Time for a break.

I'm done hating for a while. I may be back but for now it's all about the love.



Hey General Lafayette!!

I've been to most of the brewpubs in the area by now, and I think I can say that you are my favorite local brewpub. Congratulations!! I make this statement not just based on the beer, but also the food, atmosphere, and service. I'm glad to see lots of Belgians on at any given point. Last night there was a "berry lambic" on draft. Hell yeah!! It's so nice to see something like this brewed locally, and it was delicious. Also on was the Economizer, a 3.4% brew made from the second runnings on an IPA, which was dead on. Another thing that's great to see here - low ABV brews that are well made. Lafayette has the best house-made brews in the area I dare say. The building is fantastic and the ghost stories are even better. Ask any server and they will tell you one! The service is always great, except for last night which was the first time I've gotten bad service there. The bartender was rude and cold and probably said about 5 words to us. We went in just for dessert and it was excellent. Their food is always fresh, simple, well prepared, and most importantly, delicious!!

Oh yeah, and I'm brewing today. Just doing a 2.5 gallon batch to dip my feet in the proverbial all-grain waters. God knows how it's going to turn out. The base is 50/50 acidulated and pils malt. Like 5% aromatic and 1.5% chocolate went in as well. Lightly hopped (of course) though I may spice it. Golden Monkey yeast for primary, and hopefully I can keep it plenty warm.

That's all for now.


Bell's Batch 7000

After 3 1/2 years of aging this is now a beautiful beer. At first it was incredibly hot and painfully hoppy (200+ IBUs I think), almost undrinkable. Now it has the most fantastic chocolate, espresso, and brownie nose, with the fainest touch of cherries. No signs of oxidation yet but the alcohol aroma is nearly gone. One sip and my mind is blown. The flavor profile is very complex but incredibly welcoming, with chocolate, roasted malts, anise, molasses, cinnamon, soy sauce and subtly fruity notes. The heat from the alcohol is there, but in just the right amount. The finish is long and bittersweet with some nuttiness and oakiness. This is one of the most impressive beers I've had in a while, and a perfect example of what aging can do to a beer. If you have any, drink it up.


Iron Hill Phoenixville

We were in King of Prussia and didn't have a lot to do so we jumped on 422 and headed to Iron Hill in Phoenixville. They have a really nice location here overlooking the historic and scenic town. Inside is very chilled and relaxed. The tap list was great and style were all across the board. The standouts were their Saison, Tripel, Voodoo Lager and, in particular, Roggenbock, which was creamy, smooth, complex and drinkable. The food was a bit of a problem though. We got some dip, which was great, but the bread was teeth-breakingly hard. We also got some shrimp, which were delectable, but the rice on the side was simply not cooked the whole way through. All the flavors were great but it was dumb shit that kept us from really enjoying it. The beer was fantastic, the food not so much, but the service was good. I'm sure I'll be back.

Also, I forgot to add earlier, I got to try their 3 year old unblended lambic. It was really out of this world. Tons of acidic notes, with a long, dry, mouth-puckering finish. I wish they would've had bottles of this left.

I went home and polished off a 2005 bottle of their Old Ale, which was complex and fruity and interesting, but a bit past it's prime. I'm sure I'll be back.


The Grey Lodge Pub

Took a long (and interesting) drive up through the northeast Monday and wound up at Grey Lodge Pub. This is one of the top rated bars in the city and I've been dying to check it out. From the outside it's very unassuming and looks like a hole in the wall. Once inside though it's a nice and laid-back joint with comfortable seating and interior. It was very low key when we were there and service was top notch. From the beer to the food, and even the soda, I dig this place a lot. I wish it were in my back yard. The tap list was on point with tons of great locals, and the bottle list was interesting, well chosen, and reasonably priced, but kinda small. I had some Voodoo Gran Met (go Pittsburgh, sort of) and a Love Stout on the beer engine. The cask beer was served perfectly and reminded me how much I am Love Stout fan. The food was superb - french fries that were a mix of russet and sweet potatoes, perfectly fried, and with a great mayo, and shepherd's pie with lamb, beef, and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes. All well priced, delicious, and incredibly filling. And, the icing on the cake, they had Pennsylvania Dutch Birch beer on draft. BANGING. I left there with a smile on my face. I can't wait to go to my first Friday the Firkinteenth.


Ich Bin Ein Imprssed!!

Anyone? Anyone? Anyways we had Nodding Head Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse at Earth and I was pumped to get to try another example of the style. Every Berline Weisse I've had was delicious and this one was no exception. Tart, funky, sour, well carbonated, incredibly quaffable, and coming in at only 3.5% - great, great stuff. Nodding Head makes some awesome beers and this one was the best I've had from them. Didn't like it as much with the woodruff syrup though...

I really hope I get to see some more Berliner Weissebiers in the near future. What a great style!!


Philly Beer Week - My God.

Tom and Peggy are the coolest bosses ever and gave me last night off, finally giving me a chance to really get out and enjoy Philly Beer Week, at least for one day. And what a day it was. I can't wait till this week next year.

First event we hit was Meet the Brewer with Tomme Arthur (from Port/Lost Abbey) at Capone's, which is easily one of my favorite joints in the area. The event started at 3, and by 4 when we rolled in the parking lot was full. We managed to get one of the last tables and got some beers and food while Tomme was busy chatting with the crowd. Ryan (from McKenzie Brewhouse) was there and joined us, and nerdy talk ensued. Got some chili and some wings, both good, neither great. The tap list while I was there was absolutely absurd. Weyerbacher Quad (3 years old), 13, Echo, Heresy, Slam Dunkel, Merry Monks and Hops Infusion, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, Gordon, Old Chub, and Dave's Pale all whiskey barrel aged, 2 vintages of Old Dominion Millennium (2 year old one with brett and 5 year one without brett) Southampton RIS, Boris the Crusher, Rodenbach Grand Cru, and Port Hop 15. Jesus. Initially I ordered a 2 year old brett Millennium but I received the 5 year old. Oh well, still delicious. Went for a sampler afterward. Weyerbacher Echo was really good with a nice amount of rye and potent hops, 3 year old Quad was not oxidized at all and tasted like freaking bubblegum, Barrel Aged Gordon was surprisingly divine with enough complexity and smoothness to kill a horse, and the Southampton RIS was really interesting, very smokey and roasty.

I got to shoot the shit with Tomme for a few minutes - basically just hey I'm a big fan and congratulations, tried to start some conversation with him, but he got ushered by the bartender to another table full of nerds that were asking for him. I was expecting the event to be a lot less crowded and am completely blown away by the amount of beer loving folk there are in this city. Unexpected, and I will know to prepare next year. We ran into the same problem at the other event we attended.

Went home, grabbed a cat nap, then headed to South Philly for another Meet the Brewer event, this one with Rob Tod from Allagash, at For Pete's Sake. This was my first time there, set in the chill Queens Village. The place was packed! I really dig the spot, real laid back inside and good service. We just got dessert which was great, and I had 2 Allagash beers. Victoria, made with Chardonnay grapes, was delicate and delicious, and Black, a Belgian style stout, was roasty and fruity. Both of these beers, paired with black forest cake and raspberry almond pie, were the perfect nightcap.

Again, I only got to talk to Rob for a minute but he seems like a great guy. He was busy talking with other people, and I was getting tired, so we left. It was an honor to shake his hand. Allagash Tripel was the beer that turned me on to the world of Belgian beer. I'd had a few before, but this was the one that showed me how awesome beer could really be. Allagash was instrumental in my becoming a brewer, and was one of the brewers that taught me to love beer.

I'm floored by how much this city loves good beer, and how many people here truly appreciate beer for what it is. Ahh, what a nice city this Philadelphia is. I could get used to it here..


Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otono after 18 months..

Delicious. I can't say enough about this brewery. At first this beer didn't intrigue me too much, but now the funkiness has come out perfectly. Absolutely stunning looking beer. Brilliantly clear gold body with heavy fast moving carbonation. On top sits a big rich white head that leaves elegant lacing (see bottom picture). The aroma is acidic and tart, with lemons, fruit, spice, cheese, and loads of funk-osity. The taste is wild yet tame, funky yet approachable, and ridiculously complex. Spicy and sweet in the mouth, but it finishes dry as a bone with a long lemony aftertaste. The acidity is soft and balanced. I'm floored by how awesome this beer has become. With every sip I become a bigger JP fan. Best brewery in America, besides Earth of course.


07 Stone Imperial Russian Stout

Dark black with a thin beige head that dies down quickly. Wonderful molasses aroma with big hints of espresso, chocolate, dark fruits and anise. I could sniff on this bastard all night! Very balanced and complex flavor, clearly benefiting from 2 years in the hole. Cocoa, espresso, anise, chocolate, roasted malts, and a long soy sauce finish. This is a great beer to age and, honestly, could use a few more years.


Oh McMenamin's How I Love Thee..

I was planning on going out to Teresa's Next Door in Wayne yesterday but those plans got shat all over when we got hit with that crazy snowstorm. So we decided instead to get some lunch around here and I'm sure glad we did. We met John (Earth's greatest bartender) for some grub and brews at McMenamin's, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite bars in the city.

The tap list was quite possibly the best I've seen it there - Obamagang, Old Guardian, Cape Ann Brewing's Fisherman's Doppelbock, Bacchus Flanders Red, La Trappe Quad, Founder's Double Trouble and some other great stuff I can't even remember. I opted for a Bacchus, which was an interesting Flanders Red. Very sharp and acidic in the mouth, but finishing clean with no tartness at all. Just last week they had Duchesse De Bourgogne on tap. 2 Flanders Reds in a row, what more could you want!?

For lunch I had one of the specials, turkey croquettes, which were simply amazing. The turkey was tender and delicious, the sauce perfect, and the side salad, which consisted of baby greens, craisins, pine nuts, and bacon, incredible. I ordered an Obamagang with my meal and it was stellar stuff. Roasted and chocolate notes stole the show and were balanced out perfectly by the subtle but delicious fruity esters of that marvelous Belgian yeast. It was slick and oily and sublime.

Afterward we went home, attempted to watch What Just Happened? starring De Niro, and fell asleep 20 minutes into it cause it was just terrible... The perfect way to spend a day off.