Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Beer Week!

beerfest1 Philly Beer Week is the most-hyped holiday of the year in our household.  I’m not even exaggerating.  It’s bigger than Christmas, New Years, definitely Easter, and Thanksgiving.  The only holiday that may even compare to it is my birthday.

It is used to be a big deal. We are self proclaimed beer snobs and Andrew loves to pick the brains of homebrewers and craft brewers alike. 

That’s what beer week began as: a series of cheap and informal events designed to introduce beer drinkers to craft brews, brewers and other beer drinkers.  It was designed to highlight smaller craft breweries that weren’t as mainstream as, say, Anheuser-Busch, and introduce their smaller batches of brews to new fans, demonstrating how tasty and affordable craft beers can be.  All while highlighting the use of sustainable practices, local products and unconventional methods.  I mean, what is not to love about that?

Except that this year beer week activities are INSANELY expensive!! $60 a head for a flight of beers and some appetizers at events where the brewer might not even be in attendance? Something is amiss.  It seems to me that beer week has been snatched up by the marketing team of Philadelphia, and turned into yet another way to make money for the city, while ignoring the original intention of the event. It is inevitable I suppose.  And I am proud the Philly is now a respectable beer city.  I mean, we have bragging rights to some amazing local craft breweries:  Victory, Dogfish Head, River Horse, Sly Fox, Yards, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Flying Fish, Stoudt’s, Dock Street, Nodding Head, Triumph, Troegs, Wyerbacher, to name a few. That’s a damn impressive list if you ask me.

So beer week has become commercial. And that’s disappointing.  But I am all about supporting our local businesses.  And if commercializing beer week means these local guys will do better and make more money, than I’m all for it.  They make great products.  Plus, Philly has beer events all year round, although less publicized and far less crowded.  For those who seek them out and attend, they are an amazing opportunity to meet brewers, try not-yet-or just released beers and score some good drink specials.  For those of us who love beer (and the craft of it, which I will admit is not my mostfavoritethingever, though I do appreciate the work) these events are a handsome reward for our love and devotion.

It was Beer Week and we are not so snobby that we didn’t participate at all.  We did score half price tickets to the International Beer Festival last weekend, which was significantly less crowded than last year (and far more enjoyable, although I was sad there was no beer bingo.) 


We had a really great time, ran into a bunch of friends and got to meet two new breweries: Prism Brewing Co. and Harlem Brewing Co. 


On Wednesday, Andrew and I stopped by the Yuengling event at Elephant & Castle.  Their marketing guy found Andrew’s blog and invited him to have a chat with Wendy Yuengling. You can read about his chat here.  I used to drink Yuengling like it was my job back in college but after a few sips, I handed mine off to Andrew to finish. If I’m going to down a bunch of empty calories, I’d rather they be delicious (preferably hoppy) calories.


Last night, we headed over to Kite and Key to sample the Saison du Buff. (Remember my post about Sly Fox and how much I love Saison? )  I consider myself a bit of a saison connoisseur, so I needed to try out this new brew, which was  colaboration between Victory, Stone and Dogfish Head. (This is another thing I love about craft brewers. You won’t ever find Anheuser Busch and Coors working together on a new brew.)  I thought the Saison du Buff was decent. It was a little hoppier and less spicy than most saisons.  It was light in color and in flavor which, in the case of saisons, I think makes it sub-par.  It didn’t have as much body as I would have liked, and I thought it tasted to “crisp'” for a saison, but I give them a thumbs up for effort.

And now we get ready to go to Greece! You can expect a full report (highlighting the food and drink, obviously) as soon as I return!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

False Advertising. (Or Something Like It)

In anticipation of my honeymoon to Greece this weekend (!!!) , I decided that I needed another bathing suit.  The one I have now is a strappy halter top tankini from JCrew.  I like it, its fine, but it gives me really weird tan lines. So when I sunbathe in my backyard (in the city, so trashy. Whatever.), I take the straps off and (if I’m lucky) only manage to flash Andrew in the process.  So I thought that I should look into get a bandeau-type top (just for when I lay out in the sun) so I can avoid the shuffling around and flashing.  JCrew makes a matching bandeau top for my bottoms but its like $60 and I don’t feel like spending that kind of cash right now.  I noticed a lot of mis-matched suits are in style so I thought I’d look for a cheaper printed top to go with the solid bottoms.

This eventually brought me to Victoria’s Secret.  Now, just for reference, here is the color of my bathing suit from the JCrew website:


(That’s the expensive top that goes with my bottom)

Anywhooo, after surfing around on VS for awhile (and consulting Jill, my resident fashion expert) I decided on this top:

New Picture

I thought the top would look super cute with the plain orange bottom.

Alas, here is what arrived:


Fail, Victoria’s Secret.  FAIL!

This is the trashiest, fluorescent orange shit I have ever seen! Not only is the color way off, but that “gold” circle in the middle (which looks tasteful and almost like wood in the picture) is like the grossest fake gold I have ever seen! Even worse than the crap they sell in those stores on South Street.  Places like this.

I was so disgusted, I sent it back immediately.  This is definitely not the first time I have sent back clothing from Victoria’s Secret. When will I learn!?!?

Dear Victoria’s Secret,

Stick to underwear and bras. Your clothes, bathing suits, shoes

and everything else you sell is crap.




Naturally, Target saved the day. Again. I found this little (WAY cheap) ditty there yesterday. And it matches perfectly.

Go figure.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

You Sly Fox, You

Happy belated Memorial Day! I think this was the first year that we didn’t have any BBQ’s or parties or firm plans in place for the entire weekend!

We decided to play it by ear and just relax. I read in Grid that the town of Phoenixville (out in the ‘burbs) has a cute farmer’s market on Saturdays, so we decided to hike out there and check it out. (If you don’t read Grid, you must. It is basically the coolest publication to come out of Philly in awhile ever.)

We had to return the rest of our wedding booze to the wine store first, so we ended up getting to the farmer’s market about 15 minutes before it ended. This turned out to be awesome because not only was the live music still jamming, but all of the vendors gave us great deals since they were about to close up shop. I forgot to take pictures, but we picked up the most delicious (sesame semolina) bread I’ve ever tasted. It was doughy and perfect and totally worth the 45 minute trip back for more. We also picked up some mixed greens, a nice mild and nutty cheese, some plants and flowers and a pound of oyster mushrooms.

If that had been our only reason for heading out there, it may have been a bit of a wasted trip (except for the bread!) but while we were out there in honor of the start of Philly Beer Week, we decided to stop at Sly Fox for lunch. Sly Fox is one of my absolute favorite local breweries so I was really excited to check it out. Upon first impression, I was pretty disappointed. Mostly because it was in a strip mall! (who knew?)

We settled on a table outside and gave the beer list a look-see.


Andrew was going to give the maibock a try, since he just brewed his own version and wanted to compare, but they were out. (Sly Fox names it's maibock for the winner of it's annual goat races. This year its the Dax maibock. He won last year, too. He's the only repeat winner ever.) I decided on a flight of the Helles, Royal Weiss, Pils, IPA and the Saison. Here’s the thing, kids. Sly Fox has the second best Saison I have EVER had (top honors go to Saison Dupont. If you haven’t had this, go get yo’self some stat. Thank me later.) The Sly Fox Saison VOS is smooth and lemony with hints of clove and a nice hoppy finish. Totally drinkable all year long.

I can’t remember what was in Andrew’s flight and that’s because when he went inside to use the bathroom, they had a whole bunch of available beers on a chalkboard inside that were not on the other beer list! Super big fail, Sly Fox. So he ordered a bunch of beers off of that list and then couldn’t remember what they were. But here’s what they looked like:

slyfox3 My flight is on the left, his on the right.



I like to drink beer. Andrew likes to “experience” it.

I didn’t take pictures of our food (taco salad for me and a cuban sandwich for him), but it was okay. The beer was definitely the highlight.

We took home some 750’s and then went to watch the Flyers lose in game 1. Whatever.

Next up: Philly Beer Week! I’m not sure how much of this we will actually celebrate this year , since the cost of events has SKYROCKETED in the past two years. We are going to the International Great Beer Festival on Saturday (we got half price tickets. There is no way I would pay $50 to spend 4 hours waiting in line for sips of beer with a bunch of sweaty drunk people. But for $25, I will.)

What can I say? I’m cheap!

10 Days until we leave for our honeymoon to GREECE!!!