Brisket and Brews

Tin Lizard Brewing Company

Take a ride down Route 30 from Downingtown to Philly and you're bound to find more than enough stops to fill a "Brisket and Brews" crawl. Tin Lizard Brewing Company is one stop that surely won't disappoint. Tin Lizard opened its doors in Bryn Mawr last year with a great drink selection and Southern-inspired food.

Troubled by a burst water pipe, the brewpub, at the corner of Lancaster Ave. and Warner Ave, had to take a three-month pause in January. But Tin Lizard Brewing had its grand re-opening in April, full of music, fun, beer, local cocktails and Southern food. The first floor brewpub and its upstairs outdoor seating create a nice environment met by even better beers and foods.

Tin Lizard's beer selection offers seasonal selections, like the Tainted Love Summer Ale and Circus of Sour Berliner Weisse, along with the reliable, creative choices like its Prophecy Pale Ale and Moonhaze Daydream Northeast IPA.

The brewing company also welcomes collaborations with guest brewers. The just-tapped Shattered Wheat Pale Ale, pictured above, was a collaboration with Joel Piazza from Main Line Brewers Association. The pale ale has a refreshing taste that goes well with the savory tastes of Tin Lizard's barbecue.

With a good variety, the brewpub's beer selection has many options for all beer lovers. But for those who may not want beer, Tin Lizard offers local wines, from Fero Vineyards & Winery, and spirits like The Revivalist Botanical Gin, Kinsey 4-year Bourbon Whiskey and Stateside Urbancraft Vodka.

The Tin Lizard kitchen hits Southern-inspired right on the head. The food has all the southern charm right in PA. 

The starters do just their job: loaded Fried "layered with beer cheese, pulled pork, diced tomato, scallions and pickled jalapeño," a smoked meatball wrapped in bacon, smoked wings and, of course, fried pickles. Plenty of "handheld" options fill the menu like a carved brisket sandwich, a brisket cheesesteak and a fried chicken sandwich (big fan of hot honey, which is served on this one.)

Then come the platter options. "House-smoked meat and poultry platters" that come with a homemade corn muffin, pickles and onions and a choice of a side — mac and cheese, baked beans, hand cut fries, vegetables or coleslaw.

Sticking with the Brisket and Brews roots, above is the brisket platter with a side of coleslaw. "Low and slow smoked" overnight, the brisket has the nice dark crust with the juicy, tender inside that is great on its own or with Tin Lizard's barbecue sauce selection.

I've had good coleslaw, I've had pretty bad coleslaw, but I've also had my Gramma's homemade coleslaw — the best there is. Looking at this coleslaw, I was excited because the ingredients held true, but I didn't want to jump the gun. Then I tasted it. It's not my Gramma's, but is surely up there as a great side that made the platter even better.

Back to the brisket and sauces because they say a lot about the kitchen. Saying they bring southern-style cooking is one thing. But showing it, that's important, and I was impressed by the sauces. Many of the places I've been feature their own mix of sauces. Khyber Pass has its three — tomato, mustard and vinegar based. Estrella had its four salsas.

At Tin Lizard, they mix up their sauces to go with the different barbecue options. I was lucky enough to get four different, yet great sauces. The first three were a good mix of familiar bases and flavors I think of when I hear barbecue: Kansas City, East Carolina and West Texas. But the fourth I had never seen or heard of: the Alabama white sauce, with a mayo base. I'll never forget the first time the tender, juicy brisket fell apart to mix with a good dose of the Alabama sauce. Bravo, Tin Lizard kitchen. Finishing the meal off with the homemade corn muffin rounded out a great meal and polished a clean platter.

With great flavors in both the food and the beer, Tin Lizard Brewing deserves a tip of the hat. Their work, especially with local brewers, in the barrels and southern flavors in the kitchen creates great options to satisfy anyone thirsty or hungry, or both, which is certainly recommended.

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