Looking at local brews in a digital age

Think Beer…Drink Beer

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 The site is up­dated by its users, who e-mail or text tap-list up­dates, so oc­ca­sion­ally the lists can be a little out of date.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. 

The sites I’ve lis­ted will not ne­ces­sar­ily help you meet your fa­vor­ite blog­ger or brew­mas­ter — though sites like foursquare.com and un­tapped.com can. 

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 tim@stben­jamin­brew­ing.com

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