Sunday, April 12, 2015

BIG News: A NEW Brewpub Experience in Tacony

Folks, I had hoped our next big announcement would be our settlement date. Alas, it seems there’s one more administrative hurdle for the sellers to jump, but we expect good news in the next few weeks. We will announce  our first day of operations the moment we know.  

In the meantime, we’ve been working hard to be able to hit the ground running when we (finally) take the reins. On Wednesday, Scoats and I took a trip to Sly Fox’s Pottstown brewery with our good friend William Reed, owner of Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s. We had an amazing day at the brewery, but first let me tell you why we were there.

Back in the 90s when Scoats first started selling craft beer at the Grey Lodge Pub, he was one of very few in the city, let alone the Northeast. But in 2015, the field is considerably more crowded. We want to differentiate SawTown with the same attention to “craft” our Tacony ancestors used in creating the beautiful precision handsaws that built this company town.

So as we talked about our craft beer program for SawTown Tavern –over beers, of course – Scoats had an epiphany: What if he were to approach the local brewers he’s built strong relationships with over these many years, and asked them to brew house beers for SawTown? Using his recipe ideas, passion and knowledge (not to mention amazing palate) to create highly drinkable, delicious custom crafted beers that would ultimately only be available at SawTown Tavern?

Well, the plan that emerged means Tacony –the neighborhood where we LIVE- is getting an entirely new “Brewpub” experience! Think of this as a series of really cool conversations that will result in some awesome beer. We plan to choose our brewers based on their passions and expertise, and meld that skill with a style and profile of beer we’re passionate about drinking. It’s the “Chairman’s Select” of the Philadelphia beer scene, and we’re really excited about it.

We’re going quality over quantity, so we’ll stick to six taps: Five house beers, and one rotating, interesting (custom) seasonal beer. Every drop is to be brewed as locally as possible, given the parameters of production schedule, since the brewers need to be large enough to add us to their rotation so we don’t run out, and small enough to give this the attention we believe it deserves.  

We’ve also got Naked Brewing “on tap” to brew our IPA – also for Beer Week – and we’ll continue the search to match our other beer wants to brewers who share our vision. We’ll keep you informed as each beer goes into production.

So, back to our trip to Sly Fox. Scoats has talked about wanting to brew a Vienna Lager for a long, long, long time. So it was the natural place to start. He contacted Brian O’Reilly, Brewmaster extraordinaire at Sly Fox, and Brian was in! Scoats then asked if this beer could be ready to unveil (drink!) during Philly Beer Week in early June. Brian said: “Well, here’s the thing – I’m brewing a Vienna Lager for William Reed for Beer Week, I guess great minds think alike. I’m not sure we could (or should) do them both at the same time.”

What happened next is pretty epic, and speaks volumes about the camaraderie I love so much in the Philly beer scene. Scoats called William, filled him in on what we were planning, and suggested collaboration. Without hesitation, William said, “cool” and SawTown Standard Lager was born! Brian was pretty stoked when we told him we worked out the details, and we all met up at Sly Fox on Wednesday to brew! How cool is that? THAT’S how we roll in Philly!

That’s right folks, this is a BAR brewing collaboration – something that is definitely rare. In fact, I’m not sure it’s ever happened before. You’ll be able to enjoy this beer as a limited edition at Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s during beer week, and we’ll introduce it as our House Lager at SawTown at the same time. I’m pretty sure we’ll tap an introductory keg at the Grey Lodge and Hop Angel, as well. And Beer Geeks, this will be your chance to weigh in with your thoughts before we brew the second batch. We want you loving this beer!

Thanks to our good friends from FargoSocial, Scott DeGirolamo and Manny Alarcon, (these guys ROCK!) who traveled to Pottstown and spent the day with us, we’ve got lots of photos and video from our adventure on our Facebook page.

We’ll chronicle each brewery trip as it happens, and keep you up to date as this project unfolds.

We’re determined to create a true destination right here in Tacony. We’re using our decades of experience in the industry to create a bar WE want to hang out in often. We’re hoping you’ll feel the same.



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