#40: Blues Bar (Stone Town, Zanzibar) (#41)

This is the first of several entries to catch you lucky readers up with my Growler List visits. This is my 40th stop on the Growler List (#41 on their list).   I was in Africa for most of 2012 and decided to spend my New Year’s in Zanzibar.

There were several reasons, but chief among them was the desire to visit the Blues Bar.  Imagine my chagrin when I realized this place was closed… if you look closely at this photo you can see the fallen down building that used to be the Blues Bar.


Of course, I didn’t realize it was closed until I had already booked my trip.  No problem!  I knew it would be an awesome time anyway and it was.  Fantastic even.  We stopped in at Mercurys right on the beach.  This place was named in honor of Freddy Mercury who was born in Zanzibar.  The picture above was taken from the deck.  Here’s a series of photos of the place so you can see the feel is quite awesome.

DSC_0676 DSC_0679 DSC_0695 DSC_0725 DSC_0729

Great place to drink a beer … and even better when you are drinking a Gin and Tonic!  Hey, I like other things besides beer!  Although this place was spectacular, I would probably rate the sunset cruise (with beer) even better … or even the Sunset Bar at the Africa House.  Both of those were awesome!

DSC_0942 DSC_0951 Nope, not pirates … thank goodness!

What kind of beer you ask?  What everyone drinks in Africa … a lager.  Haha.  Another one off the Growler List … I will keep them coming!

Beer Mentor


Summary Update #3: All About Beers Growler List

Not sure where my mind has been the last year … but it’s time for another update on my Growler list work.  As a reminder, this list is my effort to complete the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List.”  125 best places in the world to have a beer.

From the summary — see my earlier post for explanation:

Total (actual) places visited: 50.  I visited 11 places since my last post — my brothers and my best friend joined me in Europe for a 2 week swing (that post will come soon!).  Those I’ve visited since my last post:

3) U Fleku (Prague, Czech Rep)

6) Augustiner Keller (Munich, Germany)IMG_2553

28) Zum Uerige (Dusseldorf, Germany)

37) Atelier am Dom (Cologne, Germany)

41) Blues Bar (Stone Town, Zanzibar)
[This place was closed so I substituted Mercury’s …
you can see the old Blues Bar from the Deck]

61) Krcma (Ceske Krumlov, Czech Rep)

68) Gösser Bierklinik (Vienna, Austria)

73) Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern (Bamberg, Germany)

77) Die Weisse (Salzburg, Austria)

78) Halve Maan Brewery (Bruges, Belgium)

90. Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum (Brussels, Belgium)


Place substitutions: 5

Substituting for a place no longer open: 2

That gives me a total of 50 “visited.”   Here’s the complete list of places I’ve visited …

1. Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006)
2. The Grand Place, Brussells, Belgium (2010) (2012)
3. U Fleku, Prague, Czech Republic (2012)
5. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany  (1998) (2012)
6. Augustiner Keller, Munich, Germany (2012)
7. Abbaye de Notre-Dame d’Orval, Orval, Belgium (2009) (2012)
11. Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany (1997, 1998, 2001, 2012)
12. The Brickskeller (now Bier Baron), Washington, DC (2005, 2011)
14. The Market Porter, Stoney Street, London, England (2010)
15. Cat’s Eye Pub, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD (2011)
16. Camden Yards (Baltimore) [Substitute] (2008, 2009)
19. Glengarry Highland Games Beer Tent (Maxville, Ontario) (2003, 2011) [Substitute]
22. German Bundesliga (Kaiserslautern) (1997) [Substitute]
25. World Beer Festival, Durham/Raleigh, NC (2011)
28. Zum Uerige, Dusseldorf, Germany (2012)
30. The Olde Mitre Tavern, Ely Court, Hatton Garden, London, England (2010)
31. Cowboys/Redskins, FedEx Field Sky Box (DC) (2009)
33. The Wynkoop Brewery, Denver, CO (2011)
37. Atelier am Dom, Cologne, Germany (2012)
39. The Flying Saucer, NC, SC, TN, AR and TX (2010, 2013)
41. Blues Bar, Stone Town, Zanzibar (closed) [sub: mercury’s] (2013)
44. Tailgating Frankfurt Galaxy NFL Europe Game (1996, 1997)
45. Selin’s Grove Brewing, Selinsgrove, PA (2010)
48. The Blue Tusk, Syracuse, NY (2010)
51. The White Horse Pub, Parsons Green, London, England (2010)
54. Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO (2011)
57. Andechs Monastery, Andechs, Germany (2010) (2012)
61. Krcma, Ceske Krumlov, Czech Republic (2012)
66. Delerium Café, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
68. Gösser Bierklinik, Vienna, Austria (2012)
71. Brewer’s Art, Baltimore, MD (2010)
73. Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern, Bamberg, Germany (2012)
77. Die Weisse, Salzburg, Austria (2012)
78. Halve Maan Brewery, Bruges, Belgium (2012)
80. Le Bier Circus, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
82. Irseer Klosterbrauerei, Irsee, Germany (2010) (2012)
90. Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum, Belgium  (2012)
91. Dogfish Head Ale House, Rehoboth Beach, DE (2010)
92. Belgo Centraal, London, England (2010)
97. Clark’s Ale House, Syracuse, NY (2010)
103. Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery, Key West, FL (2007)
104. Rose & Crown Pub, Epcot Center, Orlando, FL (2006)
106. Brick Store Pub, Decatur, GA (2011)
110. The Gingerman, Austin, TX (2010)
114. The Dubliner, Washington, DC (2010)
118. Top of the Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC (2011)
121. Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, DC (2010)
122. 5 Seasons Brewing, Atlanta, GA (2011)
123. Tim Schafer’s at Lake Norman, Sherrills Ford, NC
[CLOSED] Sub–In de Vrede (Belgium) (2010, 2012)
124. Stumbling Monk, Seattle. WA (2011)

More to come!   Beer Mentor

#42: Gösser Bierklinik (68)

Third entry in the “Catch Up” series.  Continuation of the report on our two-week European Beer Excursion we titled The Gypsy Beer Experience.  This link will take you to a copy of the Itinerary:The Gypsy Beer Experience

This is #4 of 18 places on the All About Beer Magazine’s Growler List we visited.  The first three were: 1) Oktoberfest (#5), 2) Hofbrau Haus (#11), and 3) Die Weisse.

This is #68 on All About Beers Growler list: Goesser Bierklinik.  You can’t go wrong with a place that’s been doing the same thing since 1683.  haha.  This was actually our last stop of the day … we started in Munich, drove through Salzburg (visited Die Weisse), visited Melk Abbey (stunning), and then attended the Mozart Concert at the Music Hall in Vienna.  It only made sense to us that we stop here for our nightcap(s).

IMG_1948 IMG_1942  IMG_1946IMG_1945

Although their beer list is short (see menu below), they were served with gusto and a lot of fun.  The food, beer, and atmosphere were all great.

IMG_1956 IMG_1957 IMG_1955 IMG_1953 IMG_1952 IMG_1950

Definitely a worthy entry on the Growler List.  Stay tuned for more updates from The Gypsy Beer Experience.

Beer Mentor


#39: The Brick Store Pub (#106)

Another stop on my way through Atlanta — the Brick Store Pub. This is my 39th stop on the Growler List (#106 on their list).

I snuck in here on 27 Nov 2011. Just a quick stop through — fantastic selection of beers! Not only great beers but served in the appropriate glasses … no wonder this is a highly rated stop on Beer Advocate.  It was very difficult to hold myself to just one (ok two)–but I had to hit the road … very cool pub and worth a stop (actually, it’s worth a detour or a planned trip).


Beer Mentor

#38: 5 seasons brewing (#122)

Went to 5 Seasons Brewing in Atlanta on the 27th of November, 2011 … I was on my way to the East Coast for some training … and since it was on the way!  haha.  This is listed as location number 122 on All About Beers growler list (see previous post)–it is #38 on the list for me.  This location is the original — I think there are now 3 “5 Seasons Brewing” locations in Atlanta.

As I stated, I was passing through — you can see that my car actually fit in their parking garage!  Sweet …

Once out of the parking garage, you have a nice view of the interesting entrance into the “Brewery.”


Since I was driving I had to limit myself to the sampler … nice selection of beers.  I sat at the bar–I really liked the way they had their bar set up — good looking taps.  All of the beers were fresh tasting with no off-flavors from infected lines.  That’s always a plus!


Of course, you can’t just drink the beer … you’ve got to sample the menu too!  I did and it, too, was very good.  I highly recommend this place if you are passing through Atlanta.  The staff were very nice, their menu items were very palatable (I had the alligator eggrolls and the Spaetlze), and the beer was excellent!  Of the five I sampled I really enjoyed both the Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale and the Hopgasm.



Beer Mentor

Summary Update #2: All About Beers Growler List

Wow, it’s been right at a year since I last provided an update on my Growler list work.  A lot has happened since then (I moved from DC to San Antonio, I got divorced, and I’m now working in Africa for the next year)!  As you might guess, I didn’t work the list as fast as I wanted … however, I’m now back on track.  Here’s my update:

This list is my effort to complete the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List.”  This is a list of 125 best places in the world to have a beer.  Here’s a quick update on places visited since my last update:

From the summary — see my earlier post for explanation:

Total (actual) places visited: 33.  I had to remove number 26 (I haven’t been to Mardi Gras yet, Bourbon Street during a festival, but not during Mardi Gras (on my list)) . Those I’ve visited since my last post:

71) Brewer’s Art (Baltimore, MD)
106) Brick Store Pub (Decatur, GA)
122) 5 Seasons Brewing (Atlanta, GA)

Place substitutions: 5

Substituting for a place no longer open: 1

That gives me a total of 39 “visited.” With my being in Africa for the next 11 months, I’ve been able to project these places as some of the next ones on my list:

3) U Fleku (Prague, Czech Rep)
6) Augustiner Keller (Munich, Germany)
28) Zum Uerige (Dusseldorf, Germany)
37) Atelier am Dom (Cologne, Germany)
40) Arend’s Nest (Amsterdam, Holland)
41) Blues Bar (Stone Town, Zanzibar)
56) In de Wildeman (Amsterdam, Holland)
61) Krcma (Ceske Krumlov, Czech Rep)
68) Gösser Bierklinik (Vienna, Austria)
73) Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern (Bamberg, Germany)
74) De Hopduvel (Antwerp, Belgium)
77) Die Weisse (Salzburg, Austria)
78) Halve Maan Brewery (Bruges, Belgium)
96) Heineken Brewery (Amsterdam, Holland)
112) t’Bruges Biertja (Bruges, Belgium)

That will get me to 53.  10 more after that will get me to half the list.  Man, this is a lot of work.  haha.

Beer Mentor

#34: The Brewer’s Art (#71)

I made it to Baltimore on Saturday (see previous post) and continue to add to my “sites visited” on the All About Beer “Growler List.”  Brian and I capped a great day (American Craft Beer Week!) enjoying a nice dinner at The Brewer’s Art. (#71 on the list).


This place was pretty upscale … but then … laid back.  Quite an interesting atmosphere.  We “dined” in the upstairs portion.  The picture above with the stairs leads down to the cellar bar.  I had the Resurrection-Brined Grilled Rack of Pork.  Very tasty … however, I think I started with the wrong beer.  I went with the Green Peppercorn Tripel … wow.  This was a rock-solid Tripel–quite yummy.  I next had the Dorothea (collaboration with Stillwater (I think) … a blonde/golden ale).  Unfortunately, it was bland compared to the Tripel … I even had the Resurrection (sample)–the same.  Bland compared to the Tripel.  I should have had the Resurrection first.  I really like Dubbels … but, I really like them with the wild yeast, and I didn’t get that in this beer.


I would definitely recommend this place–excellent selection of beers–great bar upstairs AND downstairs.  Worth a visit!

Beer Mentor

#33: Selin’s Grove Brewery (#45)

I’m continuing to add to my “sites visited” on the All About Beer “Growler List.”  My friend Bobby and I capped a great day (see Troegs and Yuengling posts) by traveling to Selinsgrove, PA to visit #45 on the list: Selin’s Grove Brewing Co.


Once we got inside and saw the taps, you could tell we were happy!


I decided to go with the full sampler!  The only ones missing were number 5 (India Pale Pale), 8 (White Horse Porter), and #12 (mystery beer).  I really wish the IPA had been available–I understand that one is spectacular!


Since we were there around dinner time I had the sandwich and potato salad–great choice!  The food was excellent.

I have to admit though, the first couple of beers (the Cream Ale and Scottish) made me wonder why I came out of my way.  Don’t get me wrong–they were good…just not “drive-3-hours” good.  HOWEVER, when I started on the next few in the series…wow!  The brewer really has a skill for the dark beers … his Stouts were phenomenal.  I definitely wish he had the Porter …  And speaking of the brewer–he made an appearance!  Steve Leason is brewing up great beers!

I used my “Near Beerdrinker of the Year” status to obtain a secret beer — wow!  Was it good.  I won’t reveal the name/type (thanks Steve!).


This place is great and the people and beer are wonderful.  Two notes–it is small, don’t expect big–that’s not this place.  Also, check the website if  you are going for a particular beer–or better yet, give them a call.  That way you don’t drive out of your way and they are out.  They are not a large scale brewery — they are truly a microbrewery–but brewing great beers!  Worth a trip …


Beer Mentor

#32: Top of The Hill Brewery (#118)

The weekend when I visited the World Beer Fest I had the chance to stop in to another place on the “All About Beer” Growler List – #118: Top of the Hill Brewery in Chapel Hill, NC.  This place is right on the corner of the University of North Carolina Campus.

This place was nice … but I wouldn’t put it on the list.  I think two reasons it is on the list: 1) because All About Beer is from this area, and 2) it is another place where the experience is better than the beer.  Like going to Indianapolis Motorspeedway and drinking bud.   You don’t mind drinking Budweiser if you are at a fantastic event!  But back to Top of the Hill.  They are definitely a brewery and they have 3 – 4 cask strength ales … so from that statement–excellent!  They only serve their beer.

I can picture myself standing in this place while March Madness is going on and drinking good beer … awesome!  However, if you want a more robust beer selection try Milltown down the street a ways (I’ll have a post on that place later).

Beer Mentor