A Sneak Peek At St. Benjamin Brewing (Comes With History Lesson)

stbenjaminbrewingIf you live at the intersection between history buff and beer geek, this upcoming event hosted by the Philadelphia chapter of The Society of Architectural Historians will hit you right in your sweet spot. On Thursday, March 27, the chapter will be meeting at the not-quite-open-yet Saint Benjamin Brewing in Kensington to hear beer historian Rich Wagner talk about the famed 19th century brewery architect Otto Wolf, who designed the St. Benjamin’s brewhouse as a stable for the Finkenauer brewery in 1895.

Wolf was a Philly native and Penn grad who made a national name for himself designing industrial buildings and well-known breweries like Schmidt’s. The rest of the Finkenauer site was demolished in the ‘50s, but in 2012 brewer Tim Patton bought the stable for his 3-barrel nano, which he hopes to open later this year. In the meantime, the 6 p.m. event will be a good time to get a sneak peek at his space and a sneak sip of his Foul Weather Jack English Mild.

Tickets are $20 for non-society members, and space is limited. RSVP to ffaphila@hotmail.com.

This Weekend: 5th Anniversary Party At The Pour House


It’s party time this Sunday at The Pour House–the Haddon Township bar that (arguabl)y boasts South Jersey’s strongest craft-beer draught program. The Pour House (which is owned by the company that gave us the P.J. Whelihan’s chain), celebrates its fifth anniversary, starting at noon and running until the last person leaves.

On tap for Sunday are a special roster of brews, from Terrapin Cinnamon Rolled Wake-n-Bake to one of only four pins of Carton Swisher in the state, to Allagash Four aged in bourbon barrels with 500 lbs. of strawberries. Or, ya know, if you don’t like beer, you can always come and buy a $10 anniversary t-shirt and say you were there.

The Pour House [f8b8z]

Unlimited Beer Dinner At Pronto Bistro

prontologoPronto Bistro in Thorndale has just upgraded its tap system, and to celebrate the new focus on craft beer, owners are hosting their first beer dinner this Wednesday. They’ve chosen to go with Victory, as it’s a local brewery, and they’ll be offering … wait for it … unlimited beer. Chef Franco Alvisi has prepared a menu where each of the four courses is paired (and prepared with) a different Victory brew, and a brewery rep will be on hand to talk about it all.

In the crowded field of beer dinners, this one stands out for one big reason (apart from the unlimited samples): Italian food. Pronto is a family-owned Italian restaurant that serves specialties from the homeland made with ingredients mostly free of chemicals and GMO’s.

Tickets sell for $55. Contact the restaurant for details. And check out chef Alvisi’s menu after the jump.

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Going Native At The Penn Museum’s Cafe


Have you ever eaten at – or even seen — a restaurant specializing in Native American foods in the Philly area? No, I haven’t either, and I have to admit that until this moment, it never occurred to me to miss it. But from now until April 6, the Penn Museum is running Native American lunch specials in its Pepper Mill Café to coincide with its temporary exhibition, Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now.

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Women Brew Here

pinkbootsShameless self-promotion alert: I’m about to preview my own event. But I assure you, blurred lines of journalism aside, it’s worth writing about.

Tomorrow, beer-loving women across the planet will get together at breweries and homebrew shops to participate in the world’s first collaborative brew day for ladies. In honor of International Women’s Day, brewsters (as brewers of the fairer sex are called) and their friends will spend the day brewing their take on the same recipe – a 4% ABV session beer named Unite Pale Ale.

Here in Philly, Beer for Babes, my New Jersey-based craft beer appreciation group for women, is hosting a brew that’s open to all women from 1-3 pm at Nodding Head. Meredith Rebar, who runs Home Brewed Events, is donating her time to lead the brew and instruct the newbies, while Nancy Rigberg, owner of Home Sweet Homebrew, is donating supplies. Proceeds will go to fund scholarships for female brewers, and participants get to pick up a 22—ounce bottle when it’s finished.

Some brewsters in England dreamed up the idea, which is being organized by the Pink Boots Society, the only global organization for women in the beer industry. So far, 60 breweries in the continental U.S., Alaska, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Israel are signed up to take part.

For those who’d like to join in at Nodding Head, tickets can be bought here for $10.

Finally, A Wine For Serious Hopheads


In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind commercial endeavor, a South Jersey winery is selling wine aged on hops normally used for brewing beer. As of last week, Valenzano Winery in Burlington County has released the first of what may end up being a series of hopped Chardonnays, which are available for around $15 a bottle at South Jersey liquor stores like the Joe Canal’s chain and WineWorks in Medford.

Winemaker/homebrewer Michael Jones says as a hophead who works at a winery owned by a beer geek, the idea emerged–as ideas so often do–over pints.

“We were drinking some really good IPAs and we thought, ‘Why don’t we try putting hops in the wine?’” he recounts.

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Rinn Duin Brewing Opens Today In New Jersey


I have to admit, I cringed when Jacqui Town told me at our first meeting, at the Craft Brewers Conference in D.C. last winter, that everything was running right on schedule at the brewery she was establishing with her dad, Chip. With no prior brewery experience for either of them, I wondered if the Tom’s River, NJ, father-daughter team realized that breweries and restaurants never open on time. Never. So it was with little surprise but absolutely no pleasure that I heard shortly thereafter that the Towns had hit a huge snag. Huge. They had to rename their brewery.

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Tonight: Marnie Old Book Release At Vintage Wine Bar (With Booze)

TastingCourseAnyone who’s ever listened to Marnie Old speak on beer, food pairings, marketing, Canada, or anything really, knows she full-on knows her shit. But it’s when the Philly-based sommelier talks wine that people (and the related multi-national corporations and associations that she addresses and advises) truly stop mid-sip to hear her.

And now people who like wine but can’t quite seem to grasp all the appellations … and the labels … and the vintages … and the…sigh, well, you know … everything else, can take advantage of her copious knowledge without shelling out thousands of bucks to hire her as a personal consultant. For the price of a $25 book, the educator who came up the wine ranks as the som at Striped Bass and the director of wine studies at Manhattan’s French Culinary Institute will tell everything she knows.

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Tortilla Press Cantina’s Farmer Appreciation Dinner


Collingswood restaurant stalwart, chef Mark Smith of the Tortilla Press and Tortilla Press Cantina (in Pennsauken), is renowned in South Jersey for his long-time commitment to local farmers. Tomorrow, he’s thanking his farmer-suppliers and saying goodbye to the year’s harvest with what he’s calling “WHAT JUST MIGHT BE YOUR BEST DINNER OF THE YEAR!” (caps his).

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Boardwalk Rodeo (And BBQ Competition) Hitting A.C. This Weekend


BBQ has become such a THING, hasn’t it? Not that there’s anything wrong with it. I mean, who doesn’t love meat slathered in spicy sweet sauce? Other than vegetarians, that is, who are in the news today with this juicy little scrap on Philly.com.

So enthralled have Americans become with ‘Q that the people who bring you the DO AC campaign are throwing their first BBQ hoe-down this weekend as part of the third annual Boardwalk Rodeo because, to my slight chagrin, the redneck country lifestyle is also accumulating quite a following.

So tomorrow and Sunday, from noon to 7pm, 80 pitmasters from around the country will compete for prizes worth $50,000 – the largest cash prize for an East Coast BBQ competition. It’ll be held in a parking lot at Pacific and Delaware Avenues near Showboat, and it costs $5 to get in, unless you’re under 12 or have a ticket from the rodeo.

As for said rodeo, that happens at Boardwalk Hall Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 1pm. That oughta be a hoot. It’s the biggest rodeo competition on the East Coast and it includes events like bareback riding, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling, and bull riding. Cowgirls are competing in this, too, so if you’re looking to rustle yourself up a little cutie, you know where to find ‘em this weekend.


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