Yesterday M and I took a trip to Glen Mills to check out Firewaters. Since they don’t appear to have a website of their own, here are the details:

1110 Baltimore Pike
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania 19342
(610) 459-9959

We’ve driven by Firewaters a number of times. It was the sign boasting that they have 50 beers on draught that tempted us inside. That and the air conditioning. The heat wave here in Sabbaticalville continues, undaunted by the whines and complaints of man, woman or beast. I will soon be a beast if it doesn’t let up.

Firewaters is somehow connected to Hooters and I don’t just mean the hallway which connects Firewaters to Hooters. I don’t know what the connection is, but they apparently do cross promotions between them.

Posted on the door to Firewaters is a sign letting potential patrons know that proper attire is required. Proper attire includes a collared shirt, proper trousers, and proper shoes. Whatever that means. I didn’t have a collared shirt and my shoes were flip-flops. They didn’t seem to mind. I suspect that had something to do with the fact that it was early (around 5:00pm) and there was only one other customer in the place.  It could also have something to do with my woman-ness.  The way the sign was worded gave the impression that it applied to men.  Given that it appeared to be a bar that caters to men, I don’t think they care much what women wear (and odds are, the more improper that attire is, the better).

Inside you will find a long beer bar. Walk to the end of that and you’ll see a martini bar off to the right. Both bars were being tended by beautiful young women. Hooters girls? Maybe. I don’t know.

Happy Hour, which we arrived just in time for, included $2.00 drafts and $5.00 martinis. They also have free munchies on Mondays. By the way, if you’re looking for a meal or substantial food, you won’t find it at Firewaters. They have a small food menu that consists of fried appetizers (buffalo shrimp, fried pickles, mozzarella sticks, etc.).

Not all of the draft beers were $2.00. Only those tagged as such. After waffling back and forth, I finally decided to try the Pyramid Apricot Ale. Our bartender described it as a “girly beer” in the sense that women who don’t like beer will usually like this one. As a homebrewer, I know and like beer, but decided to try something different for a change. I’m a hop head and almost always order something hoppy. The Pyramid Apricot Ale was a pleasant change and a nice beer to have on a hot day. I can taste why it might be popular with those who don’t like beer. It starts off with a lovely apricot note which subtly leads you into a more beer-like flavor. It’s an unfiltered wheat beer with a nice hazy color to it. Very refreshing, as wheat beers tend to be in the summer months.
We also tried a sampler of four beers. My favorites were Legacy’s Euphoria (a Belgian-style Strong Ale) and Hoptimus Prime (a double IPA). The Hoptimus Prime was awesomely hopped. The Euphoria was fruity, but not overly so.

The service was good and our bartender seemed to know what she was talking about when we asked about the different beers.

All in all, I’d recommend it. It’s a fairly good place to go if you’re looking for a large selection of beer. One thing M commented on was how they didn’t have many local brews on tap which is surprising considering how many microbrews are available in this area. I also think they need to rev up the menu with something a little more substantial and/or healthy.

Then again, they probably have Hooters for that.

The Decemberists

On Sunday night M and I went to The Mann in Philadelphia to see/hear The Decemberists.

I could sit here and whine about how it was 92 degrees and horribly humid when we arrived there at 7:00pm, and how our seats were in the balcony where the heat was obviously rising without benefit of any kind of breeze. I could also whine about the hike up the hill from the parking lot and how I was soaked with sweat before we even found our seats and began the slow-roasting in the balcony. But I won’t. The reason I won’t is because once the music started, I had a smashingly good time.

The Decemberists are very difficult for me to describe. They’re usually listed as an indie rock band. The program notes from the concert describe them thusly:

The past three years have seen The Decemberists rise to the first rank of the indie music world with a series of bold, beautiful albums, including 2005’s Picaresque, Her Majesty, and The Decemberists (2003). On these albums, frontman Colin Meloy’s crafty compositions marry an infallible melodic knack with a venturesome lyrical palette equally suitable for painting fantastical songs full of sea captains, legionnaires, chimney sweeps and seekers of all kinds.

Led by these songs, and by a group dynamic that embraces experimentation even as it celebrates classic pop and folk forms — to say nothing of klezmer, Irish jig, sea chantey, and prog rock — The Decemberists are firmly established as a completely original happening in the world of contemporary indie rock: sold out tours across the nation, widespread popular and critical acclaim, and an aesthetic all their own.

The program notes just begin to touch on what makes The Decemberists so difficult to describe. Their originality puts them outside of the scope of comparisons to other bands. Their songs, led by Colin Meloy’s voice, are lush, evoking olden days. and having The Mann Festival Orchestra play with them made them all the more richer. The strings section added a fullness to the songs that they don’t otherwise have without the orchestra.

The only complaint I have about the concert is that it was much too short. There was no opening band, no intermission. The Decemberists played for about 80 minutes with an additional two songs for the encore.

This isn’t the best of their songs (in my opinion), but it’s a good one:

Or you can go here: My Crazy Blog: Liveblogging the Decemberists for a detailed description of the concert with videos.

Note to those running things at The Mann: A few fans in the balcony area are very much needed during hot, humid summer nights.

Just saying.