Friday, October 24, 2014

Beer News You Can Use, 10/24/2014

For your consumption, here's a mashup of what I've read, what I've heard, and what I've tasted in the past week. As I mentioned last week as I began to revitalize this feature, the primary focus will be on the greater Philadelphia region first, extending outward as it seems interesting or necessary.

Beer "of the week"
Sierra Nevada Tumbler. I don't recall how many years it's been now that Tumbler has been distributed to Pennsylvania, but after several years of thoroughly enjoying this beer, I'm pleased to see it continue to be sent within the variety case of fall-themed beers, including also the Oktoberfest, Lager, and Pale, each excellent in their own right.

This brown ale resists getting "all Americanized" with a big hop presence. Instead, it packs wonderful flavors of roasted and chocolate malts and is yet easy-drinking at 5.5% ABV with a moderate body weight. Solid brown ales, especially those leaning toward the classic English style, can be tough to come by in today's craft drinking US. Sierra Nevada flies in the face of the west coast hop-centric stereotype and delivers an enjoyable one.

2nd Story Brewing Company opened on this last Monday, October 21 in the former home of Triumph in Philadelphia's Old City neighborhood. Had wondered if Patrick Jones had been spotted lately and Joe Sixpack reported that he consulted with John Wible at 2nd Story in getting thing up and running.

And, Devil's Pocket Food & Spirits opened in the split-level space that used to house Resurrection Ale House.

Coming Soon
On the heels of closing Resurrection Ale House, the owners are eyeing up a new place just blocks from Local 44. []

Joe Sixpack also reports that Crabby Larry's in Chalfont has closed. Not that much press coming from that neck of the woods in quite some time, so it will be interesting to see how the next project there — Tower Hill Brewery — fares. []

Interesting reading
I think beer geeks are expected to be so conditioned to respond with acrimonious vitriol. I don't think that's necessary. Sure, Chang says some things that don't necessarily sync with his role in food and beverage and I can't tell if he's more put off my "tasty beer" or the snobbery that surrounds it. What are your thoughts? []

Major Announcements
Green Flash finally broke ground on its planned 100,000-barrel production facility in Virginia Beach. []

Significant Releases
Moving Parts 02 — "the ever-evolving IPA' — has just dropped from Victory. I should have some tasting notes in the near future. []

Upcoming Events
The annual fundraiser at Monk's Café tomorrow will have tongues wagging once again for a very good cause. Note that it's a cash-only event. [Monk's Café]

If tomorrow, instead, you're west of Philly, the Pick Fest in Boyertown sounds like a very, very good time — with an after-party at The Other Farm Brewing Company.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 23 - October 31

Let's close out this month with an eight-day calendar of rollicking beer events around the greater Philadelphia region.

When you plan for beer events, don't forget They continue to host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Adamstown, Pa.
Sun. 10/26; 12 p.m. - Okotberfest @Stoudts Brewing Company ($8 admission + $PAYG for beer, live German music, dancing, and authentic German food.)

Ambler, Pa.
Sun. 10/26; 4 p.m.-9 p.m. - Sunday Supper: A Classic British Roast @Forest & Main ($25 for a family-style local, seasonal meal and optional special beer pairing.)
Fri. 10/31; 10 p.m. - Halloween @Forest & Main ($PAYG for fun and games, a costume contest judged by our brewers, and Halloween treats for everyone.)

Ardmore, Pa.
Fri. 10/31; 6:30 p.m. - All Hallow's Eve Beer Supper @Tired Hands ($100 for a five-course dinner served with Manananggl, GrassMan, Dobhar-chú, Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp, Pope Lick Monster, Chupacabra, and Ahool, a Spooky Halloween Wine Barrel Fermented Dark Saison.)

Bear, Del.
Thu. 10/30; 5 p.m. - Tapping of the Great Pumpkin @Stewart's Brewing Company ($PAYG for a mischief night full of pumpkin beer.)

Boyertown, Pa.
Sat. 10/25; 7:30 p.m. - Boyertown Pickfest After Party @Other Farm Brewing Company ($5-$10 for the Pickfest's after party with American Roots music from West Chester to St. Louis.)

Bristol, Pa.
Sat. 10/25; 4 p.m.-9 p.m. - Hoppy Halloween Beer Fest @Broken Goblet Brewing Company ($5-$20 for beer from new and local breweries, food trucks, live music, Halloween-themed games, and costume contests.)

Downingtown, Pa.
Thu. 10/23; 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. - Hop Ticket Harvest Ale Beer Dinner @Victory Brewing Company ($65 for a dinner served with the release of wet-hopped Hop Ticket Harvest Ale.)

Hamilton, NJ
Sat. 10/25; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. - Central Jersey Beer Festival @Blend Bar & Bistro ($15-$55 for beer, a pig roast, live music, and more.)

Kennett Square, Pa., Newark, Del., and Wilmington, Del.
Thu. 10/23; 6 p.m. - Victory Triple Takeover @all three Two Stones Pubs ($PAYG for eight Victory beers at each location, including two limited beers. Candy and giveaways too.)

Lancaster, Pa.
Fri. 10/24; 1 p.m. - Diplomat Dunkel Beer Release @Iron Hill ($PAYG to celebrate Franklin & Marshall's homecoming with the release of this German dark lager.)
Sun. 10/26; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. - Barks & Beers @Pour ($PAYG for a dog buffet, dog ice bowls, and a specialty (people) food menu where a portion of sales will be donated to the Humane League of Lancaster County. Well-behaved and leashed pups welcome.)

Media, Pa.
Thu. 10/23; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Free Will Night @Pinocchio's ($PAYG for beers from Free Will Brewing including Saison de Rose.)
Thu. 10/30; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Firestone Walker Night @Pinocchio's ($PAYG for beers from Firestone Walker.)

Newark, Del.
Sat. 10/25; 1 p.m.-6 p.m. - Hallowed Pumpkin Hill Multi-tap @Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for eight pumpkin beers, three guest breweries, and one crazy pumpkin pie eating contest.)

North Wales, Pa.
Sat. 10/25; 4 p.m. - Bruce-Camp Ale Beer Release @Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG as in conjunction with Life is Good tapping of the Great Pumpkin 8K Run, we are releasing our Belgian-style pumpkin ale.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays in October - Brewery of the Month @Old Eagle Tavern ($PAYG to enjoy month-long specials on beers from Free Will.)
Thu. 10/23; 4 p.m. - Pumpkin Head @Standard Tap ($PAYG for a huge variety of pumpkin beer on draft and for $10 you can drink them out of a hollowed-out, pint sized pumpkin. Refills are only $2.)
Thu. 10/23; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. - Samuel Adams Limited Release Great Pumpkin Carving Competition @Kite & Key ($PAYG for various Pumpkin-flavored suds as well as several Samuel Adams limited release ales for this competition. Prizes will be awarded for top 3 carved pumpkins and of course we will be smashing the worst.)
Thu. 10/23; 9 p.m. - Joketoberfest @Kennett ($PAYG for a lineup of Allagash beers including White, Black, and Hugh Malone. The jokes are free.)
Fri. 10/24; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Friday Night Tasting @Bell Beverage ($Free tasting samples of winning beers from the 2014 Great American Beer Festival and Joe Sixpack helping to pour.)
Fri. 10/24; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Beer Sampling @Bottles Packs and Growlers ($Free tasting samples of beers from Victory.)
Sat. 10/25; 12 p.m. - Russian River Framboise For The Cure Fundraiser @Monk's Café ($PAYG for this cash-only event featuring Russian River Brewing Company's "Framboise for the Cure". 100% of the sales of the draft and bottles of this special beer goes directly to charity. We'll also have additional beers from Russian River pouring for this event.)
Sun. 10/26; 12 p.m.-3 p.m. - Ladies Brunch @McCrossen's Tavern ($TBD and more details to come.)
Mon. 10/27; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Bottle Shop Happy Hour @Local 44 Bottle Shop ($Free samples of beer from Susquehanna Brewing.)
Wed. 10/29; 7 p.m. - Farm to Bar Harvest Edition @Jerry's Bar ($65 for a four-course event as a celebration of local businesses, especially local fruits, vegetables, and beers.)
Thu. 10/30; 5 p.m. - Mischief Night with Lost Abbey and Port Brewing @American Sardine ($PAYG for a diabolical line-up of Lost Abbey and Port Brewing brews including Lost Abbey's first-ever pumpkin beer, Avante Gourde, crazy-rare, brewery-only Framboise de Amorosa, wet-hopped Port Brewing High Tide, and Older Viscosity among many others. Costumes will be welcomed and rewarded, and we'll be TPing the backyard.)
Thu. 10/30 through Sat. 11/1 - Halloween Pumpkin Bash @Devil's Den ($PAYG for all things Halloween, fall, and pumpkin.)
Fri. 10/31; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Friday Night Tasting @Bell Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Saucony Creek.)
Fri. 10/31; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. - Round Guys Halloween Party @Grey Lodge ($PAYG with Dead Souls Pumpkin Porter on tap and prizes for costumes.)
Fri. 10/31 - Scott Wasabi's Phlavortown @South Philadelphia Tap Room ($PAYG for a full menu of really cold craft beers and mixologist-created kraft kocktails. Jack-O-Lantern winners announced at 9 p.m.)

Sellersville, Pa.
Fri. 10/31; 5 p.m. - Friday Night Beer Tasting @Washington House ($PAYG for an assortment of this year's best pumpkin beers.)

Voorhees, NJ
Fri. 10/24; 4 p.m.-7 p.m. - Undead Black IPA Beer Release @Iron Hill ($PAYG for an IPA that is lightly roasty and toasty with moderate bitterness. In conjunction with Voorhees Town Center's Thriller Night.)

Westmont, NJ
Thu. 10/30; 6 p.m. - Neshaminy Creek Mischief Night @The Pour House ($PAYG for Neshaminy Creek's CIPA, Shape of Hops, Tribute Tripel, Churchville, Trauger, Punkless Dunkel, and a firkin of Punkless Dunkel with Maple Syrup and Coffee Beans.)

Wilmington, Del.
Thu. 10/23; 6 p.m. - Yards Tap Takeover @Ulysses Gastropub ($PAYG for some of our most recent and perhaps more delicious brews.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Beer News You Can Use, 10/17/2014

Another summertime casualty of my crushing book research workload was the weekly news update that I put in front of you each week. They tended to be the second most popular item here at The Brew Lounge behind the unstoppable beer events calendar.

I don't claim to have the early scoop on all beer-related news, so as we head into the weekend I'm going to begin once again sharing with you some of the significant beer news stories of the past week. If it didn't occur during the past week, perhaps it came to me in my meanderings around the beer world in the past week. Considering that major beer news typically doesn't break after, say, lunch on Fridays, I'll test this weekly feature out beginning here at 1 p.m. on Fridays. That gives me a last-minute chance to add anything that may pop on Friday morning.

The news will generally focus on the Philadelphia area first and reaching out as news seems interesting to a broader audience.

Also, as a new feature, if a beer "spoke" to me during the past week, I'll include some snippets of what it said.

Beer "of the week"
Drinking beers from Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado reminds me of being introduced to them back in the 1992-1993 timeframe. They're still around and doing gangbusters representing the "craft" segment well.

They have "Autumn Ale" that you can still get your hands on at some stores in the next few weeks. Clocking in at 6.7% ABV, it certainly makes for a perfect after-rakin' beer, as they say, or a late night firepit beer. Speaking of fires, at the dinner table, the Autumn Ale will do well with a plate of grilled steak and cheddar potatoes.

It has a solid malt backbone with a touch of chocolate and caramel offset with just a slight spicy hop note. It has barely a medium body weight, making it an easy-to-drink and perfect fall beer.

Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company in the former of home of Flying Fish Brewing Company in Cherry Hill, NJ. Brigantessa with an interesting lineup of drafts, bottles, and cans in the Philly's hot-stays-hot Passyunk neighborhood. And, Parkway Corner Deli in my former Fairmount home. All now open and serving up our favorite beverage.

Coming Soon
2nd Story Brewing Company opens on Monday, October 21 in the former home of Triumph in Philadelphia's Old City neighborhood.

Mount Holly, NJ
    An early entrant on the NJ craft beer scene, ten-year-old High Street Grill announced its closure. [PhillyMag/Foobooz]

Philadelphia, Pa.
    Nodding Head announced a move of its fifteen-year-old original brewpub location on Sansom Street in Philadelphia. Destination TBA. [Jack Curtin/Liquid Diet Online]

Major Announcements
    Not long after announcing the intention to open a brewery operation in Berlin, Germany, Stone Brewing Company finally settled on Richmond, Va. for its East Coast operations in the United States. [Stone Brewing Company]

Significant Releases
Boulevard, Captain Lawrence, and Hardywood Park are all new to southeastern Pennsylvania in October; I wrote some bits about them at this link. The next big thing? How does the annual release of Tröegs Mad Elf sound?

Upcoming Events
Pottstown, Pa.
    Meeting of the Malts at Sly Fox's brewery has the makings of an excellent event to both learn and taste. [Sly Fox Brewing Company]

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 16 - October 22

Need a few dozen beer events in your life to choose from in the next seven days? Your bar and brewery friends around Philly aim to please. Enjoy!

When you plan for beer events, don't forget They continue to host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Adamstown, Pa.
Sun. 10/19; 12 p.m. - Okotberfest @Stoudts Brewing Company ($8 admission + $PAYG for beer, live German music, dancing, and authentic German food.)

Conshohocken, Pa.
Thu. 10/16 - Conshohocken Brewery Tap Takeover @Southern Cross Kitchen ($PAYG for beer carefully selected and brewed by the Conshohocken Brewery.)
Sat. 10/18; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. - Conshohocken Beer Fest @A.A. Garthwaite Stadium ($10-$65 for an afternoon of special brews, food trucks, live music, backyard games, and more.)

Downingtown/Parkesburg, Pa.
Sat. 10/18 - Parkesburg Brewery Tour @Victory Brewing Company ($58 for a chartered bus trip, tour, and Victory beer experience with food, beer, and a behind the scenes look at the Parkesburg brewery.)

Easton, Pa.
Wed. 10/22; 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. - La Trappe '22' Tasting @Maxim's 22 ($PAYG for eleven La Trappe beers on tap.)

Hulmeville, Pa.
Thu. 10/16 - ALS Fundraiser @Hulmeville Inn ($PAYG to win a basket of rare beers. We will donate proceeds from a special half keg of beer.)

Lafayette Hill, Pa.
Thu. 10/16 through Sat. 10/18; 7 p.m. - Tasting Menu for the Rena Rowan Breast Center @Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery ($30 for a three-course tasting menu featuring Free Will collaboration Saison de Rose, Yards Pynk, and Weyerbacher Althea. Proceeds from each dinner sold will be donated to the Saison de Rose Fund at the Rena Rowen Breast Center at University of Penn.)

Lancaster, Pa.
Thu. 10/16; 5:30 p.m. - Dogfish Head Ancient Ales Dinner @Hunger N Thirst ($40 for four small plates of food paired with four of Dogfish Head's Ancient Ales.)

Malvern, Pa.
Tue. 10/21; 3 p.m. - Cezanne Release @McKenzie Brew House ($PAYG for the Cezanne barrel-aged sour release. Draft at 3 p.m. and $15 bottles released at 5 p.m. 300 bottles available.)

Media, Pa.
Sat. 10/18; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. - Brewhouse of Horrors @Iron Hill ($PAYG for a pumpkin multi-tap.)

Newtown, Pa.
Sat. 10/18 - Pumpkinfest @Isaac Newton's ($PAYG for no less than eight pumpkin ales while also tapping additional selections throughout the afternoon.)

Newark, Del.
Mon. 10/20; 6:30 p.m. - Beer Dinner @Two Stones Pub ($TBD for a pairing of great food and beers.)

Norristown, Pa.
Fri. 10/17 through Sun. 10/19 - 40th Anniversary Celebration Weekend @Capone's ($PAYG for the best draft line up of very limited drafts that we have ever had.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays in October - Brewery of the Month @Old Eagle Tavern ($PAYG to enjoy month-long specials on beers from Free Will.)
Thu. 10/16; 4 p.m. - Anniversary Party @Barcade ($PAYG for a night of third anniversary party activities and beers. More details to come.)
Thu. 10/16; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. - Pop-Up Beer Garden at Mayfair Third Thursdays Night Market @Cottman and Frankford Avenues ($PAYG as Grey Lodge stocks the beer garden for the last monthly community gathering in Mayfair for 2014.)
Thu. 10/16; 7 p.m. - Harvest Beer Dinner @Manayunk Brewing Company ($55 for an intimate five-course Chef's tasting menu each paired with unique beers selected by our brewers.)
Fri. 10/17; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Friday Night Tasting @Bell Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Firestone Walker.)
Fri. 10/17; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. - Ballantine IPA Night @Grey Lodge ($Free samples + $PAYG for the "retro" IPA.)
Fri. 10/17; 6 p.m.-12 a.m. - Sixpoint Showcase @Johnny Brenda's ($PAYG for loads of rad Sixpoint brews on tap including old favorites and limited brews. Sixpoint rep, Jersey Dan, and DJ Beckerlicious will be spinning records.)
Fri. 10/17; 5 p.m.-10 p.m. - Dumbledore's Dubbel Beer Release @Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG in conjunction with Chestnut Hill's Harry Potter weekend we will be releasing our mahogany ale brewed in honor of the fallen Albus Dumbledore. Take the magic home with Bottled Reserves of Dumbledore's Dubbel.)
Sat. 10/18; 12 p.m.-6 p.m. - Brew Fair @900 Block of North 27th Street ($14.99+ for dozens of beer from breweries. Food from seven of Philly's best food trucks, and music from Aaron & The Spell, The Philly Reggae Band, Everhart, Dirt Dirt, and more.)
Sat. 10/18; 12 p.m.-6 p.m. - Thirstoberfest @Memphis Taproom ($PAYG for more than 25 flagship and limited release beers from our favorite local and stateside craft breweries along with a few super rare international goodies.)
Sat. 10/18; 6 p.m.-10 p.m. - East Falls House Party @The East Fall House ($35-$40 for a special evening of food, drink, song, and history.)
Sun. 10/19; 12 p.m. - Breast Brunch Ever @Amis ($TBD for a brunch, featuring Pynk, benefiting The Tyanna Foundation for breast cancer awareness and research.)
Sun. 10/19 - Savage Sixtel Sunday Bye Week Edition @Kite & Key ($PAYG for some of our most prized barrels. List to be announced just prior to tap time.)
Mon. 10/20; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Bottle Shop Happy Hour @Local 44 Bottle Shop ($Free samples of beer from Victory Brewing.)
Wed. 10/22; 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. - Witch Craft Beer Crawl @bars around Passyunk Avenue ($6.66 + $PAYG as participating bars & restaurants include: Adobe Cafe, Birra, Brigantessa, Cantina los Caballitos, Garage, Lucky 13, Noir, Pub on Passyunk East, Ray's Happy Birthday Bar, South Philly Bar & Grill, Stateside, Stogie Joe's, and The Bottle Shop.)
Wed. 10/22; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Lew Bryson Tasting Whiskey Friends & Family Book Launch @Grey Lodge ($PAYG as Lew Bryson will have copies to sell and sign of his new book Tasting Whiskey. We will have flights of whiskey and a whiskey barrel-aged beer or two on tap.)

Phoenixville, Pa.
Fri. 10/17; 11:30 a.m. - Third Friday Firkin Fest @Sly Fox Brewing Company ($PAYG for a couple of Sly Fox firkins on the handpumps.)

Pottstown, Pa.
Tue. 10/21; 6 p.m. - Meeting of the Malts @Sly Fox Brewing Company ($60 as KYW news anchor, Paul Kurtz, moderates a panel of Brian O'Reilly, Bill Covaleski, Bill Moore, and fourth generation German-American Brewmaster Bill Moeller which will discuss the history of Pennsylvania lager. The audience will be treated to samples from breweries throughout the Commonwealth and various menu items.)

Reading, Pa.
Sun. 10/19 - PA Tap Takeover @Liberty Taproom ($PAYG for thirty beers from over twenty Pennsylvanian breweries.)

Wayne, Pa.
Tue. 10/21 - Firestone Walker Night @Teresa's Next Door ($PAYG for Pivo Pils, Pale 31, Union Jack, Double Jack, Stickee Monkee, and Agrestic.)

Westmont, NJ
Tue. 10/21; 6 p.m. - Southern Tier Pumking Event @The Pour House ($PAYG; Southern Tier Pumking from 2012, 2013, 2014, Warlock from 2013, 2014, Mokah 2014, and Choklat 2013.)

Friday, October 10, 2014

The rich get richer (there's a lot here to digest, but trust me it's Friday and you're thirsty for what follows)

The Philadelphia region has always been blessed to receive distribution of great beers from around the world that often don't find many other homes away from home. The list is long but has been known to include the likes of some of the most sought-after with limited distribution including Russian River and Cantillon to name just two.

This past week has seen a trifecta of great beer hitting the southeastern Pennsylvania market. Boulevard, Captain Lawrence, and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.

Boulevard, hailing from Kansas City, has been all around the greater Philadelphia region for the past week showcasing its twenty-five-year history and numerous award-winning beers. I previewed them prior to the week's kickoff and then gave the event at Liberty Taproom in Berks County a little "social love" with a Facebook picture that you can see over here.

A couple of nice looking events in Philly remain from a free tasting (plus a Text-to-Win raffle) this afternoon from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Bell Beverage distributors and a showcase at a relatively new spot in South Philly on Moyamensing Avenue. The Bell Beverage event features free tastings. The South Philly event is cleverly called Boulevard on the Avenue and will feature an afternoon of Boulevard beer at Moonshine during the Crafts & Drafts Festival along with food, music, games, and prizes.

In the suburbs, the Pour House in Exton is hosting an Oysters & Brews event where Boulevard will be featured and Iron Abbey in Horsham puts on a Boulevard on Horsham event from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Today also sees Boulevard lining up plenty more free tastings across the region at Wegmans Marketplaces in Collegeville, Downingtown, King of Prussia, Malvern, Montgomeryville, and Warrington.

Also landing this week in the Philadelphia market is Hardywood Park from Richmond, Va. This is a brewery I shared with you a couple of years ago after discovering them on a trip to their turf.

I described them as: "...the top of the list when anyone asks me about Richmond...".

These guys seemed to be ready for big league action right out of the gate. The people and the location demonstrated it and, most importantly, the beer quality did as well.

Seems everyone raves about the award-winning Gingerbread Stout and justly so. I could spend all night, however, with the Belgian Singel, a wonderful Belgian Blonde. Every visit of mine to the DMV (that'd be DC, MD, and Virginia) area finds me in search of their bottles to return home with.

They've got a long laundry list of beers that you just can't go wrong with and I strongly encourage you to seek them out. For those of you that love your beer barrel-aged, they've got you covered in this regard as well. Richmond has had a solid beer scene for quite some time. Hardywood Park is helping to take the region to yet another level.

I'll use another day and space to go into detail of how Richmond just scored another significant notch in its lederhosen with the announcement that Stone Brewing Co. from California will be opening an East Coast operation along the beautifully scenic James River in downtown Richmond (across from Legend).

The last big announcement involves a small (or mid-ish?) size powerhouse from Westchester County New York (Elmsford, not far from White Plains and the Tappan Zee Bridge, to be exact): Captain Lawrence Brewing Company.

After years of personally tracking down their beers in NYC and northern New Jersey, the spectacular brewery will finally be coming to Pennsylvania in a wave release of their beers throughout the next couple of quarters. For those of you that track the players in the game, rep Dan Conway has come over from Left Hand to work for Captain Lawrence spreading the liquid joy around the Philly region.

First up is the hallmark beer of theirs, Imperial IPA. But it was their Rosso e Marrone that first put owner Scott Vaccaro and his brewing crew on my map back in 2008. At the annual Belgium Comes To Cooperstown event at Brewery Ommegang, I declared it to be " of the more complex and very interesting with flavors of wood, wine, and Brett...A WOW! beer to be sure..."

Quickly thereafter, I came to learn more about the brewing talents at Captain Lawrence with Cuvee de Castleton, Golden Delicious, and Nor'easter. Those are just a few palate pleasers that we can look forward to seeing in some supply in the future. I'm looking forward to seeing more of their year-rounds as well, including Liquid Gold, Brown Bird, and Smoked Porter.

The rollout begins with Imperial IPA in October, the Smoked Porter in November, and the IPA in December. According to the press release "More styles, including rare and exclusive barrel-aged bottles, will enter the market in early 2015".

Hold on tightly my thirsty friends. If you've not experienced any of these beers, you're in for a treat. And, if 2015 is anything like 2014, we're in for a wild ride around the Philly parts.


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: October 9 - October 15

By the end of October, the pumpkins and Oktoberfests will be a distant memory as "Christmas"/winter beers begin filling the retail shelves and tap handles. Until then, here's what you can expect over the next seven days to hold your interest during this lovely fall season.

When you plan for beer events, don't forget They continue to host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Adamstown, Pa.
Sun. 10/12; 12 p.m. - Okotberfest @Stoudts Brewing Company ($8 admission + $PAYG for beer, live German music, dancing, and authentic German food.)

Bethlehem, Pa.
Fri. 10/10 through Sun. 10/12 - Oktoberfest @SteelStacks ($Free admission + $PAYG for a variety of activities and pricing options. See website for all the details.)

Cherry Hill, NJ
Sat. 10/11; 12 p.m. - Grand Opening @Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company ($PAYG for eight drafts on tap, retail beer to go, food trucks, and brewery tours.)

Conshohocken, Pa.
Mon. 10/13 through Fri. Oct. 17 - Pumpkin and Seasonal Tap Takeover with Pumpkin Tapas Menu @Gypsy Saloon ($PAYG for many specially-featured beers fitting the theme rotating each day including Terrapin Pumpkin Pie Porter, Southern Tier Pumking '13, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, Dogfish Punkin', Conshohocken Brewery Chocolate Crush Imperial Porter, and more.)
Tue. 10/14 - Beer and Ice Cream Pairings @Southern Cross Kitchen ($PAYG for Victory ice creams with Golden Monkey, Storm King, and HopDevil.)
Wed. 10/15 - Goose Island Beer Dinner and A La Carte Menu @Southern Cross Kitchen ($PAYG for Rambler IPA, Matilda, Ogden Belgian Tripel, Oktoberfest, and Muddy Imperial Stout paired with special plates of food.)
Wed. 10/15; 12 p.m. - Victory Tappening @Fingers Wings and Other Things ($PAYG for a full lineup of beers from Victory Brewing.)

Ewing, NJ
Fri. 10/10; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. - Oktoberfest @River Horse Brewing Company ($17 + $PAYG for a German-themed night with awesome beer, food and entertainment.)

Horsham, Pa.
Thu. 10/9; 5 p.m.-8 p.m. - Round Guys Tap Takeover @Anthony's Coal-fired Pizza ($PAYG for a handful of drafts of well crafted, Round Guys Beer.)
Fri. 10/10; 7 p.m. - Oak-aged Abbatia Bottle Release @Iron Abbey ($PAYG for an exclusive limited release.)
Wed. 10/15; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Firestone Walker Beer Dinner @Iron Abbey ($60 for a five-course meal served with Oaktoberfest, Pivo Hoppy Pils, Double Jack IPA, Velvet Merkin, and Agrestic Ale.)

Hulmeville, Pa.
Thu. 10/9; 7 p.m. - Weyerbacher Tap Takeover @Hulmeville Inn ($PAYG for Jesters Tree, Black & Orange, Double Simcoe, a cask of Imperial Pumpkin, and others.)

Kennett Square, Pa.
Sat. 10/11; 12 p.m.-6 p.m. - Kennett Brewfest ($15-$70 for an opportunity to sample some of the best regional and national craft beers accompanied by great food, great music, and great people.)

Kennett Square, Pa., Newark, Del., and Wilmington, Del.
Sun. 10/12; 12 p.m.  - Breast Brunch Ever @all Two Stones Pubs ($TBD for a brunch, featuring Pynk, benefiting The Tyanna Foundation for breast cancer awareness and research.)

Media, Pa.
Thu. 10/9; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Hardywood Debut @Pinocchio's ($PAYG for a lineup of bottles and a draft from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va.)

Paoli, Pa.
Thu. 10/9; 4 p.m.-8 p.m. - Beer and Barbecue @TJ's, ($PAYG for an extended happy hour with Boulevard beers 80 Acre, Single Wide, Pop Up, and Tank 7 and special barbecue dishes from TJ's kitchen.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays in October - Brewery of the Month @Old Eagle Tavern ($PAYG to enjoy month-long specials on beers from Free Will.)
Thu. 10/9; 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. - Anniversary Party @Earth Bread + Brewery ($PAYG for 9+ house beers on tap including Perkuno's Hammer and Sycon. Plus, a special Weavers Way flatbread.)
Thu. 10/9; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. - Boulevard at The Franklin @DiBruno Bros. ($PAYG to pair DiBruno's famous cheese and charcuterie plates with beer samples from Boulevard.)
Thu. 10/9; 6 p.m. - Hardywood Brewing Tap Invasion @The Bishop's Collar ($PAYG for Hardywood Park Craft Brewery's Single, Gingerbread Stout, Bohemian Pils, Great Return, Farmhouse Pumpkin Saison, Virginia Blackberry Wit, and Bourbon Double IPA.)
Thu. 10/9; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Beer & BBQ @Fette Sau ($PAYG for boxes of house-made caramel popcorn, seasoned with house rub, and tins of smoked almonds — complimentary with the purchase of your first Boulevard beer.)
Fri. 10/10; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Friday Night Tasting @Bell Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Boulevard Brewing Company. Be sure to enter the Text-to-Win raffle.)
Fri. 10/10; 4 p.m. - Hardywood @City Tap House ($PAYG for a Friday happy hour with a bunch of awesome beers, Hardywood's owner and brewmaster in the house, and some honky Tonkin music from Cask & Co.)
Fri. 10/10; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. - Beer Sampling @Bottles Packs and Growlers ($Free tasting samples of beers from Traveler.)
Fri. 10/10; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. - Penn Brewery Fall Trifecta @Grey Lodge ($PAYG for Penn Brewery's Harvest Rye Pale Ale, Oktoberfest, and Pumpkin Roll. Some Oktoberfest specials from the kitchen as well.)
Fri. 10/10; 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. - Beer and Cheese Pairing @Philly Beer School ($47.98 for the ultimate class on beer and cheese pairings.)
Fri. 10/10 through Mon. 10/13; 7 p.m. - Dinner, Beer, and A Movie @Old Eagle Tavern ($PAYG for Game of Thrones on the TV, Ommegang's show-inspired Game of Thrones beers in the glass, dinner fare inspired by the show, and Game of Thrones/Ommegang giveaways all weekend long.)
Sat. 10/11; 12 p.m.-4 p.m. - Packin’' Pumpkin @Iron Hill ($PAYG for eight pumpkin beers and a special menu of fall flavors.)
Sat. 10/11; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. - Boulevard on the Avenue @Moonshine Bar ($PAYG as Boulevard beers will be flowing during the Crafts & Drafts Festival. Little Baby s Ice Cream, Elixr Coffee and Smak Parlour Fashion Truck, will be on hand to showcase and sell their wares and New Sound Brass Band will be delivering the tunes. Prizes and raffles galore, too.)
Sun. 10/12; 12 p.m. - Second Release of Walker @Dock Street Brewing Company ($PAYG for brunch, beer, Walker bottle sales, and the day culminating with a screening of the Season 5 premiere on the brewery s 120 projector.)
Sun. 10/12; 1 p.m. - Pumpkin Smash @City Tap House ($PAYG for over 35 pumpkin brews on tap. Your first beer is complimentary with the purchase of our $10 keepsake tasting glass. Live music by MJ Trio.)
Mon. 10/13; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Bottle Shop Happy Hour @Local 44 Bottle Shop ($Free samples of beer from Port Brewing/Lost Abbey.)
Tue. 10/14; 7 p.m. - Ancient Brewer Dinner @Monk’s Café ($TBD for a meal served with beers co-brewed with legendary owner of Home Sweet Homebrew, George Hummel. Dock Street Trappiste Blonde, Dogfish Head Giotto's Blues, Iron Hill Tripel w/toasted coconut, Nodding Head George's Fault, Stewart's White IPA, and Yards' Brown Ale.)
Wed. 10/15; 5 p.m. - Hop Harvest Party @Strangelove's ($PAYG for a mega list of fresh wet-hopped beers from both coasts (and between) — rounded out with our favorite seasonal specialties.)
Wed. 10/15; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Local Brewery Feature Night @Renaissance Hotel-Airport ($PAYG for Flying Fish beer feature night.)
Wed. 10/15; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - U Buy The Glass Event @The Abbaye ($PAYG for an Oktoberfest-themed glass giveaway night.)
Wed. 10/15; 7 p.m. - Pumpkin Fest @Bainbridge Street Barrel House ($PAYG for the Great Pumpkin Tap Takeover.)

Swarthmore, Pa.
Tue. 10/14; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Barrel-aged Series @320 Market Cafe ($PAYG to meet River Horse brewery owner Chris Walsh and enjoy Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin Ale and our brand new IPA.)

Voorhees, NJ
Sat. 10/11; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. - Out of the Gourdinary @Iron Hill ($PAYG for a multi-tap devoted to your favorite gourd.)

Wayne, Pa.
Tue. 10/14; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Tröegs Beer Dinner @Black Powder Tavern ($50 for a four-course meal served with LaGrave, Scratch #157 Oktoberfest, Dreamweaver Wheat, Troeganator, and Java Head Stout.)

West Chester, Pa.
Fri. 10/10; 4 p.m.-7 p.m. - Friday Night Beer Tasting @Goshen Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Long Trail.)

Westmont, NJ
Thu. 10/9; 6 p.m. - Firkin Launch Party @Pour House ($PAYG for a firkin, a randall, and a draft tower lineup of Dogfish Head beers.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

More fun stuff from GABF 2014

Another Great American Beer Festival (GABF) has wrapped and the judging results are officially in the books.

You may have seen me with live updates throughout the ceremony this past Saturday bringing you the winners from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania as they were called to the stage. For the record, here's a link to the final list of those winners.

It was a fast and frantic pace trying to keep up for almost three hours, plus some quick social media commentary that I added along the way. Below are some other quick scribble notes that I made along the way during the awards ceremony on Saturday that I found interesting.

In no particular order...

- Leading up to GABF, Peggy Zwerver from Earth Bread + Brewery mentioned to me that it was the first ever GABF entry for husband/brewer/business partner Tom Baker -- including his days at Heavyweight Brewing Company in Ocean, NJ. He took gold for the storied and excellent Perkuno's Hammer in the Baltic-style Porter category of 42 entries. The beer dates back to his days at the lauded Heavyweight.

- In my preview posting for GABF last week, I noted (not all that boldly, admittedly) that there'd be someone from the " brewers...continue to fill in the landscape..." to go home with a medal. In Pennsylvania, Four Seasons surely fit that description as they held off 54 other entries and grabbed a silver medal for its Darkside of the Pint in the Oatmeal Stout category. I covered it in my forthcoming book and described it with "...A well-made oatmeal stout is not a common enough occurrence. This one makes the cut..."

- Also, I mentioned that it would be a complete shock if a perennial winner like "...Iron Hill's Russian Imperial Stout or ones from Tröegs such as Sunshine Pils or Troegenator..." didn't make the grade. The Troegenator saved me as it snagged yet another gold in the bock category to add to its impressive resume.

- I also covered Kane Brewing Company from Ocean, NJ in my book and featured A Night To End All Dawns. I referred to it as " aromas and flavors of bourbon, chocolate, raisins, vanilla, and coffee. An experience worth sharing with others." and the judges seemed to agree, bestowing a gold medal upon it in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category with 109 total entries.

- Each year, particularly since they began canning it for distribution, I've sung the praises of Sly Fox's Grisette. I couldn't be more happy for them, and a bit validated as well, as they scored a gold medal for it in the Belgian- and French-Style Ale category.

- I've drunk Devils Backbone for quite a few years now and their continued strong showing insists that I pay them a visit in 2015.

- I appreciate how "old reliables" can continue to fare well in competitions. In 2014, see Boulevard Zon, Heavy Seas Gold, Left Hand Milk Stout, Ommegang Witte, Shiner Bock, and Victory Golden Monkey as a handful of examples.

- Two of the most polarizing beers, and two that I truly really enjoy — DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus! (bronze-Chocolate Beer, 44 entries) and High Water Campfire Stout (gold-Specialty Beer, 47 entries) — took home justified medals as deftly-balanced beers showcasing "unusual" flavors.

- Speaking of old reliables, Alaskan Smoked Porter continues its world dominance with another bronze added to its medal wall.

- A favorite of mine from coast-to-coast, the under-recognized Telegraph Reserve Wheat may not be so under-recognized for much longer. It was awarded a well-deserved gold medal in German-style Sour Ales, a rapidly growing category this year with 80 entries. Picked up a case from The Beer Yard last month. Drinks well now; ages quite nicely too. Send more, please.

- Bronze and Silver may have played out as expected in the Imperial IPA category with Russian River Pliny The Elder and Port Brewing Hop 15, respectively, wearing those medals. However, catching many by surprise was the Columbus Brewing Company's Creeper which, well, crept up and took a gold medal back to Columbus, Ohio over those two beers and 132 others.

- Not content to be a surprise in the Imperial IPA category, Columbus also took a bronze for American-style IPA behind Half Acre's Heyoka in Illinois, and Breakside IPA from Oregon.

- Of the 21 states with at least one medal winner in a German/Eastern European-based style, only five states were in the northeast, long thought to be the province of solidly-made beers in these categories.

- Exemplifying this condition, take the German-style Pilsener category. This year, Tröegs Sunshine Pils (2013 bronze, 2012 and 2011 silver, 2009 bronze) took a back seat to defending gold medal winner Pivo Pils from Firestone Walker, silver medal winner Russian River STS Pils, and bronze medal winner from Wiseacre Tiny Bomb from Memphis, Tennessee. Mention FW and RR and my hunch is hop bombs and barrel-aging will be mentioned long before Pilsners.

- Likewise, the Vienna-style Lager category, typically listing east-coast states such as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia amongst the best, this year showed Figueroa Mountain from California and Platt Park from Colorado atop of the judging results of 48 entries.

- And no one below, say North Carolina, really gets into making big stouts, really good big stouts, right? Well, in 2014 a Denton, Texas brewery (Armadillo Ale Works, just north of Dallas) took gold in Imperial Stout for its Quakertown beer and Pinthouse Pizza Craft Brewpub took bronze in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category for its Jaguar Shark all the way down in Austin, Texas. Now that's weird!

- On one last note, how about some of the favorite beer names in the competition? Dogfish Head Choc Lobster or Columbus Creeper or Old Town I'd Like to Buy the World a Kolsch or Lion Bridge Workman's Compensation (in English-style Mild category) or MobCraft Batshit Crazy (in Coffee Stout category) or Bottle Logic Lagerithm for the mathematician in some of us.

I'm sure I could dig up some more interesting relationships/observations of interest, but I'll leave it to the Brewers Association, which continues each year to impress with its own level of analytics. Check out their page for more statistical breakdown.

Until next year, get out there and enjoy an ever widening world of great beer. Cheers!