Philadelphia

Discuss beer travel and regional information, including the best bars and places to check out around in Canada and around the world.

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Jon Walker
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Philadelphia

Postby Jon Walker » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:34 pm

I'm heading off to Philly for a few days later this week. I've looked up info on the best beer bars to visit (Monks, Ludwigs, Grey Lodge, Eulogy) but I'm keen to get advice from anyone here who knows the city.

My hotel is downtown, Rittenhouse Square, which I think is pretty central.

Any good brew-pubs in the downtown core (Victory is too far with my limited time) you recommend?

Good places to buy bottles?

LASTLY...although customs restrictions for carry-on have been eased in the U.S. starting tomorrow http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&c ... ecurity_16
I'm pretty sure I can't bring beer purchases on board as carry-on. Any ideas on how to buy a case and bring it back? Checking it seems ridiculous due to breakage and/or theft.

I just can't imagine being in such a great beer city and not being able to bring some bottles home.
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Postby jkubik » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:54 pm

In your belly :)

Seriously, just wrap each bottle in a T shirt and you'll be fine to check it.
Don't just chuck the case o beer in without packing the bottles. I had to wash everything after I tried a case of Fat tire ale that way.
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Postby inertiaboy » Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:04 pm

Independence Brew Pub has a location in the Philadelphia Airport between the B gates and the C gates. Not sure if they sell bottles or not, but if they do, they will comply with the new US aviation rules if they are post-security (which I think they are). I can't vouch for their beers but their glass has withstood the last 5 years.
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Postby Cass » Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:05 pm

I'm pretty sure my mom has put beer into socks in her checked baggage and it survived.
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Postby StevenThrasher » Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:42 pm

One place to check out on your way back inside the Airport is the 48 draft beer place. 47 macro brews in the either terrible or boring category and one super fine draft craft brew: Victory Hop Devil.
You have to go through security to get to it. It is at the end of the terminal where you board your plane.

Also check out page 2 and 3 of this thread. I was there recently and some others gave me some good advice.
http://www.bartowel.com/board/viewtopic ... c&start=15
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Postby old faithful » Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:54 pm

Jon, very close to Rittenhouse Square is a superb beer retail store. It is on a corner, it looks like a grocery store (like you see in Montreal) but is chock full of beer, hundreds of brands. They had many unusual imports the last time I was there, many craft beers, etc. Can't recall the name but anyone at the pubs you mentioned would know it. Ritenhouse Square is an elegant older part of dowmntown, you will enjoy it there.

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Jon Walker
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Postby Jon Walker » Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:47 pm

old faithful wrote:Jon, very close to Rittenhouse Square is a superb beer retail store. It is on a corner, it looks like a grocery store (like you see in Montreal) but is chock full of beer, hundreds of brands.


I think that might be a place called "The Foodery"?
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Postby Duct Tape » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:27 am

Cass wrote:I'm pretty sure my mom has put beer into socks in her checked baggage and it survived.


I only put beer in Checked anyways.

Buy some really big ziplocks (i keep a stock big enough for rogue/unibroue sized bottles when i travell. Double Ziplock the bottles, stuff them into two socks, and wrap 2 bottles into a t-shirt for extra padding, haven't had any breakage yet with bags passing through Heathrow, Pearson, San Fran, Dallas and Buffalo luggage systems.

As for the relaxed Carry on, Jon, read it carefully, large bottles like alcohol are still only permitted if bought behind security. Only small travel bottles of medicines and personal products (under 90ml) in a single clear plastic bag are permitted, though they have also upped the carry on bag allowance back to closer to normal.
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Postby DrJay » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:31 pm

I was at the Foodery not too long ago. A little pricey, but a great selection that seems to rotate quickly and you can buy in (mixed) sixes to get a discount. It's pretty close to a lot of the beer destinations near Rittenhouse Square too, but if you blink as you're walking by you'll miss it.

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1420

As for brewpubs, Nodding Head is nearby. I wasn't that impressed with their beer, but at least they try to keep it interesting - they had a berliner weisse during the summer. Bars... there's Monks Cafe of course, McGillan's Old Ale House, and Ludwig's Garten all very close to each other (easy stumbling distance). I haven't made it to the other bars in the downtown area yet, so I can't comment from personal experience though I've heard there are some great places a little further east.
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Postby old faithful » Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:38 am

The Foodery is the place, yes. They had some Courage's Russian Imperial Stout when I was last there (for a price). Excellent store.

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Postby Jon Walker » Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:56 pm

I'm here in Philly and here's my update (so far)!

I managed to visit a few places this afternoon, had a beer in each and moved on despite many reasons to stick around in several...I wanted to check out the scene with a limited amount of time at my disposal.

Nodding Head: My first stop as it was closest to my hotel. It is a slightly grungy place upstairs from a more respectable looking gastro pub. They brew on premise and had five different things on tap; 700 level (blonde ale), Lead pipe (lager), 60 shilling (light Scotch ale), BPA (British IPA), Berliner Weisse, Grog (English Brown Ale). I had a pint of the BPA and a sample of the cask Grog...both were decent but unremarkable. The food (I had the turkey wrap) was also mediocre.

Monks: Also a well worn, smoke infused place with an excellent bottled selection of mostly Belgians (with some American specialties). On tap where; Chimay Tripel, La Chouffe, Brooklyner Weisse and their own Flemish Sour (brewed under licence by Van Steenberge). I tried the sour...pretty good, not too overpowering (like Rodenbach Grand Cru) but very tasty and deep.

Ludwigs: German beer keller atmosphere, also smoke infused (more on that below). More than a dozen taps of mostly nitro German kegs. I sampled the FranzisKaner Dunkel which was good (but not as good as Dennisons!). A funny anecdote: the bartender, Mary Ellen, upon hearing I was from Toronto immediately remembered Ralph from Volo stopping in for a visit earlier in the year en route from Washington to Boston...she recalled he and his group were very friendly, very well informed and clearly good beer fans...so funny when a bartender remembers people from such a brief encounter...clearly they made a good impression!

Foodery: I must admit, I expected a "Whole Foods" type place but instead I found a small, relatively unassuming corner variety store...with an AMAZING beer stock. They had some pretty awesome stuff. I bought a dozen bottles, with the help of a guy who worked there (Dave). I got;
Troegs Troegenator Dopplebock
New Holland PHI
Mad River Barleycorn
Yards IPA
Legacy Hedonism
Flying Dog horndog
Weyerbacher 11
Weyerbacher Insanity
Oskar Blues Dale Pale Ale
Stoudts Double IPA
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2006
Bells Third Coast Old Ale

$39.15 U.S. (some may say that's pricey for 12 beers but, if we had a store like that in Toronto I'd happily pay for the variety)

Obviously I'd like to have gotten more but...there's only so many I'm likely to drink prior to coming home AND I can only bring 24 back so...I wanted to sample a few new beers before deciding what to bring through customs.

Tomorrow I'll go for dinner at The Grey Lodge and maybe check in at Eulogy.

Finally, one note on the smoky bar thing...I found out from Mary Ellen at Ludwigs that it was only on Saturday that new non smoking laws took effect in Philly. Prior to that every bar was fully smoking. That explains to me why so many places seemed so dirty and old looking.
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Postby Jon Walker » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:44 am

Well, I got back from Philly on the weekend. It was a great trip but far too busy a schedule to get out to many other places on my list. Twelve hour work days have a way of snuffing out even the best laid plans.

A couple of notes; the airport bar that Steven mentioned must have been in a different terminal. There are more than seven different hubs, mine was U.S. Air, and the only pub there (which did have about 20 taps) only had two beers of note; Stoudts American Pale Ale and Magic Hat number 9. WAY over priced...a 16 oz sleeve of Magic Hat cost $7.80 U.S. before tip.

I managed to revisit Foodery and buy a whole bunch of bottles to bring back. I bubble wrapped each one and put them in a large box which I then checked with my suitcase. Everything went smoothly, all bottles survived the journey, and were happily added to my cellar. I've got some great things to share next time anyone wants to do a sampling...I noticed that a couple are brand new and haven't yet had more that 3 or 4 reviews on Ratebeer. Others are flat out classics.

All in all a good trip and yet another reminder of what a backward and limited beer scene we have here in Toronto.
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Postby StevenThrasher » Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:20 am

Jon Walker wrote:the airport bar that Steven mentioned must have been in a different terminal.


I took Air Canada back so it could very well have been.

The Victory Hop Devil Draft was sublime!
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Postby Cass » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:15 pm

Heading to Philly (finally!) soon - any new or special recos?
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Postby cannondale » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:08 pm

Cass wrote:Heading to Philly (finally!) soon - any new or special recos?


If you end up in the vicinity of Newtown (appx. 45 minute drive NE of Philly airport) check out Isaac Newton's. It's a fantastic place in a quiet little town.

http://www.isaacnewtons.com/beers.html

Great draft selection and tons of bottles. I can verify that the draft list on their website is up to date, I just sampled most of what is listed last weekend (the Stone Ruination DIPA was incredible). The staff seem fairly knowledgeable, and it is a very friendly atmosphere.
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