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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Craig LaBan Gets It (and Kraftwork does too)

I'm back from vacation (more on that later), back from an absolute crapstorm of work that piled up while I was burying my father and recovering from that, back from Tales of the Cocktail (more on that, too), and I've been going through all the stuff that happened while I was away: the whole BrewDog super-beer thing (Eh. It was a statement, and that's cool: no one would pay attention if they'd written it, but this got things going.), the sale of De Koninck, SEPTA's renovation of Monk's Cafe's front room, and all that jazz...and the first thing I want to write about is Craig LaBan's review of Kraftwork.

Why's that such a big deal? Because this is, to the best of my knowledge, the first LaBan review in which the beer has really taken the driver's seat. Read this opener:
Craft ale is the oil that fuels the "Fishtown Express," as Adam Ritter calls it, and the neighborhood is rapidly picking up speed on its journey from blue-collar roots to a present and future as hipster central. With the addition of Kraftwork, you can now count 25 more taps blasting away with cold brew propulsion at East Girard and Montgomery Avenues, as wee heavy Scotch ales, sprightly Belgian saisons, and powerful Imperial IPAs christen the area's latest gastropub draw in sudsy style.
Okay, for the record: I still hate it when beer is called "suds." Period. But...go read the piece. He's seven 'graphs into it before he mentions the food. Okay, he's got a real thing against PBR (why bother, Craig: it's better if you don't even mention it), but he's clearly grooving on the beer here, and not just the taps that were on when he visited: he's seeing that the beer is the place's raison d'etre, not a grace note to the food. He gushed about the beer at Memphis, but not like this. This is a watershed moment, even for Philly (and, of course, PhillyMag has, after a brief (apparently involuntary) spasm of beer coverage, gone back to their ignorant ways).

And the review doesn't even mention their beer menu, which is, hands-down, the best-done one in the city. There's brewery, beer, type, ABV, size glass it comes in and price per serving for every draft, plus the same info for the upcoming keg on that tap line. Revolutionary, at least for Philly (I've seen it elsewhere, but not often). (My good friend Lari Roebling also did a review of Kraftwork, in the Daily News; more about the food...but I'm working on her!)

Whew. All this, and a review of Maker's 46. I love what this town does to people.

More to come.

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