When an unexpected snowstorm hits what’s a girl and her boy to do? Have a beer tasting of course! On Halloween weekend, a freak nor’easter hit the East Coast. The forecast called for rain and maybe snow but instead we got dumped on. Thankfully my boyfriend and I already had a plan that weekend to stay in for at least one day and celebrate Halloween in our usual way by watching as many scary movies as possible. We had also decided to visit the liquor store near my house that sells beers by the bottle. They actually sell a lot of craft beers by the bottle and that’s something we’ve been exploring, being in a state that’s known for their beers and breweries(Pennsylvania). When the snow hit Saturday morning and we realized that we were not going anywhere any time soon, we put on Halloween movies and set up a pretty awesome beer tasting as our evening activity.
The beers we chose were mostly local to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, except for one from New York and one from Massachusetts. The ones tasted were Flying Fish’s Extra Pale Ale, Philadelphia Brewing Company’s Rowhouse Red, Erie Brewing Company’s Mad Anthony IPA, Troeg’s Pale Ale, Ithaca Beer Company’s Apricot Wheat and Sam Adams Coastal Wheat. As you can see we like a lot of pale beers. And I just had to throw in one fruity one! With a trusty bartender and my warm mukluks on, we acted very sophisticated ranking and commenting on each one.
The first beer tasted was Flying Fish’s Extra Pale Ale in honor of its New Jersey home. We thought it was lightly hoppy, kind of like a lager but lighter and crisper in taste. To me, it tasted like a beer which I know is kind of redundant but I’ve found many beers that have a taste that doesn’t focus on the hops. Nick thought it was easy to drink and he said he would drink it again.
My score: 6 out of 10
Nick’s score: 7 out of 10
The next beer to be downed on the snowy evening was Philadelphia Brewing Company’s Rowhouse Red. I was excited to try this beer first of all because of the catchy name and I hadn’t really tried anything from PBC. We found this beer had a more complex taste. It was toasty and reminded me of something I would love to enjoy in the fall and winter but would sneak in the summer because it’s very tasty. Nick wasn’t exactly a fan but I thought it would be a great beer for football games and hearty winter foods.
My score: 8 out of 10
Nick’s score: 6 out of 10
I was interested to try Erie Brewing Company’s Mad Anthony American Pale Ale. I wasn’t (and still am not) quite sure what an American Pale Ale is but I loved the label. I am definitely fooled by branding. Needless to say, this beer scored the lowest in our very unofficial taste testing. We found it plain with no real taste with a lot of carbonation. It was boring and seemed like an old domestic beer. We haven’t given up hope on Erie Brewing but we’re giving up this APA.
My score: 4 out of 10
Nick’s score: 3 out of 10
Now for a break from all those pale beers: Ithaca Brewing Company’s Apricot Wheat steps in. I only kind of like apricots; they’re kind of weirdly hairy, don’t you think? The beer version of this fruit is sweet just like its namesake and smells very fruity but it still has the wheat taste of a good wheat beer. It was easy to drink and Nick found it refreshing. Still though it’s not my favorite fruit.
My score: 7 out of 10
Nick’s score: 7 out of 10
We were both interested in trying one of Troegs’ beers. Based out of Harrisburg, PA, it’s a little bit farther than visiting a Philly brewing operation but we always like a fun weekend getaway and might want to head out there on Saturday. Troegs’ Pale Ale was pretty delicious. It was citrusy and light with a little bit of carbonation to give it a zing. It was very drinkable and we might be heading to Harrisburg sooner rather than later.
My score: 8 out of 10
Nick’s score: 8 out of 10
Last but not least was Sam Adams’ Coastal Wheat. Neither of us had heard of this but know Sam’s others such as Oktoberfest, Winter Lager and Cherry Wheat. Sam Adams hasn’t been a small operation for awhile but they definitely make a quality beer that can be complex and tasty. The Coastal Wheat was a pleasant surprise: fresh and summery with a hint of lemon (as it said on the label). I can’t wait to enjoy this beer when the weather heats up.
With our sixth and final beer finished, we were done keeping score but let’s just say we really did like Sam Adams Coastal Wheat. This impromptu beer tasting was an excellent idea for a snowy Saturday. And no hangover, double yay! If you are lucky enough to have a liquor store near you that sells individual bottles, try something new!