Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Final Farewell

The early evening was swelteringly hot, but a crowd of us dutifully gathered for a Philly-area memorial to our departed friend and colleague Gary Bredbenner at the Grey Lodge on Tuesday night. Some of his IBM co-workers were in attendance, and a large number of Grey Lodge regulars, beer tour friends and Dangerous Dining Club eaters, all of whom knew Gary from just his comeraderie alone. We framed the picture above in a simple gold frame, sat it next to a big bouquet of zinnias and wildflowers that reminded me of Gary's often wild beard. We all grabbed pints of good beer and slices of rarely-seen Grey Lodge tomato pie, spinach and tomato pie and chicken quesadillas.

We started with a few moments of silence to remember our dear friend. Then I muddled and puddled through a kind of eulogy for Gary, read a surprise letter of condolence from Philly Mayor Michael Nutter, and before toasting him for the first of many times, let everyone know that the framed photo of Gary would be hung in the Grey Lodge, so that everyone could stop in and have a few good brews with him whenever they wanted. Class act that Scoats, keeping our friend's beaming, cherubic memory alive at his place for as long as possible.

Close friend Dan Cosper spoke next, telling a sweet and simple story of how he annointed Gary with the jokey monniker "Evil Fat Man." You could have heard a pin drop.

Beer writer Lew Bryson, read from his online report of Gary's funeral and wake in Danville and Berwick, PA, his voice cracking during the passages that brought tears to all of our eyes, unforgetable emotional moments.

And then we toasted him, toasted Gary for all we were worth, again and again, and ate the very good food of the Grey Lodge, the red curry mussels, red and white fries, cheesesteaks and hot wings, fish and chips and chicken fingers, burgers and fish sandwiches. My twins, Ben and Sophie ate and ran around and lightened the mood, sat on the bar, and even got a few pony rides on Scoats' and Katie Loeb's knees.

There were plenty of warm handshakes, hugs and kisses, and then we left, warmed by the very good food and drink, and especially by Gary's spirit in the Grey Lodge that night.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Correct Gift for a 13th Anniversary? BEER!

Well, there ain't no party like a Grey Lodge party, 'cause a Grey Lodge party never stops!

Scoats pulled out ALL the stops to celebrate the seminal anniversary of the place, its 13th. With 12 "events" in 13 straight hours. I made it for the tail end of the Victory-Phillies event, with perky Tracy from Victory calling out raffle winners. Then it was on to the Grey Lodge's Bar Mitzvah, with a "Pin The Yarmulke On The Boy's Head" game outside on the sidewalk, cake for everyone (and it was GOOD cake too!), and a decent reading from a fine young man.

Sixpoint beers from Brooklyn appeared at the 6PM hour, I enjoyed a quick pint of their pale ale and I was gone, back to Lawrenceville to rescue my kids from the swim club.

But I did get to catch up with so many folks I just don't get to see enough: the Smithsons, Eric Louden, John Denver Pat, Chaz, Doozer, Lew Bryson, Frank the Tank behind the bar, and so many more. All that was missing was Gary. We all said that.

Congrats Scoats, Pat, Maureen, your hard-working staff, and all your loyal followers (that includes me!). Nobody works harder to make a place more unpredictably fun than you do.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gary's Philly Memorial

We're putting the finishing touches on the Memorial Service for our dear friend Gary Bredbenner at the Grey Lodge Public House on August 18 at 6:30. Several of us will speak; Lew Bryson will read from his touchingly brilliant telling of Gary's burial and wake, and we'll be enjoying some very good stories, food and drink in Gary's memory. I hope you can join us.

You can RSVP here, or just show up if you'd prefer. Sorta like Gary would.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Philly's City Paper's Meal Ticket had this item today, and I couldn't resist. One of the most romantic beer bar/restaurants on earth, Bridgid's, (24th & Meredith Sts.) has what they believe to be the last known keg of Brewery Ommegang's 2009 Inauguration Ale, otherwise popularly known as "Obamagang", and they'll be tapping the stuff tomorrow, August 4, on the occasion of the Prez's 48th birthday.

With hints of chocolate and kriek (cherries), this ale surely sounds delicious, and I've got to figure a way to wangle myself out of the house to grab a pint or two. Bridgid's will even be serving a slice of birthday cake to anyone who orders a pint. Woo-hoo!

Any clever ideas on how I can talk my way out of the house tomorrow night for a few hours at Bridgid's? Winner gets a pint or two on me!

Lucky 13

13 means a lot of different things to different people, but at my favorite beer bar, the Grey Lodge, in Philly, it's a lucky number. I don't know why, and I'm afraid to ask.

But I am excited to report that the Lodge is pulling out every conceivable stop to celebrate their 13th Anniversary, which falls on August 13. But because it's the Grey Lodge, they're gonna pull out all those stops on August 15.

Don't ask.

But again, because it's the Grey Lodge, the celebration is worth an extra two days' wait. Just take a look at THIS!
They always know how to throw a party at the Grey Lodge.