Friday, October 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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