Capturing all the casual “urban ambiance” of former mill town, Phoenixville, ROOT DOWN BREWING COMPANY occupies the old 13,000 square-foot red-bricked Superior Beverage warehouse on North Main and Bridge. A block from the Schuylkill River water walk, its friendly neighborhood feel suits the younger crowd moving into the revitalized borough.
An elongated slate-topped 25-seat bar services plastic chaired wood tables and the graffiti-walled, community-tabled, game-roomed backspace. Caged brew tanks behind the 26-plus barroom draught lines provide the vast vats of sundry suds.
The restored wood floor, exposed pipes and cavernous ceiling suit the hoary pub.
Down the road half a mile away at Uncle B’s Bar BQ, Root Down Biergarten is right behind the barbecue diner serving both Root Down creations and local guest brews to wood picnic tables from a portable kiosk.
I tried all 23 available brews at Root Down’s barreled street table on my mid-August ’20 Phoenixville trip (quaffin’ Real Deal Lager afterwards at the biergarten with wife and dog in tow). It truly seemed each soft-toned beer (many lagers or pilsners) weighed gentle on my mind.
Easygoing orange-dried lemon souring rose above dry pale malts for Real Deal Lager, a reliable ‘Southern-styled’ moderation nearly as light as crisply clean lemon-pitted Pils, a clear-straw German-styled pilsner with herbal spelt-alfalfa graining.
Perfumed corn grits, wet-grained acridity and floral-spiced citrus adorned Keller Pils.
Mild grain musk suited dry Saaz-hopped ‘contemporary lager,’ Crispy Boy, leaving wispy herbal residue.
Maize-dried corn grits and wort-like sourdough malts defined grassroots American lager, Grit, picking up oily hop-bined lemon musk.
Raw wheat pungency lightly underscored wattle-seeded rye breading of specialty grain lager, Summarye, relinquishing latent yellow-orange fruited wisps.
Dry PA Lager safeguarded light dewy cereal graining with mellow lemon spicing and grassy hop astringency.
Dry grain rusticity seeped into candied lemondrop tartness for dry kolsch, De La Soul, a popular choice among friendly locals this sunny afternoon.
Not as sweetly effervescent as most hefeweizens, OG Haze relied less on banana-clove sustenance and more on dry lemon musk above its raw-honeyed wheat base.
Straightforward pale ale, Keeper’s Cut, let dry citrus-spiced pale malts surface abruptly.
Mildly pungent beige yellow-hazed pale ale, Hoppy Digital, merged peppery lemon musk with orange rind bittering and grassy hop astringency over spelt-like oats.
Sedate IPA, Flux, gathered mild yellow grapefruit bittering, dulcet mandarin orange tartness and dark floral herbage.
Groaty IPA, Bine, brought bruised lemon bittering to lemongrass-fennel herbage and musky pale malts in a peculiar stylistic manner.
Lingered citrus hop bittering infused raspy New England IPA, The Mock, as lemon-pitted juniper resin girded salted pineapple-papaya-guava tropicalia atop ultra-dry pale malts.
Mild lactic souring grazed hazy IPA, Green Magic, bringing pithy juniper hop musk to lemony grapefruit zesting.
Another lactose-laden IPA, Electric Soup, contrasted its grassy-hopped lemon rot and musky orange oiling against earthen grain-husked leathering.
Super-hazed beige-marbled IPA, New Money, allowed lactic vanilla yogurt souring to influence light grapefruit-orange rind bitterness and herbal respite.
Soft-tongued triple dry-hopped Imperial IPA, Three The Hard Way, sweetened its tangy orange-tangerine juiciness with floral-spiced crystal malting.
Blush pink oak-barreled sour ale, Living Reflection, picked up minor green grape acidity to complement its peachy rosé wining and citric-salted Chablis remnant.
Peppery coriander salting spiced up zesty lemon sunshine for vibrant gose, Salty By Nature.
Exquisite fruited sour ale, Raspberry Fool, took incisive raspberry tartness to delicately vinous green grape esters, oaken cherry dryness, sparkling rosé effervescence, hard cider sharpness and salted mango splurge.
Upfront roasted chocolate malting gained coffee-stained charred hop bittering and wispy tobacco chaw juicing for generically-named, but well-defined Baltic Porter.
Mild sea-salted brown chocolate sweetness embellished Cosmic Bae, a delightfully smooth Milk Stout with dark toffee spicing countering its underlying bitter nutty hop char.
Soft-toned Imperial Stout, Black Is Beautiful (a collaboration with Texas-based Weathered Souls), contrasted coffee-burnt dark chocolate bittering and cacao nibs nuttiness with sweet molasses oats.