Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lew Bryson and some other beers

On Sunday, on top of the absolutely awesome bourbon beers I drank, I got to meet beer writer Lew Bryson.  I'll probably miss a few things he writes, but here's a small list.  His normal blog, his noplcb (no pennsylvania liquor control board) blog, and some really interesting articles on some random website in Massachusetts.  Seriously, you should check out that site.  I easily spent 2 hours reading those articles one day.  On top of that he also spends time writing for a whisky magazine named Malt Advocate. However, the thing he's most well known for (or at least the reason I really know him) is his awesome book on Pennsylvania breweries.  It's thorough, well written, and super interesting.  Jo and I have the 3rd edition of the book and just picked up the 4th edition on Sunday.  I'm reading through it now and there is just so much useful information about breweries, brew pubs, bars, and attractions in Pennsylvania.  Probably the best part is how for every brewery and brewpub, he lists places to visit in the area plus other bars to visit.  The former is super useful for those of us that have wives that insist everything can't be about beer and the latter is useful when visiting a brewery that won't have any food.  Go ahead and pick up a copy at amazon.  Trust me, it's well written and there are some really interesting facts in it.  On a more personal note, Lew was really receptive to chatting with me on Sunday and it's always awesome if people are willing to listen to me.  Sure, it helped that he was there to sell his book so he couldn't go anywhere, but still.  Seriously, though, nice guy and you all should read his blog and buy his book.  That way he'll make another edition in a few years for me to buy.

On top of that I tried two other beers Sunday at Hulmeville.  The best of the two was Rodenbach Vintage '08.
Hulmeville served it in their sweet chalice and it poured with very little head.  Similar look to other Flemish Red Ales with some darker notes.  This variety is actually a 2008 vintage that the Rodenbach brewery aged themselves.  Since I haven't had it in a while (if ever) I can't do a comparison, but man, this was one smooth beer.  It had a sweet and sour nose on it with a mild apple juice backing.  Not as strong as some Flanders Red Ales but this is 2 years old already so I'm guessing the apple juicy smell and flavor mellows out over time.  The taste followed the smell with more sweet and sour notes, each taking a turn.  Super easy drinking and really good.  The cool thing is that aging beers is a big thing in Europe so you may find stuff like this around.  I know Capone's has the 2007 on draft right now although it's probably close to finished.

I finished up the night with something completely different in the form of Rock Art Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout.
To be honest, while I have some notes about this one, I can't believe it's a stout.  Jo claims Hulmeville's description mentioned this, but it didn't feel like one to me.  If anyone has ever had this, let me know.  Not much of a smell to it and surprisingly very little pumpkin taste.  The overwhelming flavor to it was spruce.  Yes, spruce, just like the tree.  It wasn't bad, mostly surprising.  Throughout the whole glass, spruce was the major flavor and it actually was more enjoyable than expected.  However, if you are looking for a pumpkin beer this is not where to start.  Neither Jo nor I got any pumpkin flavor from it at all

That's the end of the 10/10/10 Beer Geek BBQ at Hulmeville Inn.  Meeting and chatting with Lew Bryson was way more fun than I expected and the bourbon aged beers were just incredible.  Jeff does a great job with that place and I look forward to the next special event.

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