Heady golden stout loads cascara, coffee and cacao nibs adjuncts over pale malt base. Bittersweet husk-dried coffee cherry tartness (cascara) confronted by slightly harsh ethanol burn (of 11.1% ABV). Espresso coffee finish lets chocolate-spiced vanilla sweetness gain mild influence.
Inspired by classic blending of iced tea with lemonade, mouth-puckering brown-bodied sour ale retains lemon-soured prune-plum niche as well as ancillary oaken cherry tartness, moderate citrus acidity and lightly vinous green grape tannins. A wild ale for dried-fruited black tea lovers.
Massive dark-roasted black chocolate nuttiness and ashen wood char consume rangy medium-to-full-bodied brown ale. Moderate Fuggle-Simcoe hop bittering contrasts loud mocha presence and ancillary caramel-burnt vanilla sweetness (as weird alkaline plasticity lightly subsumes the back end).
On tap at Beef Trust, sessionable autumn ’17 pale ale (made in collaboration with Philly restaurant Jose Pistola’s) recalls English bitter with its dewy sweetness, mossy earthiness and vegetal acridity. Lemon-rotted orange tartness and resinous pine hop wisp created mostly by Simcoe-Centennial-Cascade hop trio. In the can, lemony grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering stays zestier and tarter above dewy wood-dried soiling.
On tap at Liberty Craft House, luxurious 22nd Anniversary ale loads dark chocolate syrup upon advertised vanilla-sugared nutmeg and cinnamon spicing as well as sweet orange peel zest. Dry bourbon, sherry and Scotch undertones deepen resolve of robust 11.1% ABV dessert treat.
On tap at Sogo, bold bourbon barrel-aged 21st anniversary Imperial Stout (a.k.a. Barely Legal) plies cocoa-powdered cacao nibs adjunct to sweet chocolate-caked fudging, wily dark-roast coffee and Madagascar vanilla bean overtones for enticing 11.9% ABV digestif. Cedar-burnt bourbon molasses thickness covers massive chocolate layer caking. Tertiary coconut, cocoa powder and espresso snips add further richness.
On tap at Taphouse 15, fine variation on brewers’ Merry Monk tripel features tart cranberry, sweet orange peel and herbal ginger to override original’s creamier caramel malting. Ripe banana illusions segue into lemony cherry, berry and orange fruiting at the midst, gaining a casual hard-candied coating.
Established in 1995, Easton’s increasingly popular WEYERBACHER BREWING COMPANY has become one of Pennsylvania’s largest and prestigious microbreweries, competing against long-time stalwarts such as Troegs, Victory and Yards. Under the guidance of master brewer, Dan Weirback, Weyerbacher has produced some of the best malt-heavy brews on the East Coast.
Specializing in richly complex flagship offerings given hilariously ludicrous monikers (Merry Monks Tripel, Old Heathen Imperial Stout and Blithering Idiot Barleywine), this expansive brewing facility concentrates strictly on its uncompromising beer. I’d already tried over fifty different Weyerbacher beers before visiting the brewery on my initial Sunday at noon November ’16 jaunt.
Inside a large tan brick warehouse, Weyerbacher’s unassuming exterior and no-frills atmosphere contrast against the ultra-sophisticated full-bodied elixirs that dominate the Tap Room Menu. Some of my absolute faves (all reviewed in Beer Index) include Heresy, a dry chocolate-y stout with tannic grape-soured cherry tartness; Blasphemy, a cherry kirsch-like quad with brown-sugared molasses saaping and ripe dried fruiting; and Insanity, a caramelized barleywine with endless cognac warmth.
I grab a seat at the U-shaped 30-seat bar and order some samplers emanating from the thirty 6-barrel tanks in the large rear brew room. Six barreled tables provide further seating. The space may be raw, but the colorful chalk-boarded beer insignias, fascinating tap handles, inspiring refrigerated bottle selection and cathedral high ceilings need no extra highlighting. And today’s NFL game keeps the sports fans involved.
Taking in the autumn weather, I begin with Festbier, a traditional German marzen exposing a leafy hop earthiness and peaty malt dewiness offset by light clementine, tangerine and navel orange illusions. Dark-roasted black chocolate malts picked up nut-charred coffee dryness to contrast sugared molasses notions for Easton Brown & Down.
Next, vinous white wining consumed oak-dried Brunicorn, a raspberry-flavored Pinot Noir-barreled sour ale with blush rosé, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay notions amidst green apple tartness overridden by eye-squinting vinaigrette piquancy. A collaboration with nearby Two Rivers Brewing, tannic French oak-barreled Sixth Street Sour brought bittersweet cherry and raspberry fruiting to black-malted coffee tones, sticky anise whims and nutty respites.
Delightful Belgian blonde ale, Mellow Monks, proved to be a sessionable Merry Monk as dry white-peppered hops casually cavorted with sweet banana-clove propensities, subsidiary apple-pear fruiting and herbal lemongrass-chamomile notions. Complex dark saison, Jester’s Choice, enhanced its stylish orange-peeled lemon zest and earthen herbal minerality with a maltier-than-expected wild rice and toasted buckwheat influence (plus latent brandy wining).
Fabulous and far-reaching Imperial Pumpkin Ale invigorated its pumpkin pie spicing with sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and clove spicing as well as tertiary whiskey, raisin and anise notions.
On the dark side, worthy limited edition Sunday Mole Stout used the foundation of Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Imperial Stout for its capacious dark coffee-chocolate expressiveness, adding peppery heat to subtle mocha-spiced bruised black cherry, bourbon, cinnamon and powdered cocoa undertones.
Nitro-only Sunday Mole Stout Pilot Batch #2 swimmingly coalesced black coffee, dark cocoa, cinnamon and chocolate illusions atop light ancho, pasilla, mulato and chipotle peppering.
Feeling like a nitro with its smoothly watered resolve, dry-bodied Oyster Stout serenaded its briny sea-salted black malting with boggy peat moss.
On tap at Growler & Gill, soft-toned black coffee frontage gains luxurious black chocolate syruping as well as creamy fudge richness. Pleasant black-peppered cocoa and cinnamon adjuncts add distinction. Tertiary vanilla, espresso and molasses undertones bring further depth. 2017 bottled version: serene dark-roasted coffee tone and syrupy black chocolate malting gain deeper black peppering, sweeter cinnamon toasting and mild bourbon smidge.
Mild lemon-candied tartness, peppy white-peppered lemongrass herbage and sweet pear-apple-banana conflux ride above thin honeyed wheat base. Wispy chamomile tea illusions flutter thru sleepy Belgian golden ale’s herbal citrus continuance.
Sessionable ‘hoppy Czech pilsner’ (circa 2016) brings zesty lemon resolve to lightly creamed sugar-spiced pilsner malting and mild herbal notion. Crisp Bohemian-styled moderation gains raw-grained Centennial hop pungency and dried maize acridity to engage sour lemon seed finish. Fine summer fodder.