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Tasting Room September 2013

Tasting Room September 2013

September 2013 VENUE: McMenamin’s Tavern

Mt. Airy is a blossoming location for craft beer and for this Tasting Room, we go back to the bar where it all started for this neighborhood: McMenamin’s Tavern. McMenamin’s is one of the originals in the craft beer scene and is a place that holds a dear spot in the hearts of most of the industry and was around long before the craft beer boom of the past five years. The bar keeps things simple and done well; great pub food and great beer in a classic neighborhood bar setting.

Our Notable Guests

Keith Wallace is the founder of the Beer and Wine School of Philadelphia. He is also an accomplished writer, contributing regular columns to the Daily Beast and this magazine, as well as pieces for Philadelphia Style Magazine, amongst a slew of others. He also authored the book, Corked & Forked.

PJ McMenamin is the man behind this issues’ Tasting Room location. PJ took over McMenamin’s Tavern for his dad in 1989. In 1994, McMenamin’s poured its first craft beer, Stoudt’s Pils, and never looked back. Starting long before craft beer was the ‘cool thing,’ PJ turned McMenamin’s into a destination for those looking for better beer.

From the Scene Guests

Sean Keffer joins usas the winner of the 2nd Annual Battle of the Homebrew Shops. Representing Keystone Homebrew, Sean won
the contest with a blood orange saison aged in Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey Barrels. The recipe and more on Sean can be found in the Homebrewer’s Corner section of this issue.

docsDoc’s Draft Dry Hopped Hard Cider

3 out of 5 stars

Dry hopped with Centennial and Chinook hops, providing a citrus and floral hop character to a traditional cider.
ABV: 6.0%

Keith: 2- Leafy, apple, and sour lemon. Oddball beer; like the asshole of an apple.
PJ: 4- Not bitter. Dry. Not sweet. I don’t like cider, but this is good.
Sean: 1.5- Pleasant nose with the dry hopping but not my type of drink. Rough aftertaste.
Jon:  3.5- A strangely sweet & bitter cider. Could pass as a sparkling apple chardonnay.
Mat: 3- Hops are more complementarity than overwhelming. Interesting cider. Great for chardonnay drinkers.

 

darkhorseDark Horse Kmita Kölsch

2 out of 5 stars

Dark Horse’s way of poking fun at the German purity law and those that insist beer has to be brewed to style. Loaded with Polish hops to put their winning touch on a traditionally boring beer. ABV: 5.5%

Keith: 2- Not a kölsch, at least not in the traditional manner. Amber malt, dry, brown sugar, overblown.
PJ: 2- Dark malt is overpowering. Just OK.
Sean: 2- Maltiness to the extreme. Hints of banana. I could drink it if it was the last case in the beer store. Not bad.
Jon: 2- Sweet malt- banana bread aromatics. Flavor follows through with bitterness.
Mat: 2.5- Not a kölsch. Dark, malty, and burnt. I could, however, see this growing on me after a full pint.

anchorAnchor California Lager

3 out of 5 stars

Single-hop beer, using only fresh, whole Cluster hops. The result is a uniquely sessionable lager beer, which is maltier, hoppier, and somewhat stronger than modern American lagers. ABV: 4.9%

Keith: 3- Fucking good lager. Balanced hops. Great carbonation. Very decent session beer.
PJ: 4- Crisp lager. Dry, not sweet. Very drinkable. You could find this in my fridge.
Sean: 2- Crisp beer. Very sessionable. I could have it at a ballgame tailgate.
Jon: 2.5- Decent lager. Balanced with mild sweetness and very subtle bitterness.
Mat: 4- It’s just plain, simple beer. Contrary to what most craft beer has become and it’s refreshing.

konaKona Big Wave Golden Ale

4 out of 5 stars

A lighter bodied golden ale with a tropical
hop aroma and flavor—a smooth, easy drinking, refreshing ale. ABV: 4.4%

Keith: 3.5- Great carbonation. Lemon and cream finish. Bright, fresh & light. Awesome session beer for reformed hop heads.
PJ: 2.5- Smell of spice, taste of hops. Light ale that makes me want to go to Hawaii.
Sean: 4.5- Great beer! Nice and smooth with great hop notes and taste. I could drink this all day!
Jon: 4- Beautiful floral hoppiness. Bright and crisp. A great beach beer.
Mat: 4- Wow! Extremely unexpected and beautiful hoppy aroma. Tastes like a light, crisp lager with a fresh hop flavor.

augustinerAugustiner Edelstoff

3.5 out of 5 stars

A bright export beer, sparkling and fresh at the same time, brewed with noblest raw materials. A great treat for every beer expert. ABV: 5.6%

Keith: 4- Light, creamy body, taut and simple with great fruity finish. Perfect example of the style.
PJ: 3.5- Light hop. Crisp. Clean. Great lager.
Sean: 3- Pleasant. Good taste of Munich. Fairly decent and sessionable beer.
Jon: 3- Clean, crisp lager with maybe a touch of brininess.
Mat: 4- Really clean, crisp lager. A beer I’d love to try fresh in Germany.

barharborstoutBar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout

3.5 out of 5 stars

A full-bodied stout with focused chocolate flavors and plenty of hops and malt. ABV: 6.5%

Keith: 3- Smokey with a touch of sweet. Traditional. Coffee bean, cinnamon, tight carbonation. OK. All malt and no magic.
PJ: 4- Vanilla. Chocolate. Coffee. Easy drinking.
Sean: 3- Pretty good. Some smoke and chocolate. Mouth-feel a little uncharacteristic of a stout, but a decent brew.
Jon: 4- Chocolate with some black licorice and smoke. A little light bodied, but a great beer.
Mat: 4- Smells like a Hershey bar. Rich and creamy. Great dessert beer.

prairiepathTwo Brothers Prairie Path

3 out of 5 stars

A Belgian-style golden ale. Full flavored, slightly bitter, a clean and refreshing ale. The Belgian malts along with the Saaz and Goldings hops give this beer great drinkability. ABV: 5.1%

Keith: 3- A well made beer for my anti-gluten peeps. Decent hop and malt package.
PJ: 2- Extremely light, but drinkable.
Sean: 3- Detecting potentially a Munich type malt similar to Edelstoff.
Jon: 3- A nice sweet syrup scent with a light finish.
Mat: 3.5- Not much going on, but impressive compared to many gluten free options.

belleDevil’s Canyon Belle

2 out of 5 stars

A true feast for the senses with its rich, straw- like appearance and aromatic, fruity nose. This celebratory beer has a crisp, sweet flavor with a strong, dry, effervescent finish. ABV: 6.0%

Keith: 1- Very yeasty. Not enough stuffing in the beer to back- up the pretentious label. Asparagus finish.
PJ: 2- Sweet but dry. Dries out my tongue.
Sean: 2- Very yeasty in the nose and taste. Drinkable, yet it seems to be an experiment gone south.
Jon: 3- Clean straw-like appearance with fruit and yeast dominating the aroma and flavor.
Mat: 2.5- Surprisingly flat for a champagne yeast, especially considering how this beer is dominated by the yeast.

deschutesDeschutes Black Butte Porter

4 out of 5 stars

A slight hop bitterness up front enhances the distinctive chocolate and roasted finish. It’s prized for its creamy mouth-feel and intense complex flavors. ABV: 5.2%

Keith: 4- Almond and chocolate on the nose. Very pretty. Balance of caramel, caraway and crispness. Toasty but balanced.
PJ: 4- Very good. Could drink this all night. A lot of carbonation but creamy.
Sean: 4- Vanilla notes in smell and taste. Like the balance of this one. Well done.
Jon: 4- Nice porter. Toasty, vanilla, and chocolate linger with rich, nice mouth-feel.
Mat: 4.5- Classic. The reason why Deschutes was such a desired brewery. Nothing crazy, just a really great porter.

cruiserEast Coast Cruiser IPA

2 out of 5 stars

An American version of the historical English-style beer that is brewed using American ingredients, and features a higher hop aroma and more bitterness than its European counterpart. ABV: 6.0%

Keith: 2- Grapefruit and flowers on the nose. Muddy hop flavors and not well-balanced.
PJ: 2.5- Light hop and malt. Easy drinking with a nice finish. Would have two of these.
Sean: 1.5- Disappointed with this one.
Jon: 2- Sappy, earthy hops. Nothing else.
Mat: 2- Lacks balance. Really earthy hops but nothing to back them up.

dulachanLavery Dúlachán

4 out of 5 stars

An in-your-face West-Coast-style American IPA. At only 5.6% ABV, this beer packs a huge hop flavor and aroma without a lot of bite from the bitterness and alcohol. ABV: 5.6%

Keith: 4- Pine needles, clove, fresh tar, orange zest: awesome. I will be drinking this.
PJ: 3.5- Great nose. Citrus. Clean. Delicious.
Sean: 4- Best IPA of the night. Nice grapefruit notes on the tongue. Great summer beer. Even the burp after tasted good.
Jon: 4- Super hoppy. Clean and fruity. Fresh and delicious.
Mat: 4.5- Easily one of the best PA brewed IPAs.

maineMaine Beer Another One IPA

4 out of 5 stars

Another One is light in color, but the hops shine in this IPA from Maine Beer Company. ABV:7.0%

Keith: 5- Soft and tough like a roller derby girl. Sea water, orange oil, and biscuits. Creamy finish and just a hint of butter.
PJ: 2.5- Bottle conditioned: nice. Great long hop flavor. Go buddy!
Sean: 4- Soft on the mouth. Citrus type notes. Nice and smooth. Well-balanced with great head retention.
Jon: 4- Beautiful, hoppy brininess. Really great beer.
Mat: 4.5- Amazingly soft beer while simultaneously complex and flavorful as any world class IPA.

rougueRogue Brutal IPA

3.5 out of 5 stars

An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor, stupendous hop aroma. ABV: 6.0%

Keith: 3- Mushroom and caramel. Heavy and flat. Found this not so much brutal as blah. Solid but not a standout.
PJ: 2- Please forgive me, not my favorite. Light hop. Very dry. It’s missing something for me.
Sean: 3.5- Malt heavy. Very drinkable. Uncharacteristic of a traditional IPA but pretty decent. Can taste the hops in the very end.
Jon: 4- Sweet maltiness, balanced body. Bitter hop finish. Great one from Rogue.
Mat: 4- Not quite an IPA but a very solid, well-balanced beer. Could easily drink a few pints of this.

mojoBoulder Mojo IPA

3.5 out of 5 stars

Pale in color but packed with flavor, Mojo reflects the perfect balance of hop bitterness and malt character. The unique Amarillo hop adds a slight citrus flavor to an ultra-crisp dry finish. ABV: 7.2%

Keith: 3- Soft, new world hops on the nose. Respectable amount of malt. What can I say? Solid malt, solid hops…solid.
PJ: 3- Draft is better but the bottle is good. Nice hop flavor.
Sean: 3- Classic sessionable beer. Good IPA to accompany a meal. Very drinkable.
Jon: 3- A classic IPA. Some booziness balanced with sweet bitterness.
Mat: 3.5- The IPA you’d expect from a classic brewery. The Sierra Pale Ale of IPAs?

starhillStar Hill Whiter Shade of Pale Ale

3.5 out of 5 stars

Marries two bold beer styles: Belgian Wit and IPA. Two row and wheat malt provide a soft base beer for intense fruity and spicy esters of the unique Belgian yeast strain while enhancing the strong hop aroma. ABV: 7.5%

Keith: 4- Anise, marjoram, lavender, and clove. Remarkable, great beer for food pairing, due to its weight and balance.
PJ: 3- Good food beer. Light citrus. Easy drinking.
Sean: 3.5- Very interesting IPA. Spices would make it a great accompaniment to some pulled pork. Great malty finish.
Jon: 3- Good, balanced beer. Malty and sweet with some grapefruit-citrus notes.
Mat: 3.5- Definitely a food beer. Very herbaceous. Perfect for a BYOB.

andersonvalleyAnderson Valley Heelch o’ Hops

3 out of 5 stars

Brewed with a “heelch” (that means “a lot” in Boont- ling) of Columbus, Chinook, and Cascade hops, this double IPA has a palate pleasing bitterness that is artfully balanced with a full-bodied malt foundation. ABV: 8.7%

Keith: 3- Nice, no need for the high ABV. Hops and malt not in har- mony. Nutty and malty with a touch of overblown alcohol.
PJ: 3- Great 8% double IPA. Smooth. Little hop. Great beer.
Sean: 2- Nice and bitter. Boozy, but well-hidden.
Jon: 3- Fairly subtle on the hops. It’s alright.
Mat: 3- Surprisingly lacking hoppiness. Light and deceiving for a double IPA.

urthelUrthel Hop-it

3.5 out of 5 stars

Superior hoppy Belgian ale. White, very rich foam, small bubbles.Very hoppy, spicy, fruity flavor and full, heart-warming body. ABV: 9.5%

Keith: 4- Sweet, citrus nose. Roller coaster of ester-y alcohol. Whoop into a malty splash of coconut, caramel and toast.
PJ: 4- Great first beer if you see it on tap. Lots of carbon- ation. Smooth. Strong. And she’s hot.
Sean: 3- Alcohol burn and fruity notes up front. Unexpected for a Belgian.
Jon: 3- Spicy, floral, and very boozy.
Mat: 3- Hard to get past the booziness and hops are tamer than expected, but nice beer once you get into it.

olddominionOld Dominion Morning Glory

4 out of 5 stars

Brewed with 68lbs. of local espresso beans, Morning Glory is a full-bodied, rich stout filled with flavors of chocolate and coffee. ABV: 9.0%

Keith: 4- Decadent milk chocolate and warm vanilla. Warm and round like a puppy.
PJ: 4- Chocolate nose and toffee. Like a sipping whiskey. Awesome winter brew.
Sean: 4- Now this is a stout! Great body and mouth-feel. Pass the turkey, stuffing and Dominion.
Jon: 4- Rich and velvety chocolate with a touch of espresso. Great body and flavor.
Mat: 4.5- A beer milkshake. Coffee is not overwhelming and exactly where it needs to be. ABV is deceiving. Great stout!

orvalOrval Trappist Ale

4 out of 5 stars

Intensely aromatic and dry character. Between the first and second fermentations there is an additional dry-hopping process, where the beer acquires its pronounced hoppy aroma and extra dry taste. ABV: 6.2%

Keith: 5- Tight carbonation. White truffle, brown rice, toasted cardamom and lemongrass. Dry as Hades.
PJ: 1- Hate the carbonation. Gave up on this beer 10 years ago. Not my favorite trappist.
Sean: 3- Classic beer. A good ol’ standby.
Jon: 4.5- Funky, farmy and spicy. It’s Orval.
Mat: 5- What do you say about Orval? If you’ve never had it, do yourself a favor and go try it.

grandcruIchtegem’s Grand Cru

4 out of 5 stars

Grand Cru is a Flemish red ale; nutty, malty, and has a subtle dark cherry tang that balances it beautifully. ABV: 6.5%

Keith: 5- Apple, sour, and caramel corn on the palate. Crisp and leafy with a touch of sweetness. I dig this shit.
PJ: 4.5- Great sour. Ruby red. Nice finish. Awesome after dinner beer.
Sean: 3- Pretty sweet for my taste. Fairly decent beer though. I recommend for anyone who likes Flemish reds.
Jon: 4- Super sweet. Slightly sour and very effervescent. Too sweet for my taste.
Mat: 4- Not a fan of the sweet style but appreciate the quality. A must for any fan of Flemish reds.

The Final Picks

Keith’s Final Pick: Maine Another One IPA. The nuanced flavors. The balance. The complex progression. It has the stuffing of a very serious beer without the pretentiousness.

PJ’s Final Pick: Anchor California Lager. First time having it and been waiting a long time for a new Anchor beer. It’s August and I’m going to get some for home.

Sean’s Final Pick: Kona Big Wave Golden Ale. Love the balance of this beer and the drinkability. Mahalo! Well done!

Jon’s Final Pick: Kona Big Wave Golden Ale. Really fresh summer beer. Perfect for the beach or anytime when you want to feel like you’re on the beach.

Mat’s Final Pick: Lavery Dúlachán. Easily the hardest choice I’ve made. Have to give the love to a local brewery and being that I prefer lower alcohol beers, this is getting the slight edge over Dominion.

About Jon Clark

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