September 21, 2007

Peddling Beer in Bucks Co. (thanks jack)

I don't think I will ever forget this day. I spent it with a lovely lady from my wholesaler, Origlio. Let's call her Betty. Betty's awesome...she's a great sales person...she knows what she's talking about...but admits it if she doesn't.

She knows I don't like Starbucks (see previous blog) and adorably apologizes when she picks that as our pre-mission meeting spot. She admits that she's not a starbucks supporter either, but in the territory we are meeting up in...there's no other option. I believe she's right.

We start off our day at a place called Maggio's. This place is huge. It's sort of a banquet space/restaurant/ sports bar/ meat market type venue owned and operated by four siblings who came of age helping spin pizzas in the mom and dad's pizza shop. A few hundred thousand pizzas later they were able to land a spot with a three thousand sq. ft. that was a grocery store in its former life.
Their line up was mostly main stream. Sam Adams Octoberfest was as crafty as they got. they also carried Franziskaner which has put a lot more money into the Pa market this year.
I noticed they didn't have a pale ale or an IPA on I figured that would the way to go.
left some samples and we were on our Soncini's. Night club and sports bar. I found it kind of interesting that a night club would advertise itself as such on their sign...I kind of thought those titles were just kind of understood. They are about two weeks away from opening with 20 drafts. I explained to the bar manager, that having 20 drafts gives him a little more flexibility than other bars in Bucks Co.

Even though craft beer has steadily won over the pallets of's still struggling to gain support in the northern 'burbs. I was then informed that it still takes an average of three years for trends to take off a mere 30 miles away....We have lunch at the Porterhouse. I had just found out about this upscale brew pub a few months ago..Dean Browne of YARDS its the head brewer. They have four house beers at any given time, as well as four YARDS beers. during the transition period at YARDS, they have brought on four other guest taps including, Ommegang Hennepin, Sly Fox O'reilly's Stout, Stoudts Double IPA and forgive me I forget the last.
I had a hard time deciding on my lunch...but ended up quite content with a Vidalia onion soup and an Angus Burger with Apple butter bbq sauce and english cheddar. I paired the soup up with their NORTH LAGER, which was kind of like a dunkel. It went so well together, one would have thought the beer was used as an ingredient in the soup itself.

Dean was inspired by a beer he had up in Canada and designed it following.
There are a few things that made this Lahaska brewpub stand out. The menu had interesting offerings.(I was more than tempted to smuggle in a bottle of black raspberry reserve to pair with their fried brie served with raspberry coulis.)

They have the nicest dining room view of any brew pub I have been to recently. It looked out over a field. I pretended they were growing hops in the back... but they weren't. The owner, Gabe, was completely accessible and friendly.
I will return. Actually sooner that I thought because I left my atm card there. Oh shucks! You mean I have to drive back into beautiful bucks county at the onset of the autumn? Life could be worse.
We then go to a very special place the Pineville tavern. My first job out of school was working for City Tavern, so I have a soft spot for Historical Taverns. The Pineville tavern was established in 1742, and much like the City tavern it was the social center of town. Taverns were much more than a place to throw back a pint in the day. Many had overnight accommodations, and a merchant exchange of goods and livestock. They are working on their beer list...currently they have up to 35 in bottles. But no Sly Fox - yet!
Are you reading this Mark? The manager, Mark, took us on a guided tour of the building, revealing fun facts about hauntings. This picture of a line in the bar actually marks the change in townships, right there on the PINE.
They even have a proclamation (proclaiming a day in tribute to the founding brothers) signed by the LSD lad himself himself, Timothy Leary. I don't know if acid and such aforementioned haunted activities would be the best combo.
And, lastly, in a humanitarian horticultural effort, they have an award-winning garden in their back yard, that patrons can pick eggplant and tomatoes from- free of charge -to cap off their experience there.
We left there in good spirits and headed off..we were on our way to Washington's Crossing.
We were driving down a dreamy stretch of road, Nothing but tall oak trees and million dollar estates, put me in a trance. I thought maybe one day if I sell enough beer...
Then directly in front of me- thirty feet- my eyes turn to stone on the most horrific things I have seen in ten years. There is a red truck in the middle of the road and it's on fire. There are three people screaming for help. Apparently Betty and I were the second on the scene. I never felt so helpless in my entire life. I couldn't move forward. I could dial 911-- but I had no idea where I was. Someone else called. it was ten minutes before the quietest roads turned into a cacophony of different alarms. There were three people in the wreckage. Two were trying to remove the third.
I didn't know if there were any other bodies out of view. I didn't know if someone had lost their life, I immediately had a new appreciation for my own. The one gentleman went through the windshield and was stuck in the burning vehicle. His face was painted red and his clothes had all but burned off. But he had a pulse.
We stuck around and helped the police redirect traffic. It would soon be revealed that
he had a broken leg and had been drinking. 4:30 in the afternoon. wasted. one vehicle crash.
I was not surprised as I heard belligerent ramblings as the first two guys on the scene dragged him from the fire. 39% of all Accident fatalities are the result of drunk driving. I knew I was on my way to meet my friends Janine and Lee at the Candlewyck. I thought to myself, I guess it's going to be one instead of two..and should I eat? Because I'm really wasn't hungry...
Apparently, the Candlewyck is one of the better beer bars in that area. The people that claimed this might have "better beer bars" confused with "divey bars that has great bottle shops."
Guests can head over to the bottle shop and pick any beer you want and tell the bar tender you want it, but they'll charge you an extra dollar for walking in 15 feet.
I had a petrus special ale. I love the Petrus pale ale (aged in oak casks) and I enjoy the oud bruin, but the special ale was a bit lack luster, Lee (marren of legacy) agreed that it was a bit light on the body and flavor.
The crowds were pouring into this smoky southhampton haunt, and I couldn't quite figure out why. The "all you can eat crab legs" sign answered my inquiry.... The bartender could have been a bit friendlier...but the two pack a day crowd was quite nice. A father and son drinking team even let me snap a pic of the nachos.
That wraps up my day in Bucks County..Did I get any new draft lines?
Not Likely, maybe at Pineville Tavern. But with the weather just right, good company, and a little life lesson thrown my way, it was a pretty good day.


  1. Just found your blog, got here from Lew Bryson's links. Good stuff here, makes me miss living in Philadelphia and the wealth of food and drink options.

    I'm out here in the milds of Lancaster County now, where Sly Fox is seldom(never?)seen. Any plans for coming out to the midstate region?

  2. Funny you should ask....last week we hand delivered two cases of our 113 IPA to a gentleman who couldn't find it out there in Lancaster..we'll work on it and I will report back.
    Thanks for reading...

  3. WOW I just discovered the Candlewyck when i moved here from centercity Phila... I must agree the beer bottle selection is incredable more bottle beers in one store than i have seen anywhere before. The food was more than enough to meet my needs,, big portions and it was OK,, the Turkey dinner made me glad it was just weeks until Thanksgiving,, and while the desert list is small there were enough selections to give me a smile. The wait staff was OK,, and the gal selling beer at the beer take out was helpful and friendly,, the only draw back for me was the lady at the bar,, this bar was clickish and since we were new to the area she was not very friendly,, there were only a few at the bar others playing cards in the back yet she ignored us and we had to call her each time we needed a refill... I'll go back after all theres not a lot of bars to pick from and the beer selection is great but most of my trips will be to the take out place same good food and great beer why go to the bar for the attitude.