Q&A: Lew Bryson

The Main Line’s own 2008 Michael Jackson Beer Journalism Award winner
By Dawn E. Warden

MLT: How well do local restaurants educate consumers on beer-and-food pairings?
LB: I think it varies a lot, unfortunately, although it’s come a long way. The best places to go, still, are brewpubs—Iron Hill, in particular, does a great job—and a few specialty restaurants like Teresa’s Next Door and Monk’s Cafe. Actually, I’m very impressed by Iron Hill’s server training, the coordination between chefs and brewers, and the constant parade of beer-and-food pairings on the menu.

MLT: Can I twist your arm for your current top five?
LB: Sure, as long as I can make the caveat that these are unranked. Local beers: Sly Fox’s O’Reilly’s Stout, Victory’s Yakima Twilight, Iron Hill’s Pig Iron Porter, Stoudt’s Pils, and Rock Bottom’s Prussia’s Pride IPA. (An aside here: Rock Bottom’s Brian McConnell may be the most underappreciated brewer in the area. He’s awesome). Local beer bars, on a combination of beer selection and “bar-ness”: Monk’s Cafe, Teresa’s Next Door, Memphis Taproom, Drafting Room in Exton, and Standard Tap.

MLT: How should a newbie attack Philly Beer Week?
LB: Dive in. There are some big events like the opening fest, the real ale fest, and the big craft beer fest: pick one and enjoy the crowd. But get some of the smaller events, too: the meet-the-brewer nights at various places, events that focus on one particular type of beer or brewing area, and the beer dinners. That’s where you’ve got the chance to learn something about the beverage we all love so much, and that will make the enjoyment that much more rich for you. The more you know, they say, the better it tastes—because you know what to look for.

For the rest of the interview click here.