Friday, September 4, 2009

Ice 'em if ya got 'em...

It's been a very "local" kind of summer for me.  My staycation was only to the Jersey Shore, and so for the most part, I've been riding out the last few months here in Delaware and the Brandywine Valley.  One upside, however, is I've gotten to watch a lot of the Phillies games.  While I usually prefer some wine at the end of the day (or the middle), watching the Phils over a glass of Riesling doesn't...feel right.  So, I'm beer all the way. 

I've had some fun ones, and some not so fun ones.  The prior includes Sierra Nevada's ESB or early spring beer.  Also, Blue Moon's "Honey Moon" Ale, was a nice take on a lighter quaff for passing the innings.  I found one of my favorite breweries, Smutty Nose from New Hampshire, had a Summer Weizen made with lemon and chamomile.  Ehhh- not so much.  It was light and clean as the label said, but a little to wispy for me.  Cool label, though.
I grabbed a craft brew from Caldera in Oregon.  If you haven't seen this trend yet, a lot of craft brews are coming in cans these days.  A number of reasons are sighted as to the benefits, but I find them all matter-of-fact.  If I were a fledgling brew maker, I'd be looking to attract a young audience and do it cost effectively.  Unless of course, you're Caldera.  Young audience, yes.  Labels reads, "Serve cool, like you."  But cost effective?  A six pack of Caldera Brewing Company's Ashland Amber, in cans, will set you back eleven dollars and some change.  Let me say it again- in cans.  
Not from Belgium or France, not even 12% alcohol from Dogfishhead.  The beer?  Awesome!  Great style, hoppy, fresh- loved it.  But, I can't get over the price tag.  So, I decided to explore some beers I tried last year when I worked in Kennett from Sly Fox Brewing Company in Phoenxville, Pennsylvania.

Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale has all the markings of a great local craft beer, its hops are a little tamer than the Caldera, and it has a cleaner finish.  A case (in cans, also) will only set you back $30 and change.  Waywood Beverage as you enter Kennett Square is where I found some.  I don't think it's available in Delaware, yet.  But it ought to be.  They also make a terrific pilsner, weisse and lager: all in cans.

Well, if you're going to make the trip, you might as well take advantage of the breadth of their selection.  It's most impressive.  But, I wanted to stay local, so I found a couple brews from Intercourse Brewing Company.  Again, I went with a pale ale, and this time a pilsner.  The one thing that made these beers standout, other than the price ($23.99 case, in bottles) was the sheer balance of flavor and alcohol.  

Too often the alcohol content of microbrews is completely out of whack, and it masks the flavors.  Sometimes after two, you are ready to switch to something more "drinkable", to steal the MSB's term.  And so, if you're going to kick back, bbq and listen to the game, both of these beers from Intercourse fit the bill.  Want more Intercourse?    And, please; BBQ responsibly.

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