Situated in the back of a tan stucco professional complex along the railroad tracks in rural North Wales (north of Philly and east of Lancaster), PRISM BEER CO. opened October 2010. Brewer Rob De Maria, a Philly native, gained experience brewing keg-only beers. Retaining his formative recipes, but using different yeast, the former corporate worker initially found creative release as a home brewer.

Sojourning to Prism for a few after dinner libations, mid-July 2011, I got to encounter several approachable, yet totally experimental, craft brews. Entering through yellowed wood doors to a ten-seated L-shaped bar (with centered TV and nearby jukebox), this diminutive spot also had three wood tables and a glass-walled rear section storing brew tanks. A bottling line ready to be assembled downstairs will increase volume for this splendid neighborhood dig.

Alongside eight diverse selections, I downed a Prism Dog frankfurter dubbed Purple (loaded with chipotle beef chili, red onions, and pineapple relish). Lighter thirsts will appreciate citric-bound Shady Blond, with its dry lemon spicing and tart blood orange snip. Buttery pale ale, Par Tea, brought a mild black tea bittering to grapefruit-peeled lemon zest and apple-spiced wining.

Another softie, Funk Zone, a peculiar dry-bodied Irish Ale, possessed a surprising cinnamon cider theme reinforced by a tart lemon-peeled lime pucker, piquant brettanomyces souring, and maple syrupy ginger-nutmeg-allspice innuendo.

Dry clover-honeyed Bitto Honey IPA placed woody-hopped bittering, apple-skinned citric tartness, and floral spicing beside crystal malted almond-marzipan sweetness.

Moving to the even more stylistically deviant darker ales, there were four intriguingly indefinable aberrations. Deliriously fascinating Death March Hopless Black Ale allowed a vibrant star anise entry to abet lemon-peeled green apple tartness and ascending red-black licorice illusions.

Though listed as a traditional Black & Tan linking Par Tea’s citric regalia to Death March’s licorice flourish, Flying Magic Zebra’s prominent star anise luxuriance nullified any expectant mocha insistence. Also independently freewheeling, Love Is Evol Brown Ale overwhelmed its advertised strawberry tartness with plentiful jalapeno peppering as well as stove-burnt coffee, dark chocolate, and walnut illusions. Another stylistic departure, Insana Stout, hid bacon fat, coffee beans, and wild berries beneath soy-sauced smoked chocolate.

At Four Points By Sheraton, May ’13, refreshingly smooth Felony Imperial IPA brought citric-pined oily hop resin to maize-flaked backdrop, leaving ripe grapefruit and lemon fruiting.  

Prism’s maniacally investigative offerings will captivate adventurous beer hounds, but nonchalant neophytes need not apply.

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