Adam Erace Adam Erace battles adult on-set diabetes and cankles as the restaurant critic for the Philadelphia City Paper. He also writes about food and travel for publications like Details, Fodor's and Southern Living. He lives in South Philly with his wife, Charlotte, and two rescue mutts, Lupo and Marco.
There are 28 sleek chrome taps fitted into a vertical gray-veined slab of marble behind the long, luxurious bar at Tria Taproom. With an extra dozen spouts under the counter, they hold the establishment’s entire portfolio of liquid assets. That’s right: There are no bottles in this bar. Jon Myerow and Michael McCaulley went all-draught in early November when they turned Rum Bar into Tria Taproom, the latest addition to their fermentation-café brand. Whether you order Dogfish Head’s new Czech-style, pear-infused Piercing Pils, the 2010 Cab Franc from Karamoor in Fort Washington, Domaine Dupont’s Calvados barrel-aged reserve cider or a Sprecher root beer, it’s coming from a keg.
“It’s sustainable, it’s fresh, it’s fun,” says Myerow about going totally taps for the new Tria. “It just felt right.”
The drink list comes via iPad, and Tria is one of the only places I’ve seen integrate the technology well. Each listing comes with helpful tasting notes, price, pour size and a nifty availability meter that shows the percentage left in the keg.
The menu, by Tria executive chef David Boyle and Taproom chef Holly Joyce, is on plain ol’ paper, a collection of beer-themed snacks (mussels in pilsner broth, lambic-lacquered octo), wood-grilled flatbreads and, of course, cheese. Creamy-centered fried oysters sat up on toasted brioche garnished with apple slaw and remoulade. St. Louis-style ribs — a little salty — wore a dark caramel glaze made with Victory Storm King Imperial Stout, a smattering of spiced almonds and orange segments. Topped with crispy shallots and oregano vinaigrette, the burrata salad was the best, the cheese spilling its stracciatella contents onto a bed of broccoli rabe and meaty maitakes.
The flatbread paved with ground fennel sausage, smoked mozz, wrinkly shishitos and pistachios was decent, but ordinary-tasting. Instead, get the one piped with pink stripes of foie gras mousse, a foil for duck confit, fig-cherry mostarda, Gorgonzola and tarragon. It had the bearing of a restrained dessert, fortunate since the only desserts are soda and beer floats dispensed, as you might expect, from the omnipresent draught system.
Tria Taproom | 2005 Walnut St., 215-557-8277, triacafe.com. Mon.-Fri., noon-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; $6-$16.
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