Friday, November 12, 2010

Phoodie Phriday

Excerpt from

Looking around nearly four years ago when I scrawled those words, it seemed clear that Philly was enjoying a surge in neighborhood bars whose focus was good beer. We'd reached a tipping point in which it was too late to go back to the same old lager.

The surge is only growing.

Surely, the old standbys are worth visiting and visiting again. But the city's beer scene has taken it up yet another notch, and it's about time you started nosing around.

Naturally, I've got a suggestion: Grab a ticket for tomorrow's Craft Beer Express.

It's an all-day bus tour that links 11 beer bars, about half of which are among the new breed. Buses stop at each of them every 25 minutes. You can grab a cold one and move on, or just hunker down for a couple of hours.

Tickets are just $10, available at any of the stops.

It's not just a great way to avoid DUIs. The express gives you a taste of the character of each joint, with different beer themes at each stop.

Here's the rundown:

Kraftwork (541 E. Girard Ave., Fishtown): Twenty beers from Belgian/Japanese/Italian/German beer importer B. United, with live music.

Johnny Brenda's (Frankford and Girard avenues, Fishtown): The Wet Hop Rodeo, with ales made with freshly picked hops.

Standard Tap (901 N. 2nd St., Northern Liberties): Imperial Pageant, with superstrong ales at the granddaddy of Philly's gastropubs.

The Institute (549 N. 12th St., Spring Garden): The Power of the Dark Side, with stouts and porters at what one local rag called "the best bar in the middle of nowhere."

Bishop's Collar (24th Street and Fairmount Avenue, Fairmount): A classic corner pub that always seems to pour something extraordinary, this time with envelope-pushing brews from Southern Tier of New York.

Kite & Key (1836 Callowhill St., Franklintown): Just behind the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, it's an Almighty Afternoon of Allagash.

Jose Pistola's (263 S. 15th St., Center City): It gets loud here some nights, even louder with Big Bold Barleywine and live blues.

The Sidecar (22nd and Christian Street, Point Breeze): One of a handful of beer spots that have spiced up what they used to call Devil's Pocket, it'll pour the Bell Brewery Jazz Series, with music from the Sidecar Jazz Quartet.

The P.O.P.E. (1501 E. Passyunk Ave., South Philly): Breaking out the Randall 3.0 hop infuser at a day of ales from Dogfish Head.

Devil's Den (1148 S. 11th St., South Philly): Founders Nemesis, a one-off from the highly regarded Michigan brewery, makes an appearance along with a bunch of other brands from Northampton County's specialty suppler, Stockertown Beverage.

Brauhaus Schmitz (718 South St.): Chill-erasing doppelbocks take over the taps at this authentic German beer hall.

Suggested pairing: A solid base meal, plenty of water, and a gentle pace

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