The Special Lady Friend and I were able to tromp around the City of Brotherly Love over the weekend and I’m happy to report that it was awesome.
A handful of the nation’s 100 best beer bars (by various lists) are within walking distance of each other in Philadelphia, and after visiting the nerdly historical courthouse and Liberty Bell sites, we headed off on a drinking adventure. We started at Mac’s Tavern. Not because it is a highly ranked drinking establishment, but because it was close and we were still a few hours from our dinner appointment at Eulogy.
From Mac’s, a perfectly fine watering hole, we journeyed down to Eulogy still a few hours early for our dinner reservations. It was packed and we were hungry so we ditched Eulogy and headed toward Monk’s Cafe. Monk’s is one of the top 100 bars and deservedly so. The bottle and draft offerings were significant, but we were there for only one thing: the Triplekarmelite drafts. Of course we stayed for the Flemish Sour. I should mention that the conversation was delightful and the beers were tasty. We forgot to eat. We were entering Food Emergency. The hummus plate from Mac’s was only going to last so long.
Tria has an excellent bottle list, but unfortunately it was also packed and also seemed a little too polished for our tastes. So we headed down the block a little ways to Drinker’s Pub. Drinker’s has a decent beer selection but again, we were here for the food. Deep fried tacos, fried cheese wedges, and tortillas and salsa–quite a menu for the late-night diner. We tried to order a few $1 tacos, but the bartender, sensing that perhaps our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, advised against it. I could have eaten those tacos, but I appreciated him looking out for our best interests. I know my waistline appreciates him today.
Then we meandered our way to a bar closer to the hotel and finished off the night with a few pints of local ale and a martini.
The next day we made our way back to Eulogy which was well worth the second trip. I had the Mestreechs Aajt and a Wells Bombardier. The Bombardier is a good beer, but the Mestreechs Aajt was over the top excellent. The Lady had a Pretty Things Baby Tree and a Petrus Sour. Also two great beers (although the Mestreechs was overwhelmingly the favorite of the four beers for both of us).
We were going to head up to Standard Tap, about a mile from Eulogy for a final 100 Best Beer Bars bar, but we only made it across the street to Triumph Brewing Company where we stayed until we absolutely had to leave to catch our respective vessels home. We each had a flight which we both noted had a markedly pale palette: no stouts, porters, or browns in the mix. The darkest beer in the flight was the Holiday Ale. Even the amber ale was “amber” as in “grain, amber waves of,” that is, more gold than brown or red.
The SLF and I agreed, the best beer in the mix was the IPA. The worst beer, and I don’t normally single out a bad beer, was the Rauchbier. Now rauchs are a learned flavor anyway. However, most rauchs are going to be dark beers with hearty malt backbones to help smooth out and incorporate the smoky flavor. But, as I mentioned, there were no dark beers in the mix. The result of a medium-bodied, gold-colored beer infused with smoke was abrasive. Did not like.
But the rest of the beers in the mix were all quite enjoyable. The Lady and I stayed for two pints of IPA after the flight and, as I mentioned, canceled our trip to Standard Tap. That has to count for something.
Afterward, I had bus to catch and the Lady had to make her way to the airport.
She’ll be in DC in a couple of weeks and there are about 4 “best beer bars” here in DC and we’ve only been to one of them (Church Key last year). We’ll be sure to make our way to at least one more during her visit.