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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pour-A-Palooza 2010

Okay, folks, here is the official poster with the official announcement that The Ferment Nation has officially been invited back to participate in the bestest Craft Beer Fest in South Jersey- Pour-A-Palooza 2010!

Why go? An awesome time with great craft beers, live music by 3 Lanes to Philadelphia, smokin' hot food, a dunk tank, and more! $30 in advance, $35 at the door. [BUY TICKETS HERE]

Who else will be there? Try this list out: Flying Fish, Sierra Nevada, Harpoon, Newcastle, Magic Hat, Great Lakes, Brooklyn, Ommegang, Victory, Ithaca, Unibroue, Stoudts, Otter Creek, Yards, Sly Fox, Lancaster, River Horse, Troegs, Weyerbacher, Dogfish Head, Terrapin, Stone, Founders, Boakes, Rogue, Left Hand, Bear Republic, and Flying Dog. And don't forget The Ferment Nation. [BUY TICKETS HERE]

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Oskar Blues Gordon Red and Old Chub (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Oskar Blues Gordon Red and Old Chub
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
April 17, 2010
What-have-you: "Oskar Blues rocks! Gordon Red and Old Chub scotch style. Both awesome."

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pour-A-Palooza is around the corner!

A Special Announcement:
It was about one year ago that The Ferment Nation was proud to herald the birth of Pour-A-Palooza at The Pour House in Westmont, NJ.  We had great fun there, and even had a chance to help promote the event.  Well, a year has passed, and Pour-A-Palooza will be back with a vengeance, and we at The Nation like to play our part.  This is a sneak preview of this year's promotional poster.  It's not quite finished just yet, but be on the look-out.  In the meantime, check out last year's poster, too.

Wanna buy Tix for Pour-A-Palooza?  [CLICK HERE]
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA 10.0% abv
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
June 16, 2010
What-have-you: "Oskar Blues 'Gubna' Imperial IPA at The Pour House. Magical hoppy goodness. Un-stinkin-believable."

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cork Brews & Blues Fest (Philly Beer Week 2010)

Philly Beer Week 2010 - Cork Restaurant in Westmont, NJ decided to wrap up their celebration of Philly Beer Week 2010 with a Brews and Blues Festival in their parking lot on Sunday, June 13. The setup looked great until it started to pour rain on the party-goers. Not to have our spirits dampened, however, the band moved inside and played several sets while the patrons went inside and out to take advantage of the festival-sponsored beers. We had Magic Hat, Palm, Ommegang, Sam Adams, Flying Fish, River Horse, and Boon (sorry if I forgot a few). All the selections were basically meant to go down easy in a hot, bbq atmosphere and wash down roast pig, pulled pork, ribs, and chicken tacos. Excellent food and beverage with an awesome band to boot.

Magic Hat Odd Notion. Titled 'ginger ale', this brew is more ale than ginger by quite a bit. Pretty tasty with a lil zip. Magic Hat produces quality session brews on a consistent basis, and always up to date on the seasons. Their seasonal beers are always timely and pretty good. The accessibility of Odd Notion is its best quality, while there is a little bit of style going on as well. Drinkable and pass-around-able but not overwhelming.

Here are some of the beers I tried:

River Horse Lager. RH makes good stuff so its no wonder their lager is well-crafted. Im just not a big lager guy so it doesnt bowl me over. Worth passing the word along to any lager drinker, since the balance is pretty even between hoppy and malty. Really drinkable, especially at a barbecue or tailgater.

Flying Fish Exit 4 is a miracle. Sweet and smooth yet hoppy and smart .This beer has a nice blend of Belgian sweetness with American hoppiness Oh boy. Smoother than Green Flash 'Le Freak' and more accessible as well. Watch out though, because it's a little high in alcohol, but you really can't taste the booze.

Flying Fish Exit 6. Gorgeous color. Mildly hoppy, mildly dry, mildly funky. Exit 6 Wallonian Rye has a light to medium body with a very pale finish. There is just a hint of a malty aftertaste, I think. Complex but not busy, Exit 6 is supremely drinkable. This embodies Flying Fish's philosophy of session beers with no flaws. A little risk-taking can be good, though, as we saw when Exit 4 propelled this series into the public eye. The family of Flying Fish beers definitely offer something for everyone.

Thanks again to Kevin, Janet, Felix, and everyone at Cork for making the event a big success. Shout out to Cindy who made a special guest appearance. Everyone wanted to have a great time with everyone else, and I'd say that mission was accomplished. That wraps up Philly Beer Week 2010 for El Presidente and the Ferment Nation. Stay tuned for more reviews and events coming your way soon. By the way, feel free to email us your Philly Beer Week stories and pictures if you'd like to make it into the blogosphere. Thanks Again!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Haddon Pub Fest @ PJ Whelihan's Part 2 (Philly Beer Week 2010)

Philly Beer Week 2010

The Presidential motorcade visited the Haddon Pub Fest to kick off Philly Beer Week 2010 (yeah, I know it's in South Jersey. It's also a craft brew festival within walking distance from where I sleep so that's how El Presidente rolls).

PJ's featured Victory and Ithaca at the Pub Fest to start kick off festivities. Here are my selections for review:

Victory St. Boisterous Hellerbock:
This brew has a fairly pale hop profile with a mild malty sweetness. It is extremely well-balanced and sessionable. It would be a really cool beer to find after slugging it out with some bigger brews. It could be a great closer, for certain, though it also functioned as a good lead-off beer to begin a long day of sampling. I guess I'm trying to say that if you have a St. Boisterous you're probably drinking something else as well.

Ithaca Ground-Break American-Style Saison:
Light to medium body with a dry finish. Hoppier than a traditional French-style saison (dat's how the U.S. of A. does thangs), Ground-Break is a cool cross between a pale ale and a farmhouse. Pretty stylish but not crazy. Is there a citrus thing going on too? Yeah, a little. Ground-Break is an interesting alternative to a saison if you like hoppy pales or pale wheats.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beers at Bar Ferdinand (Philly Beer Week 2010)

The first Sunday of Philly Beer Week 2010 saw a number of Sunday brunch bars getting in on the action.  in Northern Liberties, two bars(Bar Ferdinand and Camino Real) rocked outdoor seating and music on the Liberties Walk.  Paella and ribs were the foods of choice outside with beer specials from Victory Brewing.  Here are some of the beers sampled:

Southern Tier Heavy Weizen Imperial Wheat Ale:
Wheat beer on steroids. The richest weizen on record, Heavy Weizen is dry, then sweet, then dry again. Delish as can be, but not quite as refreshing or accessible as your typical wheat brew. This beer is just short of a wheat-wine style ale (Weyerbacher 14 and Smuttynose Wheat Wine are a bit richer and boozier) and is meant to be enjoyed slowly.

(From the VP) Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA:
At 9% abv, it's not too boozy.  It fills your mouth with light hoppiness.  Hoppy, hoppy, yum, yum, with a lingering sweetness.  Don't know if I have ever had this on tap before.  Normally, I get this in a bottle.  Very nice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Beers at Treno Pizza Bar (Philly Beer Week 2010)

Stop Number Two on the Haddon Pub Fest was Treno Pizza Bar on Haddon Avenue.  Here are some of the beers we sampled there:

Great Lakes Brewing Company Burning River Pale Ale 6% abv:
Interesting note on the label: Burning River is named after the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River. Okay, now the beer: It's unbelievably smooth and drinkable. Not far behind Troegs or Stone, the hop profile is very accessible and smooth with no aftertaste. Perfect for walking around in 90 degree heat.

Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Golden Lager 5.8% abv:
Crisp, dry lager with mild hoppy flavor. Not so much malty stuff going on here. Lager-ish lager with a touch of funk. It's even a little pilsnery if that's your style.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness Amber Lager:
Smooth and drinkable. A little bit sweeter and maltier than the Dortmunder style. Infinitely accessible to newbies but nice enough for beer geeks to appreciate. Eliot Ness has a little more substance than, say, Yuengling, but just as drinkable.

Another interesting note about Great Lakes Brewing Company: The beers had been originally brewed in accordance with the German Beer Purity Law of 1516. I believe all of these beers still are brewed that way, which is a cool old-school way of making beer!

Ithaca Apricot Wheat:
It seems very apricoty and fruity with the first whiff of the bottle and first taste.  Is it like Dogfish Head's Aprihop?  Not sure.  I would have to do a bottle-to-bottle comparison.  Plain looking bottle, but an okay flavored wheat beer. --The VP

Brooklyn Pennant Ale '55 5% abv:
Chilled-out ale with brown ale tendencies. Malty (kinda) with a mild hop profile. (The VP writes, "It's an ale.  Nothing special.  It's OK."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Three Beers at Standard Tap (Philly Beer Week 2010)

Philly Beer Week 2010

Folks who drink locally to the Philadelphia area (including pretty much everyone in the Delaware Valley) know and love Standard Tap. Carrying beers brewed in this area (almost exclusively), Standard Tap is a go-to stop on any beer bar tour -- Especially during Philly Beer Week.

Philadelphia Brewing Company Fleur de Lehigh:
This is a PBC special beer brewed with ginger and lemongrass. I'm a sucker for ginger, and Fleur de Lehigh does not disappoint. It is a yummy spiced brew. It's fresh and clean with a light and refreshing ginger essence. I wonder if it wouldn't be a little sassier out of a bottle, with more air and carbonation, and possibly a teensy bit of yeast in the bottom of the bottle? Either way, this beer is very summery and oooh wait -- this may be great with sushi. Interesting for newbies, but a touch weird if you're not that adventurous. Ginger ale freaks should check it out also, as well as those beer drinkers who have enjoyed Left Hand's Juju.

Twin Lakes Pale Ale:
This is quite a mellow pale ale. There's just a touch of citrus mixed with malt. It has a kinda-dry finish but it isn't very sharp. The color is straw-like and there isn't much head to speak of. This is extremely drinkable for sure, and a clear recommendation for those folks who like a chilled-out session beer. Not overly challenging, but sometimes you don't want to be challenged by your beverage.

Sly Fox O'Reilly's Dry Stout:
A fantastic representation of this beer by Sly Fox. I've had it many times and truthfully, it's been hit or miss. Maybe it's very sensitive to a less-than-perfectly-clean tap system or something but O'Reilly's can be magnificent or mundane, depending on who's pouring it. Standard Tap offers a sensational pint. Sly Fox has some really nice offerings, and in the Presidential opinion, O'Reilly's Stout is the best among them. So very easy to drink, this dry Irish stout has an awesome blend of bitterness and smoothness. And the Standard Tap never disappoints.

So there you have it. Standard Tap has thus far and will continue to fire it up for Philly Beer Week 2010. I am hoping to make it back sometime in the very near future. Please email your Philly Beer Week experiences or your Standard Tap experiences (and pics, if you got 'em) to president@fermentnation.com. Thank you for your patriotism!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Strong Beer Fest at Brauhaus Schmitz (Philly Beer Week 2010)

Starkbierfest at Brauhaus Schmitz:

When a German Brauhaus invites you to a festival of strong beers, you'd better bring your A-Game. Featuring beers ranging from 7% to 14% abv, Brauhaus Schmitz provides a festive atmosphere and great food (as well as excellent service) to support those tough missions ahead. Was El Presidente up to this particular challenge? Let's review...

Klosterbrauerei Ettaler Curator 9% abv:
Whoah. Rich and complex, this brew showcases flavors bursting with dark fruits -- tart like dried cherries, but not at all like a lambic. Curator reminds me of a doppelbock that had a run-in with a Flemish sour. Warming, challenging, rewarding.
Schloss Eggenberg Samichlaus 14% abv:
Oh... my... God. Just a bit smoother on tap than in a bottle. Perhaps less complex and boozy as well, but enchanting just the same. Red as a ruby, the malty sweetness takes you to another world. Not a beer to take lightly! Sip slowly and enjoy this exceptional beverage.

Brewed once a year on December 6th, Samichlaus is aged a full 10 months before being bottled. And if you have some bottles stashed away next to your cask of Amontillado, they will age with the best of them. I have some from 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. This particular vintage that I sampled on tap at Brauhaus Shmitz was from 09 and it was lovely.

Weihenstaphaner Vitus 7% abv:
This single-bock wheat beer reminds me of the hefe-weiss with a little more malt. It is darker only by a shade and very rich. Strong yet comfortable banana and clove flavors. Nice and rich, sweet but not overly so. This beer reminds me of a dessert bread.

Mission accomplished. Well, only the surface has been scratched, of course. Thanks again to Brauhaus Schmitz for the amazing Starkbierfest. El Presidente was certainly impressed by this international addition to Philly Beer Week 2010.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Left Hand Brewery at Misconduct Tavern (Philly Beer Week 2010)

The Where and What: Left Hand Brewery Beer Tastings @ Misconduct Tavern (Locust St., Philly) / Left Hand Good Juju, Widdershins Barleywine, and Nitro Milk Stout.

The What Have You: You can't say they didn't diversify for this flight of beers: a ginger brew, a barleywine style beer, and a stout.  The tasting was a little skimpy on the information side as I didn't have any of the abv percentages to write down, but here is a quick re-cap: Good Juju had some awesome bottle art, but it was a bit underwhelming.  You could smell and taste some of the ginger spicy goodness, but it was a little flat and not my favorite.  I actually just had the ginger-brewed Monkey Knife Fight at The Nodding Head (also in Philly) and liked that better. The Widdershins Barleywine would never rate high with me, because I am not a fan of the style.  It smells too much like alcohol; however, it didn't taste overly "boozy" so I was pleasantly surprised.  One large shot glass worth was enough for me, though.

It shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone who knows my drinking tastes that I thought the Nitro Milk Stout was tasty.  Dark as 10-year-old motor oil with reflected browns where the light can filter through, it was traditionally roasty and toasty in smell and taste, and creamy.  I liked it.  But the best part was that we (Citizen Erica and I) actually got a chance to hold and feel the power of the Hammer of Glory! Pretty awesome. It was my first time in Misconduct Tavern and I suspect I will return to check out their normal beer selection and food. But for now, it's onto the next Philly Beer Week event.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Victory Smokin' Oats Porter (Philly Beer Week 2010)

The Where and What: P. J. Whelihan's Pub in Haddonfield (really?), NJ / Haddon Pub Fest / Victory Smokin' Oats Porter.

The What Have You: OK, we started out Philly Beer Week across the bridge in Jersey, which is cheating a bit, but the Haddon Pub Fest was an official Philly Beer Week event. It was hot in Jersey, like 90+ degrees, and sunny, so beer was definitely needed. PJ's was featuring Victory beers and the very first I started out with was their "Smokin' Oats Porter": Color: Black as a coal digger's elbow. Smell: Roasty and toasty. This will be a nice session beer if only I knew the % abv. Not mealy, very smooth and easy going down. I would have it again.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Brauerei Hofstetten Granitbock (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Brauerei Hofstetten Granitbock 7.3% abv
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
May 30, 2010
What-have-you: "Hofstetten 'Granitbock' at The Pour House. 7.3% . Pretty smooth with a malty base. Bit of brown sugar in the nose. Body and finish just a little thin but tasty just the same."
Hofstetten Granitbock

Brauerei Hofstetten
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sixpoint Diesel Stout (Citizen Review)

What: Sixpoint Diesel Stout
Where: Pub & Kitchen (Philadelphia, PA)
When: June 3, 2010
What-have-you: "Delicious stout for hopheads! Drinkable! A++!"

Sixpoint Diesel Stout

Citizen Erica

Ballast Point Big Eye IPA (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Ballast Point Big Eye IPA 10.24% abv
Where: Blue Monkey Tavern (Merchantville, NJ)
June 2, 2010
What-have-you: "Ballast point 'Big Eye' IPA. At The Blue Monkey Tavern. Smoothish and malty with mild hop funk. Decent IPA but not mind-blowing."

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nodding Head Brewery Monkey Knife Fight (Citizen Review)

What: Nodding Head Brewery Monkey Knife Fight 4.75% abv
Where: Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant (Philadelphia, PA)
When: May 27, 2010
What-have-you: "Monkey Knife Fight at Nodding Head Brewery in Philly. I typically try to stay away from reading the descriptions of beers before I taste them, but this thing is nade with ginger and lemon grass. Will this beer preemptively settle my stomach? And its light at 4.75% abv. Lets see... This is odd. It has a ginger ale vibe to it definitely. But flat. Not sure if this batch is off or if it's supposed to be like this, but it's definitely flat. So a flat ginger ale odd soda vibe. Interesting but I think one is fine for now."

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