Here’s a tasting of the Weyerbacher Brewing Company of Easton PA. They’ve been around since 1995, which almost makes Dan and Sue Weirback “old timers” in the craft brewing world.
Let me start with two Shout Outs. The first I’ve known about for a while, and it gives an extra reason to drink their hoppy Last Chance IPA. To quote their website, “Weyerbacher donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every drop of Last Chance IPA to small, regional animal rescue operations.” That’s a cause dear to me. My “niece” Tess:
Now here’s a Shout Out for an important human cause: Ales for ALS. “Drink a great new IPA with a proprietary blend of hops in an effort to raise money for ALS research? Yes, please!”
Ales for ALS
Now on to the beer!
It’s a Barleywine and at minimum it’s a big-time ale, more British than Belgian in style. The yeasts are different and the nose is funkier and earthier. Malt comes charging in and if an ale can be described as having “backbone” then this one is ramrod straight. This is a beer that speaks to some red wine drinkers whose eyes widen and they say, “that’s really good!” They’re right. At 11.1% ABV, this is stronger than some wines, and knocking back a 4-pack might knock YOU back. There’s a touch of dried fruit, and then the malt lingers long on the finish, with almost no hoppiness.
One sniff and there’s great Belgian yeast and a faint fruitiness. The first sip (okay, gulp) is mouth-filling, malt filling, with distinct but delicate fruitiness, maybe like quince. [OK, so what the hell does quince taste like? Try the jelly and stop bothering me!] There’s a gentle effervescence that persists long after the first sip, and a certain warmth creeps in, almost like a hint of cinnamon. Oh, interesting, the Weyerbacher flyer says “…bottle conditioned imparting a special effervescence,” so I’m not the only one who gets that. They say pear where I said quince, and I can buy that. Like the Blithering Idiot, no hops are apparent. This is a very nice Tripel, 9.3% ABV. So far we’re averaging over 10% ABV, so this is happy stuff.
Double Simcoe Double IPA
Leads with sharp acidic citrusy hops followed by a toffee hint. Malt dominates the flavorful palette and the hops step aside briefly before coming back strongly to carry the finish. I guess I know what Simcoe hops taste like with the double dose here. 9.0% ABV brings us down a trifle.
Pours a beautiful deep amber with a half-inch head, quickly dissipating. The nose is pumpkin spice, leaning toward spice, like pumpkin pie. Once the head is gone, a little bit of hops sneaks into the aroma. The initial sip doesn’t deliver a lot of flavor, but it builds up, and the malt here comes through like a malted shake. Nutmeg. Nutmeg comes through strongly, especially on the finish, and some cinnamon, with maybe a little clove. There’s a little bitterness on the end, but I can’t distinguish the sort of hops. This is an interesting approach, not sweet, more beer than pumpkin. Pleasing!
Imperial Stout Aged in Whiskey Barrels. This pours almost completely black, actually a very, very dark brown, with a dark tan head, about half an inch, with a little bit of the “building a pint” foam made famous by another stout. Brought to the nose I get bitter chocolate, meaning very dark chocolate, not meaning that there’s anything wrong. The head subsides to leave a light coating across the surface of the beer with a nice ring around the glass. At this point a faint aroma of whiskey creeps in. On the palatte, some whiskey leads, followed by dark chocolate, and then a touch of ash from the barrel. There’s a hint of vanilla, and then another round of ash, followed by a slightly bitter finish as some hops arrive. A rich and complex brew.