Friday, May 20, 2011

Philly Beer Geek Contest at Time Restaurant

As I said in my previous post, my loss in the Philly Beer Geek contest by one point at the POPE led me to try again on Wednesday at Time Restaurant.  It was being held at 6pm and Time is pretty close to my office so I figured why not give it one more try.  I arrived around 5:45 and was the first person to express interest.  I met the General Manager, Terry, and a couple of the bartenders and they were all incredibly nice.  This time the contest was being run by Terry so it was a little less formal than Monday.  It turned out he had just found out about the whole Philly Beer Geek thing, thought it would be a good way to bring some people to the bar, and so only signed up a couple weeks ago or so.  And, hey, it got me to the bar so he sort of succeeded, I guess.  I just have to go win it for him and then he'll get some press.  At about 6:30 he managed to get a couple more people into the bar for the contest and we got started a few minutes later with about 4 or 5 of us participating.

The format for his prelim round was similar to Monday's but was only three rounds instead of four.  However, his questions were far more difficult and much more in line with what I expected from a beer geek competition.  The first round was general trivia with about half being Philly area questions and half just general beer knowledge.  For example, do you know when Monk's opened?  Or how many Philly Beer Weeks we've had?  The second round he named a brewery and we had to name the state or country where they were situated.  Say, Duck Rabbit?  Or Left Hand?  Between the two rounds, I did pretty well getting 13 out of 20 and I was in first place by 7 points.  Round three, though, was my nemesis round, beer tastings.  He chose five different drafts and had them be worth two points each so all I needed to do was get two correct and I would win.  No pressure.  Unfortunately, just like Monday, I choked pretty hard.  However, since I was so far ahead, my one out of five managed to just win the day and so I'm moving on to the semi-finals representing Time.  I'm pretty excited, I'll be honest.  Hopefully I can do better on any tasting parts that occur next week.

While at Time, I obviously took advantage of their tap list.  If you do go, the chalk board may not be completely up to date so either ask if anything is missing or ask for a menu.  I started with a glass of Founders Porter as it isn't too strong.
The picture makes the bar look dark, but it really wasn't.  My phone's camera is just terrible without direct light.  Very good porter.  Nose was roast and chocolate.  First sip started with smooth roast, some slight notes of chocolate, and a tiny bit of vanilla or something in the finish.  As I worked my way through the glass, the roast flavors never got bitter or acrid and stayed really smooth.  Really tasty.

Up next was Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale, an American Strong Ale.
Big hoppy, piney nose.  Starts with mild pine, followed by a little bit of sweetness and finishes with a huge burst of sweet grapefruit.  The finish was by far the best part and was really different.  It's rare that I find that big grapefruit blast but without any hints of bitterness.  Another really good one from Lagunitas.

On top of having two really good beers, managing to win the prelim round made for an awesome night.  The trivia Terry created was way more interesting than the trivia on Monday as it really felt like I needed to have actual beer geek knowledge.  Sure I sucked on the beer tastings part of it again but hey I got one correct at least.  Maybe next time I can get two.  The next round is Tuesday at the Manayunk Brewery so wish me luck!


  1. Wow, Rich, congratulations! In the tasting round, are you asked to identify beers you have never tasted before or are they beers you have tried once or twice? That's tough. I can't imagine who can win this if you can't! We'll be pulling for you on Tuesday. Lycka till!

  2. The beers for the tasting were whatever the bar had on draft so it's a crapshoot. I had tried two of the 7 across the two contests but got them wrong anyway. Since it's based on the current draft list, you have some idea of what they could be but it's still difficult. Or at least for me it was. Hopefully I'll do better tomorrow.