Brew Review

A Review of Urban Village Brewing Company


A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to attend the grand opening of a new brewery / restaurant in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia called Urban Village Brewing Company. Due to circumstances beyond our control (I am of course referring to The Benevolents and Our Urchins. There’s no controlling them, we can only hope to contain them. For the record, we’re failing miserably on all counts!), we were unable to attend. Luckily, our friends Jay and Miracle Max were gracious enough to pinch hit for us (like they were going to say no to free beer and snacks!). What follows is Jay’s review of the event (apparently, Miracle Max is TOO BUSY to chime in with his thoughts. Further proof that you can lead Max to beer, but you can’t make him write, though I’m sure he drank and ate plenty!)…

With G-LO and Limpd unavailable (detained?), Miracle Max and I were tapped to attend a pre-opening event at the new Urban Village Brewing Company in Northern Liberties. Lucky for us, as we both had a great time and were impressed with everything this place has to offer.

Free street parking was easy to find at just before 6pm on a Wednesday, so after a short one minute walk to Schmidt’s Commons, we were there, confronted with a big beer-garden type terrace on The Piazza (not to be confused with THIS Piazza) that opens into a large, gorgeous interior. Modern, clean and inviting, Max and I grabbed two seats at the bar and started to focus on what we know is important to the readers of this report: THE BEER!

Co-owner and brewer Dave Goldman has put together an impressive 12-beer lineup for the grand opening, and it’s clear that his years of serious homebrewing paid off as the beers were outstanding (I don’t say this lightly as I consider myself to be a pretty tough critic!). I tried nine beers, enjoyed seven of them, and found that three to four of the seven were bonafide knockouts. Even the two that I didn’t care for were still extremely well made (although neither of these two beers were my style, Max enjoyed both of them). While we had a difference of opinion about the individual beers, we both agreed that Dave was able to really bring out the flavors of his ingredients, making each beer its own unique drinking experience…

Liquid Courage, which we both loved, is a Belgian Strong Ale that carries a high ABV with complex notes of coconut, raisins, fresh bread, banana and vanilla. Like all of the beers we sampled, it’s clean and very drinkable, but thanks to it’s high octane, it’s also quite dangerous. Another winner is Rye Bread with its caraway flavors front and center in this spicy quencher. My favorite of the night was Space Station which was listed as a Kolsch (possibly because a Kolsch yeast is one of the two yeasts in play), but it’s not like a classic Kolsch. It’s more like the the crazy offspring of a Kolsch and a Saison, with wicked aromatics and some singular flavors that took me by surprise. Christian, our excellent barman, said it was the Galaxy Hops, so since I’m not one to argue, Galaxy Hops it is! Three solid beers from one brewer in one night is pretty impressive, but there’s more…

The Beets by J (as opposed to Beats by Dre?) was positively inspired! Three hundred pounds of roasted beets are used in this 3.0% Berliner Weisse. The look of this beer is completely unique thanks to its light purple color and foamy bright pink head. The up front tartness gives way to the sweetness of roasted beets which totally works for me. If Dave could coax a bit more sourness, this beer would be a classic. As is, it’s still very good and not something I’ve ever seen before. Each beer that we sampled hits the mark, giving you a lot of great food pairing options. And speaking of food…

Executive Chef Chris Davis has put together a solid bread program. The sourdough with fresh whipped ricotta was delicious, and in a city that has quickly become a haven for standout pizza, Urban Village holds it own with top notch, naturally leavened dough and a beautiful wood fired oven that is the centerpiece of the back wall. All pizza toppings are locally sourced, house made, and superb. The Pork Belly and Kennett Mushroom sandwiches were also excellent, again with thick, toasted bread. The Village and Beet Salads (this place loves its beets…), were both very fresh and tasty, and the impressive looking tap system, which hangs from the ceiling above the bar, will serve up beers to go with any foods you choose. Try the Belgian Blonde for a light app, the Pale Ale for something spicy, or the Imperial Stout, which was dripping with chocolate and vanilla, with (or for) dessert. Max and I are already looking forward to a return trip. Perhaps we can get G-LO and Limpd to join us next time!

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Many thanks to Kelly of Food Shelter PR for the invite to a really well organized event to kick off what should be a successful run for Urban Village Brewing Company!

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