Beer Day: My Trip To The Captain Lawrence Brewery To Make A Beer For Philly


What do you get when you put 50 of the city’s top bar and restaurant owners and managers, plus a few journalists (including me), on a bus and ship them up to a New York brewery for a day? Some industry talk, some goofing around and some beer drinking. Actually, lots and lots of beer drinking.

Such was the scene on Tuesday when the Muller distributor hosted a trip to Captain Lawrence Brewing in Westchester County to collaborate on a Philly-only release that hits the market in January. The beer, which doesn’t have a name yet, will be a low-alcohol, dry-hopped saison – an unusual experiment that results from asking 50 opinionated beer experts to independently identify a preference for color, strength, hop presence, yeast strain and whether or not to dry hop–a process that gives beer a distinct hoppy aroma. Captain Lawrence brewers tallied the answers and formulated a recipe for the medium-bodied brew, which will get delivered in a limited number of kegs to the bars that participated in the collab.

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High Street Grill Turns Out The Lights

highstreetgrillHigh Street Grill, the bar/restaurant that’s brought serious craft beer and celebrated pairing dinners to Mt. Holly’s worn main street for the past ten years, is closing tonight. Co-owner Nancy McDevitt, whose husband and business partner, John, served as chef until the couple moved to Central California two years ago, posted the news on the eatery’s Facebook page on Monday.

Since leaving for wine and kitchen careers on the left coast, the McDevitts have tried to manage the restaurant from afar. But they’ve been unable to keep a manager and general staff turnover has been high. Additionally, the food quality suffered without direct leadership from the academically trained chef.

John flew back to his native New Jersey last week after his latest manager quit; shortly after, his wife posted the emotional announcement: “We thank each of you for your support over the years. The memories are countless. Many of you have been there through good times, and some have shared those times when things got rough. It hasn’t always been easy in the previous year’s economy. Freakish hot weather, thigh-high snowstorms, loss of power, loss of POS systems. We’ve seen it all. And you were there every step of the way.”

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Tomorrow: Philadelphia History Museum’s City Social

PHMlogoSince emerging from a top-to-bottom renovation a few years ago, the Philadelphia History Museum has come a long way toward engaging residents and asserting itself as a relevant cultural entity for the city. And tomorrow, from 5:30-8:30, staff will don dressy attire to stage the first fundraiser in the museum’s 73-year-history–the City Social. Like any good Philadelphia fundraiser, this one emphasizes food.

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Alex Goes To Jimmy’s House: The Big Night


Circles chef Alex Boonphaya and his wife are tired. They’ve slept less than 90 minutes and they’ve just finished serving 70 diners out of a kitchen that’s not their own. But their first dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan seems to have gone well and now they desperately need a drink … or a bed.

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Alex Goes To Jimmy’s House: Tagging Along On A Midnight Shopping Trip For A James Beard Dinner

AlexShoppingThe Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market is a lonely place at midnight. And that’s just how Circles Thai chef/owner Alex Boonphaya likes it. The refrigerated temperature doesn’t phase him despite his short-sleeved t-shirt, and on this past Wednesday morning, he quietly looks over boxes full of colorful fruits and vegetables imported from around the world–trying to decide which will make the cut for his dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan tonight.

To call Boonphaya unassuming is to speak a significant understatement. Though he continues to win “Best of Philly” awards and survived a year-long application process to cook at the famed Beard House, his manner is shy and his ego is most assuredly in check. As he ambles through the Essington Avenue warehouse, glancing frequently at a notebook where he’s written a meticulous shopping list, he thanks product runners graciously, simply answers “yes” to a cashier who asks if he’s a chef, and orders a humble tuna sandwich to go for dinner from the on-site diner.

“Chefs don’t eat very glamorously,” he says softly to a member of the three-person entourage who’s accompanied him on this evening’s errand.

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Alex Goes To Jimmy’s House: Circles Hosting A Pre-James Beard Dinner

free dinner circles

For those who can’t make it to chef Alex Boonphaya’s James Beard House dinner next Thursday, August 14, the owner of the growing mini-chain of Circles Thai restaurants (and perennial Best of Philly winner) will host a preview at his Northern Liberties location tomorrow at 6pm.  For $50 you can BYOB for six courses plus a pre-dinner sparkling wine (included) and hors d’oeuvre reception that spans the breadth of Thai cuisine.

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Beer Camp Across America Is Headed For Philly


Billed as the biggest celebration of craft beer in history, Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America is bringing its sudsy traveling circus to Penn Treaty Park on Saturday from noon to 5pm. To celebrate the opening of his first east coast brewery, Sierra founder Ken Grossman has invited all 2,700 U.S. craft breweries to participate in a cross-country beer festival that makes one of just seven stops in Philly.

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SJ Hot Chefs Using Child Labor For Farm-To-Fork Week


By now, we’ve all done the restaurant week thing somewhere. And though it’s a creative and community-building concept, some of us have gotten over it. So it’s refreshing to see a new take on a what’s now an old idea.

Enter SJ Hot Chefs Farm to Fork week July 20-26. Yes, 45 South Jersey restaurants will offer discounted prix-fixe meals for $25 or $35. Yes, chef/owners and their PR people will brag about how fresh and local their produce is–which truth be told, is a foundational mission of the Hot Chefs consortium anyway. But this year, the public won’t just get to see and taste the freshness, they’ll get to be a driving force behind it.

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Forgotten Boardwalk Is Throwing A Party


Forgotten Boardwalk – the old-fashioned arcade-themed brewery that’s taking over the old Flying Fish space in Cherry Hill – is still waiting for the state to give it the green light to start producing beer. But co-owners Jamie Queli and Seth Dolled are tired of sitting around and want to throw a party NOW. So tomorrow, they’re hosting their first public event. Although there won’t be beer, there will be charity and games.

From 5-8 pm, they’re asking people to stop by for a little camaraderie and fun with food trucks while contributing to a canned food drive to benefit the Food Bank of Southern New Jersey. Head brewer David Bronstein has brewed a non-alcoholic lemonade for the occasion, with proceeds going to Sustainable New Jersey. And because the company’s logo is a feral cat, attendees are also encouraged to bring canned cat food for the Animal Adoption Center, a no-kill shelter in Lindenwald. If you plan to bring human food, the biggest need is for non-perishables like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, tuna, breakfast cereal, canned vegetables, canned fruit and pasta.

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Broken Goblet Opens In Bristol


You may remember a post I wrote a few months ago about Broken Goblet–a brewery that was getting ready to open in Bristol. More to the point, you may remember commenting on it, as several of you did. Well here’s hoping that you all show as much support for them in person as you did in the comments section because Broken Goblet is launching to the public with a party July 12. And though I haven’t met them personally, they do seem like a nice bunch of guys.

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