Sunday, January 27, 2013

Long time no post!

What a crazy few months it has been.  As you know, I now represent Evolution Craft Brewing here in PA & northern DE.  With that being said, I fully intend to keep this blog about ALL craft beers.  For a while I have wanted to start reviewing beers, just never got to it.  After having my second round of Dulachan IPA from Lavery Brewing, I decided it was a great beer to begin with.

Lavery Brewing Company located in Erie, PA, is a small batch American craft brewery that was founded in 2009 and officially started selling beer in early 2010.  I first encountered it at Prohibition Taproom when Jon (the GM) offered me a sample.  He brought it over and said I had to try this new beer.  Jon knows I love hops and Jon knows his beers, so I was excited to try something new.  I had never heard of the beer or the brewery, but as soon as I smelled it, I knew it was going to be good.  It smelled of grapefruit, lemon, pine, tropical fruit, and orange.  Slightly hazy with a nice white head, this IPA tasted exactly like it smelled.  It's a perfect example of a west coast IPA, extremely hoppy with little malt behind it.  Personally, that's the way I prefer it.  I want an IPA to slap me in the face with hops and never apologize for it.  The Dulachan does this - and only clocks in at 5.6%.

The second time I tried this beer, in a full pint, was last night at 2312 Garrett in Drexel Hill.  This bar seems a bit out of place, nearby dive bars proudly serving Bud, Coors, and Miller.  When I saw they had Lavery on tap, I took the 30 minute drive just to drink it.  2312 had a solid tap list and a nice food menu to soak those suds with.  This time, I had a pint of Dulachan and quickly remembered why I love this beer so much.  You can taste the different hop varietals, Simcoe, Citra, and Columbus, and those 70 IBUs really come through in the finish.  If you enjoy in-your-face-hops and a clean, bitter finish, then you must drink this beer.  As far as I've seen, it's tap only, so keep your eyes open (hint hint, use PhillyTapFinder to check the latest tap lists).

The name, Dulachan, is the Irish name of the "Grim Reaper."  After drinking this beer, you'll think you have died and gone to hop heaven.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

VT trip #2

So as you can tell by my twitter/blog, I love Vermont.  Instead of taking vacations to the beach, cruises, and island getaways, I prefer to vacation where the beer is.  This past weekend, my husband and I made the trek up to VT once again to visit our 2 favorite breweries, The Alchemist & Hill Farmstead.  Hill Farmstead was having their annual saison festival, where tickets had sold out in just one day.  We made sure to visit The Alchemist first thing on Friday morning, as they usually sell out of their famous Heady Topper shortly after opening.  We arrived at 11 on the dot and people were already waiting for the doors to open.  People also weren't just getting a case for the weekend, everyone that ordered was ordering at least 3-5 cases.  This stuff is THAT good. 

Next stop, one of our favorite bars for lunch - The Prohibition Pig.  This is where the old Alchemist used to be, until it was flooded out.  They always have great local brews on tap and killer grub.  I had the Alchemist/Hill Farmstead colab Walden and the Lawson's Finest Liquids Knockout Blonde.  They also do 2 sizes with their beers, so you can try lots of different brews without getting too crazy, especially at 12pm!  I also had their grass fed burger topped with pickled onion (my GOD these were delicious), bacon, and VT bleu cheese.  This was hands down the best bleu cheese I've ever had.  VT does beer and cheese on another level. 

For dinner that evening, we went to our favorite bar to grab Hill Farmstead beers - The Blackback Pub and Flyshop.  They always have at least 5-10 HF beers on tap and serve them in the correct HF glassware.

I went a little overboard, seeing all the HF goodies on tap and had quite a few.  Luckily, we had some great company to share it with.  It was so awesome to have a bunch of Philly beer geeks with us representing!  We ended the night at back at our condo with some eVolution Lot #3 and our newest homebrew, a double IPA brewed with galaxy hops. 

The next morning, armed with coffee and bagel sandwiches, we headed to pick up some Lawson's & to the saison festival.  We went to a really cute farmer's market and were able to snag 8 bottles of Double Sunshine Ipa and a really nice Lawson's beer bag for free! 

When we arrived at HF, the fest was already underway and there were lots of cars parked from all over - New York, Mass, North Carolina, PA, etc.  They only sold 300 tickets, so we were excited that it wouldn't be too crowded.  There were a few tents set up with beer and a few set up with cheeses/grub.  Here's a list of all the beers I personally got to try on tap:

E. - rustic Belgian inspired farmhouse pale ale.  Aged in white wine barrels that held Mimosa.
Flora - wine barrel-aged & microflora-driven version of Florence
Mimosa - wild saison brewed with citrus & aged in wine barrels*
*this was def. the most sought after beer at the festival and it was to DIE for
Anna - honey saison crafted from American malted barley, European & American hops, VT wildflower honey & their distinctive farmhouse yeast
Florence - farmhouse saison made with Butterworks Farm organic wheat
Art - barrel aged version of Arthur, their traditional farmhouse saison

From their friends:
Tired Hands - Mysterious Mood
Fantome - Saison D'Erezee Printemps
Cantillon Zwanze 2010

What an awesome event with so many great beers!  We stayed until the heavy metal band, "Maid in Iron," played for a bit.  We headed back to the condo, refreshed, and made our way back out to our favorite bars for some dinner and more drinks.

All in all, it was such an awesome trip and we got some killer beers to drink (and haul back to PA).  I think we will be taking a break from traveling to VT for some time, but hoping to make the saison fest again next year.  Who is coming with us?!


PS - Stopping at the original Ben & Jerry's in Waterbury didn't hurt, either.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Big News!

Hey everyone, it's been a little while since my last post, but I've been keeping busy.  Not only did I make my way to Vermont again for some seriously great brews, I have some news that I am very excited to announce.  I am the new beer slinger for eVolution craft brewing company!  I will be covering Center City Philadelphia, as well as Wilmington & Newark, DE.  I traveled to Salsbury, MD to meet up with Tom Knorr, founder and owner of eVolution and got to see the new brewery at work, as well as some brews aging in barrels and the brewpub.  I am so excited to bring eVolution to Philly, where the beer geeks are always on the lookout for new craft beers.

I first had eVolution Lot #3 ipa back in 2010, when we went to MD to search for beer for our wedding.  We took the recommendation of one of their reps and bought a case without even trying it.  I'm so glad we trusted him, this is one seriously delicious east coast ipa.  We even saved a few bottles for our wedding (unfortunately we drank most of them before the actual big day, it was too good to salvage).

For a look at their mainline beers and some seasonals, go here.  Here's a pretty cool interview with Tom, talking about the expansion of eVolution.

Up next, talking about the Saison festival at Hill Farmstead.  Until then, raise a glass!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

PBW Day #5 & #8

Well, better late than never!  It's been a while, I haven't been keeping up with all my online activity as much as I would like.  Sometimes, work and other roadblocks get in the way.  So, here's my last hurrah for PBW 2012.

Day #5

Jose, Misconduct Tavern.  I had planned on meeting my sister and out of town friends at Jose Pistolas for the Founders lunch takeover.  My friends were running late, so I met with my sister Katie around 11:40 and there was a line around the block.  We were both famished and and decided not to wait it out and head over to Misconduct, where I always get good food and good beer.  I ordered the chicken caesar with a side of housemade hot dog (BBQ chicken) which is all natural and came with coleslaw and a grilled bun.  Ballast Point Barmy Apricot was my first beer, which I had never seen before.  Tasted very light and slightly fruity; deceiving since it weighs in at 10.7%.  This is a beer I could drink all day, if it wouldn't end up knocking me on my ass after 3.  Second beer was the Central Waters Bourbon Stout.  My server said she preferred this beer to Founders KBS, but I disagreed.  Same style and Central Waters is a great brewery, but this stout had a little too much raisin taste for me.  I did enjoy the nose and overall taste, and would order again.

Once the craziness died down at Jose's, my friends got a table and even though the CBS kicked, they were able to get a glass of the KBS 2011.  I met up with them and enjoyed the Cerise, which is a delicious red ale that is fermented with tart cherries and has a smooth, fruity taste.

Kite & Key.  We left and met up with Steve to get some KBS for their Founder takeover.  Last year, it was a madhouse.  This year, they didn't have CBS, so it was fairly easy to get a seat at the bar and some KBS finally.  We met up with lots of beer friends too - Rich, Matt, Inspector Bob.

They also had one of my favorite DIPAs, Double Trouble.  It was a Founders wonderland - Breakfast Stout, KBS, Double Trouble, Backwoods Bastard, Better Half, Imperial Stout, Cerise, Centennial.  If only beer week didn't have so many awesome events each day, I would've spent my day and evening with Founders.

Prohibition Taproom.  They had Cigar City and Funky Buddha on tap and it was the busiest I've ever seen the place.  Our good friend John, the general manager of Prohibition, has great taste in beer and runs one of my favorite bars. 

Matt ordered us a bunch of the Funky Buddah beers before we got there, and Steve was double fisting as soon as we walked in.  Those are our friends, Lindsay & Tony, from Elizabethtown.  Lindsay & I went to college together and she now works with her husband at their restaurant, Black Gryphon.  They're very passionate about local foods, craft beers, and craft cocktails - my kind of people!

I tasted 3 of the Funky beers - Last Snow, No Crusts, Applebum.  Everyone was going nuts over the No Crusts, a PB&J beer.  I wasn't too crazy about that one, but I loved the Applebum.  It tasted like I dove head first into a warm homemade apple pie.  I also really enjoyed the Last Snow, which is their porter made with white chocolate and coconut.  I usually don't like coconut, but this was so well balanced with the chocolate, coffee, and vanilla.

We ran into so many beer friends, and finally got to meet Jim!  Prohibition put on a great event that brought a lot of people out.  If only we had time to get some of their fried green beans.....

Franklin Mortgage Investment Co.  Lindsay and Tony haven't been to Philadelphia together before, so we wanted to take them to the best cocktail bar in the city.  We had such a fun time at Franklin Mortgage, and it was a nice break from all the beer week madness.  We got some small snacks and enjoyed quite a few (expensive) cocktails.

Barcade.  Allagash takeover with founder and head brewed, Rob Tod.  We hit up Barcade quite a bit during beer week, but this was mainly for our friends, who love Allagash and arcade games.  It was pretty crowded, but they had TONS of Allagash beers to choose from.

I got to try Old HLT on tap, as well as Ghoulschip.  I already knew I loved the HLT since we had some bottles from the brewery, but I wasn't sure about the Ghoulschip.  It. Was. Awesome.  It defintely had a sour nose, but you could also detect a hint of pumpkin seed.  It started out sour, then as it warmed on my tongue, gave way to pumpkin, molasses, and a hint of lemon.  It might be one of the most bizarre flavor profiles I've tasted, and I loved it.

Day #8

Hill Farmstead Day.  Boilermaker was our only solid plan for Friday and it seemed that HF was flowing all over the city all day.  We stopped at Prohibition beforehand and had an Oskar Blues Gubna, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Very piney, incredibly hoppy, citrus and floral notes, perfect ipa.  We walked to BM and went upstairs, where they were already pouring HF beers and it was already pretty crowded.  We eventually made our way to the end corner with friends and were able to enjoy tons of HF beers since they do small and big pours.

I tried to take some pictures, but since it was so dark, most of them didn't turn out too well.  Luckily, there were tons of beers to occupy my time.  I got to try about 9 of the beers, one of which was from Grassroots, the colaboration label. 

Hill Farmstead fans : don't be jealous.  Shaun recognized me from when Steve and I visited in May and it was awesome to talk to him again and see how his events were going in Philly.  He asked me how many beers I had tried so far, and I responded with "almost all of them."  I could go into depth about how amazing each and every beer was, but I feel like I would sound like a broken record.  Amazing, amazing, amazing.  Eventually, I fully intend to have beer reviews on my blog, but in time my friends, in time.

I know this is SUPER late, but thanks to you all who have decided to take a beer journey with me and I fully intend to stay on track in the future.


Friday, June 8, 2012

PBW Day #2 & #3

Greetings, PBW friends!  This is a little bit late to update, but here's what happened on my day #2 & #3 of PBW.

International Beer Expo.  I worked the event for Philly Beer Scene magazine and had such a fantastic time.  It was perfect weather for the outdoor event at the Navy Yard and I even got to introduce my sister to her first beerfest.

We were right next to the guys from Philly Beer Week and Unibroue, which made for awesome beer tasting and conversation about the week's events.  There were tons of great breweries represented, and even a wine tent, which I had never seen at a beer event before.

Once the general admission was allowed in, the party really began.  Lots of pretzel necklaces, Philly t-shirts, and even a few PBW shirts!

These two guys came up to our table a lot.  Gotta love the party in the back.

We sold quite a few tshirts, glasses, and a couple posters.  Everyone loved looking at both posters, which from 2010 is kind of like a "Where's Waldo" of Philly beer and the 2012 pinpoints where all the breweries are located.

That was about the 20th couple we saw having full blown makeout sessions.  Beer makes people happy!

That's Ed from Philly Beer Week.  We made friendly and even got him some beer in his full pint glasses!  It def helps when you're working the events, they bend the rules a bit.

What a great event and a pretty nice turnout considering it's right in the middle of the first weekend of PBW. 

Kite & Key.  Next stop, try and catch a little bit of the Gladiator event at Kite.  After packing everything from the event, I knew we would miss the action, but we were hopeful to see some leftovers (including beers).  We met my husband Steve at a table outside and witnessed the Yards guys trying to turn their gladiator mobile around in the middle of Callowhill street.  It was fun to watch, everyone in their cars looked totally confused.

It was a gorgeous day for an outdoor table, dinner, and some beers.  I went with the Dogfish Red & White and the Festina Peche while I was there.  We finished up quickly and went to a concert to see my sister's friend play in his band, The Bailey Hounds.  The concert was held in a cemetery, and it was the perfect getaway from the crowds of PBW.  We arrived with some beers in tow and enjoyed some music and scenery.

Near the end of the show, I went on Twitter and saw that James Murphy of LCDSoundsystem was doing a DJ set at Morgan's Pier.  I freaked out.  I love LCD and even saw one of their final shows at Terminal 5 in NYC.  We raced over to Old City and ventured to the overflowing venue.  I highly doubt most of the people there were interested in James Murphy, but we got some Boulder Mojo in our hands and waited it out to see him.  After about an hour and a half, he arrived, literally right behind us.  I was lucky enough to get a quick picture with him, as did my sister.  He was super chill and we had front row watching view.  He killed it!  Now I know this isn't a beer week event, but seriously, how awesome?!

Can you tell how excited I am??

A little blurry, but who cares.

That was a fantastic end to day #2 of beer week.  James freaking Murphy.  Also, their movie, Shut Up & Play The Hits, will hit select theatres for one day only, July 18th.  It follows the band on their last few days of shows at Madison Square Garden.  Looks AWESOME.

Day #3

Misconduct.  We started the day by heading over to Misconduct for some Heady Topper & the Mat Falco shaving.  We unfortunately missed the actual shaving, but here's some photos of it, courtesy Steve Lyfords.

Looking good Falco!  As if we hadn't had enough of Heady Topper from our trip, we wanted more.  We paired it with burgers and were happily full.  I also tried to the Allagash/New Belgium colab called Vrienden.  It comes it at 9.2% and is brewed with dandelion greens and elderberries.  It was deliciously sour, tart, light, and very drinkable!

Cirque du Saison.  We headed to Queen Village to catch some saison action at Tapestry.  The bar was swamped, so we grabbed a table, beer, and a cheese/charcuterie board.  Hands down, this is the best charcuterie in the city.  We washed it down with Stillwater's As Follows.

Outside, they had face painting, jugglers, music, and lots of people.  It was really cool to see the neighborhood come together for a small street party.

Bishops Collar.  We went back to our neighborhood for a Goose Island happy hour with the reps from GI.  They had the Lolita on, which we've never had before, so it was very exciting.

The color of this beer was so vibrant, I couldn't stop looking at it!  We also met Andrew & Wade, who were awesome guys that gave us tons of information about Goose Island and their barrel program.  I had no idea that Goose Island has the biggest barreling program in the US!  Also, Lolita is considering an American Wild Ale, yet at beer competitions, it's considered a Belgian Style Pale Ale.  After drinking it, I can see both sides.  It drinks with a strong sweetness, but it also has that pucker and funk to it.

Andrew also offered to buy Steve and I a beer, so I switched to Sofie, which is one of my favorite saisons.  This beer is also aged in wine barrels and has a champagne quality to it.  You can taste funk, orange zest, spice, and slight sweetness.

After having a few more Goose Island beers, I think we "got goosed" at their fantastic happy hour.  And that was the exciting day 2 & 3.  I took off day 4, so day 5 will be posted shortly.  I'm way behind, but I finally was able to catch my breath today and smile back at the awesome time we've had so far.  Trust me, day 5 was a crazy one.  Stay tuned beer lovers!