Erie’s Favorite Beer

   October 5, 2011 10:09 am

 

Besides having multiple chocolatiers in town, Erie also has some fantastic breweries.  This week’s poll was voting for the favorite of the local breweries. Tuesday night, two of my coworkers, Ben Smith and Jeff McCullor, joined Amanda and me to sample and compare the top three vote recipients: Lavery Brewing CompanyErie Brewing Company, and The Brewerie at Union Station. For consistency, we wanted to sample a “hoppy” beer from each location as well as a specialty/seasonal beer.

First, Jeff and I visited Lavery Brewing where we met with Jason Lavery.  He showed us around the new brew house and we really got to see his slogan, “Brewing Innovative Ales in Small Batches,” in action.

We then got to take a drive to the Erie Brewing Company.  Tim Schnars and Rebecca Niemeyer were there to give us some fantastic information as well as show the inner workings of the brewery.  We also got to see the medals won at the Great American Beer Festival.  Railbender won a bronze medal in 2008 as well as a gold medal in 2009, and just this past weekend, Derailed Black Cherry Ale won a bronze medal.

Finally, I made my way to the Brewerie at Union Station to talk with Chris Sirianni.  He was very excited to have us sample the #5: Citrus Belgian Tripel which is for their 5 Year Anniversary Celebration.

We began the sampling with our “hoppy” beers.  The first beer was Misery Bay I.P.A. from Erie Brewing Company.    This dark amber ale has a very smooth taste and a great malty flavor.  Although it is a bitter beer, it is still very drinkable and not overpowering.  Beer number two was the Hopness Monster I.P.A. from the Brewerie at Union Station.  It is a traditional British-style India Pale Ale that is lighter in color than the Misery Bay, but much more bitter.  This batch also seemed to be slightly more watered down than previous tastings.  The mouth feel was just off a bit.  Our final “hoppy” beer was the Imperial Red Ale from Lavery Brewing Company.  The first thing that you notice about this beer is the extremely strong hop smell.  It may seem, to some, a bit overpowering, but you have to taste it.  The beer has a nice reddish-orange coloring and looks fantastic in a glass.  The hops are extremely prevalent; however it is done in a sophisticated way.  Instead of giving you a punch in the mouth, the smooth taste gives you a little slap on the cheek.  It is a very well-rounded beer.

Next were the seasonal beers.  The first sampling came from Lavery.  The Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale is the fall seasonal brew and it is delicious.  Jason uses local pumpkins from Port Farms as well as home grown hops.  It has a smooth taste and is easy to drink due to the subtle, understated spicing.  The ratio of pumpkin to spice is great.  Our next beer was the #5: Citrus Belgian Tripel from the Brewerie.  Looking at this beer, you can see that it is a true Belgian.  Tasting it only reaffirms it.  Its smooth taste was complimented by spices and orange citrus flavoring.  The aftertaste was similar to a sweeter white wine which was odd, but still good.  Jeff said that this beer was the best beer he has tasted from the Brewerie as well as the most well put together.  Our final tasting was the Heritage Alt from Erie Brewing.  This beer is a dark brown color with a creamy head.  Every sip has some great hints of coffee and chocolate malt.  The roasted flavor comes through in an understated way and the mild hoppy kick at the end really rounds out the beer.  It was a fantastic way to end the tasting.

Thank you to Jason, Tim, Rebecca, and Chris for all of your fantastic service and great insight on the world of beer making.  This will give us some great ideas for our own home brewing.

Until next time,

Andrew – Beard vs. Food

 

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