Monday, April 18, 2011

May 7, 2011 Craft Beer Event

Update 5-14-11

Wow, what a great event!

We ended up with 17 beers at the tasting phase plus the main event drafts of an additional 8 beers. We were going so strong that we added an additional hour and carried the party to 11:00.

The final tally is in and we raised $2,320.78. Thank you one and all for making this event such a great success.


I would like expend a special appreciation to the following organizations for their participation in this event.
 
Jamie Robinson, Boxcar Brewing Co. 
Brian O'Reilly, Sly Fox Brewery
Pete Showvaker, Troegs Brewing Co 
Steve German, Victory Brewing Co 
Robert Murray, State Line Liquors

Looking forward to next years event.

John
 

Update 4-10-11

We will be having at least 18 beers total. 13 for a two hour tasting and now 8 main event beers on draft

Tasting beers from brewers like:
Boxcar ● Lancaster ● Troegs ● Sly Fox ● Victory ● Weyerbacher ● Flying Fish ● Dog Fish Head ●  Evolution ●  Stoudts ● Fordham ● Clipper City

8 Local Beers on Draft:
  • Boxcar, Original Pale
  • Lancaster, Amish Four Grain Pale
  • Stoudts, Scarlet Lady
  • Troegs, Dream Weaver Wheat
  • Boxcar, Brown
  • Yuengling, Bock
  • Victory, Golden Monkey
  • Sly Fox, O’Rielly’s Stout 
Plus we have added three award winning Black Box Wines and Old Dominion Root Beer on draft for the non beer drinkers.
Here is the updated Flyer.

Here I go beer-ing it up again!

On May 7, 2011 Just before American Craft Beer week I am organizing another Beer Event. This time it’s American Craft beer. Don’t worry; I will still be having a Belgian Event in the fall. I have wanted to do an American Craft Beer Event for some time now but could never seem to work out the logistics of having two events in one year.

Here’s the deal.
Holy Saviour Parish is 95 years old and in serious need to renovate their aging facilities. The problem is that any renovations have to be brought up to the current building code and standards including handicap accessibility. This is a tremendous expense for such a small parish.

So I got together with our Pastor, the Knights of Columbus and the Women’s Club and here is OUR solution!

Holy Saviour Parish
First Annual Craft Beer Event

Celebrating our Local Brewers

Saturday, May 7, 2011
5:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Holy Saviour Parish Hall
122 E. Ridge Rd. Linwood PA, 19061


Individual $30, Couple $50, Designated Driver $20


What better way to raise money for a good cause than to raise a glass!

This event is similar to our other events but with a local twist! Instead of having a tasting table supplied by the guests, I invited local brewers to come in for a 2 hour tasting. Our special featured guest is Jamie Robinson of Boxcar Brewing Co. in West Chester! Plus we have 6 local Craft Beers on draft, full buffet dinner from the home-style cooking of the Holy Saviour Women’s Club and DJ Extraordinaire, Peiser!

We have put together one central place for Online Ticket Sales, Updated Information and the Printable Flyer. Please See: www.holysaviourparish.org/beerevent
Please share this link with we anyone that may be interested.

You can still pay me in person or by check but this time please make the checks payable to: Holy Saviour Knights of Columbus

If you pay through the website or by mail to me your ticket will be mailed to you the next day at no cost to you.
 
It’s going to be a great event for a truly worthy cause. Thank you so much for helping out! We couldn’t do it without you!

Cheers!

John Remaley



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Boxcar Brown Ale



Boxcar Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Boxcar Brewing Co.
West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA

American Brown Ale

5.00% ABV







Commercial Description:
A session style brown ale that has lots of subtle flavors; like walnuts, cedar, caramel, cocoa and dried cherries. We made this beer for when you want a richer flavored beer that goes well with dinner and after.

Color: Rich Brown
ABV: 5%
Hops: Fist Gold (bittering) / Fuggles (dry)
Malt: Pale Ale (base)
Available: Year round in 12 oz. bottles and draft.
(Boxcar.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$30.00 case

Background:
I contacted Jamie Robinson at Boxcar about a charitable craft beer event that we are having at Holy Saviour Parish. One thing led to another and I ended up helping out at the brewery one afternoon for bottling day. I was very impressed with the brewery and the beer. Everything is done well and old school. There is no forced carbonation, everything is bottled and keg conditioned. At the end of the afternoon Jamie gave me a few samples. I was very impressed with this beer at the brewery and now I can’t wait to give it a full review.

Review:
The beer pours a slightly hazy dark amber almost brown with deep ruby hues and a fairly rich off white to tan head.

The nose is delightful with dark malt aromas of caramel and notes of sweet chocolate and dark fruit. With a gentle swirl of the glass there is a release of the most pleasant floral hop aroma. This is an extremely inviting nose I can’t wait to dive into it.

OH My, that was good. It’s amazing how refreshing this beer is with all of these flavors. Let me attempt a better play by play.

The experience starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front then a nice effervescence and earthiness during the middle of the sip. The back-end is smooth and easy drinking. There is a release of carbonation during the swallow that makes the flavors going down. The finish is where this all comes together. The finish is full of caramel malt flavors and earthy floral hops. This is a perfectly balanced ale; the hops are just enough to dry slightly without bittering but at the same time the malts are holding there own to the end. There is a slight malty aftertaste with some lingering yeasty notes.

This may fall into an American Brown category but the earthiness of this beer reminds me more of an English Brown with hints of an Irish Red. This is truly another “original” from Boxcar.

Well, I did not make the same mistake that I did reviewing the Boxcar Original Ale review. I chilled 2 of these for the review. See even I can lean from my mistakes. And it’s a good thing because this is so refreshing the first glass is almost gone already.

Of course we started this off around 40 to 45 degrees. We are now at 61.

All of the flavors seem to be a little more pronounced now. Man, I really like this one. There is also a lingering caramel malt buildup throughout the mouth. This is similar to a stout but with sweeter caramel malt flavors.

I’m not a hop head and do not care for the overly bitter American IPA’s. However I appreciate the subtle hop flavors in this ale. Even now on the finish and final aftertaste there is just a subtle hint of the most pleasurable earthy and floral hop flavors. This really is impressive.

This is another one of those simple but elegant beers. Did I say how much I’m enjoying this?

The end of that first glass did have a slight robustness to the malts. It was not bitter or offensive in any way just noticeably more robust as it warmed and opened up a little.

Lees
Well, I’m not sure if you can call the sediment on Non-Belgian ale lees but I thought I would give it a try. In this case it’s not bad at all. There is just more yeasty flavors.

I hate to sound like a broken record but I have to re-iterate one more time. DO NOT pour the lees or sediment from the bottom of a bottle conditioned bottle into your beer. I just tasted the lees which I just said wasn’t bad and then tasted the freshly poured glass. There is a difference in these two tastes and the fresh glass is much better than the lees. It is very noticeable now that the lees mask a lot of the malt flavor and sharpness to the ale. The lees have a noticeable chalky quality to it now. You really have to do this back and forth test to see this for yourself.

Before I get negative comments this does not apply to the non filtered wheat beer sediment. That should be swirled up and poured into the beer.

Okay back to the review.

I hope the guys at Boxcar don’t mind but I poured the second beer into what I think is a more appropriate ale glass. Sorry, tumblers are my least favorite beer glass.

Man-O-Man is this enjoyable. There is also a nice little head that is sticking around on this second glass. This is adding a nice creamy mouthfeel to the experience.

The lacing is pretty impressive in this ale glass. I really didn’t pay much attention to the lacing in the tumbler.

I don’t think there is much more to say about this ale. I’m going to drink this second one while I work on my final thoughts.

The rating for this one is slightly difficult. No, it’s not that I didn’t like it. It’s that I always try to rate based on the style. This is another unique beer from Boxcar that is really in-between styles. Beer Advocate and RateBeer both have this as an American Brown. To me this drinks more like an English Brown Ale but without the hard water taste. So I’m going to rate this as an English Brown. That will be comparing this to beers like Newcastle Brown Ale, and Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale not the typically more robust American Browns.


I’ll take this ale over any of the English browns any day. It is certainly better than the ones mentioned above. Plus I’m a sucker for a beer that finishes well warm. This beer at room temperature was just as smooth as it was cold. Just a little more robust but there was noting unpleasant whatsoever.

I’m going for a solid A on this one; another refreshing original from Boxcar. This is an excellent medium bodied refreshing Brown Ale with a delightful caramel malt nose with notes of chocolate and dark fruit esters, well balanced medium bodied with soothing caramel malt flavors and the most pleasant earthy floral hop finish without bittering. Drinks more like a refreshing English Session Brown with a touch of Irish Red character.

Hat’s off to Jamie and Jason at Boxcar for another outstanding offering. This is another beer that should appeal to any beer drinker from the novice lager drinker to the craft beer enthusiast. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Boxcar Original



Boxcar Original

Brewed by:
Boxcar Brewing Co.
West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA

American Pale Ale (APA)

5.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
Original Ale is Boxcar’s first beer. This light bodied ale offers a pleasant hop flavor balanced with a mild malt taste and a hint of citrus. Two different types of unroasted base malts and whole leaf cluster hops are dry hopped with whole leaf cascade hops to provide the rich flavor to this very pale ale. The finish is satisfying and clean with an alcohol by volume of 5%.
Original Ale Ingredients:
A moderately hopped transitional ale that is unfiltered and bottle conditioned. Our flagship ale that we made to keep our craft drinking friends happy and help bring our noncraft drinking friends over to hand crafted beers.
Color: Golden
ABV: 5%
Hops: Cluster (bittering) / Cascade (dry)
Malt: Pilsner (base)
Available: Year round in 12 oz. bottles and draft.
(Boxcar.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$30.00 case

Background:
I contacted Jamie Robinson at Boxcar about a charitable craft beer event that we are having at Holy Saviour Parish. One thing led to another and I ended up helping out at the brewery one afternoon for bottling day. I was very impressed with the brewery and the beer. Everything is done well and old school. There is no forced carbonation, everything is bottle and keg conditioned. At the end of the afternoon Jamie gave me a few samples. I was very impressed with this beer at the brewery and now I can’t wait to give it a full review.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy light golden almost straw color orange hues and a bright white head.

The nose is delightful with light pilsner type malts and floral hops with sweet citrus notes. This may be the most inviting nose ever. I can’t wait to dive into it.

Wow, no really WOW! It may be hard for some to get excited about a simple pale ale but not me. This is fantastic; it truly is “Simple Elegance”. I have not had such a refreshing beer in a long time. I can see this being my stable beer this summer. Move over Leffe Blond there’s a new Boxcar in town. I’m getting ahead of myself and that’s all from the first sip. Let’s get back to this review.

The taste starts out with sweet light malts up front then a nice clean and refreshing effervescence over the tongue through the middle of the sip. The back-end is extremely easy drinking with an effortless and still quite refreshing swallow. The finish is just amazing; clean, and refreshing with just enough hops to dry without bittering. There is also a very nice citrus note to the finish that adds to the refreshing aspect of this beer. There is very little to no final aftertaste just some slight lingering yeasty and citrusy notes.

This has got to be the most refreshing beer ever. Unlike those macro light beers this is refreshing with good flavor. And I’m not worried about the headache either.
  
This is so refreshing and going down so easily the glass is almost empty. My only real regret here is that I only chilled one to review.

I have set this aside for a while to warm up a little before I can continue.

OK, we are now at 65 degrees.

Man, this is really impressive. We are just about to room temperature and this beer is every bit as good as it was when cold. Actually it is smoother and slightly richer now. Even with most of the carbonation gone this is still a very refreshing beer. The other really impressive thing is that this beer did not pick up any off flavors whatsoever. This beer is clean and refreshing to the last warm drop.

This is a solid A maybe even an A+. Not really by style but for style. What I mean by that is this will get low marks by a lot of craft beer reviewers because it’s not the typical overly hopped American Pale Ale. But for the overall experience, you can’t beet this beer. It really is the perfect easy drinking ale for any season. Personally I think it’s a bold move by Boxcar not to go bold and to create such a unique and refreshing lighter ale; especially for their first offering.

I highly recommend this beer. It’s a tremendously refreshing beer; light in body with the most enjoyable floral hops and citrus note finish. It has a nice earthiness to it that drinks more like an English Session Ale than an APA. It’s clean and refreshing to the very end. Any beer drinker will love this new beer.

Final Thoughts
This one lives up to its name, Original. This is the most original Pale Ale that I’ve ever had. When I saw that Beer Advocate had this classified as an American Pale Ale I was expecting the typical over hopped American style Pale. Boy was I pleasantly surprised to find such a refreshing ale. For my palate this has more of an English twist to it. It really does drink like an English Session.

This beer (and the brown that I’ll do next) is not going to excite or impress most of the existing craft beer reviewers. And I don’t think it was meant to. It did however impress the heck out of me for several reasons. As part of my enthusiasm for craft beer I like to spread the love, as it were. I always try to find the right beer for the right person. Every party I attend I bring beer that I think would be suitable to those attending. I am always looking for that good “Convert Beer”. You know, something that will bring the drinker over to drinking better craft beer instead of the Macro Lagers. I usually have a lot of luck with a lighter style Belgian Wit. But now it’s going to be Boxcar Original. I don’t know if Convert Beer is a term or a Johnism but this beer will certainly “Convert” any beer drinker into a craft beer drinker.

The other thing that impressed me was the simple elegance and the old school technique. This is truly about the beer. Simple all grain ingredients well crafted to produce a great drinkable beer. In my book you can’t get any better than that. Then to take that a step further and bottle condition everything was just amazing to me. There is no trap here of having things perfectly filtered so it’s crystal clear etc. Personally I think that there are great characteristics in a beer that get processed out with filtration. Plus there is a character that gets added in with bottle conditioning that cannot be duplicated by forced carbonation. 

Boxcar is doing it simply and doing it right while producing amazingly well crafted ales. Hat’s off to Jamie and Jason at Boxcar. It was so encouraging to see these guys at work in their brewery. Just keep producing simple well crafted product and you can’t go wrong. You got me sold and I’m doing my best to spread the love.



 

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale Black Barleywine Ale


30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale
Black Barleywine Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chino, California, USA

American Barleywine

10.20% ABV






Commercial Description:
ack McAuliffe was the first American "micro" brewer. His tiny New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, California inspired countless dreamers to start small-scale breweries of their own. Jack agreed to guest brew this very special ale with us in honor of our 30th anniversary. This Black Barleywine Ale is a nod to the legendary ales New Albion served at their legendary summer solstice parties. Rich with bittersweet and roasted malt flavors, balanced with whole-cone American hops, this robust ale should age gracefully for years.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
750ml bottles: ~$12.00 each

Background:
This was a left over from my all Sierra Nevada Thanksgiving Beer Dinner. It has been sitting in my beer fridge since Thanksgiving just waiting for me to review it. So let’s get this show on the road.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown completely opaque with no light getting through at all. The beer produced a very rich tan to chocolate milk colored head.

The nose is exquisite with dark roasted malt aromas. Then with a gentle swirl of the snifter the most pleasant aromas of caramel malts and complex hops are released. This smells a little intense but on a chilly spring knight this may be just what I’m looking for.

WOW! This is intense but also rich smooth and very complex. This is another one of those high end beers that I know I won’t be able to due justice to.

The experience starts out with sweet dark malts up front on the tip of the tongue. That is quickly replaced by an interesting malt and hop bitterness. This bitterness intensifies throughout the middle of the sip. By the time you get to the top of the swallow you know this is no lightweight. There is that clinching in the back of the jaw that reminds you “this is a sipping beer”. There is an intensification of rich malt and hop flavors from the top of the swallow into the finish. This continues into the finish and I can only describe that as an explosion of flavors. There are deep rich malt flavors; toasted, smoky and roasted flavors with notes of chocolate, and hint’s of coffee and oak. There is also an intense hop finish to this beer but it is not overly bitter. There is a great balance but this beer is also very intense. The finish also has that classic Barleywine kick to it. I have described that as harshness before but it is just that intense high alcohol kick that comes with this style of ale. I know that I’m not doing this justice. This is one fantastic beer.

This is a unique twist to the classic Barleywine. It’s the rich, almost stout like malt flavors that set this beer aside from all the other Barleywines that I have had in the past. Hence the name; Black Barleywine!

The beer also has the most pleasant warming effect.

Oh my, there is also a nice creaminess to it as well. I just noticed that with the second glass. The extra creaminess is coming from that rich foamy head that was just created when pouring the second glass.

Man O Man is this good. And it seems to be getting smoother and richer as it warms and opens up a little bit.

The creamy head has dissipated to a nice protective layer over the top of the beer. The lacing is excellent even in this snifter.

Well, there’s probably not much more to say about this beer. I’ll continue to nurse the rest of the 750 ml bottle

The end of this bottle at almost room temperature and it was just exquisite; smooth, rich malty goodness to the end.

This is an A+ for me. I have had many barleywines but there is has a unique dark roasted quality that set it apart from the rest. It’s a shame this in a one time only brew. I could buy this every winter.

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary- Charlie, Fred And Ken's Bock



30th Anniversary- Charlie, Fred And Ken's Bock

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chino, California, USA

Maibock / Helles Bock

8.30% ABV





Commercial Description:
Charlie Papazian and Fred Eckhart are the men who launched a thousand breweries. Their writing on the art of homebrewing and steadfast promotion of beer culture helped propel the craft brewing movement. Charlie and Fred agreed to work with us on this special ale in honor of our 30th anniversary. This Imperial Helles Bock is a testament to the ever-evolving brewer’s art. Bold yet balanced with distinct toasted malt character, moderate sweetness and clean and floral hops.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
750ml bottles: ~$12.00 each

Background:
This was a left over from my all Sierra Nevada Thanksgiving Beer Dinner. It has been sitting in my beer fridge since Thanksgiving just waiting for me to review it. So lets get this show on the road.

Review:
The beer pours a clear copper color with a dissipating off white head.

The nose is delightful with caramel malt aromas with notes of fruit esters and floral hops.

Ahh, what a nice Helles Bock! This beer has a very interesting earthiness to it along with a toasted almost smoky note as well.

This experience starts out with sweet light malts up front followed by a very pleasant effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. There is a slight robustness that builds toward the back-end. However this robustness is more like a rich earthiness and it is not overpowering at all. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with just a slight hesitation on the top of the swallow. From the rich earthiness of the malts the finish is clean with that nice toasted malt sweetness and just a hint of floral hops. The hops are just enough to dry the finish without bittering. There is a slight lingering toasted malt flavor on the final aftertaste.

This really is an amazing bock. I really enjoy the rich earthy malt flavors in this beer. It almost reminds me of the German Alt beers. And the hops are not overly bitter more floral and sweet making a nice finish.

I have to go for another high A on this. This beer is an amazingly crafted Helles Bock with a nice imperial aspect to it at 8.3 % ABV. A very impressive beer as have all of the Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary beers been.