Man, we've got it good.
Despite the bumps in the road caused by the lumps on the log that run the drinks game in this state, we really do have a good thing going for ourselves. Every once in a while you've just got to sit back and sort of reflect on a few things, look at the world around you and say, "Jeez, this is kinda incredible."
And say so i will.
I live in Phoenixville, PA. There used to be a really fun brewpub a block from where my apartment is. Now when i want to get something good and fresh i take the 1202 ft walk to Iron Hill. Tim Stumpf is doing really good things there. His dry hopped cask conditioned Iron Bound Ale is a masterwork. I'll be stopping by for the Maibock tomorrow after work if anyone cares to join me.
Now i admit, i was at first not sold on Iron Hill. The food at the three i've eaten at (West Chester, Media, Phoenixville) is always really good, but in my younger beer drinking days i didn't understand why there were no all out hop bombs, nothing crazy, nothing out of the box. Then i actually learned a thing or two and realized that they do such service to styles like Wee Heavy, Roggenbier, and classic Stouts. Their attention to classic styles is worth tasting and when they do step out of the box, they do it their own way. They attract more than just beer drinkers and make them drink beer. It's a good thing. In this beer drinking world of big, different, strange, and varied it seems almost a gutsy perspective to be the normal, classic, to the letter guys and Iron Hill does a darn fine job of it.
If i just feel like 1200 feet is too much, i'll cut my losses and square it off at about 980 feet at Cheese! While i feel like Phoenixville is still a few years and a few key businesses away from coming into its own, i've gotta say Mike Romando typifies what the town is all about. He's excited about local business, he stocks a lot of local goods, he's got a cheese in mind for any occasion, and oh yeah- he likes beer. He's homebrewed and he's versed on the flavor components that make his cheese match what you want to drink. Sometimes when the timing is just right, an impromptu beer and cheese session can hop off after hours and suddenly your must have cheese list triples before your eyes.
Speaking of bringing your own bottle, the Black Lab Bistro has got some serious chops in the kitchen. While i'm sad to see my longtime favorite, the braised short ribs, gone from the menu, i am looking forward to heading back in for a bite.
Ok, let's travel off of Bridge Street. We're talking Phoenixville, so by law, we're talking about Sly Fox. Firkins on the third Friday of the month, the IPA Project, what Jack Curtin reports as a hopeful cask renaissance, Corey behind the bar, and oh...when you catch a really fresh Royal Weisse, holy moly. I still haven't checked out the Monday night crew there. Maybe next time i find a few bottles of something really special i'll head in.
I've never had a young beer at Sly Fox. Never. Their beers are always worth every well priced penny. I'll be interviewing goats on Sunday for some of the best Goat Race coverage that you ever did see. I was very excited to find out it's on a Sunday this year as i've always had to work when they were doing Saturdays. See you there.
From here it's just a matter of which way you want to drive. Keep heading down 113 and you've got Ron's Schoolhouse with their deep beer list and all new bar followed by The Drafting Room in Exton who need absolutely no explanation (followed by Victory, followed by the Flying Pig, by TJ's, by TND...get me?) or you could turn back towards town and the Epicurean's bottle shop for some nice prices on singles like Brooklyn Brown ($2.50), Schneider Weisse ($4.50), or Orval ($6.50) before striking out in a different direction. I'm partial to the back roads that lead me all the way to Wayne (about a 20-25 minute jaunt) for Teresa's whose Brunch (Sundays), Flight Night (Mondays), Tasty Tuesdays (special pairing menu on Tuesdays), or my weekly residency (Thursday) are always worth the trip. Plus with a nice bottle shop (Landis) and the cream of the distributing crop (Beer Yard) both less than a mile away, this is a 'can't go wrong' situation.
Point of the story folks, is that we've got a really healthy thing going here on our side of PA. This is just my little neck of the woods. We haven't even talked about other stretches of the suburbs, let alone the 309 divider line, let alone the city. Feel free to share your local joys in the comments section.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Man, we've got it good.
Posted by Dr Joel at 11:30:00 AM