(photo from Morning Call prior to name change from Hop Daddy’s)
Inside an elongated red brick Speakeasy built during 1849, BRU DADDY’S BREWING CO. opened for biz November ’19. Its antique art deco tin ceiling, chalky brick-walled interior and authentic Italian-tiled pizza oven provide perfect Prohibition Era relics while the gated right side beer garden with black metal trellis adds picnic-tabled seating.
Entrepreneurial owner Kevin Ryan, whose high school research project concerned beer fermentation, became a home brewer before handling the large-scale operation at this regal downtown Allentown spot (one block from Fegley’s Brew Works).
Recently, Ryan handed head brewing duties to Todd Reinhart, who’d worked at Free Will and Two Rivers breweries. Using Oxford, Ohio’s Steinkeller Bavarian Bier Hall as its interior design model, Bru Daddy’s liquid fare runs the gamut from German styled creations (a marzen and schwarzbier during this stopover) to Americanized IPA’s, a Belgian quad, porter, nitro cream ale, wheat ale and sour ale.
As I sit at the white marbled bar early December ’20, there are 30-plus tap handles (at two separate stations), a big blackboard beer listing and several TV’s. Near the front window are a few tables and down a narrow hall past the kitchen is the silver tank-laden, cement-floored brew room. A metal staircase leads to the loft dining space.
My wife and I loved the Rocket Root Prosciutto Pizza while consuming eleven delightful elixirs.
Silken nitrogenated moderation, Oh Jenny Jenny Cream Ale, let muted maize-dried oats pick up sour lemon rot, tart rhubarb and earthen root veg notions.
Traditional German marzen, Vaterfest, stayed subtle as sweet peat mossing, leafy hop foliage and tart orange-rotted fig placate mild vegetal fungi earthiness over Blackstrap molasses-dipped Vienna malting.
Stylishly hybridized wheat ale, American Harmony, lent lime-salted bittering to musky honey blossom perfuming, sweet clover honey mildness and dark floral notions atop wild oats flouring.
‘Beautifully complex’ Odd Quad of Todd, a candi-sugared Belgian dark ale conditioned on Iraqi date syrup, brought crystal malt-spiced raisin, plum and fig to caramelized date in a soothingly dried fruited glaze.
Tropical fruited New England Pale Ale, Soldiers & Sailors, unloaded orange-juiced mango, guava and pineapple tanginess all over grassy hop astringency.
Flagship double dry-hopped NEIPA, Haze Daddy, retained a mellow grapefruit-juiced orange rind bittering, pine-licked grassy hop astringency and spicy crystal malt tingle.
Zestful Imperial IPA, Grandaddy Haze: 2nd Edition, let candied orange, salted mango and tangy pineapple reach tropical effervescence above its gentle wheated oats base.
Lactic Imperial IPA, Center Square “State Of Mind”, engaged yogurt-milked souring with low-key peach and mango pureed adjuncts, gaining citrus-juiced piney hop resin at the brisk finish.
Tart oaken cherry-pureed cranberry juicing graced mildly lactic Sour Senorita: Cran-Cherry, an effervescent sour-candied sucker with hard cider hints.
Dark-lagered bittersweet chocolate malts and roasted hop char combined with withered dried fruiting for satisfying schwarzbier, Black Sheep, leaving day-old coffee tones upon the chalky mocha backend.
S’mores-like lactose porter, Camp Sandwich, conditioned on Madagascar vanilla and cocoa nibs, wedged marshmallow-toasted chocolate sweetness into its honeyed Graham Cracker base for a decadent vanilla mocha dessert treat.