Thursday, June 30, 2011

Great Lakes Commodore Perry

The last of the bunch of IPAs I bought a little while ago was the Great Lakes Commodore Perry.
Smelled a bit like orange juice which must have been a combination of the hops and malt. Very interesting. Mild bitterness followed by a little sweetness and finished with a hint of the orange juice from the nose. Clean flavors in this and very mild. If you can't handle the huge bitterness of some IPAs, this would be a good choice as a way to get used to it in order to start enjoying more aggressive ones.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weyerbacher Papa at the Kite & Key

In what I hope becomes a weekly tradition, I stopped by the Kite & Key for a quick beer. For this Tuesday, I chose Papa, one of Weyerbacher Brewer's Select beers, a scotch ale.
Lovely caramel nose with some hints of bread notes. First sip had caramel, toffee, a little breadiness, and finished with a some dark fruit flavors. The caramel and toffee continued through every sip and were really enjoyable. I love a good scotch ale and this one was pretty great. Great way to start my weekly visits.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Goose Island Pepe Nero

I've passed on my chance for Jo buy me a bottle of Pepe Nero for a long time now, so it was really nice to get one in a box my buddy recently sent me. This meant I got to try it but didn't have to actually spend money on it. Of course, that requires us to pretend that I didn't spend money on the box I sent him but I think we can get past that.
Pepe Nero is a farmhouse style beer brewed with peppercorns. Mild Belgian nose with a slight hint of pepper. The flavors were really difficult for me to capture. Light Belgian notes, basically mild banana, hints of caramel, and finished a bit peppery. It had an interesting aftertaste, mostly filled with pepper notes as well. The farmhouse style has a lot of leeway similar to some other styles so Pepe Nero fits, but the peppercorns change the expected flavors a lot. After having this one from Goose Island and enjoying it, it does make me want to try their other every day stuff, like Sofie, but we'll see.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sierra Nevada Torpedo

Torpedo is an IPA made by Sierra Nevada out in Chico, California.
Very clean grapefruit nose without any bitterness. First sip had a lot of grapefruit flavor, followed by some bitterness, and finished with just a little bit of malty sweetness. Flavors continued that way throughout the glass with the bitterness never becoming overwhelming or being too dry. If I remember back to the first bottle I opened, I think the sweetness is a little more prevalent now that the hops have faded a little but not too noticeable. Quite an enjoyable IPA and quite good during the summer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday at Urban Saloon

Jo and I went out to Urban Saloon on Thursday to celebrate getting an awesome new couch. Hey, got to celebrate the little things in life, right? Surprisingly, Urban Saloon always has a couple really good beers on draft even though from the outside it doesn't feel like it should. Plus their prices are downright reasonable which is sometimes hard to find in Philly.

I started with a glass of Deschutes Inversion IPA. I got to try it at the London Grill dinner, but only a tiny bit so I didn't get a good feel for it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale

After a whole lot of crazy nights and that awesome bottle share, I needed a few calm nights. To start, I enjoyed a Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale, an American Blonde Ale.
This was an excellent beer on a warm summer night, so refreshing. Citrusy with a bit of spiciness in the nose. Started lemony, a tiny bit spicy, and finished nice and clean. Some malt presence kept it from being too bitter and it stayed really pleasant the whole way through the glass. This is a beer my wife really likes and I quite enjoyed my bottle.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bottle Share at TJs

With the craziness of Philly Beer Week behind me, I took a few days off to prepare for a bottle share event at TJs in Paoli. I had never been there before and it is known as one of the better bars in the suburbs so this really was a win-win. I'd get to try all sorts of new stuff, check out a new place, and meet lots of new people all in one easy trip. The best part of TJs is the R5 (or Paoli / Thorndale line if want) stops like 3 minutes from the place. So no driving! Perfect.

The bottle share itself is pretty simple. Everyone brings a bottle or two (some bring more but it's not necessary) and, after it's opened, everyone is free to partake of a small sample. The best part of this event was that TJs provided pretty good food and tons of clean glasses. This meant if something got opened but my glass was already full I could just grab a new one. And, yes, I may have been holding three beers at certain points as a result.

I had a nice picture of the initial table but, well, deleted it by accident. Sorry! To get an idea, close your eyes and picture a table with about thirty 22oz bottles on it. Mental picture! So instead I'll start with one of the bottles I brought, Boulevard Harvest Dance.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Last Day of Philly Beer Week

The most glaring omission from my Philly Beer Week posts has definitely been Jose Pistola's. It's easily my favorite lunch spot during the year so it seems like I should have planned to go there during the biggest beer week of the year. Well, I did have a lunch planned, smart guy, and if you had looked at my schedule you would have known that! So there. It just happened to be on the last day of beer week so it took me a while to get to it. For this lunch, Adam had been saving up Jolly Pumpkin beers so he had a decent variety by then.

I started with the Jolly Pumpkin Luciernaga which turns out to be a Belgian Pale Ale.

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.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dark Horse at Hawthorne's Plus some Time

Wednesday of Philly Beer Week was pretty busy for me. I needed to fit in a visit to Hawthorne's cafe to drink a bunch of rare Dark Horse beers and then meet my wife for dinner. All without getting wasted since, well, it was Wednesday and I'm not an alcoholic. Tough, I know, but I figured I could manage it.

I arrived at Hawthorne's around 4:30 and it was still basically empty which was nice. I figured it would fill up at some point but all I needed was one seat so success! It was really difficult deciding what beer to order first, but I decided on the one sour on the list, Lambeak Wants Raspberry.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weyerbacher Blasphemy

On Tuesday of Philly Beer Week, I was planning on taking a night off to recover, but didn't really succeed. I had been wanting to try Weyerbacher Blasphemy, their quad aged in bourbon barrels, since it came out and the With Love Beer Garden gave me that chance. How could I take the day off?
Bourbon sweet nose with some dark fruit notes from the base quad. Thick mouthfeel, really inviting. Tasted of caramel and dark fruit with a sweet bourbon finish. It was pretty sweet and skirted the edge of being cloying, yet never fell over which is an impressive feat. It felt like it should be boozy, not because there were strong alcohol notes (there weren't), but because of the sweet, bourbon flavors and syrupy mouthfeel. Really great bourbon barrel quad and very tasty.

As a side note, I wasn't terribly impressed with the With Love Beer Garden outside the Four Seasons. I understand it was created as a sort of meeting place and headquarters for Philly Beer Week, but it was just unimpressive to me. It was big and open and having different breweries as sponsors each day was a good idea, but there was barely anything there other than that. Maybe I'm missing the point or something, I just wouldn't have felt the need to stop in if it weren't for this beer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

London Grill & Deschutes: East Meets West

Finally we come to one of my favorite (possibly the favorite) nights of Philly Beer Week, the Deschutes dinner at London Grill. However, lets back up about 45 minutes before the dinner started. Kite & Key was doing a Founders Brewing event (named F*CK Monday for Founders Unites Canada and Kentucky, clever) and advertised that they were going to be tapping Canadian Breakfast Stout. Since it is one of the beers that I really wanted to try at some point and is super rare, I knew I had to stop there before heading to London Grill. I arrived around 4:30 only to find out most people arrived at 4 and all of the placeholder cards for a glass were already handed out. Sucks to be me. Luckily, I had met a couple guys the day before at Eulogy and they offered up an extra seat at their table to me. This meant, when the waitress came around for who wanted what, she did her best to include me in the order. Fingers crossed, I just had to wait and see what happened. Waiting paid off as I got my first glass ever of Canadian Breakfast Stout!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beers at Monks

The final event of the weekend for me was being held at Monk's. Now, I don't know if I've talked about Monk's before, but even on normal days Monk's gets ridiculously crowded. Add in rare Lost Abbey beers and the owner Tomme Arthur and I figured the crowd would be monstrous. I was totally right although some would say it was worse than monstrous. For some background, Lost Abbey is a brewery near San Diego that makes interesting but expensive beer. The unfortunate thing is their bottles sometimes have quality control issues but at least the stuff on draft is always good.

I got to Monk's around 3:45 while the event was supposed to start around 4:30. Since I had some time to kill, I got a glass of Flying Fish Exit 9, an imperial red ale.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Coffee Beer Brunch at Eulogy

It's been three days and I'm finally almost done with the weekend events for Philly Beer Week. Woo! We started Sunday with the 2nd annual Coffee Beer Brunch at Eulogy. The idea behind the coffee beer brunch is sort of self-evident. Eulogy had about two-thirds of their tap list as coffee stouts and they had a bunch of brunch specials. Really good idea in my opinion and Jo and I had a great brunch.

Since we had things to do that day, I wasn't going to be able to try everything so instead I just took some sips of Jo's first beer as well.

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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ballast Point at Capone's

With the first day of Philly Beer Week under my belt, my wife and I planned some errands around stopping at Capone's for lunch for the Ballast Point event. I knew this would be the only day I could get out there and how could I have a beer week without involving Capone's?

We arrived around 12:15 and while there were a few people, it wasn't too crowded. Apparently the Hill Farmstead event the day before was ridiculous as a bus full of beer geeks showed up so that would explain that. Even though this was the Ballast Point event, I noticed Hill Farmstead Fear & Trembling was still on draft and decided to start with that instead. This was brewed with some smoked malt then aged in some sort of red wine barrels if I remember correctly. There are a bunch of different versions of it on BeerAdvocate but I think it was the Cabernet version.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bella Vista takes over Devil's Den

Ahh, Philly Beer Week finally begins. I put up my schedule the other day and so far I've kept to it pretty well. While this post is going to concentrate on the Devil's Den event, my first beer of beer week was actually at the Kite & Key. It was the Troegs Scratch 42, Razzmadizzle, a chocolate raspberry dubbel as far as I know.

Friday, June 3, 2011

St. Louis Brewpub Tour

It's the eve of Philly Beer Week so I'm going to combine my posts about St. Louis into one very long one. Or maybe not so long, I guess we'll see. Over Memorial Day my wife and I went to St. Louis for a wedding and since we had a couple days to kill, we decided to check out a couple of the brewpubs in the area. My wife was even the one that created the map! I'm finally affecting her!

We weren't staying in St. Louis proper so it took a short train ride and a longish walk to get everywhere. Our first stop on the trip was Square One Brewery and Distillery in Lafayette Square. Smallish interior that opened up on to a really nice courtyard area. Sort of villa-like with a waterfall on the wall and some nice tables. They had about 4 or 5 year round beers and 4 or 5 specialty ones so I started with a sampler to try to hit as many as I could.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Philly Beer Week Schedule

I try to stick to just beer posts or posts about beer events, but this seems like an easy way to keep track of my beer week schedule. So here we go. This is a list of events I am tentatively going to attend. Some are definite but not all so I'll put tentative events in red. I'll try to keep it up to date but a lot of the tentative events are really choices between the two so I won't know until that night. If you really care, I'll hopefully keep twitter up to date.

Maui Brewing Co. CoCoNut Porter

I got a can of Maui CoCoNut Porter in a trade as an extra a while back and boy am I glad he included it.
Slightly roasty nose with a lot of chocolate notes. Very inviting aroma. Initially a little bit of creamy roast, followed by some almost milky sweetness. Finished a little sweet as well. The toasted coconut adds some slight vanilla along with the milkiness and some sweetness, almost like lactose in a milk stout. Really interesting porter and quite good. The best part is the coconut flavors never taste like Malibu or anything like that and works really well with the roastiness of the porter.  Makes me wonder what a milk porter would taste like.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Philly Beer Geek Semifinals at the Manayunk Brewery

After my triumphant win (okay okay stumbling win) at Time Restaurant in the Philly Beer Geek contest, I was on my way to the Manayunk Brewery for the semifinals on Tuesday May 24th. I was pretty excited since I figured I'd get to meet a lot of cool people, the beer at the brewery is pretty good and I don't get there often enough. As I said yesterday, though, the contest didn't go so well for me but I'll get to that in a bit and the night itself was fun up until the end anyway.