Ale Street News August/September 2006

Regional News: Philadelphia

By Rich Wagner

Well the news is out! The main stream media has discovered what Philadelphians have always known – Philadelphia is a great beer town. A recent issue of Esquire Magazine listed two hometown bars. Describing The Grey Lodge (6235 Frankford Ave.) they said, “If Moe Szyslak’s umpteenth suicide attempt actually succeeded, and if Comic Book Guy took over his bar, this is what you’d end up with.” And they described the Southwark (701 S. Fourth St.) as a “re-creation of a pre-Prohibition bar [where] you’ll be running simultaneous conversations with one stranger about Sumerian zymurgy and with another about the problems of dating a girl who lives with her identical twin.”

To top it off, the Beer Advocates’ “50 Best Places to Have a Beer in America” included Monk’s Café (16th & Spruce Sts.), Ludwig’s Garden (1315 Sansom St.), Tria (123 S. 18th St.) and the Grey Lodge – which by the way will be hosting its 10th Anniversary 5-day weekend from August 9-13th.

The last week of June brought torrential rains and Manayunk Brewing Co.’s Chris Firey said “I knew I was in for a rough day when I saw three helicopters [hovering over the restaurant], another inch of water and it would have been a total loss!” That was good news for a brewery that was under six feet of water back in 1999. The restaurant was closed for three days while crews cleaned up but proactive pumping of flood waters kept damage to a minimum. They’ll be celebrating their 10th Anniversary with a party this fall. Chris will be entering his Bohemian Blonde, California Dreaming Double IPA, Honey Kissed Belgian Brown, Schuylkill Punch, and a two-year-old KnocktheChillOff Barleywine at the GABF this year.

Independence Brewpub’s Tim Roberts was the first to empty his keg of Kölsch at the Royal Stumble at Nodding Head on July 8 thanks to some enterprising dispensing efforts on behalf of his “bevy of blonde barmaids.” The Head’s Gordon Grubb will be entering eight beers at this years’ GABF (and pouring the first five listed): Hoptimus Prime, Berliner Weiss, Monkey Knife Fight, Saison, George’s Fault, Wumpus ESB, Bill Payer Ale and in the aged beer category a Tart brewed by Brandon Greenwood two years ago.

The Triumph Brewpub is currently under construction across from Eulogy Bar at 117-21 Chestnut St. They hope to install their 15-barrel Newlands system with six 15-barrel fermenters in September and be open by the end of the year.

In other news Dock Street Brewing Co. has just purchased an old fire house at 50th St. and Baltimore Ave. on the edge of Penn’s University City where they plan to set up a draught-only production facility and beer garden.

The Foodery (324 S. 1oth St.) famous for a vast beer selection has just opened its second location at Second and Poplar Sts. where patrons can choose from over 600 bottles including lots of locally produced beer. There is seating and a deli counter, and owner Jack Lee contemplates hosting some beer tastings.