Beer 27 of Spring – Stout?

Founders Black Rye

Brewer: Founders       Craft: Black Rye       ABV: 7.5%

Founders just keeps crafting quality beer.  Another solid effort.  This Black Rye drinks, for me, just like a coffee stout.  The roasted malts provide a nice backbone.  I get some cocoa, coffee, and roasted barley notes.  Founders dry hops this dark ale, as they call it.  That dry hopping gives this craft a dry finish and a bitter balance to the sweetness of the malts.

The distinct flavor of the rye – that grain that you know you’re drinking because it’s spice, it’s floral, it’s got a bite, it’s sharp, it’s hoppy, it’s bitter.  The rye just elevates this craft from a basic dark ale to a craft that I’m looking forward to having again.  And again.  I could drink this anytime of the year.  It’s too bad it’s only a seasonal release.  I guess I better get to the store and get some more…

Rating: Buy as much of this as you can before it’s gone…

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Beer 64 of winter – Beer School!

Beer School

As a teacher, I am always looking for opportunities to learn.  And when it involves beer, I mean, c’mon!  So when I heard about something called Beer School at Conshohocken Brewing Company, I couldn’t sign up fast enough.  Can you see the excitement and joy and my face?

The experience was amazing and so much fun.  We went through the brewing process from start to finish with Andrew, the head brewer.  I was familiar with most of the process, but it was interesting to hear more about the malted barley and the hops that play an integral part in crafting beer.  And throughout the class, we tried each one of the beers they currently have on tap.  A total of 10 samples were tasted and highlights of each one shone through given the new information just gleaned about malts and hops and amounts of each.

We then got to take a tour of the brewery.  Pretty cool!  Getting to see where the beer is actually crafted just makes drinking it all the more meaningful.  If you are looking for a fun and informative experience, seek out one similar to this.  If you are looking to learn more about craft beer, seek out an experience like this.  If you are a seasoned Cicerone and want to have some fun, go to Beer School.  When you get to learn about how the beer is made and what goes into it, it just makes everything taste better.

I talk about craft beer and would be remiss if I didn’t delineate some of my favorite crafts at Conshy.  The IPA is a solid choice and is near the top of my list.  The Belgian Stout is smooth and delicious.  The Harbinger of Change is a new and welcome addition to the draft list – a hard to categorize craft that drinks like, for me, a saison IPA.  But my favorite Conshy craft right now isn’t on the draft list.

Conshy Tandem

Brewer: Conshohocken       Craft: La Colombe Tandem       ABV: 6.4%

This is it.  A Belgian-style Coffee Ale as it says on the can.  The aroma of dried fruits tickles the nose hairs and awakens the palate.  Once you start to drink it just gets better.  Notes of dried fruit such as apricot, tangerine, and figs continue to present themselves in the taste.  A smooth and solid presence of malts weaves its way through the craft.  Coffee?  Sure.  I think the coffee is subtle and adds a bitter counterpoint to the sweetness of the malty and fruity elements.  So good.  This is my favorite Conshy craft right now.  I could drink this every day.  Cheers to you my friends.  Cheers.

Rating: buy several four-packs