Wednesday, January 31, 2007

LA-LA-Losing It in LA


I don't know much about downtown Los Angeles, but from this past trip and a bit of research, I think it's safe to say that the out-of-towner staying downtown is generally out of luck when it comes to finding decent beer, especially decent beer to take home. Case in point, I went out to Pasadena in order to find this treasure trove of beer that I brought home with me on this most recent trip to California.

The funny thing (or not, really) is that I would have figured that downtown LA would have some sort of decent beer scene. But, other than Bonaventure Brewing (a so-so review is forthcoming) and Casey's Irish bar (a separate brief blurb is also in the works), there is nothing to speak of in downtown.

Seriously...liquor/wine stores on the street, nada...specialty beverage spots inside of hotels, zippo...draft/bottle lists at hotels, bars, restaurants, hurtin' for certain. So, since my goal was to track down some Alesmith, Port Brewing, and Firestone (all not available in PA), it was off to Pasadena I went...and I scored at BevMo :) In addition to those three, Hoptown, He'brew, and New Belgium also came along for the ride.

To round out the trip, I spent the last couple of hours at the Four Points Sheraton by the LAX airport, where anyone (anyone!) can find a brew to their liking. I'll post separately on this as well, but as a bit of a teaser let's just say....Racer 5 on tap, Old Rasputin too, Houblon Chouffe in a 1.5 liter bottle, 6 of the 7 Trappist Belgians, and so on. Many, many quality bottle from which to choose.

So, in the end, all of the bottles made it home safely in one piece. I suppose another successful business trip and beer hunting in the books. Unfortunately, I also learned the sobering truth about downtown LA. Consider yourself warned...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Topic of the Week: When beer sucks! Your thoughts.

Yesterday we talked about When beer sucks! Let's keep it going and see how long we can make this list. Beer sucks when...
  • you are surrounded by smokers trying to taste one of your favorite beers
  • you take a sip of beer right after you brushed your teeth
  • Come on! Click that post a comment link! Post as many times as you like.
Our list so far. Beer sucks when...
  • served too cold and you can't really taste it
  • it was left out in the sun for hours
  • your neighbor serves you a 5 year old can of beer (shudder)
  • the glass is too small
  • the glass is too cold
  • glasses are improperly washed. (kills the head and just look nasty)
  • the beer lines are dirty and change the taste of a beer
  • you’ve already had too many and you get the opportunity to try something you’ve been dying to taste
  • you have a cold and can't taste it
  • a brewery poorly executes a style of beer

NOTE: Decided to remove beer brand names. In the summary. You can still find them in the original post and comments. -Adam

Beer Tasting: Sly Fox Odyssey Imperial IPA


The Beer: Sly Fox Odyssey Imperial IPA
Style: Double IPA
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Packaging & Date Stamping: 22 oz. brown bottle; no date stamp

From where & how stored: Purchased from the Phoenixville location in Dec. 2006 and refrigerated at 42F since then

Pricing: $5.50 per bottle

Availability: Once-a-year as the culmination brew in the annual "IPA Project"

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 8.4% ABV, 18.6 OG, 90 IBUs
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- clean filtered
- bright, bronze color
- decent tight, frothy head holds up for a while
- drapes over the walls

The Aroma:
- citrus hop aroma dominate the otherwise understated nose

The Taste:
- bit of metallic, bitter finish
- decent malt profile to round out the hops kick
- but overall not overwhelmingly hops or malt, guess it's more balanced than I was expecting (not an insult)
- notes of alcohol and bigger hops come out as it warms

The Verdict: Seems to be a very solid IPA. A good intro IPA/double IPA suitable for newbies who want to jump into this style. Preferred just a shade on the cooler side of room temperature.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adam's Notes
The Look:
- sunshine yellow

The Aroma:
- nose isn't huge, but substantial signals what is to come
- hops at first; it doesn't stand out, seems a little too subtle

The Taste:
- Let it warm and lo and behold there it is nice round hoppy sweetness
- not too syrupy
- clean on the palate

The Verdict: I will buy a couple bottles of this to enjoy slowly and remind me of summertime while keeping me warm this winter. Don't make the mistake of drinking it cold. This is a civilized well balanced hoppy double IPA. It's from the East Coast to boot!

Topic of the Week: Beer SUCKS! ;-)

Did the title get ya? :-) Well, beer does suck...sometimes. As much as we praise beer here at The Brew Lounge, we all know beer can suck. Here are some examples.
  • when it is served too cold and you can't really taste it (unless its Michelob Ultra)
  • when it tastes like Michelob Ultra
  • when it was left out in the sun for hours (did that myself with a 120 min from DFH, cringe)
  • when your neighbor serves you a 5 year old can of Schaefer (shudder)

See what I mean? ;-) These are some of our thoughts here at The Brew Lounge.

What are yours? Have you ever had a bad experience with beer? Tell us about it.

Come on! Click that post a comment link! We made it easy for you.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Scott Morrison saga

I've had this in the hopper for a few weeks, but was prompted to finish it off when I saw this earlier from the man (uh, Dude) himself. We've been asked before if we had any plans to rip McKenzie Brew House and its owner for the firing of Scott Morrison (aka Dude) over a month ago, just before the holidays. We both agreed not to at the time, and I still don't plan to now. Here's why... Allow me to start off by saying what makes this story difficult is that Scott Morrison is just a downright likable guy and quality brewer. If he wasn't, the reaction, I'm sure, would be less passionate. But, my overall reaction from a business point-of-view is that it is just that...business. The owner (no need for names) has a business plan that has allowed him to succeed over the years in the restaurant business. No one ever said you've gotta be nice as a business owner. And, sometimes, being nice won't help you get ahead (not a rule, mind you, but sometimes the case). It just so happens that he advertises his business as a "brew house" and that's part of the reason why we care so much. We care especially when we see a talented brewer being stifled. But, man, when his talent was unleashed at McKenzie, he won awards...several of them. The full appreciation of this just does not supremely matter to the owner. Let's also remember that no one (I'll bet) knows all of the finer points of the relationship between Scott and his former boss. The relationship came to an end, and it usually takes two to tango. Once again, not casting blame, but it seems logical that a variety of factors came together to end this relationship. What do we object to? Well, of course, from a practical, compassionate, humanistic point-of-view most you hate to see anyone lose their job so close to the holidays with a new house project and family plans underway. But, perhaps, we should look at this on the brighter side. Most people seemed to see this coming...eventually...though maybe not in such dramatic fashion. Isn't this what many secretly hoped for? That Scott would take his talents somewhere that they could shine even brighter? That McKenzie could just go on being a family dinner place early on and a smoke-filled pick-up joint later on at night, complete with Texas Hold 'Em, Quizzo, and Karaoke? For the time being, it seems that we'll have access to the remaining batches that Scott and Ryan Michael brewed together. Then, we'll see how things go with Ryan or whomever they might bring in to succeed Scott. Will it stop me from going and getting some Vuuve when it goes on line soon? Probably not. In the meantime, though, if there are any Dude sightings, let us know!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Belgium Comes To West Chester at Iron Hill on 1/27/07

Belgium sure gets around. Cooperstown, Boston, New York City, and West Chester too. Iron Hill hosted an event this weekend that has set the bar very high for the remainder of 2007 for all other beer gatherings and festivals. Can I get a 'giddy-up'?!

It's really a shame that so many BAs gathered yesterday at General Lafayette, because most of them missed out on a spectacular lineup of Belgian-inspired brews and industry folk. I lost count of the "in-the-biz" folks somewhere around the time that I lost track of how many different three ounce samples that I enjoyed in addition to the ones that I seemed to continuously handed to me by others to try. Although, to their credit it sounded like a quality event and a few of them did stumble their way down to Iron Hill. Some even had a mini-bus driven for them...smart!

From Stewart's in Delaware to Triumph to the north and further west to Legacy, many local brewers were represented. Even Manayunk came in with a surprise hit. Just check out the board. The host Iron Hill (Chris Lapierre) also chipped in their Quadfather and The Cannibal.

Let's see...highlights?

Most crowd-perplexing: Iron Hill's (Media) Cassis - Bob Barrar scored a big-time hit with some but left several others saying, "Holy Barnyard!" Certainly, if you haven't been there before, it's a whole new level for you.

Most uniformly crowd-pleasing: Stewart's; Harpoon; Manyunk; Legacy

Most suited for the smallest sample glass: Triumph's Applejack (just think apple brandy and alcohol and you've got it nailed, phew!)

My favorites (no ranking, thank you!) Iron Hill Quadfather; Flying Fish Puckerfish; Legacy Triple Lindy; Harpoon Wild Ale

Ones I skipped (cuz I gotta be responsible and stop at some point!) FE10, Imperial Wit, Mad Elf, Belgian Dubbel

Suzanne Woods and the IPA club

What a great, great time at Iron Hill in West Chester, PA last night. More to come on that later today. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Suzanne Woods in person. She's received quite a bit of positive press over the past year as she got the IPA (In Pursuit of Ale) club off the ground here in the Philadelphia area. What started as an initiative to widen her friends' (and strangers') of the female persuasion palate for beer beyond the uninteresting and unadventurous has turned into quite a hit. They have regular meet-ups across the Philly region. Are there possibilities for taking this concept across the country? Who knows? Next time, I'll ask. Our conversation was short as her ride was ready to leave. Keep up the great work, Suzanne and, to our readers, go check out her site. She's a true advocate for better beer!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dock Street in Philadelphia, PA - Opening Update

Thanks to the scoop from Scoats over at BA for these promising notes from Dock Street regarding their progress toward reappearing on the Philadelphia Craft Beer Scene after all of these years. It's been a long wait. The neighborhood may not be what a lot of you expect (or maybe it is), but let's make sure they get the support they deserve. ================================================================ Things going on with Dock Street: 1. Switched our contract brewing from FX Matt-Utica to Saratoga Springs 2. Stopped brewing the Bohemian Pilsner 3. Got our zoning/funding for the brewery and restaurant in University City (50th and Baltimore) 4. Got our Building permit - construction starts beginning of February (open in summer) 5. Started kegging the original recipe Amber Ale!!! 6. Brewed the Illuminator Double Bock to be released at the end of February!!! ================================================================

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Victory Beer Dinner at Eulogy Belgian Tavern in Philadelphia, PA

I'll bet you might think Monk's is the only Belgian beer bar & restaurant in Philadelphia the way we sometimes write. But along comes faithful reader, Richard, to remind us of an upcoming event that we overlooked across town. I'll be on the "left coast", but it sure does look like a night of tasty delights with appealing food paired with beer we already know and love from Victory. Thanks Richard for the note. If any of you ever have a note you'd like to drop to us, a reminder for an upcoming event that you'd like us to mention, or want to give us a good off-line lashing (I surely doubt it ;-) just do so over at beerguys@brewlounge.com ================================================ Eulogy Belgian Tavern & Victory Beer Dinner January 30, 2007 8:00pm $50/pp Amuse-bouche Warm brie Cheese Beer: Dark Lager (draft) Appetizer Moules Beer (beer Mussels) Mussels cooked in mad king Weiss, with peppers, onion, celery, fresh herb mix, butter, and lemon Beer: Mad King Weiss Salad Duck salad with Spinach and Basil sun dried cranberry, pecans and a white balsamic vinaigrette Beer: Saison Intermezzo Chilled Soup Persimmon and Asian pair puree Beer: Golden Monkey Entrée Steak and Pommes frites New York strip steak topped with angel hair onions and a beer Demi Beer: St Victorious Dessert Belgian Chocolate mouse Beer: Storm King

Take a Brews Cruise in British Columbia

Maple Leaf Adventures Overview Tall Sails & Ales Overview Itinerary Details First, I see that Mark is doing a Brew Cruise in the north Atlantic, then I get notice of this BC in BC. That is, a Brews Cruise in British Columbia. I don't know how long this concept has been around but, wow!, what a great combination of fun activities. This particular Tall Sails & Ales cruise is run by Maple Leaf Adventures and is the second year they've conducted it. In this 5-night trip, you can accomplish a remarkable sight-seeing tour along the stunning BC coast, a small-group schooner trip, and a tutored tasting of several of the well-renowned BC brews by Greg Evans. Over the past year, I've been hearing bits and pieces about the BC brewing scene as the guys over at Pacific Brew News have done some tastings and travels of this region. And, how much more timely can we get than this week's episode over at PBN. This sounds like a great excuse to witness it firsthand :) For further information, I recommend reading the links at the top (in the listed order). If it doesn't whet your appetite for a getaway vacation like this, I don't know what will! Oh, and by the way, they also run an eco-friendly business which means that their cruises make very little impact on the environment through which they are travelling. Kudos and Cheers!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Beer Dinner: Russian River at Monk's Cafe

Vinnie and Natalie rocked Monks again. Chef Adam worked his magic. Tom and Fergie were the hosts and George played master of ceremonies once again. What did Bryan and I do? Sat back and took it all in. Every last mouthful of the six courses paired with some "tion" beers and a fresh IPA. All tied together with a common theme and capped off with one of the best desserts I have ever had. You may recall our palate bending experience last year at the Russian River & Pizza Port dinner (part one & part two). How did this one compare?. Stay tuned we'll have the full account in a few days.

The Foodery (Northern Liberties) in Philadelphia, PA

Finally! I made way to the newest incarnation of much-ballyhooed Foodery in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. I'd been to the original location on Pine Street. All of the hype and praise finally, finally got me there this past Saturday after my visit to Yards (and Rich Wagner's presentation on the history of beer in Philadelphia's Bridesburg, Kensington, and Frankford neighborhoods). And, boy, was I not disappointed.

This is what I can imagine the new City Beer Store in San Francisco must feel like (ah, next trip to SF, I promise myself). The only thing missing is tap lines to serve draft beer from. Otherwise, you have a deli counter, a dozen or so coolers of beer, and other bodega-style goods to choose from.

Stationed behind the counter is Jeff. He's no longer taking the train out to Wayne to help out with Matt's business at Beer Yard. But, he sure has a good gig at The Foodery. Not only is it a bigger and cleaner version of the original. But, it's in one of my favorite neighborhoods of the city. This isn't to say, though, that I don't recognize it less and less every time I visit.

Sidebar: (I'm good at these, eh?!) When we lived in the city, it could be a downright sketchy proposition wandering through this 'hood in search of the random bar, restaurant, or Standard Tap. But, the vibe of this area has always been "real." It still seems to ooze with some of that feel. But, geez, with the omnipresent construction and slow but obvious gentrification (and harder to find parking spots!) it's not quite the same. Ah, all in the name of progress I suppose...

Trying to give you even a partial inventory of beers available in the coolers would be silly. Think of a domestic or Belgian beer available anywhere in Pennsylvania and chances are very good that they've got it. To my untrained eye, I didn't see any beers unauthorized for retail sale in the state....like some other establishments, ahem! (sorry, pet peeve.)

On the list for my next visit to The Foodery is to spend an hour or so having a bite to eat from their deli with a delicious bottle of exotic brew. Then, head over to the Standard Tap across the street (oh, so convenient) and put back a pint or two of local brew in one of the city's most venerable of better beer locations.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today's Beer Event: Russian River at Monk's

Here's to hoping this day goes fast! Russian River at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia tonight. We'll be sure to follow up with a full account. Tick tock...tick tock.

Beer Calendar: What to do in February 2007

And the beat goes on in February with some big (did I say BIG?) events. Here's just a sampling of upcoming events over the next several weeks, mostly in the Philadelphia area, that look interesting to check out. Let us know if you think you might be heading to one of these events or have been to one of them in the past. Not such a bad list of calendar events to keep the post-holiday mid-winter blues at bay! Thu. 1/25 - Legacy Beer Dinner @Bridget Foy's, Philadelphia, PA (7pm; $45) Thu. 1/25 - Erie Beer Tasting @The Foodery (Northern Liberties), Philadelphia, PA (5pm-7pm; free) Fri. 1/26 - Victory Hop Wallop (cask) Night @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; pay as you go) Fri. 1/26 - Friday Night Beer Tasting (Allagash) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free) Sat. 1/27 - Brewers' Reserve-Belgium Comes To West Chester @Iron Hill Brewery, West Chester, PA (4:00pm; pay as you go) Fri. 2/2 - Groundhog Day Beer Breakfast/Lucky Cat Night Beer Prognostication @The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (all day; pay as you go) Fri. 2/2 - Friday Night Beer Tasting (Troegs) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free) Sat. 2/3 - Zeno's XXL Fest @Zeno's, State College, PA (all day; $25 includes dinner) Tue. 2/6 - Lost Abbey Dinner @Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA (7:00pm-10:00pm; $65) Fri. 2/9 - Extreme Beer Fest-Night of the Barrels @The Cyclorama, Boston, MA (6:00pm-9:30pm; $45) Fri. 2/9 - Victory Love Fest @Victory, Downingtown, PA (5:00pm-Midnight; pay as you go) Sat. 2/10 - Extreme Beer Fest-Sessions One & Two @The Cyclorama, Boston, MA (1:00pm-4:30pm; 6:00-9:30pm; $32.50 each session) Sat. 2/10 - 7th Annual Double IPA Fest @The Bistro, Hayward, CA Fri. 2/16 - Troegs Nugget Nectar Night @The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-9:00pm; pay as you go) Fri. 2/16 - Sun. 2/18 - Max's 3rd Annual Belgian Festival @Max's, Baltimore, MD (11:00am; pay as you go) Sat. 2/17 - Sat. 2/24 - Toronado Barley Wine Festival 2007 @Toronado, San Francisco, CA (11:30am-2:00am; pay as you go) Sat. 2/17 - Winterfest (Strong Beer & Great Food) @General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (Noon-3:30pm; $35) Sat. 2/17 - War of The Worts XXII @Iron Hill, North Wales, PA (10:00am-5:00pm; Entry required at website) Sun. 2/18 - Dogfish Head Chocolate Beer Dinner @Dogfish Head, Rehoboth Beach, DE Wed. 2/21 - Beer Connoisseur Night @Capone's, East Norriton, PA (all day; pay as you go) Fri. 2/23 - Firkin of Nectar @Union Jack's, Boyertown, PA (pay as you go) Sat. 2/24 - Lager Origins in Philadelphia (Rich Wagner) @Yards Brewing, Philadelphia, PA (2pm; free) Sat. 2/24 - The Best of 2006 @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (12pm-???; pay as you go) Sat. 2/24 - Beats, Brews & BBQ @World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA (1pm-5pm; $30/$35 or $50 VIP) Sun. 2/25 - 5th Annual Victory Chili Challenge @Victory, Downingtown, PA Fri. 2/23 - Sun. 2/25 - 11th 'Cask Head' Cask Ale Festival @Brazen Head, Brooklyn, NY (Noon-close; pay as you go) Wed. 2/28 - Lancaster Home Brew Club Tasting @Lancaster Brewing Co., Lancaster, PA (7pm; pay as you go at the bar and BYO Homebrew)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Beer Tasting: Left Hand Warrior IPA

{NO PICTURE} The Beer: Left Hand Warrior IPA Style: IPA (fresh-hopped) Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Packaging & Date Stamping: 22 oz. brown bomber bottle; no date stamp From where & how stored: Purchased from Collier's in Cape May, NJ on New Year's Eve, refrigerated and consumed later that evening Pricing: $5.99 per bottle Availability: Fall seasonal ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 6.6% ABV, 60 IBU, 16.0 Plato -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bryan's Notes The Look: - deep, golden-bronze - 1-finger head, fades quite slowly - slickness on walls The Aroma: - holy hoppy aroma! - like standing in the hop room at Anchor, while crushing hops in your hands, and inhaling! The Taste: - wet (not watery) - hop bitterness throughout - surprisingly short finish - biting bitterness, like Arrogant Bastard, though not as slick/oily/cloying - reminiscent of Double Simcoe from Weyerbacher in its awesome hop presence - more malt-balanced than Victory's Hop Wallop The Verdict: I preferred this a bit on the cooler side just out of the refrigerator. This has some characteristics of Weyerbacher's Double Simcoe, Stone's Arrogant Bastard, and Victory's Hop Wallop. With these traits, how can you go wrong? Shoulda grabbed two :(

Rich Wagner, Yards Brewing, and bit of This 'n' That

Just another day in Philadelphia beer paradise. Take Yards the "city's brewery", open the doors for tours (as they do every Saturday), throw in a Rich Wagner presentation (preeminent Philadelphia Beer Historian) and you've got the makings of reason #6254 why the Philadelphia region is one of this country's leading beer destinations.

warning: this is my scatter shot approach today!

I'm not sure if I was surprised, or not, to see a fairly well-packed room of 100 or so better beer enthusiasts...or people with nothing better to do...nah, no one searches out Kensington's Yards Brewing unless they know exactly what they're looking for. Oh, and for a quick sidebar (did I mention scatter shot?!), Yards was serving up Château Kenso '07 the recently released brainstorm of the brewers. Oh yeah, and I saw John Rehm for a few minutes too. Since relocating to Yards from John Harvard's Brew House (Wayne, PA), he has been able to more comfortably unleash his inner brewer. Good to see you again John in a great brewing environment.

So....anyway....back, back, back.....

Why was I there anyway? Oh yeah, Rich Wagner's presentation. His reputation certainly precedes him; all you need do is check out his website to get a flavor for just how detail-oriented Rich is when it comes to collecting data and information about the role that history has played in bringing the Philadelphia beer scene to where it is today. If you know me, I'm sure you know that I appreciate letting my geek side out every once and a while...so the more details and numbers, the better :)

Rich conducts many speaking appearances. This one was entitled "Breweries of Kensington, Richmond & Bridesburg." (His next one scheduled at Yards is February 24th at 2:00pm and entitled "Lager Origins in Philadelphia.") This was the first of his presentations that I've attended. Rich has an engaging speaking style, making it easy to follow along with his presentation. Hey, and having a Pynk, Pale Ale, ESA, or C.K.7 fresh from the tap helps settle the crowd in for the 45 minute presentation!

His slides are intriguing and serve as a great backdrop for his stories. He has come in to so many interesting city street maps, brewery floor plans, topological and architectural renderings, postcards, advertising memorabilia, and on and on. I was tempted to take pictures of the slides as they were flashed up on the wall, but thought better of it. You'll just have to check it out for yourself sometime.

What else can I tell you? It certainly was a good time with travelling beer hounds Mark, Everett, and Woody there to provide extra camaraderie. We parted ways as they headed across the street to check out the bar across the street ("The Lost Bar"?) with the Yards sign emblazoning the window while I headed down to Foodery II for some goodies before hitting the road back home. Just another day...




Sunday, January 21, 2007

Beer Tasting: Pyramid Snow Cap Ale


The Beer: Pyramid Snow Cap Ale
Style: Winter Warmer
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
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Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; stamp on collar unreadable

From where & how stored: Obtained via holiday beer exchange in Dec. 2006; stored at 52F since then

Pricing: $x.xx

Availability: Winter seasonal

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 7.0% ABV, 1.071 OG
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Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- Dark brown
- Tan head
- moderate to little carbonation

The Aroma:
- alcohol notes
- light toasty, solid malt aroma
- light molasses in the nose and taste

The Taste:
- nutty, full flavor
- burnt flavor undertones too
- smooth body with slight cutting bitterness

The Verdict: A slightly bigger beer, but not intimidating. Drinkable, with identifiable roasted flavors, but not too complex. Worth a few more.
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Adam's Notes
The Look:
- pours with a thin head
- thin ring persists
- clear deep brown

The Aroma:
- wonderful roasty grain profile
- some fruitiness in the nose

The Taste:
- funny thing...didn't get much upfront taste
- tang in the middle
- slightly bitter after taste
- for a winter warmer this is drinkable
- surprisingly low alcohol presence on the palate
- wait for it to warm

The Verdict: I like the malt profile. I like the after taste. I don't remember it tasting this way. Hmmmm...This is a roasty drinkable winter warmer. If you like a dark roasty beer with a kick this is for you.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 1/19/07

On an attempted regular basis, we'll post the tap list here to the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA. We have no affiliation with the establishment other than living within 2 miles of it and appreciating the usual quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop us a note and let us know. On Draft as of 1/19/07 Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA Gouden Carolus Noël/Christmas Lost Coast Indica Lancaster Amish 4 Grain Ale Pyramid Snow Cap Ale Allagash Grand Cru Stoudt's Winter Ale Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Clipper City/Heavy Seas Winter Storm Category 5 Ale Legacy Raspberry Wheat

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 1/19/07

We've gone to some effort to publicize on a regular basis the usual quality taps at Flying Pig in Malvern, PA. They need a bit of publicity because they have no web presence and the tap handles are constantly changing. However, The Drafting Room in Exton, PA has a decent web presence and quite a huge reputation proceeding them. Though, to be honest, I've been disappointed on more than one occasion to show up after checking their website only to find that a particular beer their site listed was now kicked. Of course, at The Drafting Room there is usually no shortage of other decent brew on draft from which to choose. Patrick and company do a great job of stocking the inventory. And, don't get me wrong, I understand the nature of frequently changing kegs and the near impossibility of keeping a website current. (Though, somehow Scoats manages to pull it off.) Patrick tells me that there may be something similar in the near future. So until then, we'll give it a try here to also post on a semi-regular basis the current tap list at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA. What's on line as of 1/19/07? Funny you should ask. Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale Sly Fox O'Reilly's Irish Stout Magic Hat Hi.P.A. North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Rogue Imperial YSB (Younger's Special Bitter) Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale Sly Fox Magnum IPA Harpoon Munich Dark Brouwerij Bavik Petrus Winterbier Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper Bell's Special Double Cream Stout

Friday, January 19, 2007

Beer Tasting: Brooklyn Winter Ale



The Beer: Brooklyn Winter Ale [2006]
Style: Scottish-Style Ale
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; notched as "Best Before Apr. '07"

From where & how stored: Obtained through holiday beer exchange; stored at 52F since then

Pricing: $x.xx

Availability: Winter seasonal

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 6.0% ABV
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- mild carbonation and thin head
- extremely smooth/slick looking (a bit oily)
- reddish hue to this brown ale

The Aroma:
- a big malty slightly peaty nose, alcohol not too present
- a bit of woodsy bark detected

The Taste:
- faint toffee
- slight bitterness in the finish (when cold)
- becomes more even and drinkable as it warms (but, not to room temperature)

The Verdict: A very easy-drinking, non-offensive beer. Thinner than I expected, but probably good for a variety of tastes and experience levels with beer. Could be paired with a variety of foods, stew especially (oops, does the label actually suggest that? honestly, I thought it before I read it :) Serve closer to, but not at, room temperature...say 50-55F
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Adam's Notes
The Look:
- nice dark amber brown

The Aroma:
- inviting nose
- malty & earthy

The Taste:
- Wow! What a flavor. I wasn't expecting that.
- This is subtle like a Belgian.
- very drinkable
- as it warms the subtle sweet malt reveals its identity as a Scottish Style Ale
- reminds me of St. Bernardus in a way
- holy crap! I want a case of this to pair with food!

The Verdict: Honestly though I'm having a hard time describing this. I would say that it is the kind of beer that doesn't take center stage, but, would be a good supporting actor in a meal with meats and other savory flavors. Clean malty nutty lightly sweet meal in a glass. I was drinking this thinking it was nothing like what I remember it as. A whole new level for Brooklyn Brewery really. I just read on Beer Advocate that its a new recipe this year according to Garrett Oliver. Ok, now I feel better. whew!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

East End Brewing at Capone's in Norristown, PA



East End beats Pliny! Is this like David vs. Goliath, Villanova vs. Georgetown or what?! Last night at Capone's in East Norriton, PA was advertised as Russian River (& much more) Night. They featured on tap: Russian River's Pliny the Elder and Damnation, Nodding Head's BPA, Brewers Art's Resurrection, East End's Big Hop IPA and Black Strap Stout, Troegs' Mad Elf, Heavyweight's Lunacy, Stone Double Bastard, High Point's Ramstein Winter Wheat, and Rogue's Younger's Special Bitter.

Anyway, back to topic. This isn't so much about Capone's as it is about East End Brewing. They debuted a couple of years ago and I haven't been able to get my hands on any of it. I was on the fence about going to Capone's last night, but the inclusion of East End sealed the deal.

I finally got to savor what I've been longing for. And, boy, did it not fail to disappoint! Maybe it was because I knew what to expect from Pliny and perhaps it was because the Elder came out somewhat under-carbonated and lacking some of the flavorful hop punch that I recall from previous tastings.

Or, maybe just maybe it had nothing to do with Pliny and everything to do with East End's near flawless attempt at a beautifully crafted bountifully hopped beer.

So it seems that the future holds for me a visit to the brewery, some growler fillups, and a full-fledged review of what's going on out there at this up-and-coming brewery in da 'burgh. Oh, and by the way, they're another one of those responsible breweries with the whole environmental-friendly approach. Kudos to Scott and all of his volunteers!

Oh, and for those of you interested in stats, here they are for the Big Hop IPA from East End. 5.8% ABV, 1.054 OG, 70 IBUs

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Still smokin'

Are you tired of it? Sorry, but I couldn't refuse this one more post about smoking policies and laws. I was looking for any new details on Max's Belgian festival in February, trying to sway me between General Lafayette and heading to Baltimore for the weekend of 2/17. {Put on your sarcastic voice for this one} And, lo and behold, what do I see? Heresy? Let consumers, owners, and employees of establishments decide what they want in terms of smoking or non-smoking? You mean if consumers won't go to a bar that allows smoking or if staff will look for work elsewhere, that a business owner may reconsider their smoking policy? Last time I checked it wasn't against the law to open a non-smoking establishment. Every month, more establishments are choosing themselves to change their smoking policy without getting the government involved. {Put on your best Guinness voice for this one} BRILLIANT! Looks like the Max's folks have got it right (or at least they agree with me, go on now!). This is just what I like to call commonsensical in these here parts...or at least in my tiny, insignificant corner of this world :) I said a couple of weeks ago that I would not be making a New Year's resolution. But, I'm rethinking that in light of more serious issues out there. While you see this is an issue I have strong feelings about, I'd like to ask that we all focus on an issue that deserves 1000 times more of our energy and passion. Baltimore, like Philly and this country as a whole, has a problem with gun control and gun-related crime. My question at the end of the day is: how are our legislators actually able to pass anti-smoking laws, but do not seem capable of passing strict, honest-to-God real, gun-control laws? Shouldn't we be demanding more of our legislators? Shouldn't we be demanding more of ourselves? We'll see where this thing heads next...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Beer Tasting: Penn St. Nikolaus Bock Bier


The Beer: Penn Brewing St. Nikolaus Bock Bier
Style: Münchener Dunkel Bock Bier
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
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Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; no date stamp

From where & How stored: Received via a holiday beer exchange at work and refrigerated at 42F since then

Pricing: $x.xx

Availability: Winter seasonal (holiday)

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 7.5% ABV
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Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- deep mahogany, very dark near black color
- thin pouring
- 2-finger loose head of medium bubbles, thins quickly

The Aroma:
- difficult to detect an aroma; some basic malt aroma, a bit like an average lager nose

The Taste:
- dry, roasted malt flavor...lingers a bit in the finish
- just a bit of chocolate and tobacco (no, I wasn't smoking a cigar at the time...nor was I at a bar)
- somewhat thin, but crisp and clean
- kind of one-dimensional

The Verdict: Not overly anything. Just plain ol' drinkable. Not my favorite Penn beer, but certainly not bad at all. The old style St. Nick label puts you in the holiday mood.
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Adam's Notes
The Look:
- copper brown
- decent head
- dissipates to persistent thin layer of bubbles

The Aroma:
- not much nose

The Taste:
- roasted malt
- yeasty taste
- chocolate malt finish

The Verdict: A good session dark bock beer. If you like lager and you like dark beer then this is for you. This is one of those holiday beers that will not surprise you with spice. Good safe bet for the average beer drinker who wants to take a risk ;-)

Just a typical night in Phoenixville?-Part I

What more can I say about a night that featured the kind of beers and the kind of people that you'd like to hang out with? Well, there you have it. I said it all. That was the night in a nutshell. Last night at Sly Fox's Phoenixville, PA location was a night of Southampton Publick House's Grand Cru, Saison Deluxe, Biere de Garde, and 10th Anniversary Old Ale. All of these were brewed in conjunction with Brian O'Reilly at the Royersford location of Sly Fox. Don't know where Brian found the capacity, given that volume close to doubled 2005's output! Brian got his brewing start in Connecticut working with Phil Markowski and has stayed in contact over the years. Phil was back last evening to do a book signing and to sell the four previously mentioned brews in 750ml bottles. Oh, and there was a bit of surprise appearance of the Cuvee des Fleurs that Phil generously broke out from his personal stash. Uh, all I can say is WOW! (I feel like I've been blessed with a bevy of WOW! beers lately. Life is good!) This was such a beautiful, floral interpretation of the Saison, bursting with flavor unlike many I've ever had before. If you stumble across any of this, be sure to send some my way...after you've had a chance to try it first of course! Everyone around the table seemed to agree, as well as these people and these people too. Suffice to say that the beers and the company all contributed to a karma that couldn't be beat. I initially figured one hour total time to get there and pick up some to-go beer, get a book, and have a quick brew and perhaps a bite to eat. (It instead turned into 3 hours!) These kind of unplanned nights without too much hype often provide the most satisfaction. Little did I know that I would run into Patrick, Richard, Brian, Matt, Tom, Rick, Jeanne, Phil, Dell, Joe, and others that I couldn't just walk away from so easily. Thanks to all of you for a great night of camaraderie and great beer. I'll be sure to reciprocate soon. And thanks, Dell, for the 11.2 times 2 gift. You'll see it reviewed here soon.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Beer Tasting: Victory Moonglow Weizenbock


The Beer: Victory Moonglow Weizenbock
Style: Weizenbock
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
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Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; "Best by 9/15/07"

From where & how stored: Purchased from Exton Beverage; stored in their cooler, then moved to my refrigerator at 42F

Pricing: $35/case of 24

Availability: Fall seasonal

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 8.7% ABV
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Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- one-finger of tight, creamy head with a few bigger bubbles peeping though
- reddish-purplish haze
- unfiltered for sure with yeast specs floating throughout
- dark, slick pour

The Aroma:
- banana
- medicinal band-aid
- candied alcohol aroma like a belgian dubbel or tripel

The Taste:
- pecan pie (nutty and molasses) upfront, citrus wheat in the middle, chased by an ever-so-slight bittersweet-ness in the end
- fades quickly to leave me wanting another taste

The Verdict: A heftier-bodied beer than an average wheat, but nice and smooth. A winner from a solid brewery.
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Adam's Notes
The Look:
- cloudy orange brown
- substantial head dissipating to thing layer of foam

The Aroma:
- fruity malt grain nose
- slight spice

The Taste:
- sweet tang
- wheat malt
- apricot
- fresh and clean
- flavor disappears during the finish

The Verdict: This is a very drinkable wheat beer with a wider grain profile. Drink it when its chilly out ;-)

Bethlehem Brew Works goes smoke-free

Now this is certainly good news to report. Bethlehem Brew Works' Steelgaarden Lounge has always been a pleasant place to have a beer...when no smokers were present. With such a nice selection of beer to choose from in their lower-level nook, the low ceilings virtually ruined any chance of enjoying your brew. The noise...fine. The dim lighting and close quarters...great. But, the smoke could just kill it. (You probably know my stance on smoking in bars, but smoking in close quarters...fuggeddaboudit!) It's been about 4-6 months since I've been there. There's been some chatter about BBW lately over at Lew Bryson's site and at Beer Advocate. So, it's come up my radar lately and I thought I'd check out BBW's website and see what's going on and plan a good time to pay a visit. I found this news article at the top of their home page! ==================================================================== THE BREW WORKS IS SMOKE FREE!!! On December 15th the Steelgaarden Lounge joined the Brew Works to create a smoke free environment. Wishing everyone a healthy and happy New Year!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Heavyweight Brewing Co. - update 1/14/07

Because we like Lew so much, it's only fair to quote him. (And because he has the more inside track than we obviously do on this subject :) =============================================================== The cat is almost out of the bag. Perkuno's Hammer will be brewed under license by an area brewery. As soon as everything's signed (and certain people start talking to me again...), I'll let you know what's up.

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 1/13/07

On an attempted regular basis, we'll post the tap list here to the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA. We have no affiliation with the establishment other than living within 2 miles of it and appreciating the usual quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop us a note and let us know. On Draft as of 1/13/07 Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA Gouden Carolus Noël/Christmas Lost Coast Indica Lancaster Amish 4 Grain Ale Pyramid Snow Cap Ale Allagash Grand Cru Stoudt's Winter Ale Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Weyerbacher Oak-aged Heresy [2005] Legacy Raspberry Wheat

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Proper way to pour a beer, Rube Goldberg-style

Admit it; you don't want to watch, but it's addictive. These Rube-style setups, especially this one, can be maddening to be sure. But, the end result is intriguing and, hey, when it involves pouring a beer, almost perfectly in this case, well it's a must-see. The camera's a bit shaky, but enjoy it nonetheless.

Joe Sixpack, Strippers, and Craft Beer

Yes, you read the title correctly. Only our award-winning, world-class, engaging beer scribe from right here in Philadelphia can seamlessly weave together a story that begins with strippers and g-strings, sets a, uh titillating (sorry), case for an ever-improving craft beer scene, and finishes with strippers. Preach on, brother! I'm sure the article got the attention of non-beer drinkers as well. Check it out for yourself, then we can all meet up with Lolita, Ashley, and Melody in South Philly ;-)

Beer Tasting: Founders Dirty Bastard


The Beer: Founders Dirty Bastard
Style: Scotch Ale
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
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Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; top side of label notched on in the vicinity of May (2006)

From where & how stored: Purchased in May 2006 from Federal Wine & Spirits in Boston, MA; brought home via airplane and stored at 42F since then

Pricing: $1.99 per bottle (believe this was mis-priced, but...you know ;-)

Availability: Year-round

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 8.5% ABV; ~50 IBU
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Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- slick pour, no head..thin, thin ring
- reddish brown
- dark cola look and consistency (without the carbonation)

The Aroma:
- faint aroma of, ah never mind, it's too faint

The Taste:
- taste is nice
- somewhat barleywine-ish texture (smooth), just a shade of carbonation
- light chocolate flavor; slight licorice; bit of bark
- funny how no one flavor or aroma jumps right out...but they're there...tough to decipher
- noticeable bitterness in the finish
- significantly better as it warms...started off too cold at approx. 42F
- prunes

The Verdict: I'm somewhat left with indifferent feelings about it. It's decent, even a bit better than decent. Not left with a feeling that this in a best of style range. Though, coming from a brewery like Founders, it's worth trying again.
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Adam's Notes
The Look:

The Aroma:
- sweet malty nose
- reminds me of Heavyweight Brewing beer

The Taste:
- more malt than bitter
- sweet but not overpowering

The Verdict: may need to taste again; wasn't as impressed with this as their rye beer

Friday, January 12, 2007

Eagles, Saints, and a New Orleans Pub Crawl

Are any of our friends in New Orleans this weekend to see the Philadelphia Eagles play the New Orleans Saints? If so, you can hook up with an Abita pub crawl.

Beer Tasting: Sand Creek English Style Special Ale


The Beer: Sand Creek Brewing English Style Pale Ale
Style: English Pale/Brown Ale
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
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Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; No date stamp

From where & how stored: purchased at Brennan's in Madison, WI in June '06; transported home by airplane; stored at 42F ever since

Pricing: $x.xx

Availability: Year-round

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: N/A
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Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- very little head even with aggressive pour; thins immediately
- pours kind of like an apple cider; looks a bit like tea
- fairly clear

The Aroma:
- not much aroma at all
- faint barley malt
- bit of nuttiness (peanut-y)

The Taste:
- taste is slightly bigger than the aroma, but not much
- light molasses
- carbonation helps bring a bit of life to the beer
- nice little bitter kick in the middle to end

The Verdict: This beer is not overly anything. But, while my opinion in the first few minutes was certainly underwhelming, it turned out to be a drinkable beer for sure, but lacking that certain flavor that I would have appreciated in this amber ale.
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Adam's Notes
The Look:
- cloudy when cold

The Aroma:
- very malt grain aromatic

The Taste:
- doesn't live up to the nose
- letting it warm up a bit
- suffers from some kind of off beer taste many brewpub beers have

The Verdict: Not too impressed. I wouldn't throw it out, but, I won't buy it again.

Topic of the week: Beer and Wine in PA Supermarkets?

I know some people in the world wouldn't understand this, but, here in Pennsylvania we can't usually buy beer in supermarkets. Archaic? Yes, but, it is something that is part of old PA culture. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story about this today. I'm excited because they mentioned that one store that might start selling beer and wine is in my area. Is this the start of something bigger? It may not be a revolution, but, we have seen some other signs as well. A few years ago the laws were changed so that some of the liquor stores could sell wine and liquor on Sundays. How SHOCKING! I know. Hey, we'll take what we can get. (by the way these stores don't sell beer) What do you think? Should the laws be changed? Is it tradition that we can just live with? Should we all move away to another state where beer is running rampant through the isles of grocery stores everywhere? Post a comment and let us know. Thanks to Dennis for passing the article along. NOTE: I added some links to some relevant PA state sites. I also decided to turn it into a topic of the week. We'll let it ride until next Friday. Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement Bureau of Licensing FAQ

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Beer Tasting: New Glarus Enigma


The Beer: New Glarus Enigma
Style: Fruit Beer
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
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Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle; No date stamp

From where & how stored: Brought in October 2006 as a gift via airplane by good friend Mark from Madison, WI; stored at 42F ever since

Pricing: $x.xx

Availability: One-time offering in November 2006 as part of their annual "Unplugged" series; "Unplugged" releases planned in 2007 for February, June, November; Next up: Belgian Quadrupel

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: N/A
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Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- murky brown
- what little head there is disappears quickly to creamy swirl

The Aroma:
- fresh cherries
- damp earthiness

The Taste:
- flavor not as intriguing as the aroma
- a quick punch of biting bitterness/sourness in the finish
- plum, too

The Verdict: This medium-bodied fruit beer is not as sprightly as the New Glarus Belgian Red. But, like the Red, this is more palatable when served colder. As it warms, it loses its appeal. Next up in the "Unplugged" series is a Belgian Quad due out in Feb. '07....can't wait!
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Adam's Notes
The Look:
- slightly murky brownish red
- big bubbles dissipating quickly

The Aroma:
- lovely sweet sticky malt nose
- wow what a figgy sweet nose
- after a taste I can detect the sour in the nose when swishing it around
- as I drink it I can detect a very faint vanilla

The Taste:
- watch out it's sour too
- don't let it warm too much
- less sweet sticky malt like the nose signals
- more of a cherry flavor
- think food pairing in a glass
- bread and cherry jam
- something softens the cherry, probably a vanilla note from the oak

The Verdict:
- an acquired taste
- one I would like to acquire
- still, this is for the adventurous soul

- lots of carbonation
- finish like rhubarb pie
- almost a pucker by the end of the bottle

Monday, January 08, 2007

Interesting Read: Brown Ale over at All About Beer

Want to know more about what's so special about Brown Ale? I know I do. All About Beer has a nice little piece on Brown Ales including origins, characteristics and a few classic examples. Anybody have a favorite brown ale? (He asked knowingly ;-)

Brewing Beer: How do you separate the hop cones from the beer?

When dry hopping or fresh hopping how do you get all the hops out of the carboy? I really want to bottle or keg this fresh hopped ipa but I'm stuck. Here are my goals. ~ extract all the hop oils I can from the hop cones ~ minimize the leaves floating around in the final beer ~ minimize the oxygen exposure I guess I could just siphon it into the keg and be done with it, but, would I be getting the most hop oils from the cones? Maybe the oil has been dissolved by the alcohol in the beer and I have nothing to worry about. I don't know. Any suggestions? Can anybody share their experiences/thoughts/ideas? What would you do? (The picture above was taken right after I added the hops. Now the hop cones look all brown and bloated with beer. Kinda cool. I'll post a picture.)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Flying Dog Beer Naming Contest

Are you feeling creative? Would you like an all-expense paid trip to the GABF in Denver? Only about a week remaining to get your winning name in to Flying Dog.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

'Topic of the Week': Week In Review; New Year Predictions

Year-end wrap-ups, resolutions, and predictions usually elicit some passion and spirited debate. But, not here at The Brew Lounge. No, sir-ee, you must all agree with me, save for Adam's comments. I suppose in that way, when all of these predictions come true, we can reflect back and all say in unison: "I told you so" :) Seriously, though, where would be without those seers of future things to come. Along with my lame attempts to predict the future, here were some others (much smarter than I, for the record) who have done similar articles in the past couple of weeks. Some have linked back to us and, for that, we appreciate. Joe Sixpack Jay Brooks wrapup Jay Brooks predictions Jay Hinman of Hedonist Beer Jive The Brew Site wrapup The Brew Site predictions Stan Hieronymous Alan McLeod Lew Bryson The Brew Site

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 1/5/07

We've gone to some effort to publicize on a regular basis the usual quality taps at Flying Pig in Malvern, PA. They need a bit of publicity because they have no web presence and the tap handles are constantly changing. However, The Drafting Room in Exton, PA has a decent web presence and quite a huge reputation proceeding them. Though, to be honest, I've been disappointed on more than one occasion to show up after checking their website only to find that a particular beer their site listed was now kicked. Of course, at The Drafting Room there is usually no shortage of other decent brew on draft from which to choose. And, don't get me wrong, I understand the nature of frequently changing kegs and the near impossibility of keeping a website current. (Though, somehow Scoats manages to pull it off.) So, we'll give it a try here to also post on a semi-regular basis the current tap list at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA. What's on line as of 1/5/07? Funny you should ask. Troegs Mad Elf Ale Speakeasy Double Daddy Imperial IPA Left Hand Smoke Jumper Porter Erie Railbender Ale Dominion Winter Brew Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux Koningshoeven Quadrupel Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale Flying Dog K-9 Sly Fox O'Reilly's Irish Stout Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Friday, January 05, 2007

Beer Tasting: Unibroue Ephemere

The Beer: Unibroue Ephemere (Apple)
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
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Packaging & Date Stamping: 12oz. bottle

From where & how stored: Purchased from Total Wine in Delaware, stored in basement since last year

Pricing: x.xx
Availability: Year-Round
ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 5.5% ABV
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Adam's Notes

The Look:
pour it and the head builds and disappates quickly
light orange

The Aroma:
crack the bottle open...I can smell apples, even before the pour
it has a bit an off nose...some sulfur?

The Taste:
the first tastes were not so good
I let it warm and it seeme to improve a bit

The Verdict
It isn't as good as 21st Amendment's Watermelon Wheat that was tasted the same night. In fact it isn't even on the same planet. I honestly don't think I'll ever buy this again. I was hoping it would taste better this time around. Interesting experience, but, not that interesting.

Making Beer: Tasting Our Barleywine After One Year

About 14 months ago I started brewing a barleywine. Not too long after this website was started. Since that fateful day when Bryan and I walked into Home Sweet Home Brew and asked Nancy about brewing a barleywine I wanted to taste my own homebrewed barleywine. Thanks Nancy! What a great start to the recipe.

When I brewed this beer I knew I would need to ferment for a longer period of time and store it for a long time before I could really know what it was going to taste like. Over the past six months a case of it has dissappeared. Some was for Bryan and some for Jeremy and I guess I could lay claim to a few of those empty bottles myself. Each time I crack one of these puppies open its like opening a birthday present. I have reached the time where I must ration the last 18 bottles. I would like to enjoy these for as long as I can. My plan is to drink one or two of these each year and record my impressions. I would like to stretch this out over 10 years. The following are my tasting notes.

Packaging & Date Stamping: 12 oz. brown bottle, oxygen barrier cap

From where & how stored: extract brew by Adam and friends 10/1/2005, bottled 12/14/2005, stored in cellar for the past year with varying cool temperatures

Availability: one off ;-)

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 11.5% ABV, IBU 90+

The Look:
dark cherry wood
substantial head thinning to islands of foam
very clear, nothing in suspension
hard to see through

The Aroma:
huge malt nose
figs, dates, licorice

The Taste:
wow that's strong
bitter, tang, not sweet
very bitter, but, smooth
slight butterscotch
well carbonated, almost more than I like
it helps spread the taste around, but, is somewhat distracting
the finish has lost the bitterness and gently lets you down with a nice malt carpet

The Verdict:
Well this just gets better and better. I tasted it on New Years Eve as well. It was dirtier that night, because, I jostled it around too much in trasport. What a shame :-( Lesson learned. This one however was very clean and clear! Everytime I taste this beer I like it. I'd like to think it is getting better over time. Overall it is a pleasantly bitter and malty barleywine with a huge malty aromatic nose.

I'll gather all the posts related to this beer together and post them tomorrow with a summary of the life of this beer from beginning to end. Ahh...there goes my last mouthful. :-)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Home Brewing Magazine: Zymurgy

The most recent issue of Zymurgy reminded me how much I enjoy this magazine. In this post I give a brief over view of the current issue and how I learned about the monthly magazine Zymurgy.

I was searching the internet for brewing stuff last summer and I came across Zymurgy. Now this isn't the first time I've seen this magazine. You might remember this story I wrote about how I started homebrewing. Frank from the story gave my Dad a bunch of Zymurgy magazines and he in turn passed them on to me. Armed with The New Complete Joy of Hombrewing and these magazines I began brewing my own beer. I still refer to them from time to time. Anyway, as was searching for beer stuff I decided to check out the American Homebrewers Association membership benefits. Well it turns out that a subscription to Zymurgy was included in the membership. That was just the push I needed to join the AHA. I have a real card and everything ;-)

Its a practical magazine with good solid helpful hints. This month is a prime example. They feature homebuilt brew tools. The projects include making a wort chiller, yeast stirplate, walk-in cooler, bottle filler, small kegging system, carboy drier, sanitizer/storage box for long items and carbonation cap. Some are very involved projects. Others like the carboy drier are much easier and could prove to be useful right away.

Each issue contains articles submitted by familiar beer industry writers. This month Stan Hieronymous author of Brew Like a Monk and Appelation Beer gave an account of the Pro-Am competition at the GABF. Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, also has something to say. He speaks to beer style guidelines and their relevance to homebrewers and professional brewers.

If you want a grass roots, straight shooting beer brewing magazine check out Zymurgy.

Definition: Zymurgy

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Beer Tasting: Firestone Walker 10th Anniversary


The Beer: Firestone Walker 10th Anniversary
Style: Oak-aged Strong Ale
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
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Packaging & Date Stamping: 22oz. brown bottle in a commemorative cardboard box; Special tasting notes from Matt Brynildson included; 10/25/06 date stamp

From where & how stored: Purchased from BevMo in Walnut Creek, CA in Dec. '06, transported home via airplane, and stored at 52F since then

Pricing: $9.99 per bottle

Availability: One-time release

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 12% ABV; 50-60 IBU
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Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- dark cola-like color and consistency
- minimal head; very small tight bubbles
- a bit of oiliness on the walls

The Aroma:
- alcohol, licorice, oak (no doubt!), vanilla, brandy

The Taste:
- rich flavors upfront, alcohol in the middle, bitter finish
- lives up to expectations from the aroma; bitter cocoa too

The Verdict: This smooth and medium-bodied ale is quite enjoyable and drinkable now, but can only imagine how extremely well this will age for years to come. Definitely putting a few aside for future tastings. This could be a WOW! beer of 2006.
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Adam's Notes
The Look:
- mahogany with thin ring around top

The Aroma:
- figs
- peppery nose
- vanilla too
- alcohol in nose and on the palate

The Taste:
- chocolate
- sweet, but not overly
- nutty but not dry
- tiny bit oily
- bitter chocolate finish

The Verdict: It doesn't taste like 12%. This should be aged. One of the biggest warm easy drinking beers you'll ever have.

Bock Bock, Who's There...Bryson & Guyer



A new magazine has debuted and covers the "Art, Culture, & Lifestyle" of the Main Line swath of affluent suburbs west of Philadelphia. The publisher is CBR Media (Andrew Cantor) which is responsible for Bucks Magazine, focusing on the northern suburbs of Philadelphia primarily Bucks County.

Tucked away nicely on pages 110-111 is a tribute by Lew Bryson to the bock style of beer and what local Philadelphia breweries like Victory and Sly Fox do to admirably prop it up. Also mentioned are Stoudt's and Troegs, both further west from the Main Line. The sidebar article spotlights Matt Guyer and his fine product that he peddles up at Beer Yard.

No word on whether beer will hold a regular spot in the bi-monthly magazine. Our consolation is that, while the article came after wine and food articles, it did at least place before the article on brewing tea and "The Last Word" on page 114. But, seriously, progress indeed. Nice job, guys (uh, guyer?)