30 March, 2009

SBP Logo

Lew's got the logo finalists up for comment at Session Beer Project. Go vote for your favorite! I'm not telling you to vote for mine (the 2nd one shown) or anything. But do take a look and let your voice be heard. Cheers!

27 March, 2009


Joe Sixpack has the skinny on the starting lineup (of beer) at Citizens Bank Park - home of the 2008 WFC of Baseball, your Philadelphia Phillies. Appropriately Victory Prima Pils has been added to the mix. I have no doubt it will fit right in with the other pilsners on the concourse: Sly Fox Pikeland and Troeg's Sunshine. Oh, man. First pitch of the '09 season is almost a week away! I think I'm going to go get some tickets. Ahem.

*The image above is of a T-shirt available from the phine pholks at Birdland & The Fightins.

26 March, 2009

Johnny Simulcask

As has been reported ad infinitum (here, here and here) there will be a "Simulcask" (I love puns!) tapping of Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA firkins tonight. Guess what time this simultaneous flowing forth of brew will take place. 7:50pm! 75 minute, 7:50...Get it? Good. The list of participating bars in Philadelphia is below. Get thee to a taproom!

Standard Tap
Monk's Belgian Cafe
Memphis Taproom
Devil's Den
Grey Lodge Pub
Jose Pistola's

25 March, 2009

Beer School

For St. Valentine's Day m'lovely lady got me a gift certificate to the recently founded Beer School (Tim wrote about it here). They have a number of interesting classes lined up for the spring. I'm thinking about signing up for the "IPA & Beyond: Hops Class":

Americans love hopped-up beers like India Pale Ales. Now it's time to learn (and taste!) how different hops affect the taste of beers. Tastings will include the difference between American and British hops, wet versus dry hopping, and a multitude of hopping styles. You may not know the difference between Cascade and Centennial hops, but after this class, you will!

I love me some bitter beer. But I could stand to learn more about this amazing plant and its place in beermaking...

Right now the Beer School is offering a discount (of almost 50%!) if you purchase tickets to any of their classes online. See the full schedule here. And educate yourself.

Beer Madness Update: Troegs Makes the Finals!

The Washington Post has revealed its Beer Madness finalists: It comes down to Troegs Hopback v. Ommegang Hennepin. Last year Troegs made the Final Four but was shut out of the chamionship.

23 March, 2009

Spring Classes at Foster's

There are some cooking classes in the next few weeks at Foster's Homeware that will put a springtime spring in your step. We're looking forward to these:

Tonight, March 23 - Michael Solomonov of BROG favorite Zahav leads a culinary tour of Israel.

Wednesday, April 15 - Jesse Kimball of Memphis Taproom (Mal's new neighbor) demonstrates how to turn out gastropub fare at home. The three course menu will include beer pairings.

Saturday, May 2 - Brad Spence, chef de cuisine at Vetri, instructs on the dark arts of charcuterie: sausage and salumi (a subject near and dear to this Brogger's heart).

18 March, 2009

I'll have a scrappletini

Meal Ticket points us to Scrapplefest this Saturday, March 21 from 10am-4pm at the Reading Terminal Market.

First Beer Week, now this. I love this city, but it must be trying to kill me (with delicious pork).

Beer Week 09 is Over. Long live Beer Week.

Had to take a few days to decompress and assess after the whirlwind that was BW 09. In between hauling large pieces of furniture to Fishtown (thanks Jim and Tim) and giving myself a blister putting together Ikea furniture I managed to get to a few events and sample some amazing beers.

Sunday after moving a couple carloads to our new place on Memphis St., Amanda (along with Julie and Christy), Tim & I just made it to Memphis Taproom in time for the Vintage Beer Brunch, to which we had reservations. My physical exhaustion gave way to elation as each course trumped the previous (salmon terrine! shirred egg with short rib!). And the beer...Oh! the beer! ('04 flying dog imperial porter! rochefort old and new!). I think Tim is trying to cobble together a more coherent post on this event so I'll just leave it at that for now.

Also, made it to Caribou Cafe for a happy hour sampling of some Bieres de Garde as well as some tartines. We tried the Ambree from Brasserie La Choulette, which the menu described as being a classic representation of the style. It was malty sweet with hints of caramel and nuts; delicious, but I think I preferred Olivia's Gavroche.

They also had a couple beers from Brasserie du Mont Blanc. Neither the blanche nor the blonde from Mont Blanc were Bieres de Garde but I decided to try one anyway. I am glad I did. The blonde was delicious. Light in body and in color, it had the crispness of a helles or a pilsner. It was the surprise of the afternoon and a beer that I will definitely be seeking out this summer.

Let's see...what else? Oh, yea there were the random nights, after rearranging furniture for hours, that Amanda and I decided to hit our new local for dinner and their 'No Repeat Beer Week'. Really enjoyed the Fuller's they were pulling from the cask, as well as the Great Divide Wee Heavy. And Amanda had a chance to savor an Obamagang just before the last keg kicked.

See also: Tim's eloquent account of our harrowing journey into the belly of the Great Northbeast.

In short, it was a crazy 10 days. Im glad the moving is done. Sad that I have to wait 12 months til PBW 2010. But that sadness is tempered. For, in this Greene Countrie Towne of ours, every week is beer week.

17 March, 2009

15 March, 2009

Blog Watch: The Atlantic Food Channel

The Atlantic magazine has launched a new Food Channel (to accompany its Politics and Business Channels).  Curated by senior editor and food critic Corby Kummer, it's packed full of excellent writing from the magazine's own staff as well as contributions from such luminaries as Alinea chef/owner Grant Achatz, health policy expert Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of Rahm) and rancher Bill Niman.  The Atlantic's food writing, like its politcal and cultural commentary, will be thought-provoking for sure.

14 March, 2009

Friday the Firkinteenth and Yards "Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em"

Yesterday was Friday the Firkinteenth at the Grey Lodge: every Friday the 13th, the Lodge lines up dozens of beers and pours cask ale until the firkins are empty.  Yesterday's Firkinteenth was extra special since it fell during Beer Week, and starting at 9:00 am they had about 30 firkins on hand.  I had taken the day off and took the El up to the Lodge where I met Mal, Amanda, Julie and Lee.  Over the course of the morning, we sampled almost everything tapped thus far:

  • Arcadia Sky High Rye (my 2nd favorite - I love rye beers)
  • Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA (at 12% the strongest I tried, but it was like drinking syrup)
  • Iron Hill (West Chester) Irish Red
  • Sierra Nevada Stout (my favorite of the day - smooth, creamy and slightly sweet)
  • Sly Fox Standard Ale
  • Dock Street Hop Garden (which had bits of hop in it)
  • Voodoo Wynona's Big Brown Ale

The atmosphere was great - even though the place was packed, the wait for beers wasn't too long and everyone was in a good mood.  Every time someone would walk into the bar, the place would erupt in a cheer (and conversely, people would get a good-natured "boooo" when they left -- it is Philly, after all).

The glorious Beer Week Hammer of Glory was in the house, and making the rounds for photos (we sadly forgot our cameras, but Mal got a pic of this guy on his camera phone).  There were plenty of local beer mavens in attendance, including Lew Bryson, William Reed and Brian O'Reilly.

We rolled out around 1pm, aiming to hop the free shuttle to the Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em smoked beer and barbeque event at Yards Brewing.  After waiting a while for the shuttle, we decided to hop the 66 bus and the El over to Yards.  Like the Grey Lodge, Yards was crowded but not oppressively so.  The new brewery is very impressive - high ceilings, huge spotless kettles and fermenters and at the rear, a giant tasting bar where they were pouring 18 smoked beers from various breweries.  Around the perimeter of the tasting room, local restaurants had set up tables offering smoked meat in all its glorious forms: ribs, brisket, pulled pork and so on.

Hungry from standing around drinking all morning, we hit the tables with gusto.  Victory's pulled pork was excellent and Tommy Gunn's wasn't too bad either (and their corn salad was good).  Some of the other tables weren't as well marked so I can't give props to whomever made the awesome ribs.  On the beer side, I tried offerings from Oskar Blues ("Smoke on the Water"), Sierra Nevada (Smoked Imperial Porter) and Sly Fox.  Stuffed and sated, we wound down the day at Mal and Amanda's place watching the replay of the World Series.

It was a really fun day and I'm already looking forward to the next Firkinteenth in November.

10 March, 2009

Hush, puppies

We have some Beer Week backlog to get to -- namely, Memphis Taproom's Vintage Beer Brunch and the Shola Olunloyo dinner at Blackfish (which was not an official Beer Week event, but we made it unofficially so).  All in good time.

I stopped in Local 44 tonight for a late dinner, and to check out their "East Coast vs. West Coast" beer special.  Tonight it was Rogue's I2PA v. Brooklyn Brewery's Blast Ale -- both double IPAs.  I was tempted, but had to drive, and those 9% beers would have been trouble.  So I opted for a Duvel Green to start -- it was crisp and hoppy, quite different from Duvel's signature ale.  Very refreshing. 

For dinner, I ended up choosing the fish & chips, for one reason: hush puppies included.  I am a sucker for cornbread in all its forms, but deep-fried might be the best of all.  I've loved hush puppies ever since I was a kid, when our family would go on vacation down south.  You don't see them too often in these parts so I jumped at the chance.  Local 44 didn't disappoint, either -- the hush puppies were piping hot, springy and slightly sweet.  The fish and the chips were fine, but those fluffy spheres of cornbread made my night.  

With my meal, I drank a Laurelwood Workhorse IPA, which had been recommended by multiple people at the bar. Good choice.  For an IPA, it was surprisingly light-bodied and appropriately hoppy.  Austin enjoyed his Laurelwood in Portland back in January, and I can see why -- they make great beer.  I hear Local 44 is one of the only establishments in the area to serve their beer.  So get down there and get some, before it's all gone.  And have some hush puppies while you're there.

06 March, 2009

Deep Thought

Standard Ale is back!
Update 3/9/08:
And it's delicious. Stopped by Johnny Brenda's on Sunday en route to Mal's old apartment to help him move a few things. Nothing like a Standard Ale fresh from the cask before lifting heavy furniture.

05 March, 2009

Boyz II Men, ABC, BDG: Biere de Garde Week

In the months and weeks leading up to Beer Week (which starts tomorrow!), I watched as the number of events swelled from a few dozen to (as of today) 130,000. Ok, that's an exaggeration. But! There really are a ton of events to sort through. And a goodly number of those events come with a hefty price tag. So far I have reservations for only one fully-sanctioned, ticketed PBW event (the Vintage Beer Brunch at Memphis this Sunday!) and I am okay with that. One of the great things of having so many participating bars, restaurants and breweries is that I can stumble upon interesting events without much effort or the immense cost.

One place I plan to stumble to, upon and from is Caribou Cafe. For BW theyre highlighting Biere de Garde. Biere de Gardes are farmhouse style ales that are cellared for a period of time (the name means "kept beer"). They are generally malt forward and light brown or copper in color, typically darker than a saison.

All week Caribou will have a selection of different BDG's on tap; and their cooler will be stocked with bottles peculiar to the Pas de Calais region of France (the birthplace of BDG). They'll also have a tasting menu of three courses. Each paired with a different biere.

Take a look at Caribou's full schedule for Biere de Garde Week.

04 March, 2009

Beer Madness

The Washington Post unveiled their annual Beer Madness competition this week --  it's a tournament competition modeled on NCAA basketball's March Madness.  The lineup is usually a curious mix of craft & macro, regional & national brands, and this year's bracket runs the gamut from Bud Light Lime to Ommegang Hennepin.  Beers are initially paired according to style, and then the bracket proceeds to mix styles as it progresses.

The Pennsylvania beer scene is well represented, with Troegs HopBack Amber Ale, Stoudts Scarlet Lady Ale and Yuengling's Lord Chesterfield Ale.  In the first round, HopBack and Scarlet Lady advanced, while Lord Chesterfield fell to the unfortunately named Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago.

Last year Troegs HopBack made it to the Final Four, and I'll be cheering them on along with Stoudts this year.

(Hat tip: JR)

02 March, 2009

Steak on a Snow Day

Today's second beer-free post.  Since HM is drinking flat whites and otherwise enjoying the 70° weather in New Zealand, and I spent a goodly portion of the day shoveling snow, I treated myself to a ribeye tonight.  

I seared the steak in a cast-iron pan and finished it in the oven to a nice medium-rare.  While the steak was in the oven, I added some butter, shallots, tarragon and red wine to the pan juices, and reduced them until the sauce coated the back of a spoon.  (One of my favorite Mark Bittman recipes.)

For the sauce, I used a 2006 Domaine Taluau St. Nicholas de Bourgueil "Cuvée l'Expression" Cabernet Franc, procured from Moore Brothers, my favorite wine merchant.  From the shop's description: This is real wine: all black fruit, bell peppers, violets, and minerals, with a long, moderately tannic finish and plenty of fresh acidity.  In the glass the wine was a fine accompaniment to the steak, along with sides of crispy potatoes and green beans with basil and shallots.  

I know, that plate is a mess.  Gotta work on the whole "presentation" thing. 


Bryn Mawr, PA, 8:28 am.