August 4, 2009

Best of Philly in the Beer World

Best of Philly votes have been casted and posted, albeit you'll have to pick up the publication to get the whole scoop on 2009's cream of the crop. But
- I got the head of the hops here....

Best beer of Philadelphia area as deemed by Philly Mag is............................

Victory’s Hop Devil Ale.
Hmm. Curious. This beer has been getting Philly drunk for at least a decade now.
Maybe it is just that. The tenacity of the beer. Many IPAs have entered the market since it's arrival and it still manages to be one of the most sought after. And the fact that you can find it in pubs that barely give craft beer a chance gives it a greater reach to the mainstream than others. This beer is actually all the way out to California now. Most of our local breweries are still regional. I like being regional.

When asked by GRUBSTREET what beer the President and his guests should enjoy in Cambridge last week during the Gates/Crowley Chat, owner Bill Covalieski suggested Hop Devil....Here's Why...
“The beer is all about harmonizing disparate things. It has rich, sweet malt components and wildly bitter and aromatic hop characteristics — the two don’t really belong together in this type of beer.”

And the Bar that's serving it up best is

Teresa's Next Door.

Philadelphia Mag awards "Philly's best beer bar 2010" to a watering hole in Wayne.

Andy Dickerson's food is on par with the great pours. Special events galore, an unparalleled glass selection and two hand pumps pumping is enough evidence that this is no surprise.

They'll be hosting a beer geek Summer Brunch on August 23. More details here.

Any thoughts on what beer/bar names you thought you would see mentioned here?


  1. Wow, kind of a sideways swipe at HopDevil, Suzanne. Talk about damning with faint praise. CityPaper's Meal Ticket pissed on its head too: "if a beer were a person, this one would be in fifth grade."

    Sorry, I have to call bullshit on this. HopDevil, like Sierra Nevada, has not been ruined by success. It's a damned good IPA, practically defining the "hoppy, with a solid malt backbone" cliche. Just because non-geeks like it too, it's not as good? Maybe we ought to treat beer less as another Top 40 of-the-moment thing. HopDevil's a classic, and hasn't gone away. Puts me in mind of Liberty Ale: it was great then, it's still great now.

  2. I appreciate your comment Lew...
    I definitely wish the top 40 of the moment didn't exist from a sales perspective. Sometimes the beer bars want the newest barrel-aged beer from California,and they forget about our Phoenix pale.

    And admittedly I haven't had a hopdevil in ages. I also think the "award" should go to best brewery instead of beer. Last year the beer winner was Pikeland Pils.
    It was awesome to win it because the actual blip in the mag highlighted the can. But it would have been even greater to have Brian and the Brewery acknowledged at large. The same for Victory. They make great beer across the board.

  3. Don't get me wrong, here. I love Hop Devil. It's one of my standards; it's probably one of my top five.

    Best beer of Philadelphia area as deemed by Philly Mag, though? Maybe back in 1997, when the choice was between Victory, Yards, Stoudt's, and the recently-departed ghost of the original Dock Street, Hop Devil was clearly Best beer of the Philadelphia area. Now, with all the choices we have, I just can't justify that.

    Again, don't get me wrong: Hop Devil is damned good beer. Somebody needs to taste a few more locals, though. Everything made by PBC, for example, is just as excellent. Personally I'm not in love with The Fox, but I still respect The Fox. I expected to see The Fox getting some of this kind of recognition, too.

    I guess, Lee's Hoagie House is still Best of Philly, too, right?

  4. Well, bruhinb...if it's one of your top 5, does that mean Lee's Hoagie House is in your top 5 too? I mean, HopDevil ain't Lager. If it IS in your top 5, though, maybe this was just its year.

    Some of the problem -- a lot of the problem -- is that there's only ONE. See, Sly Fox got "some of this kind of recognition" last year. I'm disappointed that given the number of other category awards PhillyMag hands out, and given that Philly hosts what is becoming the biggest set of beer events in America, beer gets only ONE award.

    I'd like to see more awards, and I'll admit: it would be really hard to pick a best beer: best local beer (how far away can they be?), best locally-available beer (how available?), best new local beer? God, just put a gun to my head. If this was a committee effort (and I don't know why I bother saying "if"), HopDevil is a good solution to that problem: what the hell can we all agree on? I mean, I was happy to see Pikeland Pils get it last year. I'd be happy to see Kenzinger get it next year, or Dock Street's Rye IPA or Yards' new Cape of Good Hope IPA, or Jesus, how about a little love for Flying Fish for once?

    But PhillyMag is not BeergeekadelphiaMag. If we want a more adventurous choice for Best Beer in Philly, we'll have to make it ourselves. I do that every time I go out...

  5. Flying Fish makes good craft beers that are approachable for the masses. The odds of it getting mass-geek love are slim.

  6. See, that's what I'm talking about, Geoff: FF Farmhouse is a a perfect choice for what PhillyMag is apparently looking for. And it's a damned good beer in its subtle beauty...IMO.