Tag Archives: Yards Brewing

Band of Brewers V

 

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Philadelphia Brewing Company

I often am asked my what’s my favorite beer, depends on  my mood and what I’m eating, what’s my favorite bar, depends on where I am, and what’s my favorite beer event – easy – Band of Brewers without a  doubt. Yup, Philly Beer Scene’s Band of Brewers is my all time favorite beer event. It combines two of my favorite things beer and music.

After all music, more specifically the Grateful Dead, is what got me into craft beer. Deadheads would bring beer from their home state on the road with them to sell in the parking lot of Dead shows. At the time it was really one of the few ways to try new beer. It was in the parking lot of Dead show that I first tried Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Heck at the time I had never even heard of it (let that sink in). It got to the point not only couldn’t you wait for the Dead to tour for the music but also to see what new beer you would have the opportunity to try. So yeah music and beer two of my favorite things.

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Trophy

Band of Brewers was started five years ago by Philly Beer Scene. Different local breweries let their inner Rock Star come out to play and compete against other local breweries for the bragging rights and the chance to bring home the Band of Brewers trophy for 1 year. Each member of the brewery band has to be an employee of the brewery. Last years winners, Stainless Maiden – Broken Goblet, was a take on Iron Maiden but the range of music covered during a show is vast. Anywhere from Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl to Hendrix to Marilyn Manson to Metallica to original music. It’s freaking awesome!

img_7092-1The competition takes place at World Cafe Live in Philly and is only $15 for 4 hours of kick ass entertainment – pay as you go for the beer. During the February show I had the pleasure of enjoying Neshaminy Creek Dank Hill Wheat Double IPA 9% and Forest & Main Tape Neck IPA 5.5%.

The list of brewery participates have grown to the point that this year’s competition has had to be split into 2 rounds. Each band plays 5 songs and provides 2 beers to be on tap at the venue. The first round was in Febraury with Forest & Main, River Horse, Victory, Philadelphia Brewing Co. and Neshaminy Creek competing to move on the finals. Round two will take place June 25 with the Vault, Broken Goblet, Crime & Punishment, Yards, Iron Hill and Troegs going at it. The finals will take place September 24th at The TLA. Personally, I would have loved to see them keep the finals at World Cafe Live. It’s a great space and easy access via transit or by car but not matter where it is I plan on being there.

Just so you understand how much I love this event the 2nd round, June 25, happens to be the same day Dead & Co. are playing in Camden. Of course, this Gal has a ticket for the Dead but you better believe I’m going to make it work and squeeze in Band of Brewers too.

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Fear of a Craft Beer Plant live from Band of Brewers

A panel of judges and the audience pick the top three from each round to move onto the finals. Moving on from Round 1 are NCBC, PBC and Forest & Main.  Can’t wait for Round 2! Do yourself a solid and get your tickets

Courtesy of Philly Beer Scene – Past winners:
Year 1: Yeast Factory (Yards Brewing Co.)
Year 2: Brewtallica (Philadelphia Brewing Co.)
Year 3: HuemanGroup (Forest & Main)
Year 4: Stainless Maiden (Broken Goblet)
Year 5: TBD

 

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2 Nights, 40 Beers

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

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

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

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

Night 1
Night 1

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

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

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

Yards Love Stout
Yards Love Stout

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

Roasted Vegetable Flatbread
Roasted Vegetable Flatbread

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

Night 2
Night 2

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

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

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

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

mac n' cheese
mac n’ cheese

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interstate Drafthouse

004Interstate Drafthouse Philadelphia, PA

This gal has been trying for some time to check out Interstate Drafthouse to no avail. I was beginning to think it wasn’t meant to be but indeed it was! I had added Interstate Drafthouse to my Philly Pub Crawl list (posted 12/13) fully trusting my Philly connection with the worthiness of the establishment to the list. Worthiness confirmed.

Located just a hop, skip and jump off Interstate 95 via the Gerard Avenue exit in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia, Interstate Drafthouse is a neighborhood bar that is also a destination spot. It really is smack in the middle of a neighborhood with easy off street parking. I would say from the looks of the building it was somebodies home in a prior life but fortunately for craft beer lovers it’s been converted into a great bar.

Upon entrance to the Drafthouse one is immediately standing in the bar area. The bar is to the right and few high top tables to the left. Walk back a little further and a step up to the dining area that consist of about 12 or so tables. Off the dining area is a cute little patio. Unfortunately, there was a summer rain storm taking place so a seat at the bar is where my companion and I found beer happiness.

009Interstate offers a warm, cozy environment with a good bar vibe feeling with an old style tin ceiling, lots of dark wood, holiday twinkle lights and hooks under the bar for umbrellas, purses etc., always a nice touch. Overall the place is a little kitchy but in a fun way. It reminded me of some of the neighborhood bars I’ve visited in New Orleans. It’s also a wee bit dark inside which can make reading the menu a tad difficult at times.  (flashlight app to the rescue). The owner is very welcoming and friendly as is the staff. They are also generous with beer tastings which is always a plus.

Not only does Interstate Drafthouse have a nice tap list, with a style for everyone, but they’re also very reasonably priced with great weekly deals! Happy Hour is offered Monday – Friday 4:30-6:30 with $4 Draft Beers. We happened to be there for Taco Tuesday $1 Tacos and $4 Beers ALL NIGHT – Sweet! Wednesday they offer a Beer and Meal for $10!

Veggie "Steak" Sandwich
Veggie “Steak” Sandwich

The food menu is pretty diverse with everything from gator to seitan on it. Another words both meat and vegetarian friendly with a fun Cajun/Creole influence to it. We started with the homemade guacamole which was spot on. My companion enjoyed a tasty brisket sandwich and this gal opted for a nicely done veggie “steak” sandwich. I hear the mac & cheese is lip smacking good.

As tasty as the food was the beer was even better…

As soon as I spotted an offering from Bullfrog Brewing I knew what my first beer of the night would be. Bullfrog Brewing holds a special place in this Gal’s heart. I use to visit it many moons ago on the way to and from vacationing in Western Pennsylvania. If you ever happen to be near Williamsport, PA (home of the Little League World Series) I strongly recommend, heck I insist you stop at Bullfrog Brewery for some beer and food. I’ve never had a bad experience there. Their beer put a smile on my face each and every visit.

Bullfrog Saison

Saison – Bullfrog Brewing
Blond Ale meets Farmhouse Ale. Classic Saison cloudy appearance with citrus, floral and enough tartness that it makes your mouthwater at the end but makes you want to go back for more

Next up…
Arcadia London Porter – Arcadia Brewing Company 7.2%
Well done English porter with a pleasant smokey nose. The flavor is a mix of roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, coffee and just a touch of hops. A good true-to-style English Porter that ends with a  slightly bitter finish.  (favorite of the night)

Arcadia London Porter
Arcadia London Porter

Finished with the
Summer Solstice – Anderson Valley Brewing Company 5.% (cream ale)
Had I known it was a cream ale I probably wouldn’t have ordered it since I’m not a big fan of the style. However, the Summer Solstice has changed my opinion of cream ales. It’s as good blend of spices, malt and caramel that make it an enjoyable summer beer.

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Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

Sips of:
Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale – Flying Dog 5.6%
This ale is brewed with Old Bay Seasoning which intrigued me but sadly the taste did not appeal to me at all. It was just odd. I would be willing to try a small taster of it with some food. That combo may work but on it’s on just not for me.

 Pynk – Yards Brewing 5.5%
I was super excited when I saw the tap handle go on for this beer.  It’s a delightful berry beer.  I wasn’t in the mood for a full pint on this visit but could envision myself enjoying this little tart beauty on my deck one warm evening. I also could see myself mixing it with a chocolate stout since it’s so lambic like. Don’t forget Yards donates $1 from each case sold to the Tyanna Foundation, which provides support for the care and treatment of breast cancer patients.

Galatica IPA – Clown Shoes 8%
This Imperial IPA smells and taste very floral so much so I felt I was sipping on perfume. It was a bit much for me to handle. A true love for hops is necessary to enjoy this beer. That being said my companion enjoyed it.

Sapient Triple -Dark Horse Brewing Company 9.5%
Crazy smooth, easy to drink without the high alcohol feeling. Delightful banana and coriander flavors.  Would have loved a glass but no triples on this visit since I still had to get myself home.

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