Nicely situated on an East Passyunk Avenue corner, Birra first catches your eye because of its outdoor seating and hip signage. But the real treasure of this South Philly pizza and craft beer joint is inside, where we found Birra’s light and airy space to be nearly as inviting as their scantily clad wait staff. Did they know that nothing makes us hungry like a hot girl with a see-through shirt? Grrrr!
Lucky for us, there was plenty on the menu to fill our bellies.
We started with a cheese plate, which came with a generous assortment of cheeses and well-paired sweet and savory accoutrements, along with tasty flatbreads and ultra-fresh baguettes sourced from local bakery Boulanger Pattisier.
We couldn’t resist ordering the Noni’s Brisket Panini, and we were not disappointed. The aforementioned fresh baguette was the perfect vehicle for the tender brisket with peppers and caramelized onions. It was served with a side of jus, but we happily didn’t need it.
Wait, did I say we started with a cheese plate? I meant to say that we started with beer. We love beer! We almost always start with beer. This time it was a Peroni draught and a Menabrea Ambrata, an Italian lager we’ve never found in an Italian restaurant or a craft beer bar.
And then there’s the pizza. Just as we almost always start with beer, we almost always have a hard time choosing between pizza offerings, and this was no exception. After a serious discussion and an empassioned vote, we decided on both the margherita and the truffle pizzas; a logical order with one selection from each of the red and white categories.
The crust was thin and light, with a crispy edge. The margherita was fresh and sweet, light on cheese with a nice layer of tomatoes. The truffle pizza was rich, creamy, and delightful. We would suggest re-naming this pizza Twelve Inches of Love, but that might bring the wrong kind of traffic to this family-friendly restaurant. The lightly fried egg in the center of the truffle pizza was our favorite moment of the meal.
We’d like to point out that both the brisket Panini and the truffle pizza were even better when we reheated them the next day. Suffice it to say we didn’t have room for dessert, but next time we’re going to order it anyway.
We’re going back as soon as the cops in South Philly forget our drunken faces.
One of Philly’s Best Wine Bars with some Great Craft Beer Events.
Happy Philly Beer Week, Everyone! Here’s an update of some cool happenings at Tria over the next ten days. Check out the Philly Beer Week events lined up at Tria, one Philly’s best wine barts and happy hour destination. It’s Philly Beer Week Bitches! Sit back and enjoy the taps…
Friday, June 1
Meet the Brewer: Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin
After their Ferm School class tonight, Brian Ewing of 12% Imports and Evil Twin brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, visiting from Denmark, will hang out at Tria Rittenhouse starting about 9pm. We’ve got a few of their beers to celebrate, so roam like a gypsy and stop on by.
Sunday, June 3
Meet the Brewer: Kevin Lemp from 4 Hands Brewery
Join us for this special Sunday School in which you’ll get a chance to try two beers on tap from a hot new brewery from St. Louis that’s in Philly only for Philly Beer Week. And if you time it right, you’ll get to meet the brewer.
4 Hands Pyrus (St. Louis, MO ∙ 6.0%)
$8/10oz DRAFT $4½/10oz DRAFT for your first glass
Saison flavored with pear juice, white peppercorn and orange
4 Hand Prunus (St. Louis, MO ∙ 6.0%) $8/10oz DRAFT Saison flavored with sour cherries
Where Tria Rittenhouse and Wash West
When Beers tapped at opening (12 noon)
Meet the Brewer Rittenhouse 3-4:30pm, Wash West 5-6:30pm
Monday, June 4
Meet the Brewer: Tomme Arthur from Port Brewing Company
Tomme Arthur is truly a rock star of the U.S. craft brewing scene, and he’s a rock star at Tria as well; he arranged for us to pour three of his legendary sour beers on tap at the same time AND he’s going to stop by to chat about them. Quantities are limited and demand is high, so don’t hesitate.
The Lost Abbey Red Poppy (San Marcos, CA ∙ 5.5%) Very special, very scarce! Flanders Red Ale brewed with sour cherries, aged in French oak
The Lost Abbey Framboise de Amorosa (San Marcos, CA ∙ 7.0%) Pucker up—this ale spends a year in wood and is spiked with three additions of raspberries. Funky!
The Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme (San Marcos, CA ∙ 11.0%) Huge Belgian strong dark ale with wood aging, cherries, Brettanomyces, the whole nine yards
Price $4½/10oz DRAFT – LIMITED QUANTITIES
Where Tria Wash West
When Monday at 3pm
Meet the Brewer 4-5pm
Friday, June 8
Meet the Brewer: Kris Herteleer of De Dolle Brouwers
This legendary Belgian craft brewery was founded in 1980 by brothers Kris and Jo Herteleer. Meet Kris next Friday on his first visit to the United States! Stop by Tria Wash West, now open for Friday lunch, between 1-3pm, to give him a warm Tria welcome. Oh, and there’ll be four De Dolle beers! More info in our Monday weekly email.
A runaway ruminant at last year’s Bock Fest created a few days of anxiety for its owner and a bit of excitement for some local homeowners. Rachel Bearoff, a resident of Phoenixville, owns several goats which she houses at Winding Brook Farm in Warrington, Bucks County, and she has entered one or more of them in the annual Sly Fox Bock Festival Goat Race the last few years. She never raced them herself since she was a server at the pub and working during the fest. Her sister or friends would run with the ruminants and she also lent out goats to non-goat owners who wanted to race. “They could name them whatever they wanted for the race,” she says.
The plan last year was for a friend, Ben Bell, to race Trey, while Rachel would run with Trey’s mother Sugar, her boyfriend Mike Johnson with Brom (Trey’s older brother), and another friend, Jordan Bravato, with Ginger Spice (Trey’s younger sister), whom he renamed Leonidas. It was to be the first race for Trey, a 150-lb and somewhat rambunctious animal. After they arrived, the man from Winding Brook whom Rachel calls Farmer Bob tied him to his trailer while he was tending to the other goats. Trey got spooked and broke free, trailing 30 feet of tie-line behind him. “I was so worried,” says Rachel. “I was afraid he’d get hit by a car or get stuck in the woods if his line got tangled around something.” She turned Sugar over to Ben to race while she and Mike, driven around by Mrs. Jacqueline Giannopoulos, matriarch of the family which owns Sly Fox, searched all day and into the evening for Trey and distributed flyers with the goat’s photo and a contact phone number, all to no avail.
“There were sightings reported all day long,” Rachel recalls, “the farthest away was near the Bevans Orchard neighborhood, which is about three miles from the pub. The police saw him jumping over cattle fences from the farm there but never caught up with him. After that, I didn’t hear anything until Tuesday morning when a guy called to say Trey was on Maryhill Road and his line was caught under the tire of a parked car. When we got there, he broke free again and ran behind a house. The owners came out and said he’d been around for a while, so I gave them my number and they called me later that night to say that Trey was under a neighbor’s porch. I went over to see but I didn’t have a trailer so I told the people whose house it was that I’d be back in the morning with Farmer Bob. They said that was fine and Trey was no problem. They enjoyed watching him.”
It was raining Monday morning when Rachel, Farmer Bob, an animal control officer and two assistants arrived at the house. “Trey was just laying on the front porch like it was his house,” she says, “just chilling. It was so cute.” When Farmer Bob walked up to the porch, Trey leaped to his feet and jumped off but Bob caught him in midair and his runaway adventures were finally over. Rachel says that a perfect ending to the whole affair was provided by Trey’s mother Sugar when they got back to Winding Brook. “After we put him back in the pen, she gave him this long stare and then went over and head-butted him like she was punishing him for running away.”
✔ Keep your goat on a leash!
✔ Bring your I.D.
✔ Bring cash to buy tickets. *
✔ Do NOT bring beer.
✔ Do NOT bring disposable water bottles.
✔ Bring refillable water bottles.
✔ Be courteous. Be safe. Have fun!
✔ Please recycle!
* Sly Fox will only accept tickets for all Bock Fest purchases.
There’s a few golden rules about craft beer like searching for that ever allusive Pliny the Younger, drinking as many different beers as possible at a beer fest and whenever an Evil Twin Brewing beer is on tap, ordering a pint is an absolute must period. From what started as a beer geek making beers in his basement, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso of Coppenhagen has now turned Evil Twin into one of the best craft beer brands in the world. Jeppe is the evil twin of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø from Mikkeller Brewing, also one of the most coveted craft beer brands in the world.
The Evilo Twin Biscotti Break Imperial Porter is made with espresso, vanilla and toasted almonds. This beautiful malt beverage is awesomely crisp, bitter and refreshing. With flavors of vanilla, espresso and nuts, this imperial porter is very balanced and a straight up stud! The Evil Twin Biscotti Break is simply one of the best balanced imperial porters in the world and comes with one of our highest recommendations.
A Philadelphia Magazine Top Bar Comes with Bad Food, Bad Service & Suspect Beer List
By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight
One of our favorite magazines, Philadelphia Magazine, also known as Philly Mag, recently published an issue focusing on the best bars in Philly. A great piece listing some of our favorite bars, we decided to venture to any of the bars that we’ve never been to. Our first stop was at Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant & Pub in Lansdale PA, about 15-20 minutes outside of city limits. A menu full of original Irish food recipes such as bangers and mash, boxtys, Irish stew and fish and chips, we were looking forward to trying some food items usually not on every average bar menu.
The tap list featured some standard Irish beers such as Guinness, Harp, and Smithwicks and a few other craft beers; the best was perhaps the Pennsylvania Brewing Pale Ale, a flat out stud. But the tap list was nothing to write home about as two of the taps were taken by fruit beers. Usually, when someone orders a fruit beer, they don’t care if it comes from a tap or a bottle, therefore, why waste two taps that could be used for a craft IPA or Imperial Stout, or even two more Irish beers. But hey, tap lines change over quick so this might not be standard.
The restaurant was only at about 2/3’s capacity which is about normal for a Thursday night; however, at times it seemed that the bartender ignored us as we were sitting at the bar with glasses empty. There were no lines at the door, no lines at the bar and many tables open. Tough enough to get a beer, although we managed, the food was basically a nightmare.
We started with the Scotch egg for an appetizer, which consisted of two hard boiled eggs, wrapped in ground roast pork and deep fried, served with spicy mustard. It was pretty good actually. We also went with a spinach salad that was solid, nothing special but still good.
Then, we went with the Yellow Jack Boxty, “An 8 ounce Prime Beef Patty chopped up with Rashers, lettuce, tomato, red onion and special sauce.” The problem was that when I started eating it, the meat was burnt but the entire boxty was actually cold. Maybe a boxty is supposed to be cold? We’ve have a few before and they weren’t cold, but maybe it’s the signature Molly Maguire style. Then, we went on to try the side of mashed potatoes. Cold! Yup, cold mashed potatoes. An Irish pub served us cold mash potatoes. The one thing an Irish bar must do is served their potatoes correct, period. When we complained to the bartender, she told us they would take the food back. When we asked if they would make me a new plate of just heat up the old one, the bartender replied that they would probably just microwave the dish that I had started eating. Nice! That’s just what I need, a more dried out and shittier more overcooked boxty. A few minutes later we overheard another couple at the bar complaining that their food was cold, the entrée and mashed potatoes.
The highlight of the night was the Molly’s Mac and Cheese, a Penne pasta baked with Rashers and creamy aged cheddar cheese, topped with toasted bread crumbs and a dash of parmesan cheese. This dish was very good; however the portion was small, came with no side and cost about $13.
When the manager finally came out after multiple complaints by the patrons, he decided to comp us 1 beer. Not one beer each, simply one beer.
All in all, the food was bad and cold, the service was bad and the food was slightly overpriced for what it is. Although the bartender was nice, her service was suspect as well. Our thoughts for Molly Maguire’s is that they’re not experienced enough or have the capacity to come with real authentic Irish food and should stick to the bar food basics, deep fried dishes with French fries, that’s it. Although there were a couple good beers, they must pay more attention to the craft beer trends as there is limited tap space. In this day an age of craft beer mania, every tap counts. Philly Mag might list this place as a top bar, but it needs some serious work. There are two other locations of Molly Maguire’s, on in Phoenixville and one in Downingtown.
St Patty’s Day Feature: The Best Irish Bars in Philadelpia
By Pat Smith, Jeremy Thomson and Matt Goldstein
In honor of St. Patty’s Day and the greatest city in the world, Whiskey Goldmine has compiled our list of the best Irish Pubs and the best Irish Taverns in the city of Philadelphia. With its authentic Irish food, Irish music and craft beer, Philadelphia offers a truly historical and unique take on the Irish Pub, with one of our favorite bars even dating back to 1763. With a very large Irish population, Philadelphia is one of the best Irish Pub experiences in the United States.
1. McGlinchey’s Bar & Grill
It wasn’t too long ago when McGlinchey’s served 50 cent Black & Tans & 25 cent hot dogs. This Rittenhouse gem gets a lot of broke college kids and starving artists through some real tough times with that authentic pub feel. One of the best spots in the city period. 259 S 15th St. Philadelphia, PA.
2. McGillian’s Old Ale House
McGillan’s has been pouring beers in the same spot since 1860. This is one of the most authentic Irish pubs in the country, let alone Philadelphia. 1310 Drury St, Philadelphia, PA.
Much older than McGillian’s, Brittingham’s has been pouring beers and playing Irish music since 1763. Along with the General Lafayette Brewery, Brittingham’s offers a historical and warming character to Lafayette Hill. They have great live Irish music and nothing’s better than drinking half and half at Brittingham’s on St. Patty’s Day or kicking the crap out of a bunch of chumps in Quizzo. 640 E. Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA.
I’ll never forget my 21st birthday when already bombed, we walked into Fergie’s and the bartender poured me three shots for my birthday. I told the bartender that if I drank the triple shot that I would throw up. The bartender shrug his shoulders as if he did not care. Needless to say… 1214 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA.
5. Plough & the Stars
Plough and the Stars has the most authentic and mouth-watering Irish food in the city and great live Irish music. 2nd St in Old City, Philadelphia, PA.
6. Brownie’s Irish Pub
The best craft beer spot of any Irish pub in the city! A home away from home… 46 S. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA.
7. For Pete’s Sake
Best muscles in the city? 900 South Front St., Philadelphia, PA.
With Irish beer samplers and beautiful Irish whiskey list, Slainte is the best bar around the 30th St. station area. 3000 Market St. Philadelphia, PA.
Moriarty’s has some of the best wings and best Irish food in the city. 1116 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA.
10. PJ Whelihan’s
Yup, it’s a chain, we know. But guess what, PJ Whelihan’s has the best craft beer list out of any chain anywhere in the area. Actually, they have a better craft beer list then a bunch craft beer bars. That’s not peanuts! The PJ’s Pub craft beer list is a very educated and critically acclaimed, no question about it. There are 12 PJ’s Pub locations in the Philadelphia area.
While Western economies lag and struggle to recover, the economic rise of China is having a major impact on the world of wine and spirits. Already breaking their own records for importing wine from France and Napa Valley, the new middle class in China also has taste for Cognac, the pricey French brandy made from white wine grapes, and many times champagne grapes. The three major players in Cognac, Hennessy, Remy Martin & Courvoisier are enjoying a 20% increase in exports to China and Cognac overall sold 162.9 million bottles in 2011. That’s more than 1 bottle of Cognac for every 43 people on earth. The Far East region saw an overall increase of 14.4%.
Too bad for Hennessy that Kim Jong Il has passed because the former North Korean Dictator, or as we like to call him, the “Dear Leader,” was largest single purchaser of Hennessy Cognac and Cognac overall in the history of the world. Spending about $700,000 dollars a year on his favorite $630 bottle of Hennessy, the “Dear Leader” drank like a fish while his people starved to death.
Demand for Cognac in the West rose slightly but the numbers aren’t even worth mentioning and certainly not indicative of a boom. However, wine and craft beer have had major surges in the United States over the last couple years and show no signs of slowing down.
As big fans of No Reservations, when we first heard about Anthony Bourdain’s new show the Layover, we were pretty excited. As everyone seems to becoming a “foodie” these days with sheik restaurants popping up everywhere, reality cooking shows on 24/7 and even chain restaurants trying to get cute with craft beer and aoli instead of mayo, the ratings for No Reservations are exploding. What’s not to love about Anthony Bourdain? He’s a total dick whenever he wants to be and we think that’s flipping awesome. (Also, his favorite show is the Wire.) Of course Bourdain has a new show, he’s a travel channel money bag. The Layover’s concept is Anthony Bourdain doing up a town on limited time, during the layover as he is waiting for his plane to take off to another destination.
Sounds great right? However, when reality began to set in we thought we, “wow, that’s the same exact show as No Reservations, just quicker or something…” Thankfully, we were completely wrong. Not only does the Layover have a completely different feel, it’s a completely different show. On No Reservations, Bourdain chooses a few spots in a given city and lets the pro chefs takeover. In the Layover, Bourdain visits as many spots as possible and lets the locals do all the talking. But the Layover is not just about food and cocktails, the Layover is about the travel and the locals it features give the viewers great details on getting around the city and avoiding the ever dreaded tourist traps. From deep fried to slow cooked, cocktails, session beers and dive bars, the Layover covers about 10 times the locations as No Reservations from restaurants to attractions and local city unwritten travel rules. Still having the great Anthony Bourdain personality to drive the show, Layover is a more effective travel show than a food show but nails both in solid fashion. We’re definitely watching this show again and again.
Have you been bad this season? If so, Santa might be punishing you with coal under the Christmas tree. I know what you’re thinking, “What does this Jewish guy Goldstein know about Christmas?” Fear not my friends, I got connections. You best believe I got some Christmas gifts on the way. On another note, a good kind of coal this holiday season is coal that comes in the form of a beer. The Ridgeway Brewing Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout is a classic wintery stout perfect for any holiday celebration. Making over 19 Christmas Ales, Ridgeway Brewing out of England is one of the world’s leading holiday beer makers. Black in color with a brown bubbly head, the Lump of Coal Stout is a malty stout with subtle crispness. Thin in body for a stout, the malty and coffee notes make a pretty flavorful stout. Not full of all those Christmas spices in most craft beers, the Lump of Coal is simply a solid stout. Malty, smoky and bitter, we would definitely try this stout again.
Mastering the Butterfly Bottle Opener Part 1: The Basics
By Matt Goldstein
The Lagunitas Butterfly Bottle Opener is literally the coolest god damn way to open a beer. And we have the instructional video for you to master the butterfly bottle opening techniques. What’s that, you have a butterfly knife? That’s for bitches. We got a butterfly bottle opener and we have the butterfly bottle opener master to show you how to open that beer like a man. Check out this amazing instructional video that will give you a degree in beer opening badass. Mastering the Lagunitas Butterfly Bottle Opener Part 1: The Basics.