Northeast Times

Think globally, drink locally

Think Beer…Drink Beer looks at the three river­ward bars in­cluded in this year's list of the 100 best bars in Amer­ica, re­cently re­leased by Draft magazine.

I’ve said be­fore that I think Phil­adelphia is one of the best places to drink beer in the coun­try. 

It is nice when the na­tion­al press agrees. 

The beer-cent­ric DRAFT magazine just pub­lished its 2012 list of the 100 best beer bars in the coun­try (see it for your­self on­line at: ht­tp://draft­mag.com/fea­tures/amer­icas-100-best-beer-bars-2012/). 

Six of the bars the magazine se­lec­ted are in Philly, with three of them right here in the river­wards: Grey Lodge Pub­lic House, Mem­ph­is Tap­room and Stand­ard Tap.

The in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned Monk’s Caf&ea­cute; in Cen­ter City, Bel­gian-owned Eu­logy Tav­ern in Old City and new­comer Tria Cafe in Cen­ter City com­plete the list, show­ing that our loc­al bars keep some pretty pres­ti­gi­ous com­pany.

The Grey Lodge, at 6235 Frank­ford Ave., (on­line at www.greylodge.com), is known for serving in­ter­est­ing and rare beers at oddball events — like Fri­day the Firken­teeth cel­eb­ra­tion, when the bar is lined with fir­kins of beer every Fri­day the 13th, or the so-called 120 event, where Dog­fish Head Brew­ery’s 120 Minute IPA is served every Jan. 20. 

Not all events are based on a cal­en­dar date, but all are fun, and the pub grub is tasty, too. 

For an­oth­er great loc­a­tion, check out the Hop An­gel Brau Haus at 7980 Ox­ford Ave. (on­line at www.ho­pan­gel­brauhaus.blog­spot.com), owned by the same own­er as the Grey Lodge, as it is one of a few craft beer bars north of Port Rich­mond.

Fishtown’s Mem­ph­is Tap­room, at 2331 E. Cum­ber­land (on­line at www.mem­phistap­room.com), might not be as large as the oth­er two loc­al bars, but the thought put in­to its tap and bottle list is as good as nearly any oth­er bar I have seen. 

Ex­cel­lent rare beers like Rus­si­an River’s Pliny the Eld­er come on tap with little fan­fare, to be en­joyed by beer geeks and loc­als alike. 

The bottle list show­cases Eng­lish beers along with Bel­gians and are even offered at a dis­count for takeout. The food is an ec­lect­ic mix of mod­ern fare, with ve­gan and ve­get­ari­an op­tions, to bur­gers and the “Port Rich­mond Plat­ter,” with piero­gies, kiel­basa and more.

If you like this bar, be sure to check out the own­er’s two oth­er es­tab­lish­ments, Loc­al 44, at 4333 Spruce St. in West Philly (on­line at www.loc­al44­beerbar.com), and Re­sur­rec­tion Ale House at 2425 Grays Ferry Ave. (on­line at www.re­sur­rec­tionale­house.com).

Fi­nally, North­ern Liber­ties’ Stand­ard Tap, at 901 N. 2nd St. (on­line at www.stand­ardtap.com), gets a nod from the magazine. The bar opened in 1999 and has be­come one of the first craft beer bars in the area. 

What sets apart Stand­ard and its sis­ter bar, Johnny Brenda’s at 1201 N. Frank­ford Ave. (on­line at www.johnnybren­das.com), is their com­mit­ment to serving only re­gion­ally made craft beer.  This in­cludes loc­al fa­vor­ites like the Phil­adelphia Brew­ing Co. and Yards, as well as big names such as Dog Fish Head, Sly Fox and Fly­ing Fish.

The food is a mix of pub grub, snacks and some unique en­trees. The own­ers are as com­mit­ted to loc­ally sourcing their food as they are their beer. Johnny Brenda’s also has live mu­sic sev­er­al nights a week.

I’ve dis­cussed oth­er es­tab­lish­ments be­sides those lis­ted in DRAFT magazine be­cause I’ve found that if a bar own­er really cares about giv­ing the pat­ron a good ex­per­i­ence at one loc­a­tion, they will do that at their oth­er bars. 

Any one of the tav­erns here could have made the list of top 100 bars. Also, some­times you need to know where to get a good drink out­side of the river­wards.

This weeks home-brew­ing tip: If you are try­ing to brew the “hop­pi­est” beer you can, take the time to fig­ure out the largest amount of wa­ter you can boil on your stovetop. Most dir­ec­tions have you boil a few gal­lons of wa­ter with your ex­tract and hops, then top it off with two to three gal­lons of tap wa­ter.

But the wa­ter and ex­tract you are boil­ing can only ab­sorb so much of the oils from the hops be­fore it is sat­ur­ated. 

The more wa­ter you boil, the more hop fla­vor and bit­ter­ness you can get. Note: While craft beer is my fo­cus, I’m al­ways open to find­ing new bars. 

If you found a corner bar that has good beer or just a good at­mo­sphere, send me an e-mail so I can check it out and write about it in a fu­ture column. I also want to hear about new beers or up­com­ing events in the area. ••

Tim Pat­ton is a Fishtown res­id­ent, beer afi­cion­ado and brew­er. His column is ded­ic­ated to show­cas­ing everything that is great about en­joy­ing beer in the river­wards. He can be con­tac­ted at tim@stben­jamin­brew­ing.com

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