We tried it: brewga and brunch at Zauber Brewing Co.
On a few recent Sundays at 11 a.m., I've gone to yoga in a most unlikely place. I own a mat, but I'm no diehard. Still, I couldn't resist when my editor asked me to check out "brewga" at Zauber Brewing, followed by-this was the clincher-brunch at Explorers Club inside the taproom.
About 20 of us turned out for brewga (the first class is free), just about max capacity for the brewery-a narrow, clean space lined with stainless steel vats and fermenters. Sunlight and a cool breeze flowed in through an open garage door. I rolled my mat out next to some nitro tanks, a few inches away from a sudsy mound of krausen (wort proteins, hops resins and yeast) frothing out of a fermenter.
Once we started moving, the cool morning air gave way to a warm, hoppy smell. The tanks belched and gurgled as we did downward dogs and cobras.
"I'll end with the word that is often used to end yoga practice," our instructor intoned. Let's eat? "Namaste," she said. Oh, right, of course.
My fantasy of everyone flip-flopping over for brunch didn't play out. So maybe not everyone wants a pint of Belgian IPA and tender potato pierogies smothered in cheese, chorizo and ranchero sauce after Shavasana? I forged ahead toward the sound of an uproarious crowd watching English Premier League on taproom TVs.
After four years of fantastic Latin-inspired cooking, Explorers Club was forced to close its brick and mortar location in Merion Village last year.Owners Orlando Martinez and Tracy Studer stayed in the game by way of a food truck and took over the Zauber kitchen in summer 2015.
Explorers Club is a humble operation. You order at a pick-up window. Eggs are fried on a hot plate. Don't let this dissuade you. The mofongo pork sandwich ($9) is a work of culinary genius. The smoked pork is mild and mixed with bits of mashed plantain. It's served on a chewy house-made bun, topped with a crunchy layer of spicy jalapeno slaw. What I love is the texture: both the pork and slaw are uniformly chopped. The fried egg BLT ($9) is served on the same good bun, with a great smoky aioli. I'm thrilled that Explorers Club has found an audience-yoga practitioners, soccer fans or otherwise-again.