AC Beer Festival: Of Malts and Mustaches

First, I’ve gotta give a huge shoutout to Yelp for being my number one benefactor since I’ve moved to Philadelphia. From Yelp Elite events to gifting me tickets that they raffled off for the Philly Geek Awards to introducing me to new friends, Yelp Philadelphia (and Michelle, specifically, my lovely community manager) has just welcomed  me with open arms. And, since all I do is win (win win, no matter what), I won a pair of tickets to the AC Beer Festival from my beloved Yelp.

Upon my winning, I did what any social media maven would’ve done. I decided to see if I could upgrade this (already incredible) experience. I bragged about what a great beer drinker I was on the festival’s facebook page and, shortly before my Friday Festival trip, was informed that I’d be able to do some judging during the festival. Beer AND judging things?

Heaven.

I scampered up the AC Expressway with a friend of mine, a beer festival newbie, touting how much fun we were going to have. Oh, and reminding him that he’d need to find something to do with his time while I judged. I grabbed the tickets and was shuttled over to my station.

Let's do this thing.

Let’s do this thing.

We were given SUPER strict rules. We couldn’t leave our station at all during the judging. We couldn’t wear lipstick (not so much a problem for me and my bearded cohorts, but good to know), we couldn’t know which beers we were tasting (only the styles), and we couldn’t have non-judges into the judging area.

So much judgment.

Serious business.

Though they had us slated to do 5 categories, it was obvious after the first two we’d be cutting it close on timing, so we cut off after 3. Luckily for me, since I was not accustomed to having beers brought to ME during a festival, and 30 tiny tastings add up fast.

The categories I got to taste were American and Canadian Lagers, Amber Ales, and NJ brewed (my favorite, two coffee stouts, DELISH!)

Don't let the grin fool you, I was pretty harsh.

Don’t let the grin fool you, I was pretty harsh.

After a bit of phone confusion, I found my buddy. Only something was missing….. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. And then I looked down.

Real men wear kilts?

Real men wear kilts?

When I’d left him, he was wearing trousers. And somewhere in that hour and a half, he’d traded in for a utilikilt.

I have no understanding of men’s fashion, so I’m sure he knew what he was doing. I was ready, however, for some beers.

Like this one:

WINTER IS COMING!!

WINTER IS COMING!!

I’d been itching to check this beer in on Untappd since I’d heard it was coming out. And, while it wasn’t my favorite (never been too partial to blonde ales), it very much got my hyped up. And before you knew it, I was armed and ready for the rest of beer fest.

Yup, that's a harpoon. And yes, they made me give it back shortly after this.

Yup, that’s a harpoon. And yes, they made me give it back shortly after this.

I’ll admit, I’d been a little spoiled by my last beer festival.  You know, just a little something called the Great American Beer Festival. So when I got to Atlantic City’s Convention Center, I was overwhelmed. Maybe it was the prevalence of semi-nude promo girls (sorry, no pictures of them. Felt too creepy.). Maybe it was the smaller scale with a chaotic vibe. Maybe it was that there seemed to be no organization to the booths (GABF was organized by region. And it was AMAZING.) Luckily, there was one thing that was NOT lacking in AC.

BEARDIES!!

BEARDIES!!

AC’s Beer Festival was jam-packed with men rocking some incredible beards and even MORE fantastic mustaches. In fact, the Garden State Beard and Mustache Society seemed to be a major sponsor (I love that that’s a real society.) We had a blast. I enjoyed the HELL out of Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron Randallized through coconut. Basically, falling in true love with the DFH pourers, generally speaking. And, after prancing about, listening to some weird music, drinking all the beers, and taking a cab back to Ocean City, it was quick to sleep.  Luckily, I had quite the treat waiting in the morning….

Brown's Donuts

Brown’s Donuts

I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to wake up than the dreamiest of all foods I know.

AC Beer Fest, you’re A-okay with me. I hope to see you next year.

 

 

 

Yelp Philly’s Freedom to Party

Sickness, school, and sleep have really gotten in the way of me writing this post (doesn’t my life sound fabulous?), so it’s about a week late. But that comes with the territory, right? The grad school territory, the cold season territory, the winter in Philly territory… I feel like a hibernating bear. But I did manage to come out of my lady cave for a few choice hours last week to head over to Revolution House in Old City for Yelp Philly’s Freedom to Party!!

Yelp goes hard in the paint.

I brought my pal Martha after her demonstration of being an excellent +1 at the Confections and Cocktails party at Williams-Sonoma and, moments after we hopped off the El, we rolled into Revolution House. Once inside, we were treated like VIPs (VIY[elpers]?) as we enjoyed some of the finest food and drink that Revolution House had to offer.

Rev Dog - beef hot dog, guacamolesweet & sour peppers,  cheddar cheese, carmelized onions

Rev Dog – beef hot dog, guacamole
sweet & sour peppers, cheddar cheese, carmelized onions

 

Pizza and Beer - My kind of joint

Pizza and Beer – My kind of joint

IMG_8710

Sexy Sangria

Other than just a-MAH-zing food and drink (seriously, those Rev Dog bites were decadent), this event had it all. Feats of strength (watching Chef Luca lift trays full of salmon), excitement (As the sandwich chalk-board tumbles towards us all, imminent doom looming, will we be saved?!), laughing, crying (don’t worry, it was just from laughing), chills (from icy cold beers), heat (from the dreamiest heat lamps known to mankind), and, of course, the gorgeous movers and shakers of Philadelphia’s chosen ones: The Yelp Elite. I’ll admit, before this event, I’d only ogled Revolution House as I walked to various bars in Old City, assuming it was just some restaurant. How wrong I was….

You know what you can’t see from walking past Revolution House? THE HEATED ROOF DECK!!

Is there anything better than a nice warm deck on a chilly Autumn night?

I submit that there is not.

IMG_8734

Don’t mind the bushy brows, I’m channeling my inner Frida.

From a champagne toast to start the night to a decadent Winter warmer of boozy cider, Revolution House brought out the heavy hitters.  The tiny ladies pouring the wines and beers downstairs were an ABSOLUTE JOY, and started my night off the right way. But, as things started dying down in the bottom of Revolution House, I wondered what mysteries awaited me upstairs. I followed a tray of crab canolis (the only dish that I tried which didn’t excite my palate and awaken all of my other senses like a rapturous alarm clock inviting everyone to the party) up the stairs and was excited to see even more treats.

Gimme that fishy!!

Gimme that fishy!!

And, despite Martha spilling and making a GIANT MESS (tsk tsik), we both left full of the holiday spirit (or holiday spirits? Jeez, there were a lot of bevvies….) It was a glorious way to celebrate the end of my FIRST HALF of final projects. But don’t worry, there’s plenty more finals where those came from…. guess I’ll have to head back to Revolution House for their Mad Elf/Mad Dreams party next Friday. Shucks….

Tiniest tenders ever.

Tiniest tenders ever.

Thank you, Revolution House and Yelp Philly. You sure know how to show a girl a good time.

Off to study. Or nurse this cup of Theraflu…

What’s your favorite type of bar to hit up during those chilly winter nights?!

 

The Bracket Jump Birthday

On Thursday night, after being in a car for approximately 18 of the previous 48 hours and sending my baby brother off to college, I found myself a little weepy. Maybe I was a bit grouchy, my emotions were running fairly high, and I was exhausted. This, as everyone knows, is an ideal time to have a quarter life crisis.

Jealous of my Ugly Cry?

Since my 18th birthday, I’ve always been one of those chicks that makes her birthday a national holiday. Whether it’s jumping out of a plane, having a “That’s So Jordan” themed party, or dragging my buddies to a food and craft beer tour-de-Raleigh, I make sure my birthday is a true celebration. But, being in a new, unfamiliar city and knowing very few folks with whom I could celebrate, I was feeling a bit lost. I also couldn’t get the “bracket jump” out of my mind. No longer was I going to fall in that “18-24” age group. Nope, I was shifting into the “25-29” bracket. It seemed symbolic of some big change, which is ridiculous and very demonstrative of how I read far too much into things. Whatever it was, I was not my typical JOYFUL JORDAN.

Then, I woke up on Friday morning (August 24th, the day of my birth 25 years ago) to my mom BLASTING 50 Cent’s iconic “In Da Club”, with the telltale lyrics:

Go, go, go, go
Go, go, go, shawty
‘Cause it’s your birthday
We gon’ party like it’s yo birthday
We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s your birthday
And you know we don’t give a ****
It’s not your birthday!

She danced into the room, and any fears of a bland, “blah” birthday where whisked out of my mind.

We U-Hauled the last of my junk into the apartment and I was on my own for the day.  I headed to one of my favorite spots in the city, the PHS Pop-Up Garden by Rittenhouse Square.

Rainbow in the garden!

I nabbed some free chips and salsa and learned how to make Chipotle’s tomato salsa (which I’m attempting later today), and then grabbed something I’ve been dying to try for a while.

Little Baby’s Ice Cream!

Ever since being scarred for life by their (viral and terrifying) commercial (you’ve been warned), I was itching to get some of the good stuff (though preferably not scooped from someone’s skull.)

Sweet treats and reads

This chai snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich filled with coconut chai (non-dairy) ice cream was much more my style, and I toted it along to the book store for a bit of light (re)reading.

After getting through a serious chunk of the book (and demolishing the sandwich), I decided I wanted some pampering and some girl time.

Burt’s Bees and Say Yes to the Dress: Match made in Heaven.

Scandalous! (I was wearing a towel, I promise.)

I wasn’t trying to star in an off-Broadway performance of the 1997 classic, Face/Off (tempting as that sounds), just enjoying a cooling Cucumber Aloe mask. It was just what I needed before I left the pampering to someone else.

Enter: Nail Bar. Simple concept. Salon, offering manis, pedis, and complimentary bevvies!!

All I need in this life.

Thanks, random stranger, for snapping my picture!

I came out with a sparkle on my nails and some bubbly in my belly. But, other than the ice cream sandwich and some cereal earlier, I didn’t have too much else in my belly.

YELP ELITE TO THE RESCUE!

Sweet spread, right?

Yelp’s Great American Happy Hour, hosted by ING Cafe, was my very first Yelp Elite event, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

I considered the whole night a surprise party for me. The surprise, of course, was for Yelp, who didn’t know they were sponsoring my party!

There were delicious Underdogs (which, as I already mentioned, I’m a huge fan of…)

Dog bonanza!

My favorite was the My Thai (with spicy peanut sauce and green papaya slaw), and I even tried the mustardy Chicago style. Delicious, despite the fact that I am not a fan of mustard.

I got a chance to meet some new folks and, surprise surprise, there were two other birthday babes at the party.  Despite the event limiting attendance only to the Yelp Elites, it didn’t feel elitist at all, and I was so amped to get myself out there and meet new people.  For a social butterfly like me, an event like this is the ultimate adrenaline rush, so I jumped at the chance to join the after party at Devil’s Alley for a baby flight of beers.

Yummy x 4

Maggie M. and I, the birthday girls!

I rounded out the night the only way that made sense… My beau, a bottle of Epic Brewing’s Big Bad Breakfast Stout, and a pint of Butterfinger ice cream.  And was treated to this little present when I checked in on Untappd:

DOUBLE BADGED!

500 unique beers? That makes me LEGEN (wait for it…………..) DARY!

I went to sleep with a buzz, not just from the booze (though that helped), but from a night spent with new friends and the love of my life. And though it was DEFINITELY a little different from some previous birthdays (Tequila balls and feather boas, anyone?), it was a successful bracket jump. And maybe I’ll get a little silly tonight with Krissie… Who’s to say I can’t celebrate twice?

And there’s nothing in the rule book that says a 25 (or 46) year old can’t wear a tiara on her birthday…