It is always great to find a tasty beer the old-fashioned way — by walking to the corner bar and seeing what’s on tap.
But sometimes you want a little more variety in life, or you just want to know what is going on without having to walk all over the neighborhood. Thankfully, in this digital age, the Internet and social media have a lot of solutions to these problems.
A great starting point is Philly Tap Finder (at www.phillytapfinder.com), a Web site with updated tap lists for more than 60 bars. Here you’ll find listings for neighborhood bars like Kraftwork, Johnny Brenda’s, The Abbaye and others. The site is updated by its users, who e-mail or text tap-list updates, so occasionally the lists can be a little out of date. The site will also list some specials, such as a big tap takeover or a Philly Beer Week event.
Some bars, like the Port Richmond Pour House and Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant, use Beer Menus (at www.beermenus.com) to keep their tap list updated and online.
The nice thing about Beer Menus is you can see the tap list on its Web site or on the bar’s Web site. So as long as the bar manager is keeping the listing up to date, what you see online is what you should be able to order at the bar.
All bars with great beer have their own personality, and you aren’t going to get that from an online draft list.
Twitter is a great place to follow your favorite pub, and our local breweries, The Philadelphia Brewing Co. (@phillybrewing) and Yards (@YardsBrew), are no exceptions.
The breweries use social media to keep you up to date on any tap takeovers, festivals and any other special event. Even better, you can use social media to find happy hours, discounts and just plain old free tastings.
Bars like Kraftwork and Barcade always put their updated tap lists on their Facebook pages. Johnny Brenda’s and Silk City also use it to promote shows and DJ nights.
One quick note: As you see, instead of listing a lot of Web addresses, I recommend anyone interested search on Facebook.com or Twitter.com for their favorite places to follow, or use Google.com to find the bar’s Web site.
I’m only listing a select few Twitter handles here.
The Grey Lodge owner Mike “Scoats” Scotese (@scoats) keeps his feed updated with not just beer events and tappings but also with his thoughts on music or online review Web sites.
Some owners don’t hold back (much), so you get a dose of what it would be like to sit down at the bar with them and chat.
One warning, though — getting involved with these social media sites is a bit like jumping down the rabbit hole as you start following beer bloggers, restaurant owners, distillers and even a Fishtown taxi driver (@theclassytaxi) with opinions on beer.
All of them give great recommendations, though, and can lead you somewhere you might not have checked out on your own.
We’ve had e-mail with us for more than 20 years, and some bars are sticking to that tried-and-true format for communicating with patrons.
Of course, at the end of the day, nothing beats walking into a local bar and seeing old friends and acquaintances and chatting over a pint.
You might even run into that blogger or brewmaster you’ve been following online.
That is for an entirely different column, though. ••
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 firstname.lastname@example.org