Weyerbacher Brewing Company
Across the I-78 bridge into Pennsylvania, a tiny detour brings me to a brewery that I have wanted to visit for a long time.
Blithering Idiot aged in oak barrels for one year (shorter aging shown below.) Maple syrup brown (ok, medium amber) in the glass with zero head. The nose is of intense boozy malt and brown sugar. On the palate comes candied malt and and a whiskey kick with vanilla oak touches. The finish goes on forever, sweet & malt & boozy. 11.1% ABV
Line Street Pils
To clear the palate! Pours clear straw with a generous snowy head. Starts with a pure lagery nose of cracker malt and noble hops. It’s crisp enough to cut through the 365 bourbon, delivering straight malt with a nice hop bite. I think of Weyerbacher in terms of big Belgian ales, but they do a good lager! In fact, they say: “Sure, we love our big beers, but sometimes we just want something lighter without sacrificing flavor.” 5.3% ABV
Then there are one-offs not even on that menu. Here’s another Blithering Idiot variant suggested by a member of the tasting room staff, this is served from cask and pours a pretty chestnut amber with a light off white ring. The aroma delivers subtle wine and malt, followed by a very malty flavor, adding a tang of red grape with the sweetness characteristic of Blithering Idiot. It’s made with Cabernet-aged French oak and red grapes, a successful experiment! 11.1% ABV I presume.
An American Wild Ale, in the glass it’s like pretty, light apricot nectar with the tiniest off white ring. The nose is peach nectar, slightly tart, followed by a crisp, tart & stone-fruity flavor moving into a wheaty body. The finish resolves like an Italian fruit soda, lingering quietly with a white wine note. I’m not up to sours but this I like. Not a favorite, but I’m sure not sending it back! 6.5% ABV
Then we have two that I had in the tasting room, AND brought back to repeat at home.
Smoked American Porter. Nearly black with generous foamy tan head. There’s a very malty nose on the dark side, lightly smoky, and maybe a hint of hops. Smoke arrives on the palate, as crisp and refreshing as smoke can be, followed by a ton of dark malts and some caramel. The smoke balances the sweetness as hops might do in other styles. This is a porter with smoke, not smoke with beer like a rauchbier. That balance of slightly sweet hops and slightly bitter smoke lingers, as does the lacing on the glass. The tiniest note of bacon emerges on the finish. 7% ABV 40 IBU
The start of an annual series of four, this one is clear gold with a generous white head. Citrus hops, citrus hops, floral hops? The aroma starts with citrus juice and moves to citrus peel, then a fleeting floral note transitions to malt. The beer looks like a light amber snowstorm with particles percolating up the center and down the sides. On the palate things start with lemon peel then quickly get outright bitter moving directly into the finish. Maybe my taste buds are off, this doesn’t taste as good as it smells. 5.5% ABV “Features a blend of Centennial, Cascade, Calypso and Equinox hops.”
Something I love about Weyerbacher is their support for charities, including their support of animal shelters, as with their Last Chance IPA. This continues in the tasting room:
And one more I brought back from the brewery . . .
“Insanity, 11.1% ABV, is made by aging our Blithering Idiot Barleywine Ale in whiskey barrels.” So this has shorter aging than the 365 and pours a cloudy chestnut brown with a brief light tan head. Starts with a big dried fruit and malt nose with a boozy note and a hint of oak. It has a complex flavor passing from fruity to malty to caramel, back to malt with a sugary sweetness, then back to fruit. Waves of flavor continue through a long finish, ending sweet.
And this brings me HOME!!
What have I *done*?