Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Homerun at Hailey's


The newest pub on Metuchen’s Main Street stepped up to the plate and attempted its first-ever beer dinner.

The rookie went yard.

With Chef Johnny preparing a magnificent six-course banquet for 30+ beer and food enthusiasts, and yours truly providing the beer choices and the corny jokes, Hailey’s made a strong case for Pub Rookie of the Year. Jackie and Sean, the waitstaff, got their trial by fire and both passed with flying colors.

Many pubs or restaurants who do beer dinners usually choose Monday nights, as that’s likely the slowest night of the week, especially since MNF is over. Not so at Hailey’s. A substantial dinner crowd was there, though they could only listen jealously to the the raucous laughter and good cheer emanating from Hailey’s Shuffleboard Room.

Johnny’s first course was a really nice Melon with Prosciutto, and it was paired with Blue Moon. Next, the chef’s famous corned beef and cabbage rolls wowed the crowd, accompanied by Harp Lager, and then he unveiled his upgraded Potato-Leek Soup. Already a winner, Johnny changed the recipe by using a vegetable stock instead of a chicken stock, and the results, likely to appeal to the vegetarians, were golden. Sam Adams Stock Ale complemented the soup perfectly.
A Mixed Greens with Citrus Salad preceded the main course, and it was joined by Ommegang’s outstanding Farmhouse Ale, Hennepin.

The main course was decidedly not a vegetarian dish as a huge, tender rib roast with fresh rosemary came out, accompanied by Hailey’s Ale. Der Biermeister himself, Dave Hoffman, makes Hailey’s Ale and he was there to explain the history—and the nuances--of brown ale. If anyone knows them, it’s Dave, whose Nut Brown Ale won a gold medal at the Chicago Beer Fest in 1998. If the feedback from the table was any indication, the Rib Roast and Hailey’s was a match made in Heaven.

Finally Johnny delivered his “Kicked up Jameson’s Strawberries”—also altered slightly for the better by using a chocolate covered graham cracker cup instead of one made up of just pure chocolate. The difference was both noteworthy and pleasing to the palate, especially when accompanied by a pint of Guinness.

The revelers were very happy with Hailey’s first at-bat, and before the night concluded, demanded to know when the next at-bat would take place.

According to owner Chris Flynn, who was very pleased with his pub’s performance and the fans’ reaction, it will probably take place right after Spring Training starts, with May as a target date.

Hailey’s Harp and Pub has set the bar high with its first beer dinner effort. If it can pull off another, it deserves to be in the Big Leagues.

Check out the pictures here.

Cheers till next time!
The PubScout

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jimmy D's sacrifice honored again

For the fifth straight year, the faithful wended their way to the Harvest Moon brewpub on George St. in New Brunswick to pay homage to a guy who gave his life for others. Jimmy D' Heron gave his own life, but saved fifteen people from a burning building five years ago, and the family and the brewpub honor that sacrifice every year with a tribute to a real-life hero.

While the atmosphere outside was raw, rainy and nasty, the atmosphere inside was just the opposite as these pictures will attest. The Middlesex Pipe and drum Corps was once again on hand to lend their special flavor to the festivities, and pints of Jimmy D's Firehouse Red were ordered, toasted and savored as drinkers knew that a portion of each pint was going to one of Jimmy D's favorite charities--The Arthur C. Luf Children's Burn Camp in Connecticut.

Jimmy's daughter Erin Varga greeted the throng, and announced that close to $70,000 has already been raised for this excellent cause. The Pipe and Drum Corps offered stirring renditions of traditional American favorites, and the patriotic crowd, motivated by an unforgettable introduction by the Corps major, sang along to America the Beautiful, Amazing Grace and God Bless America. Neither the music nor the cause ever get old.

If you missed it this year, you'll have another opportunity to attend next year, but I'd advise getting there earlier than the 2 PM start.

Cheers till next time!

The PubScout

Friday, January 15, 2010

Belgian Lovers--Take Note!


WEST CHESTER, PA – On Saturday, February 6, beginning at 2 p.m., head brewer Larry Horwitz will bring together a host of the East Coast’s finest craft brewers at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (3 West Gay Street, 610-738-9600) for their annual Belgium Comes to West Chester event celebrating Belgian beers. Guests will meet the brewers and discover new Belgian styles on a pay-as-you-go basis; samplers will be offered and t-shirts will be available for sale.

“This is a great opportunity for beer fans to sample the incredible Belgian-style beers that are being brewed across the region, all in one place,” says Horwitz, who will join brewers from at least six other Iron Hill locations in bringing their finest Belgian-style beers to the event.

The list of Iron Hill beers that will be pouring include: Framboise, Cassis, Cherry Dubbel, Farmer Chuck, Oak Quad, Heywood, Peppercorn Tripel and Nocturnum.

Other guest breweries and beers will include: Dogfish Head - Red and White, Cambridge Brewing Company - Weekapaug Gruit and Tripel Threat, Flying Fish Brewing Company - Exit 4, Harpoon Brewery - Jed’s Donkey, Manayunk Brewery - Yunkers Nocturnem, McKenzie’s Brewhouse – Vatour de Bois, Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant – Rudy’s Kung Fu Grip, Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant – Grand Cru, Sly Fox Brewery – Dale’s 10K, Stewart’s Brewing Company - Obscurum, Troegs Brewing Company – Mad Elf, Victory Brewing Company – Abbey 5, Weyerbacher Brewing Company - Fourteen and Yards Brewing Company – Old Bartholomew. The event will go until the beer runs out.

Founded by home brewers Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson and restaurateur Kevin Davies in Newark, DE in 1996, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is the region’s fastest-growing restaurant group, blossoming from one restaurant and brewery to eight locations across the mid-Atlantic. Each is dedicated to producing and serving top-quality hand-crafted beers and cuisine in a warm and hospitable setting, and all are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Their acclaimed beers have accumulated a wealth of awards from the nation’s top beer festivals, and their restaurants have earned more than 100 “Best of” nods from local and national publications. Five to seven more locations across the mid-Atlantic are planned for the next five years.

For more information about Belgium Comes to West Chester, please call (610) 738-9600. For more information about Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, or to make a reservation at any of their locations, please visit

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Two News-Wort-y Items

First, the annual Jimmy D Fundraiser is set for this Sunday, January 17 at the Harvest Moon Brewpub in New Brunswick, NJ. On tap will be Jimmy D's Firehouse Red, brewed and named in honor of Hero Jimmy D'Heron, a New Brunswick firefighter who gave his life to save 15 people from a burning building some years ago. It's a great celebration of an honest-to-goodness hero's sacrifice, and a portion of the proceeds from that day will be sent to one of Jimmy D's favorite charities--a Burn Camp that helps burn victims--especially children-- recover. Festivities usually start around 2 PM, but the smart money gets there much earlier. Once the fun starts, the place gets so crowded, you have to go outside to change your mind. And you don't have to worry about falling down, either. Be sure to look for a little elf named Erin Varga. Mention my name to her, and she'll crack up. (She saw me once in a red speedo.)

Next, My friends at City Food Tours in Philly have announced their 2010 schedule. I reported on this outstanding tour last summer, which takes place in Old City, last year. Great time!

Our Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese Tour will be held on the following Saturdays from 3:30pm-5:30pm:
January 23
February 6th & 20th
March 6th & 20th
April 17"This entertaining and indulgent encounter features 8 locally-brewed Craft Beers and four Artisanal Cheeses in 2 fun, casual hot spots in the heart of Old City Philadelphia! This event is perfect for everyone who loves beer, wants to try some new brews, and is looking for something fun to do." The tasting adventure begins at a popular microbrewery in Old City. Go to this link for more information:

The PubScout

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cracking Open the Utopias 2009

This video was produced and directed by Kacy Epps. I also have to thank "The Kaz" (as he's known) for the totally revamped PubScout banner above. Nice job, Kaz!