Tag Archives: Philly Beer Week

“My Place”

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It’s A Ruff Life Fundraiser

This Gal is all about exploring and trying out something new. I’m not one to order the same thing at the same restaurant, I prefer trying whats local to the area over what I know and I definitely appreciate good service. As much as I like trying out new places there are times I want to go to “my place”. You know what I mean – the place close to home that has good beer, friendly service and they greet you by name when you arrive. There are two such places for me. Ok, three but Mama Rosa’s is BYOB and I’m talking about “my beer places”.

What I love about the area I live in, Mercer County, is the location. In just 40 short minutes I can be in Center City Philly, 1.25 hours to NYC and the nearest beach is only 45 minutes away – location, location, location. Which also, means I have some of the best beer places available at all times. This Gal feels very lucky to have all this at her finger tips but there are those days when I want to go out without really leaving the area. That’s when I head to “my place” – UNO’s Hamilton. Yup, UNO’s. Yes, UNO’s. Really, UNO’s.

I’m asked a lot what my go to beer place is and when I say UNO’s Hamilton I always get the same response – Really? The one near the movie theater? – YES! They have an amazing tap list that is right up there with some of the best lists both Philly and NYC have to offer. Bonus – it’s mere minutes from my house and right around the corner from where I work.

I too was surprised when I first heard about the beer being served at UNO’s. Fortunately, my brother and his co-workers clued me in pretty quickly. They have been enjoying UNO’s beer and lunch special offerings for a while now and were kind enough to let me in on the “secret” soon after the great beer started flowing. One of my favorite things in life is meeting my Hop Head Brother there for a beer. (It’s the little things)

They offer 30 beers on tap with all but a few being craft and the beer is FRESH with fast tap 13244836_1278671632143775_1169056652351891532_nrotation. If you hear of a beer on tap you want you best get there sooner rather than later. They offer growler fills, taster rounds and now have a Crowler machine. By the way all which can be enjoyed on the new outside beer patio that is dog friendly!

Besides the great beer they have a lot of fun beer related events and I strongly encourage you to follow them on Facebook so you’re kept in the loop and don’t miss out on the tap takeovers, beer dinners, beer breakfast and even a super fun Beer for Pups charity event during Philly Beer Week. You know how this Gal feels about beer places giving back to the community – awesomeness at it’s best and the UNO’s team and Weyerbacher rocked the event for It’s A Ruff Life Rescue.

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NCBC The Shapes of Hops to Come

Speaking of Philly Beer Week they were one of the first places in the burbs to start participating in PBW and their events are pretty amazing. So much so that the past two years I’ve participated in more PBW events at UNO’s than Philly. (no worries I still always make a few events in Philly as well). This past year they rotated through 157 different beers during Philly Beer Week. That’s a lot of great beer in a very short time. Told you it’s fresh and goes quick.

Besides kicking it during PBW they also participate in this Gal’s favorite holiday – Black Out Friday and have even made football enjoyable for this Gal. Now if you been following my blog for a while then you might remember my first post was about Football Sunday at UNO’s. It’s a win win for me and my football loving partner. I get to enjoy great beer and beer specials while he can watch all the games and enjoy his favorite food in life – pizza. Bonus, your movie ticket stub from the theater next door acts as a coupon – 10% off your food purchase. UNO’s also offers discounted movie tickets for the theater. I always like to see businesses working together in the area it’s a win for everyone.

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Maine Beer IV

So yes “my place” is UNO’s Hamilton and I hope to see you there soon.

Stay tuned my next blog will be about “my other place” Trenton Road Takeout this Gal’s go to beer store….

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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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Terrapin/Lagnuitas Tap Takeover – Philly Beer Week Part 2

IMG_2766The burbs rocked it this year for Philly Beer Week! No need to travel more than a few minutes from home if you wanted to participate in Philly Beer Week but not make the the trek into the city. Spoke with several participants who agreed. Heck, even Philly Beer Week sent out a post stating something similar.

So one night after work my brother, nephew and I met up for a Philly Beer Week event at the Uno’s Hamilton featuring a tap takeover by Terrapin Beer Company and Lagunitas Brewing Company. I honestly don’t know how the staff of the various participating venues kept up with the ever changing taps during Philly Beer Week; it had to be overwhelming.

Prior to arrival I took a few minutes to prepare for the evening and study the posted tap list; with my choice flight sample lists in hand I headed over. I arrived before the rest of the gang and took a seat at the bar.  Where I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a fellow beer enthusiast, Jimmy and a wonderful beer conversation ensued. Thanks Jimmy!

Terrapin Taster L to R: Liquid Bliss, Maggies, Wake n Bake, Naked Bliss
Terrapin Taster L to R: Liquid Bliss, Maggies, Wake n Bake, Naked Bliss

I chose to start with a Terrapin Taster Round:

Liquid Bliss Peanut Butter Porter – Terrapin 6.10%
So good, a true favorite of this Gal’s. This is one of those beers that should not be served cold and improves as it warms up. As much as I love Sweet Baby Jesus this tops it with the perfect balance of chocolate to peanut butter.

Maggies Farmhouse Ale – Terrapin 6% I need to come clean and state I do NOT like any thing flavored with peach except a peach itself. It’s truly one of things I loath but I do love Farmhouse Ales so went for it.  Well, it was just a little to peachy for me. However, it did have a true Belgium quality to it.

Wake N Bake Imperial Stout – Terrapin 9.4%
Holy breakfast stout! Right away you can taste the chicory and oats with hint of dark fruits. I also noted a underlying smokiness to it.

Naked Bliss Porter -Terrapin 6.10%
This is the Liquid Bliss minus the peanut butter but with the bonus of raspberries. Yum!

Lagunitas Taster L to R: Sucks, Scary City #2, Hairy Eyeball, Scary City #3
Lagunitas Taster L to R: Sucks, Scary City #2, Hairy Eyeball, Scary City #3

Lagunitas Taster Rounder:

Sucks  Imperial IPA – Lagunitas 7.85%
That’s right folks this Gal chose an Imperial IPA and indeed it was real hoppy. Not a favorite of this Gal’s but enjoyed it just the same. Then again I’m really starting to enjoy the refreshing citrus IPAs offer.

Scare City #2 Rye Cocoa Porter – Lagunitas 10.19%
Lately this Gal has been enjoying the rye beers. Well, black ryes that is. They just have the perfect combination of hops to malts and this was no exception. The color was a gorgeous black silk and a medium body that combined cocoa, roasted chicory & malts, dark fruits  all rounded out by the rye. Very enjoyable.

Hairy Eyeball American Strong Ale – Lagunitas 9.4%
Loved the copper color of this ale and it’s low carbonation smoothness. There’s  subtle hop notes in the background with roasted malts, raisins and brown sugar in the forefront.

Scare City #3 Imperial Stout – Lagunitas 12.1%
Oozy woozy bourbon beer. This beer is to be sipped, savored and enjoyed at room temperature from a snifter style glass. I was pretty floored when I saw it being poured as a full pint! Alrighty then. Bourbon, toffee, malts, chicory and vanilla combine to make a delightful boozy sipper.

Not only was the beer selection amazing but the free swag was a plenty. A very successful Philly Beer Week event in the Burbs.

Swag
Swag
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More Swag

Bru & U-Bahn – Philly Beer Week Part 1

BruPhilly Beer Week has grown into such a massive action packed week of beer events one must choose wisely from the extensive list of events taking place. I was carefully studying the list when I saw a Meet the Brewer Night with Oxbow Brewery at U-Bahn. YES PLEASE! I knew right away this was to be my first event of the week. First off Oxbow holds a special place in this Gal’s heart. I first discovered this fabulous little brewery last year while vacationing in Maine (See Oxbow review) and to finally have the opportunity to once again enjoy their wonderful selection of craft beers was an opportunity not to be missed.  Second, U-Bahn was high on my list of places to try so this was a win, win situation. Or so I thought.

UBahnWith a bit more research I decided to visit U-Bahn first and then wonder upstairs to Bru, also on my places to visit list and they were hosting a Half Acre tap taker over.

By now if you read any of my past blog posts you know I love the city of Brotherly Beer, aka Philadelphia. However, I do tend to visit establishments in the outer lying neighborhoods of Fishtown, Art Museum Area, Northern Liberties, etc. I really don’t wonder into downtown Center City too often. Just too many humans, traffic and overpriced parking but I was willing to make the exception for Oxbow. Plus, it was a Sunday night so just how bad could it be? Well…It took almost 2 hours to drive/park (normally a 45 minute task). By the time this Gal’s companion got the car parked I was in dire need of a beer.

We walked the few blocks from the reasonably priced $8 lot to U-Bahn and wondered downstairs. U-Bahn is small and even though the interior is stone, and wood/pallets it had a cold industrial feel to me. Oxbow Brewery has a hippie vibe to it that I love but didn’t really didn’t fit with U-Bahn and the trendy Euro feel it has, then again this Gal didn’t really fit in either.

There’s two bars one large and one tiny, several high top tables and a few nooks to hang out in. There is also a band stage but on this night there was a DJ later on. Just don’t see a need for a DJ for a meet the brewer night but more on that in a bit. First the beer…or so I thought.

I wondered up to the bar and checked out the tap list of Oxbow beers – it was beautiful. Decided to start with the Oxbow Bandolier 5.5%. I requested my selection from the bartender only to be told they weren’t serving beer – yet. Ummm, I turned and looked around to see if there was a hidden camera or something because this made no sense to me. It’s Philly Beer Week, I’m in a beer bar for a beer event and yet No Beer – really? Yes, really. The brewer hadn’t arrived and they wouldn’t serve the beer until he did. OK, I get it’s a Meet the Brewer event and the beer folks are running around like crazy during Philly Beer Week and there’s a good probability that they will run late but if the brewer is almost 1.5 hours late SERVE THE BEER! I kindly explained to the bartender that it took me close to 2 hours to get there and that this news wanted to make me cry but I stayed strong turned to my companion and informed him we’d be eating first.  So up the stairs to Bru we went.

Bru and U-Bahn are related establishments with individual entrances from the street with a stairway connecting them inside. As we made our way upstairs we could hear the music from Bru. It was loud, way loud, obnoxiously loud.

Upon entering Bru we were greeted and directed to a high top table.  Our server was very pleasant  and quickly arrived to take our drink order. Now you know the music is too loud when the server has to start off with “it’s hard to take orders because of the music but I’ll do my best”. Yup that’s how loud it was. Thought – if the servers are having trouble hearing patrons maybe turn it down a tad.

Bru Tap List
Bru Tap List
Veggie Kabob
Veggie Kabob

The first beer I ordered had just kicked so I went with the Half Acre Daisy Cutter which complemented my veggie kabob nicely. My companion had the Schnitzel which was large and very good. The food menu showcases the German heritage and offers something for everyone. Considering it’s Center City Philly the prices were reasonable as well. Not only is the food menu good but the tap list is extensive and they offer a very impressive bottle list as well.

Daisy Cutter
Daisy Cutter

Daisy Cutter – Half Acre Beer Company, IL 5.3% – This is a kick butt pale ale, very nicely done with citrus, earthy grass, hops and floral essences all working together to create a fresh thirst quenching beer.

I liked the decor of Bru, in fact, loved the wood and rustic feel but the obnoxiously loud music killed the atmosphere.  Overall it just had a trendy hipster vibe to it. Not saying anything’s wrong with hipster just not this Gal’s thing. I’m more hippie than hipster.

I was going to order a second selection from the Half Acre list but decided to forgo it. It really wasn’t fun having to sit/eat in silence because conversing was out of the question. So we paid up and headed back downstairs to U-Bahn. By now the Oxbow brewer had arrived, the place was jumping and the DJ was spinning. You guess it…spinning loudly. For the love of beer don’t others like to be able to hang and talk with their friends while enjoying a beer?

I made my way through the crowd up to the bar and ordered my Bandolier. Guess what? They were having troubles with the keg of Bandolier. I know, I couldn’t believe it either but I was determined to try this beer so I patiently waited and waited and waited. I left my chateau at 5:30pm it was now 8:15pm but finally there if front of me was my pint of Oxbow Bandolier. Yes, it was worth the wait.

Bandolier
Bandolier

Bandolier Oxbow Brewing Company, ME 5.5% This is a springtime farmhouse ale with a rustic earthiness to it that’s complimented by floral hops and bakery fresh bread followed up by hints of citrus. A light, refreshing, full flavor Summer Ale.

By the time I finished my Bandolier it was time for my companion and I to head home. I would have loved to enjoy more Oxbow but at this point it just wasn’t meant to be. The Bandolier would have to hold me over until I visit the brewery in person in just a few short weeks. But wait, guess who stopped me on the way out? Mike, the brewer, from Oxbow. We had pleasant chat and it was nice to meet him in person. I look forward to chatting with him again soon.

If you find your self in center city both Bru and U-Bahn are worth stopping in for their great tap lists just have patience with the parking situation or be willing to pay mightily for a garage.

 

 

 

Hulmeville Inn

IMG_1089Hulmeville Inn

Philly Beer Week June 1, 2014

As some of you may have heard this Gal was pretty excited about Philly Beer Week 2014 and was looking forward to enjoying several events. There were so many events to choose from but one particular one caught my eye; the Weyerbacher Tap Takeover at the Hulmeville Inn. I had never been to the Inn but was looking forward to trying it out and no better time than a tap takeover.

I’ve been hearing for some time how great the Hulmeville Inn is but truth be told the smoking kept me from seeing for myself. Luckily it’s smoke free now! As soon as I walked in I knew this was going to become a Geeky Beer Gal hangout. Upon arrival I loved the little garden area outside that lead you to a wonderfully cozy (think lots of nice dark wood and brick) bar area with table options and a descent size horseshoe shaped bar and a closed in porch area off the front of the building. Another words plenty of seating options for those who want to be in the heart of things and those who want to be off on their own in a more quiet setting. What really got this Gal’s attention the room with POOL TABLES – hello! Great beer + pool tables = fun.

IMG_1100The pool tables were going to have to wait for another visit for this visit it was all about the beer. My companion and I took seats at the bar and were presented with the tap list. The tap list consist of 20 beers 16 of them excellent and 4 of them that need not be discussed any further. My favorite way to experience a tap takeover is with a tasting rounds so I can try as many beers as possible. I was a wee bit disappointed that the Inn doesn’t offer tasting rounds. Oh well, no biggie just meant I would have to choose wisely since all the Weyerbacher beers came in at 9% and above.

First up…

Rhumpshaka  American Strong Ale
Rhumpshaka

Rhumpshaka American Strong Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing 11%
Nice oaky color with a small eggshell white head. With just the first sip one can immediately tell this ale had been aged in rum barrels. Not only can you taste the rum but you can smell it as well. Along with the rum there’s flavors of citrus, vanilla, caramelized sugar and some spices. Even though this beer has an ABV of 11% it’s a very easy drinking beer. Another words be careful it can seek up on you have too much. I decided to move on after the one.

Before ordering my next beer my companion and I decided it was time for some food. The menu is very much bar food that is made right in front of you at the grill “kitchen” area. I’m happy to report the Inn is both meat and vegetarian friendly and they over some great deals.

Once the food was ordered it was time for Round Two:

Quad
Quad

Quad 2010 – Weyerbacher Brewing 11.8%
Smooth, smooth and smooth very little carbonation on this honey color beer. A nice quad with banana, cloves with hints of honey, toffee and very faint notes of tobacco.

Tango Belgian Dark Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing 10.6% (taste)
I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to a full glass of the Tango so the bartender was kind enough to pour me a sample taste. Right off the bat you can taste the cherries and what tasted like rye to me. It was interesting but I just wasn’t in the mood for a cherry beer. The taste was plenty for me this time around.

Last up…

Sunday Morning Stout & Lambic
Sunday Morning Stout & Lambic

Sunday Morning Stout – Weyebacher Brewing 11.8%
For my last beer I decided to treat myself and request the Stout be mixed with the Framboise Lambic. Folks I highly recommend experimenting with mixing your beers. Stouts and lambics go wonderfully together and it’s so rare to have both on tap I had to go for it. The bartender was very accommodating and was happy to oblige. This combo was outstanding the richness of the stout complimented the Lambic wonderfully. I could still taste the chicory, bourbon and cocoa of the stout with the sweetness of the raspberries from the lambic. Ahhh, heaven.

I’m looking forward to a return visit to the Inn. The atmosphere at the Hulmeville Inn really lends itself to enjoying the day hanging for a while with some friends. Very pleased I finally got to try it out.

IMG_1094Side Note: Weyerbacher donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every drop of Last Chance IPA to small, regional animal rescue operations.  These shelters offer dogs, cats and other pets their last chance to find a new home.