My name is Matt and I’m a beer guy. For me, there is no pleasure greater than good friends, good food, and good brews. This blog is meant to inform and guide fellow beer lovers to what they might like. I’ll discuss beers according to my tastes, but if the description sounds like something you generally like, then go ahead and try it! One beer may not be for me, but it might be your new favorite. When you click the photo for any given beer review, it will link you directly to the brewery’s website. hit counter
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3rd April 2013

Photoset with 9 notes

4 Hands Brewing Co. - St. Louis, MO


About two weeks ago I took a trip to St. Louis to visit my girlfriend’s family. This was my second trip to St. Louis, but I had never experienced the incredible beer scene the city has to offer. Though the city is filled with a huge variety of micro- (and decidedly macro-) breweries, 4 Hands Brewing Company stands head and shoulders above the rest.

In 2011, owner Kevin Lemp opened the doors of 4 Hands, which started as a small-operation brewpub. After working for more than a decade selling the E&J Gallo Wine portfolio across the state of Missouri, his dreams of owning a brewery had come to fruition. The company is named for his family; one hand for himself, his wife, and two children. Adorable.

Located in the LaSalle Park neighborhood, the brewery is right down the street from the original Anheuser-Busch plant, for those interested in that kind of thing. The interior of the 1,800 sq. ft. tasting room area is stunning, to say the least. All of the furniture was made by Mwanzi Co. (a local and environmentally-conscious building supply/workshop) out of an old barn, and the main communal table is made out of the original door to the building that houses the brewery (best angle is from the first picture).

The walls are adorned with prints of the label art from a selection of 4 Hands’ bottles. I will say that the packaging for their beer is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and it can all be credited to St. Louis artists Amber Patton and Josh Rowan, the latter being a traveling tattoo artist.

There are 8 taps in the tasting room, which sport not only 4 Hands core and limited offerings, but also other local breweries. I was lucky enough to try almost everything they were pouring that day; PiPA (super drinkable citra-hopped pale ale produced for local pizza chain Pi), Divided Sky Rye IPA (clean and spicy), 2nd Shift Brewing’s Katy (citrusy blonde with brett), to name a few, all of which were phenomenal. Will Johnston (head brewer, and co-creator of Goose Island’s Sofie and Matilda) isn’t messing around with these recipes.

"What about barrel-aged beers," you may ask. Every brewery worth their salt is taking on this beast these days, and 4 Hands is no different. Though their barrel-aging program is just getting started, I’m expecting big things. Kevin gave me a bottle of their Cuvee Ange (sour aged in a variety of spent wine casks) during my visit, which will definitely be making an appearance soon on this site. Having seen the barrels they’ve procured and knowing the super-high quality of their product, these barrel-aged beers will become some of the most sought-after brews in the market. You heard it here first.

Though the brewery is still small (currently 4,000 BBL capacity), there nowhere for them to go but up. I’ve been told that when their new fermentation tanks arrive and are up and running, that 4,000 BBL figure will get bumped up to nearly a 25,000 BBL capacity, which means only one thing: more beer for more people. Once their brews reach a wider audience, they will quickly become a must-have for beer lovers everywhere.

Keep doing what you’re doing, 4 Hands, because it rules.

To learn more about 4 Hands Brewing Co, visit their website here.

To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Tagged: STLst louisphiladelphia4 handsbeercraft beertwitter

April 2nd, 2013

Photo with 4 notes

War Hammer IIPA - 4 Hands Brewing Co., St. Louis, MO.
ABV: 9%
Style: Imperial IPA.
Drank: 22oz. bottle, 4 Hands goblet.
Season: Rotating.
Pour: Hazy deep copper/amber with a nicely retained head. Leaves tight lacing.
Aroma: Lots of citrus & tropical fruit.
Taste: Much of the same, with big grapefruit and mango flavors. Great hop bitterness. Not much in the way of malt at all, save for a mild, balancing sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Medium body and dry.
Quite good. Though there isn’t much malt character, the sweetness that does present itself serves to take the edge of the smooth bitterness. It’s not terribly balanced, but I don’t think that’s the point. A well-made beer that’s worth seeking out.
Food pairing (from the bottle): grilled beef, carrot cake.
Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.
To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

War Hammer IIPA - 4 Hands Brewing Co., St. Louis, MO.

ABV: 9%

Style: Imperial IPA.

Drank: 22oz. bottle, 4 Hands goblet.

Season: Rotating.

Pour: Hazy deep copper/amber with a nicely retained head. Leaves tight lacing.

Aroma: Lots of citrus & tropical fruit.

Taste: Much of the same, with big grapefruit and mango flavors. Great hop bitterness. Not much in the way of malt at all, save for a mild, balancing sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and dry.

Quite good. Though there isn’t much malt character, the sweetness that does present itself serves to take the edge of the smooth bitterness. It’s not terribly balanced, but I don’t think that’s the point. A well-made beer that’s worth seeking out.

Food pairing (from the bottle): grilled beef, carrot cake.

Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.

To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Tagged: 4 handsbeercraft beercraftbeertwitterSTLst louisphiladelphia

March 30th, 2013

Post with 2 notes

Well, it’s been a while.

It’s been quite some time between posts for me, and for that I apologize. I’ll have a bunch of new content up this week, including a feature on the 4 Hands Brewing Co. brewpub in St. Louis!

Lots of good stuff coming up, so stay tuned.

MC

Tagged: beercraftbeercraft beerPhiladelphiatwitter

March 8th, 2013

Question with 1 note

blackzag05 said: Have you ever been to San Diego?

I have not, unfortunately. A buddy of mine will soon be employed by Ballast Point, so hopefully I’ll have an excuse to get out there!

MC

March 7th, 2013

Photo with 5 notes

Coney Island Barrel Aged Human Blockhead - Shmaltz Brewing Co., Saratoga Springs, NY.
ABV: 10.83%
Style: Doppelbock (Imperial American Bock 100% aged in Buffalo Trace barrels).
Drank: 22oz bottle, Sixpoint “Spice of Life” glass.
Season: Rotating.
Pour: Brown, with a small, creamy head. Leaves loose lacing.
Aroma: Sweet malt, dark fruits (figs and plums), some caramel, and faint vanilla.
Taste: Sweet. Dark fruits, molasses, and vanilla. Moves to flavors of oak and sweet malt.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied and dry. Kind of sticky and syrupy.
This one is quite good, if not a bit sweet. The flavors are well-balanced, and the alcohol is nice and warm (though not at all apparent in taste). A well-made beer.
Food pairing: mint chip ice cream, soft, buttery cheeses.
Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.
To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Coney Island Barrel Aged Human Blockhead - Shmaltz Brewing Co., Saratoga Springs, NY.

ABV: 10.83%

Style: Doppelbock (Imperial American Bock 100% aged in Buffalo Trace barrels).

Drank: 22oz bottle, Sixpoint “Spice of Life” glass.

Season: Rotating.

Pour: Brown, with a small, creamy head. Leaves loose lacing.

Aroma: Sweet malt, dark fruits (figs and plums), some caramel, and faint vanilla.

Taste: Sweet. Dark fruits, molasses, and vanilla. Moves to flavors of oak and sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and dry. Kind of sticky and syrupy.

This one is quite good, if not a bit sweet. The flavors are well-balanced, and the alcohol is nice and warm (though not at all apparent in taste). A well-made beer.

Food pairing: mint chip ice cream, soft, buttery cheeses.

Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.

To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Tagged: beercraft beershmaltzhe'brewconey islandnew yorkphiladelphiatwitter

March 5th, 2013

Photo with 10 notes

Palo Santo Marron (Bottled 4/19/2011) - Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, DE.
ABV: 12%
Style: American Brown Ale (imperial brown ale aged on Palo Santo wood).
Drank: 12oz bottle, 10oz Jewbilation glass.
Season: Year-round.
Pour: Dark brown - near black - and thick. Even with a hard pour there is a very tiny head that dissipates as quickly as it appeared. Leaves no lacing.
Aroma: Boozy, with some chocolate, molasses, and a faint vanilla. Rich and full.
Taste: Dark fruits (figs & dates) up front, moving to some woody notes, followed by a nice bitter coffee & roasted malt finish.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and dry. Nice effervescence.
Someone once told me to try aging this one, so I gave it a shot. It really paid off. The fresh product can be a little harsh, but this one is quite mellow, but definitely still warm (even after almost two years in the cellar). The flavors definitely open up as it warms. It’s sweet at first, but is accompanied by a nice bitter finish. The roast notes really come through when it’s about at room temp. A well-aged beer that is pretty different from it’s fresh counterpart.
Food pairing: the only thing I really found myself wanting to eat with this was this Haloumi cheese appetizer from the best BYO I know of. Pan-fried Haloumi cheese, with candied dates and fig jam. Yum.
Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.
To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Palo Santo Marron (Bottled 4/19/2011) - Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, DE.

ABV: 12%

Style: American Brown Ale (imperial brown ale aged on Palo Santo wood).

Drank: 12oz bottle, 10oz Jewbilation glass.

Season: Year-round.

Pour: Dark brown - near black - and thick. Even with a hard pour there is a very tiny head that dissipates as quickly as it appeared. Leaves no lacing.

Aroma: Boozy, with some chocolate, molasses, and a faint vanilla. Rich and full.

Taste: Dark fruits (figs & dates) up front, moving to some woody notes, followed by a nice bitter coffee & roasted malt finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and dry. Nice effervescence.

Someone once told me to try aging this one, so I gave it a shot. It really paid off. The fresh product can be a little harsh, but this one is quite mellow, but definitely still warm (even after almost two years in the cellar). The flavors definitely open up as it warms. It’s sweet at first, but is accompanied by a nice bitter finish. The roast notes really come through when it’s about at room temp. A well-aged beer that is pretty different from it’s fresh counterpart.

Food pairing: the only thing I really found myself wanting to eat with this was this Haloumi cheese appetizer from the best BYO I know of. Pan-fried Haloumi cheese, with candied dates and fig jam. Yum.

Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.

To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Tagged: beercraft beerphiladelphiadelawaredogfish headtwitter

February 15th, 2013

Photo with 2 notes

Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter (Vintage 2012) - Arcadia Brewing Co., Battle Creek, MI.
ABV: 12%
Style: Baltic Porter (Baltic Porter aged in oak bourbon barrels).
Drank: 12oz. bottle, Sixpoint “Spice of Life” glass.
Season: Winter (though I’m not sure this will come out again… I know the regular release Shipwreck has been discontinued).
Pour: Jet black, with a small, tan head that dissipates very quickly to almost nothing. Leaves little lacing.
Aroma: Bourbon, booze, chocolate, with hints of sweet malt.
Taste: Lots of sweet bourbon up front, with notes of vanilla and coffee, with some chocolate in there, too. Big, roasty finish. Moves nicely from sweet to mildly bitter.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body and dry. Not too thick.
Again, it’s refreshing to see less full-bodied barrel-aged beers on the market. This has about the same mouthfeel as the Sixpoint 3Beans (http://beeradelphia.tumblr.com/post/41739195277/3beans-sixpoint-brooklyn-ny-abv-10-style), which makes it much more drinkable. It’s very complex, maybe a touch too boozy for me… maybe another year would have been a good thing. It’s quite delicious. I hope the 2013 batch - if there is going to be one - is as good.
Food pairing: BBQ brisket, country ham.
Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.
To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here. 

Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter (Vintage 2012) - Arcadia Brewing Co., Battle Creek, MI.

ABV: 12%

Style: Baltic Porter (Baltic Porter aged in oak bourbon barrels).

Drank: 12oz. bottle, Sixpoint “Spice of Life” glass.

Season: Winter (though I’m not sure this will come out again… I know the regular release Shipwreck has been discontinued).

Pour: Jet black, with a small, tan head that dissipates very quickly to almost nothing. Leaves little lacing.

Aroma: Bourbon, booze, chocolate, with hints of sweet malt.

Taste: Lots of sweet bourbon up front, with notes of vanilla and coffee, with some chocolate in there, too. Big, roasty finish. Moves nicely from sweet to mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body and dry. Not too thick.

Again, it’s refreshing to see less full-bodied barrel-aged beers on the market. This has about the same mouthfeel as the Sixpoint 3Beans (http://beeradelphia.tumblr.com/post/41739195277/3beans-sixpoint-brooklyn-ny-abv-10-style), which makes it much more drinkable. It’s very complex, maybe a touch too boozy for me… maybe another year would have been a good thing. It’s quite delicious. I hope the 2013 batch - if there is going to be one - is as good.

Food pairing: BBQ brisket, country ham.

Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.

To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here

Tagged: beercraftbeercraft beerphiladelphiarare beerbarrel aged beertwitter

February 13th, 2013

Photo with 5 notes

Lot No. 6 DIPA - Evolution Craft Brewing Co., Salisbury, MD.
ABV: 8.5%
Style: Double IPA.
Drank: 12oz. bottle, DFH pint glass.
Season: Year-round (BA says rotating, but I’m told from the source it’s year-round).
Pour: Slightly hazy copper, with a fluffy white head (I gave this one a hard pour, hence the massive head). Leaves good lacing.
Aroma: Citrus up front (grapefruit dominated, with some lemon), and biscuity malt. There’s some sweetness in there, too.
Taste: Citrus up front (mostly grapefruit), with notes of tropical fruit. There’s just enough sweetness and bread from the crystal malt to balance. The finish is bitter, then biscuity.
Mouthfeel: Medium body and dry.
This beer is super super clean. Easily one of the most well-balanced DIPA’s I’ve had in a long long time. Not too sweet, not too bitter, and because the body is relatively light, it’s fairly sessionable… okay, not entirely sessionable, but you can at least have more than one and be good to go. Keep an eye out for this one. It’ll definitely show up at my shop (Food & Friends in Center City Philadelphia) quite soon.
Food pairing: pulled pork sandwich, beef crown roast.
Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.
To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Lot No. 6 DIPA - Evolution Craft Brewing Co., Salisbury, MD.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: Double IPA.

Drank: 12oz. bottle, DFH pint glass.

Season: Year-round (BA says rotating, but I’m told from the source it’s year-round).

Pour: Slightly hazy copper, with a fluffy white head (I gave this one a hard pour, hence the massive head). Leaves good lacing.

Aroma: Citrus up front (grapefruit dominated, with some lemon), and biscuity malt. There’s some sweetness in there, too.

Taste: Citrus up front (mostly grapefruit), with notes of tropical fruit. There’s just enough sweetness and bread from the crystal malt to balance. The finish is bitter, then biscuity.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and dry.

This beer is super super clean. Easily one of the most well-balanced DIPA’s I’ve had in a long long time. Not too sweet, not too bitter, and because the body is relatively light, it’s fairly sessionable… okay, not entirely sessionable, but you can at least have more than one and be good to go. Keep an eye out for this one. It’ll definitely show up at my shop (Food & Friends in Center City Philadelphia) quite soon.

Food pairing: pulled pork sandwich, beef crown roast.

Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.

To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Tagged: beercraftbeercraft beerphiladelphiatwitteripa

February 11th, 2013

Photo with 4 notes

OREgasmic Ale - Rogue Farms at Rogue Ales, Newport, OR.
ABV: 6%
Style: American Pale Ale.
Drank: 22oz. bottle, P&K pint glass.
Season: Rotating (BA says summer, but it really just comes out when it’s ready… season isn’t so much an issue).
Pour: Hazy deep copper, with a medium head. Leaves tight lacing.
Aroma: Light citrus and flowery hops, with a sweet malt backbone.
Taste: Sweet malt up front, moving to floral hops. Becomes quite bitter on the long finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, and very dry.
Quite nice. I dig the sweet malt character that starts this one off. It provides a nice contrast to the bitter finish. This beer definitely isn’t sessionable… far too dry, and just a bit too bitter. Well-balanced and tasty. A solid effort.
Food pairing: buffalo wings, paneer tikka masala.
Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.
To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

OREgasmic Ale - Rogue Farms at Rogue Ales, Newport, OR.

ABV: 6%

Style: American Pale Ale.

Drank: 22oz. bottle, P&K pint glass.

Season: Rotating (BA says summer, but it really just comes out when it’s ready… season isn’t so much an issue).

Pour: Hazy deep copper, with a medium head. Leaves tight lacing.

Aroma: Light citrus and flowery hops, with a sweet malt backbone.

Taste: Sweet malt up front, moving to floral hops. Becomes quite bitter on the long finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, and very dry.

Quite nice. I dig the sweet malt character that starts this one off. It provides a nice contrast to the bitter finish. This beer definitely isn’t sessionable… far too dry, and just a bit too bitter. Well-balanced and tasty. A solid effort.

Food pairing: buffalo wings, paneer tikka masala.

Click the picture to be linked to the brewery’s website.

To follow Beeradelphia on Twitter, click here.

Tagged: roguebeercraftbeercraft beerphiladelphiatwitter

February 3rd, 2013

Question

Anonymous said: Mike: The Penn Chocolate Meltdown you reviewed - I haven't been able to find it anywhere (yet?). Did they send you some? If so, how about not reviewing stuff until it is readily available? Love your column!

Mike—

It’s not available yet. I got it as a sample for a future release, which will be in 22oz. bombers. I believe it’s coming out in the next couple weeks, at least in Philly.

As for not reviewing beers until they’re released, I’m just thought I’d let people know it was coming out soon, and provide some info (aside from what’s on BA) for potential buyers, like you.

Thanks for the kind words!

MC