A great find in the hilly Western Pennsylvania countryside just off Route 80, homey Industrial mall-bound RACE STREET BREW WORKS opened on Black Friday, November 2014, with four tapped beers for sale. Since that time, the ecelctic mom and pop operation has become a popular local dive.
Going thru an inconspicuous hallway of the tan-bricked edifice towards a mid-space cement-floored warehouse, Race Street’s refurbished wood community tables, cheesy decorative paraphernalia, hanging paper pom-poms, antique beer-capped aluminum shack and dank upstairs lounge encase the 10-seat bar and caged brew tanks serviced by innovative brewmaster Bohb Striker. In the summertime, a patio with fire pit gets utilized.
Refrigerated tap handles serve the fourteen well-rounded elixirs I thoroughly enjoy this breezy Friday evening in April ’17.
For openers, musky German-grained Czech yeast affected the herbal floral-perfumed Polish hop brusqueness of stylishly robust Polish Pilsner.
Next, uniquely satisfying Saint Kamille Belgian Wit brought honeyed chamomile tea to lemony grapefruit, orange and banana expectancy as vanilla wafer-sugared grilled mango and tangy peach snips contrasted tart candy powdering.
Incense-like Saison La Roux mildly aged tart cherries and raspberries for a splendid sweet ‘n sour mix back-ended by oats-dried Belgian pale malts.
‘Dank’ medium body, Hop Hash Brownie let resinous hop pining saturate mild nut-roasted toffee malts and brown tea-like bittering.
‘Vainglorious’ oak-aged derivative, Loud Mouth Oaked IPA brought cotton-candied honey malting, pecan buttering and floral perfume wafts to citric Cascade hop bitterness, leaving lemony mango-orange-pineapple tropicalia along the oaken vanilla midst before ethyl alcohol phenols coarsen the finish.
Tea-like Red Walloon, a dewy Belgian red ale, contrasted sour citric tartness against mild caramel-spiced alacrity.
Fine off-dry autumn seasonal, Jack Hammer Pumpkin Ale, brought pumpkin roasted butternut squash earthiness to ginger-spiced nutmeg and clove sweetness.
Well designed Rauch Street German Smoked Beer plied Band-aid-like peat smoked beechwood astringency to brown chocolate sweetness.
Interesting malt-roasted Thai Tea Porter let spicy Thai tea sweetness gain Black Forest cake, chocolate cake, toasted coconut, powdered cocoa and black cherry illusions.
Well executed Chanceux Tarte Tripel draped white-wined lemony cider tartness over soured rye bourbon for an offbeat stylistic turnabout.
Better still, candi-sugared GNOMebriation, a standard tripel, let sweet plum, raisin and date illusions get soaked in dry bourbon and honeyed vanilla.
Soft-toned Comrade Conrad Russian Imperial Stout, aged in rye bourbon barrels, retained brown chocolate-y coconut sweetness, pleasant cocoa nibs bittering, dried fruited fig spicing, mild cola nuttiness and warm bourbon licks.
A few experimental oak-aged elixirs at closing time proved satisfying as well.
Napa Valley Cabernet barrels held Weird One, a lactobacillus-soured red winey moderation with oaken vanilla tartness and light spicing.
Lastly, Flanders Red-styled Weird Two, aged eight months in Woodford Reserve Rye Bourbon barrels then refermented with sour lactobacillus and brettanomyces bacteria, brought lightly vinous grape esters and honeyed mead subtleties to the same oaken vanilla tartness influencing the previously quaffed Weird One.
On June ’17 revisit, discovered four more goodies while chatting it up with wife and entrepreneurial brewmaster Bohb Striker.
Unassuming light-bodied Genesee knockoff, Jenny C. Cream Ale, recalled its macrobrew standard with soft-watered flaked corn malts, dry rice sedation and light lemon-spiced spritz.
Lemon-soured Saison Primitive Farmhouse Ale utilized ginger, peppercorn and orange peel adjuncts to embrace its cologne-perfumed honey spicing and lime-juiced snip.
Distinctly balanced moderation, Chow’duh NE IPA provided zesty grapefruit, bitter orange rind and sweet mango with gentle piney hops and creamy crystal malts to its wheat-oats spine.
For nighttime dessert, Nitro Coconut Milk Mooo-Stache sufficed, as its mildly creamed dark chocolate sweetness picked up casual coconut and caramel illusions.