BeerAdvocate Suburban Phila. Pub Crawl
I believe this was the 3rd annual crawl produced by the
local BA members. Most of the thanks should be given to Rich Ruch and Rick
Maybrick. They planned a wonderful day of beer and food that was nothing
short of spectacular. It was the first time I participated and, I must
say, it will not be my last! In addition to this, Friday night they sponsored
a City Pub Crawl visiting downtown establishments and on Sunday a brunch
crawl. Three days of beer!
Ted Briggs, brewer at Tun Tavern, decided he wanted to
accompany me as my wife was stuck at a charity event and Gary Monterosso
had fallen ill the day before. We were all to meet at Victory and then
we could take a bus (for a moderate fee) to the other spots. A total of
three brewpubs was on the agenda: Victory, General Lafayette, & Sly
The day was perfect: bright, sunny & fairly warm.
The 1 3/4 hour ride to Victory was uneventful and we were the first to
arrive. We checked in with Rich and talked awhile until the others started
to wander in. There was a serious list of beers on including three cask-conditioned
selections. For $15, we were also going to get a buffet with pizza, jambalaya
and salad......a great start to a long day of drinking! Included was the
first pour, a free glass and $1 discount on each successive beer. Bill
& Ron know the way to our hearts!!!
About 25-30 people showed up and started in drinking a couple
of beers and having some food. Owner & brewer, Ron Barchet, gave us
a tour of the new multi-million dollar brewing & packaging facility.
A more beautiful system I have yet to see...a plumber's dream/nightmare!
Before long, it was time to load up the bus and move
on to the next stop, General Lafayette in Lafayette Hill, a nice ride.
General Lafayette has been an inn of one sort or another since 1732 and
still has a lot of original appointments to it. It is a wonderful place
to have a great meal, great beer and even spend the night in the Bed &
Breakfast in the rear.
Owner/brewer Chris Leonard had brought out some of his vintage
beers for sale and we happily obliged by laying out some good money for
some great brews. To maximize the tasting range, we shared the bottles
and thusly got to try almost all the offerings. Along with his usual extensive
line of selections, we had a wonderful tasting experience here. Some of
the beers we had were: The Grim Reaper, Raspberry Mead, Sunset Red, Pacific
Pale, La Tete Fontaine, CC IPA, McGlynn's Ghost '03, Lafayette's Revenge
'02, Imperial Stout '02, and Weizenheimer '04. Chris is another prolific
brewer who makes a broad range of styles all excellently. Again, time flew
by and we soon had to saddle 'em up and move on. But not before I got a
growler of the Grim Reaper!
Sly Fox-Royersford is the second and newest location
in the Giannopoulos empire. I had never been at this one before and I was
amazed! Located in a small shopping center, it is so much larger than the
Phoenixville locale. You could put the whole building in one dining room!
The brewer, Brian O'Reilly, was there to greet us and gave a tour of the
new production brewery that has been built here. A dream of his that finally
came true! It is a lot of work for him, but he now has enough capacity
to meet the distribution plans they have. Limited bottling will begin this
year to even expand their product availability further. Look for them in
the tri-state area by the end of the year. Brian is truly an exceptional
brewer and deserving of more attention by beer lovers everywhere.
Sly Fox put out some finger foods for us in the game room
and many began to shoot pool and play shuffleboard. A list of 14 beers
was offered and everyone made the best use of the time we had left. Unfortunately,
I had to drive home when we got back so I kept my sampling to a minimum.
Brian started doing IPA projects last year where he made 9 IPAs(one for
each year in business) each with one type of hop. This year, it will be
10! The first 2 are out now, Glacier IPA and Ahtanum IPA...outstanding!
Look for the grand finale in December where Brian serves up all 10 at once.
Not being able to enjoy all the beers I wanted, I filled
my growler with his Doppelbock for later consumption.
The trip back to Downingtown was fairly quiet and trouble-free.
Next year, I will be staying in the area as that ride home was a long one
after a full day.
Keep an eye out for next year's event and join us for
a fun day!
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