The Iron Abbey Gastro Pub has the best food and craft beer combination in the Philadelphia area. The Iron Abbey beer week line up kicks off with a free beer and complimentary firkin and an official invite below. Printout the invite and you’re in. Also featured, are brown bag taste test with the cusotmers as the judges. Filled with the Breworks to Boulder Beer, Duvel night and Flying Dog meet the brewers, the Iron Abbey Gastro Pub is filled with some of the best beer in all of beer week. Check out the schedule below.
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.
Exceptional Taco’s and Craft Beer at an Excellent Price
By Matt Goldstein & Carolynn Chapman
What the truck is this? There’s a taco truck on the roof of the Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting. Apparently it was hoisted on the roof in the middle of the night. Hopefully it doesn’t drive off the roof because it would probably crash to the ground about 3 stories below and we wouldn’t be able to eat the tacos. These tacos are slammin! There’s no other way to put it. The fish taco has to be one of the best tacos in the area while the steak and pork tacos are also exceptional. The chicken taco was just ok but not bad either. There is also a vegetable taco that we’re hearing great things about but have not tried yet. Prices are one taco for $2.50 or 3 for $6.00 which is just a great deal. Sodas are 99 cents and craft beer cans just $3.00. Oh yeah, the tacos are all organic of course.
The menu is as follows:
Tecate Fish Taco with Chipotle Mayo: A+
Spiced Chicken Taco with Pico de Gallo: B / B-
Carne Asada with Queso Fresca: A
Pork Carnitas with Tomatillo Sauce: A
Grilled Vegetables with Black Beans & Jicama: Yet to be reviewed.
The Craft Beer!
The craft beer cans will most likely be rotated but the beers available now are the Avery White Rascal Belgian Wheat, Lancaster Rumspringa Golden Bock, Sly Fox Phoenix Phoenix Pale Ale, a Breckenridge and the Caldera IPA. That’s a pretty solid line up of craft beer studs to go with a slammin taco.
Introducing Our Quick Hits Restaurant Review Series
By Matt Goldstein
The Whiskey Goldmine would like to introduce our Quick Hits restaurant review series where we discuss a few restaurants and highlight some must haves around the city. We open our series with an old school veteran of Rittenhouse Square, Alma De Cuba, but we also highlight a new kid on the block, Kraftworks, on Girard Ave in Fishtown.
Alma De Cuba: A Romantic Cocktail Lounge
This Steven Starr restaurant downstairs lounge area is perfect for a date night. The romantic candle lit setting with relaxing white chairs and couches on a Friday night make a simple romantic statement complimenting the casual light fare on the menu. From chorizo sliders to Kobe beef tacos and shrimp ceviche, to maybe the best guacamole in the city, the light fare at the Alma De Cuba cocktail lounge makes a perfect date night and brilliant setting to try some Cuban style cocktails. From sangria’s to mojitos, this oldie but goody is a must for cocktail hour. Also, make sure you try the chocolate cigar almond cake mousse, trust us. 1623 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA
Perhaps the best new restaurant in Conshohocken, the tapas at Isabella make you want to keep coming back. While the bar area can get a little tight, the restaurant decor is light, refreshing and slightly romantic. From the drunken figs, tartufo pizza, and an excellent cheese plate, the ahi tuna, spinach ricotta ravioli, and Spanish style octopus, there is no other restaurant in Conshohocken we’d prefer right now. 382 East Elm St., Conshohocken, PA
The new Kraftwork bar on Girard Ave isn’t just a must try for the craft beer. Kraftwork has one of the best burgers in the city period. It’s a top 5 Philadelphia burger, no question about it. Adam Ritter’s critically acclaimed Side Car Bar has stepped it up a notch with the pub food at Kraftwork. The pretzel bite fondue and the Sicilian arincini rosotto balls are absolutely ridiculous. You’ll go to Kraftworks for a beer, you’ll comeback for the food. Kraftwork is also one of the most stylish and original bars you will ever see. Also, you can get craft beer almost anywhere, but Kraftwork specializes in craft beer flights so you can try samples of 5 beers at a time. There’s nothing better. 541 East Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
The Couch Tomato
OK, so the Couch Tomato forgot our order, forcing us to wait an extra half hour for our take out. Oh yeah, we got a parking ticket too as we were not expecting to wait at all. It’s a tough break when your staff forgets the food order of someone planning a restaurant review. Fear not Couch Tomato, it might have been a tough day for service but you still make the best wraps in the city. Yup, I said it. The best wraps in the city! I challenge anyone to find better wraps in the entire Philadelphia area because it’s not happening. From the Holy Chipotle Wrap, Paco’s Taco Salad Wrap, Buffalo Chicken Wrap and Oriental Crunch Wrap, the Couch Tomato makes a wrap for you. 102 Rector St., Philadelphia, PA
Hoppin Frog Barrel Aged Borris Oatmeal Imperial Stout the Show!
By Matt Goldstein & Kevin Hussey
The 2011 Beats, Brews & BBQ beer fest at the World Café Live in Philadelphia had over 35 brewers with more than 100 beers and tickets sold out months before the beer fest opened its doors. With more than 100 beers trying to stake their claim at the 2011 beerfest, our panel of tasters provides you with the top 10 craft beers that crushed the competition. Speaking of crushed, Hoppin Frogs Borris the Crusher stole the show!
Made from the 2008 Gold Medalist at the GABF, Borris the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout, the barrel aged version is a masterpiece in cask matured stouts. Full bodied, robust, roasted and smoky, with notes of oak and vanilla, the Barrel Aged Borris is complex and full of character. 9.4% ABV, 60 IBU. Hoppin Frog Brewing. Akron, Ohio.
2. Weyerbacher Heresy Imperial Stout:
The Heresy is an old heathen oak aged imperial stout. Aged in bourbon oak barrels with a roasted flavor, the Heresy has notes of bourbon, oak, corn, vanilla, and coffee. 8.5% ABV, Weyerbacher Brewing. Easton, PA.
3. Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale:
The Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale, also known as an old ale, is brewed with 7 different types of malts. Ruby Red in color, with strong notes of hops, hints of smoke and peat, the Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale is a classic. 8.5% ABV, Founders Brewing Co. Michigan.
4. Victory Old Horizontal Barley Wine:
The Victory Barley Wine is rich in hops with a sweet flavor that balances very well. With imported 2 row hops malts and American whole flower hops, the Old Horizontal is perfectly balanced. 10.5% ABV. Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA.
5. Six Points Sehr Crisp Pilsner
With all the IPA’s and Imperial Stouts at every beer fest, the Six Point Sehr Crisp Pilsner was a refreshing session beer and strongly lived up to the Pilsner style. According to Beer Advocate, the Sehr Crisp Pilsner is a cross between a German Pilsner and a Bohemian Pilsner and blended with German hops. 5.4% ABV. Six Point Brewing Company. Brooklyn, NY.
6. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye:
The Hop Rod Rye has been a staple of Bear Republic for years and years, winning three separate gold medals in craft beer competitions. The Racer 5 and Rocket Red are already legendary Bear Republic Brews, but the Hop Rod Rye is just as good. The Hop Rod Rye is an IPA with a heavy rye malt base, but also a spicy kick and bitterness that add a beautiful complexity to the hops. 8.0% ABV, 80 IBUs. Bear Republic Brewing Co. Healdsburg, CA.
7. Yards Chocolate Love Stout:
The Yards Chocolate Love Stout is a sweet and sultry full bodied chocolate stout with a beautiful roasted malt flavor. The Chocolate Love is brewed with oysters in a kettle. Oysters? WTF! 5.5% ABV. Yards Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PA.
Some of our tasters at the beer fest thought the Dorris Destroyer might have been better than Barrel Aged Borris and for good reason. This Double Imperial Oatmeal Stout is similar to the Borris but a little more tangy. Dry hopped and wort hopped, Dorris the Destroyer will smack you right in your mouth. 10.5% ABV, 70 IBUs. Hoppin Frog Brewing Co. Akron, Ohio.
9. Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 2 Baltic Porter:
The Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 2 is a flat lout smoke monster. Made with 2-Row malts, Smoked Munich (smoked with Hackberry) malts, Malted Rye, Cara Aroma, Chocolate, Carafa, Special II, Carafa III and Magnum and Northern Brewer hops, the medium to full bodied porter stood out from all other porters at the beer fest.
10. Dogfish Head Red & White Belgian Style Wit Ale:
The Red & White Belgian Style Wit Ale is an easy drinking Belgian ale “brewed with coriander and orange peel and fermented with Pinot Noir juice.” WOW! Dogfish Head will try anything. The Red & White Ale is then aged in Oak tanks. An Oak tank? That’s first we’ve heard of that. It certainly sounds better than being aged in a metal vat, but can’t possibly provide the character of an oak barrel. Either way, the Red & White is a fabulous Belgian Wit. 10.0% ABV, 35 IBU. Dogfish Head Brewing. Rehobeth Beach, DE.
The Yard’s brewery has been a staple of the Philadelphia craft beer scene since 1994. Their Philadelphia Pale Ale has had national notoriety for years but the Yard’s brewery keeps coming up with beer after beer. We’re a huge fan of the Yard’s Brawler Pugilistic Style Ale. The Brawler is an English style session ale with a lot of malt. If you know the whiskey goldmine well, you know we love boxing almost as much as beer, so the next big fight, you can bet that we’ll have some Brawler on hand. But today, we’re here to introduce beer lovers to the big dog on the block, the Yard’s Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale.
The Yards Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale is sweet, tangy and bitter with a lot of flavor. The Tavern Ale is said to be based on an original recipe of Thomas Jefferson, brewed with ingredients found on Jefferson’s Monticello Virginia estate. There is a lot of yeast sediment in this beer but it brings a beautiful thick golden orange color. The sediment also gives the flavor a good bite and dry aftertaste. This is a classic ale, and one of the best we’ve ever had.
Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale, 8% ABV, Yard’s Brewery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Santucci’s Square Pizza is expanding all over the area and for good reason, it’s the best pizza in Philadelphia. The square pie with the sauce on top is being mimicked all over the city, but others just can’t touch the style that has been perfected by Santucci’s Square Pizza.
Yup, you’re probably shocked not to see Lorenzo’s on the list, let alone the top 5. You probably think Lorenzo’s got the shaft. The truth of the matter is that Lorenzo’s hasn’t been good in a long time. For far too long and far too many times, Lorenzo’s has undercooked the pizza in order to sell more pies. That strategy is slowly killing what used to be great pizza.
1. Santucci’s Square Pizza
Since 1959, Santucci’s has been revolutionizing the square pizza. With the sauce on top, and a perfect crust, getting the corner slice of the pie cannot be defined in words. Order a Santucci’s pie with extra cheese. Trust us… We’ve been eating Santucci’s for about 30 years now. There are now six locations throughout the Philadelphia area.
2. The Original Tacconelli’s Pizzeria
Internationally known, nationally recognized and considered the best of Philly by most people in the know. Tacconelli’s is so popular that sometimes you have to order a pizza three days in advance. Tacconelli’s has been baking bread out of the same brick oven since 1918 and has been making pizzas since 1946. 2604 E. Somerset St., Philadelphia, PA 19134.
More of an artisan gourmet style pizza, but it’s so damn good that it would have been criminal not to be included on the list. Osteria takes a thin crust Naples style pie and creates a literal masterpiece. 640 N. Broad St., Philadelphia PA 19130
4. Franzone’s Pizzeria
Kings of the sweet sauce, Franzone’s has a beautiful flaky style crust that is completely unmatched. The sauce and crust combined stand far apart from the competition and the scent alone will drive you crazy. One Franzone’s customer was so obsessed that when he moved to the Midwest for a new job, this guy paid Franzone’s to freeze the pizza and ship it out. Ya gotta respect that type of dedication. Franzone’s has two locations, one in Conshohocken and one in Bridgeport.
5. Vince’s Pizzeria
Vince’s Pizza is probably the most underrated pizza in the entire Philadelphia area. Vince’s is easily one of the best slices of pizza you will ever have period. It’s absolutely insane that we haven’t seen Vince’s on a top 10 list yet considering it makes a case to be #1. Vince’s pizza is top 5, no question. 1900 Grant Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19115
6. Pica’s Restaurant
Brick oven style square pizza with cheese on the bottom, Pica’s has been at the same location since 1956. 7803 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby, PA 19082 .
A brick oven style with pizza with slightly sweet sauce, Rustica has some of the best slices in the city. With lots of unique toppings, their all worth a try. 903 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania .
8. Stogie Joe’s
Here’s another square pie that crushes the average triangle style pizza slice. Philadelphia is making a culinary statement to the world with unbelievable square pizza pies. 1801 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
9. Mama Palma’s
Mama Palma’s maybe the best brick oven style pizza around. Try the Polena, it’s pretty crazy. 2229 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA
10. Marra’s Cucina Italiana
Since 1927, Marra’s has graced Passyunk Ave with great Italian food and has been making some of the best pizza in Philadelphia for 40 years. When crispy, Mara’s might be the best dough in the city. 1734 E. Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia, PA.
11. Lazaro’s Pizza House
Here’s another pizzeria making a masterful pie with the sweet sauce. The sweet sauce is not for everybody, but god-like to many. 1743 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146
12. From the Boot
From the Boot in Lafayette Hill is mostly known for being a very inexpensive BYOB with good family style Italian cuisine. It’s basically a 1-2 hour wait every single Friday and Saturday night. But the best food about this BYOB is their gourmet pizza. Forget waiting in line for 2 hours; just order a large Pomodoro pie for take out. The Pomodoro adds pesto, prosciutto, fresh basil and plum tomatoes, and is completely out of control. One of the most underrated pizza houses in the area. 517 Germantown Pike, Philadelphia, PA.
13. Fame’s Famous Pizza
The Fame’s Famous Pizza gets a lot of Temple students through some rough times when the only meal they can afford is a $2 slice. And what a slice it is. It’s shocking that Fame’s doesn’t more respect throughout the city so we’re putting it out there. It’s a must try! We love Fame’s so much we even made a movie about it. Seriously. 1835 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA.
14. Alex’s Pizzeria
Alex’s doesn’t sell anything else but pizza and it’s almost impossible to get a pie on a Friday night. Alex’s certainly made a name as the best pizza in Roxborough and Manayunk. Wait a minute, Santucci’s has a new location in Manayunk. This sounds like the latest neighborhood pizza challenge. Somebody call Food Wars. 400 Leverington Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Slice is just a flat out murderous slice of pizza and an authentic Italian style. There are two Slice locations, one in Rittenhouse and one in the Italian market.
The Original Root Beer: An 18th Century Root Tea Recipe Made with All Natural Herbs & Pure Can Sugar
By Matt Goldstein
Originally a Native American recipe, Root tea could date back much further than we know. However, in the 1700’s, the recipe was taught to colonial settlers. Then, the Root Tea was made with wintergreen, wild roots and herbs. As the recipe grew, the potency grew as well. When the temperance league was trying to ban alcohol, the Root Tea recipe became the recipe for non-alcoholic root beer. A Philadelphia pharmacist created root beer for the Pennsylvania coal miners and steelworkers to enjoy when they couldn’t get their hands on an alcoholic beverage. Originally a Pennsylvania folk recipe, Art in the Age produced the Root to recreate a pre-temperance alcoholic Root tea. The Root is certified organic, “Because everything back then was organic.”
The Root: Review, Taste and Flavor
Dark brown in color but not necessarily thick, the Root has a spicy wintergreen scent. The taste is dry, rich, cinnamon and spicy. With notes of wintergreen, spearmint, the Root is sweet, slightly and slightly astringent. The flavor of the sugar cane makes a solid statement and the aftertaste is spicy and tingly with subtle warmth. The Root is actually root beer esque. If you’re into wintery and spicy liquors, or even black licorice type shots such as sambuca, jagermeister and schnapps, The Root is a less thick, slightly less sweet, but more complex drink for you. It’s also the hip new thing to do so get on board. Wait a minute; once you say something is hip, it’s no longer fashionable anymore. Forget I said anything. Hey, with all those herbs and spices it must be healthy right? Drink up…
Is this Double Gold Medalist the Best Beer in the World?
By Matt Goldstein
Regarded by many as the best beer in the world, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder Double IPA certainly has made its mark in the craft world. We’ve been waiting to try this beer for a long long time. After the mini debacle and beer-less adventure at the Earth Bread and Brewery, we decided to take the show down the road to our favorite neighborhood classic craft beer joint, Mt Airy Philadelphia’s McMenamin’s. Right as we sit down the Pliny the Elder tap is looking us dead in the face. WOW! We’ve finally found it, Xanadu. Winner of two gold medals at the Great American Beer Fest, Rated #2 at Beer Advocate and #13 by Rate Beer, Pliny the Elder comes with a lot of hype.
When we put out our top 25 breweries list a few months ago, the Beer Advocate faithful berated us for not listing Russian River at #1. The problem is that in Philadelphia, most of us have never even seen Pliny the Elder, ever! (Only two of our 20 writers have actually been able to try it. Well, now its three.) I’ve been going to bars 2-3 times a week for almost 15 years and have simply never seen or heard of Pliny the Elder or it’s younger brother and triple IPA, Pliny the Younger. Clearly, it’s all relative to accessibility.
The bartender pours a 12 ounce draft in what is a mini pilsner glass. The look is a beautiful gold color and the nose has a scent of hops with citrus and spice. The taste is dry, slightly sweet and dries up towards the finish. No doubt, this is a classic IPA. The Pliny is crisp and has great bite. The hops are very well rounded and not over bearing like some IPA’s. The presence of malts are just as notable as the hops. It’s a perfectly balanced IPA. The Pliny the Elder Double IPA is flat out a world class beer, but maybe a bit over hyped. Is it the best beer in the world? Of course not! Only the Whiskey Goldmine can tell you what the best beer in the world is. We have the monopoly on culture, class, taste and amazing. Don’t ever listen to anyone else but us!
From the Russian River Web Site: Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, “Lupus salictarius”, meaning wolf among scrubs.” Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, Humulus lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.