Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Earth Bread + Brewery

I don't really get the name of the restaurant, nor have I fully wrapped my mind around its premise - brewed beers with cryptic names, "flatbread" that is really pizza - but I did enjoy Earth Bread + Brewery. After going a couple of more times, I may in fact conquer my penchant to call it "Earth, Wind and Fire."

Several folks had recommended this place to me so I was persuaded to drive out and see what all the fuss was about. I should add that there is, in fact, a lot of fuss. The place was teeming with people. It's a large, cavernous, two story, two house establishment, with tall windows and large bars on each floor. The walls are butter yellow and the rest honey colored wood, giving a warm but light feel to the place. While pleasant, the feel was odd for a brewery. Nevertheless, it is a central spot for Mt. Airy, filled with a diverse clientele made complete with a 30 minute wait for a table (but we snagged a bar table without the wait).

With names like "Total Blank" ale, the beer list takes a bit of deciphering. Printed on a chalkboard and lacking descriptions other than "ale" or "stout," you are left to your own devices. The wait staff seemed pretty friendly though, so I'm confident they could have helped. I went with the "We heavy, yo!" EBB's hip hop homage to a "wee heavy" scotch ale. Caramel, strong and a little bitter, the wee heavy hit the spot on a cold night. EBB also has an interesting selection of "guest" beers on draft, including Philadelphia Brewing Company's Walt Whit, a lighter beer than the scotch ale, but still flavorful and good.

We started with edamame, which came dressed with sea salt and lime. I enjoyed the novelty of having edamame at a brewery, but EBB's real specialty is the flatbread, or as the rest of us might call it, pizza. Between the two of us, we tried three. My dining companion ordered the pesto, with roasted potatoes and fresh mozzarella. A fan of EBB, he knew what to get -- it was the best of our choices, with fresh pesto rounded out nicely with a hint of potato and the perfect amount of mozzarella.

I went with the traditional, with "house made tomato sauce, roasted onion, fresh mozzarella, garlic olive oil, topped with seasonal greens." The "seasonal greens" were a bunch of arugula, which I found a little distracting. I also found the sauce a bit sweet for my liking, but the mozzarella was spot on, in both quality and quantity and the overall bite was tasty.

Our last pie (or flatbread) was the Mexican, with tomatoes, black beans, corn, cheese and cilantro. The beans were surprisingly sprinkled judiciously and the sauce was a nice complement to the other flavors. I didn't quite taste the cilantro.

At 11:30 pm on a Friday night, we explored the upstairs. It was fairly packed, considering how much space it consumed. Again, it had a light but cozy feeling, as though your friends were kind enough to open up a part of their house for you to hang out. Which seemed like the perfect atmosphere for Mt. Airy - a good mix of urban and suburban, yuppie and hipster, young and old.

Earth Bread + Brewery is located at 7136 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy, www.earthbreadbrewery.com.

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