Sunday Funday is made for taking day trips to explore good beer and good food. It’s about relaxing and indulging while spending quality time with friends and family. And, we did just that over Christmas weekend – hitting as many places as possible while keeping the pace nice and slow. I wanted to enjoy every sip and every bite.
FOREST & MAIN BREWERY & PUB
Our first stop of the day located at 61 N. Main Street in Ambler, PA.
Never heard of the place?
I hadn’t even heard of Ambler, PA or even Forest & Main for that matter until about a year ago. Our friends Toeny Morgan of the Black Gryphon and Josh Oliver of Deer Creek Malt both gave glowing recommendations for both the food and the beer. These guys know Derek and I appreciate a well-crafted saison that has lots of character and flavor. So I knew it was going to be well worth the visit.
Brunch, beer flights and good times. Always a winning plan on a lazy Sunday!
Owners Dan Endicott and Gerard Olsen took a shabby, old victorian house and turned it into a cozy renovated retreat to enjoy brews, food and conversation. The atmosphere and experience make me feel like I’m back in Vermont staying at a vintage bed and breakfast.
“Ambler is close to our hometowns and we enjoy the small downtown feel it has. We like the fact that it’s very convenient to public transportation and it is a very attractive town to live and work in.” – Dan Endicott
I completely love that the footprint of the place was left intact. As you walk in the front door, the bar area is the room to the left and to the right is a dining room with several tables and chairs. Straight back the downstairs hallway is the kitchen just behind the staircase.
On the other side of the second floor hallway, there was a banquet room with a long gathering table great for larger parties. Imagine having an entire room for just you and your friends. Awesome!
All of the furniture was vintage and eclectic. It’s a mashup of chair styles, antique tables and fun discoveries like the empty beer kegs in the bathroom’s claw foot tub and the mounted bear head at the top of the stairs.
When you visit, make sure you check out each space and explore. I took a few photos as I wandered around. I seriously could have spent hours in there looking at each and every little detail. I have an affinity for old architecture – an appreciation of the design and materials used.
PRO TIP: When arriving, your GPS will probably have you drive right up to a vacant building that has a big “BEER” sign out front. That is NOT Forest & Main. The Brewpub is a few doors up the street at the corner of Forest St. and Main St. Get it? “Forest” and “Main.”
Although I had perused the menu on Forest & Main’s website the day before, I had no idea what to expect with the quality of the food. I was pleasantly surprised that everything was as good as it sounded.
I chose the vegan chili topped with shredded cheddar, fresh cilantro and two mini cornbread muffins. This dish screamed “fresh.” You can’t tell from my photo just how large this bowl of vegetable deliciousness is but let me just say it was a belly-filling meal. I couldn’t finish it all but so wanted to.
Note that the menus change regularly and utilize fresh, high-quality ingredients. I’ll definitely be exploring dinner and dessert items on what I can tell you will be many more visits to come.
PRO TIP: Arrive hungry. And order everything. That is all.
The tap list is ever-changing and is made up of just a few beer styles: Saisons, Pale Ales, IPAs, Bitters and Stouts. These classic styles are sometimes brewed traditionally and sometimes with modern takes here at Forest & Main.
What’s on Tap? View the Beer List
“We are inspired by the old world styles of beers and like to think we are just carrying on their evolution,” says Dan who is also one of the brewers.
FUN FACT: Dan bought his brother a homebrew kit for Christmas and started brewing with him. It was a combination of the love of the process and the product that had him hooked from the first batch. He wasn’t even much of a craft beer drinker, or drinker at all, until he started brewing.
Beers I Sampled
Since our Sunday Funday was going to be an all-day exploration of beer for me, I did the responsible thing and watched my portions. I went with a flight of saisons full of funky goodness: Luminiferous Aether, Present, Solaire and Cere Belly.
- LUMINIFEROUS AETHER (5.5%ABV) – Classic saison flavor with a hoppy twist.
- PRESENT (5%ABV) – Lemon. Pepper. Grapefruit. A little thin if I was being picky on the mouthfeel. Serious good flavor.
- SOLAIRE (4.5%ABV) – Grapefruit. Clove. Pepper. Funk tart. Smooth and creamy.
- CERE BELLY (4%ABV) – Sweet tart up front. Then a subtle toast finish. A lovely, well-balanced brew.
PRO TIP: On Sunday, growler fills are $5 off. You can bring your own growlers or buy one at the brewery.
I went home with a growler filled with Cere Belly Saison to enjoy at an upcoming bottle share I was going to be attending later in the week.
When visiting, definitely ask to see the bottle list when figuring out what brews you’d like to enjoy during your exploration. I didn’t realize there was a list until we were starting to leave and dropped by the bar room to pay our tab. We snagged a few bottles of Solaire Reserve to enjoy at home. It’s an aged version of Solaire that we had tasted today but the Brett has had a chance to develop and get funkified over time.
The artwork that goes on each bottle is quite unique as well. Take a look at some of these playful and whimsical designs:
WHAT’S IN THE BREWERY’S FUTURE?
“Our long-term goals for Forest & Main are to get a line of bottled saisons that are available year round, perhaps with off site sales, while continuing our changing lineup of funky barrel aged saisons that we sell onsite,” says Dan. “We also hope to offer more offsite keg sales in the future.”
Though growth is a goal, Dan and Gerard intend to continue serving very fresh hoppy beers and hand pulled bitters on site. They’re not looking to distribute massive amounts of beer any time soon. But the future is always unpredictable, so who knows how their growth will actually play out for this young brewery.
Already, the brewpub is planning to increase its space. They purchased the building next door which will become a spacious tasting room and offer an expanded tap list. The goal is to open early summer 2016.
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