see below for Part I
Fri Jan 2: I went on another road trip to visit some friends down East. After having lunch with my wife in Johnstown, I hit the Turnpike and headed East. First I stopped off in Mt. Joy, where one can find Bube's Brewery (pronounced boo-bees). Tried their five samples and while all were fine, I enjoyed the seasonal Santa's Helper the most. From here, I stopped by the Iron Hill in Lancaster. Iron Hill always offers up solid beers and I tried the seasonal sampler. Standouts included the dark saison Permanent Midnight, an Imperial Coffee Porter, and a Schwarzbier.
From here, I went to my final destination of the night, my friends The Meyers. Dave was a college roommate and fraternity brother and it'd been a couple of years since we'd gotten together. His two girls were waiting at the door for me and I got a warm welcome. That night, we drank quite a bit of Allagash Dubbel from Dave's kegerator in the basement.
Sat Jan 3: First order of the day was a trip to State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD. This is a beer Mecca and I always find way too much stuff that I can't buy. Sigh. In any event, I walked out of there with a dozen good bottles of stuff and a case of Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen for my wife. For lunch, we went to a nice little pub called The Whip - very English themed and I had a couple of pints (Tetleys, Smithwicks) over lunch of Scotch eggs and bangers and mash.
We had some running around to do and ended up driving quite a bit. I was able to sneak into Victory for their Abbey 6 and see how things had changed since the renovation - good job, Victory.
Sun Jan 4: After bidding the Meyers au revoir, I headed up to Phoenixville for lunch at Sly Fox. Good food, and the standout beer there was definitely the Rauchbier. It's hard to find smoked beers on tap, let alone really nice ones.
Next, I drove over to General Lafayette Inn. What a cool place - I'd love to stay here some time. Sampled a few here (unfortunately the Framboise was kicked!) and enjoyed the Sunset Red on cask and the Raspberry Mead. Great ambiance!
Killed some time hitting some book stores and a few other places before heading to dinner at Earth Bread + Brewery in Mt. Airy (Philly). Our "local boy makes good", Jon, works there now supervising the kitchen and helping out Tom Baker in the brewery. I tried Earth's four offerings, including Jon's pseudo-eponymic Santos L. Halper. The pizza is really good, despite the fact that Jon made it ;)
After Jon was done working, I got the nickel tour of the place. I'm only sorry that I'll not get to taste the Sahti or the Wee Heavy currently bubbling away. The final stop of the evening was McMenamin's, just down the street. Quite a lively Sunday night crowd, and between conversation with Jon and some locals (including Doc Holliday), I was able to try both Affligem Nöel and Long Trail Triple Bag on tap.
Mon Jan 5: One last stop before driving home - lunch with Jon at Manayunk. Had a nice salad and tried the Title Bout Stout. Jon got a sampler of stuff which looked decent.
All in all - not a bad few days of beer and travel. Apologies to the folks who regularly write about the Drafting Room and some other places down that way ... many of the visits were 'spur of the moment' and not planned. Next time, I'll try to coordinate better and perhaps we can meet up for a pint.