Flattish lemon spritz glides into woodruff-syruped blueberry souring with mildly acidic lactobacillus souring. Fizzy blueberry seltzer finish falters taste-wise.
Flattish lemon spritz glides into woodruff-syruped blueberry souring with mildly acidic lactobacillus souring. Fizzy blueberry seltzer finish falters taste-wise.
Commonplace limited edition ’19 Octoberfest (marzen) places tart orange oiling across from wet leafed hop foliage and dewy pale malts.
On tap at Ambulance, collaborative German-American India Pale Lager coaxes floral-bound grapefruit bittering and lemony orange zesting out of highly hopped lager. Mild grassy hopped herbage lingers softly.
NYACK, NEW YORK
Right in the heart of Nyack’s Main Street neighborhood village, TWO VILLAINS BREWING turned on its lights during November ’19 to become part of the Hudson Valley’s flourishing gastropub scene. On Valentine’s Day ’20, the narrow downtown brewpub added a light pub menu (with a Southern twist) to go alongside its promising liquid fare.
Upon entering the cozy wood-furnished joint, there’s a certain antiquity to the red brick and plank wood interior walls. The silver-tiled ceiling and small decorative mirrors add archaic charm and the plank-sided bar’s pendant lighting brings rustic elegance to the elongated one-room setup. Central fans hover over the right side high-chaired tables and a few windowed tables round out the front end.
A silver-handled tap station pours the suds emanating from the back-staged silver brew tanks. There’s also a fine selection of top shelf liquor available.
My wife and I gobbled down Candied Bacon Salad, Mac & Cheese and chicken wings during our 90-minute stopover late August ’20.
Casual soft-tongued light body, Harmonic Resonance, retained straw-like pilsner malting, corn husked barnyard acridity and mild herbal whims to embrace its salted lemon spritz.
Soft-watered Kveik yeast provided ultra-clean mouthfeel for A Drifter’s Gambit, a ‘Norwegian pseudo lager’ with brisk lemon zest brightening modest Nelson Sauvin-hopped mandarin orange, white peach, guava, melon and papaya lacquer over light pilsner-Vienna malts.
Lactic milk-sugared New England-style Imperial IPA, Moo’d Ring: Green, a juiced-up collaboration with Bolero Snort, maintained a splendidly sweet-tart tropical fruitiness as advertised Peach Smoothie and Orange Creamsicle succulence absorbed floral-bound mango, passionfruit, guava and gooseberry illusions lightly embittered by dank pine resin over mild oats malting.
Another lactic NEIPA, the hazily copper-marbled A Monument To All Your Sins, plied tangy grapefruit-peeled orange zest and subtle papaya, mango, green grape, guava and melon souring to floral-spiced orange blossom perfuming above oats-flaked wheat malts -’finishing like an orange sherbet.’
Inside a raw open-spaced yellow brick warehouse down the alley from Dollar General at a highway-bound Royersford shopping center, STICKMAN BREWS (with a second location at nearby Chester Springs) started up its small-batch operation during December 2015. Occupying Sly Fox’s former production facility, Stickman crafts “American ales with a Belgian twist” as well as British and German-influenced potions.
Its slate-topped, eight-seat, twelve draught central serving station (with overhead round metal Stickman insignia) gets its looming rustic appeal from the old exposed pipes, high aluminum ceiling, black pendant lighting and cement-floored antiquity.
Head brewer Brendan Breslin (hired by owner/ brewmaster Ethan Buckman) enjoyed Dogfish Head’s concept of utilizing different adjuncts for off-centered, style-bending, hand-crafted ales and many of his finest creative offerings benefit from that dynamic philosophy. Originally a home brewer, Breslin interned at Philly’s Manayunk Brewing in 2015 before leading the troops at Pottstown United Brewing – joining Stickman thereafter.
Stickman’s silver-tanked brew room spreads across the right side alongside bottling-canning operations. A musky mash tun aroma hits me quick as I enter thru the inconspicuous stair-cased back door.
Since Stickman was not open for on-site consumption this Wednesday afternoon in August ’20, I bought several cans for the road. Reviews below.
Young People Fun Party Pilsner - Effervescent floral-perfumed lemon spicing engaged grassy herbal hops and dry hay-like pilsner malting in simply refined fashion.
Mauger’s Lager - Dewy amber-grained lager pasting picked up orange-oiled tangerine tartness, rotted lemon smear and raw honeyed snip for brown-toasted Vienna lager.
General Merriment Marzen Lager - Multi-grained honeyed biscuit sweetness gained slim Scotch notch and mild orange spicing.
Swill Maibock Lager - Tart orange-red fruiting faded alongside desolate floral spicing above sourdough breading for a pedestrian springtime moderation.
Minor Digression Hefeweizen - Unstylistic white-wined cider sharpness and spritzy orange spicing defied banana-clove expectancy while corn-whiskeyed boozing and banana daquiri reminder wavered.
Plain Chicken Nuggets Pale Ale - Zestful sunshine-hazed pale ale with IPA-sharp grapefruit juicing, brisk orange tang and subtle sugared spicing galvanizing mild citric hop bittering over white bread base.
Binns Motor Inn Gose - Weirdly sequenced salted gose peculiarity with corn sugared honey malts buttressing sour lemon candied pucker and acrid barnyard leathering in mushy mix, gaining unexpected cinnamon spicing when warmed.
Captialism Belgian Blonde with Cherry - Calm crimson-glowed Kriek-like maibock spin-off relegated its sedate salt-pinched cherry tartness as green grape esters, candied pineapple souring and blood orange rasping emitted cotton-candied lollipop dollop to thin sweet-tart cherry blonde.
Arming The Rebels India Pale Ale - Dry grapefruit-peeled lemon spritz exerted sunny thrust and tart orange-candied respite for resinous pine needling contrasting back-ended sweet cereal graining of efficient hazy yellowed moderate-medium body.
Heavy C.R.E.A.M. (with Vanilla and Milk Sugar) - Milk-sugared vanilla creaminess guides lactic Double IPA as lemon-soured grapefruit and orange rind bittering soaks dry pine resin to contrast less prominent cotton-candied coconut and pineapple tropicalia as well as salted mango, guava and banana illusions.
Store Bought Is Fine Double India Pale Ale - Despite generic white label, fluffy white-headed yellow-hazed summertime fodder proved exhilarating as sunny lupulin-powdered lemon zesting, juicy yellow grapefruit insurgence and piquant candied citrus tartness gained lactic yogurt souring before reaching its lightly creamed oats-flaked crystal malt base.
Hotline Bling Double IPA with Blueberries/ Roasted Vanilla – Murkily prune-hued full body brings lactic milk-sugared souring to ultra-creamy alcohol-spiked vanilla pasting and lightly glazed blueberry tartness. Drifting blueberry vanilla syruping gains abrupt green grape, guava and gooseberry tartness as well as ascending tangerine juicing sharpened by sly hop-embittered pine lacquering. Endlessly expressive.
Naked Lunch Imperial Stout - Mild oaken bourbon influence spreads thru bitter molasses-licked dark chocolate syruping and oaken vanilla splurge reinforced by hop-charred wood sear of rich cream-fluffed mahogany body.
Proto Hipster Barleywine - Luxuriously creamed brown chocolate syruping richly drapes sturdy prune-stewed raisin resolve as hazelnut-glazed chestnut, pecan and cola auxiliary and mild cinnamon-toasted coffee milking knock on the chewy caramel malt base.
WARETOWN, NEW JERSEY
Celebrating their second anniversary in May ’20, rustic nanobrewery, OYSTER CREEK BREWING CO. is tucked away in the middle of a small mall in the unincorporated Jersey Shore hamlet of Waretown.
Its cozy, concrete-floored, crimson-walled 24-seat barroom offers a few signature beers (cream ale/ stout/ IPA) alongside many rangy one-off delights.
On my early August ’20 journey, I consumed a diverse menu of sampled libations under the makeshift covered tent in the rear.
Oyster Creek’s “gateway” beer, macro-lagered Yellow Cake Cream Ale, rendered maize-dried flaked corn graining, dried orange spicing and sour vegetal notions in a light-bodied setting.
Fizzy Seltzer-like Halflife Hefeweizen (Blueberry) let mild blueberry tartness sink slowly into its delicate honeyed wheat spine.
Bitter Clover honeyed malts seeped into black tea musk and mossy fungi-cellared earthen truffle pungency for Skyshine Honey Beer.
Tangy blood orange goodness lavished Beta Particle Blood Orange Wheat Ale, picking up clementine, tangerine and tangelo illusions above its mild white wheat base.
A straightforward traditional Irish Red Ale, Heavy Water Irish Ale left amber-grained sugaring upon leafy cigarette-roasted dewy peat.
Citric-bound Huell Melon hops gave Nautilus New England IPA an ester-y green grape souring embraced by lemon meringue tartness above flaked wheat malts.
Hybridized Nauti But Nice Milkshake IPA plied tangy mango juicing to pastry-sugared vanilla eclair creaming with a light sour lemon twist. Its Orange Creamsickle finish retained a bubblegummy Tutti-Frutti resolve.
Lemony orange tanginess picked up lactose-soured vanilla milkiness and sweet floral accents above oats-flaked mineral graining for Critical Mass, a bountiful New England-styled IPA utilizing Citra and Mandarina Bavaria hops.
Moderate chili heat endowed Meltdown Habanero IPA, a habanero peppered hop-header with sweet green pepper reminder settling above its dry-hopped pale malting.
Dark candi-sugared Belgian pilsner malts sweetened Tihange Dubbel, a rich black coffee-stained Belgian ale with ample dried fruiting.
One of my faves, kettle-soured Berliner Weiss, Singularity Sour (Blackcurrant), spread citric lactobacillus acidity all over mango-salted blackcurrant perkiness and lemon-limed kiwi, guava and gooseberry tropicalia (as well as tart pomegranate-cranberry-boysenberry illusions).
Infused with vanilla, luxurious DarkMatter Vanilla Porter reached heavenly heights as molasses-sugared spiced rum sweetness girded coffee-milked dark chocolate bittering and toasted cinnamon niceties while vanilla white-caked frosting sealed the deal.
Light roast coffee led soft-toned Coldfusion Coffee Milk Stout, spreading its cold-steeped coffee extract over milk-sugared rolled oats groating.
DENVILLE, NEW JERSEY
Named after an unused Revolutionary War hideaway, FORT NONSENSE BREWING COMPANY opened in 2018. Inside an inconspicuous red brick shelter along Route 10, this cozy nanobrewery offers intriguingly indeterminate flagships and stylishly varied one-off brews.
Run by three beer lovin’ brothers, including head brewer Andrew Aslanian, the ambitious pint-sized pub (with small back patio beer garden) crafts mostly easygoing fare meant to melt on the tongue.
I take a seat at the oaken wood-barred tap room to sample seven satisfyingly soft-toned suds listed on the blackboard menu.
It’s mid-September ’20, so I tried placid Octoberfest, Unsinn Machen (defined as ‘fooling around’) first. Its cheerfully refreshing red-orange-yellow fruiting stayed subtle engaging autumnal leafy hop foliage and mild roasted tobacco crisping over dainty Vienna malt sugaring.
Soft-watered Farmhouse Funk with Strawberry (an offshoot of tropical Golden Berry Farmhouse Funk) plied lemondrop-candied strawberry tartness to white wined whims and grassy hop herbage.
Then came the entourage of stylishly differentiated India Pale Ales.
Delicate Cascade-hopped Harvest IPA brought honey-spiced lemony orange zest to mild wet-hopped pining.
Tart green grape esters, orange-peeled grapefruit rind bittering and pine-lacquered restraint sat atop creamy crystal-pale malts for dry-hopped West Coast-styled Great Falls IPA.
Juicy NEIPA, Regolith: Tranquility Base, retained a candied grapefruit, peach and tangerine tartness and light wood-toned hop bittering above mildly creamed pale-sugared malts.
Best bet: Fully concentrated fruit juicing intensified Lacto By Nonsense. Conditioned on mango and tangerine, its lactic fructose-loaded front end amps up the lemon-juiced salted mango and pureed tangerine density, pineapple-like lulu tanginess, sour-candied Sweet-Tart pucker and vinous white wining. Though its sweaty sox aromatics seems off-putting, the highly acidic tropical fruiting makes a powerful statement.
For a late afternoon sendoff, traditional porter, Arnold’s Tavern, allowed light roast coffee pleasantries to ride above dark chocolate, walnut and hazelnut illusions.
Perched between Root Down and Stable 12 on Phoenixville’s fabulous beer-centric downtown strip, CROWDED CASTLE was formed by a few homebrewing friends doing small social events to show off their brewing prowess before beginning contract brewing. Adventurous beer designer, Mark Sofio, one of Crowded Castle’s main craftsmen, continually concentrates on delighting local patrons and traveling beer seekers with a fine array of style-bending concoctions – refining recipes if need be to come up with better elixirs.
“I don’t need to make the only beer you drink, I just wanna be in your repertoire,” former stay-at-home dad Sofio claims.
Open during Memorial Day 2017 at a former Elks Club lounge, Crowded Castle’s front-windowed Prohibition Era-styled pub features art deco-styled bronze ceiling tiles, three hanging pendant lights, exposed black pipes, earthtone brick walls and a glazed cement floor.
An L-shaped, wood-beamed, slate-top bar services the right side lounge area and surrounding high-chaired tables. The backroom’s seven-and-a-half barrel brew tanks and six fermenters provide the liquid fun and an executive chef was recently hired to run the small kitchen.
While hanging out with Sofio on an early Wednesday afternoon in August ’20, I quaffed all eleven available brews.
Soft-toned lemony grapefruit perfuming and sweet floral-spiced herbage picked up earthen Saaz hop mustiness for mildly crystal malt-creamed Koning Gambrinus Pilsner, a solid light-bodied opener.
An orange-rotted lemon twist and tannic green grape wining rode above corn-husked pale malt spicing for cider-licked Castle Lager, a durable musty-grained moderation.
Dewy peat moss and grassy hop rusticity grazed citric-dried grape esters for Gilded Kolsch, a resolute straw-yellowed pilsner-malted easygoer with delicate floral juniper snips.
Mellow rice-wined French yeast provided a champagne spritz for Meyer lemon-salted farmhouse ale, Ble Saison, leaving lemongrass herbage on the back end.
Candi-sugared Belgian yeast advanced pastry-like tripel, Peace Ale, letting spiced apricot sail alongside rum raisin sweetness.
An interesting combination of British golden ale malts fermented with Belgian yeast, Ovolo placed candied mandarin orange spicing alongside floral-perfumed amber graining.
Date-sugared plum spicing crystallized Mod Quad, a creamily molasses-dipped medium-full body with auxiliary rum raisin, banana bubblegum and bruised orange sweetness.
Murkily yellow-hazed Fog U IPA utilized tart Huell Melon hops, bringing salted gooseberry-guava souring and grapefruit rind bittering to mild lemon meringue vanilla creaming.
Lemon-juiced grapefruit zest, salted mango bittering and spiced orange tartness lingered for Juice My Imagination NEIPA, a lightly lactic yellow-glazed medium body perfect for expansive hop-heads.
Spritzy sour-candied raspberry tartness provided mouth-puckered goodness for Sour Notes (Raspberry), punctuated by musky yellow grape, cranberry, huckleberry, strawberry and cherry rhubarb piquancy.
Mild coffee-roasted dark chocolate malting anchored maple oats-sugared Midnight Stout, a nut-charred mocha-bound nightcap.
Capturing all the casual “urban ambiance” of former mill town, Phoenixville, ROOT DOWN BREWING COMPANY occupies the old 13,000 square-foot red-bricked Superior Beverage warehouse on North Main and Bridge. A block from the Schuylkill River water walk, its friendly neighborhood feel suits the younger crowd moving into the revitalized borough.
An elongated slate-topped 25-seat bar services plastic chaired wood tables and the graffiti-walled, community-tabled, game-roomed backspace. Caged brew tanks behind the 26-plus barroom draught lines provide the vast vats of sundry suds.
The restored wood floor, exposed pipes and cavernous ceiling suit the hoary pub.
Down the road half a mile away at Uncle B’s Bar BQ, Root Down Biergarten is right behind the barbecue diner serving both Root Down creations and local guest brews to wood picnic tables from a portable kiosk.
I tried all 23 available brews at Root Down’s barreled street table on my mid-August ’20 Phoenixville trip (quaffin’ Real Deal Lager afterwards at the biergarten with wife and dog in tow). It truly seemed each soft-toned beer (many lagers or pilsners) weighed gentle on my mind.
Easygoing orange-dried lemon souring rose above dry pale malts for Real Deal Lager, a reliable ‘Southern-styled’ moderation nearly as light as crisply clean lemon-pitted Pils, a clear-straw German-styled pilsner with herbal spelt-alfalfa graining.
Perfumed corn grits, wet-grained acridity and floral-spiced citrus adorned Keller Pils.
Mild grain musk suited dry Saaz-hopped ‘contemporary lager,’ Crispy Boy, leaving wispy herbal residue.
Maize-dried corn grits and wort-like sourdough malts defined grassroots American lager, Grit, picking up oily hop-bined lemon musk.
Raw wheat pungency lightly underscored wattle-seeded rye breading of specialty grain lager, Summarye, relinquishing latent yellow-orange fruited wisps.
Dry PA Lager safeguarded light dewy cereal graining with mellow lemon spicing and grassy hop astringency.
Dry grain rusticity seeped into candied lemondrop tartness for dry kolsch, De La Soul, a popular choice among friendly locals this sunny afternoon.
Not as sweetly effervescent as most hefeweizens, OG Haze relied less on banana-clove sustenance and more on dry lemon musk above its raw-honeyed wheat base.
Straightforward pale ale, Keeper’s Cut, let dry citrus-spiced pale malts surface abruptly.
Mildly pungent beige yellow-hazed pale ale, Hoppy Digital, merged peppery lemon musk with orange rind bittering and grassy hop astringency over spelt-like oats.
Sedate IPA, Flux, gathered mild yellow grapefruit bittering, dulcet mandarin orange tartness and dark floral herbage.
Groaty IPA, Bine, brought bruised lemon bittering to lemongrass-fennel herbage and musky pale malts in a peculiar stylistic manner.
Lingered citrus hop bittering infused raspy New England IPA, The Mock, as lemon-pitted juniper resin girded salted pineapple-papaya-guava tropicalia atop ultra-dry pale malts.
Mild lactic souring grazed hazy IPA, Green Magic, bringing pithy juniper hop musk to lemony grapefruit zesting.
Another lactose-laden IPA, Electric Soup, contrasted its grassy-hopped lemon rot and musky orange oiling against earthen grain-husked leathering.
Super-hazed beige-marbled IPA, New Money, allowed lactic vanilla yogurt souring to influence light grapefruit-orange rind bitterness and herbal respite.
Soft-tongued triple dry-hopped Imperial IPA, Three The Hard Way, sweetened its tangy orange-tangerine juiciness with floral-spiced crystal malting.
Blush pink oak-barreled sour ale, Living Reflection, picked up minor green grape acidity to complement its peachy rosé wining and citric-salted Chablis remnant.
Peppery coriander salting spiced up zesty lemon sunshine for vibrant gose, Salty By Nature.
Exquisite fruited sour ale, Raspberry Fool, took incisive raspberry tartness to delicately vinous green grape esters, oaken cherry dryness, sparkling rosé effervescence, hard cider sharpness and salted mango splurge.
Upfront roasted chocolate malting gained coffee-stained charred hop bittering and wispy tobacco chaw juicing for generically-named, but well-defined Baltic Porter.
Mild sea-salted brown chocolate sweetness embellished Cosmic Bae, a delightfully smooth Milk Stout with dark toffee spicing countering its underlying bitter nutty hop char.
Soft-toned Imperial Stout, Black Is Beautiful (a collaboration with Texas-based Weathered Souls), contrasted coffee-burnt dark chocolate bittering and cacao nibs nuttiness with sweet molasses oats.
About two miles from Phoenixville’s downtown in the not-so-distant outskirts, REBEL HILL BREWING COMPANY occupies a glass-fronted corner spot at the Westside retail mall. Its earth-toned stone exterior and prominent round-topped gray insignia retain a truly distinguishing mark.
Ex-homebrewer Doug Green, “a transitional bartender,” provides an interesting array of well-designed small-batch beers for the left-walled bar’s twelve draught lines. Its elegant wood-lacquered design adds a studio-like pub appeal and the walk-in cooler supplies the draughts. The open backspace includes a seven barrel system with four fermenters and an in-house canning line.
Though Rebel Hill’s out of flagship Bleed Green IPA, a Mosaic-hopped fave, and its hand-pulled ESB, I navigated my way thru eight diverse hand-crafted elixirs at the community-tabled side deck late afternoon mid-August ’20.
Easygoing pinkish amber-hued Hot Wit Ends, a juicily fruited hybridized witbier, sprayed lemon zest onto its floral-cologned spicing, Lemondrop-hopped dragon fruit adjunct and auxiliary watermelon-passionfruit-guava illusions, gaining mild astringency from the hay-dried spine.
Dry-hopped pale ale, Scratch The Surface, employed fruity Citra-Mosaic hops to engage its dank wood surface and oats-flaked pilsner malt base.
Summery dry-hopped cucumber IPA, I’m Just Visiting, a celery-crisped beige yellowed moderation, draped cucumber-pureed citrus spicing all over limey watermelon souring and leathery wheated oats.
Tempered vanilla bean creaming gained lactic insistence for tangy mango-pureed tropical fruit, Cosmic Passage, a vibrant milkshake NEIPA with juicy orange-tangerine tanginess caressing its sweet ‘n sour dessert-like spectrum.
Utilizing Norwegian Kviek yeast to brighten its tropical-fruited Galaxy/ Vic Secret hops, Norse Star IPA left lemon-limed pineapple, grapefruit and peach tang on the brisk piney trail to a wispy white wheat bottom.
Clean mineral-watered Kviek yeast also fortified the woody citrus hop foundation of The Four Norseman, a sunny IPA with candied tangerine and sour passionfruit riffs (as well as tertiary pineapple, peach and mandarin orange snips) parading thru its delicate oats-flaked malting.
“Red Hawaiian Punch”-like Windows of Hoppiness unleashed cedar-sweetened candied fruiting upon its zesty lemon sunshine and soft-toned pine bittering.
Milk-sugared vanilla and coffee beans paced luxurious lactic-aided hybrid, Calmer Than Cream Cafe Ole, a delightfully smooth pale-malted moderation with spritzy lemon zesting adding citric sunshine to the cinnamon-toasted pastry midst and coffee-caked brown sugar finish.
Located along Bridge Street’s brewers alley in a white stucco barn house one-quarter mile from Crowded Castle, Phoenixville’s STABLE 12 BREWING CO. came into existence during mid-2015 when three long-time beer lovin’ friends pursued their dream of opening a brewpub.
Residing at a former horse stable, this friendly neighborhood cement-floored shack features an aluminum-sided main room with wooden chairs and tables sidling the 12-seat bar. In the rear, Stable 12′s silver brew tanks line the side walls of an unfinished space.
Serving burgers, sandwiches and bar bites to a full crowd this Tuesday evening in August ’20, my wife and I grab a picnic table under one of the maroon umbrellas at the side biergarten to try seven heavenly offerings.
Mild maize-dried corn grits received a lemony grapefruit spritz for The American Dream, a sturdy German-styled pilsner placing raw-grained straw wheat, alfalfa and hay astringency at the rustic finish.
Tart springtime witbier, Razzle Dazzle, let sour raspberry piquancy gain mildly vinous white wine acidity and mellow rosé wisps atop dry oats-flaked white wheat base.
Kettle-soured gose, Day In The Park – Blueberry / Pomegranate, retained vinous white-wined Zinfandel splendor to complement coriander-salted lacquered blueberry tartness and lightly embittered pomegranate splurge (as well as raspberry-gooseberry snips).
Conditioned on strawberry, cherry and blackberry, Fresh Picked: Lemonberry, a tartly fruited sour, brought salted lemon-peeled lime bittering to oaken cherry-soaked berry goodness.
Crisply clean citrus-juiced Imperial IPA, Firefly Skies, allowed lemony grapefruit zest to brighten the spritzy mandarin orange midst above mineral grained pale malts.
Perfectly sessionable NEIPA, Live To Fight Another, permeated its mild grapefruit bittering and lemon custard tartness with lactic vanilla creaming over mild pale malt sugaring.
“Velvety” coffe-induced chocolate malting greeted barley-roasted flaked oats for Rodeo Clown Imperial Stout, leaving maple molasses syruping upon the durable mocha finish.