Ale Street News February/March 2007

Tria Café’s Fermentation School

By Rich Wagner

Tria Café is a neighborhood bar at 123 S. 18th St. that celebrates “the three fermentables:” wine, beer and cheese. Owner Jon Myerow has been in the restaurant business ever since he got out of college over twenty years ago and opened this unique venue in May of 2004. In October he established the Fermentation School in the Medical Arts Building at 16th and Walnut Street to educate his employees as well as his customers about the food and drinks he is so passionate about.

“Ours is an educational company,” he told me recently. “We did a lot of research and looked at many concepts for inspiration; it was a big part of our concept to educate staff, and a logical extension of that was to educate our customers.” Tria Café deals with twenty wine purveyors, so customers will find wines they may not see anywhere else in the city. Cheese is supplied by Murray’s in New York, which does direct importing from Europe. “We focus only on the good stuff, and we’re trying to bring beer appreciation to the level normally afforded to wine.” And, not to be confused with the Fermentation School, “Sunday School” provides customers with an opportunity to try selected items at half-price to encourage them to taste new things.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending two Fermentation School classes and was very impressed with the classroom, which seats twenty-four students and is outfitted with every audio-visual resource imaginable. Students are young and old, male and female, and come to class with an appreciation of the subject, ready to learn and ask lots of good questions.

The first class I attended was on the subject of “Craft Brewing in Philadelphia” and was hosted by Daily News columnist and radio personality Don Russell and Home Sweet Homebrew’s George Hummel. The second was a tutored tasting and presentation on “Lager Beer” with Lew Bryson.

Speakers come from around the world and bring a wealth of information from their chosen fields. Upcoming classes include Cheese 101 as well as five or six wine classes including one on Venetto wines and another focusing on fortified wines. Upcoming beer classes will be conducted by Matthias Niedhard of, Carol Stoudt, and Iron Hill’s Chris La Pierre. Advertising is done primarily through Tria Café’s mailing list and most classes are sold out well in advance. Be sure to check for a complete schedule of classes.