A few blocks away from the Delaware River in the bohemian Bucks County village of Yardley lies THE VAULT BREWING COMPANY. Opened October 11, 2012, its historic Cathedral-like brownstone frontage and stoic Goth-like visage stand out amongst the rural downtown surroundings.
Formerly a bank with a large vault (hence the name), its metal lattice and bronze-topped tables exude an archaic Romanesque feel further defined by stucco-textured tan walls, plum-hued barroom ceiling, incandescent street lamps, tin crown moulding, mirrored bar canope, mahogany-framed green marble columns and bronze beer tanks (utilized as pizza ovens in the open kitchen).
Besides making fine craft beer, the retired safety deposit boxes contain vintage stored wines. Four brass brew tanks behind the roomy six-seat bar contain today’s five available beers ranging from summer soft to heavily roasted.
Free jazz plays as my wife and I grab a table in the far left corner during lunchtime mid-January ’14. The menu features flatbread pizzas with beer-infused dough, sandwiches, panninis and salads. We settle for the excellent Wild Mushroom Pizza with bleu-cheesed honey, garlic truffle ricotta and caramelized onions.
As for the libations, sunnily upbeat Sorachi Ace Blonde brought herbal citric pleasantries to the fore as its lemon-peeled yellow grapefruit sugaring received mild lemongrass, vanilla and coconut vagaries.
Tropical-fruited Galaxy Pale Ale layered yellow grapefruit, white peach and lemon seed tartness above a pungent grain-toasted hop bittering reminiscent of robust Czech or German lagers.
Truly defining, the milder and less tart second batch of Cherry Dunkelweizen provided ample black cherry puree bluster to banana-clove-vanilla sweetness, dried plum-fig-grape illusions, wheat-honeyed apple ripeness and sharp hop spicing.
Piney grapefruit and pineapple embittered the dark chocolate roast and dried cocoa powdering of stylishly rewarding Cascadian Dark Ale.
For dessert, the smooth nitro version of The Vault’s Breakfast Stout maintained a luxurious La Colonbe coffee bean roast sweetened by Vermont maple syrup as well as bourbon-tinged dark chocolate, vanilla and cookie dough nuances.