The Brew Works Craft Beer Festival last weekend was like all the others: Pretty damn good. This year they seemed to feature a few more local options and the breweries seemed to bring a variety of different things, many of them different from the usual offerings.
First off, the even seemed immediately more crowded than normal, but as the beer started kicking in and the crowds died down things became far more enjoyable. One of the best offerings of the day was from Brew Works themselves with their Wild Wheat, which from the info we gathered was a peach wheat beer inoculated with wild yeast from their Funky Monkey brew. It was one of the greatest things we’ve had from them recently. Also notable was their bourbon barrel Devious (on tap now!) which seemed mellower, smoother, and all around better than a previous batch we had.
Curious Traveler, a shandy company run headed up by the founder of Magic Hat and operated as an independent arm of Sam Adams, was easily the biggest marketing hit of the day. Their logos are focused on mustaches, and so they have fake mustaches to hand out to people and boy, were they sticking them everywhere. From mustachioed glasses to Groucho Marx impersonators. And hell, the shandies weren’t that bad either. You can snag cases at Shangy’s right now if you’re into that, but they’re more of a summer beverage.
Flying Fish had out their new Red Fish hoppy red ale which was acceptable and certainly worth grabbing a 6er of when you don’t know what to get. Full Pint was pouring their Chinokee IPA which, as a fellow taster noted, had a sort of chemical aftertaste. It wasn’t pleasant and quite frankly made us glad we didn’t decide to pick up some when it started making the rounds in six-packs at Wegmans. Goose Island was pouring their IPA and Honker’s Ale, both acceptable offerings, if a bit boring and uninteresting.
Our friends at Hijinx seemed to have the highlight of the festival, however. And not only from our standpoint, but also due to them having the biggest crowd surrounding their table nearly the entire time we were around their area. They were serving up a latte stout, a twist on their coffee porter, which was a milk stout brewed with coffee beans. It was exquisite. We apparently weren’t the only ones that thought so because as we were walking around the crowd we heard numerous people telling each other to “try the latte one.” The Keystone Homebrewers, brought some oddities this time. A few different meads as well as a really interesting/weird mojito wheat and a damn tasty apple brandy barrel saison rounded out their list for the first session.
Round Guys was definitely another favorite. They were serving up a few beers, but their main draw seemed to be their Berliner Weiss, a traditional German recipe low in alcohol and high in sourness. It was tart as hell and amazing. They were offering up another traditional German concoction: Berliner Weiss with flavored syrup. The syrups were/are meant to counter the tartness a bit. They were offering up two of the most traditional ones: raspberry and woodruff. Bonus: these guys are pretty local (Lansdale) and this beer is available frequently from them. All the better. Hammersmith Ales brought some of their usual historic ales including a strong ale, an export stout, and a particularly awesome (and hearty) doppelbock.
All-in-all it was another great put-on by the Brew Works and we’re glad some people showed up with some newer interesting and one-off beers. It cuts the boredom of trying the same old stuff over again and an insight to the future of some of the breweries.
The mob at the Hijinx table
Slyfox’s Christmas cans featuring a cool To: and From: label
One very happy guy dressed in German gear
The El Vee was provided a complimentary pass to cover this event.