The Best Craft Beers From Philadelphia

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Philly Beer Week happens this month, and that got us thinking: What is the best local brew out there? So to answer that question, we sampled, then we sampled some more. We argued over the best beer in each particular style and who would be the overall champ — One Beer to Rule Them All.

And then, when all that was done, we ranked the top 25 best local beers and stacked them the way your old man or the corner bar would.

So behold — the Philly Beeramid of Excellence. And drink up.

Check out the Beeramid of Excellence » 

Review: Forest & Main Isn’t Perfect But It’s Just Right

Trey Popp’s second review in the December issue of Philadelphia magazine is of Forest & Main. Popp finds that the Ambler brew pub might not be perfect but it’s just right. And the beers sound worth the trip as well.

Endicott learned brewing at the University of Sunderland, near Newcastle, and it shows in ales that derive their personality more from bacteria and wild yeasts than high alcohol. My favorites were the Lunaire, a pitch-perfect Belgian sour fermented partly in old chardonnay barrels, and the Zaftig, a dark farmhouse ale with a buxom malt bill and slight barnyard funk. At four and five percent alcohol by volume, respectively, each was a refreshing departure from our high-gravity craft-brewing zeitgeist.

 

Two Stars – Good

Restaurant Review: Forest & Main [Philadelphia magazine]
Forest & Main [Official Site]

Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Forest & Main

Sometimes a place doesn’t even have to be very good to be perfect. At Forest & Main, that feeling stole over me three times before I even sat down. First, out on the porch, where old-timers glanced up from pints of warm ale to take stock of me as I strode up from the quiet Ambler sidewalk. Then at the foot of the narrow staircase inside this old Victorian house, down which a clean-shaven 30-something descended arm-in-arm with his grandmother at the end of a five o’clock date. And it sunk in for good in the barroom, which is barely wide enough for a game of darts.

Five taps sprouted above a hammered-copper panel, and three cask pumps rose from a wood-slab bar fronted by six stools saddled in black leather. I slid into one. Soon a tawny foam was settling into a cellar-temp IPA, steam was rising from a soothing squash and apple soup, and a perfume of rosemary and orange zest wafted from a tin pail of popcorn (intermingling with the scent of bacon from my neighbor’s somewhat greasier pail).

I could just as well have walked in from a ramble in Oxfordshire. I wished it had been raining. I would have gladly left my boots by the door.

Daniel Endicott and Gerard Olson didn’t start out looking for a place this cozy. They only stumbled across it after checking out an 11,000-square-foot warehouse next door—and after striking out in Center City. But Goldilocks couldn’t have dialed up a better setting for the European-style session beers they brew here. A warehouse would plainly have been too big. In Philadelphia, the crowds would have been too n­arrow—our beer geeks don’t bring Grammy to supper. But this old house is just right.

Endicott learned brewing at the University of Sunderland, near Newcastle, and it shows in ales that derive their personality more from bacteria and wild yeasts than high alcohol. My favorites were the Lunaire, a pitch-perfect Belgian sour fermented partly in old chardonnay barrels, and the Zaftig, a dark farmhouse ale with a buxom malt bill and slight barnyard funk. At four and five percent alcohol by volume, respectively, each was a refreshing departure from our high-gravity craft-brewing zeitgeist.

After her nifty popcorns and that well-
balanced soup, I often found chef Kaylin Miska’s dinner plates one detail short. I wished, for example, that the fries hadn’t wilted beneath her good beer-battered cod, that she’d used the butter drenching her pierogies to crisp them instead, and that the kale had been longer on greens than over-rich braising liquid. The burger was a whale—with an honestly great tomato—but then, for $15, it’d better be.

But no matter. I was charmed. Because sometimes, a brewpub doesn’t need to be flawless to be just right.

LaBan Gives Forest & Main Two Bells

Craig LaBan reviews Forest & Main Brewing Co., the Best of Philly winner for Best Brewpub, and finds the atypical brewpub is a step-up from the norm.

The fish and chips are especially notable, hand-battered in Palomino beer batter that is light and crisp, with fresh chunks of cod inside, and tartar sauce made with capers and cornichons. The rich cup of creamy corn soup touched with coriander and citrus was a hearty evocation of summer.

Two Bells – Very Good

Forest & Main Reviewed [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Forest & Main [Official Site]

Forest & Main Brew Pub in Ambler

Photo via The Brew Lounge

The long awaited Forest & Main Brewing Co. in Ambler officially opens this Friday but the brew pub has been softly opened this week. Located at the corner of Forest and Main, the pub is situated in a 1880s Victorian that has taken more than a year to restore. Downstairs is a bar and some tables. Upstairs features additional seating. And we just think it looks great, adorable even. The large front porch has us dying to sit down in a rocking chair and to enjoy a beer, or three.

Owners Daniel Endicott and Gerard Olson are brewing English session ales and Belgian farmhouse style beers. The menu is beer friendly with items like bacon popcorn, fish and chips and  mussels.

If you’re city-bound, sample Forest and Main Kinch IPA at Kennett.

More On Forest & Main »

Quick Bites

Bryan Sikora is heading back to Philadelphia. He’ll be the chef at David Fields’ 18th Street restaurant. [The Insider]

Manayunk’s Main Street Market is already expanding, it’ll be taking over the recently closed Saxby’s Coffee. [News Works]

Meal Ticket has the menus for East Passyunk’s Plenty, opening in February. [Meal Ticket]

The area is getting another brew pub as Forest and Main Brewing Co. is aiming for a Spring opening in Ambler. [Beer Lass]

Dolce and Paradigm have been sold to Rob LaScala (LaScala’s at 7th and Chestnut). Dolce will continue on with a new menu and Paradigm will close by the summer for a new concept. [The Insider]

The former Bocelli in Chestnut Hill is now Stella Sera. [The Insider]

South Philadelphia’s Los Jalapenos is closing but its sister restaurant Tres Jalapenos will continue at 8th and Christian. [The Feast]

The 401 Diner in Conshohocken has closed. [The Insider]