Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stopping at Stephanie's

I had a Malt Advocate staff meeting today, up in Emmaus, hammering out the editorial schedule for much of the coming year (and there's some good stuff coming up, too). I begged off having lunch with the staff, I wanted to get home to the dogs.

But...I realized that Maud was good for a little longer, and the day was a little beautiful, and I was a little thirsty, and the Passat was a little close to Doylestown. And I'd been meaning to check out Stephanie's Lounge for quite a while now. So I went. (Nothing personal, MA staff! (Besides, I know John understands at least...))

Wow. Why didn't one of you tell me about this place? Not a lot to look at, and not very big inside, but good God, 36 taps and only three of them mainstream (soon to be replaced, too), with three Ommegangs, two Founders, Chimay White, three Fuller's... Damn. And if that's not enough, they have over 500 bottles. Really, supported by a bottleshop operation just around the corner (connected internally, so anything you see in the shop you can get in the bar).

I finally settled on a Founders Cerise, cuz it's just out and I wanted to try one. Good call: solid semi-sour cherry with good beer backing, refreshing, interesting, even intriguing. Reminded me a lot of a lighter-weight New Glarus Belgian Red. (And wouldn't you know it; there was a sample bottle of Cerise (and a Kentucky Breakfast Stout) waiting for me at home. Thanks, Founders!)

Food was okay. I had a cuban panini, and it was competent, but not inspiring like the Cuban at Sly Fox -- I think because the pork, the mustard, and the pickle weren't quite up to snuff. The pressed bread was great, though, and if they can get the other components at that level, they'll have it. (Ought to be doing more with roast beef and horseradish, with Kelchner's just up the road; the mind boggles.) The menu's changing soon, going with a lot more appetizers, which should be a fun thing with these beers.

But the beer! Damn. Sorry to keep saying that, but I just can't believe this place was tucked away not half an hour from me and I had no clue! I blame you people for this, I do!


Rich said...

Dear Buddy, you've got it all wrong! We wait for YOU to tell us about these places! And you just did. Sounds like a funky good place at that! Howcum Ciufo didn't clue you in? That's worth an in-person upbraiding in the NBI at least...

Lew Bryson said...

Tips, brother, tips: I live for 'em! But you're right, Ciufo should be all over this one.

Anonymous said...

Great to see a good D-town beer place, something I found wanting when I lived there. Too snooty (beer? we drink wine, here, sir) or too far in the other direction, I often found. I live in the Other Pennsylvania now (Hagerstown, MD area), pretty much the same deal- crap to tap ratio is relativley high, but when you do hit, it's a solid base hit. One place nearby even has a couple house brews made by Clay Pipe! By the way, how has your case of M.C.S. been treating you? I too have had to do the math on how long my PWC's have been locked up and whether I have time to sneak a brew in before they begin eating whatever is expensive or conveniently left at floor level Amazing how a corgis ability to climb up to chewing level is proportionate to the value of the component. It gets better with age, however the price of being wrong goes up, as well.

Lew Bryson said...

Maud's crated, so she's okay, and Pen's never really been a chewer, so... So far so good!

Clay Pipe wins, that's not so bad. Where's Clay Pipe being made these days?

k4df4l said...

I'm a D-town resident and have forgot all about the bottle shop at Stephanie's...thanks for the reminder!

Typically in this general area the 'wyck in Buckingham has been the go-to (especially as the take-out shop you mention hasn't been open since the place was Kellys). In the opposite direction down 202 we have the Blue Dog.

Don't know if you've been to Honey...great food and while a limited beer selection, it's all craft PA!

Oh, and if you're looking for a cuban press in D-Town about two and a half blocks north @ Cafe America is where you want to go.

Rich said...

KBS! OMG, OMG, OMG, they have KBS!

Steve said...

Stephanie's also has a pretty nice "beer geek" membership going. $25 for a lifetime card that gets you $1 off drafts and 10% off food. Well worth it if you're near Doylestown. I did my part in trying to get word out about Stephanie's when I found out about them by adding them to and uploading a few pictures there too.

While you're in Doylestown check out the Mesquito Grille as well. The food is a step up but the beer is slight step down however they offer pitchers of craft beer ($14 for a pitcher of Victory's Mad King!) They also have a bottle selection at the front entrance.

Brew.Drink.Repeat. said...

This is super-duper sweet to know... my girlfriend has Celiac, so we often drive up to Doylestown to go to Jules Pizza (who make the absolute best gluten-free pizza she's ever had... Rustico in Alexandria VA being a close second).

I've been looking around for some good beer spots in the area, we'll swing into Stephanie's next time we're up there (which should be in the next week or two).

Lew Bryson said...

Glad to have been of help; I live to serve.

But now I'm really curious: gluten-free pizza? Isn't that kinda like vegan pork? How do they do it?

Anonymous said...

Stephanie's bottle shop has five types of gluten free beer, so stop in there before you get the pizza!

Brew.Drink.Repeat. said...

Sorry Lew, I hadn't checked back here until now, so this comment comes *very* late. My apologies/

Jules uses a dough made from rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch, potato starch, sorghum flour, garbanzo flour, xanthan gum, salt, egg yolks and olive oil for their gluten-free pizza. (Rustico uses a similar mix.)

Surprisingly you really have a hard time telling the difference, probably because it's such a thin crust. If you haven't stopped in Jules you should, their pizza is excellent (and you don't *have* to get the gluten-free version).

Anonymous said...

I work at Stephanie's so keep in mind bias blah blah blah.

It's funny you mention roast beef, because we do GREAT THINGS with it. Next time you stop by try the Roast Beef and Havarti sandwich or the Stephanie's Manwhich. Roast Beef Heaven.

The food is really great here, we have a hummus, pita, and veggie platter for a low price that can feed four people easy.

Nothing to add to your review of the beers, except that we bring in new beers on tap every week and the bottle shop will have more and more until we run out of room.

Thanks for the kind words and stop in anytime Lew.

Lew Bryson said...

The roast beef comment was more about horseradish and the meat it complements best: Kelchner's is REALLY good, and it's just up the road...that kind of thing would look great on the menu. The Whip, out by Coatesville, makes a small, fun ritual out of offering Coleman's mustard with their sandwiches -- "Have you had Coleman's before, sir? It only looks like 'yellow mustard.'" -- and noting that you have an excellent local horseradish would be a nice touch. That's all.
Thanks for dropping by!