Tonight was beer club, a meeting of beer minded individuals from my work who get together for a meal and lots-o-beer once a month. We had a good turnout this month, with quite a few interesting beers to try. As usual, we hit up a local BYOB, this time a sushi place that seems to be a regular beer club venue. Good food (and the waitress put these amazingly intricate designs on our plates – see photo below) and good times were had by all.
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For the sake of posterity, some thoughts on each beer are below. As usual, these were not ideal conditions, so take it all with a grain of salt or whatever superstition floats your boat. In order of drinking (not in order of the picture above):
- My Homebrewed Earl Grey Bitter – The first thing we opened was my most recent homebrew, an English bitter style beer brewed with Earl Grey tea. I’ve actually been sampling this on a weekly basis since bottling, and it keeps getting better. At week 1, it was still very thin, but by week 3, it had really matured into a really nice beer. It is a low gravity beer, so it’s not a powerful beer, but it’s actually got a lot of flavor packed in for an approximately 4% ABV beer. I don’t know that you get a really big Earl Grey component, but there is more citrus here than in your typical bitter, which is exactly what I was going for. It’s got a really nice nose, with a light earthy hoppiness and plenty of citrus (from the hops, but probably more from the bergamot and orange peel). The taste matches, and while it is a light and quaffable beer, it’s not thin or watery. It’s got a certain delicacy to it that wouldn’t stand up to stronger flavors, but it’s still exactly what I was going for. I’ll probably do a separate post on this at some point as well… For now, I’ll give it a B+
- War Horse Peace Bomber German Lager – I’m pretty sure this is a tiny brewery, but one of our beer cub peeps visited New York recently and picked up a bottle for us to enjoy. It turns out to be a pretty straightforward lager, sweet but muted malt character, not a lot of hop character but enough to match the flavors. A solid beer. I’m not too familiar with the Vienna Lager style, but this seems like a worthy example, even if it’s not really my thing. B-
- Philadelphia Brewing Fleur De Lehigh – For those of you not in the know, Lehigh is an Eastern PA town with the third largest city in PA (Allentown). Also notable for Lehigh University, who I seem to recall had some recent sports success, but I don’t really know or care about the details (probably because it had something to do with the contemptible sport of basketball)… The beer looked like a wheat beer and the nose is very much in line with a Belgian wit beer, light with very interesting and heavy spicing. But I didn’t get much in the way of wheat out of the taste (Update: probably because there was no wheat in the beer! It’s actually classified as a standard Belgian pale ale.) Still, it’s got a similar sort of light-bodied summer-drinking character. It’s not something that knocked my socks off or anything, but it would make a nice warm-weather quencher. My friend Mike gave this a nice writeup in Epikur magazine (though he only gave it 2 out of 5 stars) I’ll say: B-
- 5even Dillon Imperial Pilsner – This was the other beer club homebrewer’s beer, and it turned out great. Sweet, assertively hopped but not overpoweringly so, and a nice, quaffable mouthfeel. B+
- Lester’s Fixins Bacon Soda – Bonus non-alcoholic review! Bacon flavored soda? Sounds disgusting? Well guess what? It is disgusting! Ok, so maybe it’s not that bad, but I didn’t really care for it. Overly sweet and not really much in the way of bacon flavor. (unratable!)
- Lagunitas Hop Stoopid – I’ve had this before (I even reviewed it), and it’s just as good as last time, though I will say that it wasn’t quite as bitter as I remembered (not that it was a bitter bomb last time, but still). Great citrus and pine character, highly drinkable beer. It shall remain at the most excellent A- level I rated it before!
- The Bruery and Cigar City Collaboration: Marrón Acidifié – This was my other contribution for the night, and it’s another beer I’ve already reviewed in detail. I’m really hoping that we’ll get to see more of this stuff, but I have a feeling this will be the last I ever see of this collaboration. As sours go, I think it may be my favorite, and as I’ve noticed before, it goes exceptionally well (luckily, a fellow beer club member had stopped at famous West Chester chocolatier Eclat recently and had a nice dark chocolate bar available, which really goes well with the Flanders Oud Bruin style). Excellent stuff. A
And we called it a night after that. I had also brought a Founders Porter (reviewed recently) and a Centennial IPA (review forthcoming!), but we never cracked them open. We also didn’t get to the DuClaw Soul Jacker (a blend of Blackjack Stout and Devil’s Milk barleywine), but maybe I can pick a bottle of that stuff up for later! I will leave you with a picture of a plate of sushi:
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Beautiful stuff, and each of our plates had custom, hand-drawn artwork that was just as intricate and pretty.
5 thoughts on “April Beer Club”
It’s been forever since I’ve had sushi =/
I’m thrilled the Earl Grey bitter is coming ous so well, even if the tea flavor didn’t survive…it could have come out awful, and it hasn’t, so that’s a win =)
I’ve been to the War Horse “brewery.” It’s a small building attached to a winery up in the Finger Lakes (Three Brothers, actually three wineries in one, neat place). While War Horse has some good, tasty beers, they are actually all contract brewed by Custom Brewcrafters, out of Honeyoe Falls, NY…my buddy Jeff used to work from Custom =)
War Horse has a Riesling Ale that’s not as terrible as it sounds, and a really tasty old fashioned root beer that’s apparently a real bitch to make.
ergh, sub *from *for
The fun thing about War Horse is, they have some old brewery equipment hanging about, to make it look like they brew, but stuff is set up out of order…bright tanks before fermenters, if memory serves. The sort of thing I wouldn’t actually notice, but once it’s pointed out to you…
Thx for the link. 2/5 stars on Epikur is about equivalent to a B (85-87).
(not my rating system!)
P.s. i would gladly accept a sample of the earl grey.
Padraic, Interesting info about War Horse. Certainly not something I’d go out of my way for, but I’m glad I got to try it.
And I’ll be posting a more in-depth Earl Grey review soon (cross posted on your tea blog).
Mike, So what is a “C” or “D” or “F” in their system? Are you allowed a 0 star rating? I shouldn’t say anything as my system is rather inflated too, but still.
And I’ve got plenty of Earl Grey, so I’ll bring some in soon!
Honestly, I haven’t discussed it with the editor, but I figure the point is that we don’t even bother to review anything below a C.
Actually, most major wine publications only publish ratings above 86 or so, so that’s probably the basis.