The tasting offered five beers for customers to try that night, including:
An Imperial Stout aged in oak bourbon barrels. This stout had a definite bourbon flavor to it. It lacked an oaken flavor from the barrel aging process that was slightly disappointing but it tasted almost overwhelmingly bourbon but with a nice stout finish. This stout was understandably 10% ABV, with approximately 70 IBUs.
An Imperial Pilsner crafted from Pilsener malt and Hallertau hops. This offering was a respectable pilsner. It was light both in color and in flavor but in a way that made it a solid work horse of a beer. A all afternoon summer’s beer. It wasn’t overly impressive but still solidly satisfying. This beer was on 7.6% ABV, with approximately 40 IBUs.
A Belgian inspired, American hopped, barrel aged pale ale. This beer was too many directions that overwhelmed the pallet. The Belgian influence combined with American hops and then aged in bourbon barrels had three main aspects of flavor clashing for dominance. It wasn’t a complete failure but with a warring factions of flavor and a poor finish this was the weakest of their offerings. The Local Species is 6.6% ABV, with approximately 24 IBUs.
Described as an artisanal ale this is really just a fancy label for Belgian Tripel. If you are a fan of Belgian Tripels and enjoy a stronger flavor and alcohol content I would recommend this as a very respectable beer in that vein. Personally this was not my favorite of their beers but that was more because I am not a huge fan of this style. But it was still drinkable even for me. Mandolin is 9% ABV, with approximately 34 IBUs.
This was my personal favorite for the evening. It was yet another Imperial Stout offering an quixotic combination of sour and that chocolaty flavor of stouts. While it was my favorite beer there I would be limited to smaller portions of it and I think the almost oxymoronic nature of this combination is better in theory than practice. I would highly recommend it though. It is 10% ABV and at the time of this review IBUs are unavailable.
Overall the event seemed successful with this newer and smaller production getting their name out in the South Central Pennsylvania area. I look forward to seeing what their parent (or is it brother) brewery has to offer.
My personal favorite was the very intense and oddly successful pairing of sour a stout in the form of the Sour Devil. While this wasn’t anywhere near an all day sort of beer my personal opinion was that a eight ounces of this with the right dessert could be delicious. I plan to experiment…personally.