Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tricks And Treats

I've seen a hell of a lot of strange and crazy things in my day. Some of which I care never to mention again to any living soul. This was almost the case here, but not quite. Because on October 31, in the confines of Parkerford Brewing 16th annual Halloween party, I saw not one, but two things that nearly destroyed everything I thought I knew about this fine enterprise, and almost destroyed me.

There it was on the first floor, shining brightly into the living room while the rain drops filled the night sky outside, was a TV set. I was so shocked by this, I ran down the steps into the "Cellar Of Cirrhosis" to get a beer and try to digest what I just saw, when I found a wall sized TV and, my hands are still shaking just thinking about it, A DOUBLE IPA ON TAP!

What kind of cruel Halloween prank is this I wondered? Have hop head aliens come down from planet Luplin and started taking over PBC? Where have all the funk and sour beers gone? I looked frantically around and quickly grabbed a Saison Brett and a Saint Somewhere and a RR Temptation to calm my nerves. As I shared my new found goodies with friends, somebody snuck a beer into my hands. I drank it down. It was the double IPA and it was good, real f-ing good of a matter of fact. But something weird happened, strange and mysterious things were going on since I drank that beer.

The cooler of death began to talk to me.

Then I saw a fraulein from the old closed Ludwigs bar and a doctor and a road crew worker.

I looked into a mirror to see if I was going crazy and saw that I was beginning to turn orange. I ran outside and sat down. I wasn't felling too well. Oh, the horrors of it all.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's Crying Time Again

It's over, it is finally over. Yes, it is time to take off the beer goggles and stop the trash talk between towns. (Your NY cougar mom wears high heel army boots) If I would have told you at the beginning of the 2009 what would happen to the pitching of the Phillies during this year, your head would explode. They had no business being in the sixth game of a World Series. But yet, there they were. There will be a lot of decisions to be made in the off season, but till then, it's crying time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Would Opie Do?

On October 17 the local and not so local beer world is going to be in a tizzy. I will be making my way back from slower Delaware and I have to make up my mind quick like. Here is a run down.

Baltimore Beer Week- Real Ale Fest
East Coast Cask Event- Spinnerstown Hotel
Leigh Valley Brewfest
Newtown Brewfest
Stoudts Brewfest
One Guy Brewing Octoberfest
Memphis Taproom- Rare Franconia Beers
TJ'S- East Meets West Throwdown

Double yikes! I only have one question, What would Opie do?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

TNSC Report

Dateline September 23. The place, CAH. The event, Turn To Stone starring Lee "Flanagan's Boathouse, Spinnerstown Hotel, Legacy Brewery and now Mid Atlantic Sales Rep of Stone" Marren. Mr. Marren arrived at 6:01 pm, a new record for him. The beer that won my fancy that night was Sublimely Self Righteous, which at one time was their 11 Anniversary beer. It was right smart. Drunken frivolity ensued but hardly in a responsible way. A three liter bottle of Double Bastard 08 was opened later on in the night and was given out in sample glasses to the crowd. The crowd was happy. So were we.

Dateline September 24. The place, TDR. The event, Weyerbacher Anniversary tasting. Taps of 12, 13, 14 and bottles of Riserva were pouring. Chris from brewery was given a hard time from yours truly for not buying our table a bottle of Riserva. He laughed and gave me a nice glass instead to take home. I said there's no Riserva in it. Drunken frivolity ensued but in a responsible way.

Dateline September 26. The place, Northside. The event, Oktoberfest. It was raining so the event ended up being inside. It was crowded and hot. We all got a table to eat. Breckenridge Autumn fest was the sleeper of the night. Drunken frivolity ensued but in a responsible way.

Dateline October 1. the place, TND. The event, Troegs night. 13 taps of Troegs beer and Chris and his honor, Nicky the J. Highlights, Dead Reckoning and Java Head on the handpump. Nugget Nectar in a firkin. And last but not least, Scratch 23, a fest beer which was quite interesting. Maybe a new fall seasonal from the boys in Harrisburg? Only frivolity ensued but in a responsible way as I was driving. CAH was my last stop before home for a pint of HopGarden from Dock Street out of a firkin. Drunken frivolity ensued in a somewhat responsible way.

Dateline October 3. The place, The Farmhouse. The event, how to blow a 100 gift certificate on food and beer. A little Pumking for dessert and Sierra Nevada Imperial Smoked Porter from the handpump with dinner. But the beer that stole my heart was De Proef La Grande Blanche. Maybe one of the best beers I have had all year. To make sure I had another. Yep, I was right. Very little drunken frivolity ensued cause I woke up at 4:30 am and was fading fast.

This has been a TNSC report. Mr. Dan signing off.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Do You Like To Drink From The Morning Wood?

Get your mind out of the gutters you perverts! This wasn't a trick question! Cause this Saturday at the very early hour of 9 am, David and Sarah's landlord is having another one of his evil fall events. How evil you ask? Here is the tap lineup.
If you haven't figured it out yet, the theme this year is barrel aged beers. Last year it was the Lost Abbey and Port Brewing. There is nothing like the smell of livers sizzling in the morning.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Picture.....

Is worth?

The King Of Excuses

Or the master of bad luck? Let's do a quick review of my other fun the last two months. Truck breaks down twice costing me a few days of work and a nice pile of cash. The "Cougars" truck needed a new transmission. The endless amounts of rain which screwed up everything and last but not least by a long shot, my water heater which screamed out "NO MAS" and started to buckle Sunday night. Spending more money on stuff...priceless.
In the long run money has just not been trickling in fast enough for "Send Dan Back To Belgium" program. Please help now!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Morning America

How are you? Don't you know me, I'm your native son. I'm the blog they call the LBL. And I'll write 500 words before the day is done.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coming Soon To The LBL!

This late summer and fall season will be a doozy here at the LBL, with new links, new features and of course all those fun antics of the TNSC. So, what are a few of those fun things you ask?

The Ugly Truth-- A new feature about all those fun things nobody wants to print, just talk about behind each others back.

The OBF trip- Yeah, it's been a couple of weeks since I got back, but this damn work and bills (car again) keep getting in the way.

New links-- Like this little ditty, Beer Menus.

There you have it, a sampling of things to come. And for for a Christmas treat, maybe even........

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Howdy Strangers

It's hot and I am tired, but I just thought I would check in since everybody in the bar and food world of Philly has decided to stop out west to either pay me a visit or just to keep an eye on me. One of those would be Spanky, who has confirmed that he checking in 15 bags of luggage, 10 which have sixtels in them of various beer including Laurelwood for his new bar.
More details and pictures later of all the nonsense.

Monday, July 13, 2009

TNSC Stretched Thin

Stop the madness! I am only one man, okay, maybe a man and a quarter, or maybe just a quarter. Whatever you may think, it has been crazy around here on Thursday nights. With all the locals lining up events on that night, I'm going to have to start asking for gas money from each stop soon. Last week looked liked I was on my way for another 3peat until my favorite road stepped in to slow down my dreams.

422 should just be blown up and replace with a high speed rail. But I guess I will leave one lane of it for beer trucks. It has become the cluster fuck of roads. Thursday afternoon was another example of how we are all screwed if we ever have any KIND of emergency and have to vacate the area in, oh, say a week or two. After sitting in another famous traffic jam, I finally gave up the ghost of ever getting to UJ's and seeing Nicky the J from Troegs do his thing. So I got off the road to hell and on to the back roads, which also moved about as fast as the speed of light from a broken bulb. I finally made it over to The Northside an hour and 45 minutes later from the out skirts of West Chester. To say I needed a beer or four would be a crime against human decency. Mr. Stockertown, (other folks call him Bernie) was there for a Bear Republic night and promised me a dinner and a beer. Who I am to refuse? Especially when Racer 5 is on the hand pump. I lub, lub, lub this beer on the hand pump. I get it every time I see it. I also had a couple other of the BR offerings including my new fav Nor-Cal, but the one that stood out was the latest, Black Mamba. This is one interesting beer. I only got the chance to gaze over the info sheet, but I am wondering if it is their experimental beer from the website. I would love to tel you all about it, but I currently ain't drinking it and I got CRS.

So after the fun was over there it was back to my home away from home, Ye Olde Craft Ale House where we soon engaged in some Devil Dancing and garlic popcorn. I can't make that kind of stuff up. So I thought I had a decent night, but look at this nonsense coming this week. I know I can't make many after shelling out $325 on my car. (smiley face!) But maybe you can.

7/15 Craft Ale House-- Founders Breakfast and Canadian Breakfast Stout on tap starting at 11 am.
7/15 Drafting Room--Sly Fox Hop Project with a firkin of the beer me and Steve made famous.
7/16 Union Jacks--Left Hand Brewing night.
7/16 Northside--Xmas in July with 3 years of Mad Elf and your host Nicky the J.
7/18 TJ'S--Michigan Breweries Throw down.

Does the word yikes mean anything?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Three Out Of Three Ain't Bad

Thursday the 25, I primed myself for a trip to all my locals for a drop or two of beer and some of that socializing that goes on in between those pesky trips to the bar. Stop one led me to the mighty Manatawny river and Union Jacks for a Green Flash promo. The wonderful and lovely host Tom, was just getting ready to tap a firkin of Imperial IPA as I walked into door. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes lucky gets you. Well, lucky got me a big ass glass of Imperial IPA from Mr. Firkin. It took a lot of work to hold that glass by the look on my face. Needless to say I shared that or I still might be there.

After sharing my new found gains with a few folks, who should walk in but the king and queen of Douglasville, Dave and Sarah. We had a brew and talked about the little hubbub that brewed up over her review of the new Philly Beer Scene magazine. I think I see a future post or two about this subject down the road. Unfortunately time was a wasting, so I said my goodbyes and hopped in the truck and headed on over to The Northside.

Those nice folks were having a Stoudts promo featuring some 2004 big bottles of Abbey Triple and a few more on draft of Stoudts regular lineup. I had time for a quick bite and a wheat and a pils. The bottles didn't make their appearance by the time I was ready to go, so off I went to the CAH.

The rest of the famed TNSC club was there already, most of them were in a big bottle mode. I had a few sips of this and dat, and another quick bite, and using my new found powers, trucked on home. Operation Local was a success. This time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

15 Or 5?

I will let you fine folks decide what is more impressive, the Drafting Room 15th anniversary or their 5 year fling with Troegs making them some pretty tasty beer. Last Wednesday night I would call it a tie. The new batch of beer made with the Apollo hop, was flowing at 6 pm sharp and Mr. Firkin was pouring a few minutes later. The result is one damn tasty beverage. It has just a little bit of earthiness to it which reminded me a tad bit of Sierra's Southern Hemisphere. But this little hop (bomb)will stand on it's own with no problemo.

We were quite fortunate to end up having dinner with the Honorary Mayor of West Chester and his wife and of course, we ran into the Victory dance team, headed up by Wandering Joe and Mr. Ruch. By then everybody was starting to show up, including Mrs. Sierra Nevada or you can call her Doc, Mr.Larry and his wife Whitney and the main man behind it all J.T. Or Mr. Troegs to you.

Now I had the chance for a little conversation after dinner with the head honcho over something I saw back at their 10 anniversary party at the brewery. That is of course, the brett project. Now, unless he is really pulling my leg, the first release of this will be their former scratch number 3, which was a Belgian style triple. It will be out sometime next month in that good old cork and cage. It will only be sold at the brewery and if I can remember this right, only 200 cases will be made. Other releases will follow including the Troegenator all bretted up for your drinking pleasure. Of course if he was pulling my leg, what the hell do I care? Send him the angry e-mails.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What Do You Get?

If two beer bloggers named Brian walked into a bar, what do they get? A Woody! Hey, I'll be here all week at the Kepler Mountain Resort and Casino.

It was just another in a long line of fine events at TJ'S on the 13th, as it was billed as a beer battle between Ballast Point and Bear Republic. Mr. Stockertown Beverage himself, Bernie was there to help sway the votes toward the BR side of things.( Vote for me and you drink for free) Of course Mr. Chandler was there signing copies of his latest work.

But getting there proved to be quite a challenge as the heavens and hell dropped a ark like amount of rain on the way down. I think the covered wagons may have made it to California quicker than our ride on parts of 422. But once inside, the fine TJ'S staff was ready for bear, I mean ballast, I mean, what the hell do I mean? There were the familiar folks you see at most events and there was an extra good reason for that as Allagash Confluence was also on tap to take away some of the hop goodness of the two contestants. Dang, that was sum good stuff.
So, what beers did I think were worthy? Racer 5 on the hanpump has moved right smartly in my top ten or so of cask beer. It is that good. Racer 10 is a little too much on the boozy side. Ballast Points Big Eye and Sculpin weren't hurting my feelings too much. But Allagash stole my heart and my taste buds and a another sliver of my liver. I was surprised just how good that was on tap. Bottle was pretty damn good too.
We called it an early night (hello early night) and grabbed a couple of zebras and got on the ark and sailed on home. Till the next beer battle...........

Saturday, June 20, 2009

And Now Back To Our Program

Already in progress. Ah yes, let us have a quick update
about the rest of my doings in late May. When a man gets the opportunity
to see a living legend in action, the one, the only, Patrick Mullin, well he grabs the bull by the horns (not any lower though) and heads off to TJ'S for the Sierra Nevada
event. The winner of the event wasn't so much the beer as it was the glasses. These right smart looking glasses were the cat's meow and maybe even the dog's bark. Holding a generous 8 ounces of whatever your drinking pleasure may be, they were the most talked about thing all night. But when Mr. Mullin and the former local head of the Sierra Local, Mr. Tommy Gannon, looking slim, tan and well rested, cornered me for an opinion about the most talked about beer of the spring, the Brown Saison, well, I reckon I had to tell them the bad news.

I, like 8.5 people out of ten, didn't really care for it. I like the idea, didn't like the execution of it. It reminding me more of a hellerbock or something along those lines. It's not bad enough not to try one, but I sure don't want another. But one beer I had no problem singing the praises for was the Kellerweisse. This was some old school magic at work. Open fermentation gives that extra oomph, flavor and drinkabilty. Why even the Mayor and his wife from West Chester could agree on that.

Another beer that has been given the transformation was Dock Street's Dunkel Berliner Weisse. So when those crazy kids from West Philly showed up on the Northside patio bar, I braved the freezing temps and the howling wind and duh, the rain, to try some out. The verdict, it is as advertised. Which means it is a darker version of the standard, but not heavy in any way. A good fall or spring beer for those sourheads out there.

And so another birthday month comes to a close. It is time to move on. It's freaking June for God's sake!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And Now A Message From Our Sponsor

When Joe Sixpack's guerrilla marketing machine sent out the news a few days ago about this fine event coming up, I felt almost special, like I was one of those fancy schancy boys and girls in the beer biz. But when my free press pass didn't show up, well, I knew I was just a messenger or a drinker, whatever comes first.

Anywho, all kidding aside, it looks like to be a lovely day in the No Lib section of town. Mr. Russel has talked to the weather man and asked for sunny skies and it looks like he just might get it. But inquiring minds want to know a little bit more about this event. Let's try and break it down, shall we?

First is the cost, $75 smack-a-roos, which goes to the Firstpersonarts program. Sounds good, so far.

It is all inclusive (Scandals is in No Libs?) Good too.

Joe Sixpack is talking and walking, not bad, though it would be more fun if he showed up on a bike and people had to chase him to all the said places.

Last and most certainly not least is...what do you get for that $75 bucks?
I know beer and some munchies for sure, and of course the satisfaction of helping out the arts.

So Joe, what else do you know about this last piece of business? Will the fine people of the great city of brotherly love feel like they got a good return on their hard earned money?

Daily inquiring minds need to know.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Twas The Days Around My Birthday

Birthdays sure are fun till some smart ass reminds you of how old you are, as if I didn't know that first hand already. If I had half a mind...I guess I would have double what I got now. Anywho the Thursday the 7th was spent at our lovely little local place, The Craft Ale House. This was strictly a practice session for the big day on Friday. I think I saw a few folks pull a hamy from practicing too hard.
Friday brought us all to those old stomping ground of Zieglerville, The Northside. The wonderful Ms. Sara with a h was working her voodoo, I mean magic with a right smart busy bar and dining room. The outside bar was suppose to be open by now, but it was delayed another week, cause she said so. Things got ugly later on as they usually do, as more bottles that even the night before appeared upon the bar. As the Sarge said in Stripes, "I'm getting too old for this shit".
Saturday was a recovery day and also a partial work day. Sunday brought the four of us some free Phillies tickets in the Bob Uecker sections of CBP. The winds that Mothers Day were clocked at 100 miles per hour and was coming out of the northwestern part of the North Pole. We of course were sitting in the shade hoping we wouldn't get killed by a flying straw or french fry. To say we were getting cold would be a slight misunderstanding of the color blue. Lucky for us, we saw that some of our in-laws had seats in the glorious sun at the same game. So we marched down there and threw them out on their keisters and slowly thawed out.
Monday night the 11th brought the famed Monday Night Tasting group to the CAH. (As seen in this picture above.) Criminally amounts of beer were brought and tasted along with some homemade hooch from a former Allagash brewer that Mr. Bob got from a recent trip to Maine. I, using what brains cells I had left, ran to my car after we were done the tasting. I knew what evil could lurk if I stayed any longer.
Another year down and 49 more to go. Thanks folks for making this a pretty good one.

Look Who's Back.....

Back again. Did ya miss me? Are you ready for a right smart bit of fun? Want to know what the hell I've been doing the last month? What has TNSC been up to? When will the t-shirts and glasses come out? Do I look like the answer man? What's with all these questions?

Well, wait no more children of the corn, here is little something to get your day started.

First up from the UJ's Hopfest is two fine ladies. One is sometimes bitter and the other likes to drinks really bitter beer. You pick em out.

Next up is the last known picture of Father Tom with a cigarette in his hand. He's a cold turkey kind of guy now. Should wooden Indians smoke?

Last and most certainly not least, is a group of...um,
drinkers is the most polite way of saying it, showing up at the same said event with some very special bottles cause all those hop bombs make them really thirsty.

Ah yes, catch up sure is fun. Stayed tuned for more catching up right here, cause where would you be without me?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Another Day Older And Deeper In Debt.

Ah yes, another year has flown by the old calender. This birthday is gonna hurt more than usual for one reason and one and half reasons only. I am not waking up in Brugge this year, the site of my best birthday EVER! Where I was somewhat healthy, wealthy and beer wise. (Sorry Brian P. had to steal it.) A place where you could leave the windows open without screens. (Just like in the movies) Where no rain fell for 14 glorious day. A place where the farmers markets were an every other day thing. A city where the sun didn't set till 10:00 pm or so. And also some little thing called beer. I could go on and on but I wont. There is still a gazillion pictures sitting around in cyberspace along with some fun stories that never saw the publish button. Someday I say, someday. In the meantime please send twenty dollars to "Send Dan Back To Brugge Fund". It is not tax deductible so you will have to find another reason to send it, like out of the pure goodness of your hearts. Don't delay, I can still make the beer festival in town in November if you act now! They are pouring Westy you know.

Monday, May 4, 2009


That old Charlie Brown ain't got nuthin on me I tell ya. I woke up bright and early on Sunday morn as I've been following Ben's advice, "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." The problem is the last three parts never seem to come true for me. Oh, maybe some of that healthy stuff happens every now and again, just not Sunday. My body decided to play the fun game of musical chairs using porcelain bowls instead of chairs. Gosh golly gee what f-ing fun! Now I may not be the sharpest stick in the bunch, but I kind of figured that standing out in the rain and drinking beer wouldn't be the most prudent thing I could do. So, I stayed home.

Well, I guess I just have to do, what those good old country boys Wet Willie would do. Just keep on smiling.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Those Hazy, Lazy, Crazy Days Of....Spring?

There is an old song that goes, "It's 98 degrees in the shade", oh wait, scratch that song, cause there ain't enough leaves on the trees to make that valuable commodity yet. Spring in the lovely Delaware Valley as we all know is a lost cause. We do manage a few nice days here and there, but mostly we jump right into AC weather by May, which in turns follows a cold snap around Mothers Day or worse yet, Memorial Day. Hell, if you can't complain about the weather, what else are you going to complain about?

Well, no bitching here about this weekends fine event at the old Sly Fox. It's goat race time on Sunday and I thought I would tell you all about it. 367 goats, 11,243 people, 1900 port-a-pottas, 2 metric tons of German style food and last but not least, 1.6 million gallons of beer. Oh and don't forget the DUI checkpoint if you try and walk into the pizza place next door to the Fox. This year for the first time ever, three magical things will happen. Number one is all goats will be tested for performance enhancing drugs. Number two is the winning goat as always, will have this year's bock named after it. But, it will also be milked and have a goat cheese name after it too. Last is one that is sure to stir up some controversy, as the goat that ends up in last place will be slaughtered and eaten later that night. The hide however will be sown back together and used as a firkin for next years race. Now that sounds like some fun! I wondered how they will get the beer out? The possibilities are endless.

If that doesn't sound like a winning Sunday afternoon than I don't know what is. Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 13, 2009

He Had High Hopes

"That ball is outta here, a two run home run for Matt Stairs to give the Phillies the lead". Those were the last words I heard from Harry Kalas early Sunday night while eating Easter dinner. Today at the Washington Nationals ballpark, he passed away. The baseball world will be a worse place because of it.

Flash back now to late October and the fightin's were closing in on a World Series and I was busy fighting something else. That was the only thing during that week to at least bring a small smile to my face. Fast forward to late winter-early spring and the countless replays being shown on TV of the championship run would bring tears to my eyes because it reminded me of what I was going through at the time, and just how happy I was that it was almost over.

Today I am reminded of not only that fact again, but of Harry Kalas's crazy song he would sing in the clubhouse after their victory. Not a lot of people get to do what they love and then go out on top when they pass away. He indeed had high hopes and lived to see them through. We all should be so lucky.

Monday, April 6, 2009

April Showers Bring May Goat Races

Rain, rain go away, I can't swim the breaststroke another day. Or any other stroke for that matter. Friday brought some biblical style rain down in my travels and by the time the Incubus crowd was a gathering that night at the Fox, I was still at home getting dried out. But then the rain took a break and instead of the Fox, we drove over the rising river and into the woods to Tom's place for a bite to eat and a couple of brews. It was a Blue Point Brewery promo with a cask of Hoptical Illusion. I am not a huge fun of any of their beers per say, but I always like their stuff when it is cask condition. So I wasn't disappointed with this. The Illusion is a beer I could drink several of on a handpump, and a couple out of a firkin. On tap, nada, zilch. Seems a lot of other people feel the same way. It wasn't much longer before the royal couple of Douglasville stopped in for their nightly drinking binge. After some very important shooting of the shit, which included the happy couple saying they probably wouldn't show up on Saturday afternoon at TJ's, we went our merry ways.

Saturday afternoon brought Mr. Steve and myself to the main line empire of TJ's. The bar area was surprising quiet for 3:30, except for Jack Curtin's bff, Woody Chandler. What can one say about the man who eventually sat at the bar and signed all the Ale Street News copies on his by-line. I think I just said it all. We started off with the Bear Republic Racer 5 on the Handpump which was quite nice. We weren't even half done when guess who shows up? Those crazy kids from Douglasville. You just can't keep us suburban hicks down for long. That led us to our next choice, an Allagash Interlude. Can we just come out and say it now? Allagash is one of the top ten breweries in the USA. Nuff said. By now the bar area was starting to fill up with some mighty fine folks, like West Chester's very own, the Hollands. We then enjoyed a small snack and I had a Hoppin Frog Mean Manalishi, which was actually pretty mean. It tasted like it had around 12% instead of the 8% it had.

So, Mr. Steve and I paid our bill and said our goodbyes and jumped into the Rubeomobile and headed back to the cozy confines of suburbia to get ready for our Portland/Seattle planning meeting. Another fine day in the books if I have to say so myself.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's Bad You Know

With the foolishness's of April 1st behind us, let us now turn our attention to another more pressing matter, Belgium Comes To Cooperstown. Or the real buzz, no VIP tickets for most of the locals. When 170 tickets are gone in less than three minutes, you know it is one hot commodity. These little babies are so coveted, that even the brewers are limited to ONE per brewery. Last year the locals could have rented a bus for the exclusive dinner, this year it's starting to look more like one car will do. So I think the biggest question in a lot of peoples mind is, can we still go up on Friday night and take part in all the parties on the campground? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday night at the Craft Ale House turned into a tasting party as some fine folks shared some of their new found goodies with us, such as New Glarus Raspberry Tart, Surly Furious (in a 16oz can!) and one more that is right on the tip of my tongue but not my keypad. I think I joined the 100 eaten pirogi club as I just can't get enough of these fresh made things. I also got to try the Local 2, which is more or less a dark version of Local 1. Or maybe not. I also tried some Weed and some Leafer, so I guess it was a pretty good night. But when you hang out with some of the crazy folks that I do well,It's bad you know.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Alphabet Soup

SSC, EBB, GLI and NOVA. What the hell does all those letters mean? It means a great Saturday for your truly and all his rowdy friends. After a mighty fine breakfast at the old Sunflower, we loaded up the Foley truck and moved to Germantown (or Chestnut) Hills that is, no swimming pools, just brewing stars. The Suburban Hillbillies. (banjo picking music in the background) Yes, for our first stop on this tour, it was, for the most of us, a first time visit to EBB. It did not disappoint. The food and service was top notch, especially the seed pizza, and the three beers I had that day, Organic Pils, Saison and the Mild, well they were in the top five beers I've tried this year. Get them while they last.

But another place was a calling, so we loaded up the truck and went a couple of miles down the road to the General Lafayette Inn. It was there I had had my next best beer of the year, The Economizer. This beer IMHO should only be made for the handpump, but alas, it ran out and I had to settle for one on tap. Still good, but not near as tasty. By now we were honored by the presence of the wonderful Father Mariano and his lovely friend "Syracuse". So everybody shot the poop, mostly about meeting someones date later that night and we had another beer and then we left and went to Mr. Rubeo's to finish watching Nova pull one out. All in all a right smart day.

Now for your viewing pleasure, a few pictures from EBB.

Mmm, food good, beer good. March birthday celebration for Mr. Tom and Ms. Kelly, priceless.

A very somber Mr. Baker wondering why Jack didn't show up.

The mighty fine beer board at EBB.
I did not hear many complaints from anybody about those choices.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Year Older

See that young man in the purple shirt? He had a birthday yesterday. I don't quite recall his age, but I know he hasn't caught up to me. I do know however that his liver is getting measured in dog years now, especially after PBW.

In this photo you see Mr. Tom engaging in a nice thought provoking conversation.

However by the end of the night he usually looks more like this. Hope you had a good one and I'll see you Saturday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And It's One, Two, Three Kegs You're Out

At the old bar game. There was a lot of spring in every bodies step this last Saturday as TJ'S hosted yet another in the series of evil beer events out on the main line. The beers? Well, to get a spring fever pitch like that, it only can be be one beer company, Russian River. The beers on tap were the extra long wait of Pliny The Younger and the latest of Vinnie's Belgian's, Consecration. Oh, and just for shit and giggles, a keg of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Just about all the local beer celeb's were there for this fine day and Mr. Jeff did not disappoint, unless of course you got there at 4:25 or later. I strolled in right around 4 and in one of the few times it helps being tall, Jeff spotted me right away and grabbed me a right smart glass of the Hi C. It sure do taste different then when I was a kid. It must be from soaking it in a wine barrel. I decided to save the Younger for a another day and go right to KBS. Never had on tap and I can say with all my heart that was some goooood stuff. When the bourbon blends so nicely into a beer like that, it is just plain scary to drink it at times, cause it goes down oh so easy. Kinda like Villanova's win over UCLA earlier in the day.

It was extremely kind gesture, when the lovely and talented Holland clan was nice enough to give us crazy kids a seat at the bar, so we could grab a bite to eat. I was already working on my fourth beer of the day and was starting to feel quite chipper. A couple at Rock Bottom while watching the ball game started me off and these two beer bombs were more than willing to help the cause. The food there is always good and today did nothing to change that fact. So we finished up our grub and beer and said goodbye and rolled on into the sunset. Till April 4 that is. Peanuts and crackerjack indeed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pub Crawlin

Ah lads and lassies, those Irish eyes were a smiling down upon a thirsty throng of people on Saturday the 14th, as the first ever Phoenixville Pub Crawl took place. The weather was purrfect for a nice stroll thru the old town. As always things started at the Sly Fox, where for the first time ever, all three hand pumps were a flowing strong. And just for good measure, a firkin of the latest in the hop project was right up there on the bar too. I started with my fav-o-rite beer, the Standard Ale. Is it just me or does this beer taste a little cleaner, brighter than before? I have told those guys at the brewery not to filter the beer so much, you're cutting out all the good stuff. After a small Placebo, we climbed into the Pookie-mobile and made our way down to the Epicurean.

It is kind of hard to believe how long this place has been around in one form or another. It started across the street where the Sly Fox sits now, as a gourmet shop. It was also one of the first places you could get a bagel out here in the burbs, now that should tell you something. It slowly grew to serve lunches, brunches and even some dinners. When they moved into their present location as a gourmet shop and a separate restaurant, I was lucky enough to be there on day one for every body's best meal deal, a free lunch. The licence to sell alcohol showed up a little later and then they opened up a bottle shop next to the restaurant. Why even Mr. Craft Ale himself worked there for awhile. Yards and Dogfish were on tap that day and I had the Thomas Jefferson Ale and a small bite to eat before we made our next trek into the big city of Iron, Phoenixville.

We ended up taking a side street into town as the main drag was clogged up with cars and people. The decision making process was pretty easy, we parked behind the Pickering Creek Inn, might as well go in and check on our boys Ryan and Spencer. That was ground zero for this fest as the Iron Hill gang was there, most of the brewers from the pub crawl were there and even Bruce Nichols was there for a quick one or two. The kegs were a kicking and everybody was in a festive mood despite the crowds. After some crazy chit-chat and a Southampton Biere De Mars we made the long stroll across the street to Iron Hill for some grub before the Saturday night crowd and revelers started showing up in mass. Well, the masses were already there, but I managed to get a table reservation and a beer. By the time our table was ready, the after party was just getting started out in the bar area headed up by Mr. Iron Hill himself, Mark Edelson. Our dinner was good as always, and the beers were great as always. I felt pretty decent enough to trudge on to Union Jacks for one more, but I had no takers on this evening. Oh well, one out of three ain't bad I reckon.

So my dream of a right smart beer week were now done. The call never came for the Zthos fest. (though I hear it should have) Mr. Money and some bad timing on some illing and not chilling did me in. Oh well, there is always next year and for your entertainment purposes only, here is a couple of pictures to keep close to your heart.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Curses, Foiled Again

Philly Beer Week started with such promise. I think I talked Mr. William Reed into making Johnny Brenda Lager out of one of his old Sam Adams brewpub recipes for PBW 2010. I may have convince Mr. Bruce Nichols to put out a nice array of Belgian cheese for the Zthos Fest on Sunday. Though we both agreed to nix the all you could eat mussels buffet.

Saturday brought a nice trip to see the fine folks at TJ'S for a preview of coming attractions. (I'll take those olives next time Scotty) Sunday brought nothing as I prepare for the coming week of fun and frivolity. Monday was to bring a fourpack of beer love with the session beer with Lew at the Tiedhouse, Southampton at Capones, Rodenbach at TND and last but not least, Ommengang at TJ'S. But unfortunately I was to be cursed. The money coming in to Kepler Mountain Resorts has been as slow as hops to a Miller Lite bottle. My sick and twisted dreams were crashing down.

Tuesday brought with it great hope as I was chosen by the esteemed Mr. Curtin to go to TND for lunch with Sam. But with my usual luck, I came down with a small touch of food poisoning. The bathrooms at TND are quite nice but I don't want to spend an afternoon sitting in them.

Wednesday would certainly be better until I woke up that is and had a giant knot in my back that the chiropractic had to do jumping jacks on to slowly work it's way out. By Thursday I had to get to the Klash Of The Kaisers down at Triumph. It too was doomed.

Friday will probably bring nuthin either, so I can be ready for Saturday and a possible 3 pack of beer love. The Phoenixvile pub crawl, Allagash at Capones and Stone at Union Jacks. Sunday should bring working the Zthos fest, though after this week, who the hell knows what will really happen?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Eyes Have It

Every morning when I wake, there is something about beer on Fox 29. Every night before I hit the pillow (the pillow started it) there is something about beer on tv. I think my eyes are getting drunk.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Glory Days

On March 6, at around 5:11 pm, in the presence of Fox 29 and it's lovely reporter Nefertiti Jaquez, a large thirsty crowd watched as the Hammer Of Glory was presented to William Reed of the Standard Tap by the Philadelphia Roller Girls. It was a moment to behold in more ways than one.
Thus Philly Beer Week had begun for us.

Just a few seconds later, the first cask of Standard Ale was tapped and yours truly got the first glass of one of my favorite beers from 2008. The results: Standard Ale is still so damn good! It was so good in fact, that it was gone exactly one hour later as we were walking out the door to catch a cab to go to the Opening Tap ceremonies at the Comcast Center. Mr. Big Brother Big Sister himself, Steve Rubeo, was able to quickly hail one, cause he is a city boy at heart and knows how to do all that kind of important city stuff. So myself, and Mr. Steve were joined by the the brains behind the Sly Fox, Mr. Tim Ohst and the beer press darling of the moment, Suzanne "Kathleen Turner" Woods for a quick cab ride over.

Once we arrived, we all knew why our cable and Internet bills are so high. This place has one hell of a impressive lobby, not to mention the rest of the building itself. When your food court down on the lower level contains DiBruno Brothers and Susanne Foo, well, that makes the local pizza shop at your mall a little passe. The other thought I had was this, here we were, all of us crazy beer folks, who were now going to take over this place for a couple of hours, it just made me want to laugh just a little. We've come a long way baby to get where we got to today don't you think? Then to top it off, to see Nodding Head's Mike Fava pedaling a bike into the building with Ben Franklin and the Hammer Of Glory, how in the hell could you not laugh?

The amount of the local press corp that showed up for this was pretty substantial, as was the beer press, which seem to come from just about everywhere for this event, well, except one person who couldn't quite make it. As for the beer, it was your everyday event. The debut of Exit 4 from Flying Fish, a nice session spring ale from Nodding Head and a couple of others nice brews. Not a whole lot of special stuff, just a right smart bit of special people for one hell of an opening night.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ladies And Gentleman, Start Your Livers!

It is finally here, Philly Beer Week 2009. I along with Mr. Rubeo will be in attendance at the Standard Tap at 5 pm, as we watch Mr. Sly Fox himself, Brian O'Reilly, try not to miss tapping the first cask of Standard Ale with the Hammer Of Glory and end up smashing something behind the bar instead. Then at 6 pm, we are off to the Opening Tap at the Comcast Center as volunteers for the night. We shall be dressed all in black to look somewhat professional, (even though my little black dress is being cleaned.) though I really see no hope in any color that we would ever wear. Hope to see you there!

Draughting The Line

I feel fine,
I'm talking about peace of mind,
I'm going to take my time and read the new Draught Lines, put out from Origlio beverages in time for PBW. Some of our fav-o-rite people are in this issue which you can find at your local watering holes and soon on their website I reckon. The Three Musketeers of beer writing (or Stooges) Lew Bryson, Jack Curtin and Mr. Sixpack himself, Don Russell, are mentioned in a little feature called Eat, Drink and Write. But it is there, where they are joined by the new kids on the block, Brian Kolesar, Suzanne Woods and our own TNSC protege, Kevin Rowe.

Ah yes, Tie Wun On (his given Chinese name) came to us elders for guidance a couple of years ago and we guided him straight to gates of hell with the rest of us. He has taken the pebble from my hand and moved on to the big time.

Meanwhile Ms. Wood is trying to take over the local beer world, one Sly Fox can at a time. In one of her latest blogs she decides to give up meat for lent, instead she will only eat cheese steaks in it's absence. We all know by now the the farmers don't start harvesting cheese steaks until June, so they have to be from Chile right?

Last but least is Brian. He claims he is a project manager for a software company. But considering he hits every beer event in the United States and has time to run 20 miles a week, I'm guessing he is providing software for You Porn. (Sorry kids no link, I don't want you to get in trouble at work.) It is just a guess and I could very well be wrong. He could be providing a service to all the poor folks in America except I didn't hear anything from him, so I now know that ain't it either.

So where was my story? I must have got cut at the first second, cause I know there is no way I would have made it to the last.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Bro

Ah yes, the snow is falling, the wind is blowing and it is as cold as a..... That can only mean one thing, either the flower show is in town or it's my brother Mark's birthday. I never worry about checking the weather report, I just check the calendar first. So go ahead and rub it in from sunny and warm Florida bro, your streak continues.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Now Who's Going To Milk The Dragon?

I have been quite remiss in my duty to report back on the "this is just plain wrong" New Holland event the other week at a packed Union Jacks. What do I mean by wrong? Dragons Milk out of firkin is what I mean. And anybody who had some of this silky goodness knows exactly what I'm talking about. The evil person behind this plan, every body's friend (and on this day it goes double) is Dr. Joel. He is New Hollands Mid Atlantic rep. and he is out kicking butt (and livers) and taking names. You will be seeing him a lot over PBW as he has a couple of great events lined up.

Speaking of events during PBW, which I believe is around 1 million or so now, is a couple of smaller events out our humble way. Check Union Jacks web page for details into a fine little shindig they shall be hosting and I shall be helping the hop heads over at Craft Ale House decide who really rules the hop roost. Trust me, no matter what you choose over those 10 days you can't go wrong. Hope to see you all somewhere.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's Your Birthday And You Can Relax If You Want Too

A very Happy Birthday to Mr. Lew. I will not divulge his age here, however I heard a rumour, that he may have a new blog going soon at this wonderful site. Or not. This picture is from a lovely party at his humble home from a couple of years ago. Wasn't there an old proverb about journalists who lay down with dogs?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are You Down With SBP?

Just about two years ago, I contacted a young journalist who was pushing a radical idea. Session beer was his name and session drinking was his game. So I bit hard and talked the fine folks at Ortino's into a couple of events. The food at the two dinners was great as always, but the attendance wasn't that great. Then came the big cheese, my baby, The Session Summer Of Love. Lots of buzz from near and far. The brewers were pumped to prove that they could make a session beer worthy of a beer geeks passion. A right smart crowd turned up on a Friday for firkin night and a not too shabby crowd was there for a hot Saturday afternoon on Memorial Day weekend. But alas, nobody wanted to continue what I saw, as well as others saw, as a right smart event. Now maybe it will all come down to 2009 as the year of Session Fest. The question is, will I raise that banner somewhere else before Kennett? Or will Kennett kick off a fine fall season of session beers? Only the beer gods know for sure.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Belgium Comes To West Chester And More Tidbits

What more can I say that hasn't been said already? The best local event period. This years edition of BCTWC started a couple hours earlier than last year and that was fine with me. The board looked impressive as always and the lack of Professional drunks who would show up a couple of hours later on the bus from Philly , gave us some time to sample a few of these great beers before they disappeared in record time.

Standouts? How bout some Iron Hill Eddy? The Cannibal aged in a wooden barrel and loaded up with some brett. Ithaca came through with two very smart ones, White Gold and Brute, more funk monsters. Harpoon really showed off it's flying colors with Wild Hibernian 2007, aged in a bourbon barrel and then loaded up with B.lambicus and latic acid producers for ten months and then put into a firkin. Yum, yum, yum. Without a doubt, I had to add to my fiber intake for the day
with a Nodding Head Otay, a lovely Belgian style ale make with 25 pounds of organic buckwheat. Of course there is always a couple more sips of this and that from every body's glass. (no wonder everybody gets a cold this time of year!) A fine luncheon with the Tom boys and the esteem Mr. Curtin and other dignitaries capped off a fine day for yours truly.

Now on a more personal level, a boatload of thanks to all asking about my health these days. I know trying to explain this to people has not been easy, much less trying to write a blog post about my 17 page report that I got back and not have all the folks who read it go, Huh? I shall try my best to put it into layman's terms.

In some other non life threatening news, you may be wondering what ever happened to my follow up stories about the Craft Ale House opening? Well, since I set up their blog, and have been fooling around in the cooler and posting on the blog etc, I wasn't quite sure how to go about this story without seeming........? (Pick your own word.)

Last, but not least, this fine photo (also on Facebook) of a group of somewhat decent people having a drink before they try and knock off Mr. Curtin. They were foiled however by me and the beer board behind them. See ya!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This Is The Day (Part One)

Today at 2:30, I find out part of what my (Many) problems are. I get my toxicology test back. One of the more obvious parts of the tests tells me me how much toxic material I had stored up in my body over the many years of my very illustrious career as a painter. It will also tell me what important minerals I lack or have too much of. Now some of you fine folks may say, "You had blood work done and nothing came back right?" My answer is quite simple, if I had enough toxic stuff in my blood, I doubt I would be typing this right now. I am sure I have bored many of you nice people out there with my stories of woe and my every increasing guess work of what the root cause of all this is. I now know the basics of what happened that sunny day in Rehoboth Beach and in a little while I'll find out the rest of the story.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Who Wants Some 08 Stew?

Ah leftovers. You love em, you hate em, especially when you find them in the back of your fridge 3 months later in scientific experiment. And it looks better to you now, then it did when you first ate it. None the less, it is that time when I must clean out the fridge. I say that every year but this time I really kind of mean it. So away we go!

This extremely rare photo of Mr Ruch outside of Victory was going for $13,000 on TMZ. It is yours free. This was UJ's Lost Abbey event. Lost being the operative word.

This photo was taken at Patrick Mullin's house right after he got the job for Sierra Nevada. Notice the cascading cascades coming out of the statue.

Americas favorite beer reps, Sly Fox's Suzanne and New Hollands Dr.Joel at TJ's 5th anniversary

Last and most certainly least, TROUBLE. Same spot as the last picture. Still very much in rehab, I look the same drunk or sober or for that matter ill. Also a rare picture of Jack standing which doesn't happen to much when he hangs out with this crowd. So, please enjoy 2009 responsibly if possible!