Trusty six-packs are the go-to, but there are other options. “Growlers and crowlers are the biggest trend right now in bottle shops,” says Natasha Ramirez, general manager at Station Taproom in Downingtown. “It’s all about freshness—and with growlers and crowlers, you’re able to get beer that might not be available in six-packs or large bottles.”
Aged and bottle-conditioned beers are often done “cork and cage” style, like champagne. These brews tend to be quite complex and evolve in the glass, a bit like wine does. Ramirez recommends the following pairings:
Ditch the grocery bag or bottle in hand for these more refined options:
1. Valley Forge Flowers carries a number of smart tote options for wine lovers.
2. The Growlerwerks uPint is ultra-durable and insulated for the ultimate single serving of beer anywhere you go.
3. UpHome Ltd. in Malvern has an array of rotating stock, including BYOB treasures like flasks and more.
Rabbit RBT Cocktail Shaker.
4. The Rabbit RBT Cocktail Shaker from Crate and Barrel has a built-in citrus reamer, a strainer and a sleek, modern design.
Areaware Liquid Body Flask.
5. The Areaware Liquid Body Flask brings your favorite spirits to dinner in unforgettable fashion.
Neoprene wine tote.
6. Neoprene wine totes are lightweight, insulative and durable. They’ll also protect the bottle, and they fold flat for easy storage. Check out the stylish options from Built NY.
You’ve brought your own bottle to dinner, and the restaurant charges you a corkage fee. What gives? For one, it helps offset the cost of purchasing wine glasses, says Kristin Smith, co-owner of Twelves Grill & Cafe in West Grove. “The small amount we charge also helps with overhead and labor costs that we otherwise wouldn’t have.”
Even if you weren’t expecting a corkage fee, there are still plenty of reasons to smile. “Guests bringing in a $15 bottle of wine and paying $5 for corkage are still paying significantly less than they would otherwise,” says Smith, who waives the fee for local wines. “We always try to support local businesses any way we can.”
“For bunch, I’d recommend either a smooth, versatile vodka or a low-alcohol IPA,” says John Scardapane, the concept creator at EatNic Urban Farmhouse Eatery in Paoli. “I’d buy the smoothest vodka you can afford.”
Low-ABV IPAs are full of flavor and won’t knock you out. Assertive hop flavors cut through rich brunch foods like bacon and eggs and can match the bright flavors in citrus fruits and vinaigrettes. The bubbles also help contrast creamy foods like cheese and hollandaise sauce.