Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pallets Of Straub's In Philly

One of my resolutions is to explore Philly more often. For living roughly an hour from the city I sure haven't done much there.

So, a daytrip led to some adventures and memories.

I was driving down a street and looked over and saw this pallet of Straub's sitting by the roadway. Mmmm, Straub's!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

At The Mercy Of Frontpage 2003

Last Sunday my Sony Vaio took a dump. Dead. DOA. Sadly, a brand new 400gb external hard drive sat nearby - unused. I was going to backup my whole hard drive - tomorrow. Arrrgh.

I rushed out and bought a new computer but its been next to IMPOSSIBLE to find a copy of Frontpage2003 - the program that I use to do website maintenance.

So, this website has been unmaintained for almost 2 weeks.

Thankfully, a friend will be hooking me up on 12/13 and I should be back in business!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Barleyjuice - More Excellence

Last evening BARLEYJUICE played at the Maryland Irish Festival in Timonium.

"The Largest Celtic Festival In The US That Is Under One Roof" had free parking and $10 admission.

I thought the crowd was light but the threat of the season's first snow probably kept some people home and many more were probably waiting until today.

Barleyjuice's section was pretty full - many die-hard fans and a bunch from Philly. Their show, as I expected, was excellent. The songs from their new album were equally good and of course their signature song, "Whats Up Yours", has everyone cheering.

The more I hear this band the more I like them.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Tomorrow I am going to sit down and watch football and contemplate the criteria I use to evaluate pubs and especially how I look at barmaids and staff.

Earlier today I stopped at a local watering hole.

Sat at the bar and ordered my beverage and the barmaid squinched up her face and uttered, "huh!??". No "excuse me" or "say that again" but a primal "huh!??".

A few minutes later some guys ask her about changing the lighting where they were going to sit and she again grunted her "huh!??".

Is it wrong that I expect a literate, interested barmaid or bartender?

Isn't tending bar a perfect example of a service job?

If I receive correspondence asking me to invest in an automated barmaid machine I swear I will send some money.

Do bar owners hire people and then give them absolutely ZERO guidance on how to treat people?

Do regulars tip well enough that she has no incentive to be decent to a non-regular? Aren't tips supposed to be a reward for good service?

This situation always bugs me and it never gets any better.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"Suds & Dregs"

I didn't grow up in Berks County. I was born and raised not too far away but it wasn't here.

When I first launched I soon learned of a legendary book by "Suds & Dregs", two school teachers in Reading who wrote a small book on local taprooms.

Someone even called me a "modern day reincarnation" of them or something to that effect.

Because their books were printed locally and in the pre-Amazon days - they aren't something you can just hop online and buy.

I found a copy for sale the historical society and bought it but misplaced it before I read it. Then I found it but didn't want to read the reviews for fear of tainting my thoughts.

Well, I sat down the other day and read it from cover to cover. Holy cow!! My thoughts on bars are a LOT like theirs. So much in some cases that it may seem like I plagiarized. I did not.

One fact that struck me:

Reading city bars: 1975: 133 1988: 109

Berks County bars: 1975: 238 1988: "just over 200"

I will try to find out how many still remain in 2007.

I do know that VERY few of the named taverns ring a bell with me. They have either folded or been renamed.

Sadly, the book doesnt list exact street addresses for the bars they reviewed. This is one reason why I list exact addresses and try to post GPS coordinates.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Makin' The Paper

A few days ago I got an email from Ad Crable, a reporter with the Lancaster New Era.

He had stumbled across and was interested in writing an article about the project.

Having been burned by the media in the past but also intrigued what would happen if it did run - I contacted him.

Thankfully, he appears to be a guy with high journalistic integrity.

He had obviously read the Lancaster County section and asked pertinent questions. I pretty quickly felt at ease with his motives.

The piece will run in the New Era on Monday October 29th 2007.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Green Lane Irish Festival 2007

I had never heard of the Green Lane Scottish Irish Festival until I read a myspace bulletin posted by the band Barleyjuice. Even then, I assumed that its "Montgomery County" location would be somewhere urban.

When I looked at a map I realized that it wasn't too far from Reading and quickly made plans to attend. This one is the 8th year and appears to be the first time they have tried a three day run.
The 2006 edition brought out 130,000 people. Thats a lot.

The festival surrounds two sides of a large lake and you really need to allow an entire day to explore the vendors, music, demonstrations, games,etc.

Our main mission was to hear Barleyjuice. Not seeing any signs prohibiting alcohol we carried a plastic cooler to our campchair spot and were about to enjoy some bottles of cold, delicious Reading Beer when we realized that NOBODY was drinking beer. NONE. At a celtic festival.


So, we got some paper cups and kept it low key and nobody complained and we had a great time. I bought a $25 Guinness rugby ball and a $7 Jameson bar towel. I only have the vendors I saw about 20% of the time they deserved as there was a great variety of quality goods.

The band was excellent as was Burning Brigette Cleary. I did catch the obvious bust in one of their songs when they asked the crowd to "raise your water bottles".

The amateurish website ( ) says there are 60 campsites available but all were taken. I think it would be a complete blast to camp here.

I highly recommend this event. Just bring your own beer and be careful or drink in the nearby grassy parking lot. There are a zillion kids here so careful discretion, as anywhere, is a must.

Good job to all who organized this one. Put a bit more effort into your website but other than that it was top notch.