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The Tasting Room: Oct/Nov 2012

The Tasting Room: Oct/Nov 2012

October/November 2012 VENUE: The Old Eagle Tavern

Up on the hill in Manayunk is a great corner bar that often gets overlooked. Right on the corner of Terrace Street and Shurs Lane, The Old Eagle Tavern has become a regular hangout of Manayunk locals for over nine years now. Serving a great array of good beer and food, The Eagle offers a laid back vibe that is often lost in most of the city.

Our Notable Guest

Probably better known as Joe Sixpack, Don Russell was one of the pioneers of the local craft beer scene. From his role on the Philly Beer Week board, to his regular column in the Daily News, Don has dedicated much of his time to developing and building this awesome beer culture we are now a part of.

Staying a bit more behind the scenes than Don, Erin Wallace is the owner of the Old Eagle Tavern and the Devil’s Den in South Philly. Her love/obsession for sour beers and Baltimore roots are often showcased at her bars, much to the delight of beer geeks.

From the Scene Guest

Steve Mashington joins us as the winner of the 2012 Philly Beer Geek competition as a representative of the Hulmeville Inn. Steve is also currently the area sales rep for Fegley’s Brew Works.

Nina Jablonski is a graphic designer from Philadelphia who joins us after winning our recent t-shirt design contest. She loves discovering new brews in one of the greatest beer cities in the world.

Penn Kaiser Pils

3 out of 5 stars

Kaiser Pils is a North Germany style Pils beer. Pale-gold color, good body, crisp, clean, very bitter, with pronounced hop aroma. ABV: 4.0%

Don: 3.5 – Classic northern German bite.

Erin: 2– Dry, citrus flavor, lacking in strong grassy notes found in most pilsners.

Mash: 3 – Touch too bitter in the finish. Good, not great.

Nina: 3 – Bitter finish, light color, grassy notes.

Mat: 3 – Not the best pilsner on the market, but very drinkable.

König Ludwig Weissbier

3 out of 5 stars

A Royal Bavarian Hefeweizen. The Bavarian Royal Family has had sole rights to brewing Hefe-Weizen on Bavaria for over 200 years. ABV: 5.5%

Don: 3.5 – A favorite style of mine. Decent body but would like more of that banana.

Erin: 2.5 – Yeasty, banana flavored wheat.

Mash: 2.5 – Mellow aroma, nice mouth-feel, subtle banana-rama aroma.

Nina: 2.5 – Light & fluffy mouth-feel. Hints of banana and very yeasty. A little too light for my taste.

Mat: 3 – No major flaws with this one, it just lacks any kind of excitement.

Old Forge Endless Summer Ale

3 out of 5 stars

Very light-bodied, low-hopped, pale golden ale, with some wheat and lightly toasted malts to round out the flavor. ABV: 4.8%

Don: 3.5 – Wish I had this on the beach this summer.

Erin: 3.5 – Crisp, clean, grainy malt flavors with subtle citrus notes. Easy drinking.

Mash: 1.5 – Hot corn, cold corn, bring along the Sammy John.

Nina: 3 – Verry fizzy, somewhat dry, champagne-esque.

Mat: 3 -Exactly what it claims to be: easy, drinkable, simple summer beer.

Castelain Two Brothers Diversey & Lill(e)

4 out of 5 stars

Collaboration beer from a Brasserie Castelain of Benifontaine France and Two Brothers of Warrenville, Illinois. Flavors of ripe fruit spices and toasted almond round out this slightly sweet, full beer. ABV: 6.3%

Don: 4 – Very smooth and well-made. Love the malt.

Erin: 4 – Subtle spice and hot but nice toasted, bready malt character.

Mash: 4 – Little bread & biscuit in the nose. Well-balanced, slight pepper in the background. Nice.

Nina: 4 – Cool van Gogh art on label. Sweet & malty, alcoholic taste, accessible.

Mat: 4 – Not as hoppy as description leads to believe. Great fridge beer I’d love to see in 12 oz. bottles.

Finch’s Cut Throat Pale Ale

3 out of 5 stars

Finch’s Pale Ale has a fresh and hoppy taste with just enough supporting malt to make it easy to kick back more than just one. The citrus hop character balanced with a malty backbone creates a delicious, accessible pale ale that is sure to satisfy with every sip. ABV: 5.5%

Don: 3.5 – If this were dry-hopped with a more aromatic hop, it would kill.

Erin: 3.5 -Piney hop bite and spicy hop nose.

Mash: 2.5 – Citrus, nice nose. Orange comes through. Off balance, too bitter.

Nina: 2 – A little heavy on the malt, grassy notes.

Mat: 3.5 – A little too malty, but otherwise a solid pale ale.

Free Will Pale Stout

4 out of 5 stars

This beer doesn’t quite fit into any particular style description other than what the name says. Roasted coffee and dark chocolate notes with a dry crisp finish. ABV: 5.0%

Don: 4 – A gimmick that actually works.

Erin: 4 – Nice, traditional stout flavors but lighter body.

Mash: 3 – Roasted barley, interesting, good mouth-feel. Too thin for me.

Nina: 4 – Nice nose, chocolaty and smoky, good for all seasons

Mat: 4 – About as full bodied as a stout and as light in color and drinkable as a pale ale. Great addition to the local beer scene.

Evolution Lucky 7 Porter

4 out of 5 stars

Black with garnet highlights, this porter is rich & full flavored with notes of chocolate, coffee & smoke. ABV: 5.8%

Don: 5 – Nice and chocolaty. Wonderful body.

Erin: 3.5 – Roasty and chocolaty. Not overly sweet.

Mash: 3.5 – Very sweet aroma, chocolate and roastiness. Full bodied, enjoyable.

Nina: 4.5 – Full body, nice smoky flavor, balanced and goes down smooth.

Mat: 4 – Very full bodied and roasty. Another great offering from Evo.

Harpoon Rye IPA

4 out of 5 stars

Brewed with Harpoon’s proprietary yeast, this beer yields a complex malt body and multidimensional hop character. ABV: 6.9%

Don: 4 – Clean with spicy hops.

Erin: 4.5 – Nice, spicy rye, citrus hops, clean and crisp. Very subtle malt.

Mash: 4 – Great aroma, fruity & citrusy. Nice subtle rye. Good balance.

Nina: 4 – Bold, crisp hops, nice balance and good accessibility. I’d drink this on the regular.

Mat: 4 – Very sessionable IPA. Expected a bit more spice from the rye, but one of the better beers from Harpoon.

Smuttynose IPA

3 out of 5 stars

The citrusy hop flavor coming from a mixture of Simcoe and Santiams is pleasantly balanced by a smooth bitterness from the Amarillo hops. The beer itself is light bodied and crisp with a golden color that will throw a slight haze. ABV: 6.6%

Don: 3.5 – Hop profile is too narrow.

Erin: 3 – Very dank, bitter hop and very little maltiness.

Mash: 3 – Kind of an English IPA. More bitter than balance. Real earthy. OK.

Nina: 3 – A little too malty for my taste, bitter.

Mat: 3.5 – Hop blend is not my favorite and is overly bitter, but hop heads would enjoy it.

Goose Island Matilda

3.5 out of 5 stars

Goose Island’s Matilda is an Orval-inspired Belgian-Style Pale Ale finished with Brettanomyces bruxellensis giving this golden ale its baking spice aroma, fruity, biscuity malt flavor and dry body. ABV: 7.0%

Don: 4 – I wanna waltz with her.

Erin: 4.5 – Bretty, fruity, funky! Easy and refreshing.

Mash: 3.5 – Little sour in the nose. Light, effervescent, dry finish. Nice, not mind blowing.

Nina: 2 – Sweet, mild & smooth, alcoholic.

Mat: 4 – Brett character really works great with this Belgian pale ale. I could drink a lot of this beer.

Stillwater Existent

2.5 out of 5 stars

Existent represents the philosophy behind Stillwater Artisanal. Deep & dark though deceptively dry, braced by a firm, yet smooth bitterness and accented with an earthy hop and mild roast aroma. ABV: 7.4%

Don: 3 – Existential question: why was this beer brewed?

Erin: 3 – Sweet roasted malt, caramel, dark fruit. Like other Stillwater beers better.

Mash:1.5 – I don’t trust gypsies. This beer tastes weird. Too fruity. Too sweet.

Nina: 2 – Interesting label art, definite chocolate and smoky notes, unbalanced.

Mat: 2.5 – Disappointing comparatively to the rest of the Stillwater portfolio. Lacks balance.

Leinenkugel Big Eddy Baltic Porter

2.5 out of 5 stars

Big Eddy Baltic Porter is a blanket of malt flavor. Notes of toffee, cocoa, caramel, toasted bread and sherry fruit flavors are interwoven to produce a symphony of splendor. ABV: 8.5%

Don: 3.5 – Tastes like it should be their Scotch ale.

Erin: 3 – Not a Baltic porter, but I liked it.

Mash: 2.5 – A red porter? Not very roasty. Tastes like a Scotch ale.

Nina: 0.5 – Very sweet, heavy malty flavor.

Mat: 3 – Not sure how they can call this a Baltic Porter. But name aside, it’s an enjoyable beer.

Mc Chouffe

4 out of 5 stars

The Mc Chouffe is an unfiltered dark beer, which is re-fermented in the bottle as well as in the keg. Behind its fruity flavor a slight hint of bitterness may be found. ABV: 8.0%

Don: 4.5 – Loving how the huge malt profile matches the yeast.

Erin: 3.5 – Rich, malty spice. Flavors of caramel, sugar, and toffee.

Mash: 4 – Classic Belgian spice in the nose. Nice textured aroma,with a clean malt finish that highlights the yeast.

Nina: 3  – Semi-sweet, but not overwhelmingly, mild spice notes in aftertaste.

Mat: 4 – Yet another great offering from Brasserie d’aChouffe. Yeast and malts complement each other perfectly.

Maredsous 10

3.5 out of 5 stars

This is a golden-bodied Triple, replete with festive sparkle, creamy body, and a luscious head. Its elegant smoothness belies the strong alcohol content. You will revel in its balanced, long, and warming finish. ABV: 10.0%

Don: 3.5 – Sweet, sweet foam.

Erin: 3 – Honey, light flavors of apple and pear. A little dryer finish would be preferred.

Mash: 3 – Classic Belgian, nice, spice aroma. Boozy. Too sweet for me.

Nina: 3.5 – Very cool, unique bottle shape. Light, exotic flavor. Dry finish. Light flavor for 10% ABV.

Mat: 3.5 – Lacking the dry finish I enjoy in tripels. Quite smooth for ABV though.

Magic Hat Burn Pile

4.5 out of 5 stars

A smoked porter brewed with six malts offering an aroma of caramel and chocolate with a subtle, complementary smokiness. ABV: 7.5%

Don: 5 – A smoky beer that’s not afraid to blaze.

Erin: 4 – Roasty and smoky but not bacon-y.

Mash: 4 – Mellow smoke aroma, nice full body. Good smoke flavor. Finally, a Magic Hat beer I can drink.

Nina: 4 Smoky, roasted, toasty, very dry, nice balanced body

Mat: 4.5 – Pretty damn good. Fantastic body and perfect level of smoke.

Sam Adams Third Voyage

3.5 out of 5 stars

This unique double IPA takes the style’s origins a step further. Using Cascade hops from each of these regions we created a brew that’s citrusy, earthy and full of bold character. ABV: 8.0%

Don: 3.5 – Slightly chalky with sweet finish.

Erin: 3 – Hoppy and piney.

Mash: 3.5 – Nice strong fruit aroma. Nice balance for a DIPA. A good beer. I wouldn’t not, not drink it.

Nina: 3.5 – Nice color and body. Smooth but nothing out of the ordinary. Well-balanced

Mat:3.5 – Smooth for the style, and very solid offering from Sam Adams.

Petrus Dubbel Bruin

3.5 out of 5 stars

Petrus Double Brown Ale is a top-fermented dark beer. Brewed with pure spring water and carefully selected hops and malts. ABV: 6.5%

Don: 4 – Lovely malt profile: cookies & cream.

Erin: 3.5 – Dark fruit flavors with a slight sour finish. Wish it was more sour.

Mash: 4 – Good bread & caramel malt aroma. Sweet toffee and subtle spice finish.

Nina: 2.5 – Very sweet, candy-flavored with caramel malt notes.

Mat: 4 -No Petrus Pale, but great with very interesting,complex sweetness.

Southern Tier Iniquity

4 out of 5 stars

Southern Tier Iniquity is an Imperial Black IPA,which is also called an Imperial India Brown Ale. It uses four different hops and 2-row pale malt along with de-bittered black malt in its brewing. ABV: 9.0%

Don: 4.5 – If black IPAs tasted more like this, I’d drink more of ‘em.

Erin: 4 – Woody hops, roasted malt, smooth and not boozy.

Mash: 3.5 – Big hop aroma. Roasted malt in the nose. Clean finish. A little drinkable.

Nina: 4 – A little malty, yet smooth. Slight smoked flavor. Goes down easy for 9%.

Mat: 3.5 – Incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Dangerous at 9% ABV.

Moa Imperial Stout

4.5 out of 5 stars

Moa Imperial Stout Barrel Reserve is a very strong, upfront and rich offering of this famous Moa style. Aged in oak Pinot Noir barrels, this beer not only displays coffee and mocha characters but also some sweet and savory notes unique to Moa Imperial. ABV: 10.2%

Don: 4 – A light & effervescent stout? Love the Belgian yeast.

Erin: 4.5 – Very rasiny, dark fruits, rich roasted body but still light.

Mash: 4 – Chocolate and roasted in the nose. Very carbonated. Lively mouth-feel, oaky, complex, dark fruit finish.

Nina: 4 – Awesome label design, nice smoky and sweet flavor. Creamy body. Bitter finish.

Mat: 4 – Sexy bottle filled with fitting liquid. Red wine encompasses the beer perfectly.

Stoudt’s Fat Dog

4.5 out of 5 stars

This unique ale merges the smooth and complex richness of an Oatmeal Stout with the assertive hoppiness of Imperial Stout. Fat Dog has an inviting silky-black color, a prominent roasted malt character, and a chocolatey, coffee-like finish. ABV: 9.0%

Don: 5 – This dog is wagging my tail!

Erin: 4 – Sweet roasted malt body. Chocolate and coffee flavors. Smooth finish.

Mash: 4 – Nice, big roast aroma, full body. Good chocolate flavor.

Nina: 2.5 – Smooth, bitter finish. Kind of underwhelming. A bit watered-down tasting.

Mat: 4 – Clean, smooth drinkable Imperial Stout. A local classic that’s often overlooked.

The Final Picks

Don’s Final Pick: Evolution Lucky 7 Porter. I love porters and I’m afraid brewers either avoid the style or tend to turn it into a stout. This one hits all the right notes… the way a classic porter oughta be.

Erin’s Final Pick: Moa Imperial Stout. Really liked the dark fruit, wine-like qualities. Will be a really good beer for the impending fall weather.

Mash’s Final Pick: Magic Hat Burn Pile. I love smoky beers and this one was just a solid beer. Nice smoke aroma and flavor, easy to drink and the first Magic Hat beer I’ve liked in a long time.

Nina’s Final Pick: Evolution Lucky 7 Porter. I enjoy a well-balanced beer. Great smoky notes. A great beer to ease into the fall season with.

Mat’s Final Pick: Magic Hat Burn Pile. This beer will change your opinions of Magic Hat. A really great beer that nails the smoked porter style. A must try.

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