Archive for April, 2011

Recent Random Pictures

Posted in Daily Pictures with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2011 by Verge

a recent batch of beer chilling off in my kitchen. I can't remember which one this is partially because...

...Kreg and I have been making a lot of beer lately. On the left is Mojoito Wine, Imperial Pale Ale (now on tap at my house) American Ale, Mexican Cerveza. The little guy in front is a yeast starter after I added an air lock.

this is Winston Churchill, my brother's family bunny. He pretty damn cool and I had to pay him a visit the other day when kreg and I stopped by his house.

faux Colosso. this is probably the wild cat that got kreg's cat pregnant last year. If you have one of his kittens, this is the father.

Eno defends his palace! kind of looks like Batman.

a shot of my hops growing like wild fire.

they shot up to 6 feet so quickly I added another 6 feet to the top using the bamboo tomato stakes from last year's garden.

I blogged about this earlier, but seriuosly, what chance did this little girl have when you named her "Misery?"

Recently subscribed to Suburban Organics, who wend you locally grown organic fruits and vegetables on a schedule every week. They are awesome. This was what we got last week for 25 bucks, delivered to our front door.

Yards, Triumph, Mahogany and Mortgages.

Posted in Daily Pictures on April 22, 2011 by Verge

Monika went with some friends on a girls only trip to Atlantic City, so the boys got together and went drinking.  We decided to hit up a brewery and a brewpub in Philly.  I’ve been trying to hit up breweries lately because of my increasing interest in home brewing, which is getting a bit fevered lately.  In fact, right now, I’ve got 15 gallons of beer and 6 gallons of wine brewing in my kitchen, with another 15 gallons worth of ingredients in my house just waiting for a free day to make.

First stop after taking the speedline to 8th and Market was Yard’s Brewery on North Delaware Ave.  They’ve been around since 1994 and was one of the first craft breweries in Philadelphia.  I had just tried some of their beers a few weeks ago when I went to the City Tavern, where they serve all of their Ales of the Revolution.  Took a cab, walked in the door, was given free beer immediately.  Gotta love that.

a shot of the bar and lounge. the bridge in the window is not really the Ben Franklin Bridge, although it can be seen from that window from that exact angle.

the size of the holding tanks indicates that this is no tiny brewpub, its a real life brewery. This is Yards only location, so if youve ever had one, it once lived in one of these tanks.

Once the tour started, we got two more free beer samples. It because undeniably apparent that our tour guide, who was giving the final tour of the day, had been sampling plenty himself. He was hilarious, did a great job, and slurred a little.

the building has been around a while, and changed hands a few times before Yards took it over in 2008. The murals on the walls are a leftover from when an indoor skate park owned it right before Yards.

Our tour guide actually worked on the bottling line, which was awesome, because thats what I kind of have been dying to see close up. I guess it was all those viewings of Strange Brew when I was a kid.

and here I was, up close and personal with something that a normal person would find completely inane, but beer lovers find fascinating. were simple folk!

and here is the beginning of packaging. even to a nerd, this is kind of mundane.

We headed out of Yards after a round of beers at the bar.  there were some pool tables and a shuffleboard table, but all in all, there wasn’t too much of a scene here.  Just a bunch of tourists and nerds like me.  It was raining and so we got a bit wet hailing a cab for our ride down to Old City where our next stop, Triumph Brewery (really a brewpub), was.

Triumph Brewery has three locations.  Monika and I have visited the one in New Hope (you can read about that day trip over here).  If you don’t get the difference between a brewpub and a brewery, I’ll explain.  Breweries sell the beer they make on premises other locations as well.  Brewpubs really only make small batches to serve at that location and don’t distribute their beer.

Though it was nice up in New Hope, the location in Philadelphia was absolutely amazing. I can’t believe I had never stopped in before, but I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that is directly across the street from my favorite bar in Philly, a place called Eulogy.

this is the shot from the bar where we were siting. upstairs are the brewing kettles and the holding tanks, which are behind glass, but not rally tour material since there isnt a whole lot of wasted space for groups.

for 12 bucks, you can get a four ounce pour of every damn beer they make (9 when we were there). That way, you can sample all of them and then buy whatever you like, which we did. I ended up with a delicious Belgian Rye Ale that clocked in at 6.9% alcohol.

We had dinner here as well, and theyre veggie burger was awesome, served with fresh greens and clearly-home-baked ciabatta roll.

heres a better view of where the beer comes from.

The Flyers game was on, and we each had a few beers, but soon enough, we were stuffed and ready to move on.  Next stop was Mahogany Cigar Bar in Center City.  This place is a regular guys’ lounge with couches and coffee tables and a real library type decor.  And best of all, you are allowed to bring your own cigars.

pretty dark in here, but this is Rob and Kreg gettin there smoke on. We each brought two, one that we wanted to try, and one that we knew we liked. It was unanimous; we all liked our standbyes much better.

the service was awesome, and even though it was filled to capacity, the place wasnt overly crowded. But, without any more smokes, it was time to move to our final location.

We tried to walk the two and a half blocks to our final stop, The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company.  This place is supposed to be kind of a speakeasy feel, so there’s not really a sign outside.  Also, we made a wrong turn, got soaked, took a cab 4 blocks, got directions from some random guy on the street and finally found the set of stairs leading down to the front door.  However, there is a doorman at the top of the stairs, dressed in all black, who told us to wait while he looked for some room.  A minute later, he gives us a head nod indicating it was time to move on and sneak into the little bar.

This is all you get of this place. Great cocktails, but expensive since we were right near Rittenhouse Square. Very chill scene that I would reccomend if you can manage to find it.

after a round, and a refill from my flask, we headed back to the suburbs, to Sunnyvale Tavern to meet with the girls and finish ourselves off.

The Road to Victory Lane

Posted in Good Times with tags on April 12, 2011 by Verge

In the interest of this, and in the spirit of this, and in a tribute to this, Monika and I set out on Saturday for a run.

we started out on our 5K run at our home in Atco. The whole point of this run was to get bloggers outside and exercising. I think me and Monika do a pretty damn good job of that all on our own, but I'm all for documenting a run if people find it interesting.

 

This is the first interesting thing on our run. It's a bar called the Maple Lake Inn. It's the closest bar to my house and only half a mile away. Seems like a pretty good spot, right? Well, not really. If you're white and you ever want to know how it might feel to be the only minority in an entire bar, stop by here for a beer. It's an interesting time.

This is only about 3/4 of a mile from our house. It's basically a junk yard but the sign out front says it's "storage." Not sure I'd ever want to "store" my car or boat here for very long.

This place is about a mile and a half away. A couple years ago it was just an empty field. Now that field is full of crap and it's kind of a flea market. It's mostly kids stuff, repaired bicycles, strollers, car parts, etc. We didn't stop by to browse.

I know this is a crap picture, but it is the next interesting thing. About two miles from our house, this is the back of the old Atco Multiplex, which shut down about a year and a half ago, and they are now tearing down. For a very brief, brief moment, there was talk that this was going to be the site of a new arena where the Philadelphia Phantoms Hockey team would move. That didn't happen, though, and now they are razing the site for who knows what.

This is the Atco train station that you would stop at on your way from 30th Street Station in Philly on your way to Atlantic City. This line has been around for almost 200 years and is part of the artery that the town of Atco ws built upon. Oddly enough, I've never taken it. Usually I drive to AC or take Patco west to Philly. I've never actually boarded a train at this station, although Monika has.

well, here we are within a half mile of our destination. This is where our run meets with RT 73, looking south towards Berlin, NJ. This is the Amtrak overpass, just west of the previous Atco Station. Once in a while, tractor trailers have to stop and back up as they cannot fit under this overpass.

and here we are, at the end of our run, in the parking lot of Victory Lane Sports Bar and Grill. It's named Victory Lane because it's the closest sports bar to the famous Atco Raceway, and during the summer racing season, it's often packed with visitors from other places who have come to the little town of Atco to drag race. Interesting place for sure, and exactly 3.1 miles from our house!

really, I love running, but not as much as drinking beer. It really makes running a lot less taxing knowing there's a cold one waiting for you just a little further down the road. We started with some Samuel Adams Summertime brews.

As it turns out, from the Google track you can see below, our actual run turned out to be 3.29 miles, but it was fairly easy because I had to stop for all those pictures. We didn't really rest, but a twenty second rest every half mile really keeps up your stamina. And so does the bar waiting for you at the end of a good run.

The map above was created using MyTracks on my Android phone, which I highly recommend.  It records speed and elevations as well, and I use it all the time when we go hiking.  You can explore that info if you click on the map and fool around a bit.  I usually hate running with a cel phone in my pocket, but for this blog, I had to.  Maybe one day I’ll get one of those fancy gps watches, but this seemed to work pretty damn well, and I didn’t drop my phone along the way.

Barley Legal Roadtrip to Dogfish Head

Posted in Good Times with tags , , on April 5, 2011 by Verge

I like beer.  Well, actually, I love beer.  I’m drinking right now, as a matter of fact.  Sometimes I drink crap beer like Miller and Bud if I want to win a few rounds of Asshole before I black out, but most of the time I drink craft beer or micro brews.  That means the beer has FLAVOR and can’t be bought at just any old bar.  It means that some small town brewery brews it and delivers it locally, and a lot of the time, can’t be bought more than just a few states away.  It means, often times, that it packs a hell of a punch in the alcohol department, and isn’t even necessarily available all of the time (seasonal) or all of the places (regional).

Dogfish Head Brewery is one such brewery.  Located in Delaware, and makers of one of  my favorite beers (really) for several years now, I’ve been dying to make a road trip down to the brewery and brewpub for a tour and, of course, a taste of their deliciously brewed libations.  Since I brew my own home brew all the time, I was looking forward to having a better grasp on what exactly I was looking at than I did the last time I toured a brewery many years ago.

Luckily, the folks over at Barley Legal Homebrewers Club, of which I am a member, decided it was a good time and a great idea to arrange a trip and charter a bus for just such an adventure.  A bus.  Filled with people who brew their own beer.  Driving to a brewery.  Man…If I had only recorded the plea that the owner of the bus gave to us just before we departed on his luxury van.  Even he knew this could be trouble.

The bus ride was 2 hours and change down a wholly unscenic highway, but we did indeed share a bunch of home brews on the way down with some new friends.  I wasn’t a complete stranger to everyone, but me and Monika didn’t know 90% of the people on the bus.  No worries, though, cause we already knew everyone loved to drink beer, and that’s all that matters.

Apparently the little town of Milton doesn't really like the fact that there is a brewery in their town, even though it's quite a small one and employs probably a third of them. Some guy actually tried to wave us down and tell us to go home as a busload of half drunk beerholics rumbled down the tiny main street.

this is the sculpture outside the brewery. the grounds really are pristine. green grass, artwork, the faint odor of beer in the air. unfortunately, and much to the demise of Monika who later, half drunk, attempted to scale the huge Burning Man sculpture from the outside, the stairs to the tree fort were locked.

...

this is the shop and tasting room. though we were offered beers before hand, we basically all decided to go on the tour first, considering we had all just got off a two hour, beer filled bus ride.

 

safety first!!

we saw a lot of pipes. and some tanks. but, the tour was rather boring. Our guide was nice enough, and answered all of our questions. We just didn't get to see the whole operations. no bottling line, filling line, packaging, or even ingredients actually being brewed at all. just big tanks and lots and lots of pipes.

so, whatever, we got free beer at the end of the tour. we got to taste four different beers that could not be any fresher.

this is Gina and Scott, the owners of Keg and Barrel Homebrewe Store (where I work part time)

and this is Monika posing in front of the steampunk sculpture.

a good chunk of the group that made the bus trip. Most of them are members of Barley Legal.

and this is the luxury liner we used as our mobile bar for four hours that day.

DogFish Head Brewpub is about fifteen minutes away in the much more scenic Rehobeth Beach. Nice little town.

good food too. They reserved the whole second story for our party, and we needed all the room. The whole brewpub was pretty packed and we brought them plenty of business ourselves.

this is the only (legal) operating distillery in the state of Delaware. And that is the whole thing right there. Pretty amazing that they have such a small batch and still.

It was a beautiful day, if a bit windy, and this is the last beer we had at the brewpub.

 

As always, see the entire collection of photos over here, and some more here.

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