All posts by John Fortunato

CROOKED EYE BREWERY

 

 

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HATBORO, PENNSYLVANIA

A hidden gem in the heart of Hatboro, CROOKED EYE BREWERY came into existence when homebrewer Jeff Mulherin began experimenting in 2014. Growing into a seven-barrel microbrewery over a few years, Crooked Eye’s sturdy stainless-steeled suds certainly deserve attention.

Set inside a garage-doored makeshift pub, its modern Industrial rusticity and Edison light-strewn canopy give the small space a welcoming neighborhood bar feel. And the stylistically straightforward brews will please any palate.

The corrugated-bottomed, wood-topped, 8-seat bar serviced three stainless steel industrial cart tables and a few wood-metal tables. A blackboard beer list and one large-screen TV fill out the room. Behind the black brick wall lies the silver brew tanks.

My wife and I stopped by during early November ’19 for an enjoyable afternoon wakeup call.

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The lightest offering, Boro Blond Ale, brought light orange-oiled hop bittering to dewy mineral grained French breading and delicate sugared spiciness.

Blending mellow orange-peeled coriander spicing with lemon-soured ginger herbage and fried plantain sweetness, White Tail Wit was a fine opener.

Smoothly mineral-grained Regimental 80 Scottish Ale gave its dewy tobacco sweetness a resinous brown tea musk, mildly spiced caramel malting and pastry-like flouring.

Earthen brown tea consumed dewy The Brit ESB, an easygoing moderation with subtle leafy foliage.

Designed close to an India Pale Ale due to its piney dry-hopped citrus bittering, Accidental Pail Ale retained a sweet pale malt sugaring to amplify its lemony orange-peeled tang and relegate the spicily floral herbage.  

Creamily white-headed Hazy Eye Double IPA soothingly plied sunny orange-peeled grapefruit tanginess to mineral-grained wood lacquer and mild alcohol astringency, picking up juicy floral-daubed peach, mango and honeydew illusions for further roundedness.

Black chocolate malt bittering inundated dry-roasted pumpkin rusticity of Austin’s Pumpkin Porter, a fine autumnal dark ale with cayenne-peppered cinnamon bark swipes and latent anise-nutmeg seasoning.

Sweet grain-roasted caramel malts received glazed pecan-hazelnut sugaring to combat dried cocoa powdering for Gangster Of Lover Imperial Brown Ale.

Dark-roast black chocolate malts rampaged forth for nitrogenated One Eye Dog Coffee Porter, leaving black peppered coffee remnants on the back end.

Creamily sweet brown chocolate gave nitrogenated Black Eye Oatmeal Stout its opening salvo as roasted coffee, molasses, charred cedar and hazelnut illusions play backup.

 

crookedeyebrewery.com

TRACK 3 MICROBREWERY COFFEE HOUSE

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DRESHER, PENNSYLVANIA

A unique experience blending the art of brewing, TRACK 3 MICROBREWERY & COFFEE HOUSE opened in springtime 2019 at a cozy mall-bound shop in the small northern Philly suburb of Drescher.

Inspired by great music and the love of fresh coffee and hand-crafted beer, TRACK 3 features framed wall photos of famed rockers such as Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd. The sterling grey epoxy-floored interior consists of sturdy metal-wood chairs and tables, rows of Edison lights (attached to the black pipe-exposed ceiling) and a small centralized serving station.

A colorful blackboard provides beer, coffee, cider and tea choices and the brew tanks are hidden ’round back.

A fine barista-styled nanobrewery with an expansive selection of quaffable elixirs, Track 3 has gained the attention of local minions in a short period of time.  Image result for track 3 microbrewery and coffee house dresher pa

My wife and I consume seven beers on our happy one-hour November ’19 stopover.

Mildly lime-embittered cherry rhubarb tartness regaled lightly sour Tart Cherry Upper Duberliner Weisse, a dry salted coriander-licked moderation with only minor acidity.

Piquant lemon-candied orange tartness and white-peppered herbal notions contrasted soapy banana-bubblegum-clove respite above honeyed Graham Cracker wheat malting for Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, a soft-toned witbier lacking chutzpah.

Toasted amber grains and subtle rye spicing welcomed 88 Special Red Rye Ale, retaining orange-spiced tartness and leafy hop foliage in the dewy back end.

Creamy vanilla-sugared sweetness glazed Shake Your Rump Blood Orange Creamsickle Milkshake IPA, a resilient medium body with snappy yogurt-soured lemony grapefruit tanginess providing sharp bite.

Tropical Mosaic-Moteuka hops provided passionfruit, guava, mango and kiwi tartness for I’m Easy Hazy IPA, picking up sneaky lemon souring and grassy astringency by the dry finish.

Milk-sugared brown chocolate sweetened Night Train Porter, a resilient dessert treat with creamy vanilla and light roast coffee tones rising above sedate charred hop bittering.

Dark roast coffee dominated chocolate, vanilla and hazelnut sweetness for Baby Bottle Coffee Vanilla Stout, a lusty mocha nightcap.

track3brewing.com

 

ARTIFACT BREWING

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HATBORO, PENNSYLVANIA

Located inside a former auto body shop (attached to a Goodyear repair center) and utilizing rock-related beer names, ARTIFACT BREWING opened its doors October 18, 2019. Just up the road from the center of town in the bucolic north Philly suburb of Hatboro (established in Colonial times by an English hatter), this rustic cement-floored pub features the works of local craft beer artisans Brian Mc Kinney and Matt Brzowski. Set up as a three-barrel nano brewery with four serving tanks and twelve-plus tap handles, Artifact became the borough’s second operating brewery (behind Crooked Eye).

A green-walled cement floored space with a 14-seat, plank-sided, maple- topped bar, Artifact’s small interior includes four community tables, three round cocktail tables and a wooden bar-walled American flag.

My wife and I head up to the bar and consume six well-rounded brews on our pre-Halloween ’19 journey.

For their maiden voyage, Artifact created interestingly enigmatic pale ale, Paradigm Shift, a stylistically advanced dry body utilized citric-spiced Norwegian Kviek yeast to temper its beet-sugared maple syruping, complacent orange tartness and mild cherry coughdrop smidge.

Candi-sugared orange peel sweetness rode above spiced banana, vanilla and caramel illusions for delightful As Serious Can Be, a lightly creamed moderate-medium body perfect for Belgian ale lovers.

On the surface, floral-cologned juniper bittering picked up zesty lemon juicing for pleasantly offbeat saison, Forever Sleeping, leaving ginger-herbed rose hips, elderflower and chamomile undertones in its busy turpentine-lacquered kiwi-guava-induced Nelson hop wake.

Combining dankly herbal lemon-dried Golding hops with oats-backed German pilsner malts let hybridized English bitter-styled kolsch, Everyman, remain smoothly dry and crisply clean.

Dewy tobacco-sweet mossing inundated grapefruit, pineapple and orange rind dryness for subtly designed English bitter, Walk Like A Smile.

Before heading out on this sunny Saturday in October, quaffed today’s only IPA (also note, there were no dark beers available).

Tropical fruit-spiced Galaxy and Vic Secret hops sharpened herbal-perfumed medium body, Contagious Smile IPA, a cucumber-watered refresher with tangy grapefruit, pineapple and orange piquancy gaining blissful lemon zesting.

www.artifactales.com/

TANNERY RUN BREWWORKS

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AMBLER, PENNSYLVANIA

Right in the heart of diminutive village, Ambler, 16 miles North of Philly, TANNERY RUN BREWWORKS opened its doors March ’19. Re-creating Ambler’s rural past with modern Industrial decor, the 16-tap brewpub features a nifty wood lacquer-etched bar top inlaid by pyrographic tree designs and an overhead fern-vined trellis plus a separate corrugated sheet-glassed right side dining area and a sofa-laden backroom lounge with a large mural celebrating the Pink Boot Society. Rear tanks serve fluctuating flagship brews and snazzy one-offs.

One mile from warehouse-bound Ambler Beer Co,. this 9,500 square-foot centrally located seven barrel pub-eatery (with downstairs private event space) specializes in Splatch Brewing, an innovative mash-kettled yeast and hop system splitting batches into different varieties.

My wife and I grab mushroom leek flatbread from the soup-salad-sandwich menu while consuming eight rangy brews on our enjoyable premier visit.

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Amiable copper-toned autumnal lager, Sozin’s Comet, contrasted its toasted Graham Cracker sweetness with dewy herbal restraint and earthy fungi must.

An orange-candied lemon spritz and dewy earthen foliage emerged from dry English-hopped Ceiling Smasher, a hybridized saison with herbal green tea notions.

Brisk Belgian blonde, Beast Of Burden, let herbal white-peppered lemondrop tartness contrast sweet banana-bubblegum-clove-coriander illusions with genuine aplomb.

Dewy fermented tea-like earthiness grappled dark candi-syruped plum, fig and date sweetness for Sokka’s Master, a delightful Abbey yeast-soaked dubbel.

Dank West Coast-styled IPA flagship, Red Dragon, brought dry lemony orange fruiting to a lightly spiced malt sugaring that contrasted its musky wattle-seeded pine nut, fennel and brown tea illusions.

Belgian ale yeast provided black-peppered fungi must and candi-sugared fig-dried resonance to Blue Dragon IPA, a finely detailed rustic hybrid.

Floral-honeyed peach, orange and grapefruit sweetness countered resinous herbal whims for Elder Dragon IPA, a dryly pale malted aggressor.

Dry-kilned Belgian coffee malts provided the mocha thrust of black-malted Dark Ritual Porter, leaving dark chocolate bittering at the finish.

FIVE CHURCHES BREWING

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NEW BRITAIN, CONNECTICUT

On the second floor of a cavernous wood furnished red brick-walled setting, downtown New Britain’s FIVE CHURCHES BREWING occupies a former clothing factory. Taking its ‘we have faith in our beer’ slogan to the max, the spacious pizzeria-brewpub even dabbles successfully with their soda-fruited gluten-free Weerder alternatives.

While the impressive stainless steel silver brew tanks behind the twelve draught-handled bar serve pristinely crafted liquid fare, the right side wood-fired pizza oven provides terrific variety. Sterling wood-lacquered furnishings adorn the expose-piped open space and several Edison bulbs light the fourteen-stooled bar (with three TV’s) – retaining the original Industrial brick, flooring and windows.

A backspace banquet area and an outside left deck (with five tables under blue umbrellas) offer further seating.

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Head brewer Austin Japs crafts a vast array of one-off ales, but the one constant flagship is sharply orange-spiced, caramel-toasted amber ale,  Amburlance, a brisk moderate-medium body with sweetly dewed autumnal foliage.

Mild wheat ale, #Zessed, brought tingly orange-candied lemondrop tartness to mineral-grained crisping.

Sweet-tart hazy NEIPA, Pew Pew, let Citra-Simcoe hop tropicalia rule the roost as orange-dried grapefruit juicing saddled dainty wood tones.

Another dry-bodied IPA, The Machinist, brought sunshiny grapefruit tang and crystal malt sugaring to lemony orange rind bittering, leaving sticky pine lacquer upon its latent juniper piquancy.

Briskly winter-spiced porter, Once And For Fall, let minty fern caress its caramelized chocolate sweetness and mild nutmeg-cumin-chicory seasoning.

Delightful Out Of Porter, an Imperial Porter, swished milk chocolate syrup around cocoa, toffee and caramel sugaring.

Knocking off a New Zealand-styled Imperial IPA, Street People relies on limey melon, gooseberry, passionfruit and grapefruit desiccation to perk up its pale malt spine.

FAT ORANGE CAT BREWING COMPANY

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EAST HAMPTON, CONNECTICUT

In the rustic backwoods of East Hampton, small homestead nanobrewery, FAT ORANGE CAT, opened for biz August 2016. Along the Salmon River watershed, this agrarian wood-paneled farmhouse (with forest green aluminum top) relies mostly on locally grown ingredients to craft its delightful small-batch brews.

Brewmaster Mike Klucznik received local awards as a home brewer before embarking on his ambitious zymurgistic journey. And the everchanging lineup of homespun beers he serves (approximately 100 one-offs since the outset) gets dominated by pleasant hazy New England-styled India Pale Ales, earthy farmhouse ales and approachable sour ales.

The serenely sylvan environment surrounding Fat Orange Cat includes canvassed hillside furnishings, picnic tables, a goat farm and loose chickens sprawled across the unexcavated backyard countryside.

Fat Orange Cat’s simple raw wood interior includes a central serving station, small black insulated stainless steel brew tanks, Industrial metal-wood table and several walled beer cans.

My wife and I grab a picnic table to begin consuming six fine offerings this warm September ’19 afternoon.

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First up, soft-toned flagship, Jalapeno Cream Ale, brought mild jalapeno heat to maize-dried pale malting and spritzy lemon-limed bittering, leaving green pepper sweetness upon the back end.

Another spritzy dry-bodied moderation, Take Me Down Jimmy (a farmhouse ale named after an emphatic yelp from Paul Mc Cartney’s “Junior’s Farm”), crisply combined zesty lemon tartness with sour white grape esters and phenol hop astringency.

Next came three neatly disparate New England IPA’s.

Easygoing Vote For Pedro maintained a laidback Citra-Galaxy-Amarillo hop groove as tangy grapefruit, sweet orange peel and sour lemon juicing gained candied citric tartness, light wood tones and pale malt dryness.

Juicily tropical I Am The Walrus retained a dryly salted pineapple-passionfruit-guava sedation for its relegated floral pine setting.

Better still, tart Lemondrop-hopped refresher, Ask Forgiveness Not Permission, let zesty lemon peel bittering, subtle grapefruit-orange tang and herbal lemongrass minting receive piney resilience.

But the biggest cheers came for mildly acidic fruit juiced Walkabout Peach Raspberry Sour Ale, a terrific Sweet-Tart candied knockoff with Peach Melba and Raspberry Tart suppleness afforded salty mango, tangy orange and sweet red grape illusions atop dry pale malt rusticity.

fatorangecatbrewco.com

FOREST CITY BREWING

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MIDDLETOWN, CONNECTICUT

In the same random red brick Industrial complex as Stubborn Beauty, Middletown’s FOREST CITY BREWING began operations in springtime 2016. A white cement-walled, gray epoxy-floored nanobrewery with a large windowed frontage, Forest City’s raw warehouse space features a small serving station with silver brew tanks and beer list, five round barreled tables and one back-walled TV.

Crafting mostly one-off elixirs, entrepreneurial brewmaster Chris Coughlin developed a love for brewing during his tenure at Northeastern University. My wife and I try six fine offerings on our one-hour September ’19 stopover.

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Mild pale-yellowed Daybreak Pilsner linked light maize musk and dried oats to herbal-citric Saaz hop pleasantry.

Dewy autumnal foliage propelled Forest fest Oktoberfest Lager, leaving sweet amber-grained malt residue upon daintily spiced red, orange and yellow fruiting.

A lemony sour streak struck the subtle banana-clove sweetness of stylishly expansive Bavarian Breakfast Hefeweizen, a hybridized moderation given herbal ginger licks and earthen melon rind snips.

Arguably the best bet: resilient Galaxy-hopped Stargazer IPA attached tangy citrus spicing to dank wood, dewy moss, fennel and onion tones above sugary caramel malting.

Dry champagne-sparkled moderate-medium body, Champ Brut IPA, provided lightly vinous green grape esters and lemony grapefruit bittering to its relegated pale malting.

Fudgy chocolate sweetness contrasted leftover coffee souring for Brown Cow Chocolate Milk Stout, leaving dewy composted soil and maple molasses oats in its wake.