Recently in Neshaminy Creek Category

Punkel Dunkel Pumpkin Wheat Ale

| 4 Comments

Even amongst pumpkin beer haters, there's a tacit acknowledgement that yes, The Bruery's Autumn Maple is awesome even though it kinda, sorta fits the category, despite using yams instead of pumpkins. Aside from the yams, it differs in a few other key ways. First you've got molasses and maple syrup, which, you know, sploosh. But the yeast is what ties it all together. The Bruery's house strain of Belgian yeast is fantastic and pairs well with the traditional pumpkin pie spices, not to mention all that other junk.

So those punkels up at Neshaminy Creek, not wanting to do the same old thing in the oversaturated pumpkin beer market (i.e. bland amber base, pumpkin, and shit tons of spices), went all German on our asses. They amped up their recipe for Dunks Ferry Dunkelweizen, added the requisite pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, and fermented using traditional Bavarian weizen yeast. The result is something Autumn Maple-like, which is high praise. Definitely worth checking out, even for the pumpkin haterz.

Plus, check out that label, it's awesome. And for those of you disgusted by pumpkin beers showing up in July, those fine Neshaminy Creek folks made sure to release this after the "unofficial" end of summer, Labor Day Weekend. Not that any of that really matters, but still. Oh yeah, beer:

Neshaminy Creek Punkel Dunkel Pumpkin Wheat Ale

Neshaminy Creek Punkel Dunkel Pumpkin Wheat Ale - Pours a very murky, cloudy brown color with a cap of light tan head. Smells beautiful, huge spicy character, and while some of that is typical pumpkin pie spice(cinnamon, ginger, clove, brown sugar, etc...), it matches really well with the weizen yeast character (bananas and even more clove). Taste is similar, lots of Weizenbock spice and wheat, brown sugar, with the pumpkin pie notes (cinnamon and the like) hitting in the middle and lasting through the finish. Mouth feel is medium bodied, very well carbonated, spicy, and yet somehow almost creamy. Hint of sticky booze, but that works well here. Overall, a very good, uncommon take on the pumpkin genre, well worth trying even for folks who don't normally go for pumpkin beer. It actually reminds me more of The Bruery's Autumn Maple than anything else... B+

Beer Nerd Details: 8.8% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber). Drank out of a tulip glass on 10/5/13.

Rich suggests they make a Doppelbock pumpkin beer next year, which, yeah, sounds awesome. Of course, due to the lagering period, they'd either have to make it without fresh pumpkin (though it's not like most pumpkin beers actually do that these days) or release it much later than normal, but I'd totally be down with applying pumpkin to other beer styles (pumpkin stouts are actually pretty great). Anywho, Neshaminy Creek continues to make some interesting stuff, so you'll probably hear more about them in the future...

September Beer Club

| 4 Comments

Tonight was Beer Club, a gathering of beer minded folk from my work who get together every month at a local BYOB for libations and fun. I should note that what I call beer club is offically called "social club", and there are frequently attendees who want nothing to do with beer. We've often had folks who bring wine or even stuff like sake or just plan, non-alcoholic root beer. In short, usually, only a portion of attendees are drinking the beer. Well, we had a great turnout tonight, and most everyone drank most every beer. I think only one beer was left unopened (a Brooklyn Oktoberfest), and most everything else was kicked almost as soon as it was opened. So it was an impressive showing tonight! Check it:

September Beer Club

For the sake of posterity, some half-remembered thoughts on each beer are listed below. Standard disclaimers apply, these are not ideal tasting conditions and I was only half paying attention and you'd be a fool to trust most of these ratings. Except for the ones I've had before. Those are mostly awesome. Here goes:

  • Ken's Homebrewed Pumpkin Ale - Really nice pumpkin ale homebrew from my friend Ken. He had kegged it and transferred to a growler this morning, so the carbonation was a bit on the low side, but it was otherwise a pretty damn good take on the style. I was going to say that it's the best homebrewed pumpkin ale I've ever had, but it's also the only homebrewed pumpkin ale I've ever had, so that doesn't really tell you much. But it was good, and I liked it. B+
  • Stone Enjoy By 09.13.13 IPA - I know, heresy! We drank this almost a week after we were supposed to "enjoy by", and yet, I can't help but thinking that I enjoyed this more than the fresh bottle I had. I didn't get that weird plasticky character that I had from the fresh version, though I could kinda see where it came from. The slightly faded hops actually improved this for me! I know, heresy, right? I still feel like I'm pretty sensitive to faded hops these days, but this one tasted fine. Perhaps it was stored better than my last bottle? I'll still leave it at a B, but better than the last bottle I had (which was also a B)
  • Neshaminy Creek County Line IPA - I've not reviewed this, but I've mentioned it before on the blog, and I enjoy it. A local brew, this is your typical East Coast IPA, well balanced, more malt character than your West Coast IPAs, but a nice light hop character too. B or B+
  • Kaedôme Saison (regular version) - My regular ol' homebrewed saison is still drinking pretty well. The hop character has mellowed a bit and never quite achieved the Nelson Sauvin awesomeness I was hoping for, but it's still a pretty kickass saison and seemed to be very well received by the beer club crew. The Brett version of this is still in secondary, and probably has a solid month or two left it in before I bottle. I'll leave this at a B+
  • Lexington Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - Proof that "Bourbon Barrel Aged" does not always translate to "good"... this wasn't especially bad or anything, it was just sorta bland. It was pale in color, and I didn't get much bourbon or oak out of this at all... nor did I get much else. Which is to say, it's better than most macros, but nothing to write home about. Perhaps it would fare better in a non-sampling context, but for tonight it was a lowly C+
  • Erie Brewing Mad Anthony's APA - Oh wow, this is just awful. It's got a certain blandness to it, but also a diacetyl note that I always hate. Some might be willing to put up with that, but not I. F
  • The Alchemist Heady Topper - I don't need to say much beyond my review, but yeah, it went over pretty well with the beer club peeps. Still a solid A in my book.
  • Saucony Creek Captain Pumpkin's Maple Mistress - Extremely sweet and a little boozy, this is an interesting take on the pumpkin ale. It's got some spice, but not quite your typical pumpkin spice, and I can sorta detect that maple syrup character as well. It's unbalanced, but in a sorta endearing way. One of those beers that's excellent in this sort of sampling context, but which would probably become cloying if you tried drinking a whole bottle. I enjoyed it well enough and will give it a B
  • Finch's Fascist Pig Ale - I didn't really get much of this, just the dregs of the can, but it seemed like a nice enough amber ale. I'll give it a provisional B, but even considering the context of beer club, I need more of this to really give it a fair shake.
  • Samuel Adams Fat Jack Double Pumpkin - You know what, I really enjoyed this beer. It's a more-or-less traditional take on a pumpkin beer, pumpkin pie flavors all the way, but perhaps the lopsided affair of Captain Pumpkin's Maple Mistress made this one appear better by comparison. It's not as interesting, but it's maybe a better crafted beer. B or B+
  • Cascade Kriek Ale - One of my contributions for the night, this sucker is just as good as I remember it, maybe even better. It was a big hit with beer club peeps as well, and definitely the most unique beer of the night. I love this stuff and might be tempted to upgrade it to A status, but I'll leave it at A- for now, trusting my previous judgement.
  • FiftyFifty Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye - My other contribution, and another eye opener for the beer club crew. I've had this before and absolutely loved it, which is one of the reasons I wanted to bring it to beer club. Happily, it went over very well. A
And that just about covers it, another successful night, and I am already anticipating the next meeting!

Some Notes From Philly Beer Week

| 5 Comments

Now that it's officially ended, I think it's fair to say that I failed at Philly Beer Week. I went to a few things, but it seemed that all of the week's most interesting events were happening at inconvenient times for me (not complaining here, as it's a total pain to get into the city and I don't do it often enough). To be sure, I went to a few events and sampled a few beers, but nothing like last year's Hill Farmstead adventure, though I suppose the two Tired Hands events warrant excitement (technically not part of the official proceedings, I'm going to say they count anyway). You've already heard about their anniversary event, but they had an Only Void bottle release yesterday too, and I was fortunately able to get there early enough to snag some fancy glassware and bottles (sub-250 bottle release for each variant detailed below).

Tired Hands Only Void bottles and glassware

The black waxed one is straight up Only Void aged in stainless steel, which I got to sample at the Anniversary last week (it's spectacular). The light greenish waxed one in the middle is local rye whiskey barrel aged Only Void (I'll have to confirm this the next time I'm at Tired Hands, but I'm guessing that "local rye whiskey" is Dad's Hat Rye, which is a distillery I've been meaning to check out). I'm particularly excited for that one since, to my knowledge, it's the only non-sour whiskey barrel aged beer Tired Hands has ever made... Finally, we've got the red waxed variant, which was actually barrel fermented and then aged in local red wine barrels. They had some of this on tap at the release and I managed to snag a sample before it kicked (which happened within the first hour - there were still people waiting in line for bottles). Very nice fruity sour notes to this one. Special thanks to Rich on Beer for gifting his seat at the bar to me when he was leaving, much appreciated.

Other Philly Beer Week highlights included some Firestone Walker stuff (but nothing I haven't seen before, which was a slight disappointment), lots of Tröegs Scratch series beers, and a couple of relatively new local brewery Neshaminy Creek beers that I've been waiting on for a while now. I was a little disappointed by their Leon imperial stout (also known as the S'more beer, as it's brewed with graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, and chocolate), but I thought perhaps a 6 month stay in bourbon barrels would improve it. They had a lot of events last week, so it wasn't hard to track down the bourbon barrel stuff:

Neshaminy Creek Bourbon Barrel Aged Leon

I was a little worried about it when I first took a sip. Super boozy and bourbon forward, I think it may have even been worse than the base beer... but it turns out that it was just served way too cold. As it warmed up, there was a big transformation. Still bourbon forward and a little boozy, but it evened out quickly, and more stoutlike flavors joined the party. All in all, I think it was a nice improvement over the base beer, but it's no top tier face melter either. I think the base is just too well attenuated to really stand up to the bourbon. Or something. I still enjoyed it quite a bit and will give it a B+

They also had a firkin of their Coconut Mudbank Milk Stout with Samoas and Caramel Delights added into the firkin. Not sure if it was those Girl Scout cookies or what, but this thing had an overpowering coconut aroma/flavor that sorta dominated the taste. I like coconut, so I guess there are worse things out there, but it ultimately felt a little unbalanced. Still enjoyed it. B-

And that just about covers my Philly Beer Week exploits. The Tired Hands stuff was great, but I wished I could have gotten my arse into the city for the Lost Abbey event, where there were apparently pours of Cable Car and Duck Duck Gooze happening. Oh well, I guess there's always next year...

Neshaminy Creek Leon

| No Comments

Continuing a look at the tiny new breweries in my area, I stopped by Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company this past weekend. Another homebrewer turned pro story here, Neshaminy Creek opened doors in early June (coinciding with Philly Beer Week, which seems to be the trend for these local breweries) and has slowly been making a name for themselves.

Neshaminy Creek tank board

They've got a couple standards in their lineup, including the County Line IPA, which is nice, lightly hoppy with a bigger malt character than expected (this winds up being a good thing in a market full of "hop it til it's nasty" beers). I also sampled their Croydon Cream Ale, a nice, light lawnmower beer. Not really my style, but it was tasty and much better than typical light lager fare. Their Tribute Tripel just might be my favorite of their brews, a great take on the style. Filled with fruity esters, sweetness, and plenty of spice from the yeast (clove), it comes off as being well balanced, but still big and delicious, just like a Tripel should be (in the B+ to A- range of my ratings, I think). According to their tank board (pictured above), they've got some sort of Hefeweizen coming too.

But the beer that everyone's talking about is Leon... also known as the 'Smore beer. Yep, it's an imperial stout brewed with baker's chocolate, marshmallow fluff, and crumbled graham crackers. They've made a couple of test batches of the stuff, but it turns out that what I got was the first full batch (and probably the last we'll see of it this year - big beers like this tend to use up an inordinate amount of resources for small breweries). Knowing I wanted a closer look at this one, I got a growler of it and have been sipping my way through it for most of the weekend. At 11.6% ABV, it's big and burly, but the alcohol is pretty well hidden. Ah well, there goes my glycemic index. Let's take a closer look:

Neshaminy Creek Leon

Neshaminy Creek Leon - Pours a deep, dark black color with a finger of dense tan head. Nice retention too, plenty of lacing as I drink. Smells strongly of chalky roasted malts, maybe some coffee character, but also a sorta light sweetness in the nose as well. Taste is again dominated by those roasted malts, coffee flavors, and maybe just a hint of dark chocolate. Nowhere near as sweet as I'd expect, but it's not super bitter either. As it warms (or perhaps as my palate adjusts to the roastiness), the coffee goes away and chocolate emerges more. I have to admit, I don't get any real 'smore flavor here, but that don't mean it's not good. I know it's obnoxious to tell a brewer stuff like this, but for a smore beer, I'd love to get more in the way of caramelized sugar flavors and less in the way of roastiness. Mouthfeel is heavy, but smooth, with plenty of tight carbonation. It's a sipper to be sure, but the booze isn't as pronounced as I'd expect in a 11.6% ABV beer. Very well hidden. Overall, a solid imperial stout. Not quite the beer I was looking for, but I'm sure it will make stout fanatics happy... B

Beer Nerd Details: 11.6% ABV from growler. Drank out of a snifter on 8/25/12. Beer was apparently kegged on 8/24/12, so it's about as fresh as possible.

I'm curious to see how Leon evolves over time. According to the brewer, this one came in a little lighter than their test batches, and they've also reserved a bunch to age in Bourbon barrels. This excites me to no end, as bourbon barrel aging tends to temper the big roast and coffee flavors in a beer like this while adding a touch of sweetness and complexity from the oak. This sounds quite exciting. Otherwise, I'm going to be on the lookout for their Tribute Tripel, which I think was my favorite of their beers. While I was there, I heard talk of wild yeast and other barrel aging stuff, which sounds exciting. They're mostly only on tap right now, but I believe they do some limited bottling of their brews too. Definitely a brewery to keep an eye on...

Categories

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID

About

Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

You might also want to check out my generalist blog, where I blather on about lots of things, but mostly movies, books, and technology.

Email me at mciocco at gmail dot com.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Neshaminy Creek category.

Nebraska is the previous category.

New Belgium is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.