Our Latest Craft Beer Posts from Twitter

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Great Beers at the Perch Pub in Philly

If you haven't gotten a chance to get to the Perch Pub up above the corner of Broad and Locust in Philly, I highly recommend it.  In addition to friendly service, and a lovely open and bright atmosphere (lovely and open and bright? Is this really a bar in Philly?), they have a penchant for really good regional craft beers, and they have a kick-ass happy hour every day of the week.  Find out more by following them on Twitter @PerchPub or follow us @FermentNation, because we re-tweet a lot of their tweets!

Here are two great beers I had there earlier this month.  The first was Blue Point No Apologies Double IPA, which they say is a "very, very limited draft."  It's a European/American style double IPA and is 10% abv. On that day I observed that the beer was not grassy or floral in teh bouquet.  The caramel and malt hit you up front.  It's only when you keep the beer in your mouth for a while and take several sips that it dries out a bit and you experience the hoppy effect.  The beer bites you a bit in the back of the throat. This beer is definitely rich and made for sipping.  I liked it a lot.  (Read more of our Blue Point reviews)

The second beer was Ithaca Dark Humor.  This was a collaboration between Ithaca and Iron Hill, two breweries I really enjoy.  They describe it as a "Summer Porter."  I really liked this beer.  I thought it tasted sweet and creamy.  The taste lingers, too.  It's roasty yet light tasting and quite delicious.  My two beer buddies with me at the Perch Pub agreed with me, and we even recommended it to a couple of other patrons before we left. (Read more of our Ithaca reviews)

I will be definitely be going back to the Perch Pub often.  If you stop by between 5-7pm, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.  --The VP
Email the VP

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Trip to Russian River

Hello Citizens!  Not only did I get to visit Bear Republic on my road trip to sunny California, but I also sampled some of Russian River's finest beverages and grub.  Their pizza is amazing and mmmmm... Pliny Bites...
Anyway, some of the most elusive brews for us East Coasters are on tap all the time at their point of origin, Russian River Brewing Company.

I am ashamed to admit that I didn't get a chance to taste everything.  Hey, it was a long week of wineries and breweries so I could only go so far without ruining my ability to taste more luscious drinks the following day.  Brief recap:
Pliny the Elder: Quite nearly perfect.  The balance was not upset by the gratuitous use of hops and I'll be trying to catch up with any bar that's lucky enough to grab a keg of this delightful Double IPA.  8% abv and 100 IBUs.
Russian River IPA: Really awesome brew with a bit more malt than hops.  Hop Heads won't be disappointed... unless they drink Pliny first.  62 IBUs and 6.5% abv.
Consecration: My fave of the bunch, Consecration is aged in American Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.  Along with the wild yeast, currants added during the aging process add lots of tartness.  My first encounters with sour ales some years ago weren't so hot, but Consecration grabbed my attention because of its complexity.  Oh, that and the 10% abv.
Supplication: 7% brown ale aged in French oak Pinot Noir barrels.  Made with brettanomyces and some other wild yeast strains that I simply can't type.  Sour cherries also make their presence know in a big way.  Only 27 IBUs but outrageous flavor.

Overall, I was supremely impressed by the brews and pizza at Russian River.  It's only about 2700 miles from where I live, so maybe I'll get back there someday.  I certainly hope so.  Russian River is where I met Andy, the citizen reviewer who brought you his thoughts on Jack D'or.  Cheers, Andy!

Anybody who gets a chance to sample any brews from Russian River are welcome to submit their pics and reviews, but in the meantime, check out the pictures in the slideshow.  I even included a picture from our canoe trip down the actual Russian River.  It's beautiful, by the way, and relaxing canoeing for those who are interested in such things.  Cheers!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blanche de Bruxelles

Here's a review from one of my best friends in the world.  Crazy Tom is a lover of life and he's always on the lookout for a good brew.  Blanche de Bruxelles is one of the very first beers I ever reviewed on this blog, so it holds a very special place in my heart.  Kinda like Tom.  Let's hear what he has to say:

It's 90 degrees, the kids are napping, and I'm awfully close to Baker Street pub which is conveniently located on my block. I send an image of the beer menu to El Presidente, and he swiftly eyes the Blanche De Bruxelles Belgian Wheat. Ohhhhhh! Summer sizzle squelched by a refreshing cascade of light but flavorful brew. I love it. I actually taste the coriander and orange peel added during the brewing process, and it is a really smart balance. Doesn't interfere; rather it compliments the Belgian goodness like an old chum. It's something different but worth trying. Bringing me back to Belgium.  Finished. The children, and my palate, have awoken. Time to contact Owen for his next recommendation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ferment Nation News: Homebrewers Growing in Numbers

From the Brewers Association:

The American Homebrewers Association recently surveyed homebrew supply shops, and the results indicate that the homebrewing hobby is continuing to grow.
For Immediate Release
American Homebrewers Association Surveys Homebrew Shops
Results Indicate Growth, Increased Diversity
Boulder, CO • July 20, 2011—For the second consecutive year, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) conducted a survey of homebrew supply shops. The 2011 survey, conducted in the spring, saw a dramatic increase in respondents—67 percent increase over 2010's survey. Across the board, the results indicate that homebrewing is growing consistently, leading to a more diverse demographic of homebrewers and new shops catering to local enthusiasts.

Read the complete press release.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pour-a-Palooza 2011

Greetings, Citizens!
The third annual Pour-Palooza festival went off without a hitch.  The organizers of this event deserve a nod of respect and a hearty thank you from all the attendees, but especially from yours truly.  The Ferment Nation got a spot again this year, and we were proud to be a part of the festivities.  We got to talk to some cool people and tried some fantastic beers as well.  Special shout-outs go to Remo, Jake, Mike, and Ryan for making it go.  It was also good to see Vicky, Kelly, Tammy, and Ian out and about.  Molly and Marci rocked the inside and Liz was on t-shirt duty.  If I left you out, please send me a nasty email.

It was also great catching up with Mike from New Jersey Craft Beer and perennial beerfest participants Sherry and Tom.  We missed Jack and Cheryl but I'm sure they're not too far away...

Anyway, I wanted to give unbelievable props to the folks from Barley Legal Brew Club.  I liked all the beers I tried by the crew but their "Animal" IPA was outstanding!  I claim that it was the best IPA at the entire festival (and with over 60 beers, that's no joke).  Someone else jumped in and said that Bear Republic Racer 5 was the best.  Arguable, but I thought that the Animal was so well-balanced that it could hold its own with any IPA you could throw at me.  I'm not sure I would make the claim that it's the best of all time, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this smooth India Pale Ale got picked up by a microbrew pub or at the very least won some competitions.  It was that good.

Some other standouts of the day were the Ithaca Dark Humor, 21st Amendment Hop Crisis, and Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster.  Of course, Weyerbacher Double Simcoe was there, and Troegs Flying Mouflon, and Flying Fish Exit 13, and... well, check out the slideshow and see a few more for yourself:

We also received a few citizen reviews, and we'll be sharing them with you very soon.  Please email us and let us know if you were there.  Maybe you took some really cool pictures that you would like to share with the world.  Whatever.  But feel free to contact us at the Ferment Nation and we'll be happy to put your opinions out there for everyone to see.  Cheers!

Greetings from Santa Rosa!  While on the Presidential honeymoon, I got to visit the Russian River brewpub.  A knowledgeable beer dude named Andy has volunteered some review services to the Nation.  Andy is not only a beer drinking gourmand, but also a practiced homebrewer.  Let's see what Andy has to say about Jack D'or:

jack d'or
batch 26 (bottled may 2011)

belgian sniffer.

Appearance: Clear golden, light haze. Excellent thick white head. (The photo is deceiving as it was taken at the end of the bottle, so sediment hazed it up)

Smell: Yeast giving way to citrus and pepper.

Taste: Starts with a crisp hop bitterness with some peppery spiciness,  on to fruit from the hops playing with the belgian yeast esters. Finishes citrusy with more hop bite. A times a touch of grain comes through in the finish, but rarely. The whole sip gains complexity as the beer warms up.

Mouth: A perfect amount of medium carbonation to play with the hop bitterness.

Overall: Incredibly drinkable, dry, refreshing. I was expecting more belgian flavors to come out, which left me a bit disappointed. However, this is still a great beer! Truly, an "american saison."



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The WIP Midday Show Beer Brawl

The WIP Midday Show Beer Brawl

Here's a Beer-Off that merits discussion.  Regional brews go head-to-head and receive scores and brief reviews.  I think we at the Nation know a few things about this... Check out the sports dudes' reviews and let us (and them) know how you feel.  Drop us a line, why don't you?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Trip to Bear Republic

Greetings, Citizens!

After the First Lady and I made it official by tying the presidential knot, we got to embark on a fun-filled journey across the nation to the far-off land of California.  The air is a bit denser here on the east coast, so I appreciated some time up in the hills of Napa and Sonoma where I got to check out some gorgeous scenery, breathe some fresh air, and sample some mighty fine wine.  I was also lucky enough to make it up to Santa Rosa (foreshadowing a future post...) and Healdsburg.  Ah, the meat of the matter.

Healdsburg, CA is home to the Bear Republic Brewing Company http://www.bearrepublic.com/home.php.
Some of Bear Republic's drinker-friendly brews have made it over to our neck of the woods, and I am quite fond of the ones I've tried.  Racer 5 IPA is one of the more highly regarded of its kind, for good reasons.  It has a nifty balance of malt and hops in a medium-bodied brew that really excites the palate.  I've had it many times here on the east coast, but when in Healdsburg... I figured I had to try it right at the source.  My memory could be pulling tricks on me, but I thought Racer 5 was just a bit darker and more malty when I've tasted it before.  It seemed this time to be a little crisper and brighter, with a bit more grapefruity, hoppy bite coming through.  Perhaps the flavors change just a tad when the beers travel across the land and age just a wee bit.  Maybe I'm just crazy.

Actually, maybe I'm not crazy.  After all, I have tasted the darker, maltier brews like Red Rocket and Hop Rod Rye that have graced the taps around here and I know Racer 5 is a little lighter than those, but still...

Okay, change of topic: While I was at the Bear Republic Brewpub I had the good fortune of trying a Big Bear Black Stout.  It's everything it sounds like.  Rich and hearty, Big Bear is full of stout flavor.  Sadly, it was the last beer I got to try that evening, since last call had been given and my gullet was full  to the point of bursting with Bear Republic's groovy food.  The chili, ribs, wings, coleslaw, salad, garlic fries, and some other stuff I can't remember must have felt overcrowded, judging by the way they were struggling for their own space.  And finally, Big Bear laid the smack down.  And I threw in the towel.

I did get to try a bunch of Bear Republic's specialty brews by way of their 8-man flight (paddle plus two).  I know I'm irresponsible for not writing all of it down, but I don't feel too badly because there was one brew that deserves mention above all the rest.  The Cafe Racer 15 was an outstanding beer.  Pretty certain it was a suped-up variety of Racer 5.  The alcohol was only slightly more (Racer 15 being 8.5% vs. Racer 5 at 7%) but the body and the general presence were definitely more intense than the other brews on the flight.  I would have most certainly gone back for a full pour of Cafe Racer 15 if I had the time and the capacity.  It's a special beverage.

I really enjoyed the food, the atmosphere, and especially the beers at Bear Republic.  It's definitely worth a look-see if you're  in the neighborhood.  Just a heads-up, though:  If you're from out of town you may have trouble finding it right away because it's set back from the road aways in a walking plaza.  And Bear Republic is a restaurant/brewpub, not a bar.  So check the hours before you make your plans.  It's definitely a great way to end an early night or to begin a late night.  Cheers!