I had it all planned out…
On the day of my approval of my Ph.D. dissertation by Temple’s Graduate School on Thursday, May 27th, 2010, I was going to head to Triumph Brewing Company to celebrate. After 8 long years, I was feeling rather triumphant. When my contact at the graduate school informed me that I had spelled the name of one of my committee members incorrectly, I have a teacher at my high school with the same last name where the the “e” is an “i”, my feelings of triumph quickly turned to trial. Ah, the bitter irony, bitter like hops. I knew better but in my haste, had missed the problem. It had been a hard, long fight and I was weary.
Alas, I drove back up to Lancaster, corrected the issue, submitted the document again electronically, and it was approved at 5:25 PM. Yet, I was much too far from a Triumph Brewery at that point (Triumph has locations in Philly, Princeton, and New Hope) to celebrate so I selected a local microbrewey instead to visit.
Thus, I took great satisfaction in walking through the doors of Triumph Brewing Company in Philadelphia two weeks later. Feeling like Rocky running up the Art Museum steps, I danced my way into the bar area.
First, though, a picture from the outside of the Philly Triumph brewpub:
This microbrewery is everything a microbrewery should be. It has phenomenal architecture, a great location, and a good mix of patrons. Oh yeah, and great beer.
Seated on my left was a Philly native and on my right was a guy from California and his buddy from Long Island, New York. The out-of-towners did not know that it was Philly Beer Week, the premiere beer drinking event of 2010, in the world. They had hopped the train from NYC to come see the historical sites in Philly for the day. They were due to hop the train back to NYC soon which I think they may have decided to reschedule in light of discovering their good fortune, “right time, right place” in Rocky town.
The bartender took justifiable pride in Philadelphia Beer Week. So, he laid out some of Philly’s finest like a trainer would his fighters.
In this far corner (right side), weighing in at 11% ABV is Nuit De Folie, Quadrupel (Quad) Belgian style beer. Translated: Night of Madness. Wow, take that NYC and California. Philly’s finest. Yep, a true knockout…figuratively and literally. Too many of these and one would be howling at the moon. Or, face first in a puddle.
Here is a listing of the brews at Triumph. All could go toe-to-toe with the best in their categories. Apparently, Triumph changes recipes within their styles of their beers fairly frequently…so the Oatmeal Stout of today could be different than a month ago. That is a great characteristic of Triumph’s brewing philosophy and it makes them fairly unusual. It keeps things fresh.
The fellas from California and New York City were very cool, not haughty at all. We who go to microbreweries are all Brothers in Arms. The California guy offered to show me around his parts when I get back out to California, which happens on a semi-frequent basis as my wife’s parents live in Laguana Niguel.
The Asian food in Cali is incomparable…there are parts of California that are abundantly Asian for miles and miles, not just some dinky Chinatown. Little Saigon in Los Angeles for instance. I really love Asian food…Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. It is a good thing too, since my wife is Taiwanese-American of Chinese descent. Heck, I would probably even love Laotian and Cambodian if I had the chance.
I did get sick as a dog last time out in California after eating some Korean chow. It took a couple of months before Korean became appealing again…my wife and her all-Asian family were fine after eating it, my European/American digestive/immune system got whacked. I am re-evaluating my “The hotter, the better” spicing philosophy.
Talking about love of victuals….as much as I love microbrews, I love meeting people even more. In my travels for 40/40, I often am flying solo. Most people cannot do what I am doing for a lot of reasons (time, money, wife veto), so I try and chat with those who I meet at these microbreweries. My time at Triumph was a time of friendship among strangers. After I said my goodbyes to the boys (after getting their emails), I traveled across the street to the Belgian bar Eulogy:
There, I had an 8 Malted beer called Embrasse. It is pronounced Embrace. Easy to figure out how they named this one. I was holding it close.
Embrasse received an A- on Beer Advocate ratings. Boy, talk about you tough graders! Yet, at 8 dollars a glass, it is fair to expect great things. Kind of like if you go to Harvard, you are expecting more excellence than you would get a state university down the road. For the price, there should be some prodigy.
The night certainly had a Belgian flair for the first part but then I met my wife and some of her colleagues for some fancied Philly-like food/brews such as a hoagie salad, a deconstructed cheesesteak, and some Tastykake butterscotch creme brulee washed down with a Slyfox 113 IPA, at Bridget Foy’s.
The night turned out to be a triumph after all. Rocky would have been proud.