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Made on America Street is Ribbed for Everyone’s Pleasure

29 September 2014

IMG_0224.JPGWhen it comes to food and beer, our favorite events involve both quality and quantity. That’s why we get excited every year for the Philly Homebrew Club’s Made on America Street – now in its 8th year – both for its abundance of great beers from the club and excellent ribs from the annual rib competition. And if that’s not enough for you, there will also be a mac and cheese competition and a selection of side dishes as well.

The event will close down American Street outside of the Philly Homebrew Outlet (1447 N. American) from 1 – 5p.m. on Sunday, October 19. During this time, guests will be afforded all-you-can-eat ribs and mac as well as all-you-can-drink autumn homebrews in a souvenir Philly HBC mug. How much will this four hours of autumnal excess cost you? A mere $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Or, if you choose not to accept the souvenir glass, tickets are only $25 in advance and $30 at the door. But you should get the glass, as this portion of the profits goes to the Homebrew Club and helps fund awesome events like this and their annual chili cook-off.

Now, this sounds great, but what about your kids? Bring them along—this event function as any block party would, with live music, games, and even a bouncy castle for the kids. And to top it all off, children under 12 eat and drink (non-alcoholic beverages) for free.

With all this and the gorgeous October weather, the event sounds pretty perfect. But wait—don’t your friends always comment on how awesome your BBQ sauce is? Or how great your dry rub tastes? Because there is still time to enter the rib competition, and prizes are excellent. For a $200 team fee, you will get four passes into the event as well as approximately 15 racks of pork ribs provided to your team the morning of the event. After that, it’s up to you to work your magic where you can win up to $2,400. 1st place for the rib competition will net you $1,600, first place for mac and cheese will get you $400, and peoples’ choice will get your $400 as well. Full details, entry forms, and prize breakdowns can be found at the PhillyHBC website.

Made on American Street was a great time last year and promises to be once again—the homebrew club knows how to throw a party. Be sure to get your tickets (online at PhillyHBC.com) and rest easy knowing that the proceeds from the event are going to Philabundance and several local children’s charities and schools. Get your grills fired up and your stomachs ready for the ultimate farewell to summer and hello to fall, and I hope to see you there.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @insearchofbeer and on Facebook at Facebook.com/insearchofbeer, as we’ll be having a contest to give away two tickets to Made on American Street!

Brooklyn Brewery Mash Returns to Philly

23 September 2014

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Philadelphia has long been known for a certain week-long string of events with a beery focus, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that Brooklyn’s 10-city US tour (and two-city European tour) should stop here. The week-long festival, dubbed The Brooklyn Brewery Mash, will be in Philly from Saturday, September 27 through Saturday, October 4, and will celebrate “what’s next” in food, film, comedy, music, books and beer.

Select event partners from Brooklyn and Philadelphia, in conjunction with Slow Food USA, will combine to create one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences for the local community in the form of food and beer pairings, a film festival, comedy shows, educational talks throughout the week. While some of the events are pay-as-you-go, tickets can be purchased for the ticketed events at BrooklynBreweryMash.com.

The event we are looking forward to most is Dinner on the Farm with Chef Mitch Prensky (Supper) and Chef Andrew Gerson (Brooklyn Brewery). For $55, guests will arrive at Green Meadows farm at 3pm on Sunday, September 28, where there will be a farm tour, games, and events, capped off with a family-style feast prepared by the two chefs—plus plenty of beer, of course. The full list of activities and food is on the Mash website, and it looks like a real winner. Get your tickets before they sell out!

Other highlights will be a Joe Sixpack-moderated talk with Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy as well as Tom Kehoe (Yards), Daniel Endicott (Forest & Main), and Erin Wallace (Barren Hill/Devil’s Den). They’ll be discussing the current state of beer as well as what lies ahead for only $6 on Monday, September 29 at 6pm at Yards. We’re also looking forward to a Beer & Italian cheese pairing with Emilio Mignucci (DiBruno Bros) at Vetri on Tuesday at 5pm and a pop-up Slow Supper with Dinner Lab at 7pm on Friday, October 3 (tickets are $60), which will feature seasonal fare paired with familiar and rare Brooklyn beer—all at a surprise location. Finally, don’t miss out on Mash EDU: Homebrewer Edition for $6 held by our friends at Philadelphia Homebrew Outlet.

A full list of events can be found at BrooklynBreweryMash.com, where you can also purchase tickets to applicable events. If you’re a little short on cash, be sure to stop by the Mash beer brunch at Industry Bar on Sunday, Sept 28 starting at 11am, as one lucky diner will win a weeklong pass to all the events. Check the website, pick some events, and we hope to see you out and about. All of the events sound like fun, and some sound downright required for any beer- or food-lover worth their salt.

Keep up with the week on the website, or by following the #PhillyMash hashtag on Twitter. Let us know in the comments which events you plan to attend, and which Brooklyn beer is your favorite. See you out there!

5th Annual Feastival Comes to Penn’s Landing on Thursday

15 September 2014

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The number of great chefs, restaurants, and food trucks in Philadelphia seems to grow by the day. It can be daunting trying to catch up with all of them, planning visits and nights out and trying to make sure you are able to see what all the fuss is about in one place while still making time (and having the funds) to revisit old favorites.

Here, we see the benefit of an event like Audi Feastival this Thursday, September 18: for a single fee, event-goers can taste their way through over 75 of the best chefs and fooderies in the city. In addition, Feastival boasts performances by critically-acclaimed artists from FringeArts, who the proceeds from the event will benefit. There will also be silent and live auctions—both with some pretty heady offerings. An event ticket will cost $250 to experience the night from 7pm – 10pm at Penn’s Landing, or serious attendees can splurge on the $350 VIP ticket, which will get them in an hour early and allow access to the Audi VIP lounge.

The participants for the night read like a who’s-who of the Philadelphia dining scene, including (but certainly not limited to) offerings from All Spina, American Sardine Bar, Bar Volver, Bibou, Charlie was a sinner., CoZara, DiBruno Bros., Ela, Fork, Lacroix, Laurel, Le Virtu, Mamou, Matyson, Morimoto, Noord, Parc, Percy Street BBQ, Russet, Sbraga, Society Hill Society, Tavro 13, Vernalicious, Vernick, Will, Zahav, and Zama (a full list can be found at phillyfeastival.com). It’s no surprise the event will have such a great selection of food, as the hosts of the night are Stephen Starr, Mike Solomonov, and Audrey Claire Taichman.

If you would like to contribute more than just an appetite to the event, there will be plenty of auction items (both live and silent) for your enjoyment. Some of the highlights include two ultimate dinner parties, in which six chefs come to your house and cook for your 10 closest friends (one includes Jon Cichon of Lacroix, Jason Cichonski of Ela, Nick Elmi of Laurel, Terence Feury of Tavro 13, Chris Kearse of Will, and Natalie Maronski of Volver; the other features Joncarl Lachman of Noord, George Sabatino of Aldine, Mike Solomonov of Zahav, Greg Vernick or Vernick, Andrew Wood of Russet, and Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette). Other silent auction items include a day of surfing and dinner at the shore with Mike Solomonov, a night at COOK for 16 people, an ultimate sports package, and plenty of other enticing items (which can be found here).

So whether you want to help out FringeArts or just help your tastebuds, Feastival is not worth missing. The weather Thursday evening looks to be perfect, so bring some friends and join Philly’s top chefs and artists as they celebrate the local food and art culture. Tickets are still available online at phillyfeastival.com, and you can follow the event on Twitter at @PhillyFEASTIVAL.

First Look: Abe Fisher

1 September 2014

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It has been painfully apparent that, thus far, Mike Solomonov and Steven Cook have been able to do no wrong. And while Philadelphia would have had no complaints had they stuck with their revered flagship Zahav, South Street BBQ haven Percy Street, or budding donut and fried chicken empire Federal Donuts, the two just had to keep going. They just had to bring Solo’s Jewish-influenced small plates (overseen by Zahav alumn Yehuda Sichel) where they’re even more accessible, and they just had to put the quasi-deli right next to a Dizengoff, which serves Zahav’s uber-creamy, perfect hummus exclusively.

The food at Abe Fisher is offered in three categories: vegetables ($10), fish ($12), and meat ($14), all of which can be combined into a $39 prix fixe that will get you one item from each category as well as a dessert. And while likening it to a deli may be putting too simple a spin on things, all the signs are there, from the kasha varnishkes to the salmon belly gravlax , stuffed trout gefilte fish, and corned pork belly.

If anything will make you wish you were at a deli, though, it would be that pork belly. Seared to give it a slightly crisp outside, the thinly-sliced pork is lightly corned and served with challah pretzel bites, emmental, manishewitz mustard, and pickled watermelon radishes. Altogether, it serves as an impressive deconstruction of a pastrami sandwich, but one some level we were wishing for the ability to order deli-style, with the thin cuts of meat piled high and slathered with the mustard, despite the fact that it would probably cost $40.

salmonbellyAnother standout, this from the fish section, was the salmon belly gravlax. Still in the small cast-iron tray, the dish is a crispy-around-the-edges layer of smoked salmon hash with peppadews and capers, with strips of salmon belly laid atop. Without being too much on any front, the dish is smoky, salty, fishy (in a great way), and fatty—hitting pretty much every primal desire we have.

Smoke also seems to be the name of the game with the current lineup of cocktails from manager and CookNSolo drinks guru Brian Kane. The standout is the Bonfire, which features Siembra Azul Blanco tequila, Sombra Mezcal, and a Laphroaig rinse with yellow chartreuse and honey to balance it out. Our second drink choice would be the sweet and smoky Blood and Smoke, make with Laphroiag, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, cherry heering and sour cherry.  Also not to be missed is the namesake Abe Fisher Cocktail, reminiscent of a martini that replaces the olive juice with pickle juice—a surprisingly satisfying combination.

The beer and wine lists are also above-average, touching on a little bit of everything.  The beer mixes local, approachable, and a little bit of out-of-the-ordinary with Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene and Brasserie Dupont’s Moinette.

The official opening of Abe Fisher is tomorrow (September 2), and there are still reservations open.  If you can’t get into Zahav, this is a perfect second-choice—and even if you can get in to Zahav, this is still a must-try in the city.  Swing by the sister establishment (and neighbor) Dizengoff beforehand for a hummus appetizer for the perfect one-two punch of Mike Solomonov goodness, and there is no way you can go wrong.

If you enjoyed this, help us out by contributing to our Kickstarter!  You can donate as little as $1 and every little bit helps.

Photos are courtesy of uwishunu.com.

Please Excuse the Dust

12 August 2014

It’s not hard to get a little beer’d out after Beer Week. Hell, this year I was starting to get a little beer-weary after the first weekend. Between that, growing commitments with the day job, and the desire to run more (which means getting into better shape, which means dialing back the beer consumption), it seemed like as good a time as any to take a little hiatus.

Two months later (and I didn’t realize it had stretched to two months), we’re ready to get back in the saddle. This time, however, we’re going to try to both open up and streamline our content. Anyone following the site has noticed less of an emphasis on beer and more of an all-encompassing attitude towards food, beer, and spirits—we hope to develop this further as we go on. We will still focus primarily on beer, but hopefully we can touch on our other loves of food, cocktails, whiskey, and whatever else fits reasonably with our favorite activities of eating and drinking.

We would also like to try to attract more writers. We’ve got a few leads, but the general idea is to try to monetize the website at least a little bit so we can offer some kind of compensation to people who would like to take the time to write something for us. Otherwise, if you would like to write something, please send it in. All we can offer now is the occasional press pass to an event around the city, but hopefully we’ll be able to work on that as we gather steam.

Those are our two main goals going forward: more writers, in order to avoid burnout, and more content for everyone. We’ve got a few other ideas to roll out as the time comes, but for now we just wanted to let you know that we’re still around, still wanting to write, and we’ll be back soon. Thank you for your continued support, and we’ll be having a beer with you before you know it.

Cheers,
Ryan

Glorious Gluttony Greets Great Sandwiches

29 May 2014

20140529-141803-51483409.jpgMy first thought when learning about Meal Ticket’s inaugural Great Sandwiches Event last night was disappointment over the length of time, 6-9pm. Everyone knows any event worth its salt is four hours long, or at least offers a fourth VIP hour. It was then disappointing, on a personal level, when 38 minutes later I had to take a seat because I’d eaten so many sandwiches I could hardly move.

That didn’t take long.

This is how I came to the conclusion that the Great Sandwiches Event, in the very best way, must be what hell would be like: all these amazing sandwiches in front of me—and there were quite a few—and I couldn’t bring myself to take another bite. Although apparently tempeh isn’t nearly as filling as the myriad meat products that were on display, because I was somehow able to eat four of the Jamaican tempeh tacos with scotch bonnet slaw and peanut sauce that the future V Street (coming in the fall from Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby of Vedge)—my clear favorite of the night.

20140529-141803-51483486.jpgThere were plenty favorites to choose from, as well. It seemed every open space inside Union Transfer was packed with sandwich-makers, and if not sandwich-makers, then people serving beer, cocktails, liquor, or wine. This helped to spread out the attendees (after the initial rush), so none of it seemed too packed at any point in the night. A positive situation, because some of these sandwiches required quite a bit of attention.

Take, for instance, the corned beef special from the folks at Schlesinger’s, which was dripping with slaw, or the massive portions or pulled pork Fat Jack’s BBQ (Peoples’ Choice Winner) was serving up. Hot Diggity’s Israeli dog also dripped with delicious fillings. Some other standouts were Pub and Kitchen’s rabbit meatball slider, Soup Kitchen Café’s meatball sandwich (with bacon), and Marabella Meatball Co.’s perfectly fluffy meatball sandwich.

There were a few misses, of course. Avenue Deli’s pastrami chicken sandwich sounded great but suffered from a way-too-high bread-to-ingredient ratio, and the shrimp sandwich from Luke’s Lobster was unremarkable as well as odd in that the bread was hot, but the shrimp were cold. I’m not sure if that’s how they’re supposed to be served, but if it is, it shouldn’t be. Tucked in the corner by the stage were also some Philly regulars that didn’t need much tending—Shank’s chicken cutlet sandwich, Joe’s Steaks serving a cheesesteak, and Primo Hoagies with a party tray.

20140529-142526-51926100.jpgThe Chopped-style sandwich faceoff between Eli Kulp (who went on to win), Scott Schroeder, and Brad Spence was fun to watch, but the sightlines of Union Transfer made it almost impossible to see what was going on—you could either see onto the stage from too-far away, or you could get close to the stage and not see the cooking. Luckily, Dan from TJ Kong made the perfect narrator—part Alton Brown, part Hunter Thompson.

All in all, the $35 price tag for the event was an absolute steal. I don’t know anywhere in the city I could go to get drinks and eat 25 different sandwiches for that price—and then take a break and go back at it. I’m excited that this is the inaugural version of the event, meaning there will be more to come. Maybe, if I don’t eat lunch the day of the event next year, I’ll be able to make it to the 45 minute mark without throwing in the towel.

Philly Beer Week: 10 Days, 10 Events (Part 2)

29 May 2014

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Ten days is a long time, and you’re not sure if your liver—or your wallet—can sustain going full blast for the entirety of Beer Week. Don’t worry, we get it. That’s why we’re here with our single favorite event each day, to help you pace yourself and not miss any of the excitement of the best 10 days in the city.

If you missed it, check out Part 1 here. Then, check out Part 2:

Wednesday, June 4
Dunkel Dare
| Frankford Hall | 7:00pm – 9:00pm | PAYG

For its third year in a row, Dunkel Dare will take over Frankford Hall’s outdoor area in Philly Beer Week’s version of everyone’s favorite childhood game show, Double Dare. What’s even better is that Marc Summers will be there to host it, bringing your adult love of beer and your childhood desire to be on Double Dare crashing together. Watch as contestants help their favorite breweries get a year-long spot on the taps at Frankford Hall.

Thursday, June 5
All Day Pig Roast
| Varga Bar | 2:00pm – 11:00pm | PAYG

Varga will be roasting suckling pigs outside all day, with pork platters available with sides. If the one we went to two years ago was any indication, this is going to be some of the best food you’ll be getting during beer week, so don’t miss out. If you plan it right, you can swing by for lunch and then again for dinner. Take the opportunity to chat with the staff as they turn the spit outside, as well.

Friday, June 6
Gose Gone Wild
| Brauhaus Schmitz | 5:00pm – 2:00am | PAYG

Celebrate the beginning of summer with the light, refreshing, and delightfully sour/salty style of German beer known as Gose. Brauhaus will be featuring a range of goses, including Ritterguts, Freigeist Geisterzug, Abraxxas, Leipziger, Leiziger Pineus (laudered through dry pine needles), and Leipziger Gewuerz (brewed with orange peel, cardamom, and nutmeg), as well as several other German sours. These beers are all low ABV, so it’ll be a great rest day for your liver. Pair them with any of the great dishes at Brauhaus and you’ll have yourself a perfect Friday night.

Saturday, June 7
Hotdog & Homebrew Extravaganza
| Memphis Taproom | 12:00pm – 4:00pm | $35

Hopefully you got your ticket, because the best homebrew event of the week is surely going to be sold out. For the low price of $35, you get unlimited homebrew from some of the area’s best amateur brewers, as well as unlimited hotdogs from Memphis’s amazing hotdog cart. This is our first year not brewing for the event, but we’ll still be there to support the hard-working homebrewers and to eat our weight in gourmet dogs. A favorite event of ours every year!

Sunday, June 8
TTUD
| Fergie’s Pub | 7:00pm – ? | PAYG

“That Totally Unnecessary Drink” has become the traditional way to close out Philly Beer Week with one last glass of beer—or many last glasses of beer. Beers will be from Allagash and Yards, and there will be live band karaoke, so you can pretend you’re a real rock star. Have a few beers to get up your courage to sing, or use your stage performance to sweat out a week’s worth of beer. Either way, see the week out in the right way and pay your respects to another successful Philly Beer Week.

BONUS:
Late Night with Joe Gunn
| Jose Pistola’s | June 3 – 5, 11:30pm – 2:00am | PAYG

One of Philly Beer Week’s favorite events, join Joe Gunn as he hosts his very own late night variety show at Jose Pistola’s for three nights only during Philly Beer Week. If you’ve seen it before, or if you know anything about Joe, you know it’s going to be a great time. There will be plenty of special guests to take part in the “part variety show, part circus” that is Late Night. Do yourself a favor and go at least one night during the week.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Lyford.

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