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.
Not 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 reputation
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)
Highlights – 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)
Very Happy to see representation of Saisons
Great Divide 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.
This gal has been trying for some time to check out Interstate Drafthouse to no avail. I was beginning to think it wasn’t meant to be but indeed it was! I had added Interstate Drafthouse to my Philly Pub Crawl list (posted 12/13) fully trusting my Philly connection with the worthiness of the establishment to the list. Worthiness confirmed.
Located just a hop, skip and jump off Interstate 95 via the Gerard Avenue exit in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia, Interstate Drafthouse is a neighborhood bar that is also a destination spot. It really is smack in the middle of a neighborhood with easy off street parking. I would say from the looks of the building it was somebodies home in a prior life but fortunately for craft beer lovers it’s been converted into a great bar.
Upon entrance to the Drafthouse one is immediately standing in the bar area. The bar is to the right and few high top tables to the left. Walk back a little further and a step up to the dining area that consist of about 12 or so tables. Off the dining area is a cute little patio. Unfortunately, there was a summer rain storm taking place so a seat at the bar is where my companion and I found beer happiness.
Interstate offers a warm, cozy environment with a good bar vibe feeling with an old style tin ceiling, lots of dark wood, holiday twinkle lights and hooks under the bar for umbrellas, purses etc., always a nice touch. Overall the place is a little kitchy but in a fun way. It reminded me of some of the neighborhood bars I’ve visited in New Orleans. It’s also a wee bit dark inside which can make reading the menu a tad difficult at times. (flashlight app to the rescue). The owner is very welcoming and friendly as is the staff. They are also generous with beer tastings which is always a plus.
Not only does Interstate Drafthouse have a nice tap list, with a style for everyone, but they’re also very reasonably priced with great weekly deals! Happy Hour is offered Monday – Friday 4:30-6:30 with $4 Draft Beers. We happened to be there for Taco Tuesday $1 Tacos and $4 Beers ALL NIGHT – Sweet! Wednesday they offer a Beer and Meal for $10!
The food menu is pretty diverse with everything from gator to seitan on it. Another words both meat and vegetarian friendly with a fun Cajun/Creole influence to it. We started with the homemade guacamole which was spot on. My companion enjoyed a tasty brisket sandwich and this gal opted for a nicely done veggie “steak” sandwich. I hear the mac & cheese is lip smacking good.
As tasty as the food was the beer was even better…
As soon as I spotted an offering from Bullfrog Brewing I knew what my first beer of the night would be. Bullfrog Brewing holds a special place in this Gal’s heart. I use to visit it many moons ago on the way to and from vacationing in Western Pennsylvania. If you ever happen to be near Williamsport, PA (home of the Little League World Series) I strongly recommend, heck I insist you stop at Bullfrog Brewery for some beer and food. I’ve never had a bad experience there. Their beer put a smile on my face each and every visit.
Saison – Bullfrog Brewing
Blond Ale meets Farmhouse Ale. Classic Saison cloudy appearance with citrus, floral and enough tartness that it makes your mouthwater at the end but makes you want to go back for more
Next up… Arcadia London Porter – Arcadia Brewing Company 7.2%
Well done English porter with a pleasant smokey nose. The flavor is a mix of roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, coffee and just a touch of hops. A good true-to-style English Porter that ends with a slightly bitter finish. (favorite of the night)
Finished with the Summer Solstice – Anderson Valley Brewing Company 5.% (cream ale)
Had I known it was a cream ale I probably wouldn’t have ordered it since I’m not a big fan of the style. However, the Summer Solstice has changed my opinion of cream ales. It’s as good blend of spices, malt and caramel that make it an enjoyable summer beer.
Sips of: Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale – Flying Dog 5.6%
This ale is brewed with Old Bay Seasoning which intrigued me but sadly the taste did not appeal to me at all. It was just odd. I would be willing to try a small taster of it with some food. That combo may work but on it’s on just not for me.
Pynk – Yards Brewing 5.5%
I was super excited when I saw the tap handle go on for this beer. It’s a delightful berry beer. I wasn’t in the mood for a full pint on this visit but could envision myself enjoying this little tart beauty on my deck one warm evening. I also could see myself mixing it with a chocolate stout since it’s so lambic like. Don’t forget Yards donates $1 from each case sold to the Tyanna Foundation, which provides support for the care and treatment of breast cancer patients.
Galatica IPA – Clown Shoes 8%
This Imperial IPA smells and taste very floral so much so I felt I was sipping on perfume. It was a bit much for me to handle. A true love for hops is necessary to enjoy this beer. That being said my companion enjoyed it.
Sapient Triple -Dark Horse Brewing Company 9.5%
Crazy smooth, easy to drink without the high alcohol feeling. Delightful banana and coriander flavors. Would have loved a glass but no triples on this visit since I still had to get myself home.
This Gal was very happy to finally be able to try Interstate Drafthouse and looks forward to returning for $4 Beers!