April 19, 2012

First Sips: The Boiler Maker

Finally made it to the Boiler Maker- the new 11th st spot from the folks behind Farmer's Cabinet.  I wanted to check it out  since the opening night-but I've barely been in city limits long enough to do so.  As Murphy's law would have it- when I finally have time- I am about a 6.5 on the health scale. I barely have an appetite, and a beer is not on my "things I need now" list. That list includes Halls, Puffs, water, Alka Seltzer cold,  my cream down blanket and my all-too-comfy couch.

As you've probably heard by now- the downstairs focuses on American craft outside the local region and the upstairs bar is the "Locals Bar." The downstairs tower also features one house beer from the Cabinet Artisanal brewery in Alexandria, VA (Terry Hawbraker's goods) and two guest taps -which our from parts non-USA.

I went with a few ounces of the house beer and enjoyed it as I do all Terry's beers.  Grub wise- I chose Shrimp and Grits, an increasingly popular dish on Philly menus.  The app version will get you two shrimp and a generous portion of the ivory hip-stickers garnished with fried okra.

The beer list included many of my favorites from Green Flash, Bells, Cigar City and Founders. But, there's plenty of room to include some more under-radared breweries too. There  could be a bit more variety by style. Menu includes suggestions on what liquors to sip along what beers, thus the reasoning behind the name. Cocktails are offered  like the classic Mint Julep which tie into the Americana vibe I was getting. Said julep was garnished with a mutant sprig of mint.

Familiar faces are behind the bar, including Alyssa Wegner- formerly of Brahaus Schmitz and Rocco Renzetti. You may have enjoyed his gregarious bartending at Resurrection Ale House some time ago.

I was not surprised at all by the two-week redux on the former Blue Bear. The previous owners put a lot of work into the bar following Doc Watson's demise. And the Farmer's cabinet crew excel at taking a space and furnishing it with a hodge podge of flea market finds and creating an ambiance that attracts nearly everyone, especially those looking for a li'l romance. The space is illuminated by a bevy of red candles. They were thinking goth. I think they definitely created a mood- but I've never been in a "gothic" bar per se, to see if they were successful.

I was there less than an hour but  long enough to see a crowd file in.  They will do well.  I'm looking forward to returning and taking in some live blues on the second floor, trying their house rotisserie chicken, and of course doing that whole shot and beer thing that inspired the bar in the first place.

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