Life has tossed us a lot of stress
lately, so I told the wife to plan on a day off and we'll head to Philadelphia
and visit a few of the bars that we've been looking to get to. I didn't
make any definite itinerary, but kind of left it to luck and time. Our
friend Tony happened to be off that day and is always up for a few beers,
so we picked him up on the Xway and continued on to the City of Brotherly
Love and Great Beer.
The day couldn't have been more beautiful...bright and sunny with just a hint of coolness in the air. Traffic was also fairly light being a Wednesday and late morning. We thought about placing Resurrection Ale House at the head of our list, but we made good time and they don't open until 12, so I decided to turn off onto Broad St. and see where we end up.
Never having had been to the South Philly Tap Room and being so close to Broad, we figured it would be a good bet. Being mid-week, parking close to the venue was not a problem. We arrived soon after opening so we had our choice of seats at the bar. Not distinctly different in appearance from hundreds of other bars, we were happy to see a great selection of tap beers. Against my better judgement, I decided on a Strong Ale from Great Lakes, Nosferatu. At 8%, it was to be my only beer here or we'd have a very short visit to Philly. My wife got a St. Somewhere Saison and Tony a PBC Harvest In The Hood. Each was duly impressed by their selection. Now for sustenance! Not wanting to gorge myself here either, my wife and I both got the 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese with a cup of Tomato Lager Soup and Steak Fries(to sop up some of the coming alcohol). Tony opted for a Bacon Cheeseburger and salad. I must admit that grilled cheese and tomato soup is one of my favorite lunches returning me to my childhood when I ate it almost every day. I had never had the soup made with beer however and it turned out to be one of the best iterations of it I have ever had. The richness and creaminess of it surprised me with bold garden flavors. The sandwich was no slouch either! Lots of cheese on Texas Toast with a pleasant crunchiness to it made for an excellent combination along with the hand-cut steak fries! We could see that Tony's burger was exceptionally juicy and fresh and a good choice for an alcohol-infused afternoon. Not looking to order any other beers, the bartender offered us a mispoured Victory Helios that we gratefully accepted and shared. Time to move on to our next stop!
A bit unfamiliar with this section of Philly, I relied on the GPS to get us to Resurrection Ale House without incident. Parking again was not a problem and we entered an empty bar. Bartender Brian introduced himself and made us feel welcome in this comfortable pub. It is brighter and cheerier than most places, but that's a plus to us. We were surprised at how small it was, though. I didn't expect it to be huge, but I pictured it differently. Not having a quantity of draft handles, it makes up for it in quality. I could not resist an Uerige Sticke that I haven't had in a while, my spouse got a Saison du Buff and Tony opted for the Victory Uncle Teddy's Bitter on cask, a selection I would normally pick but for the Sticke. Again, we needed to pace ourselves. Not being overly hungry, we perused the menu anyway being very impressed by an eclectic choice of cuisine. We shared a cookie plate to add some sweetness to our day. Having just missed Brendan, the owner, I related my tale to Brian of meeting him at Nodding Head years ago. Now Brendan and partner, Leigh, own 3 bars in Philly! We couldn't resist sharing a Russian River Temptation before we moved on to Center City.
We parked in our usual spot and walked to Locust St. to the Misconduct Tavern. Here is a bar that fairly recently discovered good beer and has been making a name for itself by pouring some of the best beers in the city. I had checked the website before we arrived and saw a few offerings that piqued my interest. I not only was looking to visit new bars, but new beers as well! Unfortunately, my first choice had just blown so I had to settle for #2 though I could not complain about that......Arcadia Hop Mouth is a 8%+ hop bomb that really got my juices flowing. Tony picked a Blue Point Rastafa Rye and my wife a Franziskaner Weissbier. We sat nursing our beers enjoying the ambiance of this cozy tavern conversing with the bartender and perusing another fine looking menu for our next visit. We even got a taste of the new Lancaster Double Chocolate Milk Stout before we departed. It's location at 1519 Locust is central to so many other places....so close to our favorite, Monk's Cafe, and Good Dog Bar, Jose Pistolas and just several blocks from Nodding Head and the 2 Tria locations. You could do a crawl all within 3-4 blocks!
Last, but not least, we ended our day at Monk's! Mid-afternoon mid-week is a great time to visit this world famous restaurant as it can get quite crazy as an after-work bar. We ate a leisuely snack and enjoyed a few beers. I had a St. Feuillien Saison and Tony a Racer 5. My wife opted for a diet soda as she would be driving home. We thought we'd have a bite to eat here, so I ordered some of their Spring Rolls which are quite tasty. My wife and Tony both ordered small pots of mussels which was in part a surprise as my wife and I have never been shellfish fans. For the piece de resistance, I ordered up a bottle of Port/Lost Abbey's Angel's Share Grand Cru, a 12% nectar that is so limited that, I believe Monk's is the only place on the East Coast to find it. Of course, at $40 for a 12oz. bottle, people aren't knocking down the doors to get it! This was my second bottle at Monk's and it is glorious! We shared it all around(even with the server Jessie who said I made his day). What a finish to a great day of beer tasting!
For those who are good beer lovers and are close to Philadelphia or its suburbs, the region is now awash in restaurants and taverns that serve upscale cuisine and beer. Find magazines like Philly Beer Scene, Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and Ale Street News for listings of places to go. Slainte!