Tag Archives: Fishtown

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
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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

 

 

2 Nights, 40 Beers

012Two Nights, 40 Beers  sounds like a lot – it was – 40 beers of fun!

A writer for Philly Beer Scene recently posted for help in reviewing beer for an upcoming article. Of course, this gal had to try and be one of the lucky 15-20 folks to garner a spot on the panel and woohoo I was. Two nights, 40 beers!

Not only was it fun getting to try 40 different beers for FREE but being given the opportunity to hang out with some fellow craft beer lovers that I haven’t met before, hear about their beer likes/dislikes and their recommendations for different beer places to visit is always makes for a good time as well.

The tasting took place upstairs at Bottle Bar East – bonus I had never been so got to try out a different beer bar as well.

Night 1
Night 1

Night 1
First thing – parking. Street parking only folks but I managed to find a spot nearby fairly quickly. (2nd night it took some time but finally snagged a spot). Once I arrived at  Bottle Bar East I made my way upstairs to where the tasting would be taking place.

When one first enters Bottle Bar East your eyes are immediately drawn to the cold case displays to the left of the entrance. It’s a beautiful display of individual craft beer bottles for sale. One can take them home or drink them on premise. To right of the entrance is the cashier, straight back are the stairs (that lead to a 2nd floor seating area) followed by a long bar on the right and about 4 to 5 high top tables to the left and the “kitchen” is in back.

I made my way upstairs for the tasting where each table was set up with water and tasting forms. The first night was a blind tasting of 20 beers approximately 15 of them either IPA’s or Pale Ales. For each beer we were told the style and alcohol content but that’s it. Each person had a sheet to jot down a few tasting notes/descriptions plus a score from 1-10 with 10 being the best. For a non hops lover it was a bit of hops overload but I managed.  However, towards the end my tasting notes took a nose dive eventually leading to a one word description for one of the beers – No. By this point I was pretty sure hops were sprouting from my tongue. I couldn’t wait for some malty goodness to hit my taste buds. Yards Love Stout to the rescue.

Yards Love Stout
Yards Love Stout

A fellow taster and I made our way downstairs to one of the high top tables. I requested a taster of the Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale – Uinta Brewing Company 4% – light body with good pumpkin flavor but my taste buds required something more full body so I treated them to a little slice of malt heaven – Yards Love Stout – Yards Brewing 5%
Oh my taste buds were so happy to be coated with malts, roasted chicory and chocolate. I enjoyed this malted beauty with the Roasted Vegetable Flatbread that was down right tasty. My taster buddy enjoyed the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. Side note: sandwiches come with salads since fries are not served at Bottle Bar East. In fact, it would seem there is no deep fryer at all, which I find pretty cool, leading to some different bar menu options.

Roasted Vegetable Flatbread
Roasted Vegetable Flatbread

Night 2
By this point murmurs of speculation as to what the article was about were swirling around with the tasting panel. All we knew for sure was that we really didn’t have a clue. We were told we find out the names of the beers from the blind tasting and what the article is about in a few weeks. Looking forward to both.

Night 2
Night 2

For night two we were informed of the beer name and style and bottles were put out on display – no blind tasting this time. The styles varied a bit more on night two but still leaned towards hops. Food was available for purchase each night but the folks I shared a table with all agreed that we didn’t want food skewing our judgment of the beer. As we all know a beer on its own vs. paired with food could alter ones judgment of the beer.

Night 2 leaned towards “local” brews. I don’t want to say much more than that since the article hasn’t been published yet. I will say that I was happy when Weyerbacher Merry Monks made an appearance.

By around beer 14 it was obvious some of us were losing steam and short on words to describe the beers but we managed. At this point  I was thankful for the wall behind me. Having a wall to lean on is so underrated. By the end of the panel tasting  I found myself daydreaming about some malts; so my taster buddy and I headed downstairs to the bar.
BTW – hooks under the bar for hanging ones belongings – love it!

The experience at Bottle Bar East was a bit different on this night compared to the previous evening. Night 1 the service was excellent and very attentive, unfortunately, I can’t say the same for night 2. As a former bartender, I understand wanting to spend some time chit chatting with friends that stop in for a beer but PLEASE remember you have other customers as well.  Wait on customers and then chit chat – that is the order. Grrr, pet peeve.

mac n' cheese
mac n’ cheese

At Bottle Bar East there’s a good varied selection of beer on tap to choose from plus the wonderful selection in the cold case. However, I wanted something on tap, just tried 20 beers and still had a drive home ahead of me so something not real high in alcohol content was preferred so, once again, the Yards Love Stout won. This time I paired it with the homemade Mac & Cheese with asparagus mixed in. This was a wonderful crock of stick to your ribs comfort food!

010The 2 night experience was a blast. I got to taste 40 beers, meet new people and try a place I didn’t even know existed – all in all pretty cool! Plus, after 40 beers in 2 nights I was temporarily beered out. Not something that happens often, if ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interstate Drafthouse

004Interstate Drafthouse Philadelphia, PA

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.

009Interstate 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!

Veggie "Steak" Sandwich
Veggie “Steak” Sandwich

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.

Bullfrog Saison

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)

Arcadia London Porter
Arcadia London Porter

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.

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Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

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.

005This Gal was very happy to finally be able to try Interstate Drafthouse and looks forward to returning for $4 Beers!

Philadelphia Pub Crawls

Looking to spend a day or two checking out the beer scene in the city of Brotherly Beer? Following is a list of suggested Pub Crawl destinations for Philadelphia broken up by neighborhoods. This is just Geeky Beer Gals suggestions for possible Philly Pub Crawls. YES, there are a lot of good beer bars in Philly but I tried to keep the list to exceptional beer places. So if you don’t see one on the list it could mean:
a. I didn’t know about it or
b. it’s good but not exceptional

I haven’t  tried each place personally, a number of them but not all of them. However, I trust my beer team with their recommendations.

Have fun tasting your way through the city of Brotherly Beer.

Old City –
Eulogy
Khyper Pass
Race Street Café
Bier Stube
Mac’s Tavern

Art Museum District (one of my favorite beer destination areas)
Bridgid’s
London Grill
The Bishop’s Collar
The Belgian Café (LOVE this place)
St. Stephen’s Green
Kite & Key

Fish Town
Kraftwork (wonderful!)
Frankford Hall (German beer hall)
Interstate Draft House
Johnny Brenda’s

Kensington (for this area don’t plan on it being a walking pub crawl)
Philadelphia Brewing Company
Memphis Taproom (one of my favorite places in the city)

Northern Liberties
Yards Brewery
Standard Tap
The Foodery
The Abbaye (another top favorite)
Blind Pig
Jerry’s Bar
Barcade

Center City
Monk’s Café
Nodding Head
Jose Pistola’s
Strangelove’s
Tria
Bru
Fergie’s (made the crawl because of the bottle list)

University City
City Tap House
Local 44
Dock Street Brewing
Mad Mex (Mexican Restaurant with great tap list)

Spring Garden
Llama Tooth
Prohibition Tap Room
The Institute

Graduate Hospital Area
Resurrection Ale House
Side Car Café
Ten Stone
Tangier

Random Great Beer Bars
Brauhaus Schmitz (German bar South Street)
Devil’s Den (South Philly/Italian…Market great cozy atmosphere)
Grey Lodge Pub (Mayfair…an oldy but still a goody)
Vargabar (Washington Square area)