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The Tasting Room

July 2014 Venue: American Sardine Bar

American Sardine Bar is the second bar from the people behind South Philadelphia Tap Room. Located in Point Breeze, it’s helping revive this South Philly neighborhood. 16 taps and a large selection of canned beers make up the beer offerings, alongside Scott Schroeder’s sandwich-focused menu.

Our Notable Guests

Scott Schroeder

@foodsyoucaneat

Scott Schroeder is the chef at both South Philadelphia Tap Room and American Sardine Bar.  Scott is respected for his take on comfort food and some of the best sandwiches in the area. He’s also one of the most entertaining Twitter personalities around.

Jason Cichonski         

@JasonCichonski

Jason Cichonski has become one of the more respected chefs in Philadelphia, heading up the kitchen in both of his locations, Ela and The Gaslight, and previously serving as the executive chef at Lacroix. He also recently appeared on Top Chef New Orleans.

Joe Beddia         

@pizzacamp

Joe Beddia got his start in the beer world
brewing at Fancy Pants Brewing, Boston Beer Works Stoudt’s and Yards before moving on to a career in the food side of things. He now runs Pizzeria Beddia, which in only one year, has garnered immense amounts of press and is recognized as one of the best pizza shops in the country. 

 

Roy Pitz Best Blonde: Kölschroypitz-web

Score: 16.6 out of 25

Ale brewed with German ingredients in a similar style to that of a great Kölsch out of Cologne. Pale, light wheat, and crystal malt, balanced out with Noble German Hops. Lemon peels are added to the kettle.

ABV 4.5%

Nick: 3.1- Clean taste with a hint of grass finish.
Scott: 3.5- Nicely balanced. Solid.
Sean: 3- Clean, easy, and very drinkable. Slight bitter flavor.
Jon: 3.5- Pretty good beer. Not getting any lemon, but an easy drinker.
Mat: 3.5 Solid, clean Kölsch. No detection of the lemon peel.

 

Rivertowne Hala Kahiki: Fruit Beerrivertowne-web

Score: 15.4 out of 25

Brewed in the long-brewing tradition Sünner after the German Purity Law of 1516. Spicy, aromatic taste, refreshingandwholesome.

ABV: 4.8%

Nick: 2- Taste like white gummy bears.
Scott: 1.5- Fruit beers are tough to pull off.
Sean: 1.1- Tastes like alcohol flavored pineapple juice. If that’s your thing, it’s great.
Jon: 3- Clean, mildly effervescent. Tastes like pineapple juice with a kick.
Mat: 3.8- Like drinking a can of Dole Pineapple Juice. Great, if that’s your sort of thing.

RJ Rockers Witty Twister: Belgian Witbierrjrocker-web

Score: 16.6 out of 25

A pinch of coriander and a twist of orange peel make it the perfect anytime ale. Bold and refreshing, it delivers a whirlwind of flavor and a crisp finish.

ABV: 4.75%

Nick: 3- Easy drinker. Grain finish. Low on spice.
Scott: 3.8- I could have a few of these while deep sea fishing.
Sean: 3- Decent wit with a nice grain & clean finish.
Jon: 2.5- Not as spiced or clean as I’d like. Grassy, grainy finish.
Mat: 3.8- Mild-flavored wit making it very approachable. Citrus on label is deceiving.

Stone Go To IPA: Session IPAstone-web

Score: 23.3 out of 25

Stone is embracing their hop obsession in a new way, funneling an abundance of lupulin-borne bitterness into a “session” IPA delivering all the fruity, piney character of a much bigger IPA.

ABV: 4.5%

Nick: 4.9- Finally, a bitter session IPA. Just what I’ve been looking for.
Scott: 4.2- Reminds me of a freshly cut lawn. I dig it! Great aroma. Fresh taste.
Sean: 4.7- Really good hop profile. Solid on the nose. Clean bitterness.
Jon: 5- Awesome. I could drink this all day. Piney, bitter, super well-balanced IPA.
Mat: 4.5- Well-balanced and tastes more like an IPA than a pale ale compared to other session IPAs.

Leavenworth Boulder Bend Dunkelweizen: Dunkelweizenleavenworth-web     

Score: 17.2 out of 25

Unfiltered dark Hefeweizen, with a gently sweet character infusing its medium-bodied smoothness. Notes of chocolate and caramel mingle with a cereal malt flavor contributed by additions of malted wheat.

ABV: 4.7%

Nick: 3.2- Drinks more like a porter. Nice level of chocolate.
Scott: 3.5- More chocolate flavor than one might expect, but tasty.
Sean: 2.7- Doesn’t really taste like a dunkel. Get more of a roast chocolate flavor. Not what I was expecting.
Jon: 4- Loads of chocolate. Nice body. Well-made, easy drinker.
Mat: 3.8- Doesn’t taste like a dunkelweizen, but more a solid, chocolate heavy porter.

Starr Hill Little Red RooStarr: Sweet Stout     starrhill-web 

Score: 16.9 out of 25

A full-bodied milk stout brewed with coffee from Red Rooster Coffee Roasters in Floyd, VA. Malt sweetness, chocolate and caramel notes dominate the flavor, while roasted coffee notes add balance and round out the aroma.

ABV: 5.8%

Nick: 2.5- Tastes like coffee and cream with an underlying artificial sweetness.
Scott: 3.5- For the coffee lovers. Bitter, dry finish.
Sean: 3.5- Strong coffee aroma & flavor with sweet cream. Good coffee cream stout.
Jon: 3.5- Caffeine buzz! Like a coffee with cream and sugar. Could be better balanced.
Mat: 3.9- Definitely lives up to its billing. Tastes just like a sweetened latte.

Magic Hat Dream Machine: Pale Lager magichat-web 

Score: 19.7 out of 25

Dream Machine is a melding of varied visions of an India pale ale and an amber lager. Smooth, hop bitterness, fresh, bold and slightly spicy, with subtle hints of mild maltiness. A big hop bite and a crisp, clean lager finish combine for a beautifully balanced beer.

ABV: 5.7%

Nick: 4- I could pound the s*&$ out of this beer. Very clean finish with a bitter bite at the beginning.
Scott: 4.5- Perfect camping beer. Great taste. Clean finish.
Sean: 3.1- Nice finish. Has a good amount of bitterness.
Jon: 3.8- Clean, vibrant, easily drinkable beer with nice balance & mild bitterness.
Mat: 4.3-Great, bitter hoppiness that finishes clean. A style I could see really taking off.

The Bruery Saison De Lente: Saisonbruery2-web

Score: 21.9 out of 25

Spring Saison is light blonde in color with a fresh hoppiness and a wild and rustic Brettanomyces character. Lighter in color and alcohol than Saison Rue, yet equally complex in its own way.

ABV: 6.5%

Nick: 4.5- Dry. Nice Brett tones. Smooth. Very well-done. If I could afford it, I would drink the S&(# out of it.
Scott: 4- Mild flavored. Easy going down.
Sean: 4.5- Really well-done. Nice, funky Brett. Dry.
Jon: 4.3- Dry, effervescent, subtle funk. Mild pineapple.
Mat: 4.6- Great mild funk that finishes clean and remains very drinkable. Missing the wow factor expected, though.

Terrapin Side Project Mosaic: Specialty Grain Aleterrapin-web

Score: 16.5 out of 25

Mosaic is a single-hopped rye ale. The hops used came freshly picked from Perrault Farms. 100% Mosaic was used throughout the brewing process to utilize all the flavor and aroma that this world-class hop has to offer.

ABV: 6.6%

Nick: 2.9- Nice rye tang. Good showcase of Mosaic, but not mind blowing.
Scott: 3.4- I like the Mosaic flavor. Bitter finish.
Sean: 3.1- Mediocre. Just kind of a middle of the road beer. Not bad, but nothing special.
Jon: 3.7- Better than a 3.5. Not bad. A nice showcase of the hop, but a little one-note for me.
Mat: 3.4- Uninspiring. Very solid, but a bit overly simple.

Neshaminy Creek County Line IPA: IPAneshaminycreek-web

Score: 21.9 out of 25

Flagship IPA full of Warrior, Chinook, Simcoe, and Zythos hops. A bready, slightly cracker-like malt backbone to counter some of that hop bitterness, but not so much that this four hop combination won’t put a smile on your face. It’s got a huge citrus-grapefruit note with a nice lingering hop bitterness showing a complexity that few hugely hop forward IPAs lack.

ABV: 6.6%

Nick: 4.3- Nice, fresh hop flavor. Good balance between pine and citrus with a nice body.
Scott: 4.8- Super well-balanced, hoppy goodness.
Sean: 3.9- Fresh, piney flavor. Some nice citrus hops. Bit of a chewy backend I enjoy.
Jon: 4.6- So fresh and so clean. Well-balanced hop character. Overall, great beer.
Mat: 4.3- Very well-balanced and nice mix of fruity and earthy hops. Not your typical East Coast IPA.

Widmer Upheaval IPA: IPAwidmer-web

Score: 17.2 out of 25

Brewed with 6 different hop varieties and 3 different grains, including wheat, Upheaval will be a fitting tribute, not only to the bold Northwest-style IPA, but to Kurt and Rob Widmer’s unapologetic attitude in legacy of innovation.

ABV: 7.0%

Nick: 3- One dimensional. Clean. Run of the mill.
Scott: 3.5- Solid IPA. Amazingly refreshing considering the 6 different hop varieties.
Sean: 2.9- Sort of an IPA w/ training wheels. There are hops, but it feels bland for 6 different hops.
Jon: 3.8- Nice clean IPA. Not overly-hopped. Perfect as an intro to bigger, hoppier beers.
Mat: 4- Shockingly clean for how hoppy it is. A refreshing tasting IPA.

BottleTree Red: American Strong Alebottletree-web

Score: 18.2 out of 25

Earthy hop flavor, smooth, balanced, with a sweet finish, as you would expect from an Imperial ‘Irish’ Red Ale.

ABV: 7.5%

Nick: 3.5- Great color. Not too boozy with a solid malt finish.
Scott: 3.6- Well-balanced, malty flavor. Nice red color.
Sean: 3.7- Really well-balanced. Good amount of booze and malt balance. Dark fruit. Great aroma.
Jon: 3.6- Malty sweetness. Subtle hop. Not my style, but a well-made beer.
Mat: 3.8- Prominent dark fruit flavors. Tastes like it’s already been finely aged for a while.

Free Will Danae: Saisonfreewill-web

Score: 16.7 out of 25

Hopped-up rye saison. Spicy, dry, and crisp saison with intense fruity hop notes of pine and citrus.

ABV: 7.9%

Nick: 3.2- Nicely done, but the rye tang takes over.
Scott: 3.7- A hoppier saison, but tasty nonetheless.
Sean: 3.1- Good saison. Nothing special, but would definitely drink one. Rye and floral hops in there.
Jon: 3.1- Really nice beer. ABV is well hidden. Could be a little better balanced.
Mat: 3.6- Rye adds a really interesting twist to the saison style. Very enjoyable.

Rogue Farms 7 Hop IPA: Imperial IPArogue-web

Score: 21.4 out of 25

John Maier’s secret recipe that blends all seven hops grown in the hopyard of Rogue Farms. A true taste of the terroir of the Wigrich Appellation, the oldest hops growing region in Oregon.

ABV: 8.02%

Nick: 4.1- Nice rollercoaster of hops in my mouth. Well-hidden booze.
Scott: 4.8- Well-hidden ABV. Clean finish. Great citrus taste.
Sean: 3.7- Solid beer. Good hops. Doesn’t taste like an 8% so could be dangerous in a good way.
Jon: 4.6- ABV is well-hidden behind a clean, hoppy, refreshing beer.
Mat: 4.2- Hop flavor is all up front and finishes clean. Very simple malt backbone.

Southern Tier 2XONE Mosaic: American Strong Alesoutherntier-web

Score: 19.3 out of 25

Single varietal ale brewed with a single hop and single malt. This iteration was brewed with Mosaic hops.

ABV: 8.1%

Nick: 3.9- Drop your pants drinkable. You’ll be naked before you know its 8.1%.
Scott: 4.3- Very drinkable for the high ABV.
Sean: 4.4- Very drinkable for the ABV. Really smooth. Definite mosaic flavor.
Jon: 3.4- A little boozey with nice hop character. One-note.
Mat: 3.3- Lack of hops in aroma. Overly simple beer despite style. Needs a level of depth.

Susquehanna Southern Rye IPA: IPAsbc-web

Score: 20.1 out of 25

A high gravity Rye IPA using various malted ryes and a tasty blend of hops that explode on your taste buds.

ABV: 8.6%

Nick: 3.8- Nice balance of fruity hops. Finish with rye tang.
Scott: 4.5- A friendly hoppy flavor. Clean with a slight bitter finish.
Sean: 3.6- Nice balance between rye and hops. Some fruit in there with malt and some floral notes. Very clean.
Jon: 4.2- Nicely balanced. Bitter and fruity hops blend well. Really good.
Mat: 4- Clean up front with melon like flavors from the hops. Nice hint of rye in the finish. Leans towards a West Coast style IPA.

O’Dempsey’s Your Black Heart RIS: Imperial Stoutodempseys-web

Score: 18 out of 25

Combines a silky mouth feel with a balance between sweet malts and bitter hops that pairs well with strong cheeses, dark chocolates and fine cigars.

ABV: 8.0%

Nick: 3.5- Mellow for an RIS. Hints of tobacco. Low roast flavor with lots of chocolate.
Scott: 3.8- Chocolaty bitterness. Could pack a little more umph, but it’s tasty.
Sean: 3.3- I’d call this half imperial if that were a style. Roast and chocolate. A good stout for sure, but imperial stout feels optimistic.
Jon: 3.6- Pretty good beer. Not what I expected. Chocolaty, nutty & sweet malt.
Mat: 3.8- Like a ½ imperial stout. Tastes like a sessionable RIS if there were such a thing *Please don’t become a style.

Left Hand Wake Up Dead Nitro: Imperial Stoutlefthandnitro-web

Score: 22.7 out of 25

Hints of raisins, black licorice, coffee and dark chocolate are followed by earthy, herbal hop notes. Any apprehensions about the rest of your day are quickly forgotten, for whatever the mind expects, it finds.

ABV: 10.2%

Nick: 4.8- Velvety smooth. Tastes of currants, roast, and plums. Very enjoyable.
Scott: 4.8- Nitro in a bottle? Say wah? Well done!
Sean: 4.8- Silky, creamy, really well done imperial stout. If I didn’t see it came from a bottle, I’d believe it came off a nitro draft line.
Jon: 4.2- Silky smooth mouth-feel. Nice chocolate, coffee, and sweet malt balance.
Mat: 4.1- Nitro bottles continue to mesmerize. So rich and creamy. I wish they made pony nitro bottles of this.

Goose Island The Illinois: Imperial IPAgooseisland-web

Score: 20.3 out of 25

Dry-hopped with Cascade, Meridian, and Citra hops. The result is a harmoniously hoppy ale with a flavor and aroma that is uniquely Goose Island.

ABV: 9.0%

Nick: 4.4- Well-done imperial IPA with nice balance of hops and malts.
Scott: 4.5- Well-balanced, clean finish.
Sean: 3.3- Fairly well-done imperial IPA. Chewy malt a bit in there. Drinkable, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Jon: 3.9- Nice, clean, dry, well-done IPA. Does not drink like an imperial. Well-hidden ABV.
Mat– 4.2- Clean, smooth and not overly sticky at all for style. Well-balanced double IPA.

Perennial Sump: Imperial Stout  sump-web

Score: 24.7 out of 25

Imperial Stout blended with locally roasted Sump Coffee.

ABV: 10.5%

Nick: 4.9- Amazing example of a coffee imperial stout. Watch out, Founders, Breakfast Stout just got shook.
Scott: 4.9- Best coffee beer I think I’ve ever had.
Sean: 4.9- Authentic coffee flavor. Delicious roast. I don’t like coffee but would drink this. Nailed what a coffee stout should taste like.
Jon: 5- Awesome beer. I’d drink it all day if the ABV was lower.
Mat: 5- Forget Folgers, I want this in my cup. One of the best coffee beers I’ve ever had.

 

Evolution Nouveau Rouge: Sour Red/Brown   _web

Score: 24.9 out of 25

This sour red ale is an ongoing project that pays tribute to the sour ales of Flanders. Tart and earthy with notes of vanilla and tannin from their oak aging process, this complex ale is layered with unique character.

ABV: 6.3%

Nick: 5- Very well-done Flemish. I just dribbled a little in my pants.
Scott: 5- Good introductory sour beer.
Sean: 4.9- Extremely well-done sour. Won’t wreck your palate. Super drinkable.  Perfect level of tart.
Jon: 5- Easily one of the best sour beers I’ve ever had. Vanilla all the way through, but well-balanced.
Mat: 5- Fantastic take on style. A more drinkable Rodenbach. Shockingly clean finish.

The Bruery Sour in the Rye: Sour/Wild Alebruery-web

Score: 24.6 out of 25

Brewed with a substantial portion of rye malt, the spicy character of the grain asserts itself with clove and pepper in the aroma and flavor. Add in sour cherry notes from their special blend of micro-organisms and vanilla from the red wine barrels and you’ve got a mouthful!

ABV: 7.8%

Mat: 4.9- Very sour. Imagine you just got out of a pool on a cold day.
Scott: 5- Sufficiently tart for the sour fans but not over the top.
Sean: 5- This is what I want in a sour. Tart, funk, and that nice pucker without being too much. A sour made for sour lovers.
Jon: 4.8- Sour and tart. Super dry, mildly astringent. Finishes really nice.
Mat: 4.9- Beautifully sour and funky but extremely drinkable. Hints of rye add great complexity.

The Final Picks

Nick’s Final Pick: Evolution Nouveau Rouge

Scott’s Final Pick: Rogue Farms 7 Hop IPA

Sean’s Final Pick: The Bruery Sour in the Rye

Jon’s Final Pick: Evolution Nouveau Rouge

Mat’s Final Pick: Perennial Sump

About Jon Clark

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