For the first time in a year I was inside a brewery. It was surreal and yet normal all at the same time. Being in the high risk group for Covid I have limited my time out in the public and only visited 3 breweries last year (all outside) and for the most part enjoy beer at home or at my local beer joint down the street that has a year round outdoor patio. Fortunately, their tap list is always top notch. However, it was nice to try out a new place and drink some different beers.
Newton Brewing Company had been on my list of places to visit last year but we all know what happened to our lists of things to do and places to visit in 2020. I’m determined to get through my list this year. Granted I showed up 5 minutes before they opened so I could get there first thing, limited myself to a taster round and promised my partner we would be out before it got people-ly. I had just wrapped up the taster round when others arrived so we had the place to ourselves pretty much our entire visit.
ATMOSPHERE – Like many other breweries it is in an industrial type complex but the minute you walk through the door you forget that. The owners did a top notch job making the brewery feel warm and inviting. I absolutely love all the wood and the overall decor of the place. I also really like that there are a choice of table styles to choose from – high tops, barrels, and regular 4 top tables. (Bar sitting doesn’t exist right now because of the pandemic ) Another bonus sound buffers on the walls and ceilings. The brewery is BYOF and often has food trucks, check out their schedule, and being its PA during Covid hot dogs are available for purchase to cover the required table food law.
THE BEER – The tap list is nice with truly something for everyone. Personally, I was thrilled to see a Dunkel on the list and that was my fav of the day. Their Imperial IPA also ranked high. They also serve wine from a local winery, soft drinks, hard cider and seltzer as well. This place has me excited to visit breweries again and I look forward to my 2021 Beer Tasting Adventures.
Please note me and my partner’s comfort level and precautions with the pandemic are our decision and I will not debate them.
Last I posted was about “My Place” UNO’s Hamilton but this time around I want to talk about “My Other Place” Trenton Road Take Out also known as my go to beer store. For the most part I prefer shopping at Mom & Pop stores as I find the experience to be more pleasant and personable. Mega stores and their mega parking lots can leave this Gal feeling frazzled. One time I decided to do my grocery shopping at a mega grocery store and was handed a map upon entering the store. A MAP! When a map is required to navigate a store I know the place is not for me.
No map is required at Trenton Road Take Out but do allow yourself plenty of time to shop. For a small store they are fully stocked with great beer and you want to make sure to explore each and every shelf. BTW, TRT is the only store this Gal shops at on Black Friday. Yes, they have Black Friday specials and folks line up early for them. They also offer gift certificates which were a big hit with this Gal’s family last Christmas.
The beer selection at TRT is outstanding and it would be very wise to follow them on Facebook since SMAS updates it regularly with new items, arrival days and where to find them in the store. There’s even a Facebook Rack which is where I usually head to first. That is after I get my beer to drink. Yup, they have 6 beers on tap for filling growlers and are also available to enjoy at the store. I love sipping on a great beer while beer shopping it’s so relaxing and enjoyable. The tap list changes frequently, again it’s updated regularly on Facebook and offers a nice variety of styles to choose from. The staff is great about offering sample tastes and they have printout sheets for each beer with ratings and descriptions.
Just because they are small don’t think they don’t get the limited releases. However, unlike some other establishments TRT keeps is very fair and doesn’t price gauge. This is a big deal to this Gal. Once I missed out on making the List, more about the List in a moment, and had to go to a big box store for KBS. I was blown away with how much they jacked up the price per bottle. I get they’re in business to make money but ripping off the customer – well – that just isn’t cool. TRT keeps the prices real and the List policy fair. List Policy per TRT – “List are started on FaceBook for beers that are allocated by my distributors and there is a very limited amount to be had. When I start a list on Facebook for a certain brew, you just have to say in any way you want, that you want to be on the list, I will then like your post to show that I saw it and you are now on the list. Lets say if it is a 2 case allocation of 22 oz bottles and you are in the top 24 you will have a bottle waiting for you, if you are out of the top, you will be put on the backup list and if someone backs out, you then move up the list. Once the beer comes in and the list is posted, you have 2 full weekends to pick it up, unless you ask me for more time. If beers are left after 2 weekends then they will be released to the people on the back up list. On very rare beers that are highly wanted, I will sometimes hold a lottery to see who gets one.” – more than fair! Mike, the owner, is always thinking about his customers.
Mike refers to himself as Evil SMAS but truth be told there’s nothing evil about him. Besides a great sense of humor he has a heart of gold and takes great pride in and is incredibly supportive of the community. He, his staff and customers are big supporters of It’s A Ruff Life Rescue and this Gal is continually blown away for all they do to help the pups.
Personally Mike and the crew at TRT have come through for this Gal more than once helping me to find beers needed for guest appearances on very short notice. On a few occasions he’s stopped what he was doing to go around his store taking pictures of beers and messaging me to see if I could use it or not. It saved me a ton of time and made things so much easier for me. No one is better at customer service than SMAS.
So next time your in need of beer I recommend heading over to Trenton Road Take Out where you’ll be greeted with smile and can enjoy a beer while shopping for beer and there’s a good chance you’ll run into this Gal there.
If your in need of a visit to the countryside but don’t have the time to get away I suggest a visit Coeur. It has a French country meets urban bistro feel to it that provides a mini vacation from everyday life with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere accented by a working fire place that provides a comfy feel! Yet is located in the hustle and bustle of the Philadelphia Italian Market.
Like it’s sister establishment, Strangelove’s, Coeur offers beers brewed especially for them with a total of 10 beers and several wines on tap. The food menu has an unique flare to it that is both meat and veg friendly.
My companion and I took up residence at a small table for 2 in front of the fire place (it was a bit nippy the day of our visit) in the main dining/bar area. There are a few different rooms throughout Coeur that work perfectly for small gatherings and offer a sense of privacy.
Every detail Coeur is well thought out for the comfort of their guest and ease of service which is top notch. Personally this Gal loved that the water decanter was left on table – saves the server and myself time from continually asking for my water glass to be refilled.
On this particular visit my companion and I stopped in for brunch. I enjoyed the Brewer’s Art Porch while I perused the menu. Wisely choosing the Z.L.T. for myself while my companion enjoyed the Eggs Benedict. Both were outstanding.
I paired the Z.L.T.with 2SP Bell Cracker Imperial IPA which accompanied my dish perfectly.
Do yourself a favor and getaway from the hustle and bustle of life at Coeur.
Brewer’s Art Porch Belgian-Style Pale Ale 4.5%
Had this previously at Strangelove’s and enjoyed it so much had to have it again. Yeasty floral quality to it that was balanced out by the malts and fruits.
2SP Bell Cracker – Double IPA 8.7%
Hops up front with a clean fruit finish that leaves beautiful rings on the glass. The 8.7% is hidden so be careful!
If brewing excellent beer is a crime then Crime & Punishment is guilty. What a wonderful surprise C&P was. I had heard good things about the brewpub but still didn’t know what to expect. Located in Brewerytown – Yippy beer is finally being brewed again in Brewerytown – Crime & Punishment is nestled among a various row of storefront businesses and can easily be passed by. Seek it out! It’s much smaller than I imagined and laid back which made me very happy. For some reason I thought it might be more of a hoity-toity place but was pleased it’s really has the atmosphere conducive of kicking back with some friends or making new ones like this Gal did on my recent visit. Offering a very down to earth welcoming vibe and a staff that’s outgoing, knowledgeable and a pleasure to talk to.
The tap list consists of 7 diverse beers available in full or half pours. Flight aren’t available but if you go for half pours and have a friend with you willing to share a taste or two of their beer you have the list covered. The food menu has something for everyone as well and leans towards the ethic character of the neighborhood with homemade dumplings and locally produced meats. It’s surprising what quality homemade food they are serving considering the tiny size of the kitchen which is located behind the bar. It’s local artisanal at it’s best.
How good is the beer – REAL GOOD. So much so that the God-father of the Philly Beer Scene sat down on the stool next to this Gal and enjoyed a couple of C&P’s finest selections. I for one was impressed with diverse selections from a Beet Beer (yes, beets) to an AMAZING English Brown Ale.
My friend and I decided to approach the list in a way so that we could try all the beers and I could still be responsible to drive back to NJ. Key was tastings, half pours and food. We started with one of the 3 food specials of the day a meat, cheese & pickle plate which complemented the Disturbing the Beets American Wild Ale and Bad Haircut English Brown Ale perfectly.
For the next food pairing we ordered the Farm at Doe Run Cheese Plate with the 100 IBU’s to Life IPA and the Nightingale the Robber English Barleywine. Both beers matched nicely with various cheeses on the board. However, the match up of the Nightingale and the creamy cheese and honey was outstanding.
The final pairing for this Gal was the Behemoth Oatmeal Stout – you know I had to go for the stout – with the homemade Mushroom Pelmeni. The richness of the stout and the earthiness of mushrooms were made for each other. My friend went for the homemade Pork & Beef Pelmeni and the Bad Haircut English Brow Ale which made for attractive match.
No worries I also had taste of the Indecent Exposure Pale Ale and the Baikal Insurrection.
The beers shine on their own or go great with the various C&P food selections. One can tell a lot of thought goes into both menus at Crime & Punishment so that the best of the old and new world combine to create a community of amazing flavors.
C&P is a 7 barrel/8 tank system and shortly will be distributing to 3 Philly Bars including one of Brendan Hartranft establishments. C&P with one of Brendan’s bars is a match made by the beer gods.
For only being opened 8 months or so Crime & Punishment has an amazing establishment with a strong following that’s growing daily. The only crime would be for you to miss out on enjoying the fine beers and delightful food they have to offer.
Indecent Exposure – Signal Hop Pale Ale 4%
Hoppy crispness nicely accented by various malts – makes for easy drinking
Disturbing the Beets – American Wild Ale 5.7%
The beets are present but the sourness meshes to keep the beets from overwhelming. Bonus you feel healthy while drinking it!
Bad Haircut – English Brown Ale 5.8% (so good companion had it twice)
Yes! So happy to see a Brown Ale on tap. Love this style and C&P brews a fantastic rendition. Great coffee nose and combo of bitter and malts leaves you feeling more than satisfied.
100 IBU’s To Life – IPA 7%
Yup, this Gal went for the IPA and thoroughly enjoyed. I find IPA to be one of the best beer styles for pairing with various foods. The West Coast hops let themselves be known and enjoyed while the malt helps tone them down so you can taste all the other wonderful complexities of the beer.
Behemoth – Oatmeal Stout 6.5%
Soft velvety mouthfeel with cocoa, fig and the roasty bitterness this Gal loves.
Nightingale the Robber – English Barleywine 11.2%
I heard someone say it’s not Barleywine season?! Get over it you can drink them anytime of the year and am glad to see one still on the menu. Besides it’s still March perfect time for a barleywine and the Nightingale is one to savor and enjoy. Has that great underlying whiskey tone with subtle hints of butterscotch and earthy goodness.
Baikal Insurrection Belgian Strong Dark Ale 10.2%
Loved this and wish I could have had more than a taste but at 10.2% it wasn’t meant to be, at least not on this visit. The yeasty maltiness with hints of dark fruits and toffee undertones combined to make a very enjoyable Strong Dark Ale.
2nd Story Brewing Company is a welcome addition to the Philadelphia beer scene and with so many great beer options in the city of Brotherly Beer to choose from you might skip over one of the newer kids but I recommend you stop and check them out.
2nd Story has a rustic industrial feel to it with a long bar that takes up most of the wall to the right and multiple sitting areas throughout the downstairs. Something I absolutely loved (besides the beer) is the space between tables. Yes, the owners could have fit in several more tables but instead chose to leave lots of breathing room between tables which gives each group/table a sense of privacy. Such a welcomed retreat from overcrowded dining areas.
There’s also an upstairs which is where the brewing takes place hence the name 2nd
Story. ; ) There’s also a smaller bar and some dining table upstairs which makes for a perfect spot for a private party. On this particular night the area was empty and all the action was taking place on the main floor including a birthday celebration for a special someone – my awesome nephew! So happy my brother chose 2nd Story to celebrate his son’s 23rd birthday at.
2nd Story is a full service restaurant/bar with a diverse and tasty food menu and excellent service provided by Kelly. The beer selections are diverse as well and really offer something for everyone’s beer taste. During this Gal’s visit there were 10 beers on tap and one can do a flight of 4 5 oz pours for $8.50 (pints and growlers are also available) Naturally, this Gal chose to go with a taster round.
Who Dunnit American Pale Ale 4.5% Hops, with odd after taste, sort of a dank funkiness mixed with herbs.
Pickers Pride Wet Hopped Ale 5%
One can taste the cascade hops in this nicely brewed ale. More and more this Gal is enjoying wet hopped beers.
Berliner Weisse 3.8%
Sour German wheat beer with a good amount of tartness that is counterbalanced by a saltiness. You have a choice of it being served with raspberry or pomegranate syrup.
Fest Beer Oktoberfest 6.4%
A true classic Oktoberfest beer with earthy and sweet malts, hints of toffee and hops.
After the taster round was drained and the dinner consumed the group chose their dessert choices. Dessert for this Gal was a full goblet of Great Pumpkin Porter.
Great Pumpkin Porter 7.3%
This is a great combo of pumpkin spices, malt, vanilla and hints of a rum flavoring. Very clean, smooth and subtle pumpkin. The house-made doughnut dessert is served with a small taster of the this porter and compliments the dessert nicely.
Small taste of Adsultium IIPA American Double IPA 8%
Yup, lots of hops and rightly so. Although, the honey helps to balance the hops.
Overall 2nd Story Brewing Company is a great addition to the Philly Beer Scene. Located in Old City one could easily make it a stop on a beer crawl since it’s located across the street from Eulogy and around the corner from Khyber Pass.
Go around to the back. No, really go to the back of the abandon looking building where you think nothing will be and you’ll have arrived at Prism Brewing Company. You’ll also feel as if you entered something from a 70’s campy scream flick. Yea, Prism Brewing Company can be confusing to find and looks a bit sketchy from out the outside which makes it all that much more appealing.
Inside has a somewhat throwback biker/dive bar feel to it with several tables and a long wooden bar, dark atmosphere and arcade games. The bar overlooks the brewing floor but when we towards the end of our stay and that added a nice touch to the atmosphere and livened things up a bit. Although, I have to say the glass overlooking the brewing floor was in dyer need of a good cleaning.
A limited bar menu is available from the “kitchen” behind bar and there are various weeknight specials too. FREE Bacon (take note House of Skip) on Wednesdays.
I was astonished to find out they have been in business for 5 years since I really just starting hearing about them in the last 6 or 7 months. It was at a recent beer festival that I had the pleasure of trying their Felony . It’s a Double IPA that was so smooth and coming in at 10% also a bit scary. This beer alone is the main reason I sought out Prism Brewing Company.
Since I had already had the pleasure of trying the Felony I decided on this visit to try a few others from the 8 beers on tap. One can do a full taster of all 8 beers or half, plus pints are available as well. I went for the half taster since I had to drive – safety first.
ParTea Pale Ale 5.5%
This is an English pale ale brewed with black tea which you can really taste. An unique flavor with the tea overshadowing the malts and hops a bit but over all an enjoyable beer.
Light sour with spices and a maple syrup finish.
Mason’s Porter 4.8% Hazelnut Coffee Porter – delish. My fellow beer taster for this trip tends to shy away from porters but loved this beer. The hazelnut is upfront and wonderfully rounded out by chicory, roasted malts and a ever so slight hint of vanilla.
Red Zone 6.6%
Fall Spiced Irish Red Ale with Spiced Sugar Rim – Yes a Spiced Sugar Rim! I wasn’t sure if I would like that but it was so tasty. This is fall in a glass with all the spices you associate with the season, maple syrup and brown sugar. Make sure to get it with the sugar rim!
Everything this brewery touches is fun from their beer to their festivals. Fun, fun and fun! Naturally, this Gal had a ton of fun hanging out at the Hoppy Halloween Beer Fest and, sit down for this one, I don’t even like Halloween. That’s right folks this Geeky Gal isn’t and never has been a fan of the “spooky” holiday. Please do not ask me to dress up in costume for any sort of party or you’ll just get the death stare followed by “why?”. However, I do understand many of you enjoy the costume parties and other festivities that are a part of the Ghoulish Holiday and I have to say attending a beer fest where so many dressed up in costume was pretty cool.
Having been too Broken Goblet many times I wasn’t sure how they would pull off a beer festival onsite but they did it. The festival was set up utilizing the Goblet parking lot and beings they are located in an industrial park there was plenty of parking for guests. There were at least 20+ breweries, bars and meaderies pouring samples along with a few food trucks, and several vendors such as Beer for Babes, Philly Tap Finder and more. Plus, live music! I couldn’t believe they only charged $25 for this event ($30 at the door). Designated drivers only paid $10 and that included free water, ice tea and soda. It’s nice that thought was given to DD’s. This really ranks up there as one of the best buys in the NJ/PA area for beer festivals.
The festival itself was well organized and laid out. There were plenty of tables and chairs for folks to kick back and relax at. The stage was as the far end so you could enjoy the music but still converse with your friends. Also, there was plenty of space in front of the stage to set up your own chairs and enjoy the show or , should you desire, you could hang out in the hooka lounge near the stage. Favorite thing I saw was kegs of water throughout the parking lot for rinsing glasses and/or drinking. THANK YOU! It’s the little things that mean the most. Oh and yes real glasses. I understand why festival now a days hand out plastic tasting cups but it was so nice that at the Hoppy Halloween Beer Fest you were given a real glass and a pretty one at that.
Unfortunately, there was a down side to the evening and that was the bathroom situation. Many, many, many more port a potties were needed as there was always a long line at the ones provided. However, the Goblet is aware and has assured festival goers they are working on a solution.
The time of the festival was a bit unusual running 4 to 8pm instead of the normal 1 to 5pm. I for one loved the timing. It allowed you time during the day to get things done and provided for a fun relaxing evening. Of course, the evening hours added to the overall Halloween atmosphere and it was cool to see so many in attendance dress up for the occasion. I was also excited to try many beers I had never had before from breweries I’d never heard of. That alone is a great reason to pick a couple of beer festivals each year to attend. You’ll have the opportunity to try new beers from new breweries. After all with so many new breweries opening up it’s hard to visit them all. A festival is one stop sipping.
I can’t say I had a particular favorite beer so many were good (I think I only disposed of 2) but I was excited I had the opportunity to sample The Shape of Hops to Come Imperial IPA from Neshaminy Creek Brewing and Broken Goblet’s All Goblets Have Spirits a Scotch Ale (love Scotch Ales) with Maple Syrup and Gala Apples. I had heard good things about both and was glad to finally sample them. They did not disappoint. I was also supper happy that Saint Benjamin Brewing brought their Koffee Kolsch a favorite of this Gal’s. FYI – tried mixing it with their Little Peat stout and it was wonderful. Remember don’t be afraid to experiment with your beer.
Overall a ghoulishly good time was had and if they host Hoppy Halloween 3 next year I recommend going and suggest getting your tickets early since space is limited and tickets sell out.
Finally the day had arrived to go beer sampling at Round Guys Brewing and Prism Brewing Company. I picked up my companions for this latest beer excursion, plugged in the address for Round Guys in the GPS and we were on our way. It was a bit of drive but finally we were close so close the GPS announced we had arrived yet we were at a pizza shop not a brewery. We drove a bit more and decided to turn around thinking maybe we missed something. Indeed we did. The brewery is really around the corner in back of the pizza joint. In other words it can be a bit hard to find as is parking but we managed to do both.
The outside looks a bit upscale but upon entry you realize it’s a laid back bar. The décor is nondescript and the seating area is self is small but they make the most of the space with several tables and a large bar (with hooks underneath) that overlooks the brewing floor. The place was jumping when we arrived but fortunately we were able to snag the last available table.
Two of us had online coupons that were an amazing deal. For $15 each you received 2 pints, a take home pint glass and any food item from the menu. The food is mostly apps and sandwiches but offers something for everyone. I opted for the grilled cheese with jalapeños peppers. This Gal loves her hot peppers.
Even better was the beer menu with 15 beers on tap! The selection was varied and made choosing difficult. I decided to start with a pint of Take the Power Bock.
Take the Power Bock Dopplebock 7.6%
This Gal loves a well-brewed bock and this one is just that with loads of malty goodness with just a hint of hops to round it out.
Hipster Frogger Sour 6.6%
Don’t let the fact that it’s a sour scare you. Sours are wonderful and the degree of sourness varies with beers so be brave and sample sours whenever you get the chance. This Hipster is mildly sour and has that great sour funkiness to it that I just love. It was the perfect accompaniment to the jalapeños grilled cheese.
several of their beers on the festival circuit and have always found them enjoyable. If you’re looking to make a day of it Prism Brewing Company is just a few minutes away and where my companions and I were headed next…