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Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan, who has become a craft beer fancier and advocate over recent years, sings the praises of Sly Fox in this morning's paper, citing it as "one of our best breweries:"

The glowing hot spice of the Szechuan cooking at Han Dynasty will make you wish there were a free-flowing beer tap in the room. But since it's BYOB, bringing a couple of growlers of fresh brew from the nearby Sly Fox microbrewery is the next best thing.

Located a few minutes west of the same exit off Route 422 as Han Dynasty, Sly Fox's Royersford location reliably has more than a dozen excellent beers on tap that can be sold in growlers to go. Not only are growlers a good value, at $6 to $9 for half a gallon (four pints), the reusable glass jugs (a $10.58 one-time buy) make beer-drinking green.

But what to fill them with? Sly Fox is one of our best breweries, so there are almost no bad choices. With spicy food, you could do fine with the crisp Pikeland Pils, the Helles golden lager, or the hoppy Rt. 113 IPA. There is an added zing to Szechuan heat, though, the numbing anise aromatics of Szechuan peppercorn, that really makes the Saison VOS the ideal match. Made in the yeasty Belgian farmhouse style, there's a dry exotic spice to this beer that not only quenches the heat, but complements it.

A growler fill-up costs $9, but Sly Fox runs a $6 special on Tuesday nights at its Royersford location (312 North Lewis Rd., 610-948-8088).

Photo by Inquirer Staff Photographer Ed Hille.

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