It’s Hip to be Beer


Why does everyone talk about beer so much these days?

Why does everyone feel the need to decorate their cans and bottles so much these days?

And open so many trendy places to drink beer these days?

I think the simple answer to this question is…

img_4052I’ve stopped asking why and started enjoying.

Beer drinking in Germany and Czech was delicious. But beer drinking at home has been delicious… and fun. A real adventure, full of interesting names, colorful labels, craftsmanship, and long discussions.

Gone are the days of playing Spades and consuming countless MGD’s until the wee hours of the morning. Those days have been replaced with a Happy Hour of menu reading, seasonal favorites, lectures from the bartender/brewer, and an overall austerity to the ritual of imbibing.

There were many breweries and pubs that delighted me for the short time that I lived in El Paso. And now that we are living in PA, I am finding the same joys. I recently spent a lovely, early evening at Chatty Monks in West Reading, PA.

Named a Top50 brewpub Nationwide and Top10 brewpub in the NorthEast by, Chatty Monks has everything we spoiled Americans have come to expect of a main street bar…small batch beer, a menu of to-die-for-pub-fare, and patrons wearing beards and suspenders, but no dirt under their fingernails.

img_4044Like most of our nation’s newest brewpubs, Chatty Monks was begun by four guys that like to drink beer that decided to make beer. They spent every weekend brewing in their kitchen until the beer got so good the people came calling. Eventually it became clear they needed a tasting room outside of their home. It was, and still is, outstanding craft beer made with the highest level of integrity and craftsmenship.

The vibe is Belgium inspired. They’ve got nine beers on tap. I enjoyed the PA Harvest Saison which is described as a Pennsylvania grain saison made with pale ale malt, malted oats, malted wheat, and spelt. Hopped with magnum, azacca and mosaic.

As the weather cools off I look forward to going back to Chatty Monks for live music and a sip of the Thelonius Milk Stout. They claim that like the great jazz musician the milk stout is complex and innovative. An American sweet stout made with natural milk sugars, chocolate malt, dark roasted, flattened barley and American pale malt. The taste is full of melody, rich on the palate with hints of coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a little twist of sweetness.


Um. Yea.

And, for what it’s worth, I would love any recommendations of great breweries and pubs to try while I am still in the area. Thanks.