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The Tasting Room

The Tasting Room

November 2013 VENUE: Di Bruno Brothers

Going with the cheese theme of the issue, we brought the Tasting Room to the 18th and Chestnut location of Di Bruno Brothers in Philadelphia, which is a true artisanal cheese mecca. Surrounded by this abundance of cheese, we thought it would be fitting to suggest cheese pairings for each beer in the review.

Our Notable Guests

Emilio Mignucci
Emilio is a third generation member of the Di Bruno Brothers family. An expert in all things cheese, he is also an active member on the board of the American Cheese Society and helped formed the cheese equivalent of the Cicerone Examóthe ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam.

Hunter Fike
For the last couple of years, Hunter was the manager of the classic 9th Street location of Di Bruno Brothers, before recently moving up to the position of Merchandising Analyst. Altogether, heís been with the company for over 15 years and has helped run over 50 beer and cheese tastings. He also recently became an ACS Certified Cheese Professional.

Rui Lucas
Rui is the manager of the Iron Abbey in Horsham, PA. He is also responsible for helping put together the FARE Festival and is currently working on expanding the upstairs of the Iron Abbey into The Loft, a boutique bottle shop also serving up an extensive selection of Di Bruno cheeses.

eviltwinEvil Twin Bikini Beer: IPA

3 out of 5 stars

2.7% alcohol, attractively light-bodied and annoyingly well-balanced hops. Enjoy this very, very drinkable beer in the sun, or even better, use it to slowly seduce your nagging friends with an anxiety for craft beer. ABV: 2.7%

Cheese: Pantaleo

Emilio: 3- Great flavors for a low alcohol beer.
Hunter: 2- Hoppy, which I like, but not much flavor to act as a foil. As far as bikini beers go, this is much better than Miller Lite & Coors.
Rui: 3- Hoppy nose, nice flavor with zest. Great sub for a beer that has all flavor but no alcohol.
Jon: 3- Great aroma. Flavor is bright and crisp, but abrasively hoppy finish.
Mat: 3.5 Great aroma. Body is as expected for low ABV. Nice session option.



Nectar Ale Red Nectar: Amber Ale

3.5 out of 5 stars

Boasting a ruby hue and an exquisite floral aroma, Red Nectar is a robust, yet elegant brew with distinctive accents of toasted malt, caramel, spice and residual sweetness.

ABV: 5.4%

Cheese: Remeker

Emilio: 3- This could be a nice session beer for me. Not much caramel, but I do get the original flavors.
Hunter: 3.5- Creamy and smooth. Short finish.
Rui: 3.5- Pretty average brew. Some caramel and a robust backbone but just not exciting. Would not order again.
Jon: 3.5- Simple, clean and balanced.
Mat:3.5- Nice creamy body. Consistent, yet evolving flavors. One of the better red ales I’ve had.


Wychwood Hobgoblin: Premium Bitter/ESB

3 out of 5 stars

Hobgoblin is a powerful, full-bodied, copper red, well-balanced brew. Strong in roasted malt with a moderate hoppy bitterness and slight fruity character.

ABV: 5.2%

Cheese: Keen’s Farmhouse Cheddar

Emilio: 3.5- Like the aroma. Thin like water, but I like the cinnamon finish.
Hunter: 3.5- Hints of chocolate, warming spices, and pine. Great balance and sweetness in finish. Texturally lacking.
Rui: 3.5- Great up front. Powerful nose with roast and cinnamon, but loses it when it goes down. Thin and no consistency.
Jon: 2.5- Thin and light. Ginger, chocolate, and cinnamon with slight malt sweetness
Mat: 3- Lack of body is biggest flaw. Interesting notes of cinnamon. Nose is surprisingly intense.

anderson-valleyAnderson Valley El Steinber
: Dunkel Lager

3.5 out of 5 stars

German pilsner malt and Saaz hops round out this beer, producing a crisp, clean finish and smooth drinkability that is perfect for any occasion.

ABV: 5.5%

Cheese: Taleggio

Emilio: 3.5- This beer makes me want to eat fried meatballs before the gravy.
Hunter: 4- An alluring aroma, evocative of fireside drinking. I want a steak.
Rui: 3- I think it’s a hard style to hit. A good job with the malt and Saaz. A lager with a lot of roast flavors and also bacon.
Jon: 4- Really good lager. Toasty and “meaty.” I like it a lot.
Mat: 3- Very drinkable. A bit simple but solid take on the style.

laveryLavery Liopard Oir
: Saison

3.5 out of 5 stars

A floral, hoppy and fruity French style saison, created with five types of grain, Lavery Estate hops and three different strains of yeast. Ends dry, crisp and bottled conditioned with Brettanomyces Claussenii, a wild yeast that adds fruity, tart and mildly funky aromas and flavors to ale.

ABV: 4.5%

Cheese: Leonora

Emilio: 3.5- Just a nice flavor but missing the Brett.
Hunter: 3.5- “Un-Brett” for a beer with Brett. Could be due to age. Lacking in nuance and intrigue.
Rui: 3- Nose of pine and orange/lemon peel. Crisp but not really special. Strains of yeast not really developed yet.
Jon: 3- Great aroma. Flavors die off really quickly.
Mat: 3.5- One dimensional. Some aging might do wonders allowing the Brett to have a greater effect.

halfacreHalf Acre Over Ale
: Brown Ale

3.5 out of 5 stars

This brown beer is a hybrid concoction brewed with malt heft and all around backbone. A styleless wonder.

ABV: 6.0%

Cheese: Gruyere 1655

Emilio: 3- Love the spruce flavor accents.
Hunter: 3.5- Malty and nutty, both in aroma and flavor.
Rui: 4.5- Nice! This style is well-represented. Very malty and roasty. Nice backbone. Well-balanced.
Jon: 3- A good all-around beer. Balanced with crisp finish.
Mat: 3.5- It’s no Daisy Cutter, but very solid for the style.

deschutesBreckenridge Autumn Ale
: Old Ale

3 out of 5 stars


This fall seasonal combines the malty goodness of a German lager with the clean crispness of an American ale. A full-bodied treat with a nutty-sweet middle, a warming alcohol level and notes of toasted grains.

ABV: 6.7%

SCORE: 3.5

Cheese: Hudson Red

Emilio: 3.5- Love the length and smoothness of the beer.
Hunter: 4- Smells bigger than 6.7%. Cloying texture but surprisingly smooth.
Rui: 3- Rich on the nose with a slow, developing flavor. It’s nutty but not throughout. Not a great cream in the composition there.
Jon: 4- Full and rounded-out. Complex and smooth. Nice beer.
Mat: 3.5- Deceivingly complex if that makes sense. ABV is well-masked. Very fitting for the fall season it’s intended for.

Mort_subiteMort Subite Framboise
: Lambic

4 out of 5 stars

The Framboise Mort Subite is brewed according to the ancestral Lambic recipe. This original Belgian beer ferments spontaneously. Enhanced with raspberry juice, it matures soft and slowly in oaken casks.

ABV: 4.5%

Cheese: Bleu de Basque

Emilio: 3.5- A much better option than most of the others of the style out there.
Hunter: 4- An annoyingly candy-like aroma belies a quaffable, balanced beer. Still raspberry forward, but pleasant.
Rui: 3.5- Too sweet and not sour at all. Not a great lambic.
Jon: 4- Sugary sweet aroma. Flavor is sweet but balanced and complex. Great for framboise lambic fans.
Mat: 3.5- Much less sweet than Lindemans and significantly more enjoyable. Like drinking raspberry jelly.


lebreweryLe Brewery Odo Stout
: Sweet Stout (France)

4 out of 5 stars

A rich English milk stout, roasted, toasted, warm and smiling. A totally natural beer, unfiltered, unpasteurized and free from chemicals.

ABV: 6.6%

Cheese: Colston Bassett Stilton

Emilio: 4- Tasting great! Need something substantial to eat like greasy pizza.
Hunter: 4- Not as thick as I was hoping, but otherwise, extremely satisfying. Toasty, warm and nutty.
Rui: 4.5- Nice nose. Personality is welcoming and stays through the experiences. Coffee and roasty.
Jon: 4- Warm and toasty. Rich and complex. Great beer.
Mat: 4- Very nice stout! Great roasty flavors. Not at all overly sweet. Very drinkable.

wholepig_pumpkinPoint Whole Hog Pumpkin
: Pumpkin Ale

3.5 out of 5 stars

Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices. Hand-crafted using real pumpkin, savory pumpkin pie spices and hints of all-natural cinnamon and nutmeg.

ABV: 7.5%

Cheese: Comté Marcel Petite

Emilio: 4- Best pumpkin beer of the day.
Hunter: 2.5- Gingery. Glad I tried it but don’t want another.
Rui: 4- It’s a good, yet easy drinking pumpkin. It’s spicy at the end with a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Jon: 3- Cinnamon! Interesting spice flavors. It’s actually really good.
Mat: 3.5- Tastes just like Cinnamon Toast Crunch! One of the better pumpkins I’ve had.

: Bière de Garde

4 out of 5 stars

Strong, amber beer, where the flavor of its top-fermentation yeast combines perfectly with the taste of the special malts and is fermented again in the bottle.

ABV: 8.5%

Cheese: Ossau Iraty

Emilio: 4- Nice range of flavors. Herby and smooth w/ some richness.
Hunter: 4.5- Effervescences as you would expect. Heavily nuanced. Could work with many foods.
Rui: 5- I really like the style. It’s earthy and farmhouse-like and this brew is spot on to the style.
Jon: 4- Balanced and complex with malt sweetness.
Mat: 3.5- Very nice. Complex and evolves. Would like to work through a whole bottle of this.

greatdivideGreat Divide Wolfgang
: Doppelbock

4 out of 5 stars

Wolfgang has heavenly notes of caramel, dark fruit, and toffee balanced by a subtle hop character.

ABV: 8.0%

Cheese: Reading Raclette

Emilio:4- Very drinkable with a lot of flavor. Plenty of dark fruit.
Hunter: 4- Very drinkable. Good balance between hops and malt/fruit.
Rui: 4.5- Very well-described nose. It’s specific to the caramel and roast. Great consistency though the drinking experience.
Jon: 4- Fruit and toffee sums it up.
Mat: 4- Full-flavored and fitting for style, but much more drinkable than most. Smooth for style.

duclawDuClaw Black Lightning
: Black IPA

4 out of 5 stars

This American Black Ale strikes a stormy balance between thunderous roasted malt flavor and the aroma, bitterness, and electrifying finish of American hops.

ABV: 6.4%

Cheese: Maxx Extra

Emilio: 4- This is a tame IPA showing much more balance.
Hunter: 4- Surprising. Hops tip the scales in terms of balance, but a good presence of maltiness.
Rui: 3.5- A good example of the style. I like it, but don’t love it.
Jon: 4.5- Hearty and complex. Easy to drink and enjoy.
Mat: 4- Very balanced between hops and roast. Highly recommend for those who enjoy this style.

cotrellsCottrell Perry’s Revenge
: Scotch Ale

3 out of 5 stars

A Scotch Ale, malty and complex mahogany colored with hints of chocolate.

ABV: 8.5%

Cheese: Isle of Mull

Emilio: 3- OK.
Hunter: 4- One of my favorites in the style.
Rui: 3- Not a great Scotch ale. Thin, no body, and not memorable. Some sweetness but no cream.
Jon: 3- A good beer but a little watered down.
Mat: 2.5- Thin and mellow for Scotch ale. Lacks depth and character.

woodsidePerennial Woodside
: Tripel

4 out of 5 stars

Woodside Tripel is a bright, crisp Belgian-style Tripel brewed with local Woodside Urban Honey from Maplewood, Missouri.

ABV: 9.1%

Cheese: Cato Corner Hooligan

Emilio:4- Awesome flavors!
Hunter: 4- I’m a fan.
Rui: 3.5- Simple nose. Some honey on the front but a sharp tongue on the end. I do not like it but I don’t hate it.
Jon: 4- Great spice and honey flavors. Very balanced overall. Very drinkable.
Mat: 3.5- Honey really comes through. Slight odd funk on the nose but doesn’t come through in taste.

suaconyCreekSaucony Creek Maple Mistress
: Imperial Pumpkin

4 out of 5 stars

Captain Pumpkin’s Maple Mistress is an imperial pumpkin ale crafted with butternut squash, maple syrup and spices added.

ABV: 9.5%

Cheese: Comté Marcel Petite

Emilio: 4- Tastes like great natural flavors.
Hunter: 4- One of my favorites in the line of pumpkin ales.
Rui: 4- Maple nose with a great entrée to the palate.
Jon: 4.5- A great pumpkin! Not overly spiced. Nice touch of maple syrup.
Mat: 4- Surprisingly enjoy this (I typically hate pumpkin beers). Spice is very mellow. It’s more about the maple.

threeheadsThree Heads Too Kind
: Double IPA

4 out of 5 stars

Too Kind has everything you love from the Kind IPA but jacked up to an out-of-this-world level. A hop exuberance of pine, citrus and love that plays nice with others.

ABV: 8.5%

Cheese: Mahon

Emilio: 4- What a great one! Toma Porsa would be great for this.
Hunter: 4- Nice hop aromatics. Very easy drinking for the style
Rui: 4- Not a powerful nose but delivers like a single IPA. Sweet and well-balanced IPA.
Jon:4.5- Really great beer. Easy to drink and really bright and clean.
Mat: 4- Drinks more like a single IPA. East Coast meets West Coast IPA with clean malt backbone and piney hops.

duvelDuvel Tripel Hop
: Belgian Strong Ale

4 out of 5 stars

Hops: Saaz, Styrian Golding and Sorachi Ace. Dry Hopped with Sorachi Ace. 2013 Selection.

ABV: 9.5%

Cheese: Epoisses

Emilio: 4- Love this with lime.
Hunter: 4.5- Great lime flavor from the hops. Fantastic beer
Rui: 4.5- Has a good nose of lemon. A triple hop does not come through. I like it. The lime taste is at the end.
Jon: 4- Good beer but the lime takes over too much.
Mat: 3.5- Wow, does the Sorachi Ace come through! Lime flavors completely dominate making the beer almost one-dimensional.

gaunabaraColorado Guanabara
: Imperial Stout (Brazil)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Brewed by Cervejaria Colorado. This beer is known as Ithaca in Brazil, but Guanabara in the US.

ABV: 10.5%

Cheese: Stichelton

Emilio: 4.5- What flavor! My favorite of the night.
Hunter: 5- Raisiny, plummy aromas, like port. Perfect for after dinner.
Rui: 4.5- A hard style to perfect but this is creamy, smoky & caramel with a butter entrée and from Brazil. I am in love.
Jon: 4.5- Deep, rich, and sweet. Great overall beer.
Mat: 4- Bonus points for the brewery name (look up the story). Full bodied and rich, but not boozy. An imperial stout you can drink.

deschutesDeschutes/Great Lakes Class of  ‘88: 
Imperial Smoked Porter

3.5 out of 5 stars

This strong porter features a solid smoke presence, a rich malt character and a smooth, rounded mouth-feel. Additions of dark muscovado sugar, oats and wheat contribute to its complexity.

ABV: 10.0%

Cheese: Fiore Sardo

Emilio: 1.5- Do not like this or any smoky beer or cheese.
Hunter: 5- Smells like Scotch. Really well-balanced.
Rui: 4- I like the nose with the smoke but the taste is just not for me. I am not a smoke fan so I will pass.
Jon: 4- Super smoky and delicious. I like it a lot.
Mat: 4- Mild smoke that complements the beer rather than dominates. Great collaboration!

The Final Picks

Emilio’s Final Pick: Colorado Guanabara. Love the balance and all of the flavors. Sweet, malty, creamy…love it!

Hunter’s Final Pick: Gavroche. A great example of the style and wowed me without taking the shortcuts of super-high alcohol, smoking, or using Sorachi Ace Hops.

Rui’s Final Pick: Gavroche. I love it. It’s a great example of the style. Complete experience—great esters, nice lemon peel and orange, creamy throughout and not over-powering.

Jon’s Final Pick: Colorado Guanabara. Creamy, malty, with great, rich flavors. Fantastic beer.

Mat’s Final Pick: Three Heads Too Kind. I really love IPAs with a simple, clean malt backbone. This beer is all about the hops and despite being a double IPA, it’s incredibly clean and smooth.

About Jon Clark

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