Monday, June 6, 2011

Hittin' Up Philly Beer Week: Capone's

My lady has me on the serious good foot. That means no Qdoba burritos, no Big Macs, and no Wendy's Spicy Chicken jawns for...well, pretty much for eternity.

But when Philadelphia Beer Week came to town, you knew we would be making an exception on the brewskis (which she allows me to drink in moderation; I ain't THAT whipped). On this night, it was Capone's Restaurant, the very well stocked eatery and beer stop in Norristown.

Saturday found their taps taken over by Ballast Point, the San Diego brewery responsible for the amply hopped Ballast Point Big Eye IPA, a beverage that has already received a rave review in this airspace. Although I should not say taken over per se, as their were additional varieties available from such breweries as Easton, Pa.'s Weyerbacher, Old Dominion Brewing Company of Dover, DE, and Vermont's Hill Farmstead Brewery. Whatever the beers were, it felt good to be out amongst the non-parents of the world enjoying a beer during this great event...even if we had to hike our kid into a table in the bar area to do so (hey, it's not our fault they sat us there; he was well behaved and only drank O'Douls).

As I have said, there must have been something like 12 beers there from Ballast Point, but being a major fan of the hops (and having already had Big Eye), I chose to go with the Dorado Double IPA. This was very enjoyable. If it were to have one drawback, I would say that it did not seem to be much more hopped than their Big Eye. This is not a major problem, I guess, for the Big Eye is an exceptional beer and I am glad to consume a beer that tastes similar. I am just saying that I thought the hops would go next-level with this one (it is a DOUBLE IPA after all), much as Dogfish does with their 60/90/120 varietals, and this one did not. As for the lady, she would only have one beer on this night, and it was a disappointment, I'm afraid. Maybe wheat beer is not Ballast Point's specialty because the Wahoo Wheat was a bit of bust. The alarm bells were first rang when I saw that I was completing my first beer and wifey had only taken a couple of sips. But the point was really driven home when the remnants of the beer were poured into our son's cup due to the beer's weakness and lack of punch (just kidding!!!). I had a swig of the thing, and the wife was 100 percent on the money. The thing was as bland as an Irishman's cooking. I used to drink Hoegaarden regularly before palette expansion took hold. Hoegaarden is MUCH better.

The second beer I had on this night was a collaboration between several breweries, namely Troegs, Victory, Yards, Stoudt's, and Nodding Head. The thing was called Brotherly Sudds 2, and, boy, was it a revelation (as you would expect from that lineup)!? It's a lager and, while I don't always enjoy that beer type, this one had a golden color, a smooth finish, and an almost citrusy taste immediately upon hitting the lips! It also was brewed with yeast from Schmidt's Brewery, which made it, like, hipster cool or something. So bummed was I by the wife's experience with Wahoo Wheat, I even offered her a sip, as long as it was a small one. She concurred that it was exceptional. Upon sipping the beer himself, our son said, "Goo goo gaga!" I took this to mean that he either liked the beer, or thought the new Lady Gaga CD was good. I'm hoping for the former.

Between fielding comments from fellow restaurant patrons about the gorgeousness that is Saucy Jr., we also broke bread at the Norristown staple. It should be stated that the wife thought her Grilled Reuben was delectable. This being said, I find Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and corned beef all to be somewhat disgusting ingredients, so I could not take a chomp and record my thoughts for posterity. So you will just have to take her word for it. As for myself, I took the opportunity to truly carb up! Placed in front of my slobbering gob was a plate of Chicken Parmesan! WOOHOO!!! Eh, exclamation points aside, I would say that this is simply OK. Maybe it is because I have grown used to the version made by Gino's, but this left a tad bit to be desired (even if I vacuumed the whole thing). The chicken was actually tender and tasty, and the pasta was al dente - as you would expect from a place with a vowel at the end of its name. However, the pasta seemed somewhat tasteless (even for a food that isn't supposed to be bursting with flavor). Maybe it all comes down to the sauce? It was good enough, but it seemed a little too sugary. The tomato did not jump out! Although I do give them props for the balsamic that came with the accompanying salad.

Here's the thing: The food review is really just icing on the cake. If you are person who is into beer, you really need to check out Capone's. Their tap list is always pleasing, often tilting toward eye-opening obscurities even for beer aficionados. They have a bottle list that I haven't even explored due to the fact that their taps are always adventurous. And then there is their beer store. This is all I have to say: two different types of Hitachino big boys. In other words, the joint is stacked, Beer Week or no.


224 W. Germantown Ave.
Norristown, PA 19401

Capone's on Urbanspoon

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