|A Christmas beer for all seasons.|
Two noted Philadelphia beer bars have been sitting on kegs of benchmark Christmas ales for the last six months, biding their time for the sticky summer day when they can crank the AC and swill some serious brews.
Bridgid's, in Fairmount, will tap at least one holiday keg every Friday afternoon, the identity of which they will reveal on their Twitter just prior. In the lineup: Corsendonk Christmas, St. Bernardus Christmas, Affligiem Noel, Delirium Noel andï¿½ Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bons Veux, as well as local cult favorite Mad Elf from Trï¿½egs.
Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bons Veux, which means "with warmest wishes," is unlike other holiday beers in that it is not dark. It is instead a burnished golden-orange and rich in peppery hops in the traditional saison style, and most appropriate any time of year.
Grey Lodge Pub goes a step further, tapping all of their cellared goodies in one blowout event tomorrow. At 6 p.m., Friday, July 10, Mike "Scoats" Scotese will unleash Trï¿½egs Mad Elf, Rogue Santaï¿½s Private Reserve, and Corsendonk Christmas, among other seasonal beers.ï¿½ The Grey Lodge extends even more holiday spirit, throwing in a free Christmas treat from Hesh's Bakery with the purchase of any entrï¿½e.
Lift a hearty toast to that fictional, generous fat man whose existence lets us drink cheering high-gravity brews not once, but twice a year.
Bridgid's Christmas in July, each Friday in July (7/10, 7/17, 7/24, 7/31), 726 N. 24th St., 215-232-3232, bridgids.com
Grey Lodge Christmas in July, Fri., July 10, 6 p.m., 6235 Frankford Ave., 215-825-5357, greylodge.com
The Meal Ticket faithful have heard me rag on before about beer cocktails, those lowbrow mixtures of brew, hard liquor, juices and even wine, and now our favorite food section has picked up on the trend.ï¿½ Yesterday's New York Times profiled a few beer-loving bartenders, chefs and resto owners who are daring to blend and offend brewers.
Philadelphia gets represented by London Grill co-owner Terry Berch McNally, who was tapped to talk about the inspiration behind London's new beer cocktail program.
Indeed, the inspiration for the beer drinks that Terry Berch McNally serves at the London Grill in Philadelphia was Rudi Ghequire, brewer of Rodenbach beer in Belgium, who ï¿½suggested we add things like grenadine and cassis to his beer,ï¿½ she said. ï¿½You sell more beer this way, and you make more money.ï¿½
Scope London's full list of creations after the jump.
From London Grill's Beer Drinks Press Release:
Fascinating beer drinks include:
London Shandy, Fullerï¿½s ESB, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and lemon;
Sierra Red Eye, Sierra Nevada pale ale with a shot of spicy house-made Bloody Mary mix;
Flower Bud, Budweiser, crï¿½me de violette and St. Germain elderflower liqueur;
Bank Robber, Stoudtï¿½s Willie Sutton lager, house-infused green tea vodka and Irish Mist;
Smoke ï¿½Em If You Got ï¿½Em, Victory Prima Pils with mescal, chipotle vodka, lime and a salt rim;
How Now Brown Cow, Brooklyn brown ale with Nocello and espresso vodka.
In all, London will offer 14 rotating beer cocktails, ranging in price from $5 to $8 with up to 10 varieties available daily.
|Screenshot from LaTrappe.nl|
|Four of Koningshoeven's range of beers: blonde, dubbel, tripel, quadrupel|
Get meta-monk this afternoon when Father Isaac, Prior of Abbey De Koningshoeven in the Netherlands, visits Monk's Cafï¿½ on his first trip to the United States. Joining Father Isaac is Gisj Swinkels, the layman in charge of brewing operations at Koningshoeven.
As Prior, Father Isaac is second in command of the abbey and is director of the brewery.ï¿½ Thank him kindly (with no expletives, please, the man is a priest) for his truly epic Quadrupel, a bomber of a beer that all other quads aspire to be like when they grow up.
Koningshoeven beers were once sold under the name La Trappe, and the specially-flown-in, super-limited Isidor bears the La Trappe label.ï¿½ Isidor, which was brewed to commemorate the abbey's 125th anniversary, is a 7.5 percent ABV amber ale made with perle hops grown on the monastery grounds.ï¿½ï¿½ Only a few bottles were overnighted, at great expense, to debut in the U.S. at this event.ï¿½ Monk's owner Tom Peters suggests arriving early if you want a taste of Isidor.
After the jump, the full Koningshoeven lineup for tonight's event in the back bar.
U.S. Debut of La Trappe Isidor, Monk's Cafe, 5-7 p.m., 264 S. 16th St., 215-545-7005, monkscafe.com
From Tom Peters:
This is a meet & greet featuring their entire lineup of beers:
Three on draft:
1) Koningshoeven Doublel
2) Koningshoeven Quadruple
3) Koningshoeven Witte
Five in bottles:
1) Koningshoeven Bock
2) Koningshoeven Doubel
3) Koningshoeven Triple
4) Koningshoeven Quadrupel
5) La Trappe Isidor
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Great beer in cans.|
When we chatted up DRAFT magazine editor Erika Reitz in March, she was hot on fruit beer, especially the Come Hell or High Watermelon Wheat from 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. Way back then, you couldn't get this beer in Pennsylvania. But today, my friends, by some miracle of modern monopoly bureaucracy, 21st Amendment is onï¿½ shelves in Philly.
I was thrilled to grab a case of the Watermelon Wheat today at Bella Vista Beer & Soda Distributor. At $37.95 before tax, it ain't the best deal ever, but neither is it as spendy as a trip to San Fran.
The beer pours as hazy as the June gloom in SoCal, with a moderate bright white head. The nose is pure sunshiny watermelon, which comes through in the finish, as well. I find most wheat beers under-hopped and insipid, but this one stays crisp and refreshing all the way through. The 5.2 percent ABV is effective but not deadly.
21st Amendment Brewery has pioneered not only acceptable-tasting fruit beer, but good beer packaged exclusively in cans. Their jazzy, watermelon-green box lists Good Reasons To Open A Can Of Beer:
- Cans keep beer fresher because the beer never sees the light
- Cans are lined so they don't affect the flavor of the beer inside
- Cans weigh less than glass and chill faster
- Cans are easier to recycle and more often recycled than glass
- Cans use less energy to to produce and transport than glass
- Cans fit the craft beer drinker's lifestyle. They go where no glass dares: beaches, parks, stadiums, boats, pools, golf courses...
21st Amendment Brewery cases are available at Bella Vista Beer & Soda Distributor, 738 S. 11th St., 404-555-1426
|Photo l Michael Persico|
At a recent press tasting of McGillinï¿½s 1860 IPA Test Batch brewed by Stoudt's, some beer wag confidently announced that "Philly is an IPA town."
True enough.ï¿½ Philly is awash in world-class brews, and India Pale Ale is the quintessential craft style.ï¿½ The first breakout craft beers to gain national attention were pale ales; Sierra Nevada set the standard.ï¿½ The bright,ï¿½ hoppy pale ales were everything mass-produced industrial lager was not: sharp, floral, biting and big.
Tastes for hops increased exponentially as drinkers were introduced to new microbrews, propelling the "extreme brewing" trend and creating demand for almost painfully bitter beers.ï¿½ Even traditionally hop-averse Belgian brewers began rolling out styles based on American IPAs.
Thus, many craft beer drinkers got their start on hops and are now looking for new flavor experiences.ï¿½ Barleywines, imperial stouts and weird fusion styles are getting the dorks chattering on the heavy side, while drinks writers likeï¿½ Lew Bryson and brewers, both local and farther afield (Gordon Grubb at Nodding Head, Jean Van Roy at Cantillon), champion milder, low-alcohol "session" beers.
That said, a great IPA will always get the taps flowing and tongues wagging.ï¿½ The most talked-about recent IPA entry to local barrooms is California's Bear Republic Brewery Racer 5.
The multi-medal winning brew has been around since 1999 but only became available in PA over the winter. Bear's Web site calls Racer 5 "a base for showing off the unique floral qualities of two Pacific Northwest hops, Columbus and Cascade." Columbus is a high-alpha acid hop typically used for bittering; Bear Republic uses it instead as an aroma hop in Racer 5.ï¿½ Though distinctly bitter, the brew is full-bodied and way smooth. At 7 percent ABV, a pint packs a memorable punch and accompanies spicy Mexican and classic American barbecue fare with style.
Tasting Notes: This 12-oz. bottle poured hazy old gold with a substantial, sticky head that left deep lace behind. Nose is flowers and bread.ï¿½ Hops dominate the flavor, but malt from the all-American grain bill stands up behind the grapefruit. A resinous, almost musty undercurrent keeps the whole thing working together.ï¿½ One of the best American IPAs I've ever had.
Racer 5 is seriously recommended.ï¿½ Look for it on tap at local beer bars, or pick up a sixer at Total Wine in Cherry Hill for $11.99.
Total Wine & More, 2100 Route 38, Cherry Hill, NJ; 856-667-7100, totalwine.com
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
A New Jersey-born homage to Belgian saison (which means season), Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale is brewed from Belgian two-row pale and Cara Pils malts, as well as 7 percent white wheat. The ale is bittered and preserved with Magnum and Styrian Golding hops and lightly filtered.
Not as bitter or piney as an IPA, but with enough crisp, lemony notes to be refreshing, the saison style is an ideal for those who have graduated from feather-light white beers but don't want to clobber their tongue with hops and huge booze.
At 4.6 percent, this ale falls squarely into the sessionable category, and should pair nicely with food, especially lighter fare like summer salads, fish and grilled vegetables. Flying Fish's Web site also suggests using it as a marinade.
Tasting Notes: The beer pours a bright golden color with a substantial pure white head that fades quickly. It is highly effervescent. The nose is of cut grass. The major flavors I tasted were citrus, mostly lemon, as well as a subtle underlying malt sweetness. The hops are peppery and spicy but not overwhelming.
This beer is a good 101-Belgian style and a gentle introduction to craft beer for the industrial lager drinker, as well as being lighthearted enough to go down easy while barbecuing or playing softball. It was a wise choice to market it as a "summer ale" and not a saison, because hopheads and aficionados will find it wanting compared to Saison Dupont and Saison d'Erpe-Mere.
|Milk stout shake?|
Warm weather inspires a real itch to do some damaging daytime drinking. Businesspersons' special Phillies games,ï¿½ the smell of wafting barbecue smoke and the new lunch hours at Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant are all conspiring against your productive afternoons. Starting Monday, May 18, Dock Street will open at noon, serving their micros and pizza to daytime drinkers.
If sugar is your preferred buzz, why not enter the upcoming Dock Street Dessert Contest? The only rule is a hoppy one: your entry must include beer, preferably Dock Street, in the recipe. Bring your entry to the contest on Monday, June 1 and be judged by a panel of beer, and ostensibly, sugar experts: Dock Street head brewer Ben Potts, Grey Lodge Lodgemaster Mike "Scoats" Scotese, Left Hand Brewing rep Dan Conway, venerable beerhead Eddie Friedland of Origlio Beverage and Chef Peppino of the Restaurant School.
Where's the love for the ladies, Dock Street? We eat more desserts per pound than beer dudes, who are forced to save up calories for their beverage of choice.
Anyway, anyone can enter. First prize is a growler and fill of your choice and a shot at Dock Street putting your creation on the menu. If you yearn to win the top spot, email your pledge to participate to email@example.com.
Dock Street Dessert Competition, Mon., June 1, 6-8 p.m., 701 S. 50th St. 215-726-2337, dockstreetbeer.com
|The approved label.|
When writer Burkhard Bilger profiled Dogfish Head for the New Yorker last year, they were in the throes of experimentation with Sah'tea, a riff on the Finnish beer style sahti, which is flavored with juniper berries and boiled by heating rocks in an open fire and dropping them into the wort. Dogfish's blog has two videos of the original experiment here.
Dogfish being Dogfish, of course, they had to take this thing to the next level, and so added a black chai admixture to the end of the boil. As of May 5, the Dogfish brewery in Milton, DE was firing up the kettle for the first full production of Sah'tea. Which means a limited amount of this guaranteed-weird beer in 750 ml. bottles should hit Philadelphia bars and bottle shops this month.
Here's what Dogfish's Web site says on Sah'tea:
A modern update on a 9th century Finnish proto-beer. Brewed with rye, we caramelize the wort with white hot river rocks, then ferment it with a German Weizen yeast. In addition to juniper berries foraged directly from the Finnish country-side we added a sort of tea made with corriander, caramamom, lemon grass, Indian Black Tea, and ramps leaves. The spicing is subtle and balanced and Sahtea is a highly-quaffable, truly-unique brew with a full-mouth feel.
While you wait for the latest, stop by Monk's Cafï¿½ today at noon, when we tap a hush-hush firkin of Dogfish Head 75-Minute IPA, a blend of 60 and 90 Minute IPAs all dry-hopped and dosed with maple syrup and fresh yeast before being casked. This strange brew will be accompanied by a healthy variety of hard-to-find Dogfish bottles, including Theobroma, Black & Blue, Red & White and World Wide Stout. Your friendly Meal Ticket blogger will be holding it down at the front bar, so stop by and get drunk on lunch, why don'tcha.
Dogfish Head 75-Minute IPA firkin tapping, Tues., May 12, Noon; Monk's Cafï¿½, 16th & Spruce St., 215-545-7005, monkscafe.com
Lots of drunks like to wax philosophical over fine brews, but precious few know what the hell they're talking about.ï¿½ Now you can get learned in the pub when The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery'sï¿½ all-dark beer line is rolled out in Philadelphia this week.
The logo of the North Carolina outfit was inspired by brewer Paul Philippon's former life as a university philosophy teacher.ï¿½ A version of the duck-rabbit diagram, which looks like a duck or rabbit depending on the viewer's perspective, appears in Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein, a philosophy book Philippon admires.
Locals will get a chance to acquaint themselves with the fruits of Philoppon's second career at a host of samplings at locations across the suburbs and city.ï¿½ï¿½ Duck-Rabbit's Brown Ale, Amber Ale, Porter and Milk Stout are now available at select bars, including Monk's Cafe, Capone's, Grey Lodge and The Sidecar, as well as at the 2nd St. Foodery.ï¿½ Find out where you can be the first to taste these new beers, after the jump.
Mon. May 4th :
Teresaï¿½s Next Door tasting with food pairingsï¿½ 6-8 pm
124 N. Wayne Aveï¿½ Wayne, Pa. 19087ï¿½ (610) 293-9909
Restaurant/Bar Meet & Greet with food pairingsï¿½ 5-6 beers on tap
Monkï¿½s Cafï¿½ meet and greetï¿½ 5:30-7 pm
264 S. 16th St.ï¿½ Phila. , Pa.ï¿½ 19102ï¿½ (215) 545-7005
Back bar Meet & Greetï¿½ 5-6 beers on tap
Tues May 5th :
Caponeï¿½s Kickoffï¿½ 5-8 pm
224 W. Germantown Pikeï¿½ Norristown, Paï¿½ 19401ï¿½ (610) 279-4748
Restaurant/Bar Meet & Greetï¿½ 6-7 beers on tap
The Sidecar tasting with food pairings 6-9 pm
2201 Christian St. Phila. Paï¿½ 19146ï¿½ (215) 732-3429
Restaurant/Bar Meet & Greetï¿½ 5-6 beers on tap
Wed May 6th :
Foodery 2nd St samplingï¿½ 4-6 pm
837 N, 2nd St.ï¿½ Phila, Paï¿½ 19123ï¿½ (215) 238-6077
Bottle Shop sampling of 6 styles
Abeï¿½s Cold Beer sampling 4-6 pm
1301 W. Broad St.ï¿½ Bethlehem, Paï¿½ (610) 997-0831
Bottle Shop sampling of all styles
Grey Lodge Public House Rollout 6-9 pm
6235 Frankford Ave. Phila, Paï¿½ï¿½ (215) 825-5357
Meet & Greetï¿½ 3-4 styles on tap
|via White Beer Travels|
|Jean Van Roy serving Cantillon|
Lambic fans who stood in the rain for a ticket to last night's Cantillon dinner at Monk's Cafï¿½ were well-rewarded for their soaking by the effusive presence of fourth-generation Cantillon brewer Jean Van Roy, whose mavericky brews are the point of obsession for drinkers of the obscure lambic style.
"Jean-Pierre Van Roy told me in 1987 he had 200 accounts in Brussels," Monk's owner Tom Peters told me. "By 1997, he had 20. America is the reason they survived. We get a full third of Belgium's lambic production, and we'd take more if they would give it to us."
Meal Ticket crashed the dinner to chat with Jean Van Roy about what makes lambic special, and what it's like to feel the love in Philadelphia on his first visit to the United States. (Learn the history and qualities of lambic beer here.)
Meal Ticket: When did you begin brewing at Cantillon?
Jean Van Roy: Well, do you mean when did I begin brewing alone, without my teacher? Seven years ago, but I have been working at the brewery since I was very very young. It is the brewery of my great-grandfather, and I began brewing with my father in 1989.
MT: Is lambic beer popular in Belgium?
JVR: No. It is not popular. Lambic is too special ï¿½ it is the last beer to be made with spontaneous fermentation. It is a product totally apart ï¿½ made from the natural yeasts of the air, aged in casks like wine ... it is something very special. Ninety-nine percent of beer in the market that is labeled "framboise" or "lambic" is not traditional. We are making something else.
MT: Why isn't lambic more popular?
JVR: Lambic is really for beer specialists. It is popular with beer lovers, who search for these things.ï¿½ For classic beer drinkers, no. In Belgium or outside of Belgium. It is a taste totally apart. When you begin to learn this beer and you like it ... it becomes difficult to drink a beer with a sweet taste. We have customers who come to the brewery who say they don't like beer, but they love Cantillon. We have very good contacts with the wine world.
MT: That's very true. Don't tell Tom [Peters], but lambic has pretty much ruined me for beer. Many people who only drink wine are easy to convert to lambics. Where do you get the barrels that you age your beer in?
JVR: All our barrels are from France. They have been used, generally, two to five times for wine before they come to us. When we get them, we clean them very thoroughly, but a bit of liquid remains in the wood from the wine or cognac ... so the first time you use that barrel it produces a very special lambic, a very good one.
MT: Are there any beers here tonight that are especially interesting to you?
JVR: Ah, there is the Cuvee Monk's Gueuze. Tom came to Brussels in September and we chose together the lambics for this special blend, including a lambic with Amarillo hops. [Ed: This is the very hoppy lambic brewed by The Brett Pack during a visit to Cantillon. More on that here.]
MT: Yes, I heard your father did not approve of that very hoppy lambic.
JVR: We thought that the balance between hop and lambic was not perfect. But as a blend with classic lambic, such a blend made a beer with excellent balance.
MT: Cantillon has a huge following in Philadelphia. People here love your beers.
JVR:ï¿½ It is incredible ... I cannot express the feeling here. There is nothing like it, even in Brussels.
MT: What do you think of Philadelphia?
JVR: It is a big city, yes? One million people?
MT: About that, yes.
JVR: It's very quiet here, even though it is a big city. I get a feeling here, that I also get in Brussels, which is of a village in a city.
MT: Are you visiting any other places on your trip?
JVR: Tomorrow we go to New York. People here have been telling me it will be something else.
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