Friday, December 17, 2010

Do Hops Gather On a Rolling Barrel?

Terrapin Brewing So Fresh, So Green Green
Dogfish Head Sahtea
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Green Flash Brewing Co. Imperial IPA
Port Brewing Hop 15
Great Divide Fresh Hop Ale
21st Amendment Hop Crisis!
Einbecker Winter Bock
Emelisse Black and Tan
Mikkeller Red/White Christmas
Porterhouse Wrasslers XXXX Stout
Weihenstephan Doemens 1809 Berliner Style Weisse

-Boris Pasternak (1890-1960)-Moscow/Russia

Beneath the willow wound round with ivy
we take cover from the worst
of the storm, with greatcoat round
our shoulders and my hands around your waist.

I've got it wrong. That isn't ivy
entwined in the bushes round
the woods, but hops. You intoxicate me!
Lets spread the greatcoat on the ground.

On November 27th, we diverted our path from the usual Union Jacks on the Mantawny for new territory 23 miles west in Barto, PA. I live in Philly, but I find myself in the sticks once a week so that a few of us can talk shop, eat real potato fries and enjoy a mighty tasty elixir. This week we had an agenda. A trip with a special purpose. It was Hopsgiving.

Let's back up a few days before Hopsgiving. On Thanksgiving we polished off a few bottles of my favorite beer of the year, Terrapin's Side Project #13: So Fresh, So Green Green. If you love Outkast, then I'm sure that you love the name of this one. It's a wet/fresh hopped IPA that is amber in color, super clear, piney, citrusy and an overall mess of Amarillo hop greatness.

Okay, back to Hopsgiving. The tap list included:
Port High Tide
Green Flash Imperial
Stone Ruination
Port Hop 15
Dogfish Head 90 Min
Nogne O IPA
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Southern Tier Unearthly
Rogue XS IPA
Great Divide Fresh Hop Ale
Bear Republic Racer X
Avery Maharajah
Victory Hop Wallop

That is a pretty nice list. How to choose. RR Blind Pig was supposed to be on as well, but 21st Amendment Hop Crisis! took its place. I've written about nearly all of these beers before. I did learn a lesson though when there is a hop menu like this. Drink Pliny last. Your palate will thank you.

By Candlelight 
-Sylvia Plath

This is winter, this is night, small love --
A sort of black horsehair,
A rough, dumb country stuff
Steeled with the sheen
Of what green stars can make it to our gate.
I hold you on my arm.
It is very late.
The dull bells tongue the hour.
The mirror floats us at one candle power.

This is the fluid in which we meet each other,
This haloey radiance that seems to breathe
And lets our shadows wither
Only to blow
Them huge again, violent giants on the wall.
One match scratch makes you real.

At first the candle will not bloom at all --
It snuffs its bud
To almost nothing, to a dull blue dud.

I hold my breath until you creak to life,
Balled hedgehog,
Small and cross. The yellow knife
Grows tall. You clutch your bars.
My singing makes you roar.
I rock you like a boat
Across the Indian carpet, the cold floor,
While the brass man
Kneels, back bent, as best he can

Hefting his white pillar with the light
That keeps the sky at bay,
The sack of black! It is everywhere, tight, tight!
He is yours, the little brassy Atlas --
Poor heirloom, all you have,
At his heels a pile of five brass cannonballs,
No child, no wife.
Five balls! Five bright brass balls!
To juggle with, my love, when the sky falls.

Part 2 of this post takes place at the most impressive bar that I may have ever been to. Who would think that would be in East Falls, Philadelphia. Fork and Barrel opened up months ago. I knew that the beer list was entirely European. I love all beer, but there are so many American Craft Brewers out there constantly brewing new madness that I let this place slide off my radar. Mistake, mistake.

Let's start with the atmosphere of F&B, inside and out. The actually building used to be home to The Pour House. It was your regular neighborhood bar, with a basic draft list that you were able to find something on, but nothing exciting and certainly nothing to go out of your way for. The outside is now painted dark two-toned, almost black on black with nothing but a cask hanging near the window. Very simple and snazzy. Inside you are engulfed in flames. Literally. There are hundreds of candles that provide the only light and warmth. Mason jars housing tea lights hang from the ceiling and candles are placed everywhere. It is quite beautiful, intimate and the most different experience that I have ever had. The draft list was a bit of a new language to me. I need to brush up on my beer knowledge from across the Atlantic. Beer styles, however, were plentiful. There were plenty of imperial stouts, bocks, doublebocks, interesting IPAs, all providing an ABV teetering at 10% +/-. If you put your back to the bar, you can gaze at a beer bottle wall that is something of a mosaic of colors and sizes. Their bottled beer list is a novel. I don't remember how many beers they have, but the staff was great at providing a bit of help once they saw a perplexed look on my face. It was so hard to choose. A few of us shared a flight, and chose a bottle. It was a great way to introduce myself to this place. I look forward to checking out the upstairs. There is an American Style Cask pub that has a few handpumps and some nice looking bottles that are all American. And for the All Americans there is a huge flag taking over the window.

I look forward to writing one more post before 2011 strikes. With the holidays approaching, that should be no problem.

Cheers for now.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

May Your Glass Always Be Half Full

Prohibition ended today (Dec 5) in 1933. And I thought last week was Thanksgiving!

Look for a new post soon on my Hopsgiving at Union Jacks and local night at Fork and Barrel.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for Dessert Beers

Dogfish Head Bitches Brew (B)
Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale (B)
North Coast Brewery Brother Thelonious (D)
Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter (D)
Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock (D)
Bells Brewery Double Cream Stout (D)
Rogue Brewing Dead Guy (D)
Yards Brewing Co. ESA (D)
Bells Brewing Co. Kalamazzo Stout (D)
Terrapin Moo Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout (D)
Copper Crow Chocolate Thunder Porter-Cask(D)
Yards Brewing Co. Love Stout (D)
Dogfish Head Chicory Stout (D)

The Son of a Gambolier
-Charles Ives (1895)

I'm a rambling rake of poverty
from Tippery town I came.
'Twas poverty compelled me first
to go out in the rain.
In all sorts of weather,
be it wet or be it dry,
I'm bound to get my livelihood
or lay me down to die.

Then combine your humble ditties
as from inn to tavern we steer
Like every honest fellow
I drinks my lager beer.
Like every jolly fellow
I takes my whiskey clear.
For I'm a rambling rake of poverty
And the son of a gambolier.

I was was tall and handsome,
and was so very neat.
They thought I was too good to live,
most good enough to eat.
But now I'm old, my coat is torn
and poverty holds me fast.
And every girl turns up her nose
as I go wandering past.

Not a Pale Ale of any sorts was in sight of making this list. My palate had malts-a-callin'. It had stouts as dark and sweet as can be making decisions for my normally hopped out appetite. These brews kind of made me feel like the song I chose to include. It sounds a bit dark, but when I hear the lyrics I think about the Dan Zane's children's version where a bunch of kids belt away the words away. Maybe they were drinking chocolate milk (stouts). When this time of year comes around I get a hankering for stouts. Some would say that I have a love interest (Yards). There is nothing like choppin' some chicory while listening to Miles Davis (DFH) to help someone forget that winter is on its way.

Most of us in Philadelphia know that The General Lafayette is no more. The beautiful historic inn off Church Rd and Germantown Ave lays empty of thirsty folk. For a while they were hosting Prism Brewing while they were getting their beehive brewhouse finished up. If you happened to find yourself at The General over the past year, even as a fair weather patron, you could feel something in the works. In a nut shell, the restaurant side of the biz was in decline. The brewing side just so happened to operate under a different name. And although I am not hip to what is going on with the food, Copper Crow Brewing Co. is what we will find ourselves drinking. The website isn't up and running yet, but stay tuned. I was at The London in Fairmount the other night and what I heard was 2011 is the year of The Crow. And by the way, The London has their chocolate porter on cask right now.

Crow Goes Hunting

-From Crow by Ted Hughes

Decided to try words. 
He imagined some words for the job, a lovely pack-
Clear-eyed, resounding, well-trained,
With strong teeth.
You could not find a better bred lot. 

He pointed out the hare and away went the words
Crow was Crow without fail, but what is a hare? 

It converted itself to a concrete bunker.
The words circled protesting, resounding. 

Crow turned the words into bombs-they blasted the bunker.
The bits of bunker flew up-a flock of starlings. 

Crow turned the words into shotguns, they shot down the starlings.
The falling starlings turned to a cloudburst. 

Crow turned the words into a reservoir, collecting the water.
The water turned into an earthquake, swallowing the reservoir. 

The earthquake turned into a hare and leaped for the hill
Having eaten Crow's words. 

Crow gazed after the bounding hare
Speechless with admiration. 

Cheers until December.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beercation 2010: Part 2-Philly Meets Florida

We took a month off here at Brews of Our Lives to prepare for the long awaited Florida Beercation 2010. Although it was a short visit, we stopped by some of Tampa Bay's best beer spots. When possible, I tried to drink as many brews that Philadelphians do not often get on tap or will even see without a travel to the Sunshine State. Highlights included Pegs Cantina and Brewpub, Dunedin Brewery and, of course, Cigar City Brewery. I also had some amazing homebrews from The Greenbriar that I had been dying to try. Enjoy the list.

Highland Brewing St. Terese's Pale Ale (D)- The Refinery
Great Divide Hibernation (D)-The Refinery
Lost Coast Brewery Indica IPA (D)-Independent (St. Pete)
Lost Coast Brewery 8 Ball Stout (D)-Independent (St. Pete)
Bells Oberon (D)-Red Mesa Cantina
Terrapen Beer Hopsecutioner (D)- Rex
Pegs GOOD Day (D)-Pegs Cantina and Brew Pub
Pegs Square Dancing DIPA (D)-Pegs Cantina and Brew Pub
Cigar City Brewing Humidor Jai Alai (G)-House Beer
Greeenbriar Artisan Brews Monkey In The Night (B)-House Beer
Unibrou Ephemere Apple (D)- Old Northeast Tavern
Terrapin Beer So Fresh So Green-House Beer
Lagunitas Maximus Ale (B)- House Beer
Red Brick Pale Ale (B)- House Beer
Great Divide Titan IPA (D)- Rex
Cigar City Brewing Cubano Espresso (G)-House Beer
Greenbriar Artisan Brews Oatmeal Cookie Brown Ale (B)- House Beer
Sierra Nevada Brewing Estate 2010 (D)- Dunedin House of Beer
Florida Beer Co. Swamp Ape DIPA (D)- Dunedin House of Beer
Dunedin Brewery The Rock DIPA (D)- Dunedin Brewery
Swamp Head 10-10-10 Barrel Aged (D)- Dunedin Brewery
Blue Point Brewing Toxic Sludge (D)- World of Beer
Starr Hill Brewery Northern Lights (D)- World of Beer
Reissdorf Kolsch (D)- The Independent (Tampa)
Cigar City Brewing Ether (DF)- Cigar City Tasting Room
Cigar City Brewing Or (DF)- Cigar City Tasting Room
Cigar City Brewing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie (DF)- Cigar City Tasting Room
Cigar City Brewing Seabass (DF)- Cigar City Tasting Room

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Coffee with Christ

1. Lagunitas Brewing Co. Lucky 13 (D)
2. Oskar Blues Brewery Gordon (D)
3. Avery Brewing Co. Maharaja (D)
4. Monks Ale Abbey of the Christ in the Desert (D)
5. The Bruery Orchard White (D)
6. Southern Tier Brewing Co. Pumking (D)
7. Victory Brewing Co. Hop Wallop (Handpump)
8. Belfast Bay Brewing Co. McGovern's Oatmeal Stout (B)
9. Victory Brewing Co. Victory Village (D)
10. Pauwel Kwak (D)

Five Little Pumpkins

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said,
"Oh my, it's getting late."
The second one said,
"But we don't care."
The third one said,
"I see witches in the air."
The fourth one said,
"Let's run, and run and run."
The fifth one said,
"Get ready for some fun."
Then whoosh went the wind,
and out went the lights,
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

There is no better way to start writing an autumn beer list than with a children's poem. I love October in Philadelphia. I have never seen beer lists change so fast in any other month than when witches can roam freely. This list in particular, I was all over the place. But there were a few with which we can sit around the campfire to talk about.

Monks Ale Abbey of the Christ in the Desert. I heard about this brew on and was quite intrigued. The article stated that Monks Ale are the only Benedictine Monastery to brew beer in the U.S., and it is the first time that it will be available out of state of New Mexico. Once I saw that it was on draft down the street at the Olde Eagle, I was at least pretty stoked to see what it was all about. This isn't a knock-your-socks-off beer. I think that I liked their tag line more.. "Made with Care and Prayer." I found it to be a pretty mild Belgian Ale if that is what you want to call it. Easy on the hops and an overall sweet mouth on it. A very noticeable honey flavor that clings to your lips. I found this article a few weeks after. It's worth a gander and worth a taste if you are able to find it.

As for a widely accessible beer to find in past 2 months, Victory Village was all over the city and suburbs. Whether you wanted a growler from Whole Foods or a 12oz glass, this beer was on every beer bar draft list. Coffee beers generally catch my attention. I'm a coffee lover. Some say that that they don't like to mix the two together; I say that there is no reason not to carry a love affair from morning to night. Victory Village is probably the best coffee beer that I laid my lips on as of recent. 150 lbs of coffee are added into the fermenter late in the game. It definitely comes out superbly in a brown ale. Village One Coffee is a roaster right outta PA. And they make damn fine coffee. Victory and Village put out a few videos for everyone to see what they were up to just before the beer hit the bars. Check one out here.

Cheers until next time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

When Two Rivers Collide: Consecration and Damnation

1. Lancaster Brewing Co. Milk Stout (D)

2. McNeill's Brewing Warlord Imperial IPA (D)
3. Russian River Consecration (D)
4. Lagunitas Brewing Co. IPA (D)
5. Southern Tier Harvest Ale (D)
6. Northcoast Brewing Co. Scrimshaw Pilsner (D)
7. Russian River Damnation (B)

"With impetuous recoil and jarring sound
Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She opened, but to shut
Excelled her power; the gates wide open stood.

-John Milton: Paradise Lost

Very rarely does both heaven and hell find their way into the same post for me. Surely I have been explicit enough describing the most beautiful brews served in a snifter, but to have the most damned ones served also, well, there must be a story behind that. If there was such a story, I would happily title it, "When Two Rivers Collide."

Let's talk about P.O.P.E. first. The Pub on Passayunk East has to be the darkest beer bar that I have ever been to. The only light that lit the menu came from the room next to where we were sitting. But there must have been a torch somewhere, because low and behold, what was written in pink chalk on the draft board? Russian River Consecration. It was the priciest beer on the list, but I thought back to a few months ago when I was able to indulge in RR's Pliny the Elder and Supplication, both on draft. So when the sour beast is in your face, reach your hand out and make a new friend. There is nothing but fantastic things to note about this brew. It was plum red. It had absolutely no head. It was tart in every sense of the word. There was a bit of vinegar behind it, but mostly I was just pounded by the currants.

This seems like a great place for an except from one of my favorite poems.

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpecked cherries-
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries--
All ripe together
In summer weather--
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy;
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye,
Come buy, come buy."

-"The Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti

Now onto how "Paradise Lost" found its way into this post and into our other river's channel. Damnation. RR Damnation is a pretty sweet Belgian Strong Ale. Lots of fruity notes, very light in color. I was able to get full view of this brew at the well lit Terrace Taproom. Served out of RR's (tion) cage-corked 375 ml bottles, they also provide you with a novel written down the side. It is a smooth operator with a dry finish.

Cheers for now friends. Happy Fall.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Poem, A Story, Another Season upon us.

1. Sly Fox Brewing Standard Porter (D)-Handpump
2. Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Double Simco IPA (D)
3. Coronado Brewing Co. Mermaids Red (D)
4. Sixpoint Brewing Co. Righteous Ale (D)
5. Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V. La Trappe Quadruple (D)
6. Brasserie Lefebvre Blanche de Bruxelles (D)
7. Avery Brewing Co. IPA (D)
8. Lost Abbey Brewery Avant Garde (D)
9. Ithica Beer Co. Flower Power IPA (D)
10. Victory Brewing Co. Wild Devil Ave (B)
11. Elysian Brewing Co. Avatar Jasmine IPA (B)
12. Founders Brewing Co. Dirty Bastard (B)
13. Cigar City Jai Alai
14. Green Flash Hop Head Red

"Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields,
the gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth
and you walk under the red light of fall
The scent of fallen apples, the dust of threshed grain
The sharp, gentile chill of fall.
Here as we move into the shadows of autumn
The night that brings the morning of spring
Come to us, Lord of Harvest
Teach us to be thankful for the gifts you bring us..."

**Autumn Equinox Ritual

I love the change of seasons, but losing the summer's heat and the hours of light into the 9 o'clock hour becomes harder to do without. Whether it is through the autumn imagery that is ignited by the prose that started this blog post, or just knowing that a pumpkin ale has just been tapped, I guess that you can find bits of love any time of year.

These past two weeks had me sampling some great styles of beer. I often devote entire posts to IPAs and stouts, but, fortunately, family and friendly places offered me their harvest. Porters, Double IPAs, Reds, Ryes, Belgians and Scotch Ales all, thankfully, fell into this list.

Here's the tale of La Trappe. It's big. It's a quad and it's way too drinkable. Jules and I were at Terrace Taproom a few weeks back when this beer was on. It was a Wednesday night. We were only looking to enjoy a beer or two. But there it was. I put down my finished pint of Mermaid's Red, and through the lacing across the glass, the Trappist tap actually smiled at me. I said to myself, "No." And as I was about to order another, and the bartender says, "La Trappe is a bad motherfucker," Jules says, "I'll have one." And that was it. It poured a beautiful dark amber into a pretty sweet chalice. Toasty malts laced with sweet fruits. I figured 10%, I'll sip it for an hour. It's a ten minute walk home and it's early. It was a nice end of the night drink.

There were no dragons slayed that night. Nor were any moats to crossed.

Cheers for now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friendship Brew

1. Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Blanche (D)
2. Brasserie St. Feullien/ Green Flash Collaboration: Biere De L'Amite (D)
3. Brasserie St. Feullien Brune (D)
4. Brasserie St. Feullien Triple (D)
5. Green Flash Brewing Co. Triple (D)
6. Lancaster Brewing Co. Cream Ale (D)
7. Furthermore Knot Stock (B)
8. Lagunitas A Little Sumtin' Sumtin' (D)
9. Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA (D)
10.Dock Street Espresso Satellite Stout (D)
11. Sly Fox Brewing Co. Ichor (D)
12. Bells Cherry Stout (B)

How does one recover after a Beercation? Well for starters you can start small. You can start with a flight. I was out in the Oley Valley at the Manatawny Inn and what to my wondering eye should appear...a list full of St. Feullian and Green Flash beer. Yes, it was a night of two brewers who just made an excellent collaboration, Biere de L'Amite. Belgian brewers St. Feullien had three delightful treats as did the U.S's Great Flash. But there was also a fourth and that was their collaborative effort of a Blond Belgian Strong Ale. Spicy, malty and heavily hopped, it was a blend of rye and wheat with St. Feullien's tradional yeast. Delicious.

On the local circuit, I was super impressed with Philadelphia's Dock Street Brewery this past week. We popped by Johnny Brenda's with The Slingluff Gallery owners the other night to one of the best local beer spots in the city. Dock Street's Espresso Satellite Stout is down-right ridiculously rich. Now it didn't say Espresso on the list, but as I raised my glass toward my nose the roasty sensation perked me out of my seat.

Let's interrupt this with a quote: "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons."
The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock-T.S. Eliot

Okay, back to the beer. Jet black with a tan head it was nice and nutty. It was a bit too easy to drink, although I'm not sure if that is a negative thing. It was nothing like the Bell's Cherry Stout that I picked up from one of the greatest bottle shops west of the Schuylkill, Pinocchio's Beer Garden. If the Satellite Stout was black, then this cherry stout was motor oil. Well, there was a hint of red. Very tart, but enough malt to back it up. Think of cherry chocolate cake, rich chocolate cake that leaves your lips smacking. So let's end with a poem about this.


There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies blow;
A heavenly paradise is that place,
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow:
There cherries grow which none may buy
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearls a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rose-buds filled with snow;
Yet them no peer nor prince can buy
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

Her eyes like angels watch them still;
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threatening with piercing frowns to kill
All that attempt with eye or hand
Those sacred cherries to come nigh,
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

Cheers for now.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Philly Beercation 2010: the Other Tippler

So I have had the pleasure of enjoying the first two Beercations put on by our group of friends. The first, in Tampa, FL, had highlights that included an all-day craft beer festival and a visit to Cigar City Brewing, along with a number of excellent beer-pub stops. The second incarnation, this time in Philly, set the bar a little higher. There was no festival this time around, and the brewery visits (Noddinghead and Earth Bread and Brewery) don't quite match up to Cigar City, but we hit some of the best beer houses around, including Monk's Cafe (twice!), Capone's, Eulogy, and Union Jack's on the Manatawny along with many more. This beercation varied too, in that we had friends from out of state (Florida, Texas and New Jersey) join us for various segments. I was lucky enough to stumble through nearly two weeks of this beercation, and I can't wait for our next one!

Here's what I managed to get down as far as the wonderful variety of beers I was able to sample. This covers nearly all of the draught beers I had, but is missing a number of bottles. It makes for a pretty impressive list - one that would be tough to match anywhere else in the world:

Philly Beercation, Summer 2010 (July 22 – August 10)

1. Sargasso IPA (Hand Pump) (D) – Earth Bread and Brewery (7/28)

2. Hill Farmstead Edward Pale Ale (D) - Earth Bread and Brewery (7/28)

3. Chouffe Houblon (D) - Monk’s Café (7/30)

4. Russian River Concecration (D) - Monk’s Café (7/30)

5. Ommegang Zuur (D) - Monk’s Café (7/30)

6. Weihenstephaner Vitus (D) – Brauhaus Schmitz (7/30)

7. Weihenstephaner 1809 Berliner Weiss w/ Shot of Berry Syrup (B) - Brauhaus Schmitz (7/30)

8. Founder’s Cerise (D) – Old Eagle Tavern (7/30)

9. Sixpoint Otis Oatmeal Stout on Nitro (D) - Old Eagle Tavern (7/30)

10. Stillwater Artisan Stateside Saison American Farmhouse Ale (B) - Old Eagle Tavern (7/30)

11. Yard’s Brewing Co ESA (Hand Pump) (D) – Dawson Street Pub (7/30)

12. Dogfish Head Theobroma (D) – Capone’s (7/31)

13. East End Kvass Sour (D) – Capone’s (7/31)

14. Saison du Buff brewed by Stone (B) – the River (7/31)

15. Unibroue Quelque Chose (B) - the River (7/31)

16. Founder’s Red Rye IPA (B) - the River (7/31)

17. Monstre Rouge Imperial Flanders Red Ale (Terrepin/de Proef Brouwerij Collaboration) (B) - the River (7/31)

18. Haandbryggeriet Haandbakk Sour Ale (B) - the River (7/31)

19. Dogfish Head Theobroma (D) – Union Jack’s on the Manatawny (8/1)

20. Stone Imperial Russian Stout (D) - Union Jack’s on the Manatawny (8/1)

21. Lost Abbey Avante Garde Farmhouse Saison (D) – Craft Ale House (8/2)

22. Founder’s Centenial IPA (D) - Craft Ale House (8/2)

23. Southern Tier Mokah (D) - Craft Ale House (8/2)

24. Darkhorse Double Crooked Tree IPA (D) – Old Eagle Tavern (8/4)

25. Sargasso IPA (D) – Earth Bread and Brewery (8/4)

26. Gluteous Minimus Beer Juice - Earth Bread and Brewery (8/4)

27. Russian River Damnation (D) - Earth Bread and Brewery (8/4)

28. Pliny the Elder (D) – Monk’s Café (8/5)

29. Monk’s Café Flemish Sour (D) - Monk’s Café (8/5)

30. La Rulles Estivale (D) - Monk’s Café (8/5)

31. Jandrain Jandreoville IV Saison (D) - Monk’s Café (8/5)

32. Vichtenaar Flemish Ale (D) – Beneluxx (8/5)

33. Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca (D) – Eulogy (8/5)

34. Rodenbach Grand Cru (D) – Eulogy (8/5)

35. Dock Street Rye IPA (D) – Johnny Brenda’s (8/5)

36. Twin Lakes Pale Ale (D) – Johnny Brenda’s (8/5)

37. Philadelphia Brewing Company Rowhouse Red – Johnny Brenda’s (8/5)

38. Victory Hop Devil (Hand Pump) (D) – Dawson Street Pub (8/6)

39. Yard’s Brewing Co Thomas Jefferson Ale (Hand Pump) (D) – Dawson Street Pub (8/6)

40. Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA (D) - Manayunk Tavern (8/6)

41. Yard’s Brewing Co. Brawler Strong Ale (D) – Grape Street Pub (8/6)

42. Prism Tea Party Pale Ale (D) – Old Eagle Tavern (8/6)

43. Ich bin ein Berliner Weiss (D) – Noddinghead Brewery (8/7)

44. Grog: Cask Conditioned English Style Brown Ale (D) – Noddinghead Brewery (8/7)

45. Long Trail Double IPA (D) – the Irish Pole (8/7)

46. Yard’s Brewing Co. Saison (D) – Standard Tap (8/7)

47. Stout’s Brewing Co. Double IPA (D) – Standard Tap (8/7)

48. Victory Brewing Co. Bitter (D) – the 700 Club (8/7)

49. Torrey Pines IPA (D) – the 700 Club (8/7)

50. Furthermore Fatty Boombalatty (D) – City Tap House (8/8)

51. Rogue John John Juniper Pale Ale (D) – City Tap House (8/8)

52. Iron Hill Nut Brown Ale (D) – Iron Hill Brewery Phoenixville (8/9)

53. Dogfish Head India Brown Ale (D) – Farmacia (8/10)

House Beers Drank Throughout the Week (Bottles)

1. Heavy Seas Big DIPA

2. Founder’s Porter

3. Southern Tier Crème Brulee Stout

4. Dogfish Head Namaste

5. Dogfish Head Festina Peche

6. Jolly Pumpkin ES Bam Hoppy Farmhouse Ale (bad bottle)

7. Port Brewing Wipe Out IPA

8. Three Floyd’s Alpha King Pale Ale

9. Green Flash Brewing West Coast IPA

10. Saison du Buff brewed at Dogfish Head

11. Furthermore ThermoRefur – ale brewed with pepper and beets

12. Dogfish Head Wrath of Pecant

Homebrews from Fellow Beer Nuts (Draft and Bottles)

From Jules: Pale Ale (D)

Belgian Blonde (D)

Imperial Stout (D)

Rye Ale (D)

From Kevin: High Five IPA (B)

From Tim: WheatPA (B)

From Ben: Pale Ale (B)


Wheat Ale (B)

Can you tell that we all love our beer?!?! Thanks to everyone who made it out for this one, and may we all enjoy many more Beercations in the future!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Beercation 2010-The Philadelphia Experience

Earlier this year a group of friends met in Florida and had what they referred to as a "Beercation." At that time I had not been introduced to that term, but knew if anything that I too would go on one. It turned out that most of them were able to meet up again this past week, but this time in Philadelphia and this time I would be included. From the rare Belgians and Sours at Monks Cafe to the big IPAs at the Manatawny Inn we made our way to everywhere in between. Capones, City Tap House, Johnny Brendas, Eulogy, The Irish Pol, The Standard Tap, Olde Eagle, Beneluxx, Dawson Street, Nodding Heads, Earth Bread and Brewery and an assortment of small spots throughout the City of Brotherly Beer Drinking Love were on our list, and we hit them all.
So here is the great list from the past 13 days, a list from an amazing Beercation and giant "Cheers" to everyone that was part of it.
  1. Earth Bread and Brewery Sargasso (D)
  2. Hills Farmstead Edmond Pale Ale (D)
  3. Southern Tier IPA (B)
  4. West Coast Green Flash IPA (B)
  5. Prism Tea Party Pale Ale (D)
  6. Stone Brewing 14th Anniversary (B)
  7. Southern Tier 2X IPA (D)
  8. Dogfish Head, Stone, Victory Saison DU BUFF (Stone Version) (B)
  9. Founders Cerise (D)
  10. Sixpoint Otis (on Nitro) (D)
  11. Moylan’s Hopsickle (D)
  12. Cigar City Mudaro Brown (D)
  13. Petrus Pale Ale (D)
  14. De Proef-Terrapin Collaboration Monster Rogue (B)
  15. Bells Two Hearted (B and D)
  16. Unibroue Quelque Chose (B)
  17. Russian River Pliney the Elder (B and D)
  18. Russian River Consecration (D)
  19. Stillwater Artisinal Farmhouse Ale (B and D)
  20. Ommegang Zuur (D)
  21. Riverhorse Hop Hazard (B)
  22. Dogfish Head 90 Minute (B)
  23. Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA (D)
  24. Victory Summer of Love (D)
  25. Earth Bread And Brewery Sweet Charlotte (D)
  26. Victory Baltic Porter (D)
  27. Verhaeghe Vichtenaar (B)
  28. Brouwerij Smisje Vuuve (B)
  29. Twin Lakes Pale Ale (D)
  30. Dock St. Rye Pale Ale (D)
  31. Philadelphia Brewing Co. Newbold (Handpump) (D)
  32. Founders Reds Rye PA (D)
  33. Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca (D)
  34. Victory Hopdevil (D)
  35. Southern Tier Crème Brule Stout (B)
  36. Caldera IPA (C)
  37. Nodding Head Ich bin ein Berliner Weise (D)
  38. Nodding Head Rufus (D)
  39. Boulder Brewing Co. Hop Cold (D)
  40. Sly Fox Brewing Saison Vos (D)
  41. Weyerbacher Brewing Merry Monks (D)
  42. Heavy Seas Big DIPA (B)
  43. Hitachino Nest Classic (D)
  44. Stone, Dogfish Head, Victory Saison DU BUFF (Dogfish Version) (B)
  45. Furthermore Thermo Refur (B)
  46. Dogfish Head Wrath of Pecant (B)
  47. Left Coast Brewing Co. Torrey Pines IPA (D)
  48. Iron Hill Brewing Belgian Wit (D)
  49. Port Brewing Wipeout IPA (B)
  50. Jolly Pumpkin ES Bam (B)
  51. Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale (B)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Week 23: What do a bear, a tiger, and a monster have in common?

1. Bear Republic Racer 5
2. Cigar City Jai Alai
3. Sixpoint Bengali Tiger IPA
4. Voodoo Pilzilla
5. Weyerbacher Fireside Ale
6. Arcadia Hopmouth (Hand Pump)
7. Troegs Sunshine Pils
8. Great Lakes Brewing Lake Erie Monster
9. Troegs Hopback Amber

"Each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor."

I wanted an eerie quote. Something campfire(ish) for the monsters on the loose this past week. Somehow, and I don't know how, there was a theme brewing with the names of some of these beers.

The Philadelphia area is finally getting their hands on some Cigar City brews again. A few months back a tale was spun that Tampa brewers couldn't keep up with our drinking. Well they have let their Jai Alai slide up our way. It looks just like a Florida Orange. It's piney and grapefruity with just the right amount of hops throughout. It was not as fresh as from a Florida tap. I need a vacation.

Like most monsters, we shouldn't flee from them, but just make friends. Great Lakes Brewing Lake Eerie Monster should be a very good friend to you. He is a fantastic IPA or Double IPA with a pretty thick head...minus the scales. He must wallow in the fruit groves, because he stank of citrus hops. I also saw some mangoes between his toes, but that might have been my imagination. Once I got to know him I found him to be a just a sweet fellow that could talk you to sleep.

I am in the midst of what some call a Beercation.

Cheers for now.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week 21-22: "I think it is in collaboration that the nature of art is revealed. "

1. Stone Cali-Belqique IPA
2. Terrapin Rye Pale Ale
3. Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
4. Flying Fish Abbey Double
5. Southhampton Double White
6. Sly Fox Brotherly Suds #1
8. Philadelphia Brewing Co. Pennsylvania Ale
9. Lancaster Brewing Co. Hop Hog

"The dandelions and buttercups gild all the lawn: the drowsy bee stumbles among the clover tops,
and summer sweetens all to me."
- James Russell Lowell

How sweet is summer. Wheats and Whites are always available. Decadent Belgians and floral hopped masterpieces are never out of season. And nowadays, there is always a collaboration beer to be had. That basically sums up the past two weeks of beer tasting.

Most of these brews are good old friends that I have known for years, but like any summer, you are bound to make some new acquaintances. Philadelphia Brewing Co. recently took a crack a Pale Ale of their own, and like their IPA, they like them malty. Pennsylvania Pale Ale or PPA (yes, a nice shout out to the most hated group of city officials). This beer has a huge hop presence at the nose with a toasted malt mouth on it. It's kind-of spicy and bready. They are now bottling it, for now, so I am hoping to hold on to 1 or 2 for summers end. It's a good beer and probably great on cask.

Sly Fox threw a party and invited some of my favorite people.That is basically what it looks like when you see the brewers behind Brotherly Suds #1. This brew was readily available during Philly Beer Week, and with what appears to have some public demand, it has popped up throughout the summer at some great area bar. I spotted this brew at Johnny Brendas in Fishtown and was pretty eager to have it for the first time. A brainchild of Yards, Sly Fox, Victory, Stouts and Troegs. this is a delicious ESB. It's super smooth, fruity and caramely, and very little hopped and will undoubtedly be gone soon.

Other than drinking beer I finally took a shot at brewing too. So many of my good friends have started brewing or have brewed for years. Tasting what they have been mashing has been a huge inspiration. I've started off on an easy extract recipe. I will write about this experience pretty soon. Like most homebrewers, I assume this is going to become an obsession.

The title quote in this post is by the late Jazz Great, Steve Lacy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cigar City Hunahpu Imperial Stout

oh my, my hunahpu...

I couldn't resist sharing this week, as I was lucky enough to hit up one of my local favorites, Peg's Cantina, and discover that they had an old keg of Cigar City's Hunahpu Stout on draught. has it as the 13th best beer in the U.S., and 17th best in the world. Brewed once a year, this is a bit out of season right now, but I still can't imagine a better way to end an evening with friends. Deep and dark, this beer seems to stain the glass (and I think the 1/2 glass I spilled re-stained the wood floors!). Cigar City calls it a Mayan Chocolate Imperial Stout, and that works - it's got heaps of Peruvian chocolate (although maybe it should be Mexican, Guatemalan, or Belizean - where the Maya live and lived), pasilla chiles, cinnamon and vanilla beans. They say it's "a nod to the frothy cacao drink consumed by the ancient Mayans." If this is what the Mayans were drinking, they sure as heck knew what they were doing! At 11%, this is a hefty brew, and a unique one too. The base stout is certainly yummy, and it does so well with the chocolate and vanilla. Then the chiles come in and leave a slight chocolatey hot-spice at the back of the palate. Oh my, my hunahpu...

This once a year brew seems to be an attempt to rival Three Floyds Dark Lord event, and based on the huge crowds and quick sell-out, Cigar City might be up for the challenge. I just feel lucky to be here for the first couple years of this fabulous brewery. With plans in the works to expand production, more people on the East Coast should be seeing their beers. If you ever see a Hunahpu, grab it! Then stash it away for awhile, because you have one of the best beers in the world in your hands.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Week 20: A Novel Pilsner

1. Lagunitas Undercover Investigator Shutdown
2. Furthermore Oscura
3. Stone Arrogant Bastard
4. Southern Tier 2X IPA
5. Dogfish Head My Antonia

"There seemed to be nothing to see; no fences, no creeks or tress, no hills or fields. If there was a road, I could not make it out in the faint starlight. There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made."

It's book quotations like this that make craft beer so beautifully delectable. I haven't read Willa Cather's My Antonia in many years, but, nonetheless, maybe my affinity with Dogfish Head is so strong because both Sam Calagione and I hold English degrees, or maybe it's because he makes one amazing Imperial Pilsner.

Just like enjoying sours over the winter, I am now trying to adjust my palate to Pilsners. There was probably no real good reason why I never gravitated toward them. I thought they just "seemed" weak, kind-of bland, and oh yeah, they are lagers. Lagers just have never done it for me. If I delve a bit deeper into how a lager is made I might find that missing essence that IPAs or even Imperial Stouts are made up of.

So is it all in the hops? Probably. My Antonia is sweet and hazy on the palate and eyes. And if you close your eyes, the beautiful floral hops can make you feel something that the passage above makes me feel, something simple and handmade, something where images in your head manifest before you, something euphoric. And all along you were just drinking a pilsner.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Week 18 and 19: A Carnival Ride for the Palate

1. Dogfish Head Festina Peche
2. Dogfish Head Immort Ale
3. Victory Brewing Co. Pursuit of Pale Ale (Hand Pump)
4. Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale
5. Ommegang Hennepin
6. Bear Republic Hop Hod Rye
7. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
8. Ithaca Apricot Wheat
9. Lagunitas Pale Ale
10. Dogfish Head/ Stone Brewing/ Victory Brewing
Saison du Buff
11. Furthermore Fatty Boombalaty
12. Coronado Idiot IPA
13. Stone Ruination
14. Sly Fox Pikeland Pils
15. Philadelphia Brewing Co. Newbold IPA
16. Coronado Islander IPA
17. Youngs Double Chocolate Stout

Philly Beer Week came and went. It's over. I have realized one thing about beer week and that being that next year I need a budget. I need a well thought out plan for what events I will attend, and I need to buy some beer dinners and reservation spots ahead of time so that I don't end up saying, "Awww I missed that." Or, "Yeah, I am totally going to go there." This is what happened the majority of the week. I blew it this past week. I tipped over the pint on the bar. I shoud be fired from this blog.

The list above has a lot of favorites. And with it being a scorcher outside, I even put a wheat in the mix. I don't even think I can find it in me to write about half of these brews. There are a few amazing Dogfish Heads mentioned. With it being summer you should try to develop a taste for Festina Peche. It's more like a sour to me, but incredibly refreshing. It's peach flavored and that can turn most beer lovers' flavor switch off. I find the best complement to Festina to be the collaboration beer, Saison Du Buff. This is probably the most unique and best beer that I have had all year. Three great brewers are all part of this one. You can find a Stone Brewing or Victory beer on my lists, just as often as a Dogfish. Saison Du Buff is brewed with parsley, thyme, sage and rosemary. It is totally earthy, fruity and of course herby. It is pretty amzing that the ingrediants compliment each other throughout. A summer saison for the earthworm in all of us.

Coronado is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries this summer. Their Idiot and Islander IPAs are both super clean, well balanced. Coronado made their way to Manayunk during Philly Beer Week and some of my haunts still have it available on tap.

Cheers until next week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Week 17: Spicing it up this week

1. Port Brewing Co. Wipeout IPA
2. Founders Spite Pepper Pale Ale
3. Terrapin Brewing Co. Side Project 2010 Capt'n Kruncles
4. Dock Street Brewing Co. Saison
5. Manayunk Brewing Co. Krooks Mill APA
6. Yards Brewing Co. Philadelphia Pale Ale
7. Lake Placid Brewing Honey Wheat

Philly Beer Week 2010 has begun. Granted, all the beers listed above are from last week, but most of them put my taste buds in high gear. This beer week arrived at an amazing time of the year in Philadelphia. There is, of course, amazing beer events going on all around the city and suburbs, the Manayunk Bike Race has thousands of people a few blocks down from my house right now and the Flyers are on another crazy comeback in the Stanley Cup. Mix all of these things together and you are looking at smiles and stumbles from Philadelphia to Phoenixville.

Back to the beer. Port Brewing! Their Wipeout IPA is a fantastic treat any time. A beautiful head sits nice and pretty giving way to some lovely lacing throughout. A big hoppy nose pulls you in to each citrus sip. Fruit and hops are what this beer is all about. Pick one up, go find it and its friend Hop 15, and have a great night.

After ordering the Founders Spite Pepper Pale Ale, I was instructed to drink it with food. I don't think a salad was what my server had in mind. There was such an overpowering nose that it was locked in my senses until the next day. It was a bit reminiscent of Rogue's Chipotle Ale. The taste was hot. It had a warming feeling down your throat that lingered on your palate. I'm not even sure what peppers I could taste, but a habanera was one of them. There was nothing hoppy about this one. It was down right just a spicy beer that you should totally try with a big meal.

I will try to get something else posted pretty quick. It is quite impossible to get to lots of beer events this week. I will probably only make it to a handful. And you will hear all about it.

Cheers until next time.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Week 16: Listen Here Punk

1. Bells Two Hearted Ale
2. Ballast Point Big Eye IPA
3. Boxcar Brewing Co. Original Ale
4. Brew Dog Punk IPA
5. Allentown Brew Works Hop Explosion
6. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA
7. 3 Floyds Brewing Co. Gumballhead

These bad boys were a pretty nice mix of hops and malts this week. After a couple of days I thought all the brewing companies that I drank were going to start with the letter B, but I regressed back to A and then numbers.

Well, out of this whole list the only beer that I have ever had was, of course, Bells Two Hearted. It's a top 5 favorite for me, and when I see it on draft it's a no brainer. And I don't know if it's top 5 worthy, but the Anderson Valley was pretty amazing as well. This California brew is exactly what you would expect from a delicious west coast IPA, a flowery/ grapefruit nose with a blast of fresh hops. It reminds me of a Green Flash West Coast, but a bit more balanced.

Brew Dog Brewing has been getting some press lately for their Tactical Nuclear Penguin (yes, the world's strongest beer with an ABV of 32%). Until hearing about that beer, I never knew too much about them. They are Scottish, which means something different than all american hops for once. The description on the bottle was reason enough to give it a whirl, "A Postmodern Classic Pale Ale." I had no idea what that can mean in terms of beer, and I think that I wanted to leave my Literary Theory class out of the tavern that night. It was simply to me a lighter IPA, more like an actual pale, with some interesting hops (Ahtanum, Nelson Sauvin and Chinook and Simcoe). It was shared and poured from a 22oz bottle at Olde Eagle Tavern in Manayunk. It was very drinkable with a nice medium body. It's something to drink if you are looking for an end of the night IPA, especially one to talk about to see if you can pick up all the subtle notes lingering throughout.

Lastly, I want to talk about 3 Floyds Gumballhead. I have been seeking out their Dreadnaught and my search has ended. A reliable source mentioned that it is not distributed in PA and whether it makes it out of Indiana is another story that I have to check on. My Gumballhead was a gift. Fortunately, it was around 90 degrees in Philadelphia that night. Appropriately, Lana drank a Boulder Sweaty Betty, and when we arrived back a home, a hoppy wheat was perfect to cure my sweats. It had a nose of an IPA with a mouth of subtle hops, but not the wheat that you thought you were going to have. It was pretty unique with its lemony/ grassy taste with just enough hop. All in all, refreshing.

Cheers for now. The countdown has begun for Beer Week. Six more days and counting.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Week 15: Time to Celebrate

1. 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die
2. Victory Helos
3. Union Barrel Works Bruges Baastard
4. Springhouse Brewing Robot Bastard Belgian IPA
5. Victory Donnybrook Stout
6. Caldera Brewing Co. IPA
7. Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken's Ale

With a post very delayed and tired of not documenting what I have been drinking, I am now going to do my very best to deliver these weekly posts like I did all winter.

Where to even begin. The current motley crew listed above is more like 2 weeks of brews that made their way into my belly. It was very exciting to revisit the beautiful Oley Valley and hit up Union Jacks on the Manatawny this weekend. They have a nice selection of rotating drafts and this week the roulette wheel landed on two bastards. Yes, coincidentally, they had two brews with the name bastard in the title (one with two a's). I'm a big fan of Springhouse Brewing Co. They are out in Conestoga, PA, and I have never once been disappointed with what they have put out. Belgian IPAs are always a bit iffy for me. But they tempt me. The Robot Bastard was a bit more floral than hoppy with a pretty unusual taste that I still can't put my finger on. Very sweet to say the least though. It would have been worth a second tulip glass to be able to match the taste.

A couple canning breweries are in this list as well. 21st Amendment was pretty decent, textbook IPA. It is nothing to seek out. I'm hoping for some improvements in the future. I must say though that Caldera Brewing is right on the money. Their IPA was citrusy, piney and well balanced with a full-bodied mouth.

I was fortunate enough to get one of Sierra's 30th anniversary ales last month for my, yes, 3oth birthday. It was sitting for almost a month waiting to be uncorked. It made its way from California to Trenton, NJ, to my refrigerator in Philadelphia. Titled Fritz and Ken's ale, this brew is a collaboration with Fritz of Anchor Brewing. The 22 oz. stout poured a beautiful black color. Very rich and malty. A lip smacker to say the least with its carmel undertones. There are still a few more of these beers left in the series. Seek them out and share.

Cheers for now. Philly Beer Week is only two weeks away!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Week 14: Simcoe and Cascade and Centennial, Oh My!

After a long hiatus of home renovation I think that we are officially back in business here at Brews of Our Lives. I wish that I can say that over the past month I was able to indulge in some amazing beer, but it was nearly impossible. I never made it to a tavern, and the long days of ripping out old flooring and pipes ended each night with whatever I tucked away in the fridge.

I did have a surprise birthday party thrown for me though. A nice theme of bring a delicious six pack. I wish I got to enjoy one of each, but I also wish that I was able to see what everyone brought. All that I remember was that it was the best birthday that I could have had.

But back to the beer. Here are some that I can remember.

Manayunk Brewing Co. California Dreamin IPA
Philadelphia Brewing Co. Fleur de Lehigh
Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Greenbriar Artisan Ales Fear Not the Big Hop (Three Floyds Dreadnaught cloan)
Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
Sly Fox Rt. 113 IPA (finally part of their canning line)

As usual the IPAs were my choice brew style. Each of these (minus Fleur de Lehigh) were so incredibly different. I am not a huge fan of Manayunk Brewing Co., but California Dreamin is quite perfect. It doesn’t taste like an Imperial IPA, and maybe that is where this beer succeeds. It has an amazing hop/malt balance, but probably not on purpose. It pours a delectable hazy orange with an aroma that will make any hophead swoon.

Dark Horse Brewing finally made it to Pennsylvania this past year and lucky for us they have an IPA worth waiting for. Citrusy smooth is all I have to say for these Michigan brewers. Think clementines and hops with a sweet malt backbone and you will find your balance on this crooked tree limb. This also comes in a double.

This week I will attempt to seek out a Three Floyds Dreadnaught and see how The Greenbriar measures up.

Cheers for now. Drink up..summertime is almost here.

Monday, April 19, 2010


We will be resume our weekly beer drinking the first week of May. Well, we will resume our beer writing in May.

Cheers for now.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Antithesis of Unearthly

Down here in the Tampa Bay area, our beer selection has improved dramatically in the last few years. We've gone from a relative beer backwater to the home of one of the most exciting new breweries in the country - Cigar City. Besides our own regional brews, we have also seen a huge increase in the selection of small batch brews from all around the country. As an apt example, I offer Iniquity - an imperial black ale from Southern Tier Brewing out of Lakewood, NY.

Per the writing on the bottle, Iniquity "is contrary to what one may expect from an IPA; this is an ale as black as night." However, I have to think they're referring mostly to the appearance of this black as night brew. Loaded with chinook, cascade, williamette, and centennial hops, this is clearly an IPA - even at first taste. But while the hops dominate and define this tasty brew, there is an underlying malt character that you might not find in other IPAs - I think the hop bitterness is evident, but the "debittered black malt" balances that bitterness out, making for a very pleasant 9% black IPA bomb.

Find one and drink it!

***For all the PA readers, I was at Cigar City Brewery the other night (and had some great beers), and I heard some bad news for fans from the north. Due to high demand, they're planning to stop supplying the PA market until later this year, after they get a couple new fermenters up and running. If you like the beers and see them around, snatch them up, as they won't be restocked for a while!