First Visit: Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery

Before our joining in the pre-opening party at Conshohocken Brewing on Saturday past, my traveling companions and I swung by Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery in Lafayette Hill , my first visit since they opened. That historic old building is really weirdly set up for a restaurant/bar, but I love the place and am happy to see it back on the social scene.

Fine bartender Michael Sky

Fine bartender Michael Sky

There were 17, count ‘em, 17 of Scott Morrison’s beers on draught (they’ve got 30 taps) and a few guest brews as well. I immediately asked for a pint of Grisette, one of my favorite styles, and it was as solid and perfect as you’d expect from a brewer renowned for his farmhouse brews. So pleased was I, and because I had brought along a Hydroflask growler and thus had no concern about its contents getting warm, I had fine bartender Michael Sky fill it with Grisette before I was halfway through the pint. Probably just as well because I moved on to the Spring Saison from there and would hate to have spent the rest of the visit debating with myself about which should come home with me. I don’t recall which beers Rubeo and Foley had but they too were more than happy. We also shared an excellent small plate of spicy hummus and grilled pita.

Mr. Sky (that’s his stage name) is a singer/songwriter and one of the founders of Sys2matik Ovrl0ad, a Goth pop, Electro Industrial, EBM band (I am most old and have no idea what many of those terms mean, just sayin’). When I tried to quiz him about his life when he’s not behind the bar, he demurred, saying that when he was worked at Barren Hill his job is to serve the customers, not promote his band. Of course, I came home and used the internets to find out more anyway but it was kinda nice to talk with such an idealist employee. I’m sure his employer appreciates it.

And speaking of the boss (segueing here because that’s what us clever writer do), I had a chance to chat with Erin Wallace, who also owns Devil’s Den in South Philly and the Old Eagle Tavern in Manayunk (where Morrison’s beers are also featured), for the first time. She said things are going well but the weather made it a rough winter, admitting that she has the skewed viewpoint of a city publican. There is nothing as much fun as wandering the city streets in a big snowstorm and popping into neighborhood bars, most of which are hopping with locals of a similar mindset.

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