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Reviews on PubCrawler from jerry
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December 21, 2014 @ 07:48 AM EDT
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Beer Reviews from jerry

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Beer Quality
Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Great

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Good Great Great

Establishment: Bridgeport Brewing Company and Public House, Portland, OR

This was another stop during my recent visit (Oregon Brewers Festival); in fact, Bridgeport was the first target hit upon arrival - it being under renovation during my previous visit in November 2005.

Located in Portland's Pearl District, or warehouse district more likely, BP is situated in a reconverted warehouse; you enter into a large, open, multi-storied, brickwalled space that is bisected by a steel staircase (leading upstairs to Bridgeport's only bar and restrooms).

On the left is a dining area with tables; to the right, as you enter, is a smaller dining area decked out with tables and high-tops. Off to the side is a bakery set-up with tantalizing sweets, but I was there for the beer. There is a walk up bar in the back for ordering. It sort of reminded me of many of the pubs in Prague - but I digress. Outside on what was once the loading dock is a patio for outdoor drinking - guess it still is a "loading" dock after all. Anyway sit, relax and watch the construction across the street.

The beer, their beer, is served fresh in Imperial pint glasses. A thirsty patron has about eight taps from which to choose; I enjoyed the tasty Blue Heron, the IPA and on cask: Ropewalk and Haymaker, the latter being an amber ale. Please note: they also had their hop heavy (100+ IBU) Hop Czar, which I sampled the following day at OBF - I did go back a second time for another. Mybad.

Efficient service meant my glass was never empty. Bridgeport has an excellent weekday Happy Hour when pints are $2.75.

Off course, being in the aforementioned Pearl District, Bridgeport Brewing is accessible by the beloved Portland Streetcar; it runs east on Lovejoy (1 block south) and west on Northrup (1 block north), so you can catch it either way. Check out the sign in front by the door; it provides notification of the streetcar arrival/departures. I heard that they adopted a stop. How sweet. Enjoy it during your next Portland visit.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great N/A Great Great

Establishment: Amnesia Brewing, Portland, OR

After a hearty lunch (and a few brews) at Widmers Gasthaus, I took a pleasant 20 minute walk and found my way to the evolving "Historical Mississippi District," home to a burdgeoning array of establishments, one of which is Amnesia Brewing.

And it is as unpretentious as they come: a converted warehouse with a covered beer garden where patrons quaff craft ales while watching the "Historical Mississippi District" pass by. Inside, you find a large area with a few picnic tables and a small bar off to the left.

In the back is the brewery, a 7 barrel direct-infusion system (I hope this is correct.) The beer list* is pretty expressive - I enjoyed the Dusty Trail Pale Ale (5.2 abv) and a delicious Desolation IPA (6.2 abv). For $7.00 you can get your beer to go (in a quart mason jar).

* Their Copacetic IPA was featured (and drank) at the OBF

Include efficient service along with some great music in a relaxing atmosphere and you have what Portland is known for: a friendly local pub.

If you are taking Trimet, the No. 4 bus from downtown goes right by. It's also a short (10 minute) walk to the Lompoc 5th Quadrant (Review Coming). A wonderful afternoon at Amnesia - one that I'll never forget.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great Great Great Awesome!

Establishment: Birreria Paradiso, Washington, DC

First, my review has been divided into two sections, since "Birreria Paradiso" (BP) is, in actuality, the lower level of "Pizzeria Paradiso." In that there are no separate entries for the latter, the bisected review is necessary to provide a concise description of this exceptional beer bar (and Neapolitan pizzeria).

Pizzeria Paradiso/BP is located on the south side of M Street amid the posh enclave of Georgetown, home of narcissistic poseurs and fashion fops and a destination to many slack-jawed tourists in search of T-shirts - or to check out the stairs from the movie "The Exorcist," which are a few blocks up the street. As a long-time resident of this area, I have always despised Georgetown and have made it a life long point to avoid it like the proverbial plague. That is until now, because with last year's opening of Birreria Paradiso, I am now forced to venture into Georgetown and seek out the city's best beer bar. (Sorry, Brickskeller, you have been deposed.)

Because parking is sketchy, Pizzeria Paradiso/BP can be reached by public transit, the nearest stations being Dupont Circle, where one gets off for the aforementioned Brick, Foggy Bottom or Rossyln in Virginia (you would have to cross the Key Bridge and hang a right on M Street. All of these stops are about a 20-minute walk. Alternatively, for $1.00 you could ride the Georgetown Circulator bus that runs from Union Station along Massachusetts Avenue (where you may disembark for the Old Dominion Brewhouse) and turns onto Pennsylvania Avenue and onto M Street, where it turns north a few blocks from BP.

I - Pizzeria Paradiso (Upstairs): Upon entry you should meet the bored hostess or host who will try to find you a table in the cramped dining room on the left or you can just try to find a spot at the small marble-topped bar directly behind her or him. Look up and check out the blue sky painted on the ceiling, a nice feature for someone who has quaffed a few too many Belgian abbeys only to wake up staring at the sky. A nice touch, though.

The beers list is extraordinary and the beers (80 bottles/16 taps) are carefully selected and frequently rotated. Don't worry if you do happen to sit upstairs, since most of the listed beers are available.

Along with a tasty roast pork Panini, I enjoyed on draught: Troeg's Nugget Nectar (See Review), Wells' Bombardier English Premium Bitter and a bottle of Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA. Note: go easy on the garlic when drinking hoppy beers. Having sated myself, I waited until 5pm and the opening of:

II - Birreria Paradiso (Downstairs): Upon entering Pizzeria Paradiso, head toward the rear of the dining room and to the left of the open kitchen; adjacent to the wine cellar, there is a door, a Portal of Pleasure. Descend the stairs where Beervana awaits. It is a dimly lit space with a low ceiling accommodating a small bar that can seat about 10, lounge seating by the fireplace for 8 people and tables for around twenty. Restrooms can be found at the far end of the bar. A few on tap that I had that night: Troeg's Nugget Nectar (I had some more damn it), Victory Baltic Thunder and Oskar Blues Gordon. I also enjoyed the following bottled goodness: Belhaven Ale and Three Floyd's Alpha King.

IMPORTANT: Ask for the special "Small Batch" list.

I've taken you as far as possible. Discover this place for yourself. I know that I'll be back....


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Awesome! Great Great Great

Establishment: Brewer's Art, Baltimore, MD

While in Baltimore to indulge myself in Max's Belgian beer festival, I thought: "Why not visit Brewer's Art?" And why not, since it is a superb example of what happens when great beer is combined with excellent cuisine.

Located in the Mount Vernon section of town just a short walk from the Cultural Centre light rail station, and a few blocks south of Penn Station, Brewer's Art is situated in a 107-year old townhome that has retained much of its original décor. Once entering the marble foyer, you then step into the front lounge area, an airy room with windows looking out onto North Charles Street. In this room, which may have been the living room, is the small bar seating about a dozen thirsty souls. Check out the marble fireplace behind the bar. Along the window are a few high-tops. Additionally, there are some plush chairs and sofa available if you need real comfort. (There are those times when it can be dangerous to be too comfortable.)

Passing the archway on the left takes you into additional dining rooms where there can be found an architectural orgy of marble, mahogany and plasterwork. The stairs on the left lead down to another bar, one that reminded me of a brick cavern that one might find in Prague. It is a darker, hipper cousin to the upstairs lounge.

Of course, while Brewer's Art makes their own Belgian style beers, such as a signature brown abbey called Resurrection, they also offered their Beacon Pale Ale, a lightly-hopped session beer and Proletary, a nicely malted porter. There is an impressive bottle list (100+) that leans toward Belgium and Germany - in fact, they had an Alt Sticke to die for. During Happy Hour, most of the house beers are only $3.00.

Add to this a unique food menu and attentive service (even when jam-packed), you could really melt into one of those aforementioned plush chairs and die a happy beer drinker.

Two items of critique: they need to put in additional restrooms and expand the hours - at least on weekends, when they open at 4pm Saturday and 5pm Sunday. Still ... a must stop!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Lousy Good

Establishment: Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

Having read so many glowing reviews for this much-lauded purveyor of Belgian beer, and being in town to experience Philadelphia Beer Week, what better place to start? So, I chose a quiet Friday afternoon and settled in at the front bar.

In the front, there is a small, L-shaped bar seating about 10; additionally, the area has several tables with two prize locations at the windows overlooking 16th Street. If you pass the hallway and head to the left, you come to the larger back bar - also with different beers on tap. (I recommend checking this first.)

Of course, Monk's Beer Bible is an amazing read - and can be purchased for $3.00. And to describe the diversity of fermented culture would be just repetition; Monk's has many, many beers. However, being the beer perfectionist, I didn't find the available taps (a paltry 7) very impressive - the one that did intrigue me, Urthel Hop-It, was not available. Settling down with a bottle of Val Dieu brown, I enjoyed the Pulled Pork Sandwich and frites (with mayonnaise, of course). When the bartender wasn't busy chatting with her gay friend, I was able to induce her to serve me a bottle of Alvinne Gaspar, a hop monster possessing a head that took 10 minutes to settle! Therein lies the rub with Monk's: the service just sucks - on a quiet afternoon at that!

There are flaws in even the most valuable gems; with Monk's it was the indifferent service. What a shame, since I had really anticipated coming here. While, Monk's is a first-rate beer bar, it leaves a lot to be desired in the realm of hospitality, and since Philadelphia has so many similarly fine establishments from which to choose, why even bother. A great bar is more than a massive beer list; a great bar is one where a beer drinker feels welcome, one where he or she could just stay and never leave. Unfortunately, the "much-lauded" Monk's is not one of these. Great beer bar and a great disappointment.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Good Good Great

Establishment: Maxwell's Plum English Pub, Halifax, NS

Visited here during a recent trip to the province and while not completely proficient in knowledge of Halifax's pub scene, I will at least say that Maxwell's Plum has the most taps I have seen in Nova Scotia (regional drinkers may know another).

Located a few steps downhill from the Citadel, which we visited prior, Maxwell's Plum is a pseudo English pub having a large bar area, with several tables and high tops and a floor covered in peanut shells, the aforementioned legume being obtained non-gratis. Anyway, they have at least 60 taps and a very extensive bottle selections that cover Canada and Europe.

For those not familiar with drinking in Nova Scotia: beware the HST tax - about 20% extra. Not a bad place to quaff when in Halifax. A couple of rounds along with a few Stan Roger tunes and you're ready for a night on the town.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Ludwig's Garten, Philadelphia, PA

Well Mark ... you'll be happy to know that Ludwig's is closed. Auf Wiedersehen!


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Good Great

Establishment: Split Crow Pub, Halifax, NS

Just around the corner from O'Carroll's (see my reveiw), the Split Crow is located in the Historic Properties area on the pedestrianized Granville Street, at the sign of the two-headed ("split") crow sits this convivial martitime-themed establishment. According to them, Brewer John Shippey opened a tavern by the same name 250 years ago; in any case, this pub claims some history to it, though not this particular location.

That said, it is a split-level pub with a dining area and bar complete with outdoor seatings that is a nice place to hang out on a nice day. Great people watching and beer drinking.

The beer selection consists of domestic (the ubiquitous Alexander Keith's), import (Guinness), micro (Halifax's own Garrison) and several taps of John Shippey ales (IPA, Amber, Red, etc.)


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good Great Great Great

Establishment: O'Carroll's Restaurant and Irish Pub, Halifax, NS

Located in the Historic Properties neighborhood, and around the corner from Split Crow, O'Carroll's is a restaurant-pub that serves as an upscale dining establishment (to the left) and a comfortable pub (on the right). Having enjoyed both sections - the restaurant serving excellent cuisine on a seperate menu - no pub grub here; the pub offering about 2 dozen ales and lagers in addition to pouring a fine pint o' Guinness.

In fact, during a recent Haligonian jaunt, friends and I hit it on successive nights simply to enjoy the excellent live music. Wonderful pub venue in a really enjoyable city. And what's wrong with that?


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Rose and Raindrop, Portland, OR

Rose and Raindrop is closed and is being replaced by a bank.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall

Establishment: Max's on Broadway, Fells Point/Baltimore, MD

This is not a review (Did one previously), but to inform those folks who have had poor service at the bar (something that I personally have never experienced), there is an upstairs bar, Mobtown Lounge, which offers a quieter atmosphere and cigars.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Good Good Great

Establishment: Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaraunt, Rockville, MD

Never in my wild dreams could I ever conceive of drinking craft beer in Rockville, Maryland. However, dreams do come true; or in this case, craft beer is now available at the recently opened Gordon Biersch brewpub.

Located about 20 miles northwest of Washington D.C. and a 25-minute ride on the Metro Red Line (Rockville Station), this brand new member of the Gordon Biersch chain – there is another downtown and another in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia – is part of the rebirth of downtown Rockville, which was always considered a ghost town void of nightlife. Now this once sad place has started to boom, with commercial development in the guise of Rockville Town Center, a “community” of shopping, restaurants and condominiums slapped together amid a six-story parking garage. (Needless to say, parking is plentiful.) But, as Michael Jackson would say … I digress.

[By the way, if you are thinking of that Michael Jackson, then you have no business being on this website.]

The interior seems to be aiming for trendy, but that’s not the word to use. I did appreciate the long bar in the front that looks out onto the outdoor terrace – rather reminiscent of a beachfront bar (without a beach, sadly). Of course, we can’t drink beer without being inundated with sports, so Gordon Biersch has diligently supplied half-dozen of large-screen plasma TVs.

The menu was eclectic; there was something for everyone’s taste, particularly the upscale appetizer selections. Also available was an extensive wine list for those preferring the grape to the grain and, for the James Bond wannabees, several varieties of Martinis.

Anyone familiar with Gordon Biersch knows that they are primarily purveyors of German lagers, although the downtown location (see my Review in Washington DC beerfly) once offered Baltic Porter under a previous brewer. Speaking of which, the brewer at this location is Jim Sobczak, formerly of Fordham Brewing.

One issue is the lack of knowledge from the servers (Guinness and black lagers are separate styles). But not everyone lives for beer. Another is the spotty service – one shouldn’t remind servers that food was ordered. But this place is new and possessing all the kinks of a new place. The bartender did inform me that this place does “booming” after work business – Rockville is the county seat of Montgomery County and home to hundreds of county workers.

So, Rockville is a dreary backwater no more. While I won’t recommend that anyone make a special trip here, it is nice to know about it. Of course, it’s always nice to have a new place to drink beer.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good So So Great Great Great

Establishment: Rudder's Seafood Restaurant and Brew Pub, Yarmouth, NS

On a recent trip to Nova Scotia, friends and I lunched at this intriguing brewpub on Yarmouth's waterfront. In that we arrived on the CAT Ferry from Portland and that it is located adjacent to the terminal, Rudder's makes for a fine lunch either coming or going

The building is bright yellow clapboard structure that may have been a warehouse in earlier days. It has a very nautical inspired interior with a small dimly-lit bar area on the left and an airier, brighter dining room on the right - Rudder's also offers outside deck seating that overlooks the water.

The beer selection is limited to Blonde Rock, Rudder's Red Ale, Town Brown Ale and a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, all very balanced and tasty.

The food, particularly the chowder was amazing; the menu also has lobster rolls, which were devoured by my travel companions. With exceptional service, attractive waitresses and live entertainment, Rudder's is, all in all, the best brewpub in Yarmouth.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good Good Great Good

Establishment: Ludwig's Garten, Philadelphia, PA

If you are into German food and, ahem, German beer (bier) then this is the place... And since it is around the corner from McGillin's (see my review) and is strategically located between Nodding Head (see review) and Fergie's, Ludwig's is perfectly situated for a Center City pubcrawl.

There are two sections: to the right, is the homey L-shaped bar surrounded by a smattering of booths and tables and stuffed to the rafters with all sorts of Bavarian paraphernalia; a larger and more formal dining area is to the left. In addition to deutsches bieres (Optimator, Fransiskaner and my personal favorite Kostritzer Black Lager), Ludwig's also offers several Belgians (Stella and Grimbergen) - all served in the appropriate glassware.

And the food is geschmact! Especially the wiener schnitzel, naturlich.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Awesome! Great Great

Establishment: Standard Tap, Philadelphia, PA

In the City of Brotherly Love for a Labor Day pub crawl, I ventured to the Northern Liberties neighborhood, which appears to be in the middle of much renovation (I bet the rents go up), for the specific purpose of visiting this much-lauded tavern.

The Tap stands sentry on the corner of Poplar and Second – in fact, coming up from the nearby Spring Garden subway station it is pretty hard to miss with its’ name blazing for all to see.

Upon entering is a small L-shaped bar that can seat about fifteen opposite several small tables. A few windows allow a minimum of natural lighting – but hey you’re not here to read. In the back is a warren of additional dining areas, much like the British pubs of yore.

The only menu is on the chalkboard above the bar. The food, primarily seafood, was excellent, eclectic and much more than pub grub – unless you consider Duck Salad “pub grub.” While, the beer selection was not large (13 taps, including two hand-pumps), it was fresh, properly and efficiently served and reasonably priced; the selection included:

Sly Fox Dry Stout Troeg Brown Ale Flying Fish Stoudt’s APA Victory Prima Pils Stoudt’s ESB Yard’s Pale Ale Troeg Dreamweaver Wheat

On cask was Yards ESA and Victory Hop Devil. Oh, and the Yards Pale was $3.00 a pint! No wonder this place gets great reviews, including this one.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good So So Great Great Great

Establishment: Paddy's Brewpub, Wolfville, NS

Lunched here with friends during a recent trip through Nova Scotia. Paddy's Pub is a strikingly atmospheric, youth-oriented establishment (though it really attracts all ages for a college town) with plenty of character, ambiance and natural light. They offer a small selection of craft brews that run the range from light to dark. While I did not try the others on tap, I did thoroughly enjoy their Raven Ale, which is a mildly-malted but well balanced ale that greatly accompanies any thing on the menu. In any case, Paddy's makes for a worthy stop when in search for something besides the ubiquitous Alexander Keith's.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Great Good Good Good

Establishment: Granite Brewery, Halifax, NS

Stopped in for lunch during a swing through Nova Scotia (see my other reveiws). Granite, the house pub for Granite Brewing, is located in a busy commercial area of Halifax, itself being an attractive city with many other fine establishments; it is narrow with a moderate-sized bar on the left and a few high tops by the large front windows where Haligonians hustle about their business. I gather this place has been around since it boasts a fine tin ceiling. (I understand that Henry House, another Granite purveyor, possesses a classier ambience - hey, it's about the beer.)

Granite offers 7 British styles on tap with some on casks. This is a nice place for a hearty lunch and some fine brews. We did not have problems like the previous reveiwer, though. Sometimes it's all about timing. I recommend Granite and Halifax. --


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Awesome! Great Great Great

Establishment: Triumph Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PA

On a recent Labor Day pub-crawl I took the opportunity to visit the newest member of the Philadelphia brewpub scene – not to mention a new neighbor to a certain Belgian tavern across the street.

Walking into the dim interior, you notice, to the right, a long wooden bar, above which sits, on what one could say was the mezzanine, the glassed-in brewery opposite what one might also surmise to be additional dining. Of course, anyone familiar with the additional Triumph locations is well aware of their minimalist interiors; but, hey, this is not about design; it’s about the beer.

And the beer …the good people at Triumph attempt to represent all major styles; in fact, I bet that even a Bud-swilling beer novice could find something to drink – besides their preferred macro. Here is what was available during my visit:

Honey Wheat – Made with wildflower honey Kellerbier – Pilsner style and very refreshing Vienna Lager – Marzen style Amber Ale – Pacific Northwest style, but lightly hopped Porter – Nice balance of malts Irish Dry Stout (Did not try) Rauchweizendopplebock – Say this quickly five times Bengal Gold IPA – I had two of these

No review of Triumph Philadelphia is complete without a quick mention of the unique restroom, which consist of two rows of self-contained stalls complete with Vacant/Occupied signs. The 21st Century is going to be grand.

PS: Doesn’t Philly ever get tired of getting so many great places to quaff great beer? It is the City of Brotherly Love (of Beer).


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Great Great Awesome!

Establishment: Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Philadelphia, PA

In the City of Brotherly Love for a Labor Day pub-crawl, I finally got the much-anticipated opportunity to visit this superlative destination, one that I had been reading about for oh so long; and, since it has been reviewed so many times, Ill keep mine short and subjective.

First, I was surprised by the fact that the downstairs bar is very small  in fact, I thought it rather cramped and certainly not as imagined. Fortunately, it was Sunday afternoon and sparsely crowded with a few locals, a smattering of tourists and myself. (I shudder to think of the weekend evening mobs in that small space.) Another thing that struck me upon entering was the overwhelming aroma of mussels, a Belgian specialty (more about the food).

Then there is the beer selection. Eulogy has about 20 taps that include: Busty Blonde, a light-bodied ale brewed exclusively for Eulogy Tavern; Bells Sparkling Ale, in which the Kalamazoo wonder brewer tackles Belgian ale with stunning success; Leffe Blonde and Bruin, two favorite imports; and Gulden Drak, a delicious concoction that will make you weep. Then, there is the spectacular bottle selection that is simply too numerous to count (and drink), though I did count at least one: Stone Ruination IPA, which I also drank.

Eulogy gives worthy due to the much-maligned Belgian cuisine, which has always gotten short shrift from Americans used to fast food French fries  that were actually a Belgian innovation. The frites here are amazing and cooked correctly, but words in a BeerFly review do them no justice. You must try them yourself.

Investigating the small downstairs bar, a rather homey and quaint space I might say, one can gaze upon a large collection of Belgian beer paraphernalia, glance up at a couple of muted TVs (thankfully), or listen to the enjoyable music system that belts out in moderate volume some rather eclectic tunes that would offend few. The only fault was found with the mauve-colored wallpaper. I guess where there is perfection; there is also complacency. Opposite the bar, or behind you as you sit, is the steep staircase that leads to the infamous Coffin Table  and an additional restroom. Eulogy Tavern also has copies of Beer Advocate magazine available for leisurely perusal.

Surely, this must be one of Americas best beer bars. --


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great Great Great Great

Establishment: The Alchemist Pub and Brewery, Waterbury, VT

During a recent trip to Vermont, friends and I, in search of a place for dinner and beering, stumbled into this worthy addition to the New England brewpub scene. Well, to be honest, we didnt really stumble; but, in fact, came here deliberately on a quest for some great food and some excellent brews.

Situated on Main Street in the bucolic town of Waterbury (1,706), the Alchemist Pub & Brewery is where much of the populace seems to spend their evening  so prepare to wait for seating. In any case, the crowd was a diverse one, all ages (the young and the old) and backgrounds (from the well to do to the neer-do-well) being represented. Located in what was once the town post office, the Alchemist is not a large and rambling establishment; upon entry, to the right is a crowded bar area; to the left, and separated by a dividing wall of hightop tables, is the dining area. Toward the back, where we waited during our 45-minute wait to be seated, is a pool table (which should really be replaced with additional seating so more people can actually eat and drink).

Now lets hear about the beer. The Alchemist Pub is a 7-Barrel facility that, despite its capacity offered a wide selection of housecrafts on tap, including several guests  a total of 10-12 taps. During this visit, I enjoyed: Rapture American Double IPA (77 IBU), Holy Cow IPA (85 IBU) and Pappys Porter (4.6 ABV).

As you can see, their brewer is definitely fond of hops; this makes for a great place for the hophead. Even the without the beer, the food alone would have made this a worthy trip. In any case, no Vermont pubcrawl, at least no definitive one, should exclude a stop in Waterbury for a few quaffs at the Alchemist, a great place with excellent food, friendly atmosphere and efficient service  oh, and craft beer is to die for.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good Great Great Great

Establishment: Long Trail Brewing Company was Mountain Brewers, Bridgewater Corners, VT

Friends brought me here for a recent birthday lunch. Of course, being a long-time fan of Long Trail products, I thought it appropriate to visit the place of its birth.

Long Trail beer is born in the remote Vermont hamlet of Bridgewaters Corners within the confines of an ordinary looking warehouse type of structure, a rather bland edifice that belies inner magic. Inside one enters into a spacious and airy dining area, supposedly inspired by the Munichs Hofbrau  though, I felt no such inspiration  and a circular bar of moderate size; in the back, towards the restrooms, there is are stairs leading up to a self-guided tour of the actual, and very much active, brewery, where you can watch the miracle of birth.

There is also an outdoor terrace where one could sip by the riverside, but the rain prevented us from doing so. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with much Long Trail beeraphanalia. (Who could ever forget the Bluebeary Wheat posters?) They also have a gift store (Surprise!) that offers a myriad of products: T-Shirts, glassware, cosies and the beer itself.

The menu was pretty decent and the beers consisted of their year round offerings along with the seasonal styles. I did enjoy the IPA and the Double Bag, a German alt style. From what my friends said, this place gets very busy in the summer; some need-to-know information considering that the pub is only open until 5:00 pm.

This is a worthy stop when in the wilds of Vermont; it is close to Killington and about a 40-minute drive from Springfield (Vermont), the newly crowned home of the Simpsons. I guess Long Trail will be soon brewing Duff.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Good Great Awesome!

Establishment: Ginger Man, New York, NY

After a pint at d.b.a. (see review), I did what I have always done when in Manhattan: I had to stop here. In fact, in the ten or so years that Ginger Man has sat near the corner of Madison and East 36th, I have never visited New York without failing to drop by – the best time to do so would be on an early weekday afternoon. But then no beer lover should take a bite from the Big Apple without drinking a pint or two (not to mention spending a sizable chunk of change) at Ginger Man, which is one best beer bars in the city if not on the East Coast.

The beer list has always been amazing! On tap are sixty draughts from around the world, many not being available in the US. Of course, cask-conditioned beer is always available. I appreciate the consistent freshness of the beers and the efficient, prompt and knowledgeable staff. The food ain’t bad either.

On the hot July day of my visit the new beers were:

1. Aecht Schlenkerla Helles 2. Dinkle Aker Pils 3. Red Hook Sun Rye 4. Weyerbacher Muse 5. De Ranke Bitter Of course, the heavier styles are rotated in the colder months. (What a place!)

It is a handsome bar as well: high ceiling, a very long wooden bar that is opposite several booths running along the wall towards the back. In the front, to the immediate right are scattered a few tables and a couple of coveted sofas. In the back off to the right is another lounge area complete with additional sofas and comfy chairs. Need I say more? To be here is to be in beervana.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great N/A Great Great

Establishment: d.b.a. (DBA), New York, NY

This classic East Village innocuously sits on First Avenue, between East 2nd and East 3rd, a short stroll from Blind Tiger. Since the only natural light comes through a storefront window in the front, it is a rather dark and narrow place that provides East Village drinkers with a beat-up bar, a few rickety tables and a small garden in the back.

However, d.b.a. is not about aesthetics (nor does the seeker of great beer seek such amenities); it is about the beer, the selection of which includes a hearty choice of European bottles and an eclectic assortment of fresh draughts that are served at the proper temperature in the appropriate glass (an extra buck for the imperial pint). I also appreciated their wide selection of single malt whiskey available; since my next destination was Saint Andrews (see my review), I opted for a Sly Fox Piketown Pilsner, a quenching quaff for a hot July day. They have a fine selection of wine and tequila, but who really cares about these?

A veritable Disney Land of Booze in Lower Manhattan waits to slake your thirst. --


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great N/A Good Great

Establishment: Le Cheval Blanc, Montreal, QC

The final stop of my Mondiale de le Biere sojourn, took me here. Located a very short walk down St-Denis from LAmere a Boire and a left on Ontario East, Le Cheval Blanc, or The White Horse is in a rather scruffy neighborhood off rue Berri  shuttered storefronts, scattered trash, drunken squatters amid the fragrant scent of urine. Lets face it, while no tourist to Montreal will ever accidentally stumble upon this place, any dedicated Beer Advocate would know of it  and seek it out as a beer destination.

And it is a destination worth doing so. Previous reviews have remarked that Le Cheval Blanc was once a diner. Possibly so, given that it is a very dark and narrow place with a long bar (counter)  its stools bolted down - on the right and some raggedy-looking tables along the opposite wall. (Of course, it was dark, so who knows what they were?) Include in some red lanterns, a few slow-moving ceiling fans that rotate over the heads of grungy, unwashed slackers and add a chalk board listing a wide selection of house beers, such as my choice: the India Rouge Amercaine IPA (62 IBU, 6% ABV).

Le Cheval Blanc earns no points for aesthetics, but gets much respect for being a very unusual place to spend a final night in Montreal enjoying a beer.


Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Awesome! Great Awesome! Awesome!

Establishment: Le Saint Bock, Montreal, QC

This was the first stop during during my Festivale Mondiale de la Biere trip; first since it was right up the street from my hotel; second, I'd read good things about it. Very unpretentious lounge with eclectic decor. Le Saint-Bock offers 16 taps ("en fut") from around the region and rotates frequently - actually during my stay. Cheap and tasty paninis were enough to sate my belly food-wise.

So, what did I drink you ask? 1. Malt Aimee IPA from Grimoire. This was featured at the festival 2. Quebec Ale from Chaudron 3. Noire Soire, a stout , also from Grimoire and at the festival.

Great service, interesting collection of bottles and some very comy chairs (No Monty Python, please), made for a successful and enjoyable stay. Next stop Dieu du Ciel...


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