Category Archives: Beer Reviews

Bar Hygge

 

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Grinding Grooves

Bar Hygge
Facebook Twitter @bar_hygge

A bit of background before jumping into the review of Bar Hygee. This Gal is a long time fan of Tom Baker’s brewing skills and I was heartbroken when he and Peggy closed Heavyweight Brewing. (I still have a bottle of Old Salty in my beer cellar) Them opening Earth, Bread & Brewery helped ease the pain but with the opening Bar Hygge I’m much happier and the lost of Heavyweight has subsided.

Bar Hygee is located on Fairmount Avenue in one of my all time favorite Philly neighborhoods. It’s off street parking but with just a few circles of the block I secured a space right out front. Once you walk in you know you are some place special. Bar Hygge has taken brewpubs to a new level. It’s sophisticated without being pretentious. The decor is rustically upscale yet comfortable. The bar is beautifully crafted reclaimed wood and has the feel of relaxing at a friends cabin. There’s a room off to the left of the entrance that provides laid back seating and space for private events. On this particular night there was a wine tasting happening in the room. Yes, this is a full service brewpub/bar with 7 house and 2 guest beers along with 5 wines and 1 cocktail all on tap. Various other wines (impressive wine list) and cocktails available as well.

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IZZI

My companion and I took residence at the bar where Rose provided outstanding service. With 7 of Tom’s amazing beers on tap and appropriate planning I was able to try them all and still drink responsibly. Stop – let me make sure I’m making myself clear The Tap List Floored Me. A brown, Scottish-style, Dopplebock, DIPA, Farmhouse and Stout all on the list! Choosing where to start was difficult. Now let’s continue on…

The beers on tap are available as half and whole pours and reasonably priced $4/$6*. Flights aren’t available but tastes are. I started with a half pour of Grinding Grooves and stole a taste of my friends Exaggerator Dopplebock both were outstanding. Continuing on we decided to order some food to accompany the next round of beers.

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Hygge Board

Not only does Bar Hygge offer a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy great beer in but they offer amazing food as well. I was truly impressed with the offerings from the kitchen.  We started with a Hygge Board (choice of 1, 3 or 5 items). For our board we picked the Drunken Goat Cheese, Lamb Kabobs and Miso Sunchokes. Sunchokes just may be my new favorite food! Prior to the Board being served Bar Hygge likes to entice your pallet with an Amour-bouche which on this particular evening was a roasted kale and white bean salad. Goal met our appetites were enticed!  Too accompany our beautifully presented board we selected the Doon The Watter (Scottish Style!) and IZZI Brown Ale beer – both paired wonderfully with the board offerings. The combination of the earthy miso and rich malty mouthfeel of the scottish ale blended together perfectly.

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Sunflower-crusted Cauliflower & “Phoebe”

The next course consisted of Phoebe Bier de Garde, Ripsnorter DIPA and the La Vache Noire Stout along with Waffle Wings (with pickled watermelon) and Sunflower-crusted Cauliflower. One most simply try pickled watermelon at least once in their life – amazing. Our taste buds were were being spoiled by the different spectrums of flavors going on with each bite of food and sip of beer.

Do your self a favor and treat yourself to Bar Hygge. After all you deserve the best life has to offer.

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Waffle Wings

Ripsnorter Double IPA 8.2% (centennial, simcoe, bravo and amarillo hops) It’s getting to the point if I know simcoe hops are involved I need to try it. Being a DIPA the hops were front and center but didn’t leave your mouth/taste buds numb with overkill.

 Exaggerator German-style Dopplebock 7.2%
Cheers to having a Dopplebock on tap. One of my favorite styles and this one didn’t disappoint. Full-bodied maltiness with a slight roasty chocolate ending.
IZZI Brown Ale Saison Brune with rye and caraway 5.6%
The rye and caraway are there but in a subtle complementing way. The combination of a brown and Saison melds together to make for a very enjoyable beer.
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La Vache Noire

La Vache Noire Belgian Milk Stout 5.6%
Milk stout – need I say more? Rich and complex with a silky smooth mouthfeel.

Grinding Grooves Gotlandsdricka 6.8%
Farmhouse ale with a slight smokey taste that helps to calm the tartness of the juniper.
Doon the Watter Scottish-style Export 6.2%
I was truly delighted to see a Scottish style ale on tap. Full-bodied and loaded with with malty/caramel goodness.
“Phoebe” Biere de Garde 6.2%

 A great beer on it’s own or with food. The slight malt and hops along with the black pepper and orange are all enhanced when paired with food.

*Prices overall at Bar Hygge are very reasonable especially for the quality of beer and food being served. Menu is both vegetarian and meatarian friendly.

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Jimmy’s No. 43

IMG_3982Jimmy’s No. 43
Facebook   Twitter @JimmysNo43

Something you should know about this Gal, if you already haven’t figured it out, I can be stubborn when I want to be. Although, I like to think of it as more determination that stubbornness. That being said way back in the late spring/early summer a friend and I ventured into the city for a self made pub crawl. One of the places I wanted to try the most was Jimmy’s No. 43. I kept hearing how great the beer selection is and it has appeared on many top beer places in NYC lists. Needless to say I was beyond disappointed when I arrived to find them closed. Ever so determined to check out Jimmy’s No. 43 for myself I once again trekked back to the city and voilà found myself at Jimmy’s No. 43 and it was open!

IMG_3984You have to go down a flight to enter Jimmy’s and when you do you feel you’ve been transported back in time to the catacombs of Old World Europe either that or a vampires lair. Jimmy’s is small and cozy with arched brick ceilings, lots of wood and carved cathedral style openings. Over all a very inmate setting. The bar is in front of you when you first walk in and is smaller than I thought it be maybe seating 9 or 10 people. I loved the marble bar top and all the old wooden barrels around the ceiling perimeter.

Besides wanting a beer my friend and I were in need of some food too. Jimmy’s offers a small but interesting menu so we were looking forward to enjoying something different. That being said as we scoped out the joint I asked the bartender if they were serving food. Normally they would be but since things seemed pretty darn quiet I figured I better ask. Sadly they were not, the kitchen wasn’t ready yet. Ummm, OK. So we took a seat at the bar and scanned the area for the tap list. Not spotting one I asked the bartender what was available. She pointed to the clipboards near the entrance said the tap list was on that but she hadn’t had time to update it. Alrighty then.

The list consisted of 12 beers on tap and a rather extensive bottle list. The tap list was indeed good but not as impressive as I thought it be giving all the hoopla I’ve heard about Jimmy’s. Although, I feel spoiled with the wonderful tap selections in such close proximity to home. Heck, this Gal is just 30 minutes from soIMG_3983me the best tap lists the City of Brother Beer (Philly) has to offer.

I had finally decided on my beer request but the bartender was busy behind the bar doing I’m not sure what. So I waiting patiently for her to take my beer order. Instead she announced she had to go check on her food, grabbed her purse and left. I looked at my companion and said,”did she really just leave?” She sure did. So we sat and waited because no matter what I was having a beer at Jimmy’s No. 43 . Upon her return I requested the Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter but unfortunately, that was one of the beers they were out of. Instead I opted for the Black Hog Coffee Milk Stout (Nitro). It was lovely how it cascaded into the glass and I was looking so forward drinking it but it sat and sat and sat and then sat some more while, once again, the bartender did – God knows what behind the bar. Seriously, we were sitting at the bar and I do not for the love of anything sane understand what she was occupying her time with but it certainly wasn’t attending to her customers. I was to the point that I was ready to reach over and grab the beer when she finally served it to me. I will say it was worth the wait.

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B.H. Coffee Milk Stout

Coffee Milk Stout, Black Hog, CT (Nitro) – 5.5%
This pours beautifully leaving gorgeous rings on the glass as you sip it. Rich roasted coffee, bitter on the backside with the silky smooth creaminess of a milk stout. Velvet silk in a glass.

By the time I had been served the Black Hog I pretty much figured I would only be having the one beer and moving on. I don’t have a whole lot of patience for bad service and the service or lack there of at Jimmy’s was getting increasingly bad. Wait…it gets worse.

The beer was $8 and I put on $10 on the bar next to my glass. As the glass became empty I figured at some point the bartender would acknowledge the empty glass and I could settle up my tab. Yeah, that wasn’t to be the case. It really became very clear that she didn’t care about her customers. So my companion and I got up to leave with the $10 clearly sitting next to my empty glass. I was first up the stairs when I realized my companion was still inside. Turns out our leaving FINALLY got the bartenders attention and she yelled at him about leaving without paying. I find it curious that her first reaction would be to accuse a customer of not paying instead of perhaps nicely saying something to them or looking on the bar first to see if they left money. She was informed the money was indeed on the bar next to the EMPTY glass and her response – “oh”. Not ok, thank you or sorry about that – just Oh.

As a former bartender I completely understand one can have an off day but by the end of our visit I really just got the feeling that this type of service was the norm at least for this bartender. As someone who lives on a budget and carefully chooses when and where to spend my money I much rather spend it somewhere that truly appreciates ones customers. That being said there are plenty of bars in NYC with great tap list and good service that appreciates the business their customers bring. Sadly this was not the case on this visit.

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.

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Village Lake

 

 

NYC Village Pub Crawl

UnknownThis 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.

McSorley's DarkSame 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

IMG_2720We 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 IMG_2718appears 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.

ABC Tap List
ABC Tap List

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.

Barrier Beech Street Wit
Barrier Beech Street Wit

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.

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Stillwater L’anjub Aloja Farmhouse

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 IMG_2721

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.

IMG_2727Besides 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
Peg Leg Imperial 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.

Hemboldt Brown Hemp Ale
Hemboldt Brown Hemp Ale

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.

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Drop Off Service

 

 

Broken Goblet Brewery

IMG_2369Broken Goblet
1500 Grundy Lane, Bristol, PA 19007
Keystone Industrial Park
Twitter @BrokenGobletPA

Snowy day be damed it wasn’t keeping this Gal and her crew from enjoying the local beer scene. Stop one on our mini brewery tour was Broken Goblet. The snow didn’t seem to stop anyone else either the place filled up quickly!

This brewery is small but mighty offering up 7 interesting beers on tap. My companions and I split a full tasting round that was served on a nifty goblet tray. The taster had something for everyone and even the none beer drinker found two beers to her enjoyment!

Broken Goblet has warm welcoming feeling to it that resembles hanging out in your friend’s cool basement bar turned up a notch with fairly lights, small stage for bands/movie night, a few high top tables, a small but inviting bar and towards the back of the building the brewery. They offer a small food menu as well, when a food truck isn’t out front of the establishment. The staff is friendly, knowledge and accommodating and yeah the geek in me LOVED the bartender’s Star Wars shoes! Star Wars themes shoes – seriously it doesn’t get any better!

IMG_2371Taster Round consisted of:
Bubba’s Tea Bag 5.9% – This is an interesting beer with some earthy hints to it but too sweet for this Gal’s taste. However, my sis enjoyed it and, well, I really never see her enjoy a beer. Score one for B.G.

Cream Ale – extremely light body with a mix of citrus and yeast that finished clean. Again, Sis, finished it off. Score two for B.G.

Angry Troll Amber 7.1%
I’ve always been one to enjoy a good amber and this was no exception – well done with a good balance of roasted malts and subtle hops.

The Fall of Ryesengard Black Rye 6.6%
Right off the bat – love the name. Me and rye beers have a tricky relationship. I appreciate them but rarely want to drink them. However, this rye was tasty. You certainly taste the rye but it doesn’t overpower the roasted malts, hints of pine or the hops.

Old Toby Belgium Pale Ale with Basil 5.5% – I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this one but it works. The basil helps to balance and compliment the hops without being overpowering.

Russian Imperial Stout – Of course this was my favorite Broken Goblet selection but not only did I enjoy it but my none stout buddy enjoyed it as well. It has everything I love about a stout – roasted malts, cocoa, caramel and dark fruit but with a bit lighter mouth feel to it.

Deep Impact IPA 9.6%
I enjoyed this Imperial IPA but that’s because there wasn’t the usual abudance of hops one associates with an IPA. I’d be curious for a true Hop Head’s opinion of this beer.

IMG_2370Next up – stop two on the mini local brewery tour – Neshaminy Creek Brewing.

Side note: As a strong believer in giving back/lending a helping hand to our fellow humans and fur friends  I strongly appreciate when breweries do the same. I found these guys to do just that which adds to the whole beer experience. Thanks guys!

Lolita for Toasting

LolitaLolita – American Wild Ale – Goose Island Beer Company 9%

Belgium style ale aged in French Oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.

For New Year Eve’s, naturally, I wanted something special for toasting the end of 2014 and ringing in 2015. I perused my beer cellar stock and decided this was the perfect evening for the bottle of Lolita I had been saving.

As the first drop poured into the glass I knew this was the perfect ale for the Eve. It pours a beautiful hue of pink with an aroma of fruit and yeast/muskiness one associates with Belgium ales, as well as, the wonderful Belgium carbonation bubbles.

Overall it’s light in body but big in taste. The tart/sour berry flavor is fresh and  bold combining perfectly with the oakiness of the barrels that provide this ale with a  wine richness that finishes dry.

Wonderfully done and perfect for the Eve!

 

Spellbound Brewing

IMG_2045Spellbound Brewing, Mt. Holly, NJ
http://www.spellboundbrewing.com
https://www.facebook.co
/spellboundbrew
Twitter – @Spellboundbrew

 

Right away I knew I was going to like this place. The entrance, even though in a warehouse facility, is inviting and makes you feel like you are entering someplace special that has an ethereal/mystical feel to it. Once inside you notice all the fabulous wood including bottle shaped flight trays carved from wood, fairy lights and very cool  tap handles.IMG_2039

The tasting room is a nice size with a long bar, several high top tables and railings along the wall for gathering at. Only down side is the lack of seating. Two stools at the bar for the entire tasting room? If there had been seating I feel confident in saying people would stay longer.

 

IMG_2041Of course this Gal went for a Taster Round. Now I love porters but even I was a bit surprised that 4 out of the six beers on tap were porters. My companion and I were hoping to have a bit more variation in styles to try.

Session Porter 4.5%
Lighter body but still full of flavor. Makes for a nice easy drinking porter.

Porter 6.9%
Full body with just the right balance bitter chocolate with roasted coffee..

Palo Santo Wood Aged Porter 6.9%
Good mix of chocolate, vanilla and anise with hints of a few other herbs.

IMG_2044Coconut Palo Santo Porter  6.9%
Coconut + chocolate = liquid mounds bar without being overly sweet. Very well done and quite yummy.

Also, had a sip of my friends:
Peach 2X IPA 7.5%
Well, I have a thing about peach flavored beverages so this didn’t go over well with me. It’s all I tasted so that was that.

IPA 6.5%
Piney hops mixed with malts make for a pleasant drinking experience.

I look forward to revisiting Spellbound Brewing and watching them grow into their full potential. After all they are off to a great start.

Note they are located just 2 miles from Village Idiot Brewing which makes for a fun little beer tasting excursion.

 

Kraftwork

IMG_2021When 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!

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In order Left to Right

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.

Green Bean Casserole Quiche
Green Bean Casserole Quiche
IMG_2020
Egg In A Hole

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:

Flight 2 Left to Right
Flight 2 Left to Right

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.

IMG_2016After 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.

 

IMG_2014Kraftwork 541 East Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125
http://kraftworkbar.com   Twitter – @KraftworkBar
https://www.facebook.com/kraftworkbar

 

 

Tuckahoe Brewing Company

019Tuckahoe Brewing Co.

Every September this Gal heads down to beautiful Cape May, New Jersey for a fun filled weekend with the family. In recent years this annual trip has come to include a stop at Cape May Brewing and this year was no exception. However, also included was a stop at Tuckahoe Brewing Company.

Tuchahoe is set back a ways in a rural warehouse area – very easy to miss but no worries it can be found. The outside is a non-descriptive warehouse and the inside is tiny. As soon as you walk in you’re front and center in the tasting room. There’s a small bar that seats maybe 6 people to the left, a high top table for 4 and picnic bench area to the right.

022On this particular day the beer offerings were slim – only 3 beers on tap. I believe there are usually more offerings but think there may have been some sort of problem with the lines this particular day. Not real sure what was going on but went for the $5 taster round of the 3 beers on tap.

Wit
Wit

Marshallville Wit 4.8% – This Gal does enjoy Wits so I was looking forward to this offering. It had the yeasty cloudy appearance I associate with a wit along with the lemon/citrus flavors hints of cloves but there was also a strange soapy taste to it as well.

Holly Beach Pumpkin Ale 7.4%
Right away there was a good hit of spices but not much pumpkin flavor. I consider this beer more a fall ale rather than a pumpkin ale. Unfortunately, there was a strange after taste on this beer as well.

Porter
Porter

Steelmartown Porter 6.5%
The woman who handed us the taster of these said, “it’s smells good but that’s all”. This beer does have a good robust roasty nose but follows it up with a pleasant coffee, cocoa & vanilla taste. The flavor matched aroma. It was the most pleasing of the three beers.

The place was hopping and people were filling growlers yet I did hear a fair amount of grumblings too. In all fairness I feel something was off on the production end and will go back to try it again another day.