MOUNT AIRY, PENNSYLVANIA
There were three worthy brewpubs a few miles northwest of Philadelphia during May ’09 excursion. Mount Airy’s Earth Bread & Brewery still thrives. Lafayette Hills’ General Lafayette went under. And Glenside’s G.G. Brewers was closed during early afternoon stint.
Located in Mount Airy’s cobble-stoned main drag amongst antique shops and 18th century buildings, EARTH BREAD & BREWERY, opened October ’08, featuring ex-Heavyweight brewer Tom Baker’s newest exciting fare.
Entering through a side door at a corner entrance, this quaintly contemporary Euro café-pub (with green awning) has left side bar where world maps abound, right dining area with community table alongside three four-seaters, drop-floored brew tanks and stylish stone-fired flatbread pizzas to go with a revolving beer lineup. Remarkably, Baker has brewed at least two dozen different beers in only nine months of existence.
His ‘Liquid Breads’ on this May ’09 trip included Monk’s Table Amber Belgian, a soft-tongued light body enveloping sugared fig, date, and fennel illusions with fungi earthiness. Next up, Stickie Alt, a mellow hop-fizzed chocolate-caramel malted moderation, was equally fine.
Even better: oats-charred hop-toasted nut-sharpened chocolate-coffee-molasses-backed Non-Profit Porter.
Best bet: ‘Bareley’ Wine Strong Ale, with its candied banana, cherry, watermelon, and honeydew confluence enjoining buttery rum raisin midst to warm barleywine finish.
In late December ’12, revisited EB&B with wife on cold Sunday evening for dinner. Sitting at the wood-floored yellow-walled upstairs dining area, we grab a table inside the raised booth (with pane-glassed window giving the illusion of privacy). Local art for sale line the walls and an old chandelier adds Old World eloquence.
Besides the skillfully handcrafted in-house libations, sterling outside offerings such as Brewer’s Art Ressurection, Victory Prima Pils, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Ommegang Hennepin and Petrus Aged Pale Ale consumed the tap handles while hand-pulled Victory Uncle Teddy’s Bitter was on cask.
For an appetizer, we enjoy the round-caked Butternut Couscous Salad (with goat cheese, split peas, chickpeas, squash, dried cranberry and pistachios topped with spinach and cranberry reduction). Its fresh vegetal crispness enhanced the sweet ‘n sour pleasantries of Goldilicks Wheat Saison, where zesty lemon juicing sidles wood-rotted smoked malting to the receding banana bubblegum finish, gaining soured kiwi, mango and papaya tropicalia.
Before the main course, I dipped into two stylishly dissimilar and unconventional winter brews. Czech-like pilsner malts saddled robust Alt Lang Syne, a Munich malt-toasted dry body with musty tea-like earthiness and mild hop bittering. Bolder Alcoholiday Imperial Ale placed nutty grains against perfume-hopped citric spritz.
While I consumed the spaghetti and meatball pizza, my wife delved into the tomato-sauced Traditional Pizza (with fresh mozzarella, garlic olive oil and basil).
As we finished up, I sipped the highly impressive Baltus Porterus, a well-rounded full body with dominant coffee-roasted souring secured by Belgian dark cane-sugaring and chocolate-spiced cocoa malting. Its ancillary sour ale-like dried fruiting relayed burgundy, bourbon, plum, prune, black grape and black cherry illusions to the rich barley-oats spine.