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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Philly Craft Beer Festival 2011

So here is an updated review of this amazing event!  I just can't say enough about the staff of the festival and the navy yard... the breweries, pourers, volunteers... everyone.  The coolest part about this particular event is the crowd.  Yeah, there a ton of drinkers together in one place, but it never gets out of hand.  Some folks know a lot about craft beer, and some don't but everyone is interested.  They are engaged in the tasting and that makes all the difference.  After all, a party isn't very fun if you're not enjoying the company.  Anyhow, on to the beer!  Short and sweet descriptions:

First Pour
River Horse

  • Hop-alot-amus: Spicy and tangy hops.  A perennial fave!
  • Double Wit: Big-bodied wit.  Deelish.

Pale Ale: quite pale, very drinkable

Otter Creek
Copper: 5% chilled out, nothing crazy.

Alpine Black IPA: 6% Dark and roasty, flavorful yet balanced; really nice!
Original Ale: 5%. Citrusy zing -- gets ya right here! Oh, that's me pointing under my jaw.  Refresh-o-matic.

Dock Street
  • Man Full of Trouble Porter:  Dry finish.  Chocolate tones.  Tastes like... more!  Candidate for best in show.
  • Saison: At the level of ... something... I can't read my own review.  Sorry.
Great Lakes
Conway's Irish Ale: Smooth and smooth.  A little malt, a little hops.  Session brew.

Maibock: mellow and golden.

  • Jewish Rye: holy crap! That tastes like Jewish rye bread!   Not as zippy as, say, Dock Street's rye, but light and tasty.
  • Edel Rauch: Beginner's smokebeer.  If you get through these gates, it may open up possibilities.
Innis & Gunn
  • Rum cask aged.   45 days in Jamaican rum barrels.  Yeah.  Really awesome.  Touch of sweetness but mostly dark and sexy.  Tastes like nighttime.  Sandalwood?  Really awesome. This may be the best beer I tried all day.  Maybe.
  • Original: Oak without bourbon.  Rockin'.
Love is Evol Strawberry/Jalapeno brew:  Dark flavors and light body.  One of the day's hugest surprises and also a candidate for best beer.  Two flavors that complement each other shockingly well.

Appalachian Brewing Company

Celtic Knot Irish Red: Quite quaffable!

Prankster's Porter:  Chocolate and roasty; really nice porter

Forest & Main

  • Kinch IPA (cask-conditioned): 6%.  Soooo stinkin' drinkable.

  • Tiny Tim Bitter: Tasty also, but not quite as pronounced.

  • Roy Pitz
    Old Jail Brown Ale: Pretty drinkable with a teeny bite.

    • Werewolf Ale: 8.2%.  Pale-ish with a malty base.  Not bad.  Warm you up on a chilly night, that's for sure.
    • Missing Elf Double Bock: 8%.  Light for a double bock, it seems sorta like a malty maibock.
    • Before/After Triple Bock: 12%.  A sneaky 12%, this is the gateway to the darkside.  I was expecting blackness and pain, but malt reigns.
    Still solid.  Special Dark is a drinkin' beer.  Man up.  Not too dark, but rich enough.

    Knot Stock Black Peppercorn.  Hooo-ahhh.  Peppery.  Intriguing.  Light body and disappearing finish.

    Dark Horse 
    Amber:  Has a certain feel to it...

    Bavarian Barbarian
    Hammerin' Ale:  Pretty good.  Drinkable and a little funky.

    Cigar City
    Bolita Brown Ale: 9%.  Malty.  Brown.  Oh boy.  Rich.  There's chocolate in there somewhere.

    Brew Dog
    • Dogma Scottish: 7.8%.  Way lighter than I thought, a lemony flavor.  Brewed with Fruit Loops?
    • Punk IPA:  Skunky, funky, smelly green $#1+.
    Six Point
    • Sehr: Crisp pilsner
    • Redd:  American Red Ale.  Smooth, red, well done.

    • Flashback India Brown Ale:  Oh, that's a ton of flavor.
    • Hazed & Infused:  Classic!
    • Killer Penguin: Barleywine > smooth.

    St. Somewhere
    • Lectio Divina &
    • Saison Athene: disappointing.  A few years ago, these were among my favorites.  Now poured from tap as opposed to a bottle, something is lost in translation.  A shadow of its former glory. : (
    Lemongrass Wheat: I must have had a sip of this, but there's honestly no review here.  

    Merry Monks:  That's how you DO it!  That's how you finish off a beer fest!

    So, what was the winner of El Presidente's Bestest Beer in the Whole Wide Festival?  It's really tough to pick an ultimate favorite, but I suppose I should tell you which beer I kept telling people to try time after time.  Even though I was blown away by Innis & Gunn's Rum Cask aged beer...

    Even though I really loved the Dock Street Man Full of Trouble Porter...
    I have to say that I was really shocked and amazed by the stylings of the PRISM Love is Evol Strawberry/Jalapeno Brown Ale!  

    So intriguing and different, I have to give mad props to this North Wales brewery for cooking up something a little crazy.  
    So raise your glasses in acknowledgment, everyone:

    Here's a link to the website's own rap sheet of this saucy beer:

    Please keep checking this site for even more pictures and some updates from the office of El Presidente.  I hope to have a slideshow of all our pictures up on the site in the next few days, so stay tuned!

    And thanks again to all the breweries and all the staff and all the participants of the Philly Craft Beer Festival 2011!  Special shoutouts to Sis, Pat, Tim, Bud, and Rachel for accompanying me on this epic journey.  And extra special props to Pat for hooking us up with tickets!  

    I think we may have even ended up at McGillin's...

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