Ask April September 2006

Q. I’m looking to learn more about local beers. Any suggestions? — Gary

April says: The Philadelphia area has some great breweries, and never gets enough credit for it. If you want to stay in the city boundaries and have the brew-only experience, take a tour of Yard’s Brewery (2439 Amber Street; 215-634-2600) on Saturdays and stay for some samples. For some local beer and food to match, head over to Center City’s Nodding Head Brewery (1516 Sansom Street; 215-569-9525) where six options of suds will wash down standard pub fare. Don’t fret if you find yourself in the ’burbs, because they are brewing up great stuff as well. Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown (420 Acorn Lane; 610-873-0881) has an impressive operation with food as well, and any one of the six area Iron Hill Brewery locations have large menus and beers to match. If you’re feeling adventurous, head down to Delaware to Dogfish Head (320 Rehoboth Avenue, Rehoboth Beach; 302-226-2739) — their seaside location has food service with the same award-winning beer.

Q. Are there any restaurants in the city that feature organic or vegetarian specialties? — Bev Elwell

April says: New restaurant Horizons in Bella Vista is a popular spot among both city’s strict vegetarians and its adventurous foodies. Within the no-animal-products strictures of a vegan kitchen, chef Rich Landau creates colorful dishes like grass-green edamame hummus, black peppercorn-topped portabella carpaccio and hearts of palm paella.

If you are dining with both veg-heads and meat-and-potato types, try the vegetarian friendly Caribbean cuisine at Azure in Northern Liberties and Southern-influenced Next BYOB on South Street, which offers a vegetarian prix fixe in addition to hearty meat dishes.

Read more Ask April columns: August, July, June.