Category Archives: United States Brewpubs

MASTHEAD BREWING COMPANY

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Occupying a cavernous cement-floored warehouse at the east end of downtown Cleveland, MASTHEAD BREWING COMPANY opened its doors at the historic Bryant Building, January ’17.

Providing the perfect sportsbar atmosphere for local fans, its massive reclaimed wood 100-foot bar, ample seating, widespread community tables, sizable sidewalk patio, multiple tap handles, strewn barrels and TV’s in every direction create a natural blue collar rusticity to complement Cleveland’s Industrial working class city.

The steel-furnished Masthead (with a huge company insignia along the back wall) crafts some serious elixirs in its rear brew tanks and the left side open kitchen offers fine pub fare including wood-fired red and white pizzas.

One of Masthead’s newer brewers, government marine biologist-turned-brewer, Chris Spann, shared beer thoughts as I settled in on a sunny Saturday afternoon in April ’17.

 

 

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Light lemon-peeled curacao orange tang, sweet coriander spicing and subtle banana tones surround tart candied center of dainty Belgian-styled Wit.

Springtime-readied Doppelbock conveyed bittersweet fig-prune conflux to toffee-like caramel malting.

Mildly creamed rye wheat malting underlined Rydaho Rye Pale Ale’s wood-dried Saaz hops and zesty lemon spicy.

Mild IPA brought orange-peeled grapefruit tang to grassy hop astringency to contrast light sugar spicing.

Despite its feral moniker, Brute Force Double IPA retained mild hop bittering for its balanced peach, pineapple, orange and melon tang sweetened by sticky sugar malts.

But today’s best offerings could damn well be the three stouts.

Sweet-toothed Stout set the tone with its chocolate-roasted cocoa bean and vanilla sugaring gaining a black cherry rasp.

Mild Coffee Stout utilized Six Shooter coffee to lightly embitter milk chocolate and vanilla tones in a friendly dessert manner.

Better still, creamy Poblano Chili Stout left mild chili peppering upon coffee-sugared black chocolate malts, vanilla bean subtleties and oats-flaked molasses snips. 

mastheadbrewingco.com

BUTCHER AND THE BREWER

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Inside a cavernous 19th century warehouse, BUTCHER AND THE BREWER is an exquisitely detailed beer hall opened during autumn 2014 in downtown Cleveland’s thriving East 4th Street promenade. Just blocks from national sports franchises including the Browns, Indians and NBA World Champions, the Cavaliers, its olden Prohibition atmosphere gets fully captured by the rustic wood furnishings, ancient metal ceiling fans and overall Industrial setting.

Ably combining upscale cuisine with a diverse array of beers, Butcher And The Brewer is a worthy choice for noontime nips, fine dining and sports tailgating. An open kitchen behind the 60-seat 30-tap bar and the rear brew tanks service the barrel-topped barroom tables and expansive right side dining area.

The enlightening food menu included shucked, cured and cultured delights alongside flatbread pizzas and original meat dishes.

Original head brewer, Eric Anderson (now at local Hingetown neighborhood pub, Saucy Brew Works), handed the torch to fellow Siebel Institute grad, microbiologist John Mc Groarty, in 2016.

On Saturday evening dinnertime journey in April ’17, enjoyed six elixirs alongside fine Smoked Lamb Ribs and brown-buttered Mac And Cheese while watching Indians game with wife and youngest son.

Mild lemon souring gained dank earthen musk and vegetal wisp for easygoing Noble-hopped moderation, Repeater Kolsch.

Piney grapefruit and orange pith bittering picked up sour lemon pungency for Belgian yeast-induced Positively E 4th St Farmhouse Ale, a tart blood orange-spiked medium body with plenty of spunk.

Sour lemony grapefruit tartness inundated Barrel Talk #1, an oaken wine barrel-aged ‘bier de miel’ utilizing wild saison yeast for its mild brettanomyces acridity and rustic farmhouse funk.

Boldly pine-hopped The Sturdy Pine brought raw-honeyed orange rind dryness to tangy red apple, peach, pineapple, grapefruit and tangerine sweetness.

Spicy black chocolate confronted oats-dried earthen dankness for Belgian Chocolate Stout, The Count, leaving burgundy wining at the bitter black-malted finish.

Smoothly creamed Midnight Oil Imperial Oatmeal Stout let oats-smoked dark chocolate malting enjoin mild peanut-almond-hazelnut cluster over mellow hop char.

www.butcherandthebrewer.com

ROCKY RIVER BREWING CO.

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

On the outskirts of town in Cleveland’s westbound Rocky River district, ROCKY RIVER BREWING CO. opened in 1998 and remains a neighborhood sportsbar fave. Sticking to proven stylistic formulas with its standardized mainstream fare, the sizable freestanding joint sidles individual malls and family restaurants.

Upon entering, the prominent marble-topped 25-seat wooden bar with two blackboard beer menus and several draught taps welcomes patrons. A wraparound outdoor deck surrounds its rustic gray-paneled red brick edifice and multi-leveled oak wood tables, chairs and booths dominate the sterling interior.

Rocky River’s brew tanks take up a separate front section and the glass-encased area behind the bar.

On a friendly Sunday afternoon jaunt, April ’17, tried all eight offerings with famed Cleveland scribe, Chris Parker (whose King James book documents the Cavaliers 2016 NBA championship year).

Smooth macrobrew-styled blonde ale, Rocky River Pirate Light, rubbed popcorn-like maize astringency and tepid white rice neutrality against soapy lemon-bruised souring.

Sweet ‘n sour blueberry tartness could’ve been heightened for Blueberry Ale, as its influence lost luster over pasty pale wheat malts, grassy hops and honeyed lemon wisps.

Mild lemon musk and mineral-grained pale malting moderated unassuming alt-styled Cooper’s Gold Kolsch.

Mild citric-spiced Boondock Spring Ale gained a musky hop graining and lemony carbolic spritz.

Bettering the above samplings, dry-hopped Firelands Pale Ale drifted beyond its staid styling as honeycomb-like malts gained wispy nutmeg-cinnamon spicing.

Flagship West Coast-styled Hop Goblin IPA enjoined floral grapefruit, orange, peach and pineapple tang with light hop bitterness.

Candi-sugared Belgian yeast sweetened Titan Triple Belgium Strong Ale, an 8.6% ABV medium body with tangy sugar-spiced orange peel contrasting sour lemon and herbal lemongrass.      

Muddled Black Pirate, a black-malted coffee stout, needed a deeper freshly milled peppercorn influence to perk it up.

rockyriverbrewco.com

HUDSON VALLEY BREWERY

BEACON, NEW YORK

Uniquely specializing in easygoing sour ales, HUDSON VALLEY BREWERY began brewing operations during September ’16, opening its doors for public consumption January ’17. Entrepreneurial brewer, John-Anthony Gargiulo, previously blended sour ales for Dryden, New York’s respectable Bacchus Brewing. His dazzlingly demure barrel-aged elixirs possess modest complexity, subtle affectations, poignant piquancy and maybe most importantly, crystalline soft water.

Stationed at an enormous unfinished warehouse just off downtown Beacon near the railroad tracks and waterfall, Hudson Valley Brewery certainly has room for future expansion. Its unused back area may be turned into a dining space.

Dozens of liquor barrels don the left wall and bar area while a small outside deck at the garage door opening packs up with local sour ale fanatics at 2 PM on this cloudy Saturday, April ’17. Bob Dylan tunes play prominently while I settle into all eight intricately designed libations at the lacquered wood bar.

An easygoing gateway into sour ales, Incandenza Sour IPA plied juicy-fruited Citra hops and dank wood-dried Simcoe hops to lightly salted lemon zest, puckering orange-oiled grapefruit tartness and raw wheat astringency.

Billowy Pillow Hat IPA (with grassy Citra-Motueka hops) carried sour lime zest crisping to briny sea-shelled salting as subtle key lime pie, grapefruit pith, honeydew and melon illusions tingled the tongue.

Sessionable Infinite Pool IPA retained a softly lingering citric hop bittering and mild soft-watered flow as its lemony grapefruit tang, candied pineapple tartness and herbal lemongrass snips integrate well.

“Tropical juice box” Silhouette Brunch-Style Sour, utilized tart tangerines to soak up mild lemon-limed acidity, subtle pineapple-peach notions and champagne-sparkled mimosa wisps.

Adventurous moderate-bodied Adult World Smoked Sour Farmhouse was today’s sourest offering with its dry oaken musk and peat-smoked Scotch licks receiving an ocean-watered lime salting  and lemon-peeled bittering to finish with a tequila-like mezcal spunk.

Soured hopheads will lean towards Re Up, an Eldorado-Azacca-Citra-hopped Imperial IPA with orange marmalade, orange blossom and sugar cookie illusions peeking thru.

Refreshingly brisk King Wavy Imperial IPA brought oats-dried tropical fruiting to lightly soured lemon-juiced orange rind bittering as its sweet orange-peeled pineapple, grapefruit, mango, clementine and peach tang gained pale-malted sugar spicing. 

Possibly my fave, Animal Balloon Smoked Sour combined lime-dried lemon balm with vinous green grape mildness, soft passionfruit tartness and oaken vanilla buttering for a smoothly salt-peppered moderation.

hudsonvalleybrewery.com

RARE FORM BREWING CO.

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TROY, NEW YORK

Tucked into the industrial textile manufacturing section near Central Troy’s Historic District on Congress Street near the Hudson River’s eastern banks, RARE FORM BREWING CO. opened May 2014. A rustic, no-nonsense 5-barrel brewery, its basic essentials are clearly the well-rounded beers and ales lining the 14 tap handles at the 12-seat serving station.

A large screen TV above the front door keeps my wife amused during our friendly late morning March ’17 two-hour stopover. A small food menu included smoked Peking duck, corned beef, cheddar cheese and raw-milked manchego.  Whiskey flights and wine were also available. I sampled all eleven elixirs currently available fom the tanks behind the serving station.

For starters, affable light-bodied Sabbatical Session Ale coalesced mild orange-peeled lemon zest with subtle rye, coriander and celery, gaining tangy tangerine, clementine and mandarin orange wisps at the brisk finish.

Earthen spelt graining anchored serene Steaze Spelt Saison as lemony grapefruit, orange and banana illusions picked up mild sugar spicing.

In its refined recipe, kitschy moderate body, Royal Coconut Cream Ale, allowed toasted coconut shavings to sweeten its zesty lemon bite and contrast the maize-dried cracked pepper bittering.

Hop-forward Freshy Hoppy Lager brought lemony passionfruit, guava and mango subtleties to mild raw-honeyed pilsner malting.

A limited edition fave, quaint Raw Beats IPA, let spritzy citrus zest linger over dry wood tones, raw rye malts and dainty sugar spices, leaving plentiful yellow grapefruit pit bittering along the way.

Despite its somewhat high 8.8% ABV, approachable medium body, Cascadia Double IPA, retained a charmingly perfume-spiced yellow grapefruit, lemon meringue, orange rind, nectarine and mango tang above spelt-dried grain malting.

Mildly creamed Karass Porter allowed bitter black chocolate to contrast brown-sugared almond, toffee and molasses atop dark-roasted hop char.

For Coconut Karass Porter, toasted coconut sweetened nut-charred black chocolate malting in stylish fashion.

Nutty caramel-toasted Members Only Brown Ale picked up dried cherry undertones to enhance its walnut-hazelnut-pecan conflux.

Bakers chocolate-like malts inundated Dark Day Schwarzbier as caramel-burnt coffee oiling gained mild spicing beneath the surface.

Mild Irish-styled Night Ride Dry Stout let black chocolate malts pick up subtle hop-charred nut roast.

 

MAD JACK BREWING CO. @ THE VAN DYCK

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SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK

Inside Van Dyck Lounge at an infamously historic haunted brothel inconspicuously hidden among a residential Schenectady neighborhood, MAD JACK BREWING COMPANY re-established a former local brewery in 2011.

With the appearance of a low-ceiling upscale English pub, Mad Jack’s rounded beer selection benefits from Van Dyck’s great pizza, fine entrees and signature cocktails. A black canopy welcomes patrons to a separate right side dining area fronting the 20-seat bar area featuring walnut furnishings, booze-lined mirrors, a few tables and 2 TV’s.

A prominent carpeted dining area with tiled hearth opposes the left bar while a brick and windowed brew room adorns the rear nearing the back deck.

Keeping with its antiquated brothel setting, curtained front windows and dim lighting complete the score during my March 2017 mid-afternoon sojourn.

First up, light German-styled Pinhead Pilsner brought dank pilsner malting and mild grassy hop astringency to laidback lemony licks.

Nonchalant Washed Out Belgian White plied tingly sugar spicing to sweet orange-peeled banana and clove expectancy as well as distant lemony grapefruit bittering.

Musty earthen peat and dewy pale malts anchored dry-bodied moderation, Irish Red, a crisply barley-roasted delight.

Locally popular flagship, Fightin’ Irwin IPA, put apple, pear and peach fruiting on par with stylish grapefruit-peeled orange tang and spruce-pined hops above mild crystal malting.

Raisin, plum and black cherry pureeing pervaded Dunkel-Weizenbock, a sweet caramel malted medium body (with well-hidden 8.5% ABV).

“Intense coffee and chocolate” flavoring secures smoothly Vienna-malted Mount Pleasant Porter, a milky mocha delight with plenty of caramel sweetness.

Before heading to Saratoga, dark-roasted barley crisping deepened Stockade Stout’s mild coffee tones and chalky cocoa dryness.

www.vandycklounge.com/mad-jack

 

BLUE COLLAR BREWERY

POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK

Poughkeepsie’s BLUE COLLAR BREWERY is a cavernously expansive no-frills neighborhood joint tucked into a residential area just on the outskirts of downtown. In an old factory industrial building, long-time home brewing Red Sox fan Kevin Marquis and his son, head brewer Randy (a proud UC-Davis grad), craft a steady menu of likable ales to go with respectable pub fare.

Blue Collar’s red brick-walled interior features an open kitchen and opposing lower-leveled brew room that lead to its airy 15-seat backroom central bar (with 6 TV’s, a dozen tap handles, ten dining tables and loft seating).

Several fine wines are available alongside the five durable draught ales sampled during my March ’17 excursion.

Perhaps the finest offering, tea-like Irish Red gained a dewy earthiness to combat its caramelized barley roast, mild lemon spicing, raw molasses bittering and wispy coffee snip.

Floral citric herbs guarded light-bodied Saison, where well-watered freshness brought crisp carbolic spritz to sour lemon, zesty grapefruit, tangy orange and bruised banana tones above gentle pilsner-Vienna malting.

Briskly clean moderation, Cream Ale, saddled flaked corn and grassy hay with salted lemon souring.

Lemon-peeled grapefruit and orange rind bittering picked up sticky Amarillo-hopped pining for amiable medium-bodied India Pale Ale.

Mild black-malted Oatmeal Stout plied oats-sugared molasses to coffee-roasted milk chocolate for a nice capper.

www.thebluecollarbrewery.com

 

PLATFORM BEER CO.

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Open for business since the Fourth of July, 2014, PLATFORM BEER CO. is arguably Cleveland’s best brewpub (with a second site now operating in Columbus). Utilizing a large, raw space just west of downtown Cleveland at  the Gordon Square Arts District in the Ohio City district, Platform delivers a plethora of wide-ranging brews and allows dedicated brewing apprentices to sharpen their craft through their Incubator pilot batch program sponsored by owner Paul Benner’s Cleveland Beer Shop across the street.

Inside a defunct meat packing warehouse, Platform’s red brick-walled interior, Edison bulb lighting, black ceiling and exposed ducts provide an Industrial setting while the dog-friendly rear patio offers further seating. The 25-seat central bar contains 2 cornered TV’s, 24 tap handles and several brew tanks. Two community tables, an electronic bowling game and a satellite kitchen at the front complete the score as my wife and I settle mid-bar to sample some of the best suds this town’s got to offer in spades during a March ’17 sojourn.

For a soft-toned starter, City Boy Sour retained a pinkish champagne hue and flavoring as raspberry-pureed souring reigned upon sugary Sweet-Tart spicing and spritzy lemon salting to its straw wheat base.

Dedicated to Cleveland’s hard-working blue collar souls, New Cleveland Palesner Pilsner engaged its dried barleycorn musk with earthen Noble hop herbage, cracker-like pale malts and floral snips.

Hopped-up Vienna-lagered Taube Brau brought caramelized barley malting to floral-dusted hops and desiccated orange-fig illusions in a spritzy manner.

The Project -Eldorado Pale Ale, a light-bodied sweetener, loaded tangy strawberry, melon, lemon, canteloupe and pineapple brightener upon its honey-spiced Graham Cracker base.

‘Complex’ Winter Wit layered polite Christmas spicing atop mild lemon-soured orange peel bittering, herbal lemongrass perfuming, distant banana-clove sugaring and neutral white wheat graining.

Brisk tropical fruiting picked up sharp hop spicing for excellent flagship offering, Speed Merchant White IPA, where floral orange-peeled grapefruit, peach, pineapple, mango and lemon illusions brightened the soft white wheat base as its dry piney bitterness increased tension.

A veritable citrus hop bouquet wafts its way thru medium-full-bodied Warrah Imperial IPA, framing its bittersweet orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple and tangerine tang as well as its dried-fruited black cherry, fig and date nuances with caramel malt sweetness.

Smoky meat-cured beechwood subtleties affected Noble Dragon Porter, a black chocolate-based dark ale with maple, caramel and vanilla sweetness contrasting earthen pepper spicing.

Possibly today’s best choice, High Brow Barista Pale Ale let rye-spiced malts propel dry-beaned medium roast coffee bittering above its zesty lemon rind tartness and wispy grapefruit tingle in a crisply clean-watered setting.

platformbeerco.com

 

MARKET GARDEN BREWERY

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Just across the Cuyahoga River from downtown Cleveland in the newly gentrified West Side Market section of Ohio City, capacious sports-barred brewpub MARKET GARDEN BREWERY features a front patio and community-tabled beergarden to sidle its Prohibition Era-styled interior. Opened November ’15 and initially visited March ’17, this multifarious pub was transformed from its dilapidated state to become the centerpiece of a proudly reconstituted market district.

Occupying a cavernous warehouse facility and a few doors down from the owners’ still-thriving sister brewery (the smaller-sized Nano), Market Garden’s custom-built walk-thru brew system, manned by experienced former Dogfish Head and Great Lakes brewer, Andy Tveekrem, allows patrons full access to witness the brewing operations.

Meanwhile, olden chandeliers, decorative railroad-tied walls, marbled slate table tops and cornered leather booths provide sterling antiquity for the centralized 30-seat curved bar. Downstairs, the low-ceilinged Ohio City Room adds a separate bar and plenty of seating while a backroom dining space keeps kids happy.

The worthy pub menu included 30 items such as the delicious Brisket Burger and equally fine Truffle Mac & Cheese. Four chalkboards list 20-plus homemade brews.

Market Garden’s most popular beer, perfectly streamlined Prosperity Wheat, brought mild banana-clove-bubblegum sweetness to lemony orange zest and wheat-sugared pale malts above sourdough breading.   

Fine strong lager, Illuminator Doppelbock, stayed sweet as caramel-spiced toffee malting picked up mild dried fruiting.

Dewy peat malts soaked Wee Heavy Wallace Tavern Scotch Ale, leaving toffee-spiced caramel sweetness upon brown-sugared molasses wisps.    

“Intense tropical fruiting” deluged brilliant Citra Max IPA, a zesty Citra hop-spiced medium body gathering grapefruit and orange rind bittering alongside tangy pineapple, mango, papaya and tangerine illusions. Dank piney hop resin increases its bold bitterness.

Sharp IPA-derived fruit spicing glazed Retro Hippo Barleywine (2017), a floral-wafted middleweight with tangy yellow grapefruit, navel orange, pineapple, peach, mango and tangerine tropicalia picking up fig-sugared sweetness and delicate butternut-pecan-praline undertones.

Then came the terrific dark ale selections.

Splendid Midnight Vorlauf Coffee Porter raised its cold-brew coffee roast above black-brown chocolate malts and mildly charred hops for a fine morning wake up call.

Nitro Saint Emeric’s Stout retained a mildly creamed black chocolate moderation and dry nutty swipe above musky earthen wood tones.

Blending bittersweet chocolate-malted cocoa nibs with mild chipotle and cayenne-peppered habanero heat, Barrio Mole Stout lingered on with a smoky mocha resonance. Quite inspiring.

Even better and richer, oak-barreled Irishman’s Enforcer Imperial Stout layered Tom’s Foolery bourbon vanilla subtleties atop black-malted cocoa nibs and dark chocolate for comforting warmth.

Due to heavy drinking, I missed out on Chinook Strike Pale Ale and Progress Pilsner, two lighter mainstays.

Upon April ’17 retreat, discovered three diverse hop-forward offerings.

Citric-hopped IPA fruiting and resinous pine lacquering girded the glutenous wheat spine of celery-watered Mirv Hoppy Wheat.

Brusque Particle Accelerator, a sharply embittered Imperial IPA, brought tangy orange-peeled grapefruit rind, pineapple and mango tropicalia to pine-lacquered alcohol esters.

Soft-toned Hellamango IPA received a lemony mango twist over mild Citra hop grassing as musty earthen pining and misty sea salting contrasted mango-sugared cornbread malts.   

marketgardenbrewery.com

NANO BREW

CLEVELAND, OHIO

A few doors down from its bigger business partner, Market Garden Brewery, in Cleveland’s historic Ohio City Market Square, friendly neighborhood joint, NANO BREW, features award-winning burgers and a few promising homemade elixirs by experienced brewer Andy Tveekrem.

Utilizing a two-sided bar broken up by a red brick wall, Nano’s signature bike handles, old wood floors, stage lighting, exposed pipes and rear open kitchen give it a rustic aura. A dog-friendly patio, oaken community tables and front cornered booths provide ample seating. The 24 draughts include three original Nano brews plus a fine assortment of Ohio microbrews.

On this sunny Saturday afternoon, March 2017, the place is packed to the hilt. So I grab my samplers and stand along the central corridor. Someone here must have a druggy sense of humor since the Wake ‘N Bake and Acid Trip burgers provide a happy snicker.

First up, sharply sugar-spiced Namber Amber Ale brought red and orange fruiting to minor hop astringency for a decent moderate-bodied opener.

Next, Fireside Wheat Winter Hefeweizen enlivened sweet Christmastime spicing (cinnamon-clove-ginger) with fig-sugared dried fruiting.

Before heading off to Market Garden, Nano Porter contrasted coffee-stained walnut bittering against hazelnut-glazed sugaring and black chocolate malts.

nanobrewcleveland.com

ROBIN HOOD BREWING COMPANY

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BELLEFONTE, PENNSYLVANIA

Any true beer lover cruising down Route 80 in Central Pennsylvania a few miles north of Penn State must make the journey to ROBIN HOOD BREWING COMPANY. Situated inside Home D Pizzeria in a well-designed freestanding building in the Victorian-housed borough of Bellefonte, the friendly sportsbar-related beer and wood-fired pizza joint take their homemade craft brewing and popular pub fare seriously.

Open since 2014 and already on their 500th beer batch by my March ’17 visit, Robin Hood Brewing dominates its bucolic rural region since the closest competition lies twelve miles south and many more miles further in any other direction. A small enclosed green-furnished wood deck sidles its stone-walled entrance side and a separate left side dining section serves families well. The 10-seat L-shaped bar area includes several booths and tables as well as 12 big-screen TV’s and a host of blackboard beer menus. Several round stickers with proprietary beer emblems cover the green side wall.

Brewmaster Chris Schell concocts a well-rounded selection from light lagers to bourbon-barreled Imperial Stouts and I try thirteen during dinnertime. Wine lovers should be informed of the 700 bottle selection.

Smooth Munich-malted L.J. Lager let dank grain pungency affect mild hop toasting for simple blue collar fare. Another easygoing moderation, English-styled Peasant Ale, brought light citrus souring to musky grains, sweet toffee and biscuity malts. Conventional King Richard Red spread toasted caramel malts across rye-spiced apple and fig sweetness.

Enjoyable moderation, Blueboary Wheat, spiked its prominent blueberry lacquering with subtle floral-perfumed hops and sweet wheat malts. Easy drinkin’ moderation, Pomegranate Wheat, draped pomegranate-soured blueberry and rhubarb tartness atop wispy white wheat breading.

Subtle grapefruit and orange rind bittering graced Blooming Spring IPA, an approachable moderate body with piney-hopped honeysuckle herbage. Dryer and bitterer Bulls IPA presses sweet ‘n sour grapefruit, pineapple and mango tropicalia against bark-dried wood tones and musky grains.

Soft-toned Long Bow Imperial IPA hid its hefty 10% ABV behind sugar-spiced fruit juicing, caramelized pale malt sweetness, resinous earthen pine bittering and evergreen freshness.

Dry-malted and suggestively named F-Tuck Porter brought dark-roast black chocolate malting to caramel-burnt coffee tones and earthen musk.

Next, three rich stouts helped bring a climactic height. Nitro Maiden Milk Stout contrasted milky bourbon chocolate and vanilla sweetness against dry cocoa tones. Unorthodox Axehole Russian Imperial Stout brought Baltic Porter-like dewy cellar musk and dried prune acridity to black-malted dark chocolate, cocoa and coffee tones.

Perfect mocha-bound digestif, Black Barrel Bourbon Stout, caressed beautiful Elijah Craig bourbon warmth with lovely chocolate-vanilla-coconut sweetness.  

Another luscious dessert treat, Major Oak Wee Heavy, saturates caramel-malted vanilla, coconut, molasses and fudge tones with bourbon-barreled Jack Daniels whiskey sweetness for a wholly involving Scotch ale.

During 90-minute April ’17 stopover on the way to Cleveland, sampled two more IPA’s and two more dark ales.

Refreshingly clean Robin Rocket IPA allowed sticky pine resin to latch onto tangy orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple and lemon briskness as well as less affluent sugar-spiced pale malts.

Sharper Blooming Spring Double IPA let grapefruit and orange rind bittering get soaked by musky alcohol phenols above oats-flaked caramel malts.

Dry black malt bittering ushered in Brawling Barrel Porter as dark chocolate, burnt coffee and ashen nuttiness led the way over charred hops.

Mocha-smoked St. Hood Cafe Coffee Stout merged pleasant espresso coffee overtones with chalky dark-roast chocolate malting (as dry whiskey-burgundy subtleties and spicy cinnamon-curry wisps evaporate).

 

 

LONG LIVE BEERWORKS

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND

Inside a small middle space at an inconspicuous West Fountain Street mall just across Route 95 from Providence proper, intimate LONG LIVE BEERWORKS thrilled its local neighbors, who came out in droves to celebrate its grand opening, January 2016. ‘Hardcore New Haven-bred hop enthusiast’ Armando De Dona utilizes a backroom seven barrel system to craft his highly respected original recipes. Unlike downtown breweries Union Station and Trinity, Long Live Beerworks is a traditional production microbrewery – meaning it only serves beer, not food.

Settling in on a cold Saturday evening February ’17, my wife and I grab seats at the L-shaped 8-seat serving table. On the right side, a large mural-like Long Live Beerworks canvas counters the black-walled bar area. In the springtime, a small exterior patio provides more room.

On tap during my 1-hour stopover were two magnificent coffee-flavored dark ales and one juicy IPA. Though we’re crunched for space, the tiny facility has no problem keeping the customers satisfied.

Lemony yellow grapefruit zest fronted Citra-Centennial-hopped Wesside IPA, a crisply clean medium body anchored by mildly creamed crystal malts and dank pine resin.

Next, Harry May Oatmeal Porter (with Dave’s French Roast Coffee) reigned luxurious coffee bean essence over sweet toasted oats, gaining cappuccino, café latte and cocoa undertones at its sweepingly majestic finish.

Just as enjoyable, Coarse Grind Stout (with Dave’s Coffee Espresso Blend) brought medium-roast coffee tones to the fore, as dry espresso, cacao nibs, dark chocolate and macchiato notions reinforced its java goodness.

www.longlivebeerworks.com