Table of contents
- Beer Reviews
- Wine Reviews
Philly Beer School
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What? Wait…I am drinking a Kenzinger right now. Life is good. Forget the Geek-isms sometimes, a beer needs to be straightforward and refreshing, and I don’t often sit down for just one, so the low alc content on Philly’s favorite session beer is right up my alley.
Saison Dupont or Foret, for example, are perfect choices with just about any meal. Dupont’s beers always give you a great balance between malt, hops, and fermentation funk without overwhelming anything.
What can be wrong with a beer that drinks like a pilsner but packs 8% abv? Duvel’s white fluffy head wafts floral hop aroma while the beer is smooth on the palate and soothing to the soul.
Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen.
I’m a big smoked beer fan, and the Schlenkerla brewery is my favorite. Schlenkerla’s Marzen pours a ruddy brown and makes you crave rye bread and wurst. There – can I go back to my Kenzinger now?
Brasserie Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek
I’m spontaneous and so is my favorite beer. Spontaneously fermented, that is. A beautifully sour lambic from my favorite brewery, the Lou Pepe Kriek has notes of candied citrus, sour cranberry, and balsamic vinegar. A frothy pink-hued beer that looks feminine, but packs a punch. Below all that sour fruit is earthy and peppery funk and a sturdy body. Summertime perfection.
Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA
Taking hops to the next level, Adam Avery is a serious man. Subtlety be damned, the Mahraja is a grapefruit and pine BOMB. Hops for the sake of hopping. At a beasty 10.2%, this beer shouldn’t be a quencher on a hot day, as you’ll be seeing sideways in no time. A perfectly smooth mouthfeel and hearty finish puts this brew in my current top 5.
Sly Fox Pikeland Pils
The beer in the can that could. A Gold Medal winner at GABF, no one does delicious canned beer better than Brian O’Reilly at local brewery Sly Fox. This is a refresher of the highest order with a hefty amount of bitterness and big leafy grains on the nose. With a glut of great pilsners in our area, Sly Fox can swing with the best of them. The portability and convenience of the can put this one over the top.
Stoudt’s Karnival Kolsch
Before closing the brewery, Carol Stoudt was known as the Queen of Hops and is the first female brewer since the lift of Prohibition. The woman can brew a beer. None is better than their Karnival Kolsch offering, which is new this year but used to be part of the Brewer’s Reserve series. Luckily, we can get it all the time now. In an area teeming with Germans, this beer is the German-est. Smooth like a lager due to colder fermentation temperatures; there’s a touch of sweetness upfront, thanks to red wheat malts peeking through. Also, a GABF winner. Delicious! This beer (and the brewery) will miss it.
Russian River Supplication
Ahhhh yeah, Russian River. Super brewer Vinnie Cilurzo makes delicious and rare beers that Philly can’t get enough of. The best of the best is not Pliny The Younger. No, my friend, the best is Supplication. A tasty brown ale is barrel-aged in Pinot Noir barriques, with three separate strains of wild yeast added to the brew. Very barnyard funky and sour cherry on the nose, but quite vinous and silky in mouthfeel. For as deep a color as it presents, this beer is surprisingly refreshing and, as such, falls into my top 5. Forget that. It kicks and uppercuts its way into my top 5.
Wine School of Philadelphia
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Simi Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Classic Cali style Chardonnay. Melon and cream with a core of cinnamon stick and a splash of apple cider. For lovers of this style, its worth every penny of the $14.99 the state is charging.
Steely acidity and popping apple notes give way to cool chalk and ripe apricot and just a hint of forest fire: a complex and beautiful wine that will develop over the next five years. If a marble fireplace was edible, it would taste like this. 23.99
Domaine Hauts Chassis “Les Galets” Crozes Hermitage
It is rare to find a very good Northern Rhone wine for $20. That makes this delicious syrah a great find. Drinks more like an Hermitage than its often lesser Croze neighbor. With classic mineral and tobacco notes leading into a mess of blood and tar. Only in a wine could that be good, and here it is amazing. $20.99
Wirra Wirra “Catapult” Shiraz Viognier, Mclaren Vale
This wine goes for the smooth and rich style that is expected of an Aussie Shiraz. However, this one goes much deeper, with a smoky aroma tinged with floral and white fruit notes. On the palate, behind the big juicy fruit lurks a charred but bloody tenderloin. $17.99
Cims de Porrera 2005 “Solanes” Priorat
Priorat is Priorat is Priorat, and this is PRIORAT. Earthen clay aromas peppered with iron and black fruits. On the palate, there is good depth and tannic grip. Flavors of black cherry and dry spices dominate. Very good now, but expect it to mature well for another 4 years. $19.99