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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Capone's (East Norriton) - Pliny The Younger & More! Event

Capone's was offering a nice variety of beers for this latest event...

Russian River Pliny The Elder 13 ozs**
Russian River Pliny The Younger 9 ozs
Bell's Two Hearted Ale 16ozs
Ithaca Flower Power IPA 16ozs
Moylans Hopsickle 13ozs*
Sierra Nevada Glissade 16ozs
Troubadour Stout 13ozs*
Southampton Double White 22ozs
Great Lakes Elliot Ness 16ozs
Unibourne La Terrible 13ozs*
Brouwerij Kerkom Bloesembink 13ozs*
Ballast Point Sea Monster 2009 13ozs*
Breckenridge 471 DIPA 13ozs*
Weyerbacher India 16ozs
Ithaca Groundbreak Saison 13ozs*
Tröegs Nugget Nectar 16ozs
Sixpoint Double Sweet Action (Limited Anniversary) 13ozs*
Voodoo Cowbell Imperial Oatmeal Milk Stout (On Nitro) 16ozs
Früli Strawberry 9ozs**
Terrapin Dark Side Stout 13ozs*
Bell's Consecrator 13ozs*
Oscar Blues Ten Fidy 9ozs*
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast 13ozs**
Founders Breakfast Stout 16ozs
Roy Pitz Best Blonde Ale 16ozs
Founders Backwoods Bastard 13ozs*
St Louis Gueuze 9ozs*
Manayunk St Alpha Belgian IPA 13ozs*
Brooklyn Cookie Jar Porter 16ozs*
Dock Street Prince Myshkin's Russian Imperial Stout 13ozs*
Fegleys Hop Explosion IPA 13ozs*

The event started at 11 am and I knew ahead of time that there would be no way I would be able to contend with the masses that come out in droves to grab the delicious hoppy liquid brewed by Santa Rosa's Russian River Brewery. As a longtime patron (& perhaps the original craft brew demander) of this establishment, I've been to dozens of the monthly events. This one would rank in the top 6-7 from what I remember. The only downside is that I don't know what the beer menu will read ahead of time like it once did during the first 7-8 events (about 3 years ago)when I would actually write the descriptions and had influence on what would be on the beer menu. Before I made this recommendation, I had only seen 2 other establishments in the state do so. This seems to be Capone's trademark now. Enough of the small talk...on to the beer!

I grabbed the Sea Monster Stout first.
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 4

On tap at Capones...
Appears a deep dark rich opaque black with a small tan head that quickly fades into a gentl cap.
Smell is of coffee, vanilla, cocoa, wood, and herbs.
Taste is of the mentioned flavors, dulled down a little with mocha & chocolate being the mainstay.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, oily, slick, and tar filled with coffee.

Next up was the Pliny The Elder. I wished for the Younger but I've had it many times already. The Elder is still a winner in anyone's book...

look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4.5

Appears a light orange yellow with a small white head and scattered lacing.
Smell is of tons of ballsy hops followed with tons of malt. Pine and citrus notes are abundant.
Taste is of resinous hops with a sweet malt coming through.
The mouthfeel is of spicy hops that come through in the full bodied flavor.
Drinkability is great. This is one of the few great beers out there.

Finally, the Sixpoint Double Sweet Action.

look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 5

on tap at Capone's...
Appears a densely, nearing opaque haze of deep orange hued amber with starry streams of lacing rising to the top of the small off-white cap. Quickly fades into a small collar. Plenty of scattered bits of lacing are left.
Smell is of intense orange cream, mild touches of caramel, vanilla, biscuit, and freshly baked white bread all come together. More hoppy, herbal notes become evident as this beauty warms.
Taste is of the aromas with more of a peppery, yeasty dough flavor that is simply balanced and enjoyable without that overkill of hops that you meet in some beers of this style.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, nearing syrupy with a much applauded, evenly balanced beer. this really 9%? Could've fooled me on my best, beer inspired day. Shane, please have Bella Vista drop a sixtel of this nectar off for my Collegeville kegerator. I promise to give a nice, thirsty home where Sixpoint will be welcomed!

If you've never been to any of the local beer events in SE PA, do yourself a favor and give it a shot at least once. If it's not your scene, so be it. I'm not one for crowds but when the good stuff calls, you can't pass up the opportunity. Give me a shout if you're looking to experience an event. I'll be your guide if you're a newbie, or the experienced beer journeyman if you're just visiting the area!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valley Forge Beef and Ale w/ Perrotto's Pizza (Norristown) - Tomato & Cheese Pizza

Appears a large, 16" pie with a thin crust and a large amount of scattered red sauce layered on top with dried herbs and spices. Ahhh, this brings back memories of the Perrotto's of old. Lots of little cheese bubbles pop up around the pie. Cornmeal coated crust and bottom. - 3.5

The crust is thin, crunchy, and light golden. Man, they actually build the pizza on top of the cornmeal...forget about a flour bottom and just using cornmeal on the peel. - 4

The sauce is of a crushed plum tomato base but it tangy, and savory flavors are dominated by loads of dried oregano, and other herbs. The fact that it's on top of the cheese makes it right in your face - 2.5

The cheese is good. A mozzarella blend with some oiliness that's expected. The flavor is able to stand up to the pungent sauce. - 3.5

Overall, this is a good snacking pizza to have with beer. I remember having this a few times back when they were over on Main Street/Ridge Pike (where Nipper's is now located) and it's about what I remember. The crispy pie without any char is interesting. I'm guessing a slow-rise dough then cooked in an oven under 500 F. Not bad at all. - 3.5

Total Score: 3.4/5

I'm guessing that Valley Forge Beef & Ale either purchased the recipe and ovens, or they've partnered with one of the Perrotto heirs. I just happened to be driving by when I noticed the sign out front. Within a few days, I was ordering a pie! This is one of the suburban area pies with the cornmeal that goes back a ways...Charlie's, Penny's, and Perrotto's.

Valley Forge Beef & Ales' Website

Valley Forge Beef & Ale on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Palermo's Pizza (Phoenixville) - Traditional Pizza

Appears a very thin crusted, nearing charred at spots, 16" round pie. Small bubbles are scattered on the top of the dough, underneath the cheese. A small scattering of black pepper, and oregano are sprinkled around the top. - 4

The crust is thin, dark, golden brown, with some black char marks in various spots...especially around the crispy edges of the crust. This is similar to a boardwalk style pizza crust that you would find at the Jersey Shore. - 4

The sauce is ok. It's a vibrant, tangy, sweet flavor but there is just a little of it to go around. It seems to be outweighed by the cheese but there is just enough to wet the palate and keep me wanting more. - 3.5

The cheese is nice. It tastes like a mozzarella blend with some chewiness, oil, and melted part skim cheese that comes across slightly rubbery but overall it's a nice compliment to the crispy crust. - 4

Overall, this is a nice pie. If you like a boardwalk style pizza, you'll enjoy this. A crispy, slightly oily pie, with a crunchy crust, and light spicing. - 4

Total Score: 3.9/5

Palermo's Website

Palermo's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Penny's Pizza (Limerick) - Pizza

Appears a large, 18" pie with a thick, bready, outer crust. Cornmeal is scattered underneath and along the crust. Heavy scattering of sauce is swirled overtop of the layering of cheese. - 4

The crust is on the thicker side. This is more of a bread-type dough. I believe this pie is baked for a few minutes before the ingredients are layered on. The reason for my suspicion is the way the crust has baked. It's bready, and airy, which I don't believe would get this way had the sauce and cheese been weighing down the dough while cooking. Cornmeal instead of flour?...ok, some people may not get it but if you're a fan of Charlie's in Norristown, you'll understand that this is a unique, tasty way of getting the pie on and off the peel. If you've had a bakery fresh rolls, you may have seen cornmeal, or semolina used on the rolls to prevent sticking. The downside to using cornmeal? If you use very high temperatures, it has the tendency to burn; wheras, flour doesn't. I've done a lot of experimenting with both. On this pie, it's ok. - 3.5

The sauce is pretty nice. It reminds me of the savory tang style sauce like Charlie's uses but it has a sweeter quality like that of Franzone's albeit not quite that sweet. - 4

The cheese is actually quite good on this pie. They put it underneath the sauce, kind of like the Charlie's Red Top. This tastes like a mix of Part Skim Mozzarella, Cheddar, and American. It really cuts through the crust and sauce nicely. - 4.5

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this pie. I've had it once before about 4 years ago and it's about what I remember. The sauce may not be as sweet as I recall but perhaps it's just my ever-changing palate and memories. I will certainly come back and order more pizza from this place. It's a local favorite. - 4

Total Score: 4/5

FYI - Penny's doesn't have a dining room. It's takeout and local delivery only!

Penny's Phone: 610-489-3636

Pennys Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rock Bottom (King of Prussia) - Bourbon + Beer = Amazing!

Rock Bottom's Nightmare on Bourbon Street

Served in a brandy snifter...
Appears an opaque black with a fluffy, light tan head that slowly fades into a floating cap. Tons of scattered lacing s left around the glass.
Smell...holy mother of pearl! I adore Woodford Reserve bourbon. Add in some cocoa powder and nuts and that's the aroma. Strong bourbon and oak pulling through.
Taste is of the aromas with a bitey oak flavor of sweet booze.
Mouthfeel is medium full bodied, silky smooth, boozy with the obvious bourbon clinging to the palate. Lip smacking sweetness...mmm!

Sadly, it was reported that Rock Bottom kicked this cask this past weekend. Keep your eyes and ears alert for any re-release of this, or the outstanding Bourbon Aged Barleywine.