Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Coeur

047Coeur
Twitter @coeurphilly

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 048nippy 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.

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2SP Bell Cracker & Z.L.T.

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.

 

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Brewer’s Art Porch

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!

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Bar Hygge

 

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Grinding Grooves

Bar Hygge
Facebook Twitter @bar_hygge

A bit of background before jumping into the review of Bar Hygee. This Gal is a long time fan of Tom Baker’s brewing skills and I was heartbroken when he and Peggy closed Heavyweight Brewing. (I still have a bottle of Old Salty in my beer cellar) Them opening Earth, Bread & Brewery helped ease the pain but with the opening Bar Hygge I’m much happier and the lost of Heavyweight has subsided.

Bar Hygee is located on Fairmount Avenue in one of my all time favorite Philly neighborhoods. It’s off street parking but with just a few circles of the block I secured a space right out front. Once you walk in you know you are some place special. Bar Hygge has taken brewpubs to a new level. It’s sophisticated without being pretentious. The decor is rustically upscale yet comfortable. The bar is beautifully crafted reclaimed wood and has the feel of relaxing at a friends cabin. There’s a room off to the left of the entrance that provides laid back seating and space for private events. On this particular night there was a wine tasting happening in the room. Yes, this is a full service brewpub/bar with 7 house and 2 guest beers along with 5 wines and 1 cocktail all on tap. Various other wines (impressive wine list) and cocktails available as well.

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IZZI

My companion and I took residence at the bar where Rose provided outstanding service. With 7 of Tom’s amazing beers on tap and appropriate planning I was able to try them all and still drink responsibly. Stop – let me make sure I’m making myself clear The Tap List Floored Me. A brown, Scottish-style, Dopplebock, DIPA, Farmhouse and Stout all on the list! Choosing where to start was difficult. Now let’s continue on…

The beers on tap are available as half and whole pours and reasonably priced $4/$6*. Flights aren’t available but tastes are. I started with a half pour of Grinding Grooves and stole a taste of my friends Exaggerator Dopplebock both were outstanding. Continuing on we decided to order some food to accompany the next round of beers.

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Hygge Board

Not only does Bar Hygge offer a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy great beer in but they offer amazing food as well. I was truly impressed with the offerings from the kitchen.  We started with a Hygge Board (choice of 1, 3 or 5 items). For our board we picked the Drunken Goat Cheese, Lamb Kabobs and Miso Sunchokes. Sunchokes just may be my new favorite food! Prior to the Board being served Bar Hygge likes to entice your pallet with an Amour-bouche which on this particular evening was a roasted kale and white bean salad. Goal met our appetites were enticed!  Too accompany our beautifully presented board we selected the Doon The Watter (Scottish Style!) and IZZI Brown Ale beer – both paired wonderfully with the board offerings. The combination of the earthy miso and rich malty mouthfeel of the scottish ale blended together perfectly.

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Sunflower-crusted Cauliflower & “Phoebe”

The next course consisted of Phoebe Bier de Garde, Ripsnorter DIPA and the La Vache Noire Stout along with Waffle Wings (with pickled watermelon) and Sunflower-crusted Cauliflower. One most simply try pickled watermelon at least once in their life – amazing. Our taste buds were were being spoiled by the different spectrums of flavors going on with each bite of food and sip of beer.

Do your self a favor and treat yourself to Bar Hygge. After all you deserve the best life has to offer.

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Waffle Wings

Ripsnorter Double IPA 8.2% (centennial, simcoe, bravo and amarillo hops) It’s getting to the point if I know simcoe hops are involved I need to try it. Being a DIPA the hops were front and center but didn’t leave your mouth/taste buds numb with overkill.

 Exaggerator German-style Dopplebock 7.2%
Cheers to having a Dopplebock on tap. One of my favorite styles and this one didn’t disappoint. Full-bodied maltiness with a slight roasty chocolate ending.
IZZI Brown Ale Saison Brune with rye and caraway 5.6%
The rye and caraway are there but in a subtle complementing way. The combination of a brown and Saison melds together to make for a very enjoyable beer.
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La Vache Noire

La Vache Noire Belgian Milk Stout 5.6%
Milk stout – need I say more? Rich and complex with a silky smooth mouthfeel.

Grinding Grooves Gotlandsdricka 6.8%
Farmhouse ale with a slight smokey taste that helps to calm the tartness of the juniper.
Doon the Watter Scottish-style Export 6.2%
I was truly delighted to see a Scottish style ale on tap. Full-bodied and loaded with with malty/caramel goodness.
“Phoebe” Biere de Garde 6.2%

 A great beer on it’s own or with food. The slight malt and hops along with the black pepper and orange are all enhanced when paired with food.

*Prices overall at Bar Hygge are very reasonable especially for the quality of beer and food being served. Menu is both vegetarian and meatarian friendly.

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Crime & Punishment

IMG_4525Crime & Punishment
Facebook   Twitter @CandPBrewingCo

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.

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Bad Haircut & Disturbing the Beets

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 IIMG_4529 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.

IMG_4532For 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.

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Mushroom Pelmeni

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.

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100 IBU’s

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.

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Behemoth

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.

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2nd Street Brew House

IMG_38702nd Street Brew House
Facebook    Twitter @2ndstbrewhouse

Don’t you just love when you discover a gem of place by accident? That’s exactly what happened to this Gal – I was looking up 2nd Story Brewing when I came across the website for 2nd Street Brew House. I had never heard of 2nd Street Brew House but what I saw online I now had a new place to check out. So I recently made plans to meet up with an old friend to see whats what at 2nd Street. 2nd Street Brew House is located, well on 2nd Street in a South Philly neighborhood which means street parking but no worries there seemed to be plenty around. The Brew House is located on a corner and looks like it was once a row home. Inside it’s very much a bar in fact just about all bar. When you enter the bar is to your left and goes into the back room area which also hold a few tables plus Ms. Pac Man and a pinball machine. The establishment is dark and has a friendly warm atmosphere to it with lots of dark wood, old tin ceiling and fairly lights that add some twinkle. Of course, I was completely  won over when I saw a metal Star Wars lunch box sitting on a shelf. Any place that displays Star Wars memorabilia scores major points with this Gal.

IMG_38722nd Street Brew House is very much a neighborhood bar with a top notch beer selection that consists of 14 beers on tap and a generous listing of bottles and cans. They also serve wine and liquor and offer a food menu that is small but has something for meat lovers and vegetarians a like. I was happy that their full menu was still available during brunch. Sometimes this Gal just wants lunch not brunch on a Saturday.

The bartender, Chris, provided great service, conversation, good music and was very accommodating with pouring tasters. My taster selection between taster pours for myself and trying my companion beers were as follows:

Veggie Panini
Veggie Panini

Exit 15 Coffee IPA – Flying Fish 7.5%
I’ve been hearing a lot good buzz about this beer and happy to say it’s worthy of the buzz. The coffee and hops help to balance each other with hints of pine and fruit. This Gal loves that breweries are brewing different styles with coffee.

Cubano
Cubano

United Ale – Do Good Brewery 5.8%  Never thought I see the day that this Gal would enjoy cream ales so much. Citrus and hops add a floral quality to the beer that is smoothed out by the malts.

Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter – Boulder 5.9% Holy molly this beer is smooth and chocolaty. Reminded me of chocolate milk but the adult version with alcohol. It was delish but reminded me more of a dessert beer so the taste was enough this time around.

Full Pours:

25P Patina Saison
25P Patina Saison

Patina Saison – 2SP Brewing Company 7.5%
This Gal is super stoked that saisons are rising in popularity. It used to be rare to find one on tap and now it’s rare not to. Yippy! Good yeastiness with strong fruit qualities in the taste and nose. Very refreshing and pleasing to the palate.

Chocolate Sombrero – Clown Shoes 9%
Imperial stouts oh how I love you.  The bittersweet chocolate is counterbalanced by the vanilla, chilies and cinnamon which all contribute to making this a black beauty.

Almanca Ginger Gose 5.0%
I understand the gose style isn’t for everyone but it is for this Gal. The coriander and ginger are alive and well in this gose. This beer has a nice wheat/malt earthiness to it and was great way to cap off my visit to 2nd Street Brew House.

Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero
Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero

Tap turn around is quick  at 2nd Street Brew House so what’s there today may not be tomorrow which also means there’s  always something new to try. I was also informed that the owners make sure to keep a stout and porter on during  the summer for us stout lovers. THANK YOU!

Almanac Ginger Gose
Almanac Ginger Gose

 

2nd Street Brew House was a great accidental find and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening hanging out with friends playing scrabble or just conversing while enjoying some fine beers. For this Gal it’s everything I look for in a bar a welcoming warm and cozy atmosphere that begs for you to sit back and relax. I’m placing 2nd Street Brew House in my top 5 beer bars to visit in the city of Brotherly Beer. That’s how much this Gal enjoyed  2nd Street Brew House.

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2nd Story Brewing Company

0022nd Story Brewing Company
Facebook  Twitter @2ndStoryBrewing

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

Tilted Barn Farmhouse Burger
Tilted Barn Farmhouse Burger

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.

Falafel
Falafel

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.

005Who 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.

Great Pumpking Porter
Great Pumpkin Porter

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.

Saint Benjamin Brewing Company Philly Beer Week Part 3

IMG_2778Saint Benjamin Brewing Company
1710 N 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Philly Beer Week 2015 continued with a visit to Saint Benjamin Brewing Company in Kensington, PA. Just a quick jaunt down 95 through the Fishtown neighborhood and I arrived. St. Ben’s is located in an old warehouse with plenty of off street parking with not a whole lost else going on in the neighborhood…yet. This Gal predicts Kensington will be the next up and coming neighborhood in Philly.

The brewery is small but there’s plenty of room for expansion. At the moment their beer is only available in the Philly area but as their reputation grows so will their beer distribution.  One  can also fill up growlers at the brewery on tour days.IMG_2773

You enter St Ben’s through a large loading area and into the back brewery room. To the left is a small make shift table where one can purchase various brewery merchandise, as well as, receive your 6 FREE tickets for the sampling. That’s right folks – it’s FREE and their samples are a healthy size. Free beer = one happy Gal. Tours are available as well and on this particular day there was a good size crowd taking advantage of all the good things St. Ben’s has to offer.

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There were a total of  8 beers on tap during this visit two of which were Saisons. You know how this Gal loves a Saison so naturally I had to try them.

 

 

Saison du Jour 5.7%
Saison du Jour 5.7%

Saison du Jour 5.7%
All the cloudy, yeasty goodness you find with a saison accented by a bit of rye.

Liaison Saison 8%
Liaison Saison 8%

Laison Saison 8%
The scent of herbs and spices hits the nose first thing and the strong taste backs up the scent there were also hints of orange and subtle hops but I had troubles getting past the herbs/spice taste which grows with each sip. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more paired with the right food but on it’s on didn’t work for me.

Foul Weather Jack
Foul Weather Jack

Foul Weather Jack  English Mild 4.5%
A true English Mild – Yes! Hints of chocolate, roasted malts and dry hops.

Koffee Kolsch 4.8%

Koffee Kolsch
Koffee Kolsch

This Gal’s favorite of the day and I rarely, if ever, pick a Kolsch as a favorite but this one is AMAZING! It’s a cup of morning joe in your glass, looks wise it fools you but the nose gives it away. The bitterness of the full coffee punch is offset by sweetness of the malts. I loved this beer.

Little Peat Stout
Little Peat Stout

Little Peat Stout 4.2%
A lighter body stout – it didn’t have the rich malty chewy feel to it that I love but enjoyable just the same. I recommend this as a intro stout for those who are afraid of the “heavy” beers.

BNC Barleywine 10.5%
Glad to see this a barley wine on the menu and in June no less.  It’s in lighter color and body but packs the power of a barleywine with tinge of citrus. I good barleywine option for the warmer days.

BNC Barley Wine
BNC Barley Wine

I was so excited to see two Saison’s on tap that I didn’t thoroughly plan a beer tasting strategy and since I went for both Saisons I had to pass on trying the Unite Red. Hopefully it’ll be available on my next visit. Oh yes, I plan on visiting again, real soon. If you’re looking to make a day of it Philadelphia Brewing is just 4 or 5 minutes away by car.

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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.

 

The Challenge: A Night Out in Philly for $20


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The Challenge Beer + Food + Tip all for $20 in Philly! Challenge Met and Accomplished at the Interstate Drafthouse.

Right away I knew the place to accomplish the $20 challenge would be the Interstate Drafthouse. (See previous review of Instate Drafthouse) Every Tuesday they offer a wide selection of $4 Craft Beer Draft Specials and it also just happens to be Taco Tuesday! Taco Tuesday has become a regular weekly deal around bars in the city of Brotherly Beer that features  Tacos and taco related specials. That fact that Interstate Drafthouse offers $4 beers the same day as $1 tacos made this a no brainer.

This Gal was able to enjoy 3 pints of beer, 2 seitan tacos & 2 veggie tacos plus leave a tip of 20%+ all for $20!  Interstate Drafthouse offers the choice of 4 different tacos that you can mix and match beef, chicken, veggie and seitan for $1 each. The $4 draft beer selections are indicated by a star next to the beer name and at least half of the draft list (which is all good) had stars next to it so there is a beer style for everyone’s liking.

The tacos were tasty and the beer delish.tacos

I started and finished with a pint of Sly Fox O’Reilly’s Stout and in the middle enjoyed a Shiner Bock with my tacos.

Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Sly Fox O’Reilly’s Stout

O’Reilly’s Stout – Sly Fox 3.6%
A true Irish Stout in that it’s a light body stout with a creamy/frothy head that makes for easy drinking. The hops are accented  by the roasted barley that provides just the right amount of bitterness to the beer.

Shiner Bock  – Spotzi Brewery 4.41%
When I saw a Bock was on the tap list I knew at some point during the course of the evening I’d be enjoying a pint. This bock is very smooth with a good balance of malts, caramel & yeast that finishes clean.

Shiner Bock
Shiner Bock

A friend was enjoying the Duclaw Anti Venom Pale Ale which I had the pleasure of trying and enjoying – A very refreshing Pale Ale! The hops help to bring out the other flavors, such as mango and orange, instead of overpowering them.

So folks indeed one can go out and enjoy craft beers & a tasty dinner for just $20!

 

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.