Friday, June 17, 2011

Avery at Kraftwork

Now we come to what turned out to be my second favorite event of Philly Beer Week. The London Grill dinner was my top favorite, but this night came pretty close. There were two reasons I found this event at Kraftwork so cool. One, the Avery draft list was quite amazing and I got to try a whole lot of them because of their awesome flight deal. And, two, they hired a group called the Olde City Sideshow who were pretty awesome. Kraftwork is located on Girard St. in North Philly. Decently large bar with tables ringing the room. Avery is a brewery out of Colorado best known for, hmm, probably their Joe's Pilsener but for me it's their super high octane beers like Mephistopheles, Samael's, and The Beast. Thursday's event was named "The Greatest Show on Earth", I believe, and some of the staff actually dressed the part which was cool. Nice to see a bar have an actual theme and then follow through on it.

When we arrived, there wasn't any room at the bar so we stood near a friend's table and I enjoyed a glass of Avery Dihos Dactylion, an American Wild Ale.
Mildly tart nose. Slightly tart and fruity but unfortunately ending with a small bit of acetone (sort of a nail polish flavor and yes it's as unpleasant as it sounds). What that means is the alcohol was well hidden in the aroma and initial burst of flavor, but not in any way in the finish. It really throws a wrench into enjoying the beer since the finish and aftertaste are so important. Jo, who has been enjoying sours lately, didn't like this one because of the off flavor. I finished the whole glass but I'll admit it was more than enough for me.

After that, I got a glass of the Out of Sight, a coffee stout. I think this is based on Avery's regular stout, Out of Bounds, but not 100% sure.
Sweet coffee nose. Pretty inviting. First sip had a bit of coffee and a ton of roasted flavor. Just lots of flavor in it. The coffee isn't overwhelmed by the roast although the roast is the major flavor. Pretty enjoyable. I imagine their Out of Bounds must be really roasty considering.

At this point, some seats on the edge of the bar finally opened up and I was finally able to partake in the flights offered by Kraftwork. I mentioned earlier that the flights were awesome because for $10, you can choose any 4 beers with each in a 4oz or so glass. Now, it sounds like it wouldn't be that great of a deal since a pint of some of them only cost $5. However, Kraftwork let you choose any of the beers in the list, even the ones that were $10 for about 8oz! Basically a crazy good deal at an event like this and it allows you try way more different beers than if you had to drink full glasses of everything.

The first flight I got was, from left to right, Samael's Ale, Rumpkin, Meph Addict, and The Reverend.
Samael's Ale is an English Barleywine aged in oak barrels and clocks in at 16% ABV. Crazy high. Smelled sweet with huge caramel and toffee notes. Very thick mouthfeel as expected. I found it sweet, but not too sweet. Tasted of apples, pears, and caramel and was just yum. I really enjoyed it, more than I expected honestly. This was probably my favorite beer of the night which is saying something.

Next was the Rumpkin, an imperial pumpkin ale aged in rum barrels. Smelled like spiced rum and basically tasted like it. Sometimes the pumpkin ale peeked out from behind the rum, but to me it tasted like a less alcoholic version of spiced rum. I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing honestly and I guess it depends on how much you like spiced rum.

Meph Addict was next and it was my friend's favorite of the night. It's their Mephistopheles stout, a 15%+ imperial stout, aged with coffee. Smelled of coffee with a little cream in it. Tasted of coffee, alcohol and some dark fruit notes. The alcohol was really mild though and was quickly overtaken by chocolate and roast with the coffee. I liked it and thought it was better than the regular Meph and still really easy to drink for 15%.

And finishing the flight was The Reverend, a quadrupel. I think I was distracted at this point and I'll explain why in a second but my notes say "smells like alcohol or hops." Thanks drunk Rich! So, yeah, don't remember much about this one but it was probably decent.

So on to describing the distraction. I mentioned earlier that Kraftwork had The Olde City Sideshow for this event and their first performance started during my first flight. These guys were just crazy and the act was pretty cool. To start the main guy was, well, putting random things up his nose. In the picture below you can sort of see the drill that ended up in his head.
He also hammered a nail in there. Quite a show. Next was his brother doing a sword swallowing act. He started with a hanger but then pulled out what appeared to be a very real sword.
Pretty crazy and pretty reasonable to be distracted by it, right?

Okay back to beer. Even though I probably didn't need it, I got a second flight since there were still things I wanted to try. I got The Kaiser, Salvation, Hog Heaven, and Collaboration Not Litigation.
The Kaiser is an Imperial Oktoberfest and was surprisingly great. Smelled sweet and bready, sort of what you'd expect from an amped up oktoberfest. Flavors had more caramel than usual although the bread notes were still able to power through. Really good.

Next was Salvation, a belgian strong pale ale. Banana nose. Tasted spicy, sort of peppery, with some banana notes. Basically everything you'd expect from a belgian style pale.

Next was the Hog Heaven, an American barleywine. Big grapefruit nose without any hint of bitterness. Good sign. Mix of flavors followed. Orange, lemon, citrus all backed by some malty sweetness. Really reminded me of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot which is totally a good thing. No real bitterness and pretty great.

Last was the Collaboration Not Litigation. The name for this comes from the fact that both Russian River and Avery had a beer called The Salvation. Instead of suing each other, they collaborated instead and each brewed this beer, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Nose had a similar banana quality like the Salvation. Flavor had a little caramel, banana and a little alcohol. Not bad really just not as impressive as the other stuff.

The sideshow started their second act at this point although Jo and I were about to head out so I didn't see much of it. I did get this picture before we left though. The guy is holding a glass with a goldfish in it and then the woman in the background proceeded to swallow it. Poor goldfish.
Just a really great event at Kraftwork. Excellent beers, an actual theme, and a really cool side act to keep everyone entertained. This was only the second time I'd been to Kraftwork and I was pretty drunk the first time, so it was also nice to check the place out for real. Definitely going to head back there when they have other events and at some other point see how their food is as it looked pretty decent. Finally getting close to the end of my Philly Beer Week posts! Just one more next week and I'll be all caught up. What a freaking great week it was if you couldn't tell.

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