I may have the answer to that question. Let's see. My story starts on Saturday, March 13th. The day of the Atlantic City Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Sadly, there is a torrential downpour, hurricane force winds and flooding. The Parade is canceled. What to do? The keg of Guinness I have in my living room pub is at least 3/4 full, so naturally the answer is have a party!! At 2pm, the guests start to arrive. At 2:05pm, the Guinness is being poured in typical Irish fashion. At 9pm, the guests leave. I couldn't keep track of the pints poured, but let us just say there were many.
Wednesday night is St. Patrick's Day. It happens to be a work night. Oh, what the hell. I'll pour a couple of pints. Two glasses will never hurt me, after all, Guinness is supposed to be good for you!
Before I know it, it's Friday. My friends and I head to Philadelphia for Super Saturday weekend. Super Saturday is Six Nations Rugby day when all six teams play three games in one long day. We spend all of Saturday in an Irish Pub watching matches beamed via satellite from Europe to Philly, but not before we spend Friday night at Bard's Irish Pub drinking pint after pint of Guinness. A couple of different pubs later, we're back at Bard's finishing off the night. It's now 2am. That's a lot of Guinness. Before I know it, it is 8am and it is time to get ourselves up and head to Tir Na Nog Irish Pub for the rugby matches. Tough moving, but we rally. A full Irish breakfast will give you the kick in the rear you need to have that next pint.
Once again, time flies by and it is 5pm. I haven't seen the bright daylight let, just rugby. Bar tab closes in on $400.00 (6 guys). We pay up and head to McGillian's Ale House. I can definitely feel the day coming to an end. Not quite yet though, as I don't make it back to the apartment until 11pm. After an uneventful morning, I slowly make it home on Sunday afternoon. My wife says to me, "Do you want a pint of Guinness?" "No thank you honey, I think I have had enough for the week." She says, "Ok, but I am having one, I am really looking forward to it." She pulls on the tap, the tap sputters and spits. Keg is empty, wife is mad. How much Guinness can one drink in a week? A lot!
The Beers in Review
Rader Blonde Belgian Ale: This 6.5% blonde ale had a very familiar aftertaste that I couldn't quite nail down. A peak on the bottle, revealed that the beer was brewed with gin. Interesting. Made a good appertif. Light, spritzy and full of flavor.
Hoffman Lager Beer (Helles): Another excellent beer from Climax Brewing in NJ. Brewer Dave Hoffman is so proud of his German lagers that he doesn't name them after Climax Brewing like he does with the rest of his beers, he names them after himself! He has done his German heritage proud with this Helles style lager. A light lager, this is an awesome drinking beer. Rhineheitsgebot!
Flying Fish Exit # 1: Flying Fish Brewery from Cherry Hill, NJ, hit the nail on the head with this oyster stout. Their Bayshore Oyster Stout reminded me of my time in Dublin, Ireland drinking oyster stout at the Porterhouse Pub. Flying Fish made their oyster stout just as smooth and silky as the Porterhouses! And at 7%, it even had a kick that Porterhouses didn't. Can I get this in a sixtel?
What's up with me? I can't figure myself out. Maybe I should see a therapist. Is there a beer psychologist out there? Naturally, I enjoy beer. Maybe I enjoy beer too much. I fancy myself the connoisseur. All of the various beer styles appeal to me. Pairing beer with food is now a hobby of mine, as well as cooking with beer. I like to read about beer, write about beer and talk about beer. Here is my problem, I have draught beer in my home. Three taps going in the winter time and four in the summer. I switch beers by the season and also allow room for homebrew. I know what you are thinking, "What is the problem?" Well, here it is. I drink bottled beer. Not exclusively, as I partake in my taps on a regular basis. My point being, with up to four tap lines running in my home with various rotating styles of beer, why would I ever have to have a bottle of beer in my house?
The main selling point to my wife for having kegged beer in the house was that it would save money. I wouldn't have to buy all of those pesky, expensive bottles of beer anymore. But guess what? That's exactly what I am doing. I am such a beer geek, that, even with four different kegs in the house, I can not drink the same beer over and over again. I need help.
Beer In Review:
The Bad Elf Series
Bad Elf: A winter golden ale with loads of hops. They add 3 pounds or so to the brew kettle. Oddly enough, the ale has a malty sweet smell, not hoppy. The initial taste is even sweet and then the follow through is all hop. Finishes warm. A good drinking ale for the winter months.
Very Bad Elf: This ale is brewed from an English recipe dating back to 1795. No question here which side of the scale this beer leans too. Malty all the way. Sweet aroma, sweet taste, warm finish. The Elf is becoming badder with each sip, clocking in at 7.5% abv.
Seriously Bad Elf: This is an English Double Ale is a hefty 9% abv. Extremely smooth, surprisingly light tasting, almost ESB ish. No mistake though, the alcohol will hit you. To quote the my friends in Dublin, this beer is brilliant.
Criminally Bad Elf: Ahhh! A barleywine style ale for the holidays. This ale represents one of the reasons I look forward to the holiday season, a warm finishing ale to warm you up on a cold winter night. This Bad Elf version had a surprising twist to it. Very sweet and warm to start, but by the time the beer makes it to the back of your throat, a large hop wallop develops. Once you finish this 16.9 oz wonder, you'll know why the Elf went criminal.
Let it be known, I'm all about the beer. Lately, though I seem to be getting tired of a trend that I see forming in the craft beer camp. Imperial. It's a word that is popping up in front of more styles of beer than I can count. Years ago there was one imperial beer and that was Imperial Stout. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a strong beer. I love my Belgians, I love my barleywines, I love my uber IPAs. I even enjoy all the different Imperial beers that have been served my way. I guess what I am getting at, is it's pretty cool to see an Imperial Pumpkin Ale or an Imperial Double Bock, but have we "jumped the shark," so to speak? If the shark was jumped, I think for me, it was when I saw my precious summer time favorite session beer turned into an Imperial......Imperial Belgian Wit Ale. Is it a contradiction or am I just off base here? I enjoy all styles of beer, I appreciate the effort, skill and creativity of our hand crafted brewers in all that they do. I'm probably just thinking out loud and my thoughts shouldn't have made it to the written page, but I was wondering, what do you think?
For those of you new to well brewed beer, the term Imperial is used when a style of beer is more extreme then the standard style. For instance, higher alcohol content, larger quantities of hops, malt, etc.
I'm really not complaining, just pontificating. I won't complain until Dick brews an Imperial Yuengling Lager!!!
The Beers in Review
Van Steenberge Golden Dark Belgium Ale: From the VanSteenberge Brewery in Belgium, this 10.5% ABV pours a heavy, dark reddish brown with a sweet aroma. Well carbonated, there is a sweet, herbal mouth feel that finishes with a strong malty after taste. Once it goes down, about three seconds later, the heat from the 10.5% hits you. This is a delicious strong ale. One or two will do the trick.
Optimator: The Spaten Brewery in Germany makes a mighty fine double bock. Usually there is a chilly evening in October. The first one deserves an Optimator!! 7% ABV, a malty blast of lager heaven.
Riverhorse Tripel: Belgian style Tripel from the Riverhorse Brewery in Lambertville. 10% ABV. I like my New Jersey Breweries, Riverhorse, Flying Fish, Climax. Truth be told, I haven't had a Riverhorse in years. Rumors were running rampant that with new ownership, Riverhorse had upped the ante a bit. This Belgium style Tripel does not disappoint. Perfectly spiced, evenly malted, very warm in the finish, one could put a "Brewed in Belgium" label on it and never no the difference. Comes in six packs, 12 oz bottles. Just perfect for the amount of alcohol in it. On a side note, if you try this brew, have some wasabi peas as a snack. Incredible together!!
ESB: Speaking of New Jersey, this ale is a treat I do not get to sample too often. Not one for overly naming their beers, The Climax Brewery in Roselle, NJ keeps it simple and special. Their extra special bitter is phenomenal. Smooth, easy drinking, perfect. Even better and unique is the fact that Climax Brewery only packages their beers in growlers. No 12oz bottles, No bombers. No champagne size containers, just a huge growler filled with their beer. You gotta love it, and you gotta have company!!
I started growing hop vines in my backyard garden. I did this because I am a home brewer and thought it would be neat to add my own home grown fresh hops to the kettle. My other reason was that as an avid beer drinker and brewer, the hops, which happen to look really cool, would serve as a conversation piece and attention grabber. As it turns out, my hop vines are now the most interesting and physically imposing plant in my garden. Now, into my third hop season, the vines are pretty massive and yield a lot of hops. This year I came up with an innovative use for my fresh hop cones. The hop garnish. Instead of a wimpy piece of fruit in my beer, I now place a fresh hop cone into my guest's beer glasses. Talk about a conversation starter! The great thing about the hop garnish, other than how cool it looks floating in the beer, is that it "belongs there." Hops and beer, perfect together. Without hops, it would not be beer.
For the brave among you, when you finish the beer, eat the hop. Bitter as can be, but not that bad!
I love an Irish pub. Even before I lived in Dublin, Ireland, I used to think the USA version of an Irish pub was the best place to quaff pints. Once I moved to Dublin, I found out how unauthentic the USA version of the Irish pub really was. When my stint in Ireland was finally over and I moved back home to southern New Jersey, I tolerated the phoney Irish pubs that were built here as "tourist" attractions. Authentic Irish furniture, expensive beers and no real Irish atmosphere.
Well, my drought is over. Wandering around Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, I was about to walk into the sister version of Atlantic City's Irish Pub, when right next door I noticed a drinking establishment named Bards. I walked into the door of Bards, a door I will be going through quite often. As soon as I walked in, it felt like I was in one of the many pubs I used to frequent on Baggot Street in the D2 section of Dublin. It was low key, cozy and as friendly as a good pub goer would like it to be. I met the bartender Evan and told him that I would be right back with my family. One of the coolest things about pubs in Ireland was that a lot of them were family friendly and Evan told me that Bards fit that bill.
My wife and I and two kids made it back to Bards and before I knew it we had two pints of Guinness in front of us, poured the traditional way. A rarity here in my section of New Jersey. Not only did I have a traditional pour in front of me, but let me tell you another mark of an extraordinary Irish pub. I was about three quarters through with my Guinness pint when I turned to look at some of the Irish wall hangings. By the time I had turned back around to grab my stout, without even asking, Evan had walked up with another full pint for me. It was like he could read my not to incredibly complicated mind. I asked Evan how long he had been bartending at Bards. He replied that he frequented the place so often as a patron, the owner decided to hire him.
Old, rickety wood floors, decidedly Irish pub furniture, fire place in the rear, Bards had so much charm and atmosphere I could easily have moved right in. Dart boards to spend the afternoon or evening with and just like in Ireland, no overkill with zillions of TV's. Two well placed TV's to catch the game on. A very nice Irish beer selection on tap. Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp and Strongbow Cider as well as Hoegarrden, Ithaca Brown Ale, Acme IPA, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Troegg's Hopback Amber. A few Belgian bottles to boot. This was even better than Ireland, a smorgasbord of beer.
The Guinness at Bards is a huge attraction. Be it myth or fact, The Guinness is said to be the tastiest and freshest in all of Philadelphia. To have the freshest Guinness in Philadelphia means that Bards must go through a lot of the dark stuff and this I do not doubt. When we were there for early lunch on a Sunday, the place was beginning to fill up. What I found out was that it was not just for the Guinness, but for the food.
The food at Bards is incredible. One of my favorite dishes of all time is Chicken Pot Pie. Well let me tell you, the Chicken Pot pie that I shared with my wife and daughter (it was way to big for a 4 year old) was possibly the best Chicken Pot Pie I ever had. This pie had so much delectable pie crust surrounding the awesome chicken, vegetables and gravy, you could die and go straight to heaven. I personally ordered the chicken curry. Chicken curry? With all of the authentic Irish offerings on the menu? You bet. When I lived and Ireland and visited the UK a lot, I developed a taste for spicy curry dishes, which were very popular there. Bards curry was top of the line. I raved about it the whole way home. We also had a tortilla appetizer that had an amazing fresh, homemade salsa. Delicious.
At this point in my ramblings, do you think I like the place? I haven't had a chance to write a beer blog in a few months. With the new baby and all the activities around the house, sitting down to the computer to write about my favorite subject has been difficult. But once I got home from Bards, I made the time. This place was awesome. I will be going there every time I go to Philadelphia, you should too!
Bards is located at 2013 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, a block away from Rittenhouse Square, next door to the Irish Pub. www.thebardsirishbar.com 215-569-9585
Before I close, one suggestion to the owner, If Setanta Sports package was on the TV, I would be there for every Rugby game televised!! Maybe even for Hurling and Gaelic Football too. Not soccer though!
The Beers in Review
Slow Buffalo Brewing Company, IPA: This beer will never be found anywhere unless you are friends with Rich Anderson and his brewing partner Jonesy. These home brewers brewed an IPA which was down right fabulous. Easy drinking, the perfect balance of hops. I loved this beer. These guys keep trying to make an uber IPA, but I am just thrilled to death that they fell short of one of those high alcohol, crazy, overly hopped, maniacal beers. This one was just plain drinkable and enjoyable.
Flying Fish Brewing, OctoberFish: I love Octoberfest beer. The whole German fest season strikes me right to the core of my Germanic roots. This is all I have to say about Octoberfish.... I purchased two sixtel kegs for my in house pub in Mid-September. By the End of October they were gone! Does this make me sound like a lush? It could, but OctoberFish attracts a lot of visitors. Get this one in bottles for yourself next Octoberfest season. Always one of my favorites.
Avery Brewing, The Kaiser, "Imperial Octoberfest Lager": By definition of Fest Beer, I knew going in that anything billed as imperial would not be a session beer. Sometimes the word Imperial scares me (this will be a topic for another blog), but I was prepared for this one as I only bought one bottle. Sweet malty aroma, strong malt taste with a taste of spices that are familiar in Belgian beers. Hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Warming finish. Taste improves immensely as the beer temperature warms. 10.03% alcohol. Be careful. This was a good one, but not a drink all day beer.
Weihenstephaner Fest Beer: If you are going to review a fest beer from Germany, might as well make it from the world's oldest brewery. Weihenstephaner has been brewing since the year 1040. Wow. At 5.8% alcohol this was the opposite of The Kaiser. Light yellow color, slight wet hay aroma. Malty taste as well as a grassy taste. All and all, once you had a couple bottles (Hey, it's a fest beer!), it was very good.
Dogfish Head Brewery, Punkin Ale: October also means Halloween and the start of fall. You can't get by fall without seeing a pumpkin or two. I have been searching the world for a quality pumpkin ale. I don't know why, because I can't stand pumpkin ale. I have tried many. They all start out fine, but by the time I get through the bottle they become too rich for my blood. The taste gets annoying. I want to like it. I want to have it. But up until now It has been a no go. I should have known Dogfish Head would have pulled this off. Not only was this beer drinkable ( I had four on Halloween night while trick or treating), it was so pleasant tasting that I can't wait for Thanksgiving. I have two bottles saved to have with pumpkin pie desert
About 10 years ago or so, I surprised my wife on our wedding anniversary with a weekend trip to a romantic Bed and Breakfast. Prior to our trip, I sold the idea to her by giving an historical account of the Inn's participation in the Revolutionary War. I mentioned to her how a wise General named Lafayette outsmarted the British with a brilliant maneuver that is still being studied in history books today. I told her that the Inn was originally constructed in 1732 and was also rumored to play a part in the Underground Railroad that helped to free the slaves. I even spoke of the possibility of the two of us running into three of the Inn's of ghosts that have been playing pranks there for generations.
There was one thing that I didn't mention.
When we pulled our car into the General Lafayette Inn, my wife turned to me and said, "Leave it to you to find a Bed and Breakfast that is also a brewery!" My wife and I had a fabulous time. We had afternoon beers, retired to our room for a little anniversary celebration and then took a much needed post beer snooze. A few hours later we headed back into the Inn for a gourmet dinner and more handcrafted beer. It was a great anniversary.
10 years later, enter Stuart Katzen. Dr. Stu, a chiropractor, "former" rugby player, "fishing" partner and drinking buddy is a very good friend of mine. Dr. Stu lives in PA and frequents the General quite often. Rumor has it, he goes there so much, he must own part of the place (or maybe just a barstool). Stu has been after me to come back to the General, so I took the short ride from Philadelphia via the Jersey Shore to meet Stu and his buddy Joe for some more of that good beer and fine food.
This time I was given the VIP treatment. I was introduced to the owner and brewmaster Chris Leonard. Chris gave me the run down of the whole operation and introduced me to his assistant brewer Russ Czajka. Russ took us down to the basement and gave Stu and I the brewery tour. We saw the debut of the General's new bottling machine. Russ mentioned that the General would soon be bottling their own brew for local sale. The operation was very impressive and I was quite surprised how they managed to fit so much equipment in the historic basement. In the old days, people were not as tall, so you can imagine the dimensions of a 300 year old basement.
Once the tour was over, we walked through a crowded dart room filled with rugby players. Not a good combination, rugby players, beer and darts. We made it through unscathed and Russ said to me that the Blackthorn Rugby Club frequents the General for it's fine ales and well-hung dart board. It turns out Russ is a charter member of the Blackthorn Club. I didn't want to tell Russ that I used to beat up on Blackthorn on a regular basis, as I had not had my beer or food yet. Only Kidding Russ!
When we made it back to the table there were three pints of cask conditioned, unfiltered Sunset Red Ale, served on the English style hand pump waiting for us. Red ale is a tasty treat, when it is in a cask, it is even better. This Sunset Red was just what the doctor ordered. Medium body, malty and very smooth. While we were drinking our Reds, I noticed on the beer menu that Chris brewed a light beer. The beer wasn't just light, it was extremely light as it clocked in at 1.9%. Chris told me he wanted to do something that other brewers were not doing. Every micro-brewery on the planet tries their hand at making an extreme beer style or imperial beer style, but no one has ever really gone in the low alcohol direction. Chris said he wanted to make a beer that people could thoroughly enjoy, yet have 3 or 4 with no ill side effects. His quest was the ultimate session beer and thus was born Lafayette's Escape, an extremely tasty, full bodied ale. This was without a doubt the best low alcohol beer I have ever tasted. I whole heartedly recommend this beer to everyone.
Now, on the other side of the coin, Chris brews an incredible 12% Rasberry / Mead /Ale. I think this beer has a 1/4 tun of Rasberries brewed in it. Nowhere's near a fruit lambic, this beer is extreme in it's own right. My friend Stu brought a growler to my house over the weekend and needless to say we were enjoying this very refreshing beer in the summer sun with all of the ill effects intact. Loved it.
If you are interested in a gourmet dining experience (Chris regularly hosts beer dinners) or some simple, yet signature bar food with very fine handcrafted ales, the General Lafayette Inn and Brewery is the place to be. Did I mention you can sleep there too? They have five spacious rooms to choose from, one of which I can personally vouch for its comfortableness!
To learn more about the General Lafayette Inn and Brewery visit www.generallafayetteinn.com or call 610-941-0600
The Beers In Review:
Back Burner Barley Wine: This selection from Southern Tier Brewing was tasted way back in March 2008. Barleywine time. This was a cold weather, warm in the belly beer. I was actually able to serve this 220z bomber to my wife and I at the exact serving temperature. I had this baby in the garage where the temp was 42 degrees. The first taste of this ale gave a very strong hop bite followed by a strong citrus rind after taste. The 2nd taste mellowed on the tongue a lot in a very good and surprising way ( My wife noticed this too). As we finished the bottle, we both commented that this was a very good barley wine. Clocks in at 10% alcohol.
Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer: The Innis & Gunn Brewery from Edinburg, Scotland produces fine Scottish Ales. They made this beer as a one time experiment that has become so popular it is brewed on a regular basis. The beer, a light colored Scottish Ale, is aged for thirty days in oak barrels. This ale has a honey tint to it's light color, a thin head and a strong wet hay aroma. The beer tastes light even though it is 6.6% alcohol. Very well balanced with a citrus taste, malty mouth feel and light oak on the tongue. There is a hint of vanilla in there as well. This ale tastes like it was brewed by artists who paid attention to every detail. A fine beer, a treat to be had.
Baltic Thunder: This porter was originally brewed under the name Perkuno's Hammer by the now defunct NJ Brewery, Heavyweight Brewing. It was always one of my favorites. The recipe and brewing rights, now owned by Victory Brewing, has lost nothing in the transition. At 8.5% alcohol, this Baltic Porter has a mix of toffee and subtle fruit tastes (prunes?), billed as a dark lager ( which doesn't make sense to me, isn't porter an ale?), it is still one of the best porters you can find and enjoy on the planet.
Shock Top Belgian White: Anheuser Busch did it to me again. I saw a new white beer ( I love them) and bought a six pack. After I got it home, I read that Shock Top Brewing was a Budweiser Company. It turns out they are a little jealous of Coor's Blue Moon and decided they want to get in on the white ale market. It poured incredibly well. A beautiful, dense cloudy beer. Unfiltered, hazy, yellow color. Made my mouth water. I grabbed it for my first taste. Nothing there. No taste. By the time I was half way through my glass the taste started to come through and I started to enjoy it. The second bottle proved better (Does the alcohol help?). Coriander, banana and cloves were noted in my tastings. Overall, it ended up being an enjoyable beer. Not in a Hoegarden or Allagash White way, but definitely in a Blue Moon way.
My old friends and I have an annual tradition. Once a year we get together to celebrate the opening of trout season. What started out as a mind bending day trip has gradually morphed into a four day holiday. When we were in High School (over 25 years ago), we used to load into my '72 International Scout and my friends '78 Bronco, hitting the road at 3am to make it for the opening "drop the line" 7am whistle. We would travel 2-3 hours just to fish. Actually, I think we drank more beer than we fished. We would crack our first can of beer at 6am, drinking in the cold morning air waiting for 7am to come. We'd fish for a few hours and then hit the beers, eventually heading home. Always with a designated driver and our parents were never the wiser.
Over the years we got older and the routine changed. We'd still head to our spot in the wee hours of the morning getting there two hours before fishing time, start drinking and then fish and then drink some more. But now because we were older we needed after fishing entertainment. That's when the "shaker joints" came into play. After a morning of fishing and drinking we would head for the Adult Entertainment venues. Nothing worse than a bunch of drunk college students in a strip bar. I am glad we grew out of that phase of our fishing trips or should I say lived through it.
A few more years down the line we became more established in life and decided that getting up at 3am to drive three hours to our fishing spot was ridiculous. That is when one of us came up with the idea of camping. Now, the one day trip has turned into a 3-4 day Trout Fishing Holiday. Oddly enough, we still only fish about four hours on this trip. The days have increased but the fishing time stayed the same. What could we be doing with all of our other time on this trip? Drinking naturally. Well, we call it bonding with our friends, getting in touch with nature, stress reduction therapy etc. But no matter how you look at it or what you call it, we were still there for the same reason we were there for 25 years ago, the beer.
Here is one of my favorite highlights of our annual trip. This is the part I start getting excited about two months before April, the beginning of trout season. After we fish in our fishing hole and then move down the stream to fish the Damn, it is usually about noon when we are finished. Just around the bend from the Damn, in Historic Milford New Jersey is the Ship Inn. The Ship Inn is what gets my salivary glands in a tither. New Jersey's first brew pub, the Ship Inn owned by the Hall family, brews English style ales. And they are quite good at it.
Much to the chagrin of the locals in attendance, around noon, 5 or 6 scruffy, waterlogged, some drunk, dirty fisherman parade into the Ships Inn and immediately take over the bar. Are we loud and obnoxious? Obviously. But for the most part we are personable, funny and usually form some sort of bond with the bartender, who is typically an attractive young lady. On our most recent trip there, the bartender was a young lass named Stephanie. I use the word lass because it rhymes with sass, and Stephanie can give as good as she gets. We have been going to the Ship Inn on an annual basis since 1994 and every time I walk in the door, I eye up the Old Style, English Hand Pump Beer Engine and ask, "What do you have in the casks today?"
Never to be disappointed, I always have the Best Bitter Ale. Served at a cellar temperature, Brewmaster Tim Hall's Best Bitter is so smooth it is silky. Just as good as any bitters I have had in England. I look forward to a few pints of Best Bitter each fishing trip. The Chocolate Stout is another winner. Dark, smooth and creamy, hints of chocolate all over it, the stout lovers in our group ate this style up. In our gathering of merry, sometimes grouchy fisherman, we have a few domestic swill drinkers. Sadly, for them there is not a domestic swill in the house. The Hall family only serves their own handcrafted ales and select imported ales on tap. They also have a fine bottle collection. Not to worry though. If you bring a few hardcore swill drinkers in with you, I settled them on Tim's ESB Ale. I love an ESB and this one proved to be extremely drinkable and even satisfied our "Light" beer guys.
The food in the Ships Inn is very good. We have our staples. Each time we go there we order a Shepard's Pie, a Scotch Egg and Buffalo wings. The Wings at the Ship Inn are extraordinary, as is the Shepard's Pie. But what gets the guys going is the Scotch Egg. The boys call it an Egg Meatball. What it is, is an egg shaped meatloaf filled with sausage, ground meat and a hardboiled egg in the middle. It is served with Picalilly Sauce, which is a dipping sauce made from cauliflower, carrots and mustard. It is very good.
My one exception with the Ship Inn is that on our latest trip, the bartender Stephanie refused to take down and fill the decorative yard glass hanging over the back of the bar. I wanted to fill it with some ESB and prove my manhood to the bar patrons. Stephanie refused to take the yard glass down. At one point I even offered her double her 20% gratuity, which was a lot considering we had 8 guys there drinking and eating that afternoon. In hindsight, it was probably best. As I mentioned previously, we were scruffy, drunk, waterlogged fisherman. Tim Hall should know that no matter how hard we tried, Stephanie would not break the "No Yard Glass Drinking Rule."
The Ship Inn is New Jersey's first Brew Pub and is located in Milford, NJ about 100 yards from the Delaware River and is worth a trip. As a matter of fact it is worth about 15 trips and still counting.
Beers In Review:
Allagash Tripel Reserve: This Belgian style ale had a nice, sweet refreshing smell. Almost fruity, very enticing. As I poured this beer, I couldn't help to notice the color. The beer had a orange, goldish hue with a formidable head that, as expected, thinned rapidly. The first sip had a well balanced fruity taste that was enjoyably refreshing. The second taste revealed all of the spices that were meticulously used in the boil. This ale even had a bit of a spicy kick to it. As the beer went down, you noticed the warming sensation from the 9% whollop this Tripel was packing. The best part of drinking Allagash's Tripel Reserve was the way the initial fruit taste morphed into a blend of spices and herbs then finishing dry and refreshing. Nothing reserved about this beer. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Avery Brewing Hogheaven Barleywine Style Ale: I really enjoy Avery beers. Particularly their IPA and extreme IPA styles. They take hops to the next level while never losing the balance between hops and malt. That being said, as far as their Barleywine goes, I just don't see it. It is a terrific beer, but I would never guess it was a barleywine. I like the traditional sweet malty taste of a barleywine. This one was all about the hops, which I am sure will please the guys who lean towards the high hop end. It was very good as an extreme IPA, give it a try and decide for yourself. 9.2 %
Stone Vertical Epic 07: The guys at Stone Brewing bred a Belgian Saison with a Belgian Tripel and came up with a helluva an ale for an offspring. She poured a light, orange color with a sweet, ginger aroma. Once in the mouth you felt a very dry taste which then left you with a bitter, hoppy aftertaste. Very good use of ginger and orange peel as those spices are right there on your tongue. This was an easy drinking, mellow, relaxing ale. The stamp of California was all over this brew This was one of the best, and I hate to use these words, entry level Belgian Beers one could drink. No offense meant by my use of the words entry level, but this ale is so easy drinking it could easily open up the world of Belgian beer to the non-Belgian beer drinker.
Why is it that Belgium brewed beers do so much damage (Think Hangover) and are the cause of many a holiday of havoc? As an experienced beer drinker, I am aware of the higher alcohol content as well as the much bigger sized bottle. This awareness leads me to drink with caution. A couple of small goblets before dinner as an aperitif, another goblet or two with dinner and a glass with desert. That's it. A total of 36 ounces of finely crafted beer. While the beer is being imbibed, my spirits are uplifted, my gabbing increases, wittiness runs rampant. I am the life of the Holiday. I say things I wouldn't say to my in-laws, even after a dozen pints of Guinness. I make jokes you wouldn't make after a half dozen glasses of DogFish Head 60 Minute IPA. My mark is left. Another Belgium inspired holiday.
So what is it? Why the headache the next morning? Why the brain fog? Yes, the alcohol content is high, but I am aware of that. I drink within reason. On any other given day, I could have a dozen pints of Guinness (153 ounces of beer, trumping the 36 ounces of Belgium Ale) with no negative effect at all. The same with my ESB or lager, no problem there. So, what is it? It must be the secret ingredients.
I have learned that after quietly existing as a peace loving member of the European Union, Belgium has secretly, over the past few hundreds of years, been trying to takeover the world.
It is a very subtle attack, they brew high alcohol beers with secret ingredients. They place candies and fruits in their beers. They add spices like cloves and mix them with their own home grown hops. The Belgians have concocted brews that slowly chip away at human thought, brainwashing the drinkers to become Belgians. This is how they will take over the world. Before long, attracted to the unique tastes and aromas of exotic Belgium Beers, the entire world will be making Brussels their home. The Belgians will take over the world. You have been warned.
The Beers in Review:
Trappistes Rochefort 10, This Trappist Belgium Ale, pours a dark, blood red with a thick, copious head. The ale gives off a sweet, malty aroma with a touch of fruit. As typical, a mixture of many flavorful spices. # 10 finishes off dry and warm. The monks that brewed this ale, packed a whollup in there, with a whopping 11.3% alcohol per volume.
Trappistes Rochefort 8, The number 8 shares many of the 10's characteristics as far as color, aroma, taste and finish, yet 8 comes off tastier and more of a drinkable treat then its Trappist brother. The less alcohol, not by much, makes this ale drinkable, yet still dangerous. My favorite of the two.
V Twelve Ale, Victory Brewing: This Belgian inspired ale, of a whopping 12% alcohol by volume, was a rare treat. The 12% alcohol was so subtle in taste, that I wasn't really aware of the ale's potency as I was drinking it. A good sign I am sure. A sign that allows you to want even more of this beverage once you have finished the bottle. Victory V Twelve Ale was very smooth with a very enjoyable light sweetness to it. The most remarkable thing about the beer, besides the taste, was the color. Poured in a wide mouth goblet, the color of the ale was the deepest red I have ever seen. I actually found myself staring at this glass of beer numerous times as I was drinking it. V 12 is an incredibly well done beer and tastes fantastic.
Butte Creek Brewing Co. Organic Revolution 10th Anniversary Imperial IPA, you gotta love the word Imperial. Once you see that, you know that you are getting an amped up beer. I'm a little weird in my taste of IPA's. I prefer a "normal" IPA, one that has a bitterness to it, but more importantly a drinkable quality. I am not fond of the hopped up IPA. On the other hand (here is my weirdness), Once the hopped up IPA goes out of hop control, beyond the hopped-upness, I like it. There seems to be three categories of IPA. 1. True to Style. 2. Extreme IPA 3. Beyond Extreme, as in Imperial. I like number 3. Once the IPA becomes hysterical, it gains a true balance. The hop is cut down, by the malt, the alcohol mellows the bitter aftertaste with a true warming finish. I like that. Butte Creek does a great job of brewing well balanced Imperial IPA. Moderate malty aroma, deep copper color, dry, warm and bitter all at the same time. A terrific beer that is comparable to Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, but without losing it's own individual differences. Well done.
Rugby is an interesting game. Besides being the number two spectator sport in the world, in the USA, rugby is looked at the same way some would look at a traffic accident; with curiosity, awe and disgust. The curiosity is first. Curiosity will hit a person like a ton of bricks and make that person wonder, "What the heck is going on here?" The awe shortly follows as the wide open mouths, with expressions of amazement, take in the pure athleticism mixed with elegant, controlled violence. The disgust usually takes place after the match as the ruggers partake in traditional rituals such as drinking beer from a dirty rugby boot, or singing ribald songs whilst running naked through a pub.
While soccer is known as a gentleman's sport played by ruffians, rugby has the opposite reputation and is known as a ruffian's sport played by gentleman. In rugby, you will never see the fan riots and maulings that you do in soccer. Rugby is a sport ruled by social etiquette and protocol. Ruggers are a polite group of lads or even ladies as the case may be.
Once a grueling 80 minute rugby match has been played, tradition has it that the opposing teams will gather and share food and drink together. The third half as it is known. This social gathering allows the players to brag about their wounds and game time heroics over copious amounts of beer. As the beer flows like the Falls in Niagra and inebriation takes place, the ruggers sing songs, play drinking games and celebrate their victories with naked Zulu Warrior marches throughout the pub. Rugby can be quite fun.
But alas, my rugby team has a drinking problem. Not the drinking problem that can land you in A.A, but the kind that dictates their horrible taste in beer. The beers that are light in color and taste. The beers that need to be served ice cold, so that you cannot tell that the beer has no taste. That kind of drinking problem. But then again, I guess when you are drinking beer out of a dirty rugby shoe, the beer shouldn't be a ten dollar Belgium Ale. Or if someone is constantly dropping a golf ball in your beer cup and you have to guzzle what you have in the cup, a Russian Imperial Stout would be out of the question. And I suppose it would be a waste of money to fill a funnel up with cask conditioned ale for the short journey through the tube and into the stomach.
Maybe my rugby team doesn't have a drinking problem after all. As a matter of fact, maybe they are just wise beer consumers and I have an observational problem. On the other hand, our team bar, The Muskett Tavern, home of the Jersey Shore Sharks Rugby Club may have contributed to the problem by having a serving problem. With Bud Light being the only beer on tap, the Muskett is also known for its $2.50 bottles of Bud, Miller and Lite. The big attraction at the Musket is the always on special of $3.25 bottles of 22 oz Coors Light and thankfully the East Coast's own precious mass brewed gem, Yeungling Lager (A rose amongst the thorns of domestic swill). It's difficult to shame your rugby team when there are precious little choices.
So now, it seems, the rugby team does not have a drinking problem. It seems they are acting in their own best economic interest. Why waste good beer, when you can chug and spill all the swill available to you at little or no cost?
What of the tavern and their serving problem? A few of the older statesman rugby stalwarts (Think, Me!), formed a nice relationship with the bar manager. One night the manager says, "So, what kind of beer do you guys like to drink? I'll try and get it for you." So, in addition to large 220z bombers of domestic beer, we now have in the Muskett's fridge, bottles of Victory Hop Devil and Golden Monkey, Magic Hat Blind Faith and #9 and a few different Sam Adams selections as well as bottled Guinness.
Once again, it appears my rugby team may now have a drinking problem. But at least we will be going down in good taste!
Monkey Wrench Dark Ale, cask conditioned winter dark ale from Daleside Brewery in England. This dark brown beer poured a thin head with a nice roasted malt aroma. Full bodied and well balanced at 5.3 %, this ale was extremely drinkable and the perfect session beer for watching an NFL game in the winter time.
Tripel Belgian Style Ale, from Southern Tier Brewing in Lakewood, NY, USA. This beer poured into a pint glass was light red with almost no head to speak of. The aroma was sweet and malty. This beer leaned towards the malt side with a good balance of cloves and spices to give it the Belgian seal of approval. This style of ale had a sweet and dry finish. You wouldn't know this was a New York brew.
Belhaven Wee Heavy, This Wee Heavy from the Belhaven Scottish Brewery was a terrific beer for a cold winter night. At 6.5% Wee Heavy had a crisp, dry, warming finish. Many tastes were found in this beer. Vanilla, smokey, roasted and malty to name a few. This was a very good beer.
Bluebird Bitter, This English Ale from Coniston Brewery was the ultimate session beer. You could drink this one all day and enjoy every sip. At 4.2%, this bitter had a very full taste with a complexity of many different hops apparent in every swallow. I classify this beer in the incredible category for its style.
Sunrise Weissbeer, an unfiltered wheat beer from Victory Brewing in Downingtown, PA, USA. A Cloudy, yellow beer with a very thick and frothy head. The beautiful smell of citrus and cloves immediately catches your attention. Light bodied and refreshing, this beer leans towards the sweeter side. A very dry finish with citrus overtones, Sunrise Weissbeer was tangy, refreshing treat. Perfect summer beer and a worthy effort once again by Victory Brewing.
" I'm French Mr. Eckland. My parents started me on wine mixed with water when I was six... The truth is, I don't believe in excessive drinking.... We had martini's before dinner, white wine with the fish, red wine with the main course, champagne with desert, cognac with the coffee and port after dinner." ---- Father Goose, 1965 , a Cary Grant movie.
The above quote from Father Goose really makes you want to get invited to that house for dinner. The French can drink and I am quite sure they would not consider the above list as excessive drinking. The French are known for their able drinking ability and also their preference for wine. Other countries also have interesting labels attached to them concerning the type of drink that they drink.
Right next door, is Belgium. A country smaller than most states in America, but a country with over 400 different locally brewed beers. Beer in Belgium is given the same respect as wine in other countries. Lambics, ales, sour beers, pilsners, Trappist Ales, white beer. Belgium has it all and they are not afraid to up the ante when in comes to alcohol content.
The Czech Republic is responsible for the style of beer mostly consumed in the United States. Let me rephrase that. The Czech Republic is responsible for the style of beer that we in America, loosely base our most popular beer recipes on. The Pilsner was invented in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Up until the time of Pilsner, beers were dark and cloudy. In Pilsen, they cleared the beer up and came up with a lighter crisper style. A few towns over in Budweis, their style of pilsner was so good, it inspired Adolphus Busch in and around 1875 to come up with his own Budweiser brew. The Budweis beer made in the Czech Republic can be bought in the United States under the name Czechvar. Only the names are similar as the actual taste of the two beers is worlds apart.
Germany is another country that tends to brew crisp, clean, refreshing beers. The land of the oversized beer mug is known for their lagers, but are second to none when it comes to serving up a large, frothy glass of wheat beer. Also called, Weissbier or Weizen or Hefeweizen. These beers are becoming hugely popular in America due to their refreshing qualities and perfect paring with the summer season. Nothing beats a Weissbeer on a hot summer day.
The land of Ale, England, brews some of the oldest and tastiest beers ever concocted. Britain is responsible for the extreme hop movement in the United States. When the Brits discovered additional hops added to the brew pot preserved the beer for the long boat trip to India, the India Pale Ale was born. On a more subtler note, the cask conditioned Bitters and all the other ale styles served at cellar temperature in pubs across Britain, are luscious examples of how a good beer should taste. And please, on a cold winter evening, never forget the king of all ales, the mouthwatering, stomach warming, tastiest of treats, the Barleywine.
When listing countries known for their unique drinking habits, one of the most unique would be the Republic of Ireland. Forget the green shamrocks, give me the black stuff. Stout sort of had the same origins as the British IPA. During the 1820's, Arthur Guinness was brewing porter beer in Dublin, Ireland. Arthur was exporting his beer to the Caribbean. To survive the trip, he made the beer stronger and renamed it Extra Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter was dropped from the name and the beer survived as Guinness Extra Stout. Overtime, the beer morphed into what we consume today, Guinness Draught. Guinness Extra Stout and Foreign Extra Stout are also available, but not as popular with the masses. If given the chance, try a bottle of Extra Stout, it will stand up to almost any American version of bottled stout. Truly a classic.
What of the Good Ol' USA? The roots of this country as a people represent one big melting pot of nationalities . The same could be said of our beer and our breweries. We have learned from other countries and brew beers of all styles. We have even taken the old traditional styles and Americanized them into bigger, bolder, brasher beers. While mostly known for our light and extra light lagers, American Microbreweries are foraging ahead with styles and tastes of beer that could not be found in any other country. The beauty of American beer is the same as the beauty of America, variety.
This Month's Beers
Arcadia Scotch Ale: Brewed in Battle Creek Michigan, this Scotch style ale is perfect for the style. It is very close to my bench mark beer, McEwan's Ale. Not as strong in alcohol as McEwan's but just a flavorful in taste. Sweet, malty taste with a warming finish.
Victory Brewing, Hop Wallup: This beer started with a strong hoppy aroma, almost like the trimming of a fresh hedge. A light bodied beer that has an extreme tilt towards hop bitterness at the finish. Despite the delicious hop wallop and the 8.5% alcohol, this beer is not only extreme, but extremely drinkable. To date, Victory Brewing has never disappointed me with any of their offerings.
Alaskan Brewing (Amber, Winter & Stout): The Alaskan Brewing Company brews a fine trio of beers in their Amber, Winter Ale and Stout. My good friend sent me these beers as a gift and they did not disappoint. The Winter Ale did not have any funky Christmas tree tastes, just a mild, drinkable ale with a hint of spruce. The Amber was also very drinkable and made a great session beer for me, as I drank all 6 in a row. The Amber is actually a German Alt beer and is a very good representative of the style. The stout was the big surprise, as I am a huge stout fan, I tend to be picky in my selections. This one was an oatmeal stout and smelled like a cup of hot coffee with a chocolate bar melted in. Delicious to boot. If this beer was on nitro it would remind me of the hand crafted Stouts at the Porterhouse Pub in Dublin, Ireland.
Pranqster: I tried this beer partly because of the name. I was known as the pranqster in college due to my playing of the pranks. This Pranqster, brewed in California is a Belgian Style Ale, light in color with a nice clovey aroma. Lot's of different herbs and spices in the taste. A very refreshing beer that due to the 7.5% alcohol content sneaks up on you. Very drinkable. A good summer beer.
Wine is but a bowl of broth, ale is meat, drink and cloth. - 16th Century English Proverb
The whole "real" beer movement is starting to become very complicated to me. In 1991, it wasn't a problem. Now, at times, it can be a headache. In 1991, you opened the fridge and there was one brand of beer in it. Once you popped the top, that was it, you were committed. Granted, unless you had a large head start on me as far as quality beer goes, the beer that you just popped open was not much to write home about. More than likely, it was something very cold and something somewhat tasteless.
When I went out in public to a restaurant or bar in the early 1990's, my draught selection was usually the same beer that I had in my fridge. There was no adventure or experimentation, just blind loyalty to the beer with the least amount of calories. Less filling, who knew about taste? Didn't all beer taste virtually the same? Cold, carbonated, thin and not much else?
Zoom ahead 10 or so years. The beer revolution had taken it's foothold. Beer didn't have to taste like water. Beer didn't even have to taste like each other. There were now styles and strengths. Beer became something to be enjoyed and anticipated like a fine, no, I won't say it. How about anticipated like the next summer blockbuster you just saw the trailer for at the movie theater. Extreme, but truthful. Fast forward another five years and you are now in the midst of a beer explosion. The guys who make the watered down, tasteless beer are now jumping into the "craft" beer industry and they are trying their hand at making beer with taste. Succeeding too, I might add.
Look around. It has never been a better time to be a beer lover. The local beer store has so much selection and stock, one could spend an hour trying to find the right beer. Trust me, I know. Every day, beer distributors are bringing in fine new imports by the dozens. Beers from breweries that are so small you couldn't even find them with a map are now on our shelves. Take a peak at the tap selection of your local pub. Two or three handles? I don't think so. Six or seven would be more like it. And what about the super taverns with over a hundred different beers to chose from? They used to be hard to find, now they are popping up everywhere. Brewpubs? You bet. Books about beer. Beer magazines, beer newspapers, websites, beer blogs. Beer is every where. Beer dinners and tastings. Cooking with beer. Beer is better with cheese than wine. You name it, beer has exploded.
Never in a million years would I want to go back to the day when I popped a can of my favorite "beer" from the fridge, but as I mentioned earlier, the beer movement has made beer much more complicated. Now I have to make decisions. What beer would go best with the meal I am having? Which beer suits the weather and or the season? Do I want to have a glass of a sipping beer or would two or three pints of a session beer be better? Do I have the appropriate glass to serve it in? Is the temperature right? Wait a minute. Wawawawawa. I sound like a wimp. I sound like one of those wine guys. What am I talking about? Beer is for heroes and champions, the nectar of the Gods. The drink of the human race. It doesn't need to be picked apart by my new found sense of knowledge, it just needs to be drank and enjoyed.
Who am I kidding? I like my beer knowledge, I like my beer selections and I like the fact that it takes me more than a couple of minutes to decide what kind of beer I am going to drink. It has never been a better time to be a beer lover. Viva La Complication!
Hobgoblin Ale: I found the UK based Wychwood Brewery Beers when I used to live In Ireland. I am glad that they made it across the sea. These are very hearty ales that are well crafted with many different tastes that come through. A very ruby red in color, this beer has a perfect balance of malt flavor and moderate bitterness. If you try, you can even taste a hint of toffee and chocolate flavor.
Rescue India Pale Ale: Brewed by the Barley Creek Brewery in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, this beer has the distinct taste of a homebrewed beer. Most beer when bottled by the pros loses that homebrew personal touch. It is a certain taste that lingers in a beer made at home. A good taste. Rescue IPA has it. Slightly sweet malty smell with a bitter hop after taste.
The Bad Elf Beers: Very Bad Elf: This was the best beer of the holiday season, as far as I am concerned. Maybe I drank too many and that is why I remember it fondly. That is probably the problem. This beer is so drinkable it is dangerous. Goes down like a "Mild", but has the taste and the alcohol content of a much bigger beer. Very Smooth. Dangerous at 7.5%.
Criminally Bad Elf: The Ridgeway Brewery in the UK who crafts the Bad Elf series seems to keep to a theme. Beers that that taste like lighter ales, but pack a whollup. Criminally Bad Elf is a Barleywine style ale, but tastes much like a lighter ale, yet kicks in at 10.5%. Be careful when you host a flagon of this barleywine.
Here is my Ode to the Big Brewer:
Jimmy Buffet's Landshark Lager, Stone Mill Organic Pale Ale and Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale: The Landshark Lager and Stone Mill Pale Ale fooled me. Listed as Margarita Brewing Co. in Jacksonville, FL. and Green Valley Brewing, NH. I thought I was trying out a couple of new breweries. After some research, I found out that the new companies were Budweiser Breweries trying to be stealth. The Winter's Ale was no secret as they give themselves credit on the label. All the beers were very drinkable with plenty of taste to go around. I enjoyed everyone. The Winter's Ale, one at a time is plenty. Very vanilla tasting. I liked it, sort like you like a cream soda. Enjoyable, but one is plenty with desert. The surprise of the A&B Beers was LandShark Lager. Even not knowing this was from Bud, thinking it was Jimmy Buffet lending his name to a thin type, mass made beer, I was shocked. More Stella Artois and Budvar than Miller or Coors, this beer had hints of a Cech pilsner recipe. Enjoyable and very refreshing. It should make some Parrot Heads happy.
Du Chesse De Bourgogne: This Belgian Ale was a blend of 8 month and 18 month old beers than aged in oak casks. Sounds good? It was. Sweet smell, carbonated like champagne with a slight raspberry taste to it. Reddish Brown color, clocks in a t 6.2%. Very good and refreshing. It has the taste of a lambic, but the alcohol of a sturdier beer.
"Beer that is not drunk has missed it's vocation."--Meyer Breslau, 1880
I have a drinking problem. Alright, it is not so much a drinking problem as it is a collection problem. I am addicted to buying beer. I cannot go into a beer store without leaving with a variety of beer. Sadly, the beer doesn't even have to be new to me or my taste buds, I can walk out with just as many "old friends" as new ones. That is my problem.
What is even worse is that I do not even get to drink these beers. They are becoming stockpiled in my spare fridge. This is the fridge that cannot fit food due to the beer bottles lined up throughout. The very same fridge I talked my wife into purchasing because it would be great to have extra food space, especially around the holidays.
My problem was not really a problem until a year or two ago. I used to go to the beer store, find the beer I wanted and then bring it home and drink it. No problem. My problem started to surface when my home pub was built and three beers were placed on tap (Guinness, a home brew and a micro-seasonal). Now, I lean towards drinking beer from my taps. Prior to installing the pub, I had told my wife we would save money once the kegs were set-up because we would not have to purchase "bottles" of beer anymore. That is when I realized I was addicted to buying beer. I rationalized in my mind purchasing bottles of beer for the times when my wife and I would go out to eat. I figured we would only go to BYOB places, this way I was guaranteed good beer. I also knew that I needed a constant variety of beers to review and critique for my "Beer Hobby." Well, it turns out, since we had our baby girl, we don't actually get out a lot. We are home so much, the other day, my 2 year old daughter asked me if I wanted to have a beer with our dinner. Sad, but true.
The other part of my problem is that when I see a beer I like, I just don't buy one bottle, I buy two. So, even if I drink one, the other is becoming part of the stockpile. At this point and time I have a veritable smorgasbored of beer, not only in my spare fridge, but also in the area of my house I use as a "celler" to age my high alcohol beers. What can I do?
Each year I have a beer party at my house where all the guests are required to bring a different style of beer. We then taste all the different styles and drink our favorites. This year, I am telling the guests not to bring beer. We are going to have an intervention. We will drink all of my beer. I will not be guilty of contributing to the beer that has missed it's vocation.
90 Minute IPA: Dogfish head outdid itself and thanks to Wayne at my Beer store, I have a keg of it in my home pub. This is an incredible beer. Buy it in the bottle, have it on tap. Just drink it. Doc's Place in Somers Point, NJ has it coming out of the faucet. This is a sipping beer. To be enjoyed and relished.
Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A: He'Brew the Chosen Beer, from New York. The label is enough to make you purchase this beer. Hilarious. A double IPA that clocks in at 10% alcohol. A hop lovers delight. Great beer.
Below Decks: Heavy Sea's Beer from Clipper City Brewery in Baltimore produced a fine Barleywine Style ale. This is a drinkable barleywine. A session barleywine if there could be such a thing. Great taste and moderate alcohol content allows you to enjoy more than a few of these beers.
15th Anniversary India Pale Ale from Otter Creek: Talk about a beer that you can enjoy more than one of. It is a shame this is an anniverary beer. Stock up now, so that you will have a few to last until their 20th anniversary. Sweet, malty smell let's you know that alcohol is an ingrediant. Nice hop bite, even better hop kickback. A delicious beer worthy of celebrating anyone's anniversary.
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