Thursday, February 21, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Stoudts Gold

I'm honored to be one of 28 writers across the globe writing about a specific brewery/beer during Flagship February. Today is the day for my feature. I chose Stoudts and its first ever commercial beer, Gold -- for reasons of style, of the people, of the history, of the backstory, and of the quality beer that it still is today.

It's been a treat - I at least can speak for myself and many others that I've talked to in person - to read about and spend some time connecting, and in some cases re-connecting, with solid beers that have played a part in paving the way to where the beer industry is today. There have been writers from Europe, South America, Canada, and the U.S. extolling the virtues of breweries and beer that have stood the test of time and deserve to not be overlooked in today's manic beer world. I've learned about beers that I admittedly had not previously known.

Stoudts, no doubt, belongs on this list. There's a lot to be said about Stoudts Brewing Company. 32+ years worth when you take into account the research spanning Germany and the U.S. that Carol Stoudt embarked upon when conceiving and building the landmark brewery that sits near the border of Lancaster and Berks Counties in rural Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania Dutch country, if you will. Or, Amish country.

But in Stoudts' country, it's Beer, it's food, it's family, and it's a passion for all of it. It's rubbed off on staff and on loyal customers through the years. Between what I've written over at FlagshipFebruary.com and what I've included in the feature here, I'll leave it at this for now. It was a treat to spend some quality time in Adamstown with Carol Stoudt and Kurt Bachman and again when they joined Tom Kehoe for a Flagship February event at Memphis Taproom in Philly earlier this month.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Stoudts Gold.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's Stoudts beer at retail, but was provided with additional sample while at the brewery interviewing Carol Stoudt.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - 2SP Baby Bob Stout

Heading to a Philadelphia Union game, coming home from the Philly airport, celebrating their anniversary, or crossing the bridge from South NJ might be a few special occasion reasons why I've found myself at the brewing HQ for Two Stones just on the other side of I-95 from Chester. There are twenty temptations on tap and a cooler full of bottles and cans to be there even more often.

After opening in 2015, 2SP Brewing initially initially saw its beers at its namesake sister pubs - Two Stones Pub, there are now six locations across Pa. and Del. - at the tasting room and very little distribution otherwise. That didn't last long. The ample brewery has allowed them to grow and become near ubiquitous on bar draft towers and retail shelves with their distinctive packaging and well-regarded beer. The Russian is decadent. Bellcracker is an excellent DIPA. The Pils is crisp and easy. And hopefully you had a chance to snag some of the recent collaboration - a coffee stout - with local legend, WaWa.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on 2SP Baby Bob Stout.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's 2SP beer at retail.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Workhorse Vienna Lager

Workhorse found a big building - 70,000 sq. ft. big - to open one of the newest breweries in the Philly suburbs. And they brought in an award-winning brewer to make a lot of beer. It's a 30-bbl brewhouse with 30s and 60s for fermentation. They're making a variety of beers, but they've also defiantly bucked the trend of many opening breweries that want to be all over the map (on purpose); they're sticking to their guns of making solid core beers. Vienna Lager is one of them. And we should all be paying attention.

Nate Olewine brought his resume from two breweries with a heavy Lager bias - Devils Backbone and Victory. The Helles is excellent as is the Pilsner. But that doesn't mean that the other flagship - West Coast IPA - is a slouch or that he doesn't dabble in Brut IPAs (just did his first), New England IPAs (is another core/flagship), or Russian Imperial Stouts (haven't been able to vouch for this one yet).

The brewery has been sticking to its draft-only approach for the first year with intention of getting packaged product out in cans later in 2019. Early Spring is when we can expect to see a new packaging hit the market - 8 oz. cans of their six flagships in a package called "Flights To Go". All part of a measured approach that appears to be working thus far with the recognition not only from consumers but from industry folk as well.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Workhorse Vienna Lager.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. Today's Workhorse beer was provided to me while  at the taproom for a private event.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Monday, February 18, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot

I'd never been to the original downtown brewpub, but came to know Weyerbacher first from afar and then in the early 00s when I visited their small but growing operation on the south side of Easton, not far from the Lehigh River and the recreational D&L Trail/Towpath. The space definitely gave them plenty of room to grow their operations, including the addition of a spacious taproom befitting their mostly big beer portfolio. Barrel-aging became a significant part of Weyebacher's reputation as well.

Lots to like in their portfolio; the fruit-forward Riserva has almost always topped that list for me. Last Chance IPA is a year-round fundraiser type of beer for local animal rescues. Tiny Imperial Stout is anything but and Finally Legal is a wow of a beer featuring cocoa nibs, vanilla, and bourbon barrels. Sunday Molé Stout is a perfect breakfast beer (did I say that?!) of chocolate, coffee, and a variety of chile peppers. Finally, Dallas Sucks is the perfect game-watching beer in more ways than one.

Btw, you want one of those barrels? Whether you make a table, a planter, or break it down for the staves, there's always a stack of them available for sale outside the tasting room.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot. Oh, and hey, Lew Bryson wrote about Blithering Idiot over on the official Flagship February site. Check it out.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's Weyerbacher beer at retail.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Sunday, February 17, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - La Cabra Hipster Catnip

Difficult to believe that for all the time in planning and grinding of the rumor mill, La Cabra has been open for nearly 2 1/2 years. From a thirsty beer traveler's perspective along Route 30, they filled in a nice gap between Wayne (Teresa's Next Door) and Paoli (TJs). If you haven't been, do so. You'll find one of the area's most aesthetically-pleasing and comfortable brewpub layouts. The beer is diverse and well-made and the kitchen is a stand-out, whether you use it to enhance the beer experience or are just looking for an excellent meal at a reasonable price.

La Cabra's got a bit more of the spotlight recently as they just returned from Belgium earlier this month and a collaboration brew day with Duvel as part of Philly Beer Week's annual partnership with Belgian breweries. In fact, if you're near Berwyn tomorrow night (Feb. 18), you can get a behind-the-scenes "tour" of their trip as they do a video presentation plus Q&A. The pub is not typically open on Mondays, so it should be an extra special night.

Finally, they recently announced plans to open a satellite location called Bodega just a bit farther down the Main Line in Bryn Mawr.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on La Cabra Hipster Catnip. Frankly, one of my favorite beers from the youngest batch of breweries in the area (let's say, roughly under 2-3 years old) and one of the best examples of word play in the name that I can recall.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's La Cabra beer while at the brewpub.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Saturday, February 16, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Dock Street Bohemian Pilsner

This one is as Flagship as they come in the city of Philadelphia. Leading the charge into the micro/craft beer revolution in Philly, and really let's not kid ourselves, at that time the country, Rosemarie Certo (and her husband at the time, Jeff Ware), unveiled Dock Street to the beer-drinking public in 1985 with the Bohemian Pilsner as part of the trio of original beers. It was second out of production after the Amber Ale. For me, it was a few years later, in the early 90s, along with Amber and Illuminator Doppelbock, that my first tastes of Dock Street beers were enjoyed.

The pub's suave style on 18th Street where they were originally located certainly fit the neighborhood of Center City accounting and law firms and high-end hotels. The complimentary billiards table in the back room was worth the extra couple bucks for the on-premises made beer. And, some well-known names have been associated with that brewhouse including Chris LaPierre, Will Kemper, Nick Fennell, Eric Savage, Vic Novak, and Bill Moeller.

The new location, est. 2007, to me fits who Dock Street is, or maybe better put, who they were meant to be. In a converted firehouse in a part of West Philly that has seen gentrification encroach at a somewhat slower (and therefore more welcome?!) pace compared to other hot neighborhoods in the city, Dock Street is a welcoming come-one, come-all brewpub (or, in their words "...a progressive and eclectic counterculture and a mixture of race, creed and background) that focuses on solid beers and food, particularly the pizzas and, thank the almighty, Trio Fries which have survived the move to West Philly. If you're an 18th Street original, you know what I mean.

Brewers that have touched down at 50th and Baltimore have included Scott Morrison, Vince Desrosiers, Justin Quinlan, and Ben Potts. Today, the brewery's award-winning ways continue under Mark Russell. The last one was at the Great American Beer Festival in 2017 for Man Full Of Trouble Porter. The family feeling at Dock Street is not just stemming from the "kids" involvement in the business (son, Sasha, has been involved in brewing and daughter, Renata, whose title includes marketing, sales, and business development), but Marilyn Candeloro, VP, has been around for almost ten years and, with her hands seemingly in most aspects of the business, feels a bit like family too.

Showing their inclination to grow, they've opened the adjacent Cannery & Lounge next door for something of a hidden getaway drinking session that includes their beers as well as craft cocktails and draft wine. Next up (maybe in late summer/early fall if things progress as hoped and planned), will be a South Philly outpost on Washington Avenue. Call it Dock Street South for the time being.

Love me some Rye IPA and Prince Myshkin. And, others from their always evolving beer menu. For example, act now and you too can have an excellent Altbier named Passive Specificity. But, for an all-day drinker, it's BoPils for me. For the nostalgia and for the love, still, of a great beer.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Dock Street Bohemian Pilsner.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. Today's beer was provided to me by the brewery while I was at Dock Street to chat about the beer and the business.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com




Friday, February 15, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Tröegs HopBack Amber

Hershey was already on the map, no doubt. The chocolate museum, minor league hockey, the amusement park, the hotel & spa, the botantical gardens, the auto museum, and more are all big draws for the city and region.

For beer lovers, if any of that wasn't enough, Hershey quickly moved up the priority of travel destinations once Tröegs Independent Brewing relocated its brewery there from Harrisburg in 2011. Not only did the Tröegs team move operations, they took the next big step (and money!) and made it into a first-rate brewery experience. The opening of the Splinter Cellar addition in 2016 continued that theme.

As for the beers, Perpetual IPA has quickly become a rockstar for them as Troegenator Doppelbock and Nugget Nectar have been for even longer. Sunshine Pils is on tap every summer at my house. The Scratch Series has long impressed with unique one-offs that occasionally sends one of its own into regular or semi-regular rotation.

But, for a feature here, HopBack Amber has long impressed me as a solid beer worthy of multiple in any given session. If Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale was still considered year-round/flagship, I might have given the nod in that direction, but HopBack will suffice quite nicely for today.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Tröegs HopBack Amber.


If you're just jumping in during the middle of this and want to know what this is all about, link back here to see the Flagship February overview as well as an ongoing list of all beers I'm featuring during the month of February.

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased today's Tröegs beer at retail.



© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com