I started with Perpetual IPA. In this case the “I” stands for “Imperial”, as the alcohol comes in at 7.5% ABV and the beer utilizes an impressive list of hops throughout the brewing process: Bravo, Chinook, Mt. Hood, Nugget, Citra, Cascade, and Amarillo.
It’s a big beer, but well balanced. I was debating on another but decided to go with a Dreamweaver Wheat instead. This beer, brewed in open top fermenters, hits all the check boxes; spice, clove, pepper and bananas. Open top fermentation allows the brewery to skim off and collect the foam, or krausen, from the top of the wort during the fermentation process. This krausen, containing yeast and wort proteins, is then used to start the fermentation of the next batch of Dreamweaver Wheat. The brewery states on their website that this gives the beer stronger pepper and clove notes than traditional closed fermentation. Seems to work! Very refreshing.
Two Stones Pub Co-owner Ben then asked if I wanted the first pour of Perpetual IPA on cask (who wouldn’t?), so after a toast between me, him and Troeg’s rep; I turned my focus to the cask ale in front of me and and a taster glass of the keg version for comparison. I enjoyed the smooth creaminess from the cask version, although bartender Anna preferred the crispness of the keg.
Next up was Dead Reckoning Porter. I’m very fond of porters and this is a nice one. From a pure “style” stand point, the light hop that peaks out behind the cocoa/chocolate malt might not be to everyone’s liking, but I didn’t mind it that much.
The final three beers were from Tröegs’ Scratch Beer Series. This series is Tröegs’ way of doing small batch experiments with new processes and ingredients; and the beers are quiet often only available in Tröegs’ tasting room. The beers are often simply refer to by style, but the series is also numbered with a code, xx-yyyy; with xx being the number of the batch in the series (starting at 1 and now sitting at 72) and yyyy being the year the beer was made. The beer that started out as #4-2007, at first simply labeled “barleywine”, is now doing duty for the brewery as their Flying Mouflan.
The first was More Helles, Less Bock (#69-2012) a Helles/Bock/Maibock amalgamation that showed a complex nose and flavor; laced with malt, bread and maybe some honey. This illustrates one of the sad things about hunting around for great beers, sometimes when you find one, you have to accept the fact that it will probably (sometimes definitely) be the last chance you have to enjoy it. Really, really good.
The final two beers have the distinction of being created as a result of a friendly(?) challenge by Tröegs to two legends in the craft beer world (and indeed, the PA/DE/NJ craft beer scene); Jack Curtin, beer columnist and the man behind Liquid Diet; and Lew Bryson, beer author and the man responsible for Seen Through the Glass , The Session Beer Project , and fellow survivor of the REC.FOOD.DRINK.BEER usenet group. Each was challenged to brew a beer as part of Tröeg’s Scratch Beer Series, which was to be presented head-to-head as part of this year’s Philly beer week. And of course, bragging rights were on the line.
First up was Jack Curtin’s Beire de Grouch (#66-2012), a Beire de Garde made with fresh cracked black pepper. The French/Belgian influence was all over this beer with earthy notes amongst malt and yeast. But the pepper was the real star here. Both in the aroma and in the taste where it was just enough to give a warm pepper finish without over powering the rest of the flavors. Awesome balance. Great beer.
Finally, it was time for Lew’s beer, Zwickel Licker (#68-2012) (note, the beer is WAY more fun to order when you are surrounded by women who have a great sense of humor) an unfiltered Dortmunder. The beer is a pocket german lager with good amounts of malt, and a hop finish that’s crisp and clean. There would be worst things in the world than sitting around a grill and drinking this all day long.
The winner? Sadly, I’ve been informed by my editor that since I was not contacted to serve as an official judge in what was obviously a very serious competition, I can’t say. But he has agreed to put up a picture.
Thanks to Two Stones Pub for another great tap take over. Thanks to Tröegs for the great beers. And thanks to Tröegs’ rep for the beer swag (pint glasses, key chains, etc). Shout out to new DCBaWL member Mike for stopping by. Always great to meet new members, especially when they’re a fellow Doctor Who fan.
Time for another beer…..