The following story narrates a week in my life; albeit not a typical week, as I do not have the money or liver to keep up that rate. But all in all, still a fun week, which yielded many new beer ratings.
So it all began on Monday 6/21. I left work on time to make it over to the Drafting Room in Spring House, PA. The summer solstice meant that they were tapping their special 10th Anniversary IPA. So after a few pints of spicy hop nectar, brewer Chris Trogner finally showed up with a keg of their Dream Weaver Wheat - a very nice and super cloudy German Hefe. During the course of a pint of this hefe, the lady next to me, feeling nervous (seeing as how she was in the witness protection program… or so she said) accused me of taking notes on her. It wasn’t until I showed her my little notebook, until her mind was eased, but it was time for me to head out. So I bought a very over-priced bottle of Sam Adams Chocolate Bock and a growler of the 10th Anniversary IPA, and bounced.
The next day was somewhat of a break, where I went over Real_Madrid’s house for some casual sampling. I was responsible for bringing most of these: Westy 8, McNeills Champ Ale, Great Divide Hercules IIPA, Clipper City Heavy Seas Winter Storm, and a 6 oz sample of the 10th Anniversary I had bottled the night before. One new rating for me, the goal for me was to help a good friend out with some new ratings. So afterward, I jumped in my car, and drove an hour back home, making sure to hit the Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philly. The main reason for stopping here was for my 24th Dogfish Head rating, the DFH Weedwacker Wit. Weedwacker is a filtered wit, light on the spices and not quite to style. It could still be refreshing on a hot day.
On Wednesday, June 23 Sly Fox Brewer Brian O’Reilly was up on stage to show off his second skill. Not only is he an amazing brewer, but tonight he took the stage with a member of his old college band. I met up with BrianO, his wife, and his daughter, as well as their friend Carla. As it turned it, it was one of the first times that there were two Anniversary IPA’s on this night. Let me explain real quick, BrianO is a RateBeer member while Brian O’Reilly is the brewer at Sly Fox. Now tonight, while enjoying dinner we had a pint of the Target IPA, Simcoe IPA, Instigator Doppelbock, and Irish Stout. Brian O’Reilly never ceases to amaze me. The doppel and Irish Stout were both extremely enjoyable, while these Anniversary IPA’s really can help anyone learn what a specific hop tastes like. I really look forward to December 10th when Sly Fox will have 10 IPA’s on tap, as well as releasing their Double IPA!! I also took home a growler each of those IPA’s J.
Thursday night JF_GRIND was gracious enough to invite me to his homebrew club’s (The Glub Club) session beer competition, where everyone got to judge. This contest was held at the General Lafayette Inn and Brewery. My personal favorite was a porter brewed by Dan Boss, even though the winner of the contest was a guy named Russ Rczajka who brought the “Summer Gold” a British session-style ale. Tonight, Manayunk assistant brewer Bill Young brought a 5 liter keg of a newly brewed “California Dreamin”. This is a wonderful California-style IPA which weighs in around 55 or 60 IBUs and 6.5% abv. Other beers sampled tonight were the GLI Imperial Stout and Pacific Pale Ale, both on cask.
Friday night brought me back to Sly Fox, where I met up with jeffc666, his wife, and new-born son. Traffic was not friendly to them, and forced me to enjoy a Jake’s ESB before they got there. I think, when ever a brewer with O’Reilly’s skills, brews an ESB the brewery should really do it justice and throw it on cask. Not that I am complaining (because they don’t even have a beer engine at the Phoenixville location), it was still an amazing ESB, I just wonder what a cask would have done to that? Hopefully the new brewery and pub in Royersford, which opens later this year, will include one. I followed the ESB with the French Creek Helles (my least favorite of the night, but what can you do, my palate needed a break from the previous week). We sat down to dinner and I imbibed in a Royal Weisse and Pughtown porter. The Royal Weisse is a German Hefe, and much more to style than the sour bottle I had last month. In my rating I note that Pughtown porter seems to be 3F’s Alpha Klaus’ little brother. For some reason it does not work as well. This porter is VERY hoppy, with very low roasted notes. As much as I wanted to, I was not able to raise my rating here.
Saturday saw me kickin it with BrianO once again. This time he drove his brother James, myself, and friend Tim up to Bethlehem Brew Works. As soon as we sit down in the Steelgaarden, we see none other than a bottle of the Fantôme BBB Babillard, staring us in the face. While the bartender put that on ice for a moment, we took the time to order 2002 vintages of Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer and Cidre Dupont Réserve. What an amazing beer drinking day, today has turned out to be! At some point during the night, I wanted to make my plans for the next day, would I hit my 5th brewery in five days? Call 411 and ask for the Dogfish Head brewpub phone number. As the bartender reads me their “standard” offerings, the last selection really piqued my interest. For that last beer was called Dogfish Head Sweet Home Amber Lager and was brewed by the entire crew at the brewpub, with each person adding an ingredient. OK that made up my mind, I decided to cut my sampling a little short tonight in order to save up money for the next day. The bartender at Bethlehem was gracious to deliver a pint of the Bethlehem Brew Works Zomerbier, gratis! I finished my sampling at the Steelgaarden with a Mirabelle, which is a plum lambic that was just brewed by Bethlehem. Quite the tasty lambic, being from an American brewer. Brian drove us back to his house, where we finished the night splitting a Gumballhead (courtesy of jeffc!) and an 04 Stone Imperial Russian Stout between the four of us.
Unfortunately for me, I woke up Sunday with a slight hangover. But I was on a mission, for it was JF_GRIND’s birthday, and I needed to meet him down the Delaware shore today. So I packed up myself after some breakfast and head on down to the shore. I got to the Dogfish Head brewpub way too early, so I began to sample the Sweet Home Lager, followed by their Liquor de Malt on draft. One important piece of information on the Lager, the secret ingredient is Anisette, which was subtle and complimented the brew wonderfully! Now by this time I ordered some food and was wondering where Sean was, so I ordered a Weedwacker Wit. Main reasoning behind this was to see if it was any different on draft at the brewpub. Still a nice refreshing ale, not quite sure if I can call it a wit, but I enjoyed it none-the-less. I wonder why they filter this one? Personally for me, I try to rate beers on enjoyability, not by rating to style. Of course, a trip to the DFH brewpub is not complete without a fresh 90 min IPA pint, which is always a treat.
Finally Sean shows up with his girlfriend and we share one more pint, before brewer Mike shows me around the small brewery they have in the “other room”. Anyone who’s visited the brewpub knows the chalkboard that says, “Imported, from this room”. Upstairs from the brew kettles is the distillery where all of the Dogfish Head liquor is made. Following the tour, free samples of this liquor is offered, however I needed to decline because today I have a two and a half hour drive back to King of Prussia. So I purchase my two bottles of the Liquor de Malt, and finish my pint of 60 min IPA. I say goodbye to Sean and his girlfriend and head out on the road.
What a week that was, surely not to be forgotten, and not sure if my liver can repeat this any time soon.