So, my friend Heather won a trip to the Brooklyn Brewery Mash 2016 tour in Philadelphia and brought me along as her plus-one. (Thanks, Heather and Brooklyn Based!) The annual event drops in on several U.S. and European cities and features a dinner with beer pairings, a concert, a beer festival, and what they call a “neighborhood immersion.” The prize included round-trip Amtrak tickets, a hotel for three nights, a free dinner, and admission to all of the events.
We stayed at the Hotel Monaco, just steps away from the Liberty Bell. After a fiasco with the Philly subway involving a complicated mission to get exact change, a stolen swipe, and a hot car, we checked in. Our room greeted us with a bucket of Yards Pale Ales (local brew) and some snacks. Yum!
The first evening kicked off with dinner and beer at Bing Bing Dim Sum. On the menu was “Chinese classics with a Jewish twist” and several Brooklyn beer pairings. Seating was family style and we became fast friends with a local couple who sat next to us. It was a delicious evening of gluttony. Highlights included shrimp dumplings with fresh horseradish and poppy seeds, a cucumber salad with sesame chili oil, Sichuan pepper pork dumplings with black vinegar and shishito peppers, and dry-fried green beans.
On tap was one of my faves, the Black Chocolate Stout, which was served with dessert. It’s hard to find, so I savored every sip. We also got pitchers of two sours: Bel Air Sour and Lacto Futura. I’ve been tasting all the sours I can get, and Brooklyn’s didn’t disappoint—I love the sea-salty flavors. They also served bottles of Sorachi Ace (named after a Japanese hop that’s now grown in Washington), K is for Kriek (Ale Brewed w/ Honey, Dark Candi Syrup & Orange Peel, Aged in Bourbon Barrels on Whole Cherries) and The Discreet Charm of the Framboisie. (That’s a Framboise with their proprietary Lactobacillus strain and fresh raspberries). I’ve had Sorachi Ace at the Brewery and enjoyed it—it’s lemony with a bit of wine and champagne. The fruity beers were new to me—I’m not a fan of cherry-flavored things, so while I liked the Kriek, I won’t go out of my way to find it. What I enjoyed about the Framboise is that it’s not as sweet as the style often is; it’s a lot more subtle.
On Friday, after the free concert at the Union Transfer, which featured time traveling crowd surfers from the 90s, we went over to The Abbaye for post-show brews and snacks with some local friends. This is definitely a place I’d hang out regularly if I were a local. I had a Yards ale, which was on cask, and a couple IPAs, of course. For food, I tried their vegan wings with a perfectly chewy texture (seitan) and a spicy and tasty Buffalo sauce.