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Monday, June 04, 2007

Local Brews: A Field Guide

posted by snekse

Session #4: Local Brews Round-Up

There are so many great local beers that it would be a shame to miss trying some when you are out traveling this summer. With that, we present to you a field guide to local beers.

This guide was compiled as part of a blogging event where bloggers from around the world were invited to participate. The response was amazing. Far more than I was expecting, so sorry for the delay on the round-up.

If we missed your post or you just want to add to this guide, please . To learn more about this event, read the announcement. Support your local breweries and brew pubs. Drink Local!

USA



NORTHEAST

Bostonbeerman covered beer from the great city of...Portsmouth, NH! He covers one of his favorite beers, theSmuttynose IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company. From the description it sounds like a Belgian IPA; Is there such a thing? Either way, it sounds pretty good, even to a malt fan like myself. He also gives some brief mentions to other great beers in the Boston area, as if you might be interested in that :-)

Smita has created a nice beer guide for Rochester, NY. He also features The Old Toad Nut Brown Ale brewed exclusively for The Old Toad Pub by Custom Brewcrafters' sounds like it follows the classic stylings.

Ron over at the popular Hop Talk has a nice review up for the C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station A.K.A. "the Pump Station" in Albany,NY. It sounds as if you can't go wrong with any of their beers, so just order your favorite style. He also details several other breweries worth checking out within driving distance of Albany.

Donavan Hall covers the Long Island, NY beer scene in the form of Podcasts. For this Session, he chose to review The Southampton Publick House's 10th Anniversary Old Ale which looks absolutely amazing in the picture posted. The taste description included something I've never heard before in a beer tasting - Port or Madeira profiles. That picture, port, a beer that's built for aging and they ship - that's a dangerous combination.

Al, one of the contributor over at Hop Talk gets better acquainted with his new home in Washington, DC. Since he's already covered several brew pubs in the area, he tackles Wild Goose Brewery which was recently purchased by Flying Dog Ales. Of the beers he tried, Oatmeal Stout and IPA seemed to be the top picks. He also makes a good point that drinking locally is both good for the local economy as well as the environment.

Beer Haiku Daily
Spotlight on Baltimore brews
With three Local Ales


Lew Bryson gets really local and presses people in the Philadelphia, PA area to start supporting their local brewers. To help squelch the Philly summer heat, he popped open a one-batch draft-only special brew called Sexy Sister by Yards Brewing Company. From the sound of it, this was one among many great breweries in the city.

Bryan & Adam at The Brew Lounge have put together a 3-part article about General Lafayette Inn & Brewery located in Lafayette Hill, PA (near Philadelphia). Though they seem to disagree on which beers they had were the best, you can read their tasting notes to decide for yourself what you think. General Lafayette has several interesting offerings including vintage cellar-aged beers!


SOUTHEAST

The always fun to read Barley Blog picked up 3 beers from Williamsburg AleWerks in Williamsburg, VA to determine which side of the mixed reviews they agree with. They picked up the Chesapeake Pale Ale, the Colonial Wheat Ale and Washington's Porter. The verdict? BarleyBlog says "their beers, especially the porter, are just too much of a temptation not to make the detour and visit." I'm not sure I'd detour for the first two, but the porter sounds intriguing with a taste profile shared with cigars. I had a very similar beer recently and loved that aspect of it.

J. at brewvana covers two beers from Big Boss Brewing Company in Raleigh, NC. First he talks about their delicious sounding cask conditioned Double Tavern Ale, then also describes their fruity and spicy Hell's Belle Belgian Blond as being the perfect accompaniment with a slice of pumpkin pie. As an insider tip, he also recommends checking out the tour on the second Saturday of each month.

Rick Lyke of Lyke 2 Drink covers Charlotte, NC by trying a classic Summer Wheat from RockBottom Brewery.

Session first timer, Bottles of Barley represents Atlanta well by providing write-ups on two of the more intriguing beers of this Session. Both of these beers push the envelope and are along the lines of the "extreme beer" movement brews taking hold in some regions. The first of these beers is the Rye Pale Ale from Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, GA. Rye is added to provide a light grainy malt flavor to pair with the orange rind flavored hops. The second beer is Road Trip from SweetWater Brewing Company. The beer is made from a double pilsner recipe, but the lager yeast is replaced with ale yeast. The result is something Bottles of Barley describes as the world's first Imperial Cream Ale!

Dann Drinks Beer and is willing to share his insights with us by covering the Midnight Pass Porter from Sarasota Brewing Company, in Sarasota, FL. He admits the brewery doesn't have the best beer in the world, but believes the Porter is their best offering. Even at that, he only gives it a 3.5/5. Thanks for the honest review Dann.


MIDWEST

KevBrews points out the startling fact that Dayton, OH has zero breweries and has to look towards Cincinnati, OH to find Mt. Carmel Brewing Company's Blonde Ale. KevBrew indicates that both the Blonde Ale and the Copper Ale from this increasingly popular brewery would make great session beers.

Beer aficionado Jack Farris from The Beer Tap provides coverage of an area with a rich brewing history - Milwaukee, WI. For this session he went with the award winning Wisconsin Belgian Red from New Glarus Brewing Company. With a dominant cheery presense, "you either love it or hate it". Also mentioned and previously posted about, is the Lakefront Brewery, who's Bock I recently sampled at the Beertopia Bockfest, which sounds to be like their other beers - good but not great.

Snekse at Gastronomic Fight Club covered Upstream Brewing Company and the Omaha brew pub scene. Besides the entire beer flight being sampled, the highly rated Grand Cru was also tasted.


NORTHWEST

What brew pub guide would be complete without at least one entry from Oregon? Brewerman of brewerman.com covers this region for us and gives us two award winning breweries. On his not-to-miss recommendations list, you'll find Inversion IPA, Cask Bachelor Bitter, Nitro Obsidian Stout and Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery and Elk Lake India Pale Ale and Outback Old Ale from Bend Brewing Company. Reading the descriptions, it's easy to understand why Oregon is one of the meccas of the craft brewing world. He also has good things to say about The Abyss and Mirror Mirror barley wine from Deschutes. Both breweries are in Bend, OR, about 3 hours Southeast of Portland.

Jon at The Brew Site is also located in Bend, OR and also has great things to say about Deschutes Brewery. His favorite beers list includes the Black Butte Porter, the Obsidian Stout, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and their seasonal offering, Jubelale. If you're making your way out to Portland, be sure to ask Jon for some other recommendations as well since we surprisingly didn't have any participants from the heart of mecca.

Jay Brooks via Brookston Beer Bulletin has an awesome writeup of several beers tried at Moylan's in Novato, CA. He had a chance to try the Pomegranate Wheat, Ryan O’Sullvan’s Imperial Stout and a side-by-side tasting of their ESB poured through 3 different delivery systems (Cask, Nitro, CO2)! Sounds like a cool place. Might have to check it out the next time I'm in the Bay Area.


SOUTHWEST

Those visiting the Los Angeles, CA area, may want to seek out the Triple White Sage by Craftsman Brewing Company which is available only on tap in the LA area. This beer sounds insanely good with fragrances of sage complementing a Belgian style triple white. Thanks to Dave at HAIR OF THE DOG DAVE for sharing his notes.

Late to the party, Beer Sage visits Port Brewing Company in San Marcos, CA which is about 40 miles outside of San Diego. While there he samples the Lost Abbey ales which he describes as "Belgian-style ales with a California twist".

With the only true Southwestern entry, Stan at Appellation Beer, waxes about the beauty of an IPA on those first days for summer, contending that if New Mexico has a state beer adjective, it would be "hoppy". Though he was unable to get an IPA on the day in question, he did get a chance to try the Summer Farm Ale at Corrales Bistro Brewery. And for those of you who didn't already know, Stan was the one who first proposed a Beer Blogging Day.

Tedo from Barley Vine is a big fan of Saint Arnold's Brewery in Houston, TX. For this session, he reviewed the Saint Arnold's Elissa Cask ale, a version of their Elissa IPA. Reading about all these cask conditioned IPAs makes me want to rethink my hop aversion.


CANADA



From Toronto, ON Canada, Greg Clow of Beer, Beats & Bites breaks out of his "gotta try something new" conditioning and goes back to an oldie, but goodie with Black Oak Pale Ale from Black Oak Brewery. And yes, beer is one of the many topics we cover here at GFC.
Alan at A Good Beer Blog seems a little touchy that I set guidelines for this event, but don't be mad at him. I'd be upset too if I couldn't find a decent beer brewed within 150 miles of me. He was kind enough to provide us with some insight to what he drinks at the Kingston Brewing Company which is about 200km from Ottawa. Just be thankful I didn't take the advice of others and demand a 50 mile radius!

Stephen Beaumont double fists it with two separate blogs. On thatsthespirit.com he focuses on the Steamwhistle Pilsner from Steamwhistle Brewing Company in Toronto which sounds like nice summer brew for those really hot days. For his other local brew, he took advantage of being on the Scottish island of Islay by reviewing the hoppy Single Malt Ale from Islay Ales for On The House. I wasn't aware that highly hopped ales were hard to find in Scottland. Hop heads out there will likely enjoy this beer, though the Angus Og Ale sounds more to my style.


EUROPE



Though boakandbailey is located in London, things prevented them from reviewing the places they had originally planned. Instead, they bring us a great review of Lion Stout by Ceylon Brewery from Sri Lanka. Described as "dessert and coffee in one sweet decadent glass", it sounds to be right up my alley.

The Beer Nut had things a little rough this month. Being based out of Dublin, Ireland, and living next to Guinness at St. James's Gate, he had to look a little harder for a brewery with a little less mass distribution. He took one for the team and tried the Porter and the Bock from Messrs Maguire brewpub. Neither were spectacular, though the Porter was good enough to order again.

Stephen Beaumont double fists it with two separate blogs. On thatsthespirit.com he focuses on the Steamwhistle Pilsner from Steamwhistle Brewing Company in Toronto which sounds like nice summer brew for those really hot days. For his other local brew, he took advantage of being on the Scottish island of Islay by reviewing the hoppy Single Malt Ale from Islay Ales for On The House. I wasn't aware that highly hopped ales were hard to find in Scottland. Hop heads out there will likely enjoy this beer, though the Angus Og Ale sounds more to my style.


AUSTRALIA



Ed profiles Emerald Hill Brewery in South Melbourne, Vic, Australia clears the air about Fosters.



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