Second Place: Tröegs Flying Mouflan
Appears a hazy dark brown sugar with small streams of lacing that quickly rises to the top of the light tan head. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, pine sap, herbs, and grapefruit.
Taste is of brown sugar, pine needles, citrus, herbal tea, and a bit of cocoa nibs.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, bitter with hops and sweet malt that feels sweet and warming.
Third Place: Iron Hill Dubbel Trubbel
Appears a dark, chestnut toned amber with a fluffy, off white head that sticks around. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is excellent with complex notes of vanilla, cherry, tart juice, and hibiscus flowers on top of a mild raisin aroma.
Taste mimics the aromas with a flavor that I couldn't have drawn up better myself. This is a beer lover's fantasy with the oaky vanilla and spicy red wine notes pulling through.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mildly oaky, sweet, tart, and well balanced.
Fifth Place: Stoudt's Double IPA
Tastes awesome! Full bodied, rich and creamy, citrusy and peachy hop flavored IPA with a strong malt backbone for balance. Hides the alcohol too, I might add. This one will definitely creep up on you if you're not careful. Mouthfeel is terrific as well as she swirls throughout my mouth with balanced intensity and perfect carbonation, leaving me asking for more.
Local Brewery of the Year
First Place: McKenzie Brew House - Again, the team of Ryan Michaels and Gerard Olson have cranked out some of the region's finest beers. The anchor beer of the brewery, Saison Vautour, has been the GABF Gold Medal winner in the Saison category for 3 of the past 4 years. With the newest batch of wonderfully experimented barrel aged beers yielding such fine products as Oer Faute, and St. Romain makes McKenzie the sure fire winner for our Local Brewery of the Year Award for the second year straight! Congrats Ryan & Gerard!
Second Place: Tröegs Brewery - Tröegs continued it's drive of it's Scratch series beers, resulting in quite a few delicious treats. The addition of the Splinter Series drew enough attention for local beer enthusiasts to continue the demand for more!
Third Place: Iron Hill West Chester - Although I personally didn't get out to West Chester as much as I had hoped, the West Chester crew of Larry, and Jean kept things fresh and interesting by keeping a continuous flow of new and interesting beers flowing.
Local New Beer of the Year
In many ways, this reminds me of a young Oerbier Reserva...and the hauntingly similar name was not intended to draw that parallel.
Smell is of funky, tart cherries, earthy, leather, apple, brett, with a ghost of the original wheat beer.
Taste is of the aromas with the tart cherries, and brett becoming the champions of this beer.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, tart, a touch of lactic burn leading to a dry finish.
Pretty damn nice!
Taste is of the aromas with a ripe fruit, funky brettiness, vanilla, and caramel.
Yards Barrel Aged Olde Bartholomew - Appears a transparent amber with an orange hue and a small beige head that quickly fades out into a mild film. Little spots of lacing droop down into the glass.
Smell is of obvious bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, and biscuity malt.
Taste is of the aromas with caramel, roasted nuts, vanilla, and bourbon being the standout with some ripe fruit, and sugar blasts pulling through.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, warming, on the sweeter side but not really cloying.
Pretty nice beer!
Taste is of the aromas with bourbon and vanilla standing out with cocoa, roasted nuts, and creme brule sweetness highlighted with vanilla, cream, and burnt sugar.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sweet, sticky, and mildly boozy yet balanced.
Other beers of note on the local front:
Roy Pitz Brewing - Daddy Fat Sacs IPA
Prism Brewing - Bitto Honey IPA
Most Anticipated Upcoming Local Brewery?
Tired Hands Brewing run by Jean Broillet of Iron Hill and Weyerbacher fame. Jean's new brewery will be featuring beers that are hop-centric, and Belgian/French Farmhouse inspired. I got a chance to check out a few of his offerings, including a very nice, & tasty Belgian Pale Ale (shown at the left), along with a few saisons that are bound to garner interest from the local beer community and homegrown beer geeks, alike. Best of luck, Jean!
Best Non-Local Beer
Smell is of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, creme brûlée, vanilla, port, bourbon, and complex cocoa infusions.
Taste is of the aromas with sweet bourbon based bread pudding... Very beautiful.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sweet, cake like, yeasty, dessert drink for the ages that I would put up there with the finest bourbons, brandy, or ports.
Second Place: New Holland Dragon's Milk
Smell is of oaky lactose with cocoa, caramel, and vanilla.
Taste is of the same aromas perhaps just knocked down a notch.
Mouthfeel is silky and creamy with mild carbonation. Perhaps one of the silkiest beers I've ever had.
Third Place: Prety Things Baby Tree
Taste is of the same aromas with sweet sugary cake flavors doused in brown sugar.
Mouthfeel is sugary, full bodied, and sticky sweet with raisin cinnamon rolls resounding along the palate.
Appears a near black with dark brown edges when held to the light. The tan foam leaves scattered bits of lacing around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, vanilla, Espresso, caramel, and toffee.
Taste is of the aromas with more of a coffee flavor that is perfect for a digestif.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet, syrupy, and chewy
Fifth Place: Sam Adams Imperial Stout
Smell is smokey with cocoa, brown sugar, and licorice found amongst the mix.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with more of a prune, and fig flavor coming through in the flavors.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sugary, and bitter.
Best New Non-Local Beer
Hill Farmstead Arthur Saison
...trying my best not be be biased here, but I really struggled with coming up with a better selection. Shaun Hill is a virtuoso when it comes to brewing Saisons. This particular one has notes of Saison Dupont but a bit more complex with some more phenolic Belgian yeast esters pulling out some peppery, citrus, and chewing gum esters. It's a lovely beer that I would recommend everyone checking out. I look forward to sharing a glass of this with each of you in the near future!
Second Place: Southern Tier 2XIPA
Smell is of biscuits, caramel, herbal hops, spices, berries, pine needles, and citrus.
Taste is of the aromas with spicy oak and vanilla cream flavors pulling through. A touch of white wine flavors are found in the there
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spritzy, spicy, and herbal. This would be the perfect compliment to spicy Chinese, or Thai food. Great deal on a case for his brew! That 8.2% is very well hidden.
Appears a hazy ligt gold with a small white cap that slowly fades into a chunky head. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of pumelo, lemon zest, herbs, cut grass, and shiitake mushrooms.
Taste is of the aromas with a sticky hoppy goodness and a fresh doughy flavor that makes for an interesting spin on a Belgian Pale.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sticky, semi sweet, and gently herbal in the finish.
Fourth Place: Lost Abbey Deliverance
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, oak, coffee, cocoa, bourbon, toasted nuts, brown sugar, and molasses.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a caramel, vanilla, and a hot brandy flavor that just seems a tad odd with a hint of astringency. Complex but a bit clustered.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, warming, creamy, and a tad thin in the finish.
Not bad but certainly not my favorite Lost Abbey beer.
Fifth Place: Oskar Blues Gubna Double IPA
Smell is of citrus, cut trees, pine sap, and cooked malted grain.
Taste is of the piney, resinous, citrus, with toasted, biscuity malt, and honey coming to the forefront.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, with plenty of juicy carbonation. A touch of booziness found in the finish.
Best New Non-Local Brewery in the Philly Market
Hill Farmstead Brewery - Again, really trying not to be biased with this selection but I can't think of a better brewery outside the region that has had the local impact that HFB has had. The amount of demand has been outrageous and when the kegs have gone on tap, beer geeks have been aware of grabbing it fresh.
Runner up: Stillwater Brewing - Brian Strumke is the traveling brew show, collaborating with talented brewers to make kick ass beers.
I can't select just one...there's too many great options now in the Philly area.
Suburbs have Capones, TND, TJ's, and now Station Taproom
The City has The Devil's Den, City Tap House, Memphis Taproom, Eulogy, Schmidt's Brauhaus, and Kite and Key.
Make your own pick - I've thrown in the towel!