2021 Breweries to Visit – Punch Buggy Brewing

Well it only took me forever and a day to visit Punch Buggy Brewing but I finally made it. A little backstory. Punch Buggy has been on my list of breweries to visit since before they opened. As the sponsor of the Beer & Wine Garden at Trails4Tails Fest (happening Oct. 16 this year) part of responsibility is securing the beer for the event. The one year we rented beer equipment from a supplier located next to the soon to be opened Punch Buggy Brewing. However, there was some issues with the equipment and Punch Buggy came to our rescue and loaned us, free of charge, some items we needed and just asked we bring them back. The person handling the pick up and delivery did return everything with our sincere thanks and she and I made a pack to visit once they opened. Well we finally did meet up at the brewery. In our defense there was that whole 2020 mess so we lost a good year or more with that.

Back to the summer of 2021. I packed up the pups and headed into Philly on an absolutely gorgeous Friday afternoon in July to finally meet my friend at Punch Buggy. The brewery is located in a residential part of Fishtown and parking can be tricky. Truth be told it was this Gal’s first trip back to Philly in over a year and I forgot about the NON stop construction on 95 that has seriously been going on for the last 20+ years and Philly parking. Took me 3 trips around the block before I found something but I scored a sweet spot. This was the pups first visit to the City of Brotherly Love/Beer and they were quite taken with all scents and sounds as we walked the short distance over to the brewery.

The brewery is located between a small cafe (the former beer equipment place) and residential living. I just adore how small this brewery is and how much happiness radiants from it. One can tell the owners have put a lot of love and thought into making this small batch brewery a fun, relaxed spot that makes folks feel welcomed and invites them to hang and chill. The pups loved all the attention from the guys working that day and the other guests.

Even though the brewery is small they have made the most of the space with a small bar, high top tables along the one wall and regular tables and bench seating along the other. With the garage door open its airy and roomy. The inside has funky hops lamps hanging from the tin ceiling and be sure to check out the local art for sale in the rest rooms. There’s a nice patio are with several picnic tables and umbrellas for shade. Since I had the #beerdogs with me and it was so nice out we chose to sit at one of the picnic tables.

You go up to the bar to order both beer and food. Food will be brought out to your table when ready. On this particular visit there were 8 beers on tap, available in 10oz or 16oz pours, and the recently released collab DIPA in cans was available as well. For the non beer drinkers they do offer cider. There’s also a small eclectic food menu available with different hot dogs and grilled cheese options. My friend and I enjoyed the grilled cheese but were a bit perplexed by the s’mores sandwich. We didn’t realize the S’mores offering was a sandwich served with a pickle and chips. Let’s just say it was an interesting combo. The fresh Pico de Gallo comes highly recommended.

Back to the beer! I started with a 10oz pour of the Cruise Control Session IPA 5.0% – again happy to see the Sessions popping back up. Such a nice option for the summer or when you have to drive. It was refreshing and tropical fruit driven counter balanced by the hops.

Next up I had to try the collab with Urban Village BrewingMischief Maker DIPA 7.5% – This was a fun beer and not just because the label is funky. Citra hops balanced by the Loki yeast made for a smooth drinking DIPA.

I would have loved to have enjoyed a third beer but since I went with a DIPA and had to drive I put the breaks on the drinking. However, I do look forward to returning to Punch Buggy Brewing and trying some of their other beer offerings.

If you find yourself in Philly do yourself a favor and stop in at Punch Buggy Brewing. It’s hidden gem worth visiting.

Punch Buggy Brewing ~ FB ~ IG

Aristaeus Craft Brewing Co.

About two weeks after Aristaeus Craft Brewing Co. opened a friend had reached out to see if I had checked out the brewery yet – I had not. I like to give new places a good four to six weeks to work out the kinks before I visit. Fast forward a couple days from that conversation only to find myself at the brewery. Who am I to turn down an invitation to celebrate a family member’s birthday with a beer or two? 

Even though Aristaeus had only been open a couple of weeks rest sure they have all the kinks worked out. Right from the beginning I was impressed with the attention to detail…the logo/branding is beautiful, the building is upscale casual and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The decor is clean and contemporary with rustic accents such as the exposed ceiling and an old piano on the wall. Even though the overall brewery is small they have made the most of the space and laid it out in such a way that it’s spacious and inviting. There’s plenty of seating at the bar plus ledge seating around on the opposite wall and the brewing floor plus both high top and regular tables to choose from. Outside there’s some seating out front and a large patio area on the side that overlooks the train tracks. Dogs are welcomed on the patio!

The other thing that really stood out was the sense of community that is evident from the moment you arrive. They clearly state CRAFT. LOVE. COMMUNITY. and follow that up with partnering with local businesses in the area. Several of their food offerings are from local businesses and the wine they serve is from the Lehigh Valley. #supportlocal 

Not only do they support local businesses but the sense of community is shown with how welcomed they make each patron feel.

On this particular day there were seven (out of twelve) beers on tap and the variety was nice. Of course, I ended up trying all seven but what shocked me was that I ended up going with the Kalapa Stout 5.5% for my full pour. It’s been forever and a day since I ordered a stout. This one was easy drinking with hints of toasted coconut and cocoa without the roasted coffee that can over power some stouts. 

The other beer that really stood out to me was the Alpha Brown 5%. Woohoo, I love when there’s a brown on the tap list and glad to see them a bit more now. This Southern English brown did not disappoint. It had that nuttiness I just love with a good brown ale balanced by the malts and finishes clean. 

The tap list was rounded out by a Rye Saison, Irish Red, Cream Ale, Belgian Blonde and a Session IPA. This gal was so pleasantly surprised to see a session IPA on the list. For me, personally, I just need a break from the hazy IPA’s and was happy on this warm day for a session IPA. Cascade Affect 5% is a clean classic easy drinking IPA, how refreshing. 

As I previously mentioned there is a small snack menu plus you can bring in your own food and on the day I visited there was food truck in the parking lot. So plenty of options if you’re hungry. On this particular visit I enjoyed a soft pretzel with hot mustard. I’m hoping they partner with a local cheese place to make a beer cheese to accompany the pretzels. They also offer wine and hard seltzers plus cold brew coffees for the non beer drinkers.  

Aristaeus Craft Brewing Co. is a welcome addition to the community and a place I look forward to watching how they grow. One can tell they put a lot of thought and attention to making sure their guests are comfortable and appreciated while brewing good beer which makes me really look forward to my next visit.

Next up this Gal returns to her 2021 Breweries to Visit list.

Aristaeus Craft Brewing Co. ~ FB ~ IG

Visiting an Old Friend

I recently had the pleasure of visiting a dear old friend…Maine Beer Company. It has been a few years since my last visit and six since my first visit and review. I had previously been back since they expanded but I decided I wanted to write a quick follow up because here we are six years later and I’m still so impressed by the brewery, staff and beer. Even though they have grown leaps and bounds they have stayed true to their core. The beer is still top notch and some of the cleanest, tastiest beer around, they still partner with several nonprofit charities and the staff has remained helpful, friendly and fun. It’s not only the beer I respect at Maine Beer Company but their philosophy as a whole.

Since my first visit the building has expanded…it’s huge. I’m not gong to front my first visit after the expansion I was a bit shocked by the size of the new tasting room and missed the little one but I was also happy to see them doing so well. They worked hard and deserved it. Now that I’m use to the size it didn’t phase me on this visit. Instead I could really take the time to sit back and enjoy how they have grown yet stayed the same.

What else has changed? No flights, a host to seat you, besides the pizza they now offer a few other snacks plus wine and expanded outside seating. Since the pandemic they have removed tables making the seating more spacious. I also noticed seating on the 2nd level – old tap room – I’m not sure if that was being utilized last visit or if it was added because of the pandemic.

On this particular visit I enjoyed:

Prince Percy Pilsner 5.1% – I was one lucky gal to enjoy two great pilsners in one day, Bissell Brothers prior. A bit hop forward balanced by the malts with classic floral aromas and hints of citrus as well.

Black Barn No. 22 IPA 6.3% – a very nice easy drinking IPA with hints of melon and lemon.

Dinner DIPA 8.2% – Of course! Tropical fruits with hints of Maine Pine and earthy garden. I always enjoy this classic.

I also purchased a bottle of Thank you IPA 6.4% to enjoy later in the week and enjoy I did. There’s a lot going on with this IPA from Saaz hops to malts with notes of fresh baked bread, coconut, mango and lemon.

After spending sometime at with this dear old friend I felt reset, relaxed and ready to enjoy Maine!

Maine Beer Company ~ FB ~ IG

Bissell Brothers Brewing

To say Bissell Brothers Brewing has been on my Breweries to Visit list for some time would be an understatement. As the saying goes…All in good time and that time finally arrived. I decided I’d be making two stops this year on my beloved trek north to Maine – Bissell Brothers Brewing (Portland Location) and Maine Beer Co.

I had no preconceived thoughts as to what BBB would be like but they didn’t disappoint. They are located a bit off the beaten path, aren’t most breweries, in an old railway building. So yea, the building is pretty cool with its rustic charm and the vibe is bright, energetic and fun! There’s a very nice patio area for outdoor enjoyment and inside the main floor is large with plenty of seating and there’s also a small upper level as well. You order at the bar, the line moves quickly and the staff is very friendly and helpful. There were 14 beers on tap and the list was broken up by IPA & Hop-Forward, Dark & Malty, Lager & Traditional and Funky & Wild. I think the way they had the tap list is very helpful and cuts down on a lot of questions from folks.

Pilsner

Beings there was a Pilsner on tap and that’s my fav style right now, yea I said it, I went with that first. Precept Pilsner 5.6% – Oh yum! This pilsner was so crisp and clean. This particular pilsner uses Mittelfruh & Saaz hops along with Maine Pilsner malts. The malt to hops ratio was spot on and it was the perfect refresher after sitting in the car for 6 hours.

Next up I enjoyed the Zoo Hypothesis Double IPA 7.7% – What a treat this DIPA was. It’s made with Lotus, Citrus and Mosaic hops along with 2-row, Maine Oats & Maine Wheat malts. The nose consists of a variety of fruits including tropical along with orange and grapefruit. The orange and grapefruit are the forward tastes balanced by earthy herbs and spices.

DIPA

I was surprised they offered a selection of food from tacos, sandwiches and burgers along with a kid’s menu as well. They also offer wine, craft cider and soda

Because we still had a stop at Maine Beer Company and the rest of the drive to our final desertion I had to make do with just enjoying the two beers this visit but I look forward to a return trip.

Bissell Brothers Brewing ~ Fb ~ IG

2021 Breweries to Visit – Odd Bird Brewing

Next on my list of 2021 Breweries to Visit was Odd Bird Brewing in Stockton, NJ. When I found out a brewery had opened in the quaint town of Stockton not only was I excited that there was new beer to try, just a scenic drive away, but felt this would be a perfect addition to the town.

One of the first things to catch my eye about Odd Bird is the logo…it’s gorgeous. This Gal’s background is marketing and graphic design so things like logos and branding, always stick out to me and tell me a bit about the business, whether it be a brewery or something else. If a place realizes the importance of professional design and branding they realize the importance of small but mighty details. Odd Bird does just that…recognizes the importance of even the smallest details and the bigger ones too. It’s an aesthetically pleasing and inviting space and the owners make you feel very welcomed. The tap handles are gorgeous hand blow glass and the wood tables add a nice rustic feel. I look forward to the day the inside is open to the patrons. The husband-and-wife team run the place by themselves so for now only the outside tent patio is open for seating. They are looking to welcome the public inside in the fall.

Odd Bird is small but laid out in the way to make the most of the space inside and out. The tent backs up to a hill and has several low and high-top tables plus a “bar” at the front you can sit at. Parking is tough and my guess is will be better in the colder weather once the tent is gone. The Saturday night I was there I was able to snag a spot right out front otherwise you can park down the street at the Prallsville Mill. Because the brewery is located in a food manufacturing facility no dogs allowed. You are welcomed to bring food in and there is a plethora of places in Stockton to get take out from or take your beer to go to one of the BYOB restaurants. Stockton is really a cute town and worth taking a few movements to walk around and enjoy. There’s also a tow path you can walk or ride your bike on and then stop at the brewery for a beer reward after.

Now onto the beer! Right now, no flights but they are very generous with tasters. There were 9 beers on tap and 1 on cask the night I was there and the list was pretty diverse. As soon as I saw they offered a ESB I knew that’s what this Gal was getting. I’ll say it again – I’m so freaking happy to see this style popping up more and more on tap list! It’s been overlooked for far too long.

Extra Stockton Bitter ESB 4.5% – It did not disappoint. I always appreciate a good malt forward beer balanced by the bitterness of hops.

I was happy that both the IPA offerings were not hazy. Did a taster of each Extraordinary Machine IPA 6.4% and the Catbird IPA 6.9%. Decided on the Extraordinary for the pour. It’s nice crisp and clean IPA that goes down easily with a soft note of hops.

The final taste of the evening for this Gal was the Joe’s Garage Kölsch 5.2%. Another style I’m happy to be seeing on tap list again. A Kölsch is always a good kick back summer refresher. Joe’s Garage is well done. A breath of freshness with hits of floral hops and malt aromas.

The brewery is just a hop, skip and jump away from Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA so incorporating a stop into your day of sighting seeing would be an added bonus! I look forward to watching the Odd Bird grow and become an anchor to the Stockton community.

Odd Bird Brewing ~ FB ~ IG

New G.B.G. Merch

This Gal has been busy adding new Beer, Cat & Dog items to the Geeky Beer Gal store. Be sure to visit the GeekyBeerGal Etsy Shop and in the mean time here’s a peek a some of the new items…

New Shirts! Beer (because people suck), Beerdog beer bottle with dog silhouettes, Beercat beer bottle with cat silhouettes, Beer/Wine Glass with dog or cat silhouettes.

New Hats! I love dogs and beer, Beer (because people suck), I love kitties and beer

New Sticker & Magnet! Peace, Love & Beer

Available on the Geeky Beer Gal Etsy Shop!

2021 Breweries to Visit – Tonewood

Next up on my list of breweries to visit in 2021 – Tonewood Brewery. My friend and I picked a gorgeous May weekday afternoon to meet up and see what’s what at the brewery. I love they are open Tuesday thru Sunday. Some of us like visiting breweries during the week rather than wait for the weekend. For whatever reason the location through me off a bit. The location is part industrial and, yet, part residential. I’m not sure what the building used to house and the person from Tonewood I spoke to didn’t know either. Reminded me of an old firehouse but don’t think it was. It butts right up to a residential property and neighborhood. I bet the zoning meetings for the approval had to be interesting. Also, there is a free parking lot across from the side of the building.

My friend and I chose to sit outside at the picnic tables that run along the side of the brewery. Beware you are sitting at a slant and might occasionally have to keep your beer from sliding down he table. The brewery itself is small but there are several tables inside, as well as, a bar. The wood table tops are are beautiful and I love the use of wood showcased in it’s natural glory. Pretty much the entire time I was there they played the Grateful Dead so you know this Gal was happy and it earned them huge bonus points!

Tonewood does not offer beer flights but once I saw they had a Schwarzbier on tap I new exactly what this Gal would be drinking. Black Bird Schwarzbier 4% Dark German Lager and oh so delish! Smooth, crisp and clean with hints of chocolate and pumpernickel. It was the perfect Spring beer for the early May afternoon. The day I was there the IPA’s were all hazy, just not my thing right now, so after the Schwarzbier I enjoyed the Two Versions of Me Dry Hopped Pilsner 5% and a collab beer from Tonewood and Cape May Brewing. It was a respectful Pilsner with tones of melon, white grape and a hint of oak.

Tonewood is a 10 minute drive from Kings Road Brewery so brewery crawl! Truth be told I stopped at Kings Road Brewery first…see previous blog.

Tonewood Brewery ~ FB ~ IG

Kings Road Brewery

Back in early May I had plans to meet a friend at Tonewood Brewing but realized Kings Road Brewery was just 10 minutes from Tonewood so felt it necessary to stop and check out Kings Road first. So glad I did.

Kings Road Brewery is located in the heart of downtown Haddonefield, NJ and what a cute town! A gorgeous downtown that just calls out for one to spend an afternoon strolling the streets, popping into the various mom and pops shops, restaurants, bakeries, and brewery. To say Haddonfield is cute is an understatement and I plan on going back to enjoy an afternoon of #smallbusiness. However, I did stop into a fun little spice and tea shop before heading to the brewery. The brewery is close to the Heritage Winery Tasting Room and across the street from The British Chop Shop which happens to be byob.

There is street meter parking out front and a rather large lot near the rear of the brewery across the street. Beings I was there on a weekday afternoon I had no problem finding parking out front. I opted to enjoy my beer outside in the back of the brewery where they had several picnic tables set up with a tent overhead for some shade. Besides the picnic table area they also had a few barrel tables outside in the front of the building and another outside area in the back with a few hightop tables and lots of sun. Inside the space is generous with lots of warm tones, wood and plenty of seating. You are allowed to bring food in and dogs are welcomed outside. The interior is a nice size and felt warm and inviting. The staff was very attentive and welcoming.

This Gal absolutely adored the tap list. It was really one of the most diverse brewery lists I’ve seen in a while and spot on for Spring. There were so many I wanted to try so opted for a taster flight:

Empire Strikes Back – English Bitter 5.1% ( you know I had to order it with a name like that)
Very happy to see an English Bitter and even happier drinking it. This ESB had the perfect combination of malts and hops.

1944 Pilsner – 4.4% My go to style now a days.
This was a true classic German style Pilsner. Starts with a bit of doughiness and follows up clean and crisp.

Hell n’ Bock – 6.7%
A bock! Love a bock and so happy to see one on their menu. I cannot stress enough how much I loved their selection. This bock wasn’t as malty as some I’ve had but that’s ok there was still plenty of malt and had a slight taste of peppers.

Since the lager had kicked and the IPAs were NE stye, which just wasn’t in the mood for, I opted for the Black Musket Stout to round out the flight.

Black Musket Stout – 6.2%
It’s been a while since I ordered a stout. I used to love the roasted coffee flavor to stouts but my taste have changed and since most stouts seem to have the coffee thing going on I tend to pass. This black beauty passed on the coffee and offered up an abundance of dark malts countered by hops and a hint of nuttiness. Rich, Smooth & Creamy.

I wish I had more time to spend at Kings Road Brewery but I had to move onto my next stop but I’ll definitely be back.

Kings Road Brewery ~ FB ~ IG