Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Voodoo at the Khyber Pass Pub

After a great couple of beers at Capone's for lunch, Jo and I took a few hours off to run some errands and prepared for dinner and beers at the Khyber Pass Pub. The event Saturday night was with the Voodoo Brewery with head brewer Matt Allyn and his assistant. Voodoo is a Pennsylvania brewery located all the way on the west side of state. It's a really small brewery with just Matt and his assistant as the employees and then a group of volunteers for when they need more people. They make a few really good beers that can be found in Philly although I don't know how far their distribution really gets. On Saturday, the Khyber also still had some taps from their Ballast Point event the night before, some Duck Rabbit stuff, and then a whole bunch of other awesome beers on their 20 taps. So it really wasn't just a Voodoo night as far as beers go which allowed for variety.

I started the night with a glass of Duck Rabbit End of Reason on cask. End of Reason is the Duck Rabbit Baltic Porter aged with sour cherries and, boy, does it show.
Huge sour cherry nose. Really noticeable. If you like sour cherries, pretty inviting. First sip was just, oh man, what is this? So sour cherry, so odd. But then it finishes with chocolate and some roast and the ridiculous sourness sort of just disappears. Definitely one of the most interesting beers I've ever had and I honestly really enjoyed it. It reminded me a little of Bell's Cherry Stout actually. I'll admit that Jo thought it was one of the worst things she's ever had but, well, I tend to ignore her opinion when it comes to most beers. Oh wait, she reads this. Scratch that. I value your opinion above all others Jo!

After the crazy End of Reason, I went with something I didn't have a chance to try earlier at Capone's, Ballast Point Sea Monster, an Imperial Stout.
Smelled of alcohol and some slight roastiness. Initial flavors were pretty common for an imperial stout: roast, alcohol, and dark fruits. The alcohol isn't that strong, just present, so don't think it's boozy. Some bitterness appeared in the finish but it mostly just balances out any sweetness in it. Tasty stout, but not terribly special.

That was it for the stuff I got downstairs with dinner. Jo got a glass of the Ballast Point Navigator which tasted pretty great, all caramel and toffee. Just a really good doppelbock. Also, the food at the Khyber was pretty great. I got some ribs and they were super tasty and the amount of food I got was ridiculous. Jo got a burger which she said was great and our vegetarian friend said the Seitan Pulled Pork was really good. So, not only does the Khyber have a huge selection of awesome beer, it also has a selection of great food.

Okay on to the actual Voodoo event. It was being held upstairs which feels a little more like the old Khyber so it's dark and dingy, not that there's anything really wrong with that. The music was all chosen by Matt Allyn (note above that he's the Voodoo brewer if you already forgot) and was all heavy metal so it was awesome. A little loud, but saying that makes me feel like an 80 year old so yeah lets not go there. Matt himself was a really nice guy and we talked about a few different things including his take on bourbon barrel beers, some info on the Trapped Under Eisbock, and also about the release of Black Magick. Always fun to talk to brewers and Matt was certainly a character.

For the event the Khyber had five or six of his regular lineup on draft and bottles of his new beer, Trapped Under Eisbock.
From the bottle:
A Doppelbock aged 3 months, frozen, then aged for 3 more months on sour cherries. Bottle conditioned for a year at the brewery before being released.
So yeah crazy beer. The bottle didn't have the ABV but Matt said it ended up around 13.5% so this isn't fooling around at all. Plus it was a really cool looking bottle (you can sort of see that) which doesn't matter for flavor but is always neat. Delicious caramel nose with a hint of cherry sweetness. Started with caramel, toffee, and a small hint of alcohol. At first not much of a cherry flavor, mostly just smooth caramel. Finished clean without any harsh alcohol notes which is impressive. As I drank more (and since it was a big bottle, there was a plenty more), cherry slowly appeared and mixed with the caramel and it really became awesome. I was really impressed with this and could easily have finished the whole bottle myself if I hadn't shared a glass with a friend.

Yet another great visit to the Khyber although shorter than my last one. This time I actually got some food and boy was it great. They've done some really good things to that place and I'll easily go back again. The Voodoo event was fun with getting to meet Matt and trying a bottle of the awesome Trapped under Eisbock. All in all, great Philly Beer Week event and great visit to a bar in general. So that was Saturday, only the second day. Even more events to come!

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