Wednesday, May 11, 2011

IPA Block Party outside Hawthornes Cafe

This past Saturday, Hawthornes Cafe held their second annual IPA Block Party.  They claimed they had 24 different IPAs on draft and I had no reason to doubt them.  They were also supposed to have something special from Dark Horse, but unfortunately that never made it.  However, I was still able to try a bunch of different IPAs I've never had before and finally got to meet the owners of PhillyTapFinder so it was a pretty great day.
I took this picture early into the event as it got much more crowded.  Off to the right they had about 7 tables set up in a row with all of the kegs.  Each beer cost $5 and they sped up the process by having people buy tickets.  Really good idea and the Sly Fox Bockfest last weekend used the same process as it really speeds up the beer lines.  The weather was pretty decent although it drizzled on and off for a little bit while I was there.  Still, not so bad.  I also got to meet Jared and his wife who run PhillyTapFinder and they were both super nice. It's pretty amazing how many bars they visit during the week to keep the site up to date.  Considering Jared said he already has two jobs besides the website, they do a really great job keeping the tap lists up to date.

And now on to the beers.  I started with the Cigar City Peach Jai Alai as I figured it would sell out the fastest and I think I was correct.  The Russian River stuff may have been first, but lets pretend I'm right because you have no idea anyway.
Very, very tasty and probably my favorite of the day.  Big peach nose with a couple hop notes.  Starts off with a tiny bit of pleasant bitterness which is quickly overcome with peachiness (word, not a word? Who knows but I'm using it.)  The finish is a little bitter, a little peach and all good.  I've heard that Cigar City makes a few different fruit types of the Jai Alai and hopefully we'll see them up here at some point too.

Up next was the Captain Lawrence Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA.
Really enjoyed this one as well.  Slight grapefruit nose.  Some sweetness then some hints of grapefruit.  It was pretty malt forward but wasn't too sweet.  The bitterness did build a bit as the malt flavors faded though and it ended pretty much like a delicious normal double IPA.

Next was one I've been eying for a while Port Brewing Mongo.
This one was the lightest colored of the four IPAs I had and the most representative of the West Coast style (which makes sense as Port is in San Diego or near it at least.)  Very, very hoppy nose, hoppiest of the day.  Fist sip was full of citrus and really bitter and it never ever let up.  Pretty dry too so it had all the aspects of an IPA that I don't totally enjoy.  It was a nice to have one of that style since the other three I had were pretty different, but I wouldn't get more of it in the future.

I finished up the day with one I thought would be pretty unique, Dock Street Pimp My Rye.  Plus it had a great name.
This was the darkest of the bunch, probably because of the rye used in brewing it.  Almost smoky nose, smells sort of like rye bread but not quite that strong.  Pretty unique and tasty too.  Sort of a bitter rye bread beer but enjoyable and not as weird as that sounds.  More malty than the others with a different type of bitterness and it made for a great finish of the day.

So the 2nd annual IPA Block party seemed to be a success for Hawthorne's.  A ton of people showed up, the crowd seemed to be under control, and the beer was quite good.  I would have liked to have seen the rare Dark Horse show up, but that happens sometimes and the beers I had were all quite tasty and really that's what matters in the end.  Really glad I went and look forward to next year.

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