img_logoby: Donny Smith & Sean Null

Donny: This month, Sean and I went to the Dog & Bull – Brew & Music House in Croydon. The Dog & Bull has been on our ‘to do’ list for quite some time and I’m so happy that we finally made it! It’s right on Rt13 next to the Train Station and it’s an easy drive from anywhere. Take Rt13, or 95 to Street road and you’re there – Very easy to get to!

Sean: Donny and I had a great time at the Dog & Bull. We went on a Wednesday and it was a pretty mellow night in a genuinely nice place to hang that has live music almost every night of the week. Even better is the beer menu!

Donny: Psst – dude … they have music EVERY night of the week, hence the name Dog & Bull – Brew & ‘MUSIC HOUSE’! Get with the program man, people are relying on us here!

You’re dead on about the Beer Menu though, they’ve got a heluva Beer Menu!

We were greeted at the door by the lovely Michelle who presented us with what I thought was 4 food menu’s, however upon closer inspection we noticed that 2 of the menu’s were actually 4 page Beer Menu’s! Everything that you needed to know about the beers that Dog & Bull had on hand was well presented in their Beer Menu including a description of each brew, the percentage of alcohol, the price, as well as it’s origin and style of beer. VERY well done – PROPS!

Actually, everything about the Dog & Bull is very well done! You could tell from the second that we pulled up that the owners put a lot of time and attention into every single detail of the building, and it shows. Not only do they have an awesome selection of beer, music, and food, but the building itself is very well done with some beautiful chalkboard art and some really cool beer advertisements!

The staff the Dog & Bull is equally impressive. Did I mention Michelle? She wasn’t just some pretty dame who smiles and brings you your food and beer. Oh hell no! She can tell you anything that you want to know about any of the beers that they have on hand. Very cool!

Sean: No kidding! There are about 15 beers on tap and 10 of those are a rotating craft beer selection which they advertise on chalkboards in both rooms. The bottled beer selection is nothing less than awesome! They have a selection of about 80 different beers in bottles, bomber bottles, and cans! If you are a craft beer drinker this should be your destination especially on a Tuesday night when they have a “Tap Takeover” from recently opened nearby Neshaminy Creek Brewing!

I had been dying to try the beers from Neshaminy’s head brewer Jeremy Myers for quite some time and I finally landed a glass of his Belgian Triple. It was worth the wait! Clear and amber with a nice head this beer smelled of banana bread, flora hops and a malt sweetness. Traditionally “triples” are brewed with three times the amount of grains to make it full bodied and sweet with a higher alcohol content. The trick is to brew it so you can’t taste the alcohol and they have succeeded! If you get a chance you should taste this well balanced malty treat!

Then Donny and I shared a bunch of samples to get kinks out before we settled on our next pint.

First up was Flying Dog Lucky SOB which was a clear red amber color with a nice foamy head, but I think we both agreed that we didn’t like it’s burnt caramel and corn taste with a flat, watery finish.

Donny: Agreed – I didn’t care for it at all. It smelled and tasted like watery corn – blah!

Sean: We then tasted a Fleur De Lehigh from Philadelphia Brewing Company and after the triple that I had, it tasted thin, but to be fair, you can’t compare the two. Fleur is made from local ingredients and hops from local Greensgrow Farms, a co-op farm stand in the Kenzo area. It’s a great light beer with a floral hop aroma and light bitterness. Perfect for Spring BBQ’s.

Donny: Not bad! It’s a fairly low alcohol beer at 4.5%, and to me this one kinda tasted like a ‘Krimpet in a Cup’. It seemed to have a similar smell and taste as a Tastycake Krimpet.

Sean: Our next sample was a Smuttynose Gravitational Ale which is a Belgian Quad which means it’s got quadruple the grains and mega high alcohol.

Donny: YEAH – like 11.3% kinda high!

Sean: It was a dark amber color and had a sweet malty aroma with some alcohol apparent in the nose. It tasted pretty much the same with a full body.

Donny: I’m not sure if this beer is stored in aged whiskey barrels or not (which isn’t uncommon), but to me it had a faint smell and taste of whiskey. Pretty cool!

Sean: Next we sampled their Bruery Humulus Lager is actually a double IPA made with double the grains and was a straw color with a full head. It smelled hoppy and medicinal and tasted hoppy at first, then had a sweet bubble gum taste to it. I didn’t like it. I think Donny was on par as well.

Donny: We were gypped! In my opinion this beer was totally mislabeled as a lager. I found it to be very hoppy and dry. It reminded me of used gym socks and I couldn’t wait to get through this one (which I never did).

Sean: This is what you do when you are a craft beer drinker. You try new things all the time hoping to find a new favorite. I didn’t find that in a Founders All Day IPA. It’s a pretty amber colored beer with a light piney hop aroma that tasted like wet grass with a bitter finish.

Donny: Wet grass is exactly what it tasted like, and I ain’t no cow! Bring on the next brew!

Sean: I did score in finding Flying Fish Hopfish. It’s an IPA and you are going to think, “Bitter”, but you are wrong! It’s a mild and delicious amber colored beer that smells and tastes like sweet caramel malts and nice mild floral hops. So I ordered a pint just in time for our food to arrive.

Donny: I’ve got to agree, this was the pick of the litter. It had a sweet smell and it tasted a little like watered down cough medicine, but GOOD cough medicine! Towards the end it had a woodsy / piney like taste to it, but it was really good! Since it’s an IPA, I was really surprised at how good it was – Not bad at all!

Sean: For dinner, I had a really good plate of Bangers and Mash (English sausage and mashed potatoes). I’m guessing the sausage was handmade because it was great! Donny had a hefty burger!

For desert we had Delerium Tremons and Delerium Nocturnum, both very strong beers from a Belgian brewery called Brouwerij Huyghe.

Donny: Ahhh the pink elephant! If you walk into a bar and you know noting about beer but you want to look like you do, order a Tremons! The Delerium is a lighter colored beer (Sean’s fave), and Nocturnum is the darker of the two (my fave). You’ll spend a little money on either, but they are worth every cent – Trust me!

Sean: Delerium – What a great way to end a great night of trying new beer, eating good food and listening to live music!

Donny: Agreed! We had a great time at the Dog & Bull and we will definitely be back again soon. More than likely we’ll be back on a Tuesday night when Neshaminy Creek is taking over the taps. I’m thinking that it could actually be THIS Tuesday since Sean has been endlessly pestering me about it ever since we left – haha!

See ya there!

If you have any questions, comments, or you want to invite us out for a beer, shoot us an email – Donny: – Sean:

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Ale On The Town

Mar 6, 2013

by: Donny Smith and Sean Null

Logo_LoveCraftBeer_PintOrangeHey gang!
Lets just say that you know little or nothing about craft beer, but you sure do seem to be seeing and hearing more and more about it lately. You’re intrigued, but a little nervous because it’s new to you and you don’t want to walk into a bar or beer distributor and look or feel foolish.
Help has arrived!
This is a brand new column for Out on the Town written by myself (Donny Smith), and my good friend Sean Null. In this column we are going to cover the craft beer scene in and around NE Philly. We’ll cover not just the different types and styles of beer, but we’ll also cover some craft beer terminology, as well as the places that either have been, or are now getting into the craft beer scene.
This is going to be FUN!
About us – Sean and I are great friends! We ‘sample’ beer together, we brew beer together, and we are both involved in a local brew club called the ‘Lucky 13 Homebrew Club’. Sean takes it one step further and writes a blog about the different beers that he has sampled on a blog titled ‘Be Green and Flow’. Look it up – it’s AWESOME! Someday we’re going to open our own brewery called Wissinoming Brewery, but that’s a little ways off (insert *looking for investors* comment here).
Lets start with some simple terminology:
Craft Beer – A craft beer is a beer that typically comes from a micro or an independent brewery. To put it another way, a beer that is crafted rather than mass manufactured or mass produced.
Growler  – A growler is a reusable glass container that holds about a 1/2 gallon of beer (4-5 pints), and they typically cost about $10-$15 to fill depending on the beer. Filled and chilled they can last up to 2 weeks, however once opened, you’ll probably only get about 2 days out of a fill. Scoats, another good friend of mine who is the crack like dealer who got me hooked on these beers some time ago, explained it to me this way – “Think of it like opening a 2 liter soda bottle. The more you open it and the more air you let in, the faster it’ll go flat. Same thing with a growler.”
Flight – A flight is hands down the BEST way to sample whats on tap! You walk into a bar, pick 4 beers that you’d like to try, and take a flight. A flight consists of 4 or more 4-6oz glasses of beer that are usually served on a paddle or tray of some sort and are priced right around the cost of a single pint.
Beer Menu – Some places have their beers currently on tap described on individual cards, some places offer them all on one menu, and some places have their menu hanging on a wall somewhere. Either way a beer menu will tell you everything about the beer including where it came from, what type of beer it is, the cost, as well as the alcohol content.
Pint – 16 ounces or 1/8th of a gallon (bet cha didn’t know that!). Some places offer Half’s or Smalls (1/2 pints), but not all
Featured this month is – McStews Irish Pub
I had been thinking about doing a column like this for quite some time, however after visiting McStews and noticing their new involvement in the craft beer scene, I decided to get off of my a** and get crackin on it. McStews didn’t just put a couple of craft beers on tap, they went ALL IN!! They now have 15 beers on tap with 7 of them being craft style beers. The beers are all well described on their easy to read laminated Beer Menus which are placed everywhere throughout the bar. The beers are available in Mugs, Pints, as part of a Flight (which McStews calls “Samplers”), as well as Growler fills. McStews also sells empty growlers should you need one.
But it doesn’t end there!!
McStews also has one HELUVA take out section! They offer some of the best craft beers and ciders out there including Wyerbacher, Yards, Victory, Rogue, Great Lakes, Stone, Woodchuck, Angry Orchard, you name it, they’ve probably got it! Want more info? Another really cool thing that McStews has is a “Beer Book” of sorts that describes everything about every beer that they currently have, or beers that they can order. It’s AWESOME and it’s sitting right there on the side of the refrigerator – Check it out!
Back in the bar area Sean took a flight, and I’ll let him describe his flight and the beers that he sampled.
Sean: Hey Philly! You know, you have the greatest beer history in the United States and you have the greatest beer selection in perhaps the world! I’m glad to see so many of my neighbors taking interest in craft beer even on down to brewing their own now!
Last night I took a flight with a few craft brews from McStews! Donny was making the most of a keg of Stone 12-12-12.
The flights (sampler) that they have consists of four 4 oz. pilsner style glasses (long, tall and thin with a flared rim) on a rack that you can fill with any of the beer they have on tap. I chose:
Stone 12-12-12 – Verticle Epic Ale which, to not go into too much detail, is a holiday style ale that pours black with a brown creamy head and tastes like gingerbread and hops but not overly bitter at the end.  It’s a pretty well balanced beer (hops and sweetness) and a full body (body can roughly be described as either watery or syrupy or middle of the road).  I liked this beer. Donny loved it!
Sly Fox Rauchbier –  Rauchbier is a German beer named “smoked beer”. The grains that they used to brew it were smoked with beechwood just like beef jerky or salmon and you can really taste it in this beer! An amber colored beer with a thin white head that tastes and smells sweet from the malts and heavily smokey and not a lot of hop bitterness.  It was my least favorite of the night.
Allagash Curieux Ale is a beer that is made with 3 times the amount of normal grains and aged in bourbon barrels so it pours a clear golden straw color and has a light malty sweet aroma mixed with bourbon.  It tastes pretty much as it smells and has only a mild hoppy finish.  It’s just enough to make you want more! And I do! I would drink this again for sure!
Sam Adams Alpine Spring was my final beer on the flight and my favorite of the night. It’s a lager style beer mixed with two other beer styles that are slightly higher alcohol and a tad sweeter. It smelled and tasted slightly citrusy and malty sweet with a hint of apricot with a  medium body and creamy sweet finish and barely noticeable hops.
These four beers are a great way to transition from the “big beers” into the craft beer world as they are not bitterly offensive at all! McStews is doing a great job at bringing craft beer to the Northeast! Give them a try!
Donny: Well that about covers this months column gang, and we hope that you enjoyed it and and learned a little something. If you have any questions, comments, or you want to invite us out for a beer, shoot us an email – Donny: – Sean:
Life is a garden – Dig it!

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