Monday, March 21, 2016

Crime & Punishment & pass the pierogi (Philly's newest)

     Start with a section of an old city called Brewerytown--a nickname bestowed in the 19th century when this section on Philadelphia's north side had over ten breweries; all gone for many decades now. Bring in a couple guys with some new ideas in brewing and some background in eastern Europe, Poland and Russia particularly.
That's the story of Crime & Punishment Brewing, working out of this storefront on the Girard Ave. trolley line with a seven-barrel brewhouse and an adventurous menu. A couple of brewers, Mike Wambolt and Mike Paul, started this business last July along with Denny Grivjack, who runs the wee kitchen and turns out pierogi and pelmeni dumplings, kielbasa sandwiches, and a variety of pickles of Polish and other styles. The dumplings come with sour cream and fresh dill and are the real deal.
    But food is there to enhance the taste of beer, as we true believers all know.  The two Mikes appear to have a rotation, so they come back to
some favorites, like the Grodziskie Inquisitor, a soured oak-smoked wheat beer from Poland.  This was in production when I stopped by, so I will have to call on these guys again. The tap list last week had some unusual names, like Baikal Insurrection, a Belgian strong dark ale (10.2% abv), named for a breakout of some seven hundred political prisoners from a Siberian gulag in 1866. and the Indecent Exposure, a pale made with a rotating single hop--Mosaic this time, Amarillo will be the next one hop.  "The exposure, decent or not, is to showcase what different hops do all by themselves," Mike Wambolt told me. "A lot of recipes throw three or four hops into the boil and no one gets a chance to stand out."
   Disturbing the Beets is a kettle-soured ale with a hundred pounds of beets in the boil, fermented with brett yeast and coming out with a distinct beety taste, but that's a note over a complex beer (5.7% abv).

   The pub has a few tables and a bar area, with local artists on display in the front and some Russian and Polish posters on the walls back toward the brewing area.  As the Brewerytown neighborhood gentrifies, becomes more trendy, it seems a safe bet that an unusual, adventurous brewery like this will become a big hit in years to come.

(Visited 03/17/16)

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