2019 Year in Review – Happy New Year!

2019, done, just like that! Wow! And what a great year for beer, especially in Eastern Pennsylvania! A ton of new breweries opened in the area – making some great beer – and there are still several that I need to visit in 2020!

So let’s get into The Brewholder stats for 2019. According to Untappd, I tried 461 unique beers from 174 different breweries. Based on my notes, I visited 47 different breweries, with 38 of them being first time visits for me. Eighteen of the breweries were in Eastern PA, 14 were in Denver, Golden, and Fort Collins, CO, 4 in Cincinnati, 3 on the North Carolina Coast, 3 in Chicago, 3 in the Atlanta area, and 1 in NYC that I hesitate to mention.

So with all those visits, we’ll move on to my Best of 2019 rankings, keeping in mind that these rankings are limited to the beers I tasted and places I’ve been…and not just the hype on the social media feeds….

Best Brewery Tour: New Belgium, Fort Collins, CO (prior to the sellout to Kirin)

Best Brewery Event: New Terrain, Golden, CO – Third Anniversary Party
Honorable mention: Susquehanna Brewing Company’s “Bigfoot and Brews” event last February was awesome and tons of fun!

Most Surprising Beer: New Belgium Citradelic, canned a few hours before drinking it, while on the brewery tour. It NEVER tastes this good when you get it in Eastern, PA. A striking reminder of how important it is to “drink fresh!”

Most Surprising Brewery: Rhinegeist! For a brewery that opened in 2013, it’s size is shocking. AND their lagers and pilsners are OUTSTANDING. I plan to revisit Rhinegeist again and again in 2020.

Top 3 Coolest Brewery locations:

Torched Hop – Awesome historical building renovated for a cool brewery scene!

Purpose – it’s in a strip mall…until you step inside. Then you’d never know you are in a strip mall. New brewers opening in a strip mall would be well served to visit Purpose. And their beer is pretty damn fantastic too!

Funkwerks – an outdoor beer garden space with that beautiful Colorado sun leads to a great beer drinking experience. Check out the pic and I’ll say no more…

Best Beer & Music at a Brewery: Hands down, without a doubt, The Dirk Quinn Band, solo acoustic at Track 3 Brewing, in June. What a performer, and paired with Track 3’s Panama Pale Ale, it was a great summer show!

Best Seasonal Beer: Track 3 Microbrewery’s “Night Train Harvest Porter”, brewed with locally grown Chinook Hops (and yes, I’m biased because I grew the hops!)

Best Beer in Eastern PA: Imprint “I Was in The Pool” NE IPA. These folks know what they are doing. Say no more.

Best Beer in my Travels: Purpose, “Floof”. An outstanding craft lager that is soft and refreshing. More breweries would do well to learn from Floof!

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the best homebrew I tasted this year, by default, was the “Ginger Sap Ale” by Matt Hartman, winner of The Brewholder Tournament in June! All Hail, Lord of the Wort 2019!

As we count down to 2020, and another year of beer exploration, I say “cheers again” to everyone I had a beer with this year, and look forward to enjoying more with you in locations like Austin, Phoenix, Orlando, Albuquerque, NC, DC and right here in Eastern Pennsylvania! Cheers, Prost, Slainte, and all the best in 2020!
And here is where I went in 2019….

Brewery Visits in 2019


  1. Imprint*
  2. Workhorse*
  3. Susquehanna Brewing Company* (Bigfoot!)
  4. Track 3*
  5. Forest & Main
  6. Moss Mill*
  7. Naked*
  8. Victory (Downingtown)
  9. 2d Story
  10. Tannery Run*
  11. Bills Best*
  12. Manayunk
  13. Iron Hill – North Wales, 
  14. Iron Hill – Philadelphia*
  15. Sage Alley*
  16. Fegleys
  17. Brothers Kershner*
  18. Stoudts


  1. Cherry Street*
  2. Torched Hop*
  3. Scofflaw*


  1. Rhinegeist*
  2. 3 Points*
  3. Tafts*
  4. Mohrlein Lager House*


  1. Weeping Radish
  2. 1718 Brewing*
  3. Crystal Coast


  1. Heartland Brewing*


  1. Revolution*
  2. Maplewood*
  3. Half Acre*


  1. TRVE
  2. Epic*
  3. Odell*
  4. Bierstadt lager house*
  5. Ratio
  6. 14er Brewing*


  1. Cannonball*
  2. New Terrain*


  1. Coopersmith*
  2. Black Bottle*
  3. New Belgium*
  4. Snowbank*
  5. Funkwerks*
  6. Purpose*
  7. Prost*

*=1st visit


The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved

Book Review – The Beer Lover’s Table

The Beer Lover’s Table – a fantastic addition to your beer pairing recipe library!

Nothing brings joy to the holidays more than a delicious meal with family and friends – paired of course with fantastic beer!  “The Beer Lover’s Table,” by Claire Bullen with Jen Ferguson, is a new take on the traditional beer pairing recipe book that will help you set the perfect table this holiday season.  This hard backed, beautifully photographed collection of mouth watering ideas provides plenty of inspiration for your next gathering of craft beer lovers.

Written by Claire Bullen, a London-based beer lover and food writer; and featuring Jen Ferguson, co-owner of the London-based craft beer shop Hop Burns & Black, the book’s recipes were carefully selected by Bullen to pair with brews that are available to readers in the UK, U.S., and New Zealand.  Rather than arranging the chapters by meal course, The Beer Lover’s Table is built by beer style, from Sours & Saisons to Dark Beers, and provide at least three beers for pairing with each recipe.

Any attempt at a quick perusal of the book will be foiled by the titles of the dishes and their associated photographs, which invite you to sit and read more, and lead you to imagine yourself hosting a beer pairing dinner where you serve Vietnamese Pork Belly with Noodles, Frizzled Shallots and Watermelon Salad, paired with a Bavarian Pilsner like Victory “Prima Pils.”   Other pairings that jump off the pages include Dutch Baby Pancake, Strawberry Compote, and Whipped Basil Cream paired with 21st Amendment “Hell or High Watermelon,” Schlafly “Raspberry Hefeweizen,” or Two Roads “Road Jam;” or Shawarma-spiced Cauliflower with Pomegranate and Tahini Sauce paired with Dogfish Head “Carobock” or Ayinger “Urweisse.”  

Interlaced within the recipes are helpful articles on hop varieties, beer style descriptions, pairing tips and overviews of the authors’s favorite breweries.  Available on Amazon for around $13, The Beer Lover’s Table is a fantastic addition to the library of those craft beer fans who appreciate the magic of a perfectly paired beer and meal, and is a great gift idea!  


The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved