Joe Sixpack: Great locations to sample beer during the Labor Day weekend

Cannstatter Volksfest hosts one of the best beer fests in the region, with lots of food, dancing, entertainment and liters of lager.
Cannstatter Volksfest hosts one of the best beer fests in the region, with lots of food, dancing, entertainment and liters of lager.
Posted: August 31, 2012

YOU'VE BEEN a sloth all summer, letting your mate grill the burgers while you drink beer on the deck. Before the summer is gone, you owe it to yourself to get out and see the world, expand your horizons.

In other words, go drink beer somewhere else.

Here's a bunch of destinations on the last holiday weekend of the season.

Around town

Old Eagle Tavern (177 Markle St., at Terrace). Quick, before the college kids return for the fall semester, head over to Manayunk and grab a rare parking space. Owners Scott and Erin Wallace are big movie fans with a sense of humor, so they often show free films that somehow tie into a special beer. (Once they screened hours of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny cartoons while pouring dark beer from Duck-Rabbit Brewing.)

Thursday night, they're showing "Rocky III" with, wait . . . wait . . . Rye of the Tiger, a rye beer from Great Lakes Brewing.

Cannstatter Volksfest (9130 Academy Road). The city's largest German-American club hosts one of the best beer fests in the region, with lots of food, dancing, entertainment and liters of lager. Admission is just $6 (authentic German dishes and beer à la carte), and kids under 12 are free. Saturday through Monday.

Barcade (1114 Frankford Ave.). Just below I-95 in still-gritty Fishtown, this Brooklyn, N.Y.-born outpost has been quietly showing off some awesome taps since it opened earlier this year. Which is surprising, because that backroom - loaded with 1980s arcade games - can get kinda noisy.

Thursday night, they're featuring 10 taps from San Diego's Ballast Point, including its famed Sculpin IPA spiced with habanero peppers.

The Beer Yard (218 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne). You never need an excuse to visit this Main Line mainstay. But on Saturday, you'll want to take the short drive with your pooch for an afternoon Delaware County SPCA fund-raiser.

They'll pour samples of Troegs beer and serve hot food from the grill. Grab a case of Troegs, and they'll donate $5 to the animal group. Head to nearby Teresa's Next Door (124 N. Wayne Ave.), and they'll donate 10 percent of your check to the Delco group.

Down the Shore

Beer for the Arts (Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, 908 Shore Road, Somers Point, N.J.). This fund-raiser for the Atlantic City Ballet Co. was postponed when thunderstorms earlier this summer ripped through the Shore. It'll come off Saturday with a nice lineup of beers from Unibroue, Allagash, Tuckahoe, Harpoon, Yards and more. Tix $45. acballet.ticketleap.com/beer-for-the-arts.

Cape May Brewing (1288 Hornet Road, Cape May, N.J.). One of the area's newer breweries offers an up-close look at small-scale brewing every Saturday afternoon. Get a free tour and samples. Bring a couple of growlers to take some home.

BBQ & Craft Beer Festival (Monmouth Park, Oceanport, N.J.). Some of Jersey's best BBQ-ers will show off their pit cred. Wash it down with a visit to the beer garden, where they'll pour Flying Fish, Long Trail, Spaten and more. Saturday and Sunday.

One-hour drive

Spinnerstown Hotel (2195 Spinnerstown Road, Spinnerstown). Spinnerstown is one of those tiny Bucks County villages that you'd have no reason to know about if it weren't for John and Susan Dale. They're the third-generation partners who updated this rambling hotel, gave it a fresh menu and stocked the bar with a gazillion beers.

Yes, it's in the middle of nowhere, but nowhere happens to be just five minutes off of the Quakertown exit of I-476 (Northeast Extension).

It's closed on Sundays, so plan to get there Friday when they'll pour a Dogfish Head Burton Baton through a hop-filled canister known as Randall the Enamel Animal.

Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny (546 Manatawny Road, Boyertown). Another gem in the country, this quiet English-style restaurant sits just above the Manatawny Creek. Enjoy an outstanding selection of drafts and bottles with grilled food on an outdoor patio. On Sunday nights, there's live music on the lawn. (Reservations encouraged.)

A bit farther

Belgian Beer Weekend (Grand Place, Brussels). They don't celebrate Labor Day in Belgium. Instead, Brussels' huge town square is turned into a massive beer fest with scores of beers from the tiny nation's famed breweries.

Among other highlights, it features the enthronement ceremony of the Knighthood of the Brewers' Mashtaff in the Brussels Town Hall. (Several Philadelphians have received the honor for their support of Belgian beer.)

If you've spent the entire summer on your keister, I doubt you'll have the energy to make a spur-of-the-moment flight. Consider this early warning for 2013.


"Joe Sixpack" is by Don Russell, director of Philly Beer Week. For more on the beer scene, sign up for his weekly email update at joesixpack.net. E-mail: joesixpack@phillynews.com.

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