and every brewery either had a brewery rep or distributor rep pouring their beer.

As with past festival reviews I’ll just give a quick recap of the standouts…

Put a Smile on this Gal’s Face: Bullfrog (love this brewery and glad to see distribution of their beers) the Sunny Disposition IPA was very refreshing

Most Excited to Try: Ballast Sculpin on tap – it lived up to it’s reputationbeer3

Surprise of the Day (is a tie):
The Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale Saison (this beer made me do a double take – wonderful)
Capt. Lawrence Kolsch (nice to see a Kolsch represented)

beerHighlights – Dark Horse End of the Spectrum Belgian Strong Pale Ale & Sapient Trip Ale Tripel (Whoohoo a Belgian Strong and a tripel on tap at a festival)

Shout Out to Long Trail for their Long Trail Imperial Stout. Say what, an imperial stout at a spring festival? Thank you Long Trail for remembering stouts can be enjoyed year round and aren’t just a winter beer. Oh and it was might tasty.

New to this Gal:
Rivertowne Brewing Grateful White
Roy Pitz  Greatful Red Scottish Style Red Ale  (Roy Ritz is brewing German beers with a twist – be sure to check them out)

Best Selection: Brooklyn Brewery with 1/2 Ale (a session saison!) and Wild Horse Porter

Favorite Beer of the Day: Boulder Beer Shake Chocolate Porter (decadent)

beer4Very Happy to see representation of Saisons
Great Divide Saison
Colorado Saison
The Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale Saison
Brooklyn Session Saison

Bonus: Proceeds from the brewfest benefit the non-profit Friends of Washington Crossing Park.

The Washington Crossing Brewfest is certainly one to add to your festival calendar for next year!