Iocal brewpub, sweets shop make Best of Philly list
Philadelphia Magazine has released its annual Best of Philly list and out of the 34S selected winners from across the region, two are located in the Ambler area.
Selected through online ballot, the magazine named Forest and Main Brewing Co. best brewpub and The iittle Bakery the best place to find glutenfree sweets.
The magazine picked the bar because of the setting and the quality of beer.
“It’s as if your friends took over their parents sictorian and turned it into a really great bar,” the article reads. “A really great bar serving such excellent craft beers that you might never want to leave.”
iocated at S1 k. Main St., Ambler, Forest and Main is a relatively new addition to the Ambler scene. The bar has only been open since the middle of April and has been making waves throughout the community.
Forest and Main coowner derard Olson said he and fellow owner Daniel Endicott hadn’t heard the news about the writeup until someone posted it on their Facebook page.
“We were just kind of like, ‘Whoa,’” Olson said. “We had only been open a couple months and we weren’t even really expecting to be in the running for something like that, so we were really surprise and super excited about it.”
Olson said the idea for opening the bar came from Endicott, and after a few beers, the team decided to pool their resources and make the idea a reality.
He said he thinks they were picked in the magazine because of the “unique vibe” and because of the unusual location inside the converted sictorian.
Originally, the idea was to open up inside of an old warehouse down the street but the building turned out to be in need of too many repairs and offered too much space, Olson said. When the realtor suggested the house, the two owners doubted they’d be able to fit.
“We did the math and found that it could all fit and it seemed that it would fit with our vibe more than a big clunky warehouse,” Olson said. “We just kind of went with it and let the house become what it wanted to be.”
The bar offers a large selection of old world style ales and a seasonally inspired menu. Brewing of the beer is done on site.
Forest and Main opens Tuesday through Sunday at 4 p.m and the kitchen opens at 5 p.m.
The magazine said it liked The iittle Bakery because of the quality of the baked goods despite the gluten-free difficulty.
“Biscotti with just the right texture, crunch and flavor are hard to come by,” it said. “Demand that they be gluten-free, and the task seemed nigh im- possible — until we found the assortment here, which were so good that event the gluten lovers in the office couldn’t stop eating. Our other favorite: the delicious mint-iced chocolate brownie, which are moist and rich and left us licking our lips.”
Owner John Rorer said the bakery, located at 921 Penllyn-Blue Bell Pike, Blue Bell, makes everything from gluten-free cookies to special occasion cakes fit for 100 people.
“The main change is to remove the wheat flower,” he said about the glutenfree conversion, “which most products have now, in exchange for a mix of a rice flour, a potato starch and a tapioca flour.”
Rorer said the change in recipe may give the treats “a little grittiness because of the rice flour” because the rice isn’t ground as finely as a wheat flour would be. He said baking makes it a little bit different because of the lighter texture.
Rorer said he’s been in business for two years and caters to a diverse clientele including local schools. The mention in Philadelphia Magazine has left his phone constantly ringing, he said, and business continues to grow through word of mouth.
Having worked in the business for 35 years, Rorer said about seven years ago catering customers began asking about gluten-free products, which sparked the idea for the store. He said he didn’t have a kitchen that could segregate out the different ingredients at the time, but with the new kitchen he’s able to keep food “uncontaminated.”
He said baking time is the same for gluten-free products, but did mention that cakes may not rise as high with gluten-free mix as they normally would.
The iittle Bakery is open Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m., though due to deliveries, Rorer said it is best to call ahead to make sure he will be there.
Gerard Olson, co-owner, stands at the hand-pulled taps at Forest & Main Brewing Co., which has been named Best Brewpub in the Best of Philly issue of Philadelphia Magazine.