Tag Archives: Local 44

Strangelove’s

IMG_4088-2Strangelove’s
Twitter  @Strangelovesbar

Finally this Gal made it to Strangelove’s. This place has long been on my list of beer establishments to try in Philadelphia and it’s the sister establishment to Local 44 and one of my top 3 Philly Favs – Memphis Taproom.

Strangelove’s is located in center city Philly which means either garage or street parking. I purposely chose a Sunday to visit with hopes center city wouldn’t be over crowded meaning traffic would be minimal and parking a bit easier. Nailed it! Found a parking spot right across the street from Strangelove’s. Yes, this Gal can parallel park thanks to numerous visits to the City of Brotherly Beer.

IMG_4091From the street nothing particular stands out about Strangelove’s but I was excited just the same. Strangelove’s definitely has a more upscale center city feel to it than it’s sister establishments but still very welcoming. The place is small with a long full service bar to  the right with a beautiful marble surface and tables along the wall to the left. Overall it has a slight industrial feel to it while offering up a warm atmosphere. I would suspect when crowded it could be a bit loud but on this particular afternoon there were just a handful of patrons enjoying a bite to eat while sipping on some fabulous beer.

IMG_4090This Gal was meeting a friend who had already taken up residence at the bar and enjoying his first beer. I happily perused the tap list that offers a variety of styles on tap and was delighted to see out of the 19 beers offered 2 were engines and 5 were beers brewed especially for Strangelove’s by various breweries. One particular brewery leaped off the list at me – The Brewer’s Art – this brewery has been a long time fav of this Gal and it’s been forever since I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying one of their beers.

IMG_4089
Strangelove’s Brewer’s Art Porch

First up:
Strangelove’s Brewer’s Art Porch – Belgian-Style Pale Ale 4.5%
I was very pleased with this beer which had a yeasty floral quality to it that was balanced out by the malts and fruits.

ShawneeCraft Session IPA 4.5%
A bit more malts than hops overall a good session ale that’s refreshing and easy to drink.

2SP Baby Bob – Stout 6.5%
Indeed a wonderful beer. Rich roasted coffee and toffee accented by a bit of vanilla and rich creamy chocolate.

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2SP Baby Bob

Roy Pitz Sour Hound – Sour Brown Ale 5%
This Gal was intrigued by the fact that it’s a sour brown. I love a good brown ale and wish I would see more of this style on tap list. The fact that it was a sour too was a bonus. It did indeed make for a unusual but enjoyable ale. Earthy bread quality with hints of sour from the tart citrus fruits.

Free Will + Strangelove’s Eden – Saison 4%
This was not your typical saison, in fact it was so different I questioned whether or not the correct beer had been served – it had. The citrus was there as were some white pepper notes but something was odd and not in a bad way but in a way that I can’t wrap my taste buds around it.

Tastes of:
Nodding Head Monkey Knife Fight – Lemongrass Spiced Lager 5%
Surprisingly wonderful. You can really taste the lemongrass but it doesn’t over power. This would compliment Thai food perfectly.

Stranglove’s Manayunk Minor Brett – All Brett Belgian- Style Pale Ale 5%
Tart! The edge is taken off the tartness by a hint of citrus.

Conshohocken Brewery Puddlers Row – ESB 5.4%
Had a young taste to it with a mix of grass, malts and citrus. Not a favorite but very drinkable.

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Muffaletta

To accompany the beer we ordered some much needed food. The food menu at Strangelove’s  is eclectic and certainly offers something for everyone. This Gal went for the Smoked Tempeh Muffaletta which was out of this world good. My friend had the Oyster Po’Boy and said it’s one of the best he ever had. Now we have both visited New Orleans’s a couple of times so we know what a good Po ‘Boy and Muffaletta should taste like and these ranked up their with the best NOLA has to offer.

Po 'Boy
Po ‘Boy

The same owners recently opened two other establishments in Philly, that this Gal needs to check out, Clarkville and Coeur. In the mean time I’m happy I finally got to spend a fun afternoon at Strangelove’s.

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Memphis Taproom

IMG_2346Memphis Taproom
2331 E Cumberland St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
215.425.4460    Twitter – @MemphisTaproom1

I have often mentioned my top 3 beer places in Philly are Kraftwork (previously reviewed), Memphis Taproom and The Belgium Cafe. Well, I’m finally sharing with you why Memphis Taproom ranks in my top 3. I’ve been a fan of Memphis Taproom since they first opened. It’s has the wonderful feel and look of a neighborhood hangout that is most definitely a destination spot as well. There’s nothing pretentious about Memphis Taproom yet it has every right to be with a top notch  tap and bottle beer menu that is amazing, list some rare finds and is constantly rotating (changed in the middle of this visit) and a wonderfully diverse food menu that ranks up there with the best in tasty offerings. So much so that this place was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives food show.

Memphis is located in a neighborhood with off street parking but this Gal has never had a problem finding a spot. The staff is always welcoming and very knowledgeable about both the beer, wine and food menu offerings. For you none beer people their wine list is pretty kick butt as well.

On this particular visit I was meeting a friend to celebrate this Gal’s 7th year of being cancer free. Woohoo! That’s right this place is special enough to celebrate such a fabulous occasion at. (fyi – if you ever have an appt you’re dreading just plan a fun outing for right afterwards…it makes the day one to look forward to instead of dreading.)

Upon entering Memphis, which is located in what appears to be an old house, you walk into the bar area with a couple of high top tables to the left and a long classic wooden bar to the right. When you walk towards the far end of the bar you step up into the dining area which has a cozy yet roomy feel to it.

Since I arrived right at noon on a workday it was pretty empty with the exception of Brendan Hartranft (one of the owners) and the bartender. Truth be told I love having a bar to myself. Brendan is a delight to talk to and so very knowledgeable about beer without being overwhelming about it. He also owns several other establishments worth visiting in the city Local 44 (previously reviewed) and Stranglove’s and is in the works of opening two more Clarkville & Coeur. What a great influence/addition he has been to the beer scene in the City of Brotherly Beer.

IMG_2349After perusing the on tap beer menu which is split up into 3 sections International & Rare, The Domestic Situation, Local & Regional I requested a beer that unfortunately, was no longer on top. However, Brendan recommended and so glad he did, the Ridgeway Lump of Coal from the Rare Section.

Lump of Coal
Lump of Coal

Lump of Coal – Export Stout, Ridgeway Brewing UK 8%
Holy pooh this beer is smooth and strong with a sweet malty scotch essence to it.
My friend arrived while I was in the middle of enjoying the Lump of Coal and I insisted a taste be tried – yup enjoyed by the IPA/Pale Ale lover as well.

My friend started with the:
Zinnebir X-Mas – Belgian Pale Ale, Brasserie de la Senne 6.5% which was a nice yeasty Belgium ale full of dark fruit and toasted nut flavors accented by hints of bitterness.

Jackfruit Sandwich
Jackfruit Sandwich

By this point in the visit it was time to accompany our beer with some grub. A Jack Fruit Cake Po’ Boy for this gal – an amazing vegetarian delight with a kick that complements just about any beer style. My friend enjoyed the Slow Roast Pork sandwich which I’m told is always a winner.

Pulled Pork
Roast Pork

Next up off the Domestic Section of the beer menu:

Maracaibo Especiale Wild Brown Ale – Jolly Pumpkin, 7.5%
Oh how I love me a brown ale and this didn’t disappoint. The nuttiness one associates with a brown ale plus touches of caramel, fruits and roasted cocoa with a hint of cinnamon.

IMG_2358Tast of Bluebird Bitter (On Cask) – English Bitter, Coniston Brewing Co. UK 4.2%
A style I rarely order but love to taste and can appreciate. This particular bitter offers a well  rounded balance of malts, hops and a earthiness consisting of pine and floral with just the right ending of bitterness.

De Dolle Oerbier – Belgium Strong Ale, Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers 9.5%
I so enjoy De Dolle Oerbier and so rarely get to partake in its deliciousiness. An  incredible combination of rustic flavors including roasted nuts, wood ambers and yeast with hints of tart fruits and cocoa accompaninied by warm spices.

Taste of Santa’s Little Helper – Quad, Mikkeller 10.5%
I’ll miss these killer beers come warmer weather. Holiday spice combo accompanying flavors of  figs, plums, caramel, roasted coffee and chocolate that ends with a kick of aged bourbon. Warms you from the inside out.

Victory Gose
Victory Gose

My friend and I ended the visit with split pint from the Local & Regional Section of the beer menu.

Gose – Victory Brewing Company 5%
Not to take away from this beer but after such a rich selection of hearty beers this was probably to light a note to end on. Not the most solid Gose I’ve had but still enjoyable.

In nicer weather Memphis Taproom has an outside beer garden to kick back and enjoy a beer in. I have yet to visit the beer garden so, of course, I’ll need to go back for that. In the meantime I hope you add Memphis Taproom as a must on your places to visit in the City of Brotherly Beer.

 

Local 44

IMG_0735Local 44 – Philadelphia, PA
http://www.local44beerbar.com

I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with a friend in Philadelphia for a nice lunch and beer outing. We were trying to pick something different for both of us and we quickly found that several of the beer places we had in mind don’t open until 4pm on weekdays. We narrowed the list to Local 44 and Kraftworks. Since both of us had only been to Local 44 once upon its opening a few years ago that became our go to place. I thoroughly enjoyed it on my first visit and quickly was reminded why upon entering this great beer establishment the 2nd time around.

This is a neighborhood craft beer bar (lucky neighbors) not far from Drexel and U of Penn. The décor is rustic (wood & brick) and the atmosphere relaxed and laid back. There is nothing pretentious about Local 44, right away you feel welcomed and know you are at a place you can kick back and enjoy yourself.

The bartender, darn I forgot to write down her name, was incredible. She was very knowledge about the beers, making recommendations to anyone that asked without being overbearing and knew the food menu too. She was attentive, friendly and kept the bar clean. Always a plus in my book. She quickly informed us of any beer substitutions from what was written on the chalkboard beer menu.

The beer list at Local 44 is so nice and inviting I felt it best to drink half pours so I could try more beers. Of course, deciding which was going to be the first pour was the hard part. There were so many wonderful beers to choose from that I struggled at first with my decision but then I remembered the bartender stating there was a Saison on tap and I do love a Saison. I find it’s highly under represented on most tap lists. So when I heard there was one on tap, let alone one I hadn’t tried yet, I knew this was my first selection of the day.

IMG_0724State Side Saison – Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Maryland 6.8% Farmhouse Style Ale
This ale is a nicely done U.S. Saison that put me in the mood for the Spring Beer Season. It’s not as complex as some Belgian Saisons but it still has the fun yeasty, skunky and slight sourness to it that I associate with a good Farmhouse Ale. It pours a nice golden hue with just a tinge of cloudiness and just a wee bit of bubbles. It’s a nice light body ale with hints of grapefruit, lemon & complimentary floral herbs & spices and ends with a slight peppery taste. This Saison was a winner and would pair lovely with so many foods.

IMG_0725Great Lakes Conway Red – Great Lakes Brewing Co. 6.5% Irish Red Ale
I do enjoy a fine Red Ale and have found anything Great Lakes brews is a winner. This beer pours a nice crisp amber/copper color with beautiful full head. It’s an easy drinking medium bodied beer with slight hop taste that adds to the experience but doesn’t overpower the toasted malts and fruits that finished with just a hint of bitterness. Over all a very well done Irish Red Ale.

IMG_0728Monchshof Schwarzbier – Kulmbacher Brauerei AG 4.9% Schwarzbier
Nice mocha color with chestnut highlights and a dense creamy head that leaves a velvety feel in the mouth.  The nuttiness hits your nose prior to tasting it. This beer is a delightful mouth full with light roasted flavors of bitter coffee, malts, nuts and fresh out of the oven crusty bread. Even though this is a more full body beer it’s crisp and easy to drink.

Rounding out the afternoon at Local 44 was the Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Stout. I noticed this beer right away when I was pondering my beer choices upon arrival and knew I would be finishing the day with this savory delight.

IMG_0729Chocolate Indulgence Stout – Brewery Ommegang  7.0% Belgian Dark Ale
This stout sits so pretty in the glass with rich dark chocolate coloring and a frothy cream colored head. With roasted barley, sweet malt, toffee and bitter chocolate undertones it is a very palate pleasing stout. The chocolate really is very subtle and had essences of banana in the flavor as well. It’s not a very bold stout but true to its Belgian Dark Ale style.

I was able to try sips of the following beers courtesy of my beer companion:

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA (on engine) – Belhaven Brewery Company 5.3% English India Pale Ale – Smooth not overly hoppy, nice British IPA

Duck-Rabbit Hoppy Bunny American Black Ale – The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery 7.3% American Black Ale
Nice deep rich black ale with hints of coffee, cocoa and hops

Lavery Rauch Lager – Lavery Brewing 7%
Nice smokey flavor without being overpowering

The food menu at Local 44 is a nice size with offerings for vegans, vegetarians and meatarians. Plenty to choose from without being overwhelming.  I enjoyed the vegetarian Reuben which was delish and an ample portion that I was able to take home the other half for dinner that night. My companion had the Beef on Weck which I was told was “very, very, tasty”. Sandwiches come with either a side salad or fries, always nice to have options. Oh and they have Kale on the menu, I LOVE a menu that includes Kale! Between the variety of food and beer selections it’s easy to pair your food selection with a complimentary beer. Something I like to take into consideration when ordering.

A nice ending touch was the “Good People Drink Good Beer” postcard attached to our check. It truly is the little things that makes one smile. Some lucky beer friend will be receiving this fun little surprise in the mail shortly.

There is a bottle shop next store which, unfortunately, I forgot to check out prior to my departure. This alone will require me to visit Local 44 again. Local 44 is the sister bar of one of my top favorite places in Philly, Memphis Taproom, which I plan on visiting in another week or two. Super excited about that. I still need to check out the other two sister locations Strangelove’s and Resurrection Ale House. All four locations made my Geeky Beer Gal’s Philly Pub Crawl List. Hopefully you’ll get to try all 4 Bars!