Perched between Philly to the south and Allentown to the north, Bucks County’s rural industrial village of Perkasie blends old farmhouses with small mills outside its red-bricked downtown perimeter. Inside a basement warehouse, FREE WILL BREWING CO. opened for business during January 2012.
Originating at a tiny 800 square foot garage before moving into its current spacious 8,600 square foot Walnut Street walkdown, Free Will now sells a heap of growlers, kegs and bottles to the surrounding community.
Established by brewmaster John Stemler and managing partner Dominic Capece, the capacious microbrewery serves free samples to walk-in customers at its raw, cement-floored, 14-draught tasting room. The windowed left side brew tanks occupy only half the remaining space but expansion seems imminent.
Stopping by mid-January ’14 in the late afternoon, I got to enjoy healthy 6-ounce samplers as the place filled up quickly with enthusiastic local minions and travelling beer geeks like myself.
Tasting room manager, Michael Standish, offered friendly tidbits and helpful flavor illusions concerning each beer. He claimed, “I’m a Scotch and bourbon man by heart, but now I also enjoy the art of drinking craft beers.”
His favorite Free Will offering, 7 Course Red, an easygoing Irish-styled medium body, brought roasted coffee and sweet chocolate to wispy caramel-spiced red fruiting.
A few more soft-toned brews captured my attention thereafter.
Destiny’s Wit, a reliable Belgian white ale, scattered mild white-peppered orange and lemon peel bittering across coriander-spiced candi-sugared Belgian yeast and banana-chipped lemon meringue pie.
Another well-rounded moderation, Saison De Rose, gathered lemony pink grapefruit, black-peppered pink peppercorn and ginger-leafed hibiscus for its herbaceous floral-fruited climax.
Despite loading 200-plus IBU’s and 10% alcohol volume into its soft-toned veneer, Sputnik 17 Chasing The Dragon managed to stay deceivingly laid-back for a full-on India Pale Ale. Tropical yellow-pink grapefruit, pineapple and lemon pick up grassy-hopped peach-pear-apple undertones.
Based on the second grain runnings of Black Friday Belgian Quad (an apple brandy-barreled elixir), Sputnik 20 worked well as a hybridized English bitter with crisply clean mineral watering countering earthen dewy musk and murky mocha mustiness.
After these libations, I bought a 6-pack of fabulous Free Will C.O.B. (Coffee Oatmeal Brown), a nutty coffee-ground roasted dark ale with dry pale-malted hop bitterness contrasting dark chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut and molasses tones (reviewed fully in Beer Index).