For the longest time I felt two styles were missing from tap lists – sours & browns. Well, as we all know, sours are everywhere now but where are the browns? Why is this style overlooked again and again? I’m perplexed as to why folks don’t appreciate this style more. I get so excited when I see a brown ale on a tap list and there are some really good ones out there. Brooklyn Brown and Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale helped me fall in love with craft beer. Right now I have Weyerbacher Easton Brown & Down and Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale in my beer frig.
Perhaps browns aren’t complex enough for folks but isn’t it nice to sometimes just enjoy straightforward drinking beer with a solid taste? I love the nuttiness to browns, the malt and subtle hops all combine to make a really smooth easy beer. Whenever I see a brown ale on a tap list you can count on this Gal ordering it. I once wished for more sours and my wish came true. Fingers crossed my wish for more browns comes true.
Brewers PLEASE brew some browns.
Drinkers PLEASE give the browns a chance.
I’ve read a lot of articles about the future of craft beer but since I keep getting asked, “Is the craft beer bubble about to burst? Is there a future for craft beer?” here’s my thoughts on the future of craft beer.
Trends come and go but craft beer is here to stay. The “It” folks, you know the ones who have to be part of the latest cool craze, are moving on from craft beer and personally that makes this Gal happy. At the same I know quite a few folks who are just discovering the joy of craft beer and it’s been fun to see their taste and knowledge of beer blossom.
Is craft beer still the new cool kid on the block? Nope, that title now belongs to distilleries. They are popping up left and right just like breweries once did and that is one of the differences you will see as the craft beer world settles fewer breweries opening. Fine by me. We don’t need one on every corner and frankly, far too many have opened that never should have. It will be survival of the fittest. If you brew good beer, take care of your customers, offer reasonable prices and have a sound business plan then you should be ok.
I do, however, feel a shift in the craft beer world has started and will continue…#drinklocal. Folks want to see more local brews on tap at restaurants and beer bars. Yes, folks will still enjoy beer from across the country but see the value in supporting their local breweries. I think the acquisitions of craft breweries by mega corporations like Anheuser-Busch is a factor in the #drinklocal movement. Beer lovers want their local breweries to be successful but not by the big guys taking them over but rather from customer and community support.
However, I also see a return to Belgium beer. I think we are going to be seeing them pop up more on tap list and more craft breweries brewing Belgium styles. Belgium beers were this Gal’s first love so I don’t mind at all.
So to recap craft beer will be sticking around
Some breweries will close
Fewer breweries will be opening
More acquisitions of craft breweries by big corporations
Lots more distilleries popping up
The Return of Belgium Beers
I recently had the pleasure of the attending the Iron Hill Brewery (Mapleshade) Edgy & Veggie: A Vegan Beer Dinnerand it was out of this world delish from start to finish. Since I usually can’t eat most food offerings at beer dinners I tend to skip them. So it’s been many years since this Gal had the pleasure of enjoying a beer dinner. The dinner sold out quickly and many of those in attendance weren’t vegan or vegetarian but enjoyed themselves immensely. Each course was expertly paired by Head Chef Scot Seher & Head Brewer Josh Ervine. Following is the menu. My personal favs the 3rd Course Artichoke “Crab”Cake paired with the Galaxy Quest IPA. The citrus of the beer with the artichoke and spices of the “Crab” Cake was perfect together. Fortunately I had some of the Galaxy Quest left and tried it with the Intermezzo Blood Orange-Parsnip Sorbet which were incredible together and I was told a happy coincidence.
My other fav was the 4th Course Southern Fried Tofu paired with Out of the Gate IPA. The course was solid yummy comfort food at it’s best and the caramel malts from the beer brought out the herbaliciousness of the seitan gravy.
candied meyer lemon, pickled lavender buds,
pistachio paste and cashew milk ricotta
Paired with Phightin’ Phils Pils
shaved vegetable slaw and charred tomato coulis
Paired with Ziggy Star-Bock
Artichoke “Crab” Cake
micro watercress, pesto and white balsamic drizzle
Paired with Galaxy Quest
Blood Orange-Parsnip Sorbet
Southern Fried Tofu
green tomato, black bean puree,
grilled corn-potato puree and sawmill style seitan gravy
Paired with Out the Gate IPA
Harissa Marinated Cauliflower Steak
chickpea couscous, roasted tomato and grilled spring onion chimichurri
Paired with Trubbel with Monks
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
banana chips and macadamia-almond ice cream
Paired with Vanilla Coffee Porter
They also offered a Non-alcoholic dinner option as well which I think is great and I saw several folks who went for this option.
Great beer, fabulous food, wonderful company – overall a fun night out.
I often am asked my what’s my favorite beer, depends on my mood and what I’m eating, what’s my favorite bar, depends on where I am, and what’s my favorite beer event – easy – Band of Brewers without a doubt. Yup, Philly Beer Scene’s Band of Brewers is my all time favorite beer event. It combines two of my favorite things beer and music.
After all music, more specifically the Grateful Dead, is what got me into craft beer. Deadheads would bring beer from their home state on the road with them to sell in the parking lot of Dead shows. At the time it was really one of the few ways to try new beer. It was in the parking lot of Dead show that I first tried Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Heck at the time I had never even heard of it (let that sink in). It got to the point not only couldn’t you wait for the Dead to tour for the music but also to see what new beer you would have the opportunity to try. So yeah music and beer two of my favorite things.
Band of Brewers was started five years ago by Philly Beer Scene. Different local breweries let their inner Rock Star come out to play and compete against other local breweries for the bragging rights and the chance to bring home the Band of Brewers trophy for 1 year. Each member of the brewery band has to be an employee of the brewery. Last years winners, Stainless Maiden – Broken Goblet, was a take on Iron Maiden but the range of music covered during a show is vast. Anywhere from Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl to Hendrix to Marilyn Manson to Metallica to original music. It’s freaking awesome!
The competition takes place at World Cafe Live in Philly and is only $15 for 4 hours of kick ass entertainment – pay as you go for the beer. During the February show I had the pleasure of enjoying Neshaminy Creek Dank Hill Wheat Double IPA 9% and Forest & Main Tape Neck IPA 5.5%.
The list of brewery participates have grown to the point that this year’s competition has had to be split into 2 rounds. Each band plays 5 songs and provides 2 beers to be on tap at the venue. The first round was in Febraury with Forest & Main, River Horse, Victory, Philadelphia Brewing Co. and Neshaminy Creek competing to move on the finals. Round two will take place June 25 with the Vault, Broken Goblet, Crime & Punishment, Yards, Iron Hill and Troegs going at it. The finals will take place September 24th at The TLA. Personally, I would have loved to see them keep the finals at World Cafe Live. It’s a great space and easy access via transit or by car but not matter where it is I plan on being there.
Just so you understand how much I love this event the 2nd round, June 25, happens to be the same day Dead & Co. are playing in Camden. Of course, this Gal has a ticket for the Dead but you better believe I’m going to make it work and squeeze in Band of Brewers too.
A panel of judges and the audience pick the top three from each round to move onto the finals. Moving on from Round 1 are NCBC, PBC and Forest & Main. Can’t wait for Round 2! Do yourself a solid and get your tickets
Courtesy of Philly Beer Scene – Past winners:
Year 1: Yeast Factory (Yards Brewing Co.)
Year 2: Brewtallica (Philadelphia Brewing Co.)
Year 3: HuemanGroup (Forest & Main)
Year 4: Stainless Maiden (Broken Goblet)
Year 5: TBD
Beer of the Week 2/6 – 2/12
The past week was a close one between New Belgium Brewing Citradelic and Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale. If I had to choose…you know what I don’t have to choose. They were both fun beers that caught me by surprise.
New Belgium Brewing Citradelic 6% – The tangerine is up front and helps to calm down the hops while be ever so refreshing.
Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale 7% – The citrus is not as prominent in this one but still there with hints of pineapple, spices and malt that end with some bitterness from the hops.
I look forward to pairing them with some spicy Thai in the near future.
Beer of the Week 1/30 – 2/5 – This weeks top pick goes to a classic and one of this Gal’s favs Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue). Not only do I love this beer because of the dark fruits, caramel, and malts topped off with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg but also it’s sentimentally a favorite of mine.
This Gal names her fur babies after beer and it all started with my cat/dog Chimay. A dog stuck in a cats body and one of the coolest cats around. Cheers Chimay!
Between tap takeovers and visits to a couple different breweries this Gal had the opportunity to taste an array of wonderful beers this week but the one that stood out to me the most was Spellbound Brewing Palo Santo Porter. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this beer on a few occasions and each and every time it’s outstanding.
Pours a velvety black with a up front chocolate presence and hints of wood, rich malts and a ting of vanilla. (beer to far right)
Beer of the Week for 1/9-1/15.
This week’s Beer of the Week goes to Avery Brewing CompanySalvation. Belgian Strong Pale Ale 9%This gem has been hanging out in my aging cellar but I felt it was time to enjoy it instead of just looking at it.Salvation is truly divine. It’s one of those special beers that’s wonderful on it’s own but can also be paired with an array of foods. Hints of pitted fruits with accents of nutmeg make for a delightful sipping beer.
Runner Up – @AveryBrewingCo Out of Bounds Stout 6.3%. This beer is quickly becoming one of my favorite stouts. I love vanilla, chocolate and coffee stouts but I greatly appreciate that this is purely a stout. Standing on it’s own in rich roasted barely and malty goodness balanced out by hoppy goodness.
There’s quite a few Avery’s in my beer cellar patiently waiting their turn to be enjoyed.
Please join Geeky Beer Gal at UNO’s Hamilton for Drafts & Crafts featuring TROEGS beer. Everyone knows beer makes the holidays better and this year you can enjoy a variety of Troegs beers while shopping for hand crafted items for sale by local vendors at Drafts & Crafts. That’s right you get to enjoy beer and get your shopping done! So make your list, check it twice and get to UNO’s Hamilton Dec. 11. Admission is FREE.
Please contact Geeky Beer Gal at email@example.com for questions and vending opportunities.