Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Come Ye To Phoenixville

I've mentioned it many times, but i like my little town of Phoenixville. There's always a little bit of bustle going and little by little that bustle gets exponentially cooler and cooler.

So its with great pleasure that i announce a New Holland Beer dinner in Phoenixville at Molly Maguire's on November 19th (changed from the 11th due to other things happening 'round the town). Hopefully for some of you this picks up where the Bridge Street Tasting series left off. The menu is a fun combination of Molly's cooks showcasing their talents within the traditions that root the normal menu as well as stepping outside of that realm to strut their stuff with seasonal and beer focused dishes as well. This was a fun collaboration and i can't wait to sit down to this dinner.

Chef Robert Cloud will be speaking about the food and about Molly's and i'll be speaking about my brewery and how our beer is working with Robert's creations. Tickets are being sold in advance and you've got a couple of weeks to get your act together.

Between the Farmer's Market, my dear old Cheese! (still sad its gone), Iron Hill, and the great restaurants of Bridge Street, great steps are being made in town to add to and advance folks' knowledge of good honest food and drink, i think this will be another big flag to run up the pole.

Beer Dinner
at Molly Maguire’s
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 @ 6:00PM
Hosted by Molly’s Chef Robert Cloud
and Joel Armato from New Holland Brewing Co.

Featuring New Holland’s…

Sundog Amber Ale
Golden Cap Saison Ale
Ichabod Pumpkin Ale
Poet Oatmeal Stout
Mad Hatter IPA
Dragon’s Milk Ale

Five courses of delicious fare accompanied by six selections of award-winning brews.

Tickets are $45.00 (including Tax and Gratuity)

To purchase your tickets, please see a member of Molly’s staff or call (610)933-9550.

Dinner Menu…
Toasted Black Bread w/ Smoked Salmon and Dill Cream Cheese

Butternut Squash Ravioli w/ Tahitian Vanilla Bean Cream

Rocket w/ Black Mission Figs and Bleu Cheese Crumbles

Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage w/ Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes

Double Chocolate Brownie w/ Fresh Raspberry Sauce

UPDATE: Molly Mob members recieve a discount on the ticket price, keep an eye on your emails.

Read more!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baker The Baker

Palled it up with the West Chester Alliance For Better Beer (WCAFBB) last night at Earth Bread + Brewery on Germantown Ave. Man, what an awesome place. The early reports came in a couple of weeks ago and word from behind the bar is that the construction on Germantown is a few weeks from being done (and its really not that hard to get around anyway) so make no excuses and get down to see the place. Mr. Baker's beers are really good, at the moment pouring a great Mild, a Pale Ale with local hops and lemon verbena, Biere D' Earth - a farmhouse, and a really nice smoked wheat beer too.

Also fun is saying smoked wheat fast in conversation, a' la "Hey, you still smoke wheat?" Try it at work.

Anyhow, the pizza is awesome. We had two, the sausage and seed and both were top notch and came out piping hot. Also a bit of a new discovery for our crew were 'hot' olives. Not spicy, rather cured olives that had been heated up. Pretty awesome.

Did i mention The '08 Olive Project? I split a big 'ol bag of olives from Keystone Homebrew and am currently brining 5 lbs of olives. They get jarred up in several forms and fashions when i get back from Michigan mid-way through next week.

New Holland Beer? I'll be posting up a flyer for fall tour as soon as i get back, some good stuff booked up and good stuff in the works. Be on the lookout for Cabin Fever Brown Ale to drop at the same time as our Seasonal Variety Pack.

Check the technique:

Hopefully i'll post from the road on this MI swing, if not, catch you folks when i get back to town. The local blog world is doing great things these days so click the links over there to the left. Also, while Uncle Jack is healing up take an opportunity to read back through some of his old posts that you may have missed. He's also got words in the most recent Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, so go out for a beer and grab yourself a brewspaper. Get well soon Jack! Read more!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Essential songs, local grub, good fish down

XPN's listeners have picked 885 essential songs and they're counting them down as i type this. I've been making excuses to be in the car lately because of this. Some good tunes going around. Although listeners of the station have a penchanct for Sheryl Crow, which i just cannot condone.

Whenever i tell someone thst i live in Phoenixville (well, when i am in Eastern PA anyway) they all say, "Oh Phoenixville is blowing up right now." I guess i agree. I like it here. When i lived here a few years back i could tell it was a few years away from really being something bigger. Some of the best cowboys have already gone unfortunately. We keep adding restaurants but not much else. I dunno. Hopefully we get more shops like Hipster Home and Earthmart that actually give people something to do after they eat and go for after dinner drinks. The Colonial is a great place for a movie or live music. I'd love to mention the other live music venue on the block but the owner has been quite cold to me on more than once and will be forever snubbed by me (although i may make an exception for Mason Porter).

Why am i saying all this? Supposed to be a lead in to me talking about the Pickering Creek Inn. They are one of the newest places for beer and food on the block. At 37 Bridge Street, the group of managing partners has a great approach to Phoenixville's dining scene. Taking the no crap on tap approach, Pickering Creek's current tap list reads as such:

Flying Dog Doggystyle Pale Ale
Bell's Two Hearted
Seadog Blueberry
Blanche De Brux
St. Bernardus Abt 12
Blue Point Toasted Lager

They've got some great bottles and if all holds true there'll be a New Holland beer on tap very soon. The seasonal menu looks awesome, I had a house smoked Texas Brisket sandwich and Wild Mushroom Gratin. I'm pointing out their attention to local detail though, with a slew of local ingredients from cheese to chicken to mushrooms. They're also playing with some mighty fine flavors over there....their fall ingredient list includes:

Eggplant, Mission Figs, Sorrel, Fontina, Goose, Oysters, Fresh Squid, Wild Mushrooms, Dungeness Crabs, and Walnut Oil.

They've got brunch, they've got happy hour with free snacks. They're doing a darn good job over there.

Lastly, my great blue beta, Alex Trebek passed sometime between midnight and this morning. He was a pretty awesome fish. I wish going to bury him by the R5 but i think i am going to do something far cooler. I'm going to put him in a bottle of Orval and recap the crown and go down to the bridge and toss him in the Schuylkill River. If you need history on the fish and the ring, click here.

So i guess those are the thoughts i've got for the day. The Epicurean's (Phoenixville) 17th Oktoberfest Dinner went off without hitch last night. Delicious food by the crew there and some mighty fine beers to match. It was great to have Dragon's Milk involved. Read more!

Layover beneath the great krausen in the sky.

Ok, so i wrote this on my way home from GABF and somehow never got a chance to post it. Sorry for the delay to those actually paying attention. To those who aren't, who could blame ya?

Last Wednesday shortly after taking off from O’Hare our plane climbed towards altitude and we broke through a sky full of clouds, hovering just above what looked like a huge krausen covering the Midwest. For a nerd, it was a pretty symbolic way to start the trip to GABF. Not knowing exactly what to expect both from a work standpoint and a kid in a candy shop standpoint i was fully excited to hit Denver and get out and about. No lying here: We got out and about quite a bit. There is definitely more to do during GABF week than you can possibly make, but its hard to find a clunker in the bunch.

A lot of my friends were able to get to multiple brewery tours and some of the side events at Falling Rock and while neither were in the cards for me this go ‘round I can’t think of a minute I’d have done differently. Despite the madness there was some time spent that was just downright relaxing. But anyway you’re here for the beer so I’ll just get down to it. I will preface all this, however, with a suggestion to check out Bryan’s take on he and Patty’s adventures in Colorado. I checked in on his site and the two of them whenever I was able to during the festival and he was able to cover a lot of ground and document a good bit of it.

Ok, so what did I do? What did I drink?

Spent a good bit of time at Falling Rock, the epicenter of activity during the week. They had some amazing beers on tap: several from Russian River, Green Flash Le Freak and Saison, crazy stuff from Avery, Jewbulation from He'brew, the list goes on and my mind goes blank. A lot of Malheur floating about, La Folie here and there.

Wynkoop held a reception for brewers and they were pouring some amazing beers, I missed a La Folie / raspberry mead blend and Hoperation Ivy, but had Hop 15 on tap. I also had the Wynkoop Schwarz that would go on to win a gold medal.

Cheeky Monk had a tap list that was inspiring to say the least…erhm Kwak. They had Ommegang Rouge and Chocolate Indulgence on as well as Avery 15 just for the fest. Victory had guest beers for the week as well.

Speaking of the fest, sheesh. I just wandered when I wasn’t at the New Holland booth. I got to taste the New Glarus Berliner for the first time as well as a few beers from the very awesome Bruery from California. They had a Saison with Brett that was amazing as well as a few other beers de’ funk. Real Ale from TX (thank you Mr. Kolesar) was pouring an amazing set of beers. Triangle and Foothills breweries from down south had great things happening. Lost Abbey was pouring Angel Share and Isabelle Proximus in their lineup. I would do daring or illegal things for more Proximus.

Sad to say that we didn’t take home any medals, but both Michigan and Pennsylvania (where my allegiances lay) both did quite well. We were pouring Golden Cap, Dragon's Milk, Charkoota Rye, Night Tripper, and Existential. Iron Hill had an amazing showing, I was really happy to see them get to accept so many medals. Sly Fox's Rauch got its due and Flying Fish nabbed their first necklace.

All in all, it was a great time. I hope to make the return trip next year.

Read more!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

2 More Sessions

Seriously. Read more!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Post

Denver, CO.

This is where i'm at right now. The door is cracked and a leaf just blew in. I guess Denver is in fall mode, not a ton of trees to tell the story, but the ones on the back patio are making a go of it. There are still a few hours (and one UPS delivery) between us and GABF. First session starts at 5:30 pm and i am looking forward to getting the weekend underway. Got to Wynkoop and Falling Rock for the first time last night and wooped it up a bit. There a ton of people in town and everyone is in high spirits.

Beer? I missed two big ones already: La Folie blended w/ Raspberry Mead and Hoperation Ivy, a Colorado wet hop that i wanted to try. Ah well, the Hop 15 on tap was a mighty fine consolation. Wynkoops Schwarzbier is mighty nice i do have to say.

Falling Rock had it going on with Russian River, crazy barrel aged Avery, Le Freak, and tons of others on tap.

Anyhow, just stopping off for an update.

Listening to Sweet Child by The Pentangle. Mighty fine for a blue skied mid-60s early afternoon.

More on my GABF in this post. Read more!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ales In The Outfield

Durham, NC Another big drive, another great trip through the country across highways i've never been on. Some Los Lobos, some Charlie Hunter, some String Cheese Incident. I was excited to hit Durham, but i really had no idea what was ahead. New friends, old new friends, good people and a great event were all waiting. A pre-party that got down right silly followed by burritos and like 30 college kids wearing all white. It's no wonder i got all tangled up with the Gonzo crew, it had Nelson Otto written all over it.

All About Beer is one of my favorite beer mags and it was great to see them put on an event as particular to thier cause of elevating and explaining beer as their magazine is. Breweries from far and wide took over the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on a clear blue Saturday for a day of beer tasting. Planet New Holland was in Michigan Alley on the first base line and we were propped up between Founders and Kuhnhenn. We poured a lot of beer. A lot. Both sessions were a lot of fun.

Quite a few beer blogs were well represented in human form. I really wish i could have made the tutored tastings, but it just wasn't in the cards. Rick Lyke, Lew Bryson, and Jay Brooks were among the beer writers chosen to walk drinkers through beer function specific samplings of a handful of beers served at the festival. Mr. Brooks chose Mad Hatter as part of his Burton to Brutal tasting. Around the fest there were a few special beers tucked into certain places, some easily found and some otherwise. Ahem.....

With all those empty bottles comes a lot of empty crowns and there's nothing like a good ol' fashioned Capslam. There were fierce competitors at World Beer Fest, but the presentation of the winning sentence, word by word delivered in sultry Southern, was enough to take the prize.

My volunteers were huge all day. Marie, now a World Beer Fest veteran and full time employee of The Red Cross, handled a tall order as i hopped back and forth from table tending and bumping elbows all morning.

Then Liz and Ali threw down and owned Planet New Holland during the second session. They kept the crowd entertained and coming back for more. With more catchphrases and inneundo than i knew what to do with i was sad to see the second session come to a close.

In all, i had a lot of really great conversations about beer and met some really cool folks. Got work done too in the thick of it and somehow managed to wake up the next morning and still make it back to Philly for the Bella Vista gala event.

If you're Durham folk and reading this head to the awesome Tyler's across the street from the park on 10/8 for a Mad Hatter draft event. Awesome food, awesome beer, awesome staff - Tylers is a definite must hit.

Read more!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thoughts Random and Selected Before Bed - Durham, NC

World Beer Fest, VIP area, check this out:

Scaldis Prestige, Malheur Dark Brut, Sparks Energy thing. How great is that?

Also, Bone Crusher is a judge on Iron Chef right now??? I only saw from the comments portion of the show on, so i have no idea how the man who brought you "Get On My Level" or whatever fits into the equation.

Anyhow, a real post on WBF will follow, i just wanted to touch base.

Also in the world of commerce, my fledgling project, - A Start Up Industry has now been uprooted by a new project with my Southern cohorts....116 Distributors! We don't just sell beer, we offer I And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Got The Key... the highway and i'm billed out and bound to go. I'm gonna leave here runnin' cause walkin's most too slow.

LOUISVILLE, KY Just days after a huge wind storm knocked down trees and a lot of folks lost power i've touched ground in the town of Louisville. I am on the hunt for Jim James, but i don't think i'll be bumping into him at the Hilton by the airport where my wholesaler showcase is this afternoon.

The picture above is highway 64 somewhere in West Virginia. Ironically, and in full Fall fashion i decided to listen to the 5-disc set that accompanied the book about The Band that came out a few years back, at some point a live version of Highway 61 Revisited came on and where Zimmy went 61 i sang 64. It was a beautiful drive and a nice break from the PA turnpike and 95, both of which i have been spending a lot of time on.

So they tell me Bardstown Road is the place to hang out in Louisville, so that's where i went in search of fine food and drink. I definitely found it in a place called Ramsi's Big menus don't always get me too excited. I don't know what it is, maybe it just feels like being at a fancy diner, i dunno. That said, the full menu at Ramsi's is really cool. Dishes from many corners of the world allow you to experience one type of cuisine from start to finish or mix it up a bit.

I started with the Bostia, a Morrocan pastry with chicken, almonds, and honey then moved on to Indian for dinner with my Yucca Masala. It was a heaping portion of potato, garbanzo, peas, basmati rice, and apricots. It was delicious. So much so that i carted my to go box to bars all across town just so i could heat it up back at the hotel before bed. Beer selection was indicative of where Louisville seems to be at right now (based on what i saw the rest of the night), good mix of local, regional, and import. The staff was really nice and we got to talking a bit. Sounds like the beer list just grew recently and that sales are dictating the fact that craft beer is an asset where good food is served. I had Bluegrass Brewing Co's Fest through the meal and it hit amazingly with the Bastia. There was huge grain presence in the beer (tasted as good as fresh wort smells) and it lined up with the honey and the texture of the pastry perfectly. It was an mmmmmm moment.

So i wandered a bit and was guided to Nachbar. A neighborhood pub rumored to be serving The Poet. Nachbar is a cozy joint in the Germantown section of Louisville (they've got a Germantown too) full of friendly friends and nice beers. No sooner did i get settled onto my stool than Dr. Dog comes racing out of the speakers. I can handle that. 20 minutes later a live jazz quartet is working out some bop and i'm sipping on the Poet. Some interesting taps going on at Nachbar. The rarely tap bound Aventinus (with bartenders accustomed to the what it takes to pour one) and Schneider Weiss. Avery's Kaiser was on as was Cumberland Brewing Co's Porter with a nitro push. If you're in Germantown and want a Poet or Red Tulip Nachbar's got you covered.

Nachbar - Lousiville, KY

Off into the land of NHBC i go. I am pouring some of my favorites today...Night Tripper, Golden Cap, Ichabod, and most of the rest of the gang. Tomorrow i hightail it outta the deep blue and head to Durham to make ready for World Beer Fest. But not before i go on a little beer hunt of my own. Read more!