Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nodding Head

Jo and I hadn't been to Nodding Heading in a long time so we decided last night was a good night to change that.  Nodding Head is a brewpub in Philadelphia between 15th and16th on Sansom St.  Someone from my home town is actually a brewer there now so I'm trying to convince my friend to visit so she can introduce me.
It's sort of hard to find as it's upstairs from a different restaurant and the door is really nondescript.  (So nondescript they just have a piece of paper with their name on it tacked to the door.)  There's two decent signs, but if you aren't looking for it you'll probably walk by it.

Still, it's one of my favorite places in the city because the bar is pretty large, the food is really good (since it's owned by the same people the menu is similar to Monk's and Belgian Cafe, just a little smaller), and their beer is excellent.  In fact, I thought the beer last night was the best their beer has been since I've been going (8 years at this point, on and off maybe?)

The first beer I had last night was a new one for me, Grog D'Oer.
This beer was excellent.  The beer is an oak aged version of the Grog to which they added some Belgian yeast from the De Dolle brewery.  It had a sweet, fruity smell with just a little roastiness.  I also caught a hint of some smells which were a result of the Belgian yeast.  Maybe I wouldn't have noticed them if the description didn't mention the yeast, but who knows.  Poured a nice dark brown with basically no head on it.  The first thing I noticed was the excellent mouth feel.  It was thick and pleasantly syrupy.  The major flavors were similar to a brown ale but sweeter and more subdued from the aging.  As I drank more, the Belgian flavors started to appear, mingling with the malt flavor.  Compared to the regular grog, this has a much thicker mouth feel, but the roasted flavor was way less.  I liked this a bit more than the regular (although both are great).  I think this may be the best beer I've had at Nodding Head.  So good.

After that I went to a much different beer, Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weiss.
The berliner weiss style isn't a big style in the US.  It's not strong and pretty tart so most places don't make it.  Nodding Head was actually one of the first (if not the first) breweries in the US to even start brewing it.  Here's Nodding Head's description:
Rare and unusual German-style sour wheat beer. Not a hefeweizen.  A tart flavor, light body and low alcohol (3.5%) add up to one very refreshing beer.
Poured a hazy yellowish color.  Very interesting color for a beer.   There isn't much to the nose, just some mild tartness.  Initially, the taste is sour but not puckering.  Big lemony flavor up front, but there is no after taste to it.  With the low alcohol and the clean aftertaste this is really refreshing.  There was never a point where it became overpowering or leaves your mouth super dry like some other sours I've had.

I finished up with the Lead Pipe Lager.
This is a German style called a bock.  Generally, bocks are slightly stronger than other styles of lagers and pretty malty.  I feel doppelbocks are more common in the US than normal bocks but it's hard to say as I really don't know.  The Lead Pipe had a mild sweet smell, but it wasn't huge. Pleasantly thick mouth feel to it although it wasn't quite as creamy as the Grog D'Oer.  Reminded me almost of a porter with some roastiness, but it never got quite that far.  Had a slightly bitter aftertaste, but nothing bad.  As I drank it and it warmed up I noticed some caramel flavors.  Pretty good beer to end the night.

Really happy with our return visit to Nodding Head.  Their beer is as great as ever (better in some cases), the food was good, and the atmosphere is nice.


  1. Fun!

    Jeff and Deborah brought over a bottle of Drake's Denogginizer from Drake's Brewing San Leandro last night. Have you heard of them? We should check that place out next time we visit Catha and Kevin - it's in their town.

  2. Nope never heard of it. It seems to only be distributed in California even though it has been around a long time. We should definitely visit it when we come out. I'm always up for that.