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I’m way late for a recap as the ride was 2 weeks ago, I’m sorry. We did actually ride, and it was pretty fun. Our final destination was Philadelphia Brewing Co’s holiday party, but we had no real route or plan to get there. We started into Fairmount Park, on a route that I know well. But back by the recycling center we turned off onto some fire roads. I was really interested in checking these paths out, and I’m glad that some of the guys knew them well. They weren’t paved, but most everyone had no problem riding them, even with skinny tires.
We rode around for a bit, and decided to head down to the newly opened Hawthorne Cafe in south Philly for lunch. Hawthorne Cafe is a little beer cafe owned by Bella Vista Distributors. The beer selection, as expected, was awesome. They have a growler filling station with an amazing taplist. Sadly though, no single glass pours. I went with a pair of Dark Horse beers, including the perfectly paired oatmeal stout. Early in a late autumn day, after a chilly ride through the woods, a hearty stout was the perfect lunch beer. Well, not exactly lunch. For some reason, they don’t serve their lunch menu until 3pm on weekends, and there was nary a lunch dish to be found on the “brunch” menuu. This was my only complaint, as I was really looking forward to one of their hand carved sandwiches.
From there we rode up to PBC. Some mechanical issues broke up the group, but we all arrived safely. We all had a glass of their new winter ale and settled into a table in the loading dock turned courtyard. We had a chance to recount the ride over some pipe tobacco and free beer, a fitting end to a wonderful day.
I really need to think more about how I plan things. And I need to take more pictures. Because yesterday was awesome, and could have been awesomer.
I took the kids down to South Philly for the grand opening of the new location of Bella Vista Beer Distributor. My first error in planning was thinking that it was at Ellsworth St, 6 blocks or so below the actual location at Fitzwater St. And then deciding to park at 9th and Dickinson, so that the girls could have a nice walk. Yea, that was a bad decision. As was letting Maruke fall off my shoulders, just grabbing her ankle in time to avoid a serious head injury. That was a bad idea.
The grand opening, however, was a good idea. The bad planning part was that I didn’t plan on staying there all afternoon. There was at least 10 or 15 breweries pouring, and it was totally free. Marni and her 2 girls met us there, and eventually Lois rode on down also. I had a chance to try a couple beers. The clear winner and stand out was Voodoo Brewery’s Black Magick Stout. Wow! A 15-16% Russian Imperial Stout, aged in bourbon barrels. Fresh at a year old, it was smooth, sweet and really boozy. Rather profound, I must say. I almost went in and bought a case (sans labels, as the brewer said it wasn’t even really supposed to be released yet). But then I thought about the walk back to the car and decided against it. Probably the best decision of the day.
I also wished that I had taken some pictures. The new location is gigantic, though the abbey and bell tower was a bit of a let down. I probably shouldn’t have actually thought that there would be a playground-like monastery with a 2 story clock tower; but I’m a sucker for my own inflated imagination. I didn’t really even make a dent in checking out the entire store, so another trip is definitely in order.