Slyfox Bockfest 2012

May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

As you may know, this past Sunday was Slyfox Brewing Company’s twelfth annual Bockfest and goat race.  For those that made the event, it proved to be exactly what the name entails.  There we bock beers flowing readily and almost as many goats wandering the parking lot out front of the Pheonixville Brewery.  My beer of choice was the Instigator Doppelbock.  I do not normally lunge at the chance to try a bock when I see at the pub unless I’ve heard about it previously and the Instigator was a pleasing exception.

Instigator Doppelbock:  It poured a very dark brown with an inch or so of mocha colored head. Aroma had strong notes of dark fruit; plum and grape. Also ripe with typical doppelbock scents, toffee, caramel, nuts, and roasted malt. Flavor has pretty much all the same characteristics as the aroma. A hint of chocolate, with subtle chocolate and a mild raisin on the back end.  It was surprisingly easy drinking at 7.3% ABV with minimal hotness. Overall, very clean and full bodied.

Brian O’Reilly, Brewmaster, and the rest of the crew at Slyfox also used this event to release and name their annual seasonal Maibock.  Again, this seasonal was proclaimed in the name of the fastest goat; Peggy, the three legged goat.  This is Peggy’s second consecutive victory at the event and is sure to make an attempt at legacy next year.

Overall this event was one of the best ways I can think of spending a Sunday.  Tons of great beer, an ecentric event and a lot of wonderful people, who could ask for more?  I strongly suggest that if you’ve never been in the past that you mark the first Sunday in May (Cinco de Mayo, 2013) in your calender and find yourself betting beer tickets on three legged goats next year.  A decision you will be sure not to regret.

Taken by Julia Kozak

Taken by Julia Kozak


Allagash Tap Take Over

April 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

Last week at Lucky’s Last Chance on Main St in Manayunk Allagash Brewing Company seized the small pub by storm.  Allagash Brewing Company was founded in 1994 by Rob Tod and released it’s first beer in 1995.  The company prides itself on exceptional quality and recreation of Belgian styles.  All of their beers are bottle conditioned and unpasteurized.  Their flagship is “White” a wit style brewed with wheat and a Belgian style proprietary yeast strain.  However they have over 15 other styles not including their “coolship” series.  You may be asking what a “coolship” beer is, I know I was wondering.  Via Allagash’s website:

In the summer of 2008, we decided to build a coolship at our brewery. A coolship is a large shallow pan used to cool wort overnight using outside air temperature. During the cooling process, naturally occuring yeast from the air innoculates the wort. In the morning, the cooled wort is transferred into barrels where the fermentation process begins. The beer is then aged for an undertermined amount of time, until we deem it “ready”. We have yet to sell any of these beers but have poured them at some special events and are planning to release them. Eventually.

This is exceptionally interesting because brewers normally take so many precautions to avoid wild yeast. This series is sure to be limited and expensive but sure worth the wait.

At Lucky’s Jim, Michelle, and I tried a few very nice flagship styles:

Curieux: Allagash’s was the first foray into barrel aging. Curieux is made by aging Tripel Ale in Jim Beam bourbon barrels for eight weeks in cold cellars. The aged beer is then blended back with a portion of fresh Tripel. The resulting beer is soft with coconut and vanilla notes, with hints of bourbon.

Tripel: This strong golden ale is marked by passion fruit and herbal notes in the aroma, with suggestions of banana and honey in the complex palate. The Tripel has a remarkably long and smooth finish.

Black: a Belgian style stout brewed with 2 Row barley, torrified wheat, oats, both roasted and chocolate malt and a generous portion of dark caramelized candi sugar. The silky mouth feel is a great balance to the roasted character, coffee and dark chocolate notes expressed throughout this beer.

With Philly Beer Fest swiftly approaching look forward to big events.  I will try to cover as much of the festival I can and will post a well rounded schedule for the event in the next few weeks.



Victory to debut new beers at Craft Brewers Conference.

April 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Press Release:

(Downingtown, PA) – In partnership with the German Hop Growers’ Association, Victory Brewing Company has brewed five specialty beers to debut at the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego California.

Ron Barchet, Co-Founder and Brewmaster of Victory Brewing Company, and Eric Toft, the head brewer at Schönram brewery in German, developed these special recipes specifically for the conference as a way to demonstrate the diversity of beer flavors that can be created with unique hops.

“Each year I look forward to working with Eric on these special brews. His brewing creativity inspires and challenges us to skillfully fulfill his vision,” said Barchet. “This year, for the first time ever, the collaboration led us to brew with experimental, still not-on-the-market hop varieties.”

For the 2012 conference, the beers include two recipes brewed with two different experimental hops, Bavarian “013” Pale Ale and Bavarian “728” IPA. Two others are pilsners brewed with Tettnang hops from different farms in Tettnang Germany, Tettnanger “Strass” Pils and Tettnanger “Dietmannsweiler” Pils. The final beer was brewed using spalt select hops, and is called Bavarian “Spalt Select” IPA.

It is the sixth year that the German Hop Growers Association has teamed with Victory Brewing Company to bring exclusive recipes to the conference. Attendees can enjoy the brews for free at the Trade Expo and Hospitality.

“We have been brewing collaboration beers since 2007, long before the concept of collaboration was being mentioned in the beer press,” said Toft. “With few words and 7,000 kilometers between us, the beer always turns out to be phenomenal.”

All five of the beers will have their national debut simultaneously in San Diego and at Victory Brewing Company’s Downingtown, Pa. restaurant at the beginning of May.

Adam Nason via

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Owner Trey White Interview

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yesterday, April 11, I had the pleasure to sit down with the owner of Anderson Valley Brewing Company from Boonville California, Trey White.  AVBC is one of the first breweries that started out in the late 1980’s and spurred the micro and craft brewing revolution.  They’ve grown from a 10 barrel system pushing 600 barrels a year in the early 90’s to a 36,000 barrel/year brewery now.  White acquired the company from the original owners in 2010, leaving his position as Vice President of United States Beverage.

After speaking with White it is very clear that he is passionate about the industry and especially AVBC.  Since his acquisition White has striven to improve quality and really try to reach out to distributors and customers all over the country.  He and Fal Allen, brewmaster, have devised and executed a dynamic series of both barrel-aged and lambic style ales which should reach sales floors within the year.  With the exceptional flagship styles and these new additions AVBC’s line up could be one of the most diverse and interesting out there.  They do not try to be outwardly unique and cutting edge but more subtle and highly refined which justifies the numerous awards they have won.

To listen to the entire interview click here.

As for the beers!  Capone’s, as always, is such a wonderful place to find a great selection and meet other passionate beer geeks.  Last night they tapped eight of AVBC beers; three sours, two Belgians, two Pale Ales, and one seasonal.  Each stood out and had a defined and definite place on the palate, it would be hard not to find one you really enjoy. I’ll break down my favorites for you:

The Unique:  The Sour Stout I found to be very particular.  It poured black with a dark amber hue under the light.  Sweet cherries and molasses developed in the nose.  At first the tartness takes you by suprise which gives way to tannic heavy grape and apple flavor that lingers like a Pinot Grigio.  It’s medium body and decent carbonation make it rather drinkable. ABV: 5.8%

The Quintessential:  To find a beer that is perfectly to style is very difficult but to choose one from the line up that I tried I would choose the Brother David Dubbel.  Pouring a dark chestnut color, this ale gave off a subtle rye bread aroma.  The flavors that developed were heavy in caramel and some fruity esters (apple & pear).  It finishes toasty and warm with a touch of tartness and has a perfect level of carbonation.  ABV: 8%

The Favorite:  I’ve always been a die-hard Lupulin junkie and AVBC did not let me down.  After trying the sours and the Belgians I had the Hop Ottin’ IPA and was blown away.  In the glass it appeared a tawny dark amber with a creamy white head.  A bouquet of heavy citrus hops wafted off the top.  The first sip was packed with big wet cascade and columbus hops and the body held a light bready flavor.  The carbonation made this IPA smooth and creamy, absolutely delicious. ABV: 7%

I would like to thank Matt Capone from Capone’s Restaurant on Germantown Pike in Norristown for hosting this event.  Archie Knight from Shangy’s Distribution Inc. in Emmaus for supplying the event with AVBV’s wonderful libations.  And finally, Trey White, owner of Anderson Valley Brewing Company for taking the time to meet with me and take an interview.

Left: Trey White drinking Horse tongue and Right: Archie Knight drinking Sour Stout.

DFH Film fest voting is up!

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of my personal favorite breweries and I’m sure one of yours also, DogFish Head, has posted on Beernews that their 5th annual Off-Centered Film Festival with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has chosen the films for their competition.  The theme for this years festival is “western” and must feature DFH somehow. This is the first year they have opened the films to an internet audience for voting.  To check out the videos and cast your vote click here.

Also in the exciting world of beer, New Belgium brewing company has opted to build their new brewery in Asheville NC instead of Philadelphia.  As a Philly native this was a bit of a let down, I would have loved to see a thriving and friendly addition to our already wonderful line up of local breweries.  However, due to incentives for local businesses and large grant offers by the state of NC the easy choice for the new brewery was there.  Either way I am sure that more New Belgium product will be reaching the East side of the country by the end of this year.  Interesting to see if Fat Tire can take on Y&Son’s Lager.


…and we’re back!

April 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hi everyone,

It’s been awhile since my last post and I apologize.  However, don’t let this make you think I haven’t been keeping up with the beer scene.  Quite the contrary I have been immersed since my last post.  Since my move I have brewed about 20 gallons.  I’ve since upgraded to kegging in a nice corney and a kegerator the house came with; very convenient!   Briefly, I’ve brewed a Dortmunder Lager, 2 batches of a delicious Belgian Trippel, and an India Black Ale.  The IBA and second batch of Trippel are fermenting now.  The IBA was brewed on 3/25 and the Trippel 4/1.  Both are down for 2 weeks, nothing fancy.  

As you may or may not know Triumph Brewing Company is kindly opening their doors for a 2nd Homebrew competition which will be held on Saturday June 2nd.  They will be judging in 4 different styles; IPAs, Fruits/Spices, Stouts, and Belgians.  Due to the great success with my past Trippel I decided this would be the one to enter.  It is an all grain recipe with a blend of Pilsner and Munich malts Saaz and Hallertau hops and Chimay Yeast.  It’s crisp, clean, and refreshing while still being refined and complex.

If anyone is interested in entering you can click here to access the Registration Form. And I also encourage all to like Triumph Old City on Facebook.  They have some really spectacular events and deals, not to mention fantastic brews.

Also while we are talking about local events! While having a couple good ones yesterday with Mr. Meeze at Prism Brewing Company North Wales we found a flyer for Lansdale’s 3rd annual Beer Tasting Festival.  They will be featuring over 100 Breweries and twice as many beers.  There will be a ton of local brews and a couple big names from all over the country.  This is sure to be an awesome event.  Tickets are $35 presale or $40 at the door.  Designated drivers are $10.  There is also a VIP option which gets an additional hour in the festival and access to some more coveted elixirs.  

So this is my return, I promise to keep all those in need of beer knowledge enlightened and updated.

Cheers All,


Preston and Steve Competition Brew.

May 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ah, finally a day off. Finals are finished, and summer is upon us.  My apologies for the lapse in updates but as you know sometimes shit goes a bit bonkers.  Since my last post I have brewed two beers; two IPAs actually.  The first was a variation on the HopMonster IPA from BYO magazine.  I played a bit with the malt and hop additions.  It turned out a little too hoppy, and that’s saying something with my taste.  The other is a Yard’s IPA clone.  I used Pale Malt (2-row) and Crystal 80L.  The color is spectacular and has great head retention and lacing.  Yet, the hop additions I used were definitely off.  At the brewery they use Chinook and Amarillo.  I used the same with additions like Bravo and Centennial.  This along with the WYeast 1099 (Whitbread yeast) gave it a fruitier taste than an English IPA should have.  Next time I will use WYeast 1098 (English Ale), hopefully, to better avail.  A review by Mr. Michael Meeze is expected soon, I will make sure to post it.  You know, because I am not legally of age to consume such lovely concoctions…

As you may, or may not know, Preston & Steve from Radio 93.3 WMMR are hosting a homebrew competition along with Triumph Brewery.  –Insert shout-out to buddies who instantly messaged me when they heard of this– .  I initially entered my IPAs which was a horrible idea because it’s too hoppy and the other is a clone attempt (I may save a 6-pack in case though).  I decided it would be better to brew something new; something outside the box.  I’ve brewed a deliciously hardy stout before, lovingly names “The Layout Stout,” but never with a secondary rack onto cherries.  Oh yes, chocolate and cherries.  With aphrodisiacs like those I can only see this brew scoring big at this competition.

Today was the initial brew day.  I took my recipe and change Maltsters (Breiss to Muntons)… nbd.  I tried to follow my first recipe as close as I could.  This was my mash schedule:

Step Name

Start Temp

Stop Temp

Infuse Temp

Infuse Amount

Water-Grain Ratio

Protein Rest

65 °

130 °F

143.0 °F

12.0 qts


Sach Rest

130 °F

154 °F

200.0 °F

7.5 qts


Mash Out

154 °F

170 °F

210.0 °F

11.7 qts


I then completed a 60 minute boil adding Chinook at 60 minutes and Fuggles at 10 minutes.  I did not have any type of filtration device so the beer may be a bit hoppy.  I do think though, the fruit addition in a couple days will neutralize any hoppy/astringent flavors.  I used a nice easy yeast also, WYeast 1056 (American Ale).

I racked into my primary fermentor and had some additional wort so I made a gallon jug a separate fermentor.  I’m keeping the jug in my room and the glass carboy in my basement.  My room is a steady 78°F. The basement is a bit cooler averaging around 71°F.  I will really need to make a fermentation cooler when it started to get hotter out.  It’s only mid-May and I’m having issues with high fermentation temperature!

My specific gravity ended around 1.048 with an expected final gravity of 1.010.  With the additional sugars from the cherries I expect this brew to come out around 5.3% alcohol by volume.  I expect a quick fermentation because of the low SG and because I made a killer starter.  My lapse time was only about eight hours.  I expect to rack my experimental puree cherries on Friday, Sunday at the latest.  The deadline is tight so every second I can get in bottles and maturing is golden.  Come June 11th, Hell or High Water(mellon), I will have a spectacular brew to show at Triumph.  Wish me luck, and sláinte to you all.

Ultimate Brewing,

Trevor Fitzgerald, Mike McCarron and Kim Farley. (Irish…ftw)