Doing small batch brewing out of a dank revitalized warehouse with locally sourced mountain spring water from a small system just a stones throw away from the original 1851 brewery, resident Honesdale proprietor, Brian Cobb, reopened IRIVING CLIFF BREW COMPANY during 2014. Current brewmaster, Gary Sadavage, coaxes casually straightforward one-offs and a few standards from his small brewing system, hitting stride with the popular berry-flavored mainstay, Rip’s Purple Magic, and Maple City Lager.
A handcrafted wood bar centers the pub area where fine spirits and twelve-plus draughts are available during my July ’18 dinnertime stopover. There’s a stone electric fireplace for warmth and 2 TV’s for sports fans.
The overhead-doored, cement-floored backroom space fits additional table seating, the brew tanks and a gold-lettered Irving Cliff Brew Company mural painting. Celebrating local macrobrew heritage, there are beer trays from Gibbons Ale, Stegmaier, Schaefer and Schmidts staring down at us while my wife and I grab a Philly Cheesesteak and Smoked Trout to go with our beer samples. Burgers, appetizers and salads were also available.
As for the well-watered draught fare, modestly complex local favorite, Rip’s Purple Magic, allowed tart raspberry-blueberry sweetness to contrast lemon-soured lactic yogurt spurts above pilsner-malted white wheat breading.
Slight maple syruping guarded soft-toned, moderate-bodied mainstay, Maple City Lager, letting brown-breaded malts carry thru to dried fruited plum and date souring.
Dry grassy-hopped Canal Cream Ale placed mild pale malt sweetness across dried orange complacency, leaving wheat-flaked corn and rice musk at the pilsner-like finish.
Honeyed grains soaked Farmers Market Wheat, a copper-browned hefeweizen with lightly spiced banana-clove accents buried below sweet orange tartness.
Light maple sweetness fronted Maple Dunkelweizen, gaining delicate orange-soured tartness over sugared wheat malting.
Lightly spiced Ichabod’s Lost Pumpkin Ale let its sweet pumpkin-pied sugaring contrast roasted gourd earthiness and mild lemon souring.
Floral-fruited moderate-medium body, Dyberry Creek IPA brought stylish grapefruit, pineapple and orange bittering to the fore as honeyed pale malts contrasted dry Chinook hop woodiness in brisk cucumber-watered setting.
Lightly creamed Belgian Tripel countered caramel-malted banana and clove sweetness with green apple tartness to its oats-flaked buckwheat base, but lacked depth and body.
De-husked carafe malts gave St. Tikhon’s Russian Imperial Stout its dry chocolate chalking as mild anise illusions creeped towards the surface.
Aged 5 years to perfection, spirited Stock Ale provided sweet whiskey and dry bourbon warmth to wood-dried tobacco roast, light sherry wining, vinous lime-leafed green grape esters and wispy crabapple tartness.
On January ’20 revisit, discovered a few more Irving Cliff brews.
Sweet ‘n sour blueberry tartness consumed light-bodied Blueberry Blonde Ale, as wispily spiced pale malts received subtle white wheat breading.
Bitter lemon acidity upstaged salted mango tartness for Jolly Prankster Mango Sour, letting tertiary oaken vanilla, hard cider and white wine illusions slip in the back end.
Dewy English-styled Imperial IPA, Crazy Train, brought corn whiskey tones to soft mineral graining and citric floral-perfumed Bravo hop intensity.
Juicy fruited Citra Wet Hopped IPA loaded lemony grapefruit zest upon orange-mango sweetness and mild guava souring above sugared pale malts.
Perfectly re-creating a chocolate mint cookie, Thin Mint Cookie Stout draped mildly creamy dark chocolate syrup onto gingerbread, green mint chocolate and mint julep illusions.
Brown-sugared cookie dough sweetness contrasted Blackstrap molasses bittering above the maple oats base of Oatmeal Cookie Stout, leaving distant hazelnut, walnut and bruised cherry illusions in its wake.