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.

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