I had the Holiday Hop on my to do list forever.
But for most of those who know me my "to do" list is very long.
Neglected items include:
local intentions-- like I really want to eat Polish food in Port Richmond,
continental intentions- like I really want to do a beer tour of Michigan, and international as well.....who hasn't been to Belgium yet?
But the Holiday hop seemed pretty doable. SEPTA wouldn't give us a discount, but I got over it. They were helpful as they assisted me in figuring out what the total dollar amount would be to hop on and off the R5 all day.
We would leave suburban station at 2:45 for Rosemont (Gulliftys)
Hop back on to go to Wayne (Teresa's Next Door), then over to Paoli (TJ's EVERYDAY), then wrapping things up in Malvern (flying high at the Flying Pig.)
I thought I could rouse a crowd from my ladies In Pursuit of Ale....but the turnout was pretty small admittingly. My fear is they were in pursuit of Christmas presents instead.
But the ladies that were in tow were meeting regulars, and I knew we were going to have a good time.
The r5 Holiday Hop starred:
Archeologist and Potentially certified beer judge (awaiting test results) mom and loving wife of Haverford, whom had her honeymoon in Belgium.
In Pursuit of Ale enthusiast with a passion for IPAs and good vegetarian food.
Can often be found cruising Philadelphia on her bicycle, or walking her pup, javier.
Also a strong competitor in the Philadelphia PBR rock paper scissors championship series, competing under the pseudonym Newbie.
April Reynolds- IPA beer club vice president, writer and editor of technical stuff I don't understand, mom to Milkies the cat with special needs, Los Angeles transplant and most importantly the 23rd ranked Rock, Paper, Scissors strategist in Philadelphia.
Suzanne Woods- the disappointed presiding drinker, that eventually got over lack of attendance, and enjoyed herself.
With a cooler bag loaded with Sly fox pils and pale, we jumped on the at Suburban Station and got a head start wetting our whistlers. We officially started at Gullifty's by Bryn Mawr. They won "Best Beer list for the Main Line 2006," but I believe the majority of their interesting offerings are on their bottle list. I know that they get a huge college crowd in there, so many of their drafts are the usual suspects. April and I drank Corsendonk Christmas, which I have seen on quite a few towers in the past two weeks. I enjoyed it...It's got a nice anise character with it, without being too spicy. But Gullifty's served it by the pint, which was a bit much. Bronwyn and Lisa sipped on a Green Flash IPA from San Diego. Loaded with Hops- Columbus, Simcoe, Cascade and Centennial.
We hopped on to Wayne. Teresa's next door has been the recipient of some pretty nice reviews as of late. Most recently, Craig Laban acknowledging TND's nod to Philadelphia gastropubs and upscale beer bars. As soon as we stepped foot in Wayne, April Annie knew that she was on the right side of the tracks. She screamed with glee, 'I love Wayne." Now, donning a Sly Fox sticker, she took advantage of Wayne's festive outdoor scene and we snapped a pic.
Once in TND, the pub crawl picked up some pals. My beer buddy John met us there as did our other beer buddies, Steve and Beer YARD head honcho Matt Guyer. This was a pleasant surprise. We had a hell of a time at Teresa's and if we didn't have some sort of schedule to maintain...we would have stayed there a lot longer. Ted and the other bar staff were quite welcoming. They had a great draft and bottle list there, and one of the most impressive glassware selections I have seen.
Throughout the trip we had a scavenger hunt of sorts to accomplish....I took Christmas carols and turned them into a beer hunt of sorts. The ever-competitive April was up to the challenge. I think by the evening end, she had accomplished every task.
So we sipped on some Saison Dupont. Then we could cross 1. off.
I couldn't get my mind off the oak-aged Yeti since I saw it on the sign out front. I was just at the Great Divide brewing co. in October, so I was a bit nostalgic. I wasn't too hungry, but I thought it might be fun to pair up the Yeti with some cheese. I went with the Old Smoke, a smoked soft triple creme Goat cheese. It was nice, but in restrospect, I think the Aged Gouda may have been the preferred pairing. Maybe I'll get to try that next time I'm at Teresa's next door, which should be soon, because I just really like this place. I also got the opportunity to check out the coolers, and they are immaculate. They actually dug out part of the basement so they head enough height to the room for proper storage.
As hard as it was to leave, I knew that we had more friends waiting for us at TJ's everyday in Paoli. There we picked up a few guys from Origlio, Jim and Trevor, Brian from the Brew Lounge, his delightful wife Patty, and my own Lance romance. Here, April would continue to work on crossing tasks off here list. She ordered a JW Lees Harvest 2001 Barleywine. Let's just say it wasn't her all time favorite. She has come a long way from her dirty Hoes of yesteryear....but she wasn't having this. I gave her the cliche "e" for effort and let her cross it off her list even though she didn't finish it. I was drinking the Allagash Curieux, which I have drank at both South Philly Tap Room and Tria a few times. It's a triple from Allagash, aged in Jim Beam barrels and It's dangerously delicious. They also had the Foret Organic Saison, Founders Dirty Bastard, Dupont Winter Saison on draft. Jeff, the owner, in anticipation of our visit made sure he had loads of good beer to keep our interest. They were as gracious as gracious gets. TJ's was open for a few years before Jeff decided to make the spot craft-centric. He has done a great job of revamping the list and developing relationships with breweries and importers to get some of the most special stuff out in the market.
He does a variety of events at the bar, most are listed on www.beeryard.com
Here, things switch up a bit. We broke up with Septa. And let our friend drive us who hadn't be drinking. The only reason for this is we were onward to the fabulous Flying Pig and knew that it would be a struggle to get out of there in time to make the last train back at 10:30.
So we stayed, April made a friend and even bought him a beer. The Flying Pig had a great list as always. Steve the owner, actually had been self-cellaring a 2006 Nice Chouffe, a belgian dark ale brewed with spices and curacao.. It aged rather nicely. I would head there sooner than later and see if there is still some around.
So all in all....the day was a success we thoroughly enjoyed the company of all our joiners throughout the jaunt.
Not sipping on anything lower that 7% abv throughout the day besides the SF cans was probably not the grandest of ideas. Sunday came and went-- And not too much was accomplished. But just like I said when it was Groundhog's day at the Grey lounge, thank goodness certain things are merely annual events. I guarantee you the Holiday hop will be reserved for the first Saturday in December, and that first Saturday only. Because the Saturday boozing leads to sunday snoozin! And we can't have that ;)
Here's cheers to a joyful Holiday season, great beers, and the best of people to enjoy them with. Thanks to Bryan of the Brew Lounge for the above photo.