Thursday, February 21, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Stoudts Gold

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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




Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - 2SP Baby Bob Stout

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

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

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


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

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



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




Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Workhorse Vienna Lager

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

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

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

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


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

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



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




Monday, February 18, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot

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

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

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

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


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

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



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




Sunday, February 17, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - La Cabra Hipster Catnip

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

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

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

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


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

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



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




Saturday, February 16, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Dock Street Bohemian Pilsner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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




Friday, February 15, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Tröegs HopBack Amber

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Lancaster Milk Stout

This marks halfway through Flagship February. Surprised by any of my picks thus far? Hoping to see any still pop up in the next 14 I have to feature after today?

Not many breweries can stake a claim to a well-made milk stout as one of their longtime flagships. Lancaster Brewing has a long history in the city and for almost 15 years have had a location on the outskirts of Harrisburg as well. As with my Manayunk feature yesterday, I need to fess up to not having been to LBC in over two years. Been to the first two versions of LBC, but not yet to the new Taproom at all. Another bit of negligence that needs fixing.

Wish the Amish Four Grain Ale had survived as an LBC flagship, or at least seasonal, but alas we still have the Hop Hog and the Milk Stout as year-rounds amongst solid seasonals such as Jump Seat Black Lager and the Lancaster Kölsch.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Lancaster's Milk Stout.


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

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



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




Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Manayunk Monk From The 'Yunk Belgian Tripel

Manayunk Brewing, sitting where the canal meets the Schuylkill River, has been brewing up a storm and weathered quite a few storms (i.e. floods) from Mother Nature herself going all the way back to 1996. That makes it one of Philly's earliest brewpubs. It's a remarkable bout of consistency on Main Street where things can come and go as times and tastes change. And, by the way, fun factoid if you didn't know that Schuylkill translates to "hidden river" and Manayunk means "place to drink".

But I'm not qualified to write about Manayunk; I haven't been there in nearly five years. Really lame on my part, eh? Consider this feature part of my atonement. The last time I was there was for a bit of al fresco dining. The deck dining at MBC in nice weather is worth the visit as much as (I'd imagine) are the brunch menu and sushi menu, the latter making it a unique brewpub visit for sure. Special events are frequent and lately, there seems to be something new always coming out of the brewhouse as they keep up with the times.

Had a chance to find a taste of the Crunch at a recent festival and it's a spot-on chocolate peanut butter porter. I really must make yet more amends for not having been to MBC in a ridiculous amount of time.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Manayunk's Monk From The 'Yunk.


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

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



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




Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Root Down Bine IPA

Root Down was able to pick up a sweet location in Phoenixville, just steps away from the bustling Bridge Street. The interior's unique shape that used to house a stage theater in its early years, and later a soda factory, adds to the character and atmosphere. So do the beers which have won popular approval as well as the approval of judges at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival, which bestowed a gold medal on the Bine IPA to best 310 other entrants in the IPA category. (Salty By Nature Gose also took home a silver medal achieving a multiple medal win at GABF, something which is getting more difficult each year to do.)

A whole lot of adult beverages going down in Phoenixville. If you haven't been to Root Down, you should probably rectify that soon. Oh, and by the way, not many local breweries are doing Altbiers, let alone very good Altbiers. 3-Legged Rabbit Altbier is just such a brew and unfortunately available only very occasionally, but for this one guy at least, I believe it should be more often.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Root Down's Bine IPA.


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

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. Today's Root Down beer was provided to me by the brewery while I was at the bar discussing the brewery and the beer with owner Mike Hamara.



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




Monday, February 11, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Yuengling Black & Tan

There's so much that could be said about Yuengling - the oldest brewery in the U.S. But, this feature is about one beer. Or, in this case, two. For the complete history, it's really best to visit the original brewery in person. It's such a fascinating tour, complete with a descent to the beer caves, which were walled off with brick by the federal government during Prohibition.

For the beers, my original tastes of Yuengling brews count Lord Chesterfield, Black & Tan, and Porter amongst my favorites. Never took a strong liking to Lager, but over the years have found Bock and, now in 2018, the new Golden Pilsner to also be quite good. I would've chosen Porter here as my featured flagship, but it's not as widely available as the Black & Tan. And, by featuring Black & Tan, I'm indirectly featuring Porter, so there we go.

They hit 190 years old this year and I'm sure we'll see them out 'n' about even more than usual.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Yuengling's Black & Tan.


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

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



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




Sunday, February 10, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Crime & Punishment Space Race IPA

I used to live in Fairmount back in the late 90s. Brewerytown wasn't much of a destination back in those days. North Star Bar was pretty much the best reason (and a very good one I must add) to head anywhere in the neighborhood of Girard Ave. There's been a slow change in that over the last 5-10 years and C&P is part of that movement. I'll often say if places like that were around when I lived there, I may have never graduated from renting to owning.

Crime & Punishment is the perfect neighborhood brewpub for Brewerytown. With a unique backstory rooted in Russian literature, you can expect to find food and beer that follows suit. Plus, a cozy environment perfect for catching up with friends. In addition to a nice variety of styles always on tap, the English Mild (3.5%) that I had at my most recent visit should not be missed.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Crime & Punishment's Space Race IPA.


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

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



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


Saturday, February 09, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Neshaminy Creek Trauger Pilsner

Today we turn to Bucks County for the featured flagship of the day. It's Trauger Pilsner from Neshaminy Creek, which burst on the Philly beer scene nearly 7 years ago gathering tons of acclaim, still warranted today, for the classic Pilsner. We were quickly introduced to other excellent beers that I could have featured here today from Neshaminy Creek instead — Churchville Lager (Gold and Bronze medals at GABF), Croydon Cream, J.A.W.N., and Shape Of Hops To Come.

If today's feature has taught me anything, it's that while I know of their Borough Brewhouse satellite location, I still have not been there. The atmosphere and food menu look like something I could spend a few hours with.

Now go click the picture below for a full feature on Neshaminy Creek's Trauger Pilsner.


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

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



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


Friday, February 08, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Iron Hill Pig Iron Porter

I'm featuring Iron Hill here today for its Pig Iron Porter. Iron Hill has a nearly 25 year timeline based out of northern Delaware sprinkled with a wide variety of beers, awards, tasting and dinner pairing events, people, and expansion. I can't think of many others that have emphasized the intersection of beer and food as consistently as they have and over a longer period of time. And events. The Belgium Comes to West Chester event and the Brandywine Craft Brewers Festival are two that are on Philadelphia-area beer geek calendars every year.

In the brewhouse, for quite a while, the stable of brewers was as consistent as you could imagine. Brewer names and faces became as synonymous with Iron Hill as were the owners - Kevin, Kevin, and Mark. But, as time marched on and locations were added - now 16 in total with more on the way - new brewers came in and some shuffled out. Most keep close ties with Iron Hill, but there likely has been no greater training ground in the region for brewers than Iron Hill. The brewery has spawned more than ten brewers as of my last count (probably closer to 15) that have gone on to open their own breweries or be the head brewer at a young upstart.

And the awards I spoke of? Many dozens. Again, my awards spreadsheet has lost count at this point, but suffice to say the Russian Imperial Stout stands out amongst them all with at least 14 medals combined between Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.

The company is now up to 16 locations, with Rehoboth Beach, Del., Center City Philadelphia, and Hershey, Pa. all opening in quick succession. And, if you weren't paying attention, you might have missed the Greenville, SC outpost opening not long before that. There's much more to their story to tell, but let's get back to the Pig Iron.

Click the picture below for a full feature on Iron Hill's Pig Iron Porter.


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

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


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


Thursday, February 07, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Yards ESA

Today's featured Flagship Beer of February comes from one of Philadelphia's (the city, not the region) oldest and destination breweries — Yards. But, it also presents me with my biggest conundrum in this first week of Flagship February. And also serves as a reminder that I need to do a better job of staying current and informed.

How's that, you ask? Well, the ESA. You know, the beer that started it all for Yards back in the 90s during their garage operation days. It carried them through three more brewery locations and, at least to me if not to many of you as well, serves as an immediate reference point for the brewery. Sure, today you could make an argument with younger beer fans that the Philadelphia Pale Ale or Brawler could be equally so. But when I made this list a month ago of beers to feature, it was simply natural for me to put Yards ESA on the list.

Talking with Tim Roberts, head brewer, he assured me I could leave it there, even considering that bottle distribution had been pulled back and that it accounts for less sales than it used to. Maybe, come to think of it, that makes the ESA even moreso qualified for this Flagship February project's original intent — that is, highlighting seminal brews that helped "get us here", regardless of current sales figures.

All that aside, I'm featuring ESA today because of its historical role at Yards...at Philadelphia bars...and in the minds and palates of better beer drinkers for the last 25 years around Philly. And, because Andrew Horne mentioned it as an inspiration in the Puddlers Row ESB out in Conshohocken. And because I drank it on the gravity-run draft line at Bridgid's when I lived in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philly. Well, I would've done it even if Horne hadn't said so, but it definitely adds to the brewhouse cred of Yards ESA.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Yards ESA.


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

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. This beer was provided to me by the brewery when I stopped by for a quick chat and an updated taste of the beer with Tim Roberts.


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


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Victory HopDevil

Today's featured Flagship Beer of February comes from one of the Philadelphia region's most recognized and celebrated breweries — Victory Brewing Company in Chester County.

If you've been around long enough, you've seen Victory grow from "the brewery founded by two childhood friends that rode the schoolbus together" to one of the country's largest and most celebrated producers of non-macro beer (see, btw, how I'm experimenting with using a word other than "craft"?! It's a work in progress.)

There's plenty more to Victory's current status as well as their history than I could fit on a one-page profile and in attempt to keep things as brief as possible here, much will fall by the wayside. During our walk-down-history conversation, Covaleski reminisced making HopDevil as loud and brash and different in the flavor and aroma as they did in the colorful marketing materials. It was something that the drinkers he described in the Philly area as being part of Coors Light's largest market in the country not being ready for. He was shooting for a bold beer sought out by a niche of beer drinkers that might have only been able to find it in a beer from Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, or a handful of others at the time. "Bass with Balls"! Love it -- go read the feature profile for more of the background.

Today, Victory sports a massive brewery in Parkesburg that dwarfs the original in Downingtown by 2-3 times, a smaller 7-barrel brewpub in Kennett Square, and a partnership with Xfinity Live! in the south Philadelphia sports complex. In 2016, Victory was brought under the umbrella of Artisanal Brewing Ventures along with Southern Tier Brewing in New York. The Charlotte-based company just announced late in 2018 a similar acquisition of Sixpoint Brewing from Brooklyn, NY. They have exciting plans for Sixpoint, according to Covaleski, which I'm not yet cleared to share.

Thus far, it's been satisfying to see some of the old staples still being produced, such as Braumeister Pils, Storm King Stout, and Helios, in addition to the Flagships. My hope is that the ABV arrangement does as it's intended to do and that is preserve and grow its members to an even greater state than they did or could on their own.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Victory HopDevil.


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

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. This beer was provided to me by the brewery while I sat and discussed Victory's history and beers with Bill Covaleski.


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


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Tired Hands SaisonHands

Today's featured Flagship Beer of February comes from one of the Philadelphia region's most sought after breweries of at least the last 5 years. In my travels around our country's beer world, the reference brewery question I hear most often when I mention where I hail from is, let's say 8 out of 10 times, Tired Hands.

Owner Jean Broillet made his way from Weyerbacher through Iron Hill before deciding to strike out on his own, choosing Ardmore as home to his long-percolating plan for Tired Hands. And the beer fans quickly caught on to the brewery's frequent releases and mind-bending names that accompanied the flavorful and unique beers - most of them either yeast-driven or hop-focused - that boosted the Tired Hands name and cachet.

Today, the Tired Hands family includes the original Brew Café, Fermentaria, the General Store, The Dispensary, and, as of just this last week, the announcement of an intended satellite in the Kensington river ward neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Saison has long been one of my most dependable, year-round, go-to styles. For my personal palate, both in the glass and when paired with foods, its versatility and complexity rarely disappoints. This Tired Hands version fits the bill perfectly and is the only saison from a local brewery to make this list of 28 as a Flagship.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Tired Hands SaisonHands.


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

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. I purchased this beer at Tired Hands when visiting for an afternoon session with friends.


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


Monday, February 04, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Love City Lager

Today's featured Flagship Beer of February comes from what will be the youngest brewery in my batch of 28 that I'm featuring during the month. A young one, but one that's already making a big splash on the Philly beer scene.

Love City Brewing's co-owner and brewer, Kevin Walter, came with almost ten years experience at Iron Hill, where he worked his way up from a single-location brewer to a regional brewer responsible in a managerial role for multiple locations. The experience brewing a wide spectrum of beers, both mandatory cores as well as experimental one-offs, served him well.

Love City is tapping into a new neighborhood for quality food and beverage with just a few peers nearby (think: Prohibition Taproom, Roy-Pitz, The Trestle Inn, and The Institute) as well as other destinations including the Union Transfer music venue and The Rail Park recreation trail (being developed in phases) both just around the corner.

The ambiance is comfortable at the ample tasting room/bar inside the converted industrial plant in which they maintained much of the original character. Food is available from food trucks that are able to pull inside the rear of the brewery -- score! No need to go outdoors into foul weather in order to get food. And, the Lager? A must have to start your session at the bar, and maybe to close out as well before heading out. During my recent visit, a Coffee Brown ale -- beans from nearby Elixir Coffee was excellent as well.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Love City Lager.



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

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


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


Sunday, February 03, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Second District Bancroft Beer

Today's featured Flagship February Beer is from a brewery even younger than yesterday's. Second District is coming up on its second anniversary and was opened by Curt Decker after settling on the location deep in the heart of South Philly after closing his Nodding Head brewpub in Center City in 2014. In this newest endeavor, Decker has perfectly captured the essence of a Philadelphia neighborhood pub, where the beers are made by seasoned brewer Ben Potts (Dogfish Head, Dock Street, and Tired Hands).

And the Bancroft Beer that I'm featuring here? It's their flagship and, actually, it's the only flagship of theirs. And it's pretty straightforward in its naming inspiration in that the brewery/pub sits on Bancroft Street. Sometimes one is just the right number of flagships to have if you do it really well.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Second District's Bancroft Beer.


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

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. Today's beer was provided by the brewery, when I stopped in for lunch and a chat with Decker.



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


Saturday, February 02, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Conshohocken Puddlers Row ESB

Today's featured Flagship February Beer is from a brewery about to celebrate its fifth anniversary. Remember, I said I'd be featuring older and newer breweries, alike, in my daily features throughout February.

Tough to believe that this brewery that sits just steps from the Schuylkill River Trail opened on April 1, 2014. In five short years, they're about to have the company name on their fifth location. I wrote a bit about the Bridgeport brewpub when it opened in 2016, check it out here. The new brewery in King of Prussia will feature a 30-bbl brewhouse and 30- and 60-barrel fermentation tanks as well as their own canning line, giving them, as Andrew Horne (Dir. of Brewing Ops.) said, more flexibility.

At the get-go, I was a huge fan of Conshohocken's ESB, a sometimes, shall we say, forgotten English style. From a brewer's perspective, Horne says it's a deceptively complex style, even calling it the "ale version of a pilsner". I'm such an admirer that Puddlers Row makes regular appearances on my draft system at home.

I've been seeing more of the style at breweries in recent years, and that's a good thing, but it can still use more attention. Especially for well-made ones like Puddlers Row. There have been two World Beer Cups competitions since the brewery open and the beer has garnered a silver medal each time.

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Conshohocken's Puddlers Row ESB.


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

Disclosure: For this project, I solely created the list of 28 beers featured here on The Brew Lounge. I was in contact with each brewery and neither required nor requested complimentary samples. This beer was provided by the brewery while I discussed Puddlers Row and the brewery with Horne and sales rep, Max Hovey, at the Bridgeport location.



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


Friday, February 01, 2019

Flagship February daily feature - Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel

Getting the month off to a start with a whole lotta alliteration there in that title.

Today's featured Flagship Beer of February is Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel.  It comes from the brewing team behind New Jersey's brewery that started out on the WWW in 1995 and began brewing in 1996.

The brewery has always been eco-conscious and a recent note from Lou Romano (president) and Kirk LaVecchia (sales) pointed out the current efforts: "We are the 18th largest brewery producer of solar energy 463 solar panels, we have rain gardens on-site to prevent erosion, we recapture steam in the brewing process and have an upcycle spent grain program with local farmers."

Now click the picture below for a full feature on Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel.



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

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



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