Beer 72 of winter – Palindromic Pale Ale

Starr Hill Reviver

Brewer: Starr Hill       Craft: Reviver Red IPA       ABV: 6.2%

A palindrome is any word or phrase or numeric series that reads the same forward and backward.  Some examples:  Reviver; race car; A man, a plan, a canal, Panama; 22922.  And as a math teacher, this is one of those things I enjoy finding in every day life.  Or in craft beer.

So when I saw this craft, Reviver, I was of course compelled to try it.  It’s a pretty straight forward brew.  This red IPA starts off with a bready, malty character that morphs into a hoppy, rye noted bitterness.  Nothing too complicated here.

Sometimes in life you just need something that is what it is.  This is that craft.  Keep an eye out for those palindromes…

Rating: just a six-pack

Beer 71 of winter – DPA

Oskar Blues DPA

Brewer: Oskar Blues       Craft: Dale’s Pale Ale       ABV: 6.5%

There are many varieties of pale ale.  I have found that they seem to be differentiated by what season you’re drinking in.  Well, since it is still winter, this pale ale is an excellent choice.

Pale ales always seem to have a crisp, bitter edge to them.  This craft is no different.  It has a solid hop bitterness that I get throughout the taste.  But what sets this craft in season is the solid malt backbone the accompanies the bitterness.  The two play well together.  And the malty character gives this pale ale a nice amber color, as opposed to some others that are more golden or yellow.

This feels like the perfect beer for drinking around a campfire with some friends.  And since winter is over in a couple days, (yes, I know it isn’t really, but I believe winter goes from the day after Thanksgiving until February 28), it is the perfect time to start thinking about what crafts you’re going to bring with you on your next trip.  I’d advise you add this one to the list.

Rating: buy a case

Beer 70 of winter – drink that J.A.W.N.

NCBC

Brewer: Neshaminy Creek       Craft: J.A.W.N.       ABV: 5.2%

Slang.  When you live somewhere for long enough you start to learn the local vernacular.  And when I started teaching at the school where I currently am, I learned a new word I had never heard before, even though I grew up in the area.  That word?  That word was jawn.

Jawn is basically another word for thing.  For example: “Hey, hand me that jawn.”  Or in reference to a particular person: “Did you see that jawn? He be trippin.”  Or when you’re multiplying two binomials: “FOIL that jawn up!”  It is essentially the lazy person’s way of not saying what they actually need and instead using slang that covers the spectrum.

So when I heard that NCBC had crafted a beer called J.A.W.N., I was completely and utterly excited to try it.  Of course, I’d have been satisfied with however it tasted.  Just the fact that they chose to call it what they did was frankly enough for me.  But I probably would have been a little disappointed if it was nothing to write to you about.

Well good news!  That J.A.W.N. is a quality craft!  The bready, citrusy aroma starts off the beer in a refreshing, enticing way.  Even some floral and bitter hoppy notes poke through.  Once you start drinking, you’re met with a citrus infused, malty, hoppy pale ale.  It’s easy to drink, but it has some body and character to it.  And at only 5.2%, you could easily drink a few of these jawns in a session.  It has a nice, dry, bitter finish that you would expect with a pale ale, with a hint of lingering malty sweetness as well.

So this Juicy Ale With Nugget craft has met and exceeded my expectations.  I could drink this J.A.W.N. every day and not get tired of it.  I think everyone should have a short list of go-to beers to keep on hand in case of an emergency.  This jawn has made my list.  It should make yours as well.  Cheers!

Rating: get a case of this J.A.W.N.!

Beer 69 of winter – easy as 1-2-3 Philosophers

Ommegang 3Phil

Brewer: Ommegang       Craft: Three Philosophers       ABV: 9.7%

Here’s another craft that, for me, has developed over time and grasped a spot in the favorites of all time.  This craft is no joke.  The first time I had 3Phil I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into.  But now that I have had it a few times, I understand the complexity, boldness, and presence that this beer holds.

The aroma is pure malty goodness.  3Phil is packed with four times the malted barley, hence the quadrupel tag.  So you should expect that the malty sweetness and bready warmth would drive this craft.  And they do.  Oh they do.  The warmth and full body of this beer are omnipresent.  But then, as you drink, the tartness of the cherries nudge their way through.  It is just enough to add some edge to all of that malty, caramely, even vanilla-y character.

This is a craft you can let sit and warm up.  As it warms the malty goodness smooths out even more and the cherries’ presence are noticed even more as well.  What a craft beer.  This is one for savoring, and maybe even, I don’t know, making a fuss.  Enjoy it.  Take your time.  Cheers!

Rating: buy a four-pack

Beer 68 of winter – 1000 views of craft

Yards Tavern Spruce

Brewer: Yards       Craft: Tavern Spruce       ABV: 5%

1000 views!  It is kind of hard to believe.  I teach math, which means I am a numbers guy.  And I understand that 1000 is just one more than 999 and one less than 1001.  But c’mon.  1000 views!  When I started this journey, I didn’t really have any expectations.  And look at it now.  You all have given me love and support by reading.  Simply reading.  Thank you.

I thought it only appropriate that the craft I chose for this post be the beer inspired by Ben Franklin himself.  I have posted about this before in Beer 36.  And what a way to celebrate.  Again, I can’t thank you all enough.  I plan to keep drinking craft beer and telling you guys about it.  So I hope you plan to keep reading!  Cheers!

Beer 67 of winter – dessert is served

Southern Tier Creme Brulee

Brewer: Southern Tier       Craft: Creme Brulee       ABV: 9.5%

Sharing is caring, they say.  So when I saw a bottle of this craft at Weis Markets I was excited to share it with Kristin, as she has become a fan of dark beer.  I was introduced to this beer by Chris, the man who I credit with initiating my interest in craft beer.  I mentioned him before in Beer 6 of winter and am always thankful for his friendship.

The first time I had this dessert in a glass, I did not like it at all.  I couldn’t get over how sweet it is.  But that didn’t stop me from trying it again.  And again.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the palate is always changing and growing.  For example, when I was young I would never have thought of eating sushi.  Now it is one of my favorite meals.  Never think that you don’t like something now because you didn’t like it before.

So the second time I had the Creme Brulee, I enjoyed it.  I had had a few years of growth since the first tasting.  I could appreciate the beer more and understood what Southern Tier did when they crafted this stout.  But it was still one of those beers that I wasn’t quite sure about.

And now to the present.  The gift of craft beer.  The Creme Brulee is, and I try not to exaggerate so please believe me, THE smoothest beer I have ever had.  I cannot think of another beer that drinks smoother than this one.  Caramel and vanilla notes abound as the snifter draws near to my nose.  I take my first sip.  And I just giggle with joy.  That has only happened to me a handful of times.  The vanilla notes are strong and bold and present from start to finish.  The caramel notes push their way through every so often.  The roasted, malty notes give this stout its solid backbone on which the craft is built.  It is SO SMOOTH!

This is the perfect example for me of why you keep trying.  Never give up.  I won’t have this beer for a while.  I know that sounds strange.  But it is that good.  I don’t want to ruin the experience.  I will definitely have it again.  And I can’t wait to see what the experience is like then.  Some beers you can pair with food.  This craft does not require that.  It really is dessert in a glass.  Wow.  Cheers!

Rating: buy a 22 oz. bottle

Beer 66 of winter – Belgian Stout

Conshy Belgian Stout

Brewer: Conshohocken       Craft: Belgian Stout       ABV: 5.3%

Valentine’s Day is a day for romance and love.  And when you’ve been married for 11 years and have two kids, it’s a day for lunch out with the family, dinner at home and relaxing with the wife after the kids are asleep with some craft beer we obtained when we were at beer school.  (see Beer 64 of winter)

So we (and by we I mean my wife) had the forethought to bring a growler so we could take some craft home with us.  We both liked the Belgian Stout, so that was the beer of choice.  And I thought it would be a good idea to share it on the most commercialized romantic day of the year.  Yes, that was me this time.

The Belgian Stout is pretty standard with some defining elements that separates it from some of the others out there.  The roasty, malty aromas are there as expected.  Those notes of roasted barley and malty sweetness also make this craft drinkable and smooth.  Chocolate and coffee notes add some depth.  The Belgian yeast that is used changes the sweetness and character of the standard stout into something warmer and subtly spiced.

I mentioned that we filled a growler with this craft.  A note on that – when you get a growler filled, don’t open it unless you know you can drink it all in one session.  Once you crack it open, it starts to lose it’s carbonation and goes flat pretty quickly.  I’ve learned this from experience and from other crafters.

I knew Kristin and I wouldn’t mind drinking this sessionable craft since there’s about 4-5 beers in the growler.  The Belgian Stout is a solid choice from a quality list of tasty beverages over at CBCo.  Check them out if you get a chance.  Cheers!

Rating: get a growler