THE BOSTON HOPS: PENGUIN PIZZA

I know what you may be thinking, “why is there a pizza place in this blog? This isn’t Pizzajanglin’ for crying out loud!” While this is true, Penguin Pizza is by far much, much more than just a solid pizza joint. Allow me to proceed. You see Penguin Pizza has around 200 some odd beers to available for consumption at any given time. That’s right, 200, no typo here. Ya with me now? I thought you might be. So come on in!

“Penguin”, as it is affectionately known, is a cozy little place located in the Brigham Circle area of Beantown. (right off the Green Line Brigham Circle stop. Go figure). When you walk in, you don’t really know what to expect. It’s dark, and quaint, with only about 6 or 7 bigger tables, 3 little two-seaters, and of course some spots at the bar. Lady Moe and I have been there on several occassions and have never had trouble finding a seat. You seat yourself, and they present you with your menus. One for food and one for beer. Now whilst the pizza here is quite good, again, this is not Pizzajanglin’, so we will skip over the reasonably priced and delicious pizza pies available to order and move right along to why you’re here, the beer.

As mentioned, there’s in the neighborhood of 200 beers on this menu. Now sure amidst this 200 are your macros, like Bud, Miller and Coors, as well as some other alcoholic waters from far off places you may never have heard of, but there are still plenty beyond the likes of them boys, including some local favorites, not as readily accessible to the world outside New England. I mean with that many beers available, if you can’t find one you like, chances are, you don’t like beer. Now they only have about 15-20 on tap, as the rest are served in bottles, or cans (Yes folks they have PBR in the can as well as the world reknown Schlitz Tall Boy), so if you’re a draught boy, you may be less impressed. But the good news here is they deliver you the bottle and the glass, clearly knowing that plenty of their clientele are beer geeks and will need to see the beer, not just drink it. Plus they may even give you the proper glass (I’m not really sure, cause I am not all that up to speed on the proper drinkware for every type of brew). I know for a fact that some have been in the proper glass, but others, perhaps, not so much. They may just grab the next clean beer holder and be done with it, or maybe it even depends on who’s tending the bar, I dunno? So if any of our Beantown readers want to enlighten me, it would be greatly appreciated. But it seems, for the most part the bar maidens may have some idea of what beer goes in what type of glass, but they can sometimes have a lot on their plates.

The service here is a bit of tricky wicket. You see for all but one occassion, the bartender and the waitress have been one and the same. On the one occassion, there were two ladies behind the bar and I believe one stayed behind the bar for the most part. It hasn’t seemed to be too much of a problem, but it can, at times create delays in getting your brews and food. You see some of the B-tenders seem to be better than others at this brand of multi-tasking, so it does not have a hugely negative effect on the experience. The first time I visited, there was a decent size crowd an it took awhile for us to get service, but it was a Saturday night, and that’s almost expected here in the big city. So for the most part I would say the staff do a reasonable job at keeping you drinking, especially if you’re in……

The Mug Club. How does one get into the Mug Club? Glas you asked. It consists of a list of a little over a hundred brews they offer at “Penguin” and all you have to do is finish off the list in a year’s time and you get a free mug. That’s it? A mug? Ah but wait, there is more! Along with the mug, there is also a sense of pride and accomplishment. Pride? Accomplishment? C’mon! Ah but wait, there’s still more! You see the mug is a larger than average size mug, 32 ounces perhaps. Larger than average? 32 ounces? Ah but wait there is still more! Once you have earned your large mug, you then pay the regular pint price, but get the alcoholic beverage in the larger-than-a-pint mug! That’s right, you pay the normal price but get like twice the beer! Now if that’s not worth gulping down 100+ beers in a year’s time, I don’t know what is? And now is the perfect time to start, what wih that Leap Day right around the corner and all. The list has a good variety of styles and breweries. In fact I don’t think there’s any brewery represented more than 3 times. Which means, with some quick math, there are at least 50 different breweries to sample from. Of course, with any such list, you will have to take the good with the bad. For every Stone IPA you get to enjoy, there’s also a Peroni in your future. For every Brooklyn or Lagunitas, an Anheuser-Busch product. It happens.

All in all not a bad little place to enjoy a slice and a brew, and has quickly become a fav of this particularly beerjangler. So if you’re in the area, stop in, you probably won’t be disappointed. Thirteen down, 97 to go!

Bottoms Up!

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~ by William H on February 27, 2008.

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