The first thing I did when I arrived, more than fashionably late, at the Connoisseur Session of the Kennett Brewfest on Saturday was to head down to the far end of the lineup of participating breweries where two of the newest local entries were stationed in a figurative face-off across the wide area which allowed for easy and comfortable prowling hither and yon by the sellout crowd.
My first beer of the day was Abraxus Farmhouse Ale from Forest & Main Brewing Co., Gerard Olson’s and Daniel Endicott’s forthcoming Ambler brewpub (they told me it’s going to be another month or so,). The beer was a blend of a strong Saison and a brett Saison, a complex brew that a one-ounce pour did not allow for any real judgments about, I found it promising and will definitely investigate more thoroughly down the road.
Then I crossed over to have a Good ‘n Evil from the guys at Evil Genius, Trevor Hayward and Luke Bowen. This one is a solid interpretation of a German Kölsch, a tasty session-style brew (4.5%) which was perfect for the beautiful afternoon. Good ‘n Evil is already in distribution locally, primarily in the West Chester area, although Trevor said it’s on at Christopher’s in Wayne too.
Next up was Victory Otto Ale. A Smoked Belgian Dubbel, this 8.1% beer debuted at Kennett and the brewery says it will ship this Saturday. It will be packaged in corked 750ml bottles and is brewed with smoked, Munich and Belgian caramel malts, German hops and Trappist yeast. The brewery says Otto was “inspired by a trip Ron and Bill took in the ’80s through Belgium and Bamberg, Germany.” This falls right in my wheelhouse on all the basics but, as with Abraxus, I’d like to have a bigger sample to form a final opinion. I’ll make that a priority next week.
Next up was a little something called Mattina Rossa, from Allagash. It was brewed in August of 2008 with 440 lbs. of local raspberries in the mash. Then, after primary fermentation, it was racked into 11 red wine barrels, nine of them “inoculated with either Lactobacillus or Brettanomyces ‘Allagensis’.” A year after that, another 100lbs. of raspberries were added to five of those barrels and more aging ensued. Due to carbonation issues, the brewery decided not to officially release Mattina Rossa and only pour it privately at special events. At least, that’s the way I understand it. It has turned out to be pretty interesting, 6.9% ABV and reddish brown in color, fruity in the nose and on the palate as you’d expect, downright tart in the finish. My sample, of course, came from the gal who had the top of her head cut off in Saturday’s photographic post.
I finished off the Connoisseur Session with a lengthy chat about selling beer and the state of the craft market with Ommegang regional sales rep Megan Maguire while she plied me with their limited edition Aphrodite Ale , another fruity, tart and funky brew. It’s made with both Ommegang and Brett yeasts and infused with grains of paradise, along with raspberry and pear juices. At 8.9%, it was my biggest beer of the day and a sign that it was time to go do my usual nostalgic drive-around through my old hometown and environs before heading home to bucolic not-quite-Pottstown.SHARE