I should have known better! There was no way that this year’s Philly Beer Week Pub Crawl could ever match last year’s outing, which consisted of a 10AM start at the Reading Terminal Market, five different bars, the discovery of Ballast Point, Great Lakes and The Breury (they were new to me at least), and absolutely spectacular weather (75 and sunny all day long!). Although I was planning to take two days off this year and explore all of the great events during this year’s Philly Beer Week (PBW), family obligations, work, and a mini heat wave conspired against me, and limited this year’s pub crawl to a paltry five hours.
And now for the recap…
- Fergie’s Pub: At 4PM, a firkin of Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA was tapped for the very thirsty PBW craft beer lovers. The Alemonger, fresh from a Lagunitas tap takeover at The Cooperage, and an escorted walk up Sansom Street with Matt and Jenn of Philly Beer Week and the PBW Hammer of Glory, was there for the tapping, and quickly working his way through a pint of this delicious beer when I finally showed up at 5:10. I grabbed a pint ASAP and was introduced to The Alemonger’s new friends. We chatted with Jenn for a few minutes and heard some details about the stuff that goes on behind the scenes of PBW. Since there were numerous other events happening that night, Jenn and Matt moved on and left us to finish our beers. I was able to leave Fergie’s with three Dogfish Head pint glasses.
While at Fergie’s, I was also texting back and forth with The Wookie and our friend Crazy Eye in order to find out when and where we would be meeting up (sadly, The ROK and Limpd were unable to join us for the pub crawl). As luck would have it, Crazy Eye was on his way to Fergie’s, so we waited for him outside in the sweltering heat, and then moved on to our second bar of the evening.
- The Oyster House: When we arrived at 6PM, we were greeted by a very loud and crowded bar/restaurant. Victory Brewing had two beers on tap for this event: a firkin of Headwaters Pale Ale, and their latest seasonal beer, the Summer Love Ale (we ordered three of these). Though the Summer Love Ale was perfectly suited for the ridiculously hot weather that night (95+ degrees and VERY humid!), I didn’t think that it was anything special. It was a good beer, but not a great one. The Wookie joined us by 6:30 and ordered himself a pint of the Headwaters Pale Ale. He remarked that the firkin version was better than the bottled version, but much like our Summer Love Ale experience, he wasn’t particularly impressed with it. Although I would have loved to stay a bit longer and partake of some delicious shellfish, it was way too crowded, so we decided to move on.
- Misconduct Tavern: Since we were getting pretty hungry by the time we arrived, I immediately requested a table so that we could sit down and order some food. Ithaca Brewing was the featured brewer, so we ordered four pints of their Partly Sunny wheat beer. I have had two other Ithaca beers, the Groundbreak Saison and the Apricot Wheat. Since I’m not very fond of those two beers, I wasn’t expecting too much from the Partly Sunny. Thankfully, Ithaca proved me wrong, and I really enjoyed their version of a Belgian Wit. Crisp, clean, a little bit spicy, and absolutely delicious (as good as the Allagash White and Avery White Rascal). By the time we finished our first beer, our table was ready. Two of us ordered the French Dip and two of us ordered the Misconduct Burger (sans cheese for The Alemonger). I also ordered a flight of Ithaca beers (eight different ones). Unfortunately, I didn’t write the beers down, and I don’t see them listed on their website, but I do know that they ranged between 6% and 12% ABV, and that most of them were very good. I worked through most of my samples while eating my burger, which was perfectly cooked, and served with some crisp french fries. Overall, this was a great stop! Good food, good service, and good beer. This is exactly what we were looking for.
- 13th and Capogiro: Did I mention that it was 95+ degrees and very humid last Wednesday night? Did I also mention that I was overdressed for the night’s activities (lightweight wool pants, long sleeve shirt, and a tie)? Since our next bar was 6 blocks away, we decided to make a quick stop at Capogiro, grab some of their world class gelato, and hopefully cool down a bit. A stop at Capogiro is always worthwhile, but alas, it was crowded and not particularly cool inside. Fortunately, the gelato was delicious! They had three PBW inspired gelatos that night, so I ordered a small cup with two of them: Voodoo Love Child and Blueberry Ale. I wish I could describe them in greater detail, but once again, I wasn’t taking notes.
- Vargas Bar: This place was packed for the Avery Brewing tap takeover! Since there wasn’t much standing room, we decided to skip it and move on.
- Tria Washington Square West: Although I have been to their Rittenhouse Square location on numerous occasions, this was my first time at Tria Washington Square West. Thankfully, both locations share the same menu, so we were confident that whatever we ordered would be excellent. Since there wasn’t any PBW events scheduled at Tria last Wednesday night, we could actually secure four seats at the bar. I was getting pretty full at this point and decided to order a lighter beer (a Stoudt’s Gold Lager). I also ordered a small plate of cured Spanish pork tenderloin with pickled golden raisins and baby cilantro (I know I said I was full, but I find it difficult to resist a plate of fine charcuterie). The Wookie ordered up some delicious cheese, but you already knew this, so there’s no point in going into the details once again. This would be our last stop of the evening, and thanks to the super cool air conditioning and ample seating, we were able to recover a bit from the heat and enjoy our final beers and snacks.
Although our PBW 2011 Pub Crawl was no match for our PBW 2010 Pub Crawl, we still managed to try a few new beers and maximize what little time we had despite the ridiculously hot weather. Since we’re fortunate enough to live in one of the world’s greatest beer drinking cities, I am happy to report that although PBW 2011 may not have lived up to my expectations, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, since every week is Philly Beer Week whenever the Booze Dancers get together for a few pints!
Categories: Booze Banter