My Time at Victory

I went to Downingtown with Tom yesterday to get some yeast for el Bat. I was only here once before, about 3 years ago, and never got to see the actual brewery. I was completely blown away by the size of this place! I never new Victory was so massively produced and distributed. The size and amount of freaking fermenters in that place was enough to get my beer nerd blood running for weeks. So much good beer!

We met with Dr. Tim and got Golden Monkey yeast for the table beer. Afterward he was nice to enough to let us sample a few beers. The Abbey 6 is currently on draft at the pub, and in my opinion is superior to the Abbey 8, which we currently have on draft at Earth. The 6 is cleaner, more drinkable, and tastes better overall, while the 8 has some strange notes to it that seem a bit off to me. Both are delicious though, and it nice to see them churning out some more Belgians.

Speaking of Belgians and their fantastic yeast, I was lucky enough to try WildDevil, HopDevil fermented with 100% brettanomyces. Young, about a month old, but awesome. The hop profile is delicious when lined up with the bright and dry wild yeast notes. This year's is definitely going to be a winner when released. I also got to try some other wacky wild beer that, while I'm not sure what it was, blew me away. It was still fermenting and tasted like cheese!! I don't think it was Helios.. Whatever. Love it.

As mentioned before I haven't been here in a while and I'm quite impressed with the renovations. It doesn't even look like the same joint!! There is a ton of seating now, the long bar is gone, and the new one is twice as long. Decor was awesome. I love the tun/kettle caps above the bar and big tables. I can't wait to get down here to eat. Before the place kinda felt like a factory but now it feels like a nice restaurant.

Thanks to Victory and Dr. Tim for letting me see the joint, and thanks to Tom for the opportunity. Incredible.


Take a walk on the wild side..

Tried 2 wild brews from 2 newer European breweries. Here's what I thought.

Mikkeller It's Alright! - Had the It's Alive! recently and really enjoyed it so I gave this one a shot. This is the opposite end of the brett spectrum - dry, earthy, horsey. It's very restrained and more akin to Orval than It's Alive! Easy to drink, but I wish it were more complex. Would be a fantastic session beer. I have nothing but good to say about Mikkeller.

Haandbryggeriet Haandbakk - Imperial Flanders Bruin. Hmm.. This was very interesting and highly complex, but it was a bit too much for my taste buds. The oak and fruit flavors were delicious, but the alcohol was too strong and the finish was very vinegar like. It's been a long time since I had an Oud Bruin and it's a style I wish I could have more of. It was refreshing to try a new school take on such an old school style. Can't wait to try more from the Hand Brewery!!

The Drafting Room (Exton)

Took a trip to the suburbs today and decided to check out The Drafting Room, which I've heard a lot of great things about. We went about 4:00 and were literally the only customers there. Nice place, real chill decor, and comfortable seating. The draft list was pretty damned excellent - 06 & 08 Double Bastard, 07 Stone RIS, Manayunk Festivus and some other goodies. I opted for the well aged 06 Double Bastard and refreshing Ommegang Witte. I was surprised to see some East End Gratitude bottles there. Where is this all coming from?

The food, on the other hand, was a bit of a disappointment. The crab soup with a bacon garnish was pretty good, but needed lots of salt. I had a burger, which was well cooked but I'm pretty sure it was a patty. Autumn went for the bottomless mussels and they were undercooked and filled with sand. We said something and it was unquestionably taken off of the bill which really says something about the place. The service, on the other hand, was stellar.

Overall this is a nice place to check out if you're ever in the area. Just down the road from TJ's, McKenzie and Victory. Makes for a great little pub crawl if you've got the time.


The Belgian Cafe

So I actually had a night off work Wednesday so we decided to head down to the Belgian Cafe at 21st and Green. I loved it. It was like Monk's without the crowd. Laid back and chill, this is one of the best joints I've been to in Philly. The beer list was exceptional, the tap list leaving nothing to be desired, and the food stellar. The decor was a bit cheesy, with some of faggity art, but I really like the long layout on the corner. Service was stellar. I had Stoudt's Old Abominable and Barbar Winter Bock, both of which were tasty and reasonably priced. The food (frites, mussel soup, scallops and chicken tenders) was delicious and cheap. I really enjoyed my time there and I recommend this place to everyone. Go!!


Avery Fifteen

Figs? Hibiscus? White pepper? Brett? Well call me a crayon and color me tickled pink! Cloudy orange gold body with a nice, thin white head. Crazy, funky aroma with lots of complexity, tons of trash and nastiness, stinky feet, blue cheese and much more. Oh the wonders of brett. The flavor is incredibly dry, amazingly funky, and intensely complex. Grass, hay, flowers, spice, ginger, and cloves. Absurdly good. By far the best Avery beer I've had to date. Typically I am not fan, other than a few seasonals and one-offs, of their beers, but this is surely a stand out. LONG LIVE BRETT!!!!!!!


It's Alive!!!

Once you go brett, you never go back.

I picked up a bottle of It's Alive! brewed by Mikkeller at De Proef. The label says nothing aside from the name, abv, size and "Belgian Wild Ale." I'm in. This is Mikkeller's tribute, of sorts, to Orval. Cloudy copper body with a thin tan head. Tons of lacing and the head lasts forever. Crazy smell. Chocolate and raisins collide with hay, grass, and crazy saison funk. I get a lot of perfumy notes as well as some cherries and berries. The taste is funky, crisp and dry with enough complexity to render me speechless. The brett is out of control in here and I love it. Crazy finish that lingers forever. A lot heavier on the funk than Orval, but freaking delicious nonetheless. Mikkeller is one of my favorite of the new school Belgian brewers that I've had that pleasure of trying, and this beer is another winner.

East End at Capone's

Stopped at Capone's or lunch today and they had 2 East End brews on tap. Good to see it all the way out east! First was the kvass, a Russian style bread beer, that was hands down one of the most interesting new beers I've had in a while. Sharp, sour, and funky, with some caramel and caraway notes. Really drinkable and incredibly thirst quenching. The other was his Cherry stout, a dry stout made with fresh cherries. Smoky, roasty, and fruity, this was definitely a phenomenally quaffable stout. Well done Scott. It's great to see your beers in this area, and I'm hoping to see more.



I don't have a lot of time but I need to address the comments on my last post. I had no idea that anyone was actually reading this crappy blog of mine. If I would've known that someone other than a few of my close friends were going to read this, I never would've posted anything bad about any brewer on here. I was simply using this as a way to share my thoughts when I'm bored. I had no intentions of disrespecting anyone, and I wish to extend my deepest apologies for crossing the line. Again, I thought that no one was really going to give a shit about my opinions. Yes I'm an amateur, new to this business, and really don't know what I'm talking about yet, but I have my opinions. From here on out I will keep them to myself.

Once more, Guy, and everyone else, I'm sorry. I feel very lucky to be even slightly involved in this community. Everyone I've met so far is great, and I want to do nothing but help them. I appreciate everyone responding so quick to let me know what a jackass I was being, but if I would've known that Guy, Lew, "Mr. C", or anyone else of any sort of importance in the community were to read this, I never would've posted those comments.