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.
If you love a well balanced craft IPA and Pale Ale, but still love the high malt content of a German Dopplebock, the Yakima Glory marries both brewing styles in one of the best craft beers in the world, the Victory Brewing Yakima Glory Ale. With imported German Malts and Four Whole Flour Yakima Valley Hops, the Yakima Glory has an ABV of 8.7%. The Victory Yakima Glory comes with one of our highest craft ale recommendations.
“The tenacious grip of big, juicy hop aroma and character slides smoothly into rich, dark malts. This heavyweight battle between fresh, Yakima Valley hops and dark, roasted malts is resolved harmoniously as the flavors merge to deliver complex satisfaction with a warming edge. Bask in the “glory” of the bright and brassy hops!”
Saturday, August, 20, 2011, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Hop Heads and Malt Maniacs rejoice! An exclusive one-night event, Philadelphia’s original “HopScotch” returns to Khyber Pass Pub to showcase rare hoppy India Pale Ales, American Pale Ales, and Double India Pale Ales alongside highly sought-after Scotch Ales and Wee Heavies. Whether for Hops or for Scotch, guests will be able to determine their preference in a standoff between Malty Scotch Ales and Hoppy IPAs!
Oskar Blues Old Chub
Belhaven Wee Heavy
Bear Republic Heritage
Brasserie D’achouffe McChouffe
Founders Dirty Bastard
The Hoppy Ales
Founders Devil Dancer
Russian River Blind Pig
Flying Dog Centennial Single Hop Imperial IPA
Cask Bear Republic Racer 5
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Corne Du Diable
Ballast Point Even Keel
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Cask Blue Point No Apologies Imperial IPA
Khyber Pass Pub is a historic Old City bar handcrafted in 1876, and recently named by ‘Philadelphia Magazine’ as Best of Philly 2011 Revival. The menu features an extensive selection of craft beers, authentic Louisiana specialties, Southern barbecue, and tasty vegan and vegetarian options. Open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Happy Hour runs weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.!
The Colossus of Rhodes is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And an American strong ale from the Baltimore area brewery DuClaw is a wonder of the extreme beer world. DuClaw Colossus (DuClaw Brewing Co.; Bel Air, MD; American Strong Ale; ABV: 21.0) is a beer of gigantic proportions. This dark amber ale immerses you right off the bat with big notes of sweet caramel in both the aromatic nose and initial taste. The candy like feel is complimented by apple, cinnamon spices, and honey with a hint of piny hops at the end.
Since Colossus is aged like a wine or brandy to allow its flavors to mature and alcohol to mellow, the alcohol content is deceptively hidden and there’s no burn at the finish that’s characteristic of other ales in its weight class.
For many years I have considered Samuel Adams Utopias to be the best extreme beer of 20% or more, but the wonderfully complex and silky smooth Colossus can definitely give this acclaimed ale a run for its money.
Had a chance to try another exceptional beer from Colorado brewery Oskar Blues while having dinner at Libby’s. An Imperial red ale, it features the hoppy character of an Imperial IPA with the smoothness of an amber ale.
Oskar Blues G’Knight:
(Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery; Lyon, CO; Imperial Red Ale; ABV: 8.7) is named for the late Gordon Knight, a fire-fighting helicopter pilot and local brewer who helped found the Colorado breweries Twisted Pine, Wolf Tongue, and Estes Park during the 1990s. Knight was killed in the line of duty in 2002. The beer in fact was originally named Gordon Knight, but was renamed after a trademark infringement suit filed by Gordon Biersch Brewery (sic).
The dry hopped G’Knight is a fitting tribute to Knight, with a deep amber color and hearty notes of citrus and piny hops complimented by sweet caramel malt and honey. G’Knight is a very satisfying and well balanced ale, and the alcohol content of nearly 9% is nicely toned down. It paired well with the Crispy Soft Shell Crab Po Boy that I had as the main course.
The Whiskey Goldmine: Like Catching Lighting in a Haystack
By Matt Goldstein
From whiskey to vodka, cuisine and history, Boardwalk Empire, top 10 lists and pop culture, the Whiskey Goldmine has covered a lot of subjects over the past year. Craft beer, wine and bubbly, serial killers, dictators, cigars, movies and music, we have created a web site with no boundaries, no rules. The only thing that we really try to do is bring our readers new information that they won’t find anywhere else. We want to bring our readers original content, make them think, laugh and enjoy a drink with friends. After all, what’s better than enjoying a drink with friends?
The Whiskey Goldmine Logo
As you can see, our logo is a glass of whiskey with ice in it. Awesome right? Well, does the Pope shit in the woods?
The funny thing is that we never put our whiskey on ice. Never! Always drink whiskey neat. First, the ice waters down the whiskey which ruins the flavor. A middle shelf single malt is aged for 12 years in order to get a specific flavor, why change or ruin that perfectly painstakingly unique flavor? A drop or two of water to open up the single malt is all that’s needed. Second, cold temperature also masks the true flavor of a whiskey, be it bourbon, rye, Scotch whiskey, Irish whiskey, whatever. Just get rid of the ice and man up.
Smooth is Not Always Better
After trying every whiskey, vodka, tequila, cognac and spirit we could get our hands on, it’s blatantly obvious that smooth is not always better. In fact, the smoother the whiskey or vodka, the less good it is. Many flavors of the spirit are in the finish and the bite, especially with vodka. Since vodka is so thin, most of the flavor is in the finish. The smoother the vodka, the less character there is.
Our Top 10 Lists are Scientific Fact!
Listen, don’t try to argue with our top 10 lists. They’re amazing, correct and scientific. Shut your mouth.
The Original Mission of Whiskey Goldmine
The idea behind the website was to promote American spirits, wines and craft beers. When the economy tanked, I started to feel guilty that I had never bought an American car so I thought, what better way to promote America than our craft beer, wines, whiskeys and vodka’s. The more and more we began to actually create the web site the more I thought that American products would be too narrow of a subject matter. So I did what any logical person would do, I just bought a Cadillac. Problem solved. Now we can discuss German Beers, Scotch whiskey, Irish whiskey, Russian Vodkas and Sake.
Not an Expert…
When I was recently speaking to a friend/family member in some random setting that involved a lot of alcohol, I stated that “I had no idea what I was doing.” This random unnamed person told me to always act like I know what I’m doing, no matter what. This was bad advice. Sometimes the beauty in the truth is the evident flaws in our selves. Although I am a badass at making drinks, I don’t always know what I’m doing. I’m not actually an expert in whiskey. Even though I started a web site called Whiskey Goldmine, it’s not even actually about whiskey. I’m not an expert in any of these subjects, but I’m going to bring the experts to you. From chefs to sommeliers, brewers, historians, master distillers and grill masters, the Whiskey Goldmine does its best to bring you information that will create connoisseurs one click at a time.
Craft Beer Makes You Fat!
Sorry beer geeks, but the truth is the truth, craft beer makes you fat. I love all crafts from IPA’s to barleywines, dopplebock’s, porters and stoudts, but since starting this web site I blew up like a fattie from tasting all of the craft beer I could get my hands on. Recently, I’ve found myself sucking down Miller Lite’s, Amstell Lights and Yuengling Lights. Sacrilege I know, but it’s not your beer gut you need to worry about. Plus, I’m not giving up potato chips.
Our Most Popular Articles
One would be surprised at our most popular articles because their certainly not about whiskey. Well, one Jack Daniels article is very popular but that’s more because of the pictures than anything. Our most popular articles are about Boardwalk Empire and prohibition history, gangster timelines, crazy drinking stories about Henry the 8th, Napoleon, Stalin, serial killers and Huey P. Newton. Why you ask? Well, more people Google historical figures than vodkas. Trust us! There is no doubt about it. We’re going to bring our viewers more historical articles but it takes time to create. Tasting notes on beer and whiskey is easy work. “This tastes is good, this is bad,” blah blah blah. Nothing original or impessive there eh? Actually, both the drinking studies and the historical studies took me all my life to get here and I still have no idea what I’m doing.
Part 2 of Random Thoughts coming soon, for now I’d like to think my team.
Special thanks to all of those who helped start and contribute to Whiskey Goldmine. Webmasters Doug Walters and Carolynn Chapman, Senior Editor Tim Rodgers, Senior Foodie Pat Smith, Sommelier Tom Pittakas, Craft Beer specialist Jeremy Thomson, Chef Joe Bombartito, Grill Master Larry Kay, Cigar Afficianado Haroon Mhitar, Kevin Hussey, Eric Duncan, Paul Reiter and my dad, Howard Goldstein. And a special thanks to all of the distilleries who sent me bottles of liquor. Keep it coming… We’re just getting started so here’s to another year.
Tales of the Philly Beer Scene, Craft Beer and Beer Week Shananigans
By Matt Goldstein & Pat Smith
We started Beer Week off at The Iron Abbey with a free beer dinner and Sly Fox Firkin. What’s better than free beer and dinner? From sliders to cheese steak egg rolls, pita and hummus and salad, the Philly Beer Scene Magazine set up a nice spread. Some of us totally missed the first weekend of beer week though because we were off in A.C. covering the fights. But hey, we certainly drank a lot of beer, believe it. Overall, we hit about 8 events.
We then trumped over to the Khyber Pass Pub for the Ballast Point Event which might have had the best beer overall.
Our next event was the Sidecar Bar for the Nebraska Brewing event and then the Resurrection Ale House for all Wood in the Hood. Every beer on tap was whiskey barrel aged and the Port Ole’ Viscosity didn’t disappoint. The truffle burger at the Side Car Bar is one of the best burgers in the city, no question about it.
Then we were over to The Grace Tavern for the Stout tap takeover and the Khyber Pass Pub to clean out their remaining kegs from beer week followed by a stop at the excellent Belgian ale house, Eulogy. The Po-boy sandwich at the Khyber is completely out of control. It’s an absolute must try. We recommend the Fried Shrimp Po-boy.
On Sunday the final day of beer week we stopped at the Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting for their Beer Week blowout to pick up some great craft beer deals and off to our Sommelier Tom Pittakas’s house for a Sunday afternoon BBQ with slow cooked ribs on the smoker. Craft beer and smoked ribs. Suck on that beer week!
The anointed one, wife and webmaster Carolynn Chapman actually tried a craft beer. We forced her hand and made her put down the Coors Light and try a Stouts Pilsner. Then she voluntarily ordered a 2nd one. WOW! Move over beer geeks.
The Ballast Point Victory by Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter and the Hitachino Espresso Stout were probably the best beers we sampled. Both are flat out studs.
I left a tip on the bar for the bartender at the Grace and some crack head junky hipster scumbag might have stolen it. He’s lucky I didn’t catch him but I’m almost positive he did it. At the risk of ruining a good party I didn’t say a word.
Again, the truffle burger at the Sidecar Bar and the Po-Boy at the Khyber Pass Pub are absolute musts for any Philadelphia foodie.
General Manager at the Iron Abbey, Rui Lucas was pouring the beers himself at the Philly Beer Scene Magazine beer dinner to kick off beer week. This guy is a great manager and great ambassador for the craft beer world. Where else can you get Brazilian steak samplers from N’brasa, one of the best beer lists in the city and watch a UFC or Boxing PPV for free. Exaclty.
I never actually got to smash a beer geek in the face with a Miller Highlife, but it would have been fun.
The $12 dollars for a 10 ounce of Nebraska Brewings Black Betty Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout at the Sidecar was a little much. $12? Really? It was good and had a unique aftertaste but it wasn’t that good.
We wish we would have gotten to try more beers at the Resurrection Ale House All Wood in the Hood event. Whiskey Barrel aged beers is one of our favorite styles.
Beer week is getting over done a bit. It seemed that there was about 500 events which is just crazy, but hey, anything that sells in this economy is a good thing, especially American beer. Speaking of which, sales of IPA’s have increased 40% over the last year. Hopefully the American IPA phenomenon takes off internationally; it would do great things for our country.
It’s the economy stupid! With a dismal jobs report in the last couple weeks that has Obama’s poll numbers in the toilet, alcohol sales have jumped by almost 10% over the last 12 months. Sweet! Are people just drinking their problems away? I know I am. People are also just drinking better quality craft beers. Sales of IPA’s, a.k.a. India Pale Ales, have increased by 40% over the last year. 40%! Holy Crap, that is insane. The American style craft beer has taken the United States and the craft beer world by storm. The bitter hoppy grapefruit flowery style beer has taken over the beer world and seems to be crushing the legendary Belgian style. Beerfests, beer weeks and brewfests are popping up all over the place and the IPA is dominating. Even Pizza Ria Uno is serving an array of craft beers with a handful of IPA’s to boot.
Wine and spirits have also seen a solid increase in sales but the American macro brew seems to be the loser with a solid chunk being taken out of Budweiser, Coors and Miller. Of course, this will lead to the inevitable, the Macro brews buying out all of the profitable micro & craft breweries all over the country. In fact, it has already started. I know, I know, horrible right? Whatever you say beer geek. There’s nothing wrong with a little Miller High Life now and then. After all, it’s the champagne of beers.
Alcohol is saving the economy and we love it. This is the best news the Whiskey Goldmine heard since the last 330 articles we posted. After all, all of our articles are amazing.
The elusive Russian River Pliny the Younger has been called “The Best Beer in the World” and has caused near riots in Northern California where it is brewed. Brewed once a year and only distributed on draft to a very small handful of markets in California, Denver and Philadelphia, this brew creates a crowd anywhere you are lucky enough to find it poured.
At 11% ABV this enormous Imperial IPA, packs a punch. However, the true beauty of this beer lies in the fact that its heavy hop bill is so well balanced against a malt backbone just large enough to get the ABV so high.
Sipping this sublimely golden ale one might guess it weighs in closer to 8.0%–or less. A tropical citrus aroma emanates from the glass and these characteristics continue into the flavor but are also joined with an overwhelming piney resinous (maybe the reason “Pliny” is often misspelled “Pliney”?). Younger rounds out finishing surprisingly dry with little of the sweetness typically found in a brew this large. This beer is not a hop bomb like so many Imperial IPAs, but rather explodes with the balance that few, if any, beers achieve.
Is it the best beer in the world? Probably not. But the first time you are lucky enough to try Pliny the Younger, you may find yourself plotting, planning and missing work just to get a second glass of this big, balanced elixir.
Tempers Flare, Fight Ensues Before Highly Anticipated Goat Race, Beerfest
By Team Goldmine
At the Weigh in & Press Conference for the Sly Fox Goat Races there was a heated exchange between the Iron Abbey and Whiskey Goldmine. The argument turned into a brawl when Whiskey Goldmine’s racing goat “Coffee” bit the Iron Abbey’s goat named “Iron.” Just then, the other Iron Abbey racing goat named “Abbey” attacked Coffee the goat and a brawlerupted! Iron Abbey’s General Manager Rui Lucas started throwing bombs at WG’s publisher Matt Goldstein, punching and screaming, “What the heck does a whiskey web site know about craft beer and goat racing anyway?!?” After being punched multiple times Goldstein tackled Lucas saying, “Just because you show UFC PPV’s on Saturday nights doesn’t mean you know MMA!” At this point, a complete brawl erupted between 12 goats, all the bartenders at the Iron Abbey and about 10 drunken writers from the WG. It was absolute mayhem.
An anonymous source from the WG was quoted as saying, “Just because the Iron Abbey has the best craft beer and steak combination in the Philadelphia area doesn’t save them from getting crushed in the Sly Fox goat race by Coffee.” Rui Lucas responded with warning that his two goats “Iron” and “Abbey” are gonna “stomp on every goat in their way in order to get to Coffee.” When we asked Whiskey Goldmine Publisher & CEO Matt Goldstein for a quote on the Sly Fox goat races, Goldstein grabbed our camera and smashed it on the ground, kind of like Sonny in the Godfather during the infamous wedding scene. Unfortunately, because of this camera assault, we have no footage of the mayhem from the press conference. It will all have to be decided on Sunday at race time.
The festivities start at 11 am and the race kicks off at 2 pm. Its German bock day and the Sly Fox will have 5 different styles of bock beer flowing outside at the Phoenixville brewery. Tickets for the bus trip from the Iron Abbey are still available. A crowd of about 2500 is expected.
The shower beer is not regularly regarded of as a sacred event, but it is. Most people don’t just decide to consistently take beers into the shower at any given chance we get. There is a time, a place, and a mentality for the Shower Beer. Friday afternoon is the optimal time for the S. B. Your off a big work week and you’re getting ready for the weekend and a night out. The shower beer is best with a fuck the man and take the night attitude complimented by a good rock song.
The other good time is Saturday or Sunday morning. After you’ve taken the night and just need a good WTF happened beer and wash it all off shower. Usually followed with some sort of day drinking extravaganza.
The shower beer doesn’t get enough respect. It’s not as easy as it sounds. There are rules and obstacles.
The first rule of the beer shower is you do not leave shower till beer is completely finished. If you cannot finish a 12 ounce can in the time it takes to take a shower then you don’t deserve the shower beer. At worst you better finish your last sip before your dry.
The second rule is the beer has to be a basic American beer. ie Pabst, Bud, Coors, ETC. Do not take a quality craft beer in the shower. It doesn’t make sense and it is not efficient. Pounding a warm IPA just isnt enjoyable.
The first obstacle is time management. How to get what you need to get done while also enjoying your fine beverage before it gets warm due to steam.
The next obstacle is not splashing or getting over spray in the beer. Most regular size showers have ledges, but they’re on the shower head side so as to be easy accessible for soap and water. So the one hand above shower head can prove to be very effective. It’s about the beer not necessarily cleanliness.
It’s not just a beer in the shower it’s a well deserved coordinated don’t get in my way shower beer.