Archive for Beer

Better Late Than Never

Posted in Beer, event, Unofficial News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by philadelphiaexbeeriment

Dear Readers,

We apologize for what seems to be a summertime hiatus.  We have our reasons for not being able to fill your mind with reviews, events, and interviews for the past few weeks but we will not take this time to drop a bunch of excuses on you.  Shame on us for not updating as often as we would have liked.

That being said, we are returning next week and will once again provide you with what we refer to as “beer necessities”.  We are also in the midst of planning some great ExBEERiment events for the fall and winter!  So please, stayed tuned.

Thanks again!

The Ladies of PE

P.S. We can neither confirm nor deny the rumors that we have been busy over the last few months traveling through time, trapped in a battle between elemental forces of good and evil:

Clip from Time Bandits (1981), Terry Gilliam

A Little Bit of Saving Grace

Posted in bar hopping with tags , , , , , , , on April 17, 2009 by philadelphiaexbeeriment
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Don't judge a bar by its cover.

Grace Tavern.  It was a name we’d heard passed back and forth between the lips of locals, peppered throughout conversations behind the bar and in the midst of parties.  We were informed of its status as a hole-in-the-wall that was, nevertheless, well worth a visit.  For us, it became like a legendary El Dorado, a promised land that only those in-the-know could reach.

We were not disappointed by our nighttime venture.  We walked through its misleadingly shabby exterior, into a realm cut directly from a Pink Floyd album cover.  Like Dr. Dave Bowman after confronting the Black Monolith, we were drawn forward into a landscape of strange hues and distorted geometry.  Grace Tavern can be summed up in only a few words.  The atmosphere?  Psychedelic.  The color?  Purple Haze.

Nevertheless, don’t let the trippy atmosphere fool you.  This hippie haven is well-stocked with the best in beer.  With featured drafts from Monks Cafe and Nodding Head, and a bottled beauty for almost every letter of the alphabet, this bar at 2229 Grays Ferry Ave will keep you happy all night long.

Sure, the bathroom may be kind of small, and the Bevador in the corner may look like a leftover prop from Forbidden Planet, but this bar screams “cool” as fiercely as a Bob Dylan record.  From the floral pattern etched into the ceiling, to the funky lighting, Grace is sure to please the flower child in all of us.  So hop aboard the magic bus and take a ride to Grace Tavern.

And if you should have trouble spotting it, just remember, it vaguely resembles the background from the original Whose Line Is It Anyway? set:

When Beer and Poetry Collide

Posted in Beer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by philadelphiaexbeeriment

“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” — Oscar Wilde

Many a writer seems to lead a life that runs hand in hand with alcohol, yet none so much as the American writer.  From Ernest Hemingway to Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac to F. Scott Fitzgerald, creativity and a passion for the drink have danced along that same fine line that separates genius from insanity.  How fitting then that one of our next beers up for discussion is named after that all-too-familiar poem by one of our most famous alcoholic Americans.

The Raven

Special Lager, 5.5% ABV

The next invention we're hoping to see come out of Japan: the beer bookmark.

The next invention we're hoping to see come out of Japan: the beer bookmark.

Baltimore-Washington Beer Works joined hands with Germany to give us this lovely lager.

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Kunoichi Erica:  The Raven cannot be described as anything other than perfectly Poe-like.  The first glance of its golden hue immediately recalls sunlight breaking through the rent in the House of Usher.  Its murky texture speaks of mysteries swirling within one’s glass–mysteries as curious as the mind of the poet himself.  The crisp fragrance is as wholesome as Landor’s Cottage, as comforting as the embrace of Lenore.

True, its flavor is not complex.  Nor is it particularly potent.  Rather, it is the longevity of the taste that reels one in.  Like the meter of Poe’s poems, it sticks to the pallet, locking the unwary drinker into a state of satisfaction sealed as tightly as the tomb of Fortunato.  While The Raven may not be destined to be ranked among the finest of beers, its haunting quality guarantees it a role as loyal companion to many a lager-lover.  One cannot help but wax poetic:

Once from out a bottle trimly, as I poured it, nice and nimbly,

Tumbled outward a smooth and syrupy lager of some writer’s lore–

While I sipping, slowly savored, suddenly there came a flavor,

As of fresh bread newly lavored, lavored with a caramel score.

”Tis a tasty brew,’ I muttered, flavored with a caramel score–

‘Drink the Raven, evermore.’

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While Kunoichi tackles America, Miss Riot will be mingling with ancient alcoholics from the Mediterranean.   Thanks to the generous donation of Doc’s DeLorean, she was able to kick it old-school with the wine-guzzling Roman wonder: Ovid.  Together, they sampled a magical beer aptly named for his most famous mythical character.  Now go exBEERiment, before you metamorphose into an insect:

Midas Touch Golden Elixir

9 %/ ABV

Deemed a Herbed/Spiced Beer and royally crafted by

Dogfish Head Brewery.

King Midas: “Fiddlesticks! Give me gold, not advice!”
Goldie:  “So be it. I gave thee advice. Now I give thee gold. The golden touch is thine. Toodle-oo!”

The Golden Touch, 1935

rachel-riot-thumbnailRachel Riot: This “elixir” is fit for a King himself.  It lays within a bottle decorated in purple and gold and pours a color of golden coins.  A smooth beer with little to no head and perfected with features of  honey and fruit.  It’s sweet but not overpowering and sits well on the tongue and in the aftertaste.  It’s definitely not a session beer so take your time and enjoy the texture and taste.   You can experience this golden beer for $6.00 a bottle at 12 Steps Down.  Purchasing Midas Touch might leave recession affected people without riches but, just like King Midas, you will be richer in the things that really matter:  good beer.

Now check out Tim Burton’s Vincent (1982).  It’s about as close as you’ll get to a glimpse into our childhood.

Q and A: Quenching Curiosity and Answering to Alcohol

Posted in Beer, event, Unofficial News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2009 by philadelphiaexbeeriment
pe-cheers1

Raising a toast to the wide array of sophisticated suds in South Philly.

In the spirit of exBEERimentation that pervades the streets of Philadelphia during the days leading up to Beer Week, the Ladies of PE have scoured the beer community in search of interesting personalities to regale you with their yeasty yarns.  The first interview to appear in this sudsy series features Adam Ritter, owner of the Sidecar Bar & Grille and participant in Beer Week’s South Philly Short Bus.

As natives of South Philadelphia ourselves, we can’t help but raise a glass in salute to his community pride!

We only wish we could let you share in the amazing music that was playing in the background.  Nothing pumps an interview up more than a large helping of T-Rex and The Kinks.

rachel-riot-thumbnail2Rachel Riot: What was the inspiration behind the short bus?

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adam-ritter-thumbnailAdam Ritter:  More than anything, we wanted to highlight what’s actually going on in South Philly. We feel as though outside of the city center, going into South Philly a little bit there’s some exciting stuff going on; there’s exciting bars. The events themselves are second to none. We’ve been lucky enough to basically form an interesting association, guild, whatever you want to call it, amongst the different bars here in South Philadelphia, that we’re excited about. We want to showcase what’s going on here, and I figured the best way to do that is to take some of the people right to the bars and make it happen for them. Almost give them no choice.

And listen, it’s a great deal. It’s free, and it continues in its own circle for about 9-10 hours. It actually goes from 4 [pm] to 1 in the morning on three different nights during Beer Week. It [starts on] the first Saturday, which sandwiches the Wednesday, and of course ends on the second Saturday. And we all have fun events, good events going on. And we really teamed up to advertise it well and promote it well in general. And we’re all real excited about it here in South Philly. Anything south of South [Street] that takes beer seriously.


rachel-riot-thumbnail3Rachel Riot: How do you feel that South Philly bars compare to bars in other areas of the city?

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adam-ritter-thumbnail1Adam Ritter:  Just to piggyback what I was saying earlier…I feel as though what we’re doing here in South Philly is second to none. That may be prejudiced, because we’re here in South Philly: we’re proud of what we do more than anything. There’s interesting bars all around this town, but I think there’s a great collection right here within a ten block radius.And we all take what we do so very seriously; and I feel as if we all take beer very seriously. And we’re just trying to take beer, make it fun and mature—combine the two together. And we’re not necessarily doing this for the St. Patty’s Day feel. We’re looking to do this for people who want to check out some good stuff outside of the traditional, typical places in the city’s center.


kunoichi-erica-thumbnail-32Kunoichi Erica: Do you hope for the short bus to accomplish anything besides getting drunk people from point a to point b during the festivities?

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adam-ritter-thumbnail3Adam Ritter:  Oh yeah, of course, more than anything. There’s a lot of savvy folks that are drinking high-end, high-gravity suds right now…I’m going to take myself out of it as a bar owner and say very specifically: if I saw something like this, and I enjoyed good beer, this would be the greatest thing ever. You get to encompass six respective bars all within one evening, or even in three evenings. If you want to drink American-made, Belgian-style beer here at the beginning of the trip, you know that there’s something from Michigan going on at the other end of the street and something from California going on at another bar…You’re essentially going around the beer world in a trip that’s going to take you about an hour and a half to get you all the way around.

Is there going to be some drunkenness going on? I imagine there is. That’s what I was saying before: it’s not like we’re just trying to cart people around to do a bunch of Irish Car Bombs and stuff like that. These are people that are sophisticated, that want to drink something that they typically can’t get their hands on: maybe some one-off stuff, real specialized stuff that’s coming in, that we’ve been working on for a while, each and every one of us. And then also concepts to build around that….

I know Grace [Tavern], for instance, is doing an event with Sam Adams—a chocolate and cheese beer event…On a Friday night we’re bringing Hebrew beer in from Shmaltz Brewery, and my mom’s making traditional Jewish food to match up with what’s basically Shabbat’s Dinner with Hebrew beer….When I first heard about that brewery, I thought it was really cute to piggyback it with the Hebrew thing: and it turned out to be really delicious beer. It’s not just cute; it actually is good beer—it stands on its own. Therefore we came up with the concept to have the Shabbat’s Dinner and I’m going to play Klezmer music from New Orleans to match it, and maybe throw some Neil Diamond in there as well….

You can tell through the Philly Beer Week website, we’ve all got great stuff going on [in South Philly]. For Pete’s Sake has great things going on. Philly Taproom brought beer in that they’re giving away—the New Glarus product. They had a shipment and they’re giving it away, just because it’s that interesting of a beer, that they’re able to do that. I know the Devil’s Den has some really great events as well with the Bell’s people, Founder’s as well. I feel that we’ve got some really well-thought-out concepts going on here. These are beer concepts. It’s not just about carting drunk people around. It’s about saying, “Let’s taste beer for what it is. Let’s appreciate it for what it is. And let’s have a whole lot of fun with it, in a slightly immature, but mature, way.”


kunoichi-erica-thumbnail-31Kunoichi Erica: If you could equate one beer with President Obama, what would it be, and why?

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adam-ritter-thumbnail4Adam Ritter:  Well, I don’t know if I would equate it personally, but Ommegang came out with a beer called Obamagang. So we’re going to do an entire Belgian evening with Ommegang. They’re from Cooperstown, NY, and they do Belgian-style, American-made beer. So we’re gonna do an “Are You Experienced?” night—meaning Belgian food and beer…They did a one-off package in favor of the president—a Chocolate Cherry Stout, that we’re going to have a sixtel of for that event. You’re not going to be able to ever get that beer again. So…we have this particular beer, that there’s probably four sixtels of in the entire state right now. That’s just an example of the uniqueness of some of these events. But, to go back, that’s probably the one that I would equate with him, because it’s named and brewed for him.*

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*PE Writers’ Note: Since the time of this interview, we’ve learned that the feds have put a stop to the name of Ommegang’s new beer. It will now be officially called “Inauguration Ale 2009.” Imbibe more here: Examiner.com

The Flemish Word for “Public” is “Openbaar” … Belgium, Here We Come!!!

Posted in Beer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2009 by philadelphiaexbeeriment

“But the greatest love – the love above all loves, even greater than that of a mother – is the tender, passionate, undying love…of one drunken slob for another.”  –Irish Saying

We hope our recent pub crawl has rekindled the flame of beer-love in your hearts.  Nevertheless, if the light of exbeerimentation still isn’t strong enough to make you swoony, here are a few more beer reviews to get you through the rest of the winter months.

Duchesse de Bourgogne

duchesse-bottlecap

The Royal Crown

6% ABV Belgian Ale

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Brewery was cultivated in a castle-farm as early as 1875.

Imbibe more here: For Those of You Who Can’t Read West Flemish

kunoichi-erica-thumbnail-31Kunoichi Erica:  This refined courtesan of the Sour Flemish Aledom brings a sense of fulfillment and excitement to the pallet.  The intense flavor of the first sip alone is enough to light your tastebuds across the board.  With the color of a dark-wood armoir and the complexity of a Schnittke cantata, the vinegar-taste of this beer is anything but unappetizing.  Rather, like the perfect compliment to the oil on your salad, the sharp touch of vinegar on your tongue acts like a clarion call to the pleasure centers of your cerebellum.  As the Duchesse dances down your gullet with the smooth grace of a waltzer, be sure to thank the gods for small favors (and big flavors).

Walt Wit

walt-wit

The gardener-poet in his rightful habitat.

4.2% ABV Belgian Style White Ale

Brewed right here in the city of “Brewery” love at Philadelphia Brewing Co.

rachel-riot-thumbnail4Rachel Riot: While the beers over at Philadelphia Brewing Co usually aren’t my cup of tea…uh beer, I do enjoy a Walt Wit every once in awhile.  The Walt Wit is a perfect spring beer; light and refreshing with hints of chamomile, oranges, and spices.  However, it has a stronger floral hop feel than most other white ales that I’ve had or liked.  This might be a problem for some, considering it’s particularly noticeable in the aftertaste rather than on the tongue.  I’ve come to realize that I like the beer better on tap than from a bottle pour: it’s not as overpowering and I think it tastes better overall.  Best thing about this beer:  The cool pencil tap handle it comes from!

Now we’re off to investigate further into our recent discovery of the “Openbaar Ministerie.”  According to Google, it’s simply the Belgian Ministry of Justice…But we have our suspicions that down the street from the Ministry of Silly Walks, and around the corner from the Ministry of Magic, is an earthly paradise otherwise known to Belgians in-the-know as the Ministry of Open Bars.

But don’t worry; we won’t be long.  We investigate with all the acumen and covertness of Inspector Jacques Clouseau:

Clip from The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Love Is Strange, but Beer Is Stranger…

Posted in Beer, event with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2009 by philadelphiaexbeeriment

As promised, here is the picture slideshow from the “In Love with Beer” Pub Crawl.  Thank you for making our Valentine’s Day a memorable one!  We hope you enjoy:

Our Ode to Dive Bars — in which we wax nostalgic over the dying breed of corner bars

Posted in bar hopping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2009 by philadelphiaexbeeriment

Okay.  So maybe the water tastes like some guy stood under the El during a rainstorm and filled a bunch of buckets with the sludge that leaked through.  And maybe the occasional old punk-rocker will stumble in, reminiscing about the good-old-days.  But, then again, it’s the neighborhood corner bars, where the shows are cheap, and the beer even cheaper, that give a city its character.

The El Bar, located at 1356 N. Front Street, is the quintessential dive-bar.    Like a bowl of instant ramen, it provides a quick burst of comfort for a negligible price.  After all, where else could you find a venue that will include performances from a rockabilly band, a Japanese garage group, and a psychedelic-rock quartet that very prominently features the kazoo…maybe even all on the same night?

Upcoming shows include:

Feb. 13, 9 pm: Billy D. Light Trio with Delco Nightingale & the girls of Peek-A-Boo Revue

Feb. 27, 9 pm: The Buzzards with The Lone Gunmen and American Barfight

Mar. 14, 9 pm: Handsome Petes, The Orange Factory, Transistor Down, God’s Green Earth

Apr. 4, 8 pm: Victoria Fest II

A cross between Eric Foreman’s basement and the bastard-son of CBGB, the El Bar is our home away from home.  It’s a place where, quite literally, everybody knows your name.

So, if you’re looking for a spot where you can unleash your passion for swing-dancing, or just make a few good friends, you know where we’ll be.

After all, if we allow our dive-bars to die out, then the only other place to buy cheap beer will be…Canada:

That 70’s Show, “Canadian Road Trip”