The Local Tap – Tröegs Tap Take Over at Two Stones Pub

The Board at Two Stones Pub for the Troegs’ tap take over.

On July 17th, a few members of the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers met at Two Stones Pub for a Tröegs Brewing tap take over.

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.

Perpetual IPA. Cask on the left, keg on the right.

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 true “Clash of the Titans”

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.

The Winner!!

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…..

The Local Tap – Allagash Tap Take Over at Two Stones Pub

The Board at Two Stones

Last week the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers group met at Two Stones Pub, Newark for an Allagash (WEB:FACEBOOK:TWITTER) tap take over.  Thirteen different beers were on tap that night plus some special bottles floating around.  It was great to meet three new members of the DCBaWL as well as spending some talking to craft beer friends both old and new.

I’m not going to try and hide our fondness for Allagash, I think they make solid beers.  Their Four is always a go to beer for me, and Tracey is happy anywhere that has their White on the beer menu.  But tonight was about getting the chance to taste some beers that we normally don’t get to see (and some we may never see again).

I started the evening with a mug of the White.  One, because it was the only Allagash beer they were serving in mugs and I needed to wash the taste of work out of my mouth, and two, so I could send Tracey a picture of it to encourage her to ditch work ASAP and come get some.

After that, time to switch to tasters and try some beers.  First up was a side by side of Thing 1 and Thing 2 an attempt to brew two beers from the same base wort.  Thing 1 is styled as a Belgian table beer at about 5% ABV.  From the wort of Thing 1, 7 bbls were diverted to another tank to which regular sugar, dark candi sugar were added and some dark grains were added to steep.  Both beers were good but I liked Thing 2 better, having a little more depth in the flavor.  We’re off to a good start.

Saison Mihm

Next in line for some side to side was Victor and Victoria.  Both beers are part of Allagash’s Tribute Series with moneys from both beers going to two different charities.  While both beers are described as “Belgian Strong ales brewed with grapes”, they’re actually quite different.  Victoria is brewed with a Belgian yeast and has over 200lbs of Chardonney grapes added to the mash, while Victor has over 100lbs of cabernet franc grapes added and is fermented with a wine yeast.  Between the two I had to give the nod to Victoria as I found Victor to have a slight “Welch’s grape juice” note that is not a favorite of mine.  Tracey waved me off however, stating that she liked the flavor of Victor and finding more complex than Victoria’s.

Next we decided it was time to take a break from the taste comparisons, so I ordered a Saison Mihm a beer brewed with honey, juniper berries, and lemongrass.  I’m always dubious of beers brewed with juniper beers because I don’t like when the beer gets to “ginny”.  But Mihm was nice, with a nice sweetness, none of the flavors over powering the other, and a bright finish.  It would have be interesting to try this side by side against Four to see if it could displace it as my favorite beer.

Can you tell which on is Bourbon barrel aged.

Back to side by sides we go as we compared their Belgian stout Black, against its bourbon aged twin.  Most of you know my feelings on bourbon beers by now, but I actually felt confident going into this tasting since Allagash makes one of my fav bourbon beers, Curieux.  Indeed, I liked the bourbon Black as I didn’t find it over powering, but the normal Black is pretty good as well.  Tough call here.  Might be a draw.

After that I needed something to bitch-slap my palette so I went with Old HLT.  What do you do with a large stainless steal tank sitting in the corner doing nothing?  Why you put 30 barrels of beer in it along with 2000lbs of cherries and let it sit for 2 years, what else?  This was very nice, with tart cherries and earthiness.

Next was Yakazu, a Belgian triple dry hopped with Cascade and Sorachi Ace.  Definite tropical fruit notes mingle with the Sorachi Ace in the style of the triple.  Nice beer.

Sometime during all this, co-owner Ben opened a bottle of Prince Tuesday and slid me a taste.  The beer is a collaboration beer between Allagash/Maine Beer/Rising Tide and brewed with Maine Rye.  It was a nice tasting beer and I wish I could have had a little more.  Apparently it was only distributed in Maine, so thanks to whoever brought the bottle.

Pretty much beered out at that point, I grabbed a glass of the Four and walked around touching base with some craft beer and twitter peeps.  The Allagash tap take over ranks up there is the best Two Stones have done, which is a testament to the quality of beers Allagash is producing.  Troeg’s is on tap for next month, and they’re going to have a tough act to follow.

Time for another beer…

The Local Tap – Stateline Liquors

It feels odd on the one hand to do a “Local Tap” segment on a liquor store, but on the other hand I felt it was time to give a tip of the hat to a place without which, this blog would simply not be possible.

Stateline liquors (Web : Facebook) has been run by the Murray family for over 30 years.  In that time they’ve built the store into one of the biggest liquor suppliers in the region.  While the store excels in all areas, of course it’s their beer selection that keeps me coming back.  Robert Murray is “the beer guy”, and he does everything he can to make sure his costumers have access to just about anything that is distributed into the state of Maryland. It’s almost impossible not to find something you didn’t know they carried every time you walk into the store.  Recently while talking with a fellow customer, I was shocked to find I was standing right across from a selection of beers from Evil Twin, a brewery that I’ve heard a lot about recently but wasn’t aware that it was available in our area.

But the store goes beyond the traditional paradigm of a liquor store.  The “champagne room” in the back houses a bar with a working set of taps.  Customers are encouraged to sample the beers to find one they’d like to purchase.  The bar also serves as the location for monthly beer tastings as well as a hangout for beer traders who come in and share beers they’ve received with Robert’s staff.  I think DoB co-found Chuck said it best, “Stateline is the only liquor store I know that people bring beer to.”

For a short time, Stateline was also offering growlers for sale from the back bar.  Sadly, it was discovered that this violated a Maryland “repackaging” law and had to be discontinued.  Hopefully one day they’ll get that straightened out, because I have a few growlers that are in need of a refill.

What makes Stateline extremely advantageous for me is that all beer is entered into the system down to the bottle/can unit, which means costumers are free to break any and all six-packs or four-packs of bottles or cans we wish.  I’m sure it’s not lost on my fellow bloggers the convenience of not having to buy a full six-pack  every time you want to review a beer.

But enough words, let’s take a tour….

The side shelves – beers from Europe (excluding common mainstream beer and beers from Belgium) including the Baltic States, Scandinavia and the Eastern Bloc countries continue off camera to the right.  Beers from Australia, New Zealand and Japan can be found on shelves which are off camera to the left.

 

Belgian Row – Beers from Great Britain run about four feet down the left hand shelves, then the rest of the run is all Belgian beers.  The coolers on the right house more mainstream foreign beers like Amstel, Hoegaarden, Guinness, etc

 

Another shot of Belgian row from the other end.

 

American Craft Beer – bombers on both sides with some specialty four-packs thrown in.  The coolers on the right house all American craft six-packs.  Down by the cart on the left are shelves set up for American craft beer in cans, and brewery sampler twelve-packs and cases.  On the other side of the shelves to the right are more beers along with a healthy selection of meads and ciders.

 

The Bar – Champagne on the left, glassware on the right and of course, beer on draft.

 

The Local Tap – Argilla Brewing, Visit #2

The Board at Argilla

Last Friday the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers group met at the newest, and smallest, brewpub in Delaware – Argilla Brewing (Web : Facebook : Twitter).  Steve Powell opened the brewery in March as part of Pietro’s pizza’s new location on Kirkwood Highway.  This was Tracey and I’s second visit to the brewery, just about a month from our first visit.

It was really good!

First, let’s get a few comments about the food out of the way.  On our first stop here we found the pizza good, although our in-house pizza reviewer (my daughter) thought it was light on toppings.  Not the case this time!  Our “Kennett” pizza ( fresh mushrooms, onions and roasted red peppers) came out hot, crisp and covered with toppings.  The combo was excellent with a nice tasting sauce and plenty of cheese.  The chipolte stout BBQ wings we ordered had a great flavor and mild heat.   But I’m going to be honest, any comment I make on the food is irrelevant.  Why?  Because by 7:30 the place was packed.  I’m mean seriously packed.   Obviously someone out there thinks this place is plating up killer food and apparently I’m the last one in Delaware to find out.  So let’s get to the beer (which after all is what I pay myself to do).

The first thing on the board that grabbed my attention was a Belgian bitter (5.8% ABV).  The beer was well balanced with both the Belgian and bitter influences apparent.  To be honest I didn’t take a lot of notes on it as I was content at the moment to just sit there and enjoy it.

Argilla’s 1.5 barrel brew system

The next beer was Gleason’s Cream Ale (4.5% ABV) which I had on my first visit.  As I said then, I’m usually not a fan of nitro for anything other than stouts, but it really does marry well with a Cream Ale.  The reduced carbonation gives the beer a mouth feel deserved of the description “cream”.  This is a beer you could drink a lot of, which I believe is what the guys at Argilla were shooting for.

Next was the Amber (5.0% ABV), which had the malt profile you’d want in an Amber with just enough bitter on the back end to balance it out.  Argilla toasts some of the grains in their pizza ovens for this beer, giving a nice tie in between the beer and food sides of the the business.  It rocked with the pizza.  Although I really enjoy the Cream Ale, I’d have to say that this is my favorite beer Argilla is producing right now.

Future beer in the waiting.

Finally I had the Citizen Pale Ale which, with notes of grapefruit and spice that make me think of cascade or columbus hops, is about as defining example of an American style pale ale as one could ask for. Another solid beer.

A quick poll around the group came to the same conclusion.  Everyone seemed be enjoying the beers, finding more than one on the board that they liked.  Argilla does have commercial guest taps (again solid beers in the 5-6% range, nothing huge) for those who prefer them.  But as I glanced around the bar it seem that the majority of  people were drinking those produced in house.  Another nice testament to a brewery.

It’s become to easy in the current craft beer market with it’s trend towards 8+% ABV beers with a myriad of flavors running around in your glass to forget that there is a lot of room between the 5%ABV megaswill and a well crafted 6.0% beer for a brewer to focus on, and indeed shine (and I’m as guilty as the next person in that regard).  At the moment, that’s where Argilla seems comfortable playing.  Their beers are clean, on point as far as style and accessible, which is all anyone can ask.  These are beers that will fit in well with a meal out with friends or family, without being to heavy or distracting.

This is the part where I’m supposed to encourage you give them a try, but by the look of the crowd on Friday it appears that you already have.  I will encourage you then to keep supporting Argilla Brewing, they’re representing the craft beer scene in Delaware well.

[NOTE – Steve Powell contacted me after learning we were coming.  Sadly he wasn’t going to be there that night but offered that his manager would be more than happy to take us back and show us their brewing set up.  But since the place was so busy, I decided not to pull anyone away from doing their jobs.  But I thank Steve for the consideration.  Hopefully next time!]

The Local Tap – Cantwell’s Tavern

Cantwell's Tavern

On Saturday the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine group was supposed to meet for a tour of the Old Dominion Brewery in Dover.  Unfortunately, Tracey and I got caught in a traffic jam due to an accident that ended up actually shutting down the road we were on.  Forced to turn around, and knowing we’d missed our tour we decided instead to take advantage of the situation and (finally) stop in at Cantwell’s Tavern in Odessa, Delaware.

Cantwell’s Tavern (Web, Facebook, Twitter) opened in December 2011 promising delicious farm-to-table food which included house made sausages, bacon, bread and sauces; as well as an upscale tap list.  As soon as we heard about it we put it on our list of places to try, but sadly the couple of times we tried to dial it into our schedule something else popped up.  But thanks to a well placed traffic jam (well, I probable shouldn’t say that; we really did want to go on the brewery tour) we were finally sitting in the barroom of this 19th century style tavern.

Cantwell’s resides in the historic Brick Hotel that was established in 1822.  The barroom and dinning room have been given a look that suits this time period (having once lived in Historic New Castle I really love this type of décor), from simply dressed dinning room tables to a bar with old time swing-down ceiling gates.  The barroom is accented in period pieces and populated with simple high-top wooden tables and stools along with a few booths in one corner.

Lunch! Yummy!

We claimed a booth and eagerly scanned the tap selection.  I was surprised to see Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum on the list and thought I’d get a sneak peak of it before I did a review on the bottle that’s in my fridge.  But sadly the keg had already kicked, but Evolution’s Lot 6 had replaced it so I ordered one.  Tracey didn’t find anything on the draft list that spoke to her, so she turned her attention to the ample bottle list and found one of her favorites, Allagash White.

Beer decided, we turned to the menu.  We immediately realized that this was not going to be easy.  The menu was full of excellent sounding choices keying on terms like “grass feed Angus beef” and “house made bacon and sausage”.  I was pleased to see andouille sausage sprinkled through out the menu and the grilled BBQ wings definitely caught my eye.

In the end though it was the steamed mussels that won out.  You can order them cooked three different ways and it was nice to see that each contain a signature base liquid; one used beer, the second wine, the third cider.  Having never had a cider based mussel dish before, I selected the chipolte cider mussels.  Tracey ordered a side dish of the deviled eggs, and Carolina pulled pork sandwich.

The eggs must have been good because Tracey finished them quickly.  She thought the pulled pork was a little on the sweet side, but loved the flavor.  I thought the sweetness was ok, and thought the pork was well done.  The mussels were on point (to quote Mr Fiere), plump and perfectly cooked.  The broth had a slight smokiness from the chipolte but didn’t mask the subtle flavors of the cider. The real kicker however was the tangy cheese that was sprinkled on the dish. It perfectly paired with the mussels to bring the dish to another level.  And it all went perfect with my second beer choice, Allagash Four.

Finishing up, I ordered a Taylor’s Grog to end the meal.  Taylor’s is a specialty beer brewed by the guys out at Twin Lakes Brewing.  It’s sort of a marker beer because if you see it on tap, you know you’re in a bar that’s owned by the same group that owns McGlynn’s, The Deerpark, and of course Cantwell’s.

Cantwell’s beer list consists of twelve taps and as I mentioned before an extensive bottle list.  The taps run north to south, with macros like Miller and Yuengling mixed in with local boys DFH (90 Minute IPA, Red and White) and Evolution(Lot #3, Lot #6).  The rest of the taps are rounded out with breweries like Allagash, Stone, Troegs, Goose Island and Yards.  The taps rotate, so check the website frequently.

The Bar at Cantwell's

If the rest of the menu is as solid, then Cantwell’s is indeed doing it right.  As for the beer, no complaints here, a nice mixture of macro and micro that should guarantee that anyone who goes there should be able to find a beer they enjoy.  Cantwell’s runs daily specials, so check out their website.  They had mugs hanging which leads me to believe they have a mug club, but I didn’t ask.  They also appear to be running some interesting events like the Stouts and Stogies dinner coming up.  Three food courses and 1 cigar, each paired with a different stout; Yards Love Stout, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout and Schlafly Reserve Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout (a recent tweet or facebook post suggests that this is the one that’s being paired with the cigar).

Believe me, it won’t take another traffic jam to get us back to Cantwell’s Tavern!

The Local Tap – Flying Fish Tap Take Over at Two Stones Pub

Last Thursday members of the “Delaware Craft Beer and Wine” facebook group meet at Two Stones Pub for a tap take over from NJ brewers Flying Fish.  The group turn out was good, with some frequent attendees making an appearance as well as some new faces.  The crowd was lively and the place was ready to try some beers from Flying Fish.

The Chalk Board at Two Stones.

Flying Fish from Camden NJ, caught my eye awhile ago by virtue of their “Exit” series.  An ambitious multi-year project, the brewery hopes to brew a beer for each exit of the NJ turnpike.  Each beer being its own distinct style based on something interesting from  the area around the exit.  I really wanted to try all these as they came out, but sadly I’ve been lax in keeping my eyes open for them.  Being an “Exit 1” born and raised NJ boy, I of course had to try their Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout which I remember enjoying.

Cheers!

But tonight was all about their recent release, Exit 8 – their Chestnut Brown Ale.  This was its Delaware premiere.  Our state got two kegs, and guess who got’em? From the brewery:

To celebrate Exit 8, one of our big farming areas, we’ve brewed a beer that
uses a lost local ingredient: chestnuts–and a popular current one: local honey.
This full-bodied hybrid Belgian-style brown ale brings forward a nutty character
from the chestnuts, accented by the flavors of honey, roasted barley and oat
flakes. There’s a nice spiciness from the Mt. Rainier hops while Chinooks add a
touch of pine. Fuggles and Columbus round out the hop profile.

While we sipped it, much discussion ensued.  I thought the beer was ok, but a little off to be a brown (maybe that’s where the term hybrid comes into play).  I got hints of honey and spice in it, as well as something that probably was the chestnuts.   It didn’t blow me away, but there was definitely enough there to warrant a focused revisit when I get my hands on a bottle (I’ll be fair to the brewery and post a better review when I do).  As a matter of fact, I found most of the beers from Flying Fish solid but nothing extraordinary.

I went into the take over believing that Exit 4, their American Triple, is far and away the best beer they make.  And nothing I had that night (Extra Pale, Farmhouse, ESB and Exit 8) changed that opinion.  Exit 4 is simply awesome, with it citrus notes and hint of cloves.  It won a Gold Medal at the 2009 at the GABF, and Flying Fish was smart enough to make it a year round offering.  And luckily, it was on draft that night.  Great stuff.

Another awesome event from the guys at Two Stones.  I can’t wait to see who they’ve got coming in next.

Time for another beer.

The Local Tap – Ulysses American Gastropub

This past Saturday Patrick’s (Beer Delaware) Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers Meet Up group got together at Ulysses American Gastropub (24 rotating taps, Map, Twitter, Facebook) in Wilmington.  It’s fairly new in the beer scene, having been opened by the same group that owns Six Paupers in Hockessin.   For those who are not familiar with the term gastropub, let me break it down for you:  Gastro = high quality farm to table food.  Pub = beer and flat screen TVs.  Sounds like our kind of place.

Ulysses looks really good with a good-sized square bar and a row of tables in the front that are surrounded by high back chairs and love seat/couch type upholstered benches.  The dining room is in the back and is pretty open except for a large screen that splits part of the room.  A good number of TVs dot the walls, making it easy to catch whatever is on regardless of where you’re seated in the front barroom.

When we arrived the place was crazy packed,  and a few in the group were running late so we found a crack in the crowd through which to order some beers and I went to put in a table reservation since it was apparent that “occupy the bar” wasn’t  going to be happening any time soon.  It’s here that I’d like to say a few words about the staff.  They were great.  When I put in my table request I firmly expect to be laughed at.  I was asking for a table for 6 in a packed dining room that had about 4 parties waiting in line for tables – with only an hour’s notice.  But instead, the host looked at the table plan, politely took my name and said that he’d see what he could do.  When I came back 50 minutes later and informed him that we’d be 7, not 6, he simply said no problem, if I could give him an extra 15-20 minutes.  Gladly. Once seated our waitress was greeted by 7 people who got a little out of sync with the ordering.  But she took it all in stride, doing a great job with the appetizers and food while juggling beer requests.

I heard nothing bad about the food from anyone in the group.  Tracey and I had eaten before hand so she got a house salad with an apple/walnut vinaigrette that she said was very good.  I had spotted on the bottom of the beer menu a suggestion to try something that they call “roulette wings”.  The waitress informed me that they were just as they sounded.  There are 8 wings on the plate, 7 of them have the normal house wing spice on them, and the eighth is wicked hot.  Sold.  And let me tell you, I’m not a sissy when it comes to spicy food but yeah, it was hot.  Four to six guys (or girls) sitting around a table playing roulette with orders of these wings would be a hoot.

As for the reason we came, this place is definitely doing the beer right.  The beer menu is an easy read in that it’s laid out in a table type format.  Each beer’s ABV is listed as well as the serving size and price.  On the night we came they had such beers on draft as Dogfish Head Namaste, 21st Ammendment Lower the Boom, McNeil’s Dark Angel, Troegs Nuggat Nectar, Elysian Idiot Sauvin along with beers from local boys Evolution, 16 Mile and Twin Lakes.  What made me laugh (in a good way, I think it rocks) was that tucked into all that beer goodness was PBR for $3 a 16oz serving.  While they are serving some pretty killer beers, there’s also clearly a beer on the list for everyone.     Ulysses also sports a pretty good bottle list, as well as some specialty beer “cocktails” which, beyond black and tans aren’t usually my thing.  But some of them did sound interesting like the Dirty Orchard a mix of Strongbow Cider, Bulleit Rye, and Ulysses’ house spice mix.

Sadly, Ulysses is directly on the other side of Wilmington from us and we don’t get to that area of Marsh road very often so I don’t think we’ll be stopping in as much as we would like.   If I did live close by however, I’d definitely frequent it with its combination of great food and killer beer selection – once I found a night that it does not get so crowded (what can I say, I’m a sit at the bar type guy).  I could easily see this as a “two craft beers, then an order of roulette wings with a PBR” regular stop.

Also sadly, I don’t have any pictures from that night.  My Blackberry and me were at odds because once again I couldn’t get a GPS location for my Untappd check-ins (god forbid I would want to do that in a bar with a roof over it!) and wasn’t having any better luck the one time I walked outside to try.   So I put it in my pocket and forgot about it.  My cell phone’s retaliation for this dissing was to shut down all network connections the other night during a time when the track ball was not working in the “down” direction.  This left me no way to get down to the button to turn the connections back on.  My retaliation for this rebellion was to trade the ungrateful thing in for a new HTC 4G Rezound.  Problem solved.

Time for another beer…. and to figure out how to get the Untappd App loaded on my phone…

The Local Tap : Evolution Brewing Tap Take Over @ Two Stones Pub

The Tap Board at Two Stones - Evolution Heavy!!

On January 4th Two Stones Pub continued its tap take over series with Delaware’s relative newcomer, Evolution Brewing.  Evolution sprang up in Delmar, Delaware when Tom and John Knorr brought in Boston brewmaster Geoff DeBisschop and quickly built up a brewing line that produces about 3500 barrels a year according to their website.  On this evening, Tom Knorr showed up to hang out with craft beer lovers and showcase 12 of Evolution’s finest.  And the dogs were there.  Chuck and I arrived around 5, with The Beer Goddess and Tracey joining us shortly after.  After a bit we were joined by Patrick from Beer Delaware and the evening got rolling.

I started with a mug of Lucky 7 porter.  I love porters, and this is a nice one with its chocolate tones.  Next I had a Secret Spot.  From what I gathered this is a tap only winter beer.  Pity, because this malty beer with a light floral hop ending was very good!  I hope one day it will make its way into bottles, because I’d take it to some Christmas parties for sure.  Next up was Menagerie #3, a scotch ale blend where part of the blend is aged in bourbon barrels for 6 months.  You should know by now that I’m not a fan of the whole “bourbon barrel” craze.  Mostly because I feel a lot of brewers are heavy handed with it.  But if any beer style was meant to marry well with a touch of bourbon sweetness and smokiness, I believe that it’s scotch ale – and this was a nice one.  The bourbon flavor was evident amongst the maltiness of the the ale which included some nice vanilla notes.   After that it was time to switch up a bit so I ordered a glass of what Evolution brought on cask – Lot #6, dry hopped with Williamette and Chinook hops.  This can only be described as a mouthful of hops, and it indeed cleaned my palate of the dark beer I’d just had.  Next up was Morning Wood, an oatmeal stout with coffee aged in bourbon barrels.  Yes, there was those damn barrels again and coffee, another flavor I’m not fond of.  But this was pretty tasty.  All the flavors balanced well together and brought out the best of each other.  I’d have this again.  Maybe bourbon beers are growing on me.  Nahhhhhh.

When talking to Tom Knorr it was obvious that he was proud of his product and happy to see Two Stones packed with craft beer lovers enjoying Evolution’s line of beers.  When I asked him about the brewery’s up coming move to Maryland, Tom didn’t seem too phased by the prospect.  “We’re just moving down the road a bit,” he said with a sly smile.  Sounds good Tom, as long as we can still get your beers here in Delaware.

Time for another beer.