I had been meaning to go to this place for months, having read so much about it in the Ale Street News, Mid Atlantic Brewing news, etc. Heavyweight Brewing veterans Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver have created a really wonderful local food and beer experience just south of Chestnut Hill at the “Earth”. This place is beautiful inside, and just seems to fit into the neighborhood but filled with inspiration. The spirit of the establishment is local “slow food”, sustainability and real home cooking quality and freshness.
Tom makes one-time only batches of exquisite beer from his 7 bbl system that range from “session” low alcohol recipes like the current Coffee Stout to a few “big beers” like the fabulous “Cliché” on tap for our visit. Cliché (“hopping on the band wagon” they say”) is a sweetly citrus hoppy IPA @ 7.2% ABV. “I like malty beers” Tom told me, “but I don’t see why I should brew the same recipe twice. I may brew the same style but I will always vary the recipe”. I asked Peggy about brewing up some lagers, but she said “you know how they take much longer to brew, we made up a batch and it gunned up the works for a while”. Tom talked about his Kolsh which was about to make an appearance as “a basically boring beer” he called it. Well, I tasted it, and apparently I like boredom.
Peggy says they are committed to focusing on their flatbread offerings – which some people think of as pizza – but are far more delicious. “I want people to really taste the bread, as it is an important part of the food”. We had a wonderful flatbread pesto creation with heirloom tomatoes (Peggy told us that they get as many vegetables from the local arboretum as they can) with our 20oz Cliché’s. The corn avocado gazpacho was brimming with flavorful fresh veggies.
This is a must go for all beer (and natural food) enthusiasts – family friendly and large enough to seat close to 100 with it’s bright and expansive upstairs dining room. You’ll have to wait until 4:30pm though – as they aren’t open for lunch – but it’s well worth the wait. With any luck you’ll get a chance to chat with Peggy and Tom, and share in the warmth that they are creating there with their food, beer and friendliness.
Visit them online: Here